#FollowFriday – Keira

For a while I have been taking the opportunity on Friday to share some of my internet favourites with you, this week I would like to share the work of someone who is not only one of my internet favourites, but a real life one too.

Keira Heil is an incredibly skilled artist and writer, and I can’t recommend his social media account highly enough.  If you are looking for beautiful, detailed drawings to top up your creative bank account then you can find them here:

Keira has very kindly given me permission to post some of his awesome work here.  Below are just some of my favourites, there are so many to choose from.

Keira has a love for Sci-Fi and Comic art and it shows through in his dramatic and graphic style of drawing.  A few years ago we jokingly made up a character together called the Haberdasher, and you can find my attempt at a cover here.

Keira and his lovely partner Alex, also happen to own a plant and coffee shop in Devon, if you enjoy Instagram accounts with strong and fresh aesthetics then I would recommend checking out the Crown and Cotton feeds too.

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#FollowFriday

Because the internet is a big, big place, with so much content to inspire and distract. Here are my top 4 for this week:

WordPress – Studio Sista
Twitter – Nature Is Weird  because nothing is as weird as what is in the world already, you’re welcome monster designers
Instagram – Glynde Forge
YouTube – John Beckley

Creative Exercise – Character Profiling

So as you may or may not know I like to play games.  All sorts really, and last year I started explore the fascinating world of tabletop role-play games.  Now I am in love.  There’s drama, there’s mental arithmetic (sometimes I have to break out a calculator), there’s all sorts of colour shiny dice (or forbidden snacks as we call them thank to one close encounter with a D20 and my friend’s daughter’s tiny grabby hands).

And what makes it better is I love creating characters.  When I play sims, I spend longer on building the character and the house then I do actually playing.  When I first started Guild Wars I took about an hour to finally decide what character I wanted to play, only to immediately scrap it and start again when I realized their hair wasn’t quite the right shade of red to express their blood lust.

product_thumbnailSo in order to balance my own need and desire to understand the characters I am creating, I have created this character sheet.  It’s 19 pages of background, personality details and writing exercises that help me flesh out a character in more detail.  You can get your own copy here.

I have tried to keep the layout simple and stick to general character information, so it can flex across multiple game systems.  I have also started using it for my own short stories and even to inform some of my drawings.  If you like cracking open a characters head and really getting to know them, then I think you’ll like this.  It might also be helpful if you struggle creating a consistent character who acts from their own motivation rather than your own.

I hope you enjoy using it.

 

Daily Doodle Q&A and Giveaway results

First off I just wanted to say a massive thank you to all those who submitted questions to the Q&A.  It was a genuine pleasure sitting down with Paul and answering them.

You can find Paul’s podcast, Creative Loving Spirit here and the book we wrote together here.

To find yourself a copy of the Mountain Faces Meditation, then head over here.

Giveaway winners!

I have put all the question in a hat and then pulled out the winners!  The full list of questions I received was so good I had to let Fate be the decider.  If your name is listed below, please email me with your address and I will pop your prizes in the post.

Signed book and original drawing:

  • Kitty Jade

Original drawing:

  • Brian Balke
  • Von Smith
  • Jupitergrant
  • Sanandi-Jacq
  • Hetheru Mer Djehuty
  • Bonnie Rae

 

Happy Birthday To Me

It’s my birthday so I am going to let someone else post for me today.  This years bonus birthday post is brought to you by Paul Macauley

He made a lovely artefact called Apples, Pumpkins and Strawberries

It is full of lovely doodles and jokes, and this by far has to be my favourite:

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He also has a podcast which is well worth listening to.

To see Paul’s daily thought doodles, head over to his sketchbook, Twitter or Instagram

I am also currently in Australia with Paul and will post a longer travel blog when I am back in England, so keep an eye out for that.

Give yourself the gift of time

As a creative person, do you recognise this:

I have had this idea, and I think it could be something really good.  But I don’t have time to give any real thought right now.  I’ll start it tomorrow.. next week… next month… I mean… I’ll get around to it eventually.

I know I feel that way.  In a way posting a doodle a day, every day has become a bit of a double edged sword.  On one hand it has encouraged me to commit to a daily practice which has lead me to producing more images than I thought I was capable.  However on a busy day it can become the procrastinating tool or block that I could really do without in my life.

banner 3I can sometimes become locked into a pattern of producing because I feel I have to and not because I want to, and that really affects the pride I feel in sharing a piece.  So when my good buddy Paul Macauley posted that he was hosting a workshop that would help shake creatives out of their funk I couldn’t wait to hand over my money (which is a rare occurrence this year).  In 2019 I have committed to making myself a better person, and that work needs to take place internally as much as it needs to take place externally.

And it couldn’t have come at a better time.  On the first of January I made a dramatic change to my eating.  For over a decade I have had a very unhealthy relationship with food.  I have been obsessed, in love, and completely dominated by food.  I have been using food as a way to sooth any discomfort (physical or emotional) I feel. I have been stashing junk food away like a squirrel preparing for a 15 year long winter, and lying to (and lashing out at) loved ones when they express a concern.

However with the support of a few good friends (and a very competent therapist) I have promised myself that I will not turn 30 and hate what I see in the mirror any more.  In order to pull this off I am going to have to lean into other soothing tools which I have allowed to take a back seat to my food obsession.  Which means I am recommitting myself to drawing again.

Scan 62In particular I am going to finish at least one of the larger projects I have been chewing on.  I did some creatively focused coaching with Paul at the end of last year (as well as a podcast and a book), so I know that the trust I place in him will be totally rewarded with a rich and fulfilling day.  My hope is that in posting this I will also encourage a few more people to sign up and support him.

I can honestly say that I have rarely met a kinder and more thoughtful human being.  So if you are in Brighton in January, please consider this as something to gift yourself.  A day where you can focus in on making something that is important to you.

What is the day about?

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have more confidence in what you’re doing? To more authentically express what is yours to make? To see a way forward that feels exciting and full of possibility?

In this fun, collaborative and supportive workshop I will share inspirations and exercises that invite you to open your head, heart and hands to:

  • Liberate your true wants and deeper intentions
  • Develop your thinking and principles
  • Identify small, meaningful onward actions
  • Rediscover the playfulness of ideas and making things

The expression of your unique experience and understanding is important. Let’s make the things we love in a meaningful way and share them with the world.

Where can I book?

EventBrite: And for a limited time only, there’s 25% off.

 

 

 

Grandad

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“For now is my grief heavier than the sands of the seas, she thought. This world has emptied me of all but the oldest purpose: tomorrow’s life.” – Frank Herbert, Dune

Bear with me, this post comes with words.  I began writing this on 23rd May, the week after my Grandad died.  I then spent months trying to put into words what he meant to me.

My Grandad was amazing.  I know lots of people say they had the world’s best grandad, but mine really was extraordinary.  He looked like santa.  He told the best stories, often more then once.  He was dad like to so many people.  He chose his family, and once you were in you were to be loved and accepted and lifted up in his pride of you.

When my mother’s father passed away he wrote her a letter which I think reached her in her grief.  He probably didn’t know when he wrote it, that his words would bring us comfort all those years later.

People live as long as they are remembered.

Over this year these words have bought me great comfort.  Grief puts everyone on their own timeline.  When a significant death occurs, it rolls through the group like a wave, but everyone is standing their own distance from the shore.  Sometimes you are treading water, sometimes you are watching others get knocked off their feet.  Sometimes it feels like you are all alone under the water.

This season is a time for families, this year ours is a little bit smaller for his having passed.  But he will be remembered, and in being remembered he will not be gone, just passed.

I would like to share some of the wisdom that I gathered from him:

If you’re going to spend good money on anything, make sure it’s shoes and your mattress.  If you are not in one, you’re in the other.  And, when the time comes, get a wicker coffin.  They are beautiful to look at, kinder to the environment and kinder for the people who bear you to wherever you are laid to rest.

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases” – Carl Jung

Never stop learning.  The greatest way to teach others is to be a constant student. My grandfather was a boatman, an actor, a grave digger but he was always a teacher. For some of his life he even got paid to teach. He was also an amazing student and it was his enthusiasm for learning which made him a great channel for knowledge.  A few years ago now he enrolled in a law course at the open university, and I got such a kick thinking that he probably stored his student ID in his wallet next to his 65+ bus pass.

If you are going to get angry about something, make sure you direct it towards change. If you are angry at politicians, go vote. And if that doesn’t work go stand outside where they work and tell them what you think.  Don’t get enraged, or despondent, get direct.

There is nothing weak or cowardly about taking the road of least harm.  Pacifism is not a cowards way out.  There is nothing soft about choosing not to fight.  When standing in the face of conflict or violence, the greatest act of strength is to stand and be at peace.  There are many justifications for violence, some of them appear just.  However there is only one reason to refuse to fight, and that is because, just like me, each living thing on earth will feel enough pain in it’s life, without me adding to it.  This is not an easy way out.

Family is not about blood.  Family are the people who build you up.  They support you even in your faults (sometimes they are the first people to point your faults out).  They lift your spirits when they surprise you on your birthday.  Gather them close to you today.  Family give you somewhere to belong.  When I was very young my parents divorced and for a long time I think some of the people closest to us weren’t sure how to handle this.  As a child I was the only one in my class whose parents were divorced.  People didn’t know how to handle that, sometimes in my own family.  My grandad never made me feel like I had to shut part of myself off, or that I had to be part of one family and not another.  When he decided to open his family to someone they stayed.  That acceptance meant the world to me.  There have been times this year when that acceptance has felt a little fragile without him here anymore, but that is just grief and as the year has passed I have found an inner connection that his s

upport grew in me.

A good story is in the eyebrows.  If you have ever been told a story by someone with enthusiastic eyebrows you will know what I mean.

“Everyone must leave something behind when he 

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dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.” – Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451