27 October 2012

Red Barn

In the vain hope that anyone reading this blog is in the L.A. area:

The Independent Shakespeare Company usually does (obviously) Shakespeare, but they decided to branch out and make a period murder mystery tragicomic musical ... as you do.  Unsurprisingly, they bring just as much talent, charm, expertise, and pure entertainment to this as they do to their annual summer Shakespeare festival in Griffith Park.

Sample songs: Red Barn and Love

Details on the historical story on which it is very faithfully based can be found on Wikipedia.

21 October 2012

Infinite Monkeys

Mark Gatiss had a guest appearance on The Infinite Monkey Cage, a science/comedy show on BBC Radio 4.  Why they brought on a champion of the imagination and then set about belittling imagination is beyond me, but it was hard not to pick up on the snub.

I'm a big fan of science and everything, but I'd pick Mark Gatiss over Richard Dawkins any day.

14 October 2012

07 October 2012

Richard II, King of Pop

There was a familiar strain in Ben Whishaw's portrayal of Richard II in the recent BBC production.

30 September 2012


Hushpuppy, from Beasts of the Southern Wild.  I quite liked the movie, despite it being noting at all what I was expecting it to be, but I would have liked to have been warned it was all shot hand-liked ...

23 September 2012

Can't Sleep, Couric is Watching

There are posters all over Burbank for Katie Couric's new show on ABC. There is something slightly unsettling about them, as though the predator is only just under the surface ...

22 July 2012

Cabin Pressure

Thanks to the iPlayer, I have never really been able to picture the characters in Cabin Pressure as looking anything unlike the actors who play them ... this is fine for Douglas and Carolyn, but Martin in particular is supposed to be the opposite of tall and authoritative Benedict Cumberbatch, so as I was listening again, I tried to force myself to picture him in a new way, and came up with someone who's somewhere between Steve Punt and Schmendrick the Magician.

Plus bonus Arthur and poorly-executed Douglas.

15 July 2012

Cats in the Trenches

One of the cats in our house has what my roommate describes as a 'shellshocked' expression.  Recently I just made the connection: Cats!  In World War I!  And four pages of sketchbook just sort of happened.

08 July 2012


CafĂ© Vesuvio, San Francisco – if you're looking for a nice bar where you can actually hear each other talk after 9pm, this is the place for you!  My sister took me here after seeing Midnight in Paris, which was ... appropriate.

01 July 2012

Sandi & Andy

If you spend your time doing things like this, you may have too much invested in Radio 4:

But I can't help it, I just really love the News Quiz.

24 June 2012

Land's End

... in San Francisco, not Cornwall.  I got a sunburn while sketching this, but it was worth it.

17 June 2012

Swashbuckling Etudes

I had to get back in the swing of drawing dynamic poses from scratch again, so in lieu of some insane figure drawing class I decided  to do some quick sketches off Pirates of the Caribbean

I could stand to do a lot more of this ...

What I find particularly fascinating is that, dynamic as these sketches may appear, I could never get as much energy in the drawing as I saw in the frame of film. Draw from life, folks! (Or filmed life, at least ...)

03 June 2012

Hertfordshire Spinney

Things I have learned: 
A small stand of trees is also known as a 'spinney.'
Hawthorn is everywhere 
Bluebells are not
A footpath is not a bicycle track

27 May 2012

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand flight 002
I have never before had cause to feel actual affection for an airline, but of all the companies who've flown me to various locations around the world, I have to confess my love for Air New Zealand.  I'd always thought long-haul trips were something to be endured rather than enjoyed, but I now find myself looking forward to the flight and wishing I had an excuse to fly more often.  It is probably just as well for the ozone layer that I don't ... but regardless, well done, Flying Kiwis.

20 May 2012

American Woman Journalist

Radio 4 Extra recently reran the BBC's most excellent radio dramatisation of Robert Harris' Fatherland, so I took the opportunity to draw Charlotte Maguire. Those darn spunky investigative female journalists, they come along and ruin everything . . .

The 2 1/2 hour dramatisation is, luckily, available for purchase, and I highly recommend it as fantastically produced and acted audio drama, much closer to a movie than to a play. Weirdly, the commercially available recording has slightly different incidental music to the radio one, but everything else is there, from the brilliantly-delivered dialogue to the masterfully atmospheric sound design to the perfect interplay of timing, acting, and editing which tell so much more story than the dialogue could do alone.

06 May 2012

Lovelace and Babbage in a Physical Object

If you haven't seen The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, a Steampunk AU webcomic about the pioneers of computing, you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not follow that link. Artist/writer/researcher/all-round-brilliant Sydney Padua has landed a book deal with the exalted and discerning publisher Pantheon to put their adventures out in hard copy! I am very much looking forward to clutching the finished product in my hot little hands ... In the meantime, there's an iPad App! I do not have an iPad myself, but have had the opportunity to play with this app, and it is the only thing to make me sort of think about wanting an iPad. There are annotations, and primary documents, and authentic original visual aides, enough to make a nerd's heart flutter.

30 April 2012

Doublet and Hose

One of the benefits of travelling in the off season is you get to see winter fashions that never really make it to LA. This seemed to have been the 'look' on my most recent trip: double-breasted wool coat, black tights, and brown shoes. (I assume there is a miniskirt or something in there somewhere...) I bet no one thought the doublet-and-hose look would ever come back. This comes so shortly on the heels of skirt-over-jeans and shorts-with-tights, things I'd have thought looked so ridiculous no one would ever wear them in public. Fashion is mysterious. Incidentally, it appears that listening to French-language radio has a beneficial effect on my drawing skills. Perhaps this is the secret of all those ridiculously talented bande-dessine artists?

08 April 2012

Clarisse McClellan

It's impossible to say how much Fahrenheit 451 influenced the direction my life would take, or how much I was already a dangerous nonconformist by Grade 9 when I read it, but when I revisited the book for the first time recently I was astonished at how familiar Clarisse McClellan seemed to be . . .

01 April 2012

Santa Monica Bay

Most of the time it's a monotonous concreted-over boxy dustbowl, but every so often Southern California can be so beautiful you understand what attracted people in the first place (who then built boxes, concreted it over, and made it as dull as possible).

25 March 2012

Think the Unthinkable

One of the many nice things about radio as a medium is that you can think up your own visuals.  There is an old saying that the pictures are better on radio, but of course that all depends on the strength of your imagination vs the median talent of television production designers – at any rate, it at least gives the mind's eye some exercise.

I am not usually a fan of sitcoms but there are a handful on Radio 4 which I enjoy.  Old Harry's Game and Cabin Pressure top the list, but I will give Think the Unthinkable a listen whenever it bobs back up to the surface on 4 Extra.  I never had all that strong an impression of the characters, visually, but I tried my hand at the two ladies of Unthinkable Solutions and I thought they turned out all right:

26 February 2012


If ladies can indeed do anything, then surely they, too, can sing rousing anthems while leading a hopelessly misguided, ultimately futile revolution.

12 February 2012

Westish Doodles

I've finally had the chance to sort out the pile of life drawing from the last three years at Disney ... in the process of picking out pieces to keep, I found quite a few doodles I'd forgotten about, including some of Herbert West and his unnamed narrator:

That is, the unnamed narrator falling prey to the rest of Lovecraft's canon ...

22 January 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities is my favourite of the books we had to read in high school. I drew a fair bit from it at the time, but who knows where those drawings are now . . . they're probably not worth sharing, anyway. BBC Radio 4 recently ran a new radio dramatisation of the story which inspired me to try my professional hand at the subject matter. Unfortunately I was short on time so didn't do due diligence in researching the costumes, but it was a bit of fun anyway.

Madame Defarge was not supposed to be a self-portrait, but she started coming out that way and eventually I gave up fighting it. Halloween 2012!

15 January 2012

San Fran Sketches, Part 3

Any visit to San Francisco is incomplete without visiting the Maritime Museum.