Archive for December, 2014
I’m a little bit obsessed with making sure I am not lazy. I feel lazy a lot. But, in 2013, I decided to make a list. Nothing strange there, really, but I made a list last year, and I made the list again this year. I did 747 creative things in 2013. This year, I have done 781 things up to and including the 27th of December. How I define “creative things” is simple. It could be a drawing for a sketch to something detailed and time-consuming. I treat those things equally. Likewise, I include blog posts that are unique pieces, so the 17 daily posts about being on holiday in Belize count as 17 creative things. I am happy that I did more stuff than last year, but mostly, I am happy I did more than 365 things.
Before I began keeping note, I hoped that would do at least one thing a day, and, anyone with the barest of maths skills will see that I’ve done way more than that: 2.05 things a day in 2013, 2.16 things per day to date in 2014. But, of course, I can’t just be happy with that. Now my stupid brain is thinking I’m placing too much emphasis on doing a LOT. Maybe I should concentrate on quality, not quantity.
My career, such as it is, is going nowhere. Treading water. Bulls need to be taken by the horns and I need to do better stuff, more substantial stuff. That was something that really hit home when I had the exhibition in London in April. It was fun and humbling and everything to see people looking at my stuff on a wall, but, it was pure vanity, ultimately. The exhibition lost money. I hardly sold anything and it cost me a lot of money to prepare it and get to London and spend three weeks there. I hate that I think of that experience as a failure, but I do.
It’s been an odd year. I moved out of my last apartment before Xmas 2013 because I lived with cunts and the realisation that they were cunts came about very quickly. I realised on a Tuesday, and I’d moved out on the Sunday. I spent a lot of time in London on two trips. And my love for Mexico goes up and down daily. I have a tendency to let things get to me. I had an idea for a book which I spent a bunch of time working on, but I’ve totally abandoned the idea. Not gonna happen.
Looking back through those 781 things from 2014, there’s not a huge amount I’m particularly happy with. I need to do better. I’m not getting any younger and I need to do better so that drawing can keep on paying for my food and rent. Which brings me to look back at what I think is the best, my best, my favourite ten things of 2014. More than anything, it’s nice to remind myself that, despite all the nail-biting, I am quite good at this sometimes. So feel free to click away to another Web site right now, the rest of the post is all blah blah. Thanks for looking at my stuff this year. Happy new year.
In no particularly order…:
Vueling Flight 7823
Girl Scout Heron
The first three things that I really like are drawings done with the Paper app on my iPad. I’ve not used it so much recently because it keeps crashing on my ancient first generation iPad. It was an app I enjoyed. It freed up my drawing a lot, made things a lot sketchier. I really like the Miley drawing, simply because it was done when I had nothing in my head and finished less than a minute later. The drawing of the aeroplane makes me giggle, and the Girl Scout Heron drawing, whilst not a particularly good drawing (I shouldn’t’ve given him a neck, the beard should be covering it completely), still amuses me.
I’ve spent the last decade enjoying beautiful baseball stadiums. Modern and old. Even crappy baseball stadiums are pretty cool. I wanted to draw something that was the complete opposite. An ugly, purely functional stadium. And when I think of such places, Scunthorpe United’s ground Glanford Park is the one that jumps into my head.
2014 was, I think, the first year since 2005 that baseball wasn’t entirely what I wanted to do stuff about. I’ve done a lot less infographics in general this year, and specifically less baseball-related infographics. But, for a big chunk of the year, I contributed to the now-defunct NotGraphs blog, which was a part of the not-defunct FanGraphs. For that site, I mostly did drawings and a bit of writing here or there. It was fun. There’s an archive of my stuff here. My favourite thing for NotGraphs was a bunch of drawings of vendors at my local baseball stadium in Mexico City. (And should you be a fan of NotGraphs, several of the contributors, including me occasionally, still do similar stuff at Banknotes Industries.)
I Wanna Dance with Somebody
Next up is a story I thought of in 2013 in a taxi. I’m a big fan of airdancers, the flappy things that are hooked up to a fan and dance in front of car dealerships and the like. So I did a children’s story about an airdancer in Mexico City called I Wanna Dance with Somebody.
I find getting a likeness of people quite difficult. I don’t have the patience for it. But this one came together really quickly. Once I realised Lionel Messi’s eyes could just be dots, it all fell into place. Plus, I enjoyed drawing the kit and boots. I did a lot of football drawings this year, but this was the best, I think.
Bandstand is simple infographic idea. I like it because of its simplicity. And the fact that I can keep on adding to it forever and ever.
This is a companion to the Mexico City drawing I did in 2013. I wanted to show the Mexico City one at the exhibition in London, so felt it might be nice to do a London version to go with it. You can see it full-size here. The nicest part of this, though, for me, was that I was contacted about doing a slightly altered version for the cover of Time Out in London. This was quite the honour, a wee personal triumph. Being a provincial boy, London was always the coolest place, and whenever I visited, one of the first things I would do would be to buy a copy of Time Out. Here’s the version that was on that cover.
The main reason that this site existed beyond a year or two was Minipops. I am under no illusions about that. These simple, silly, pixelly drawings of famous people became popular back in 1999, and stayed relatively popular for quite a while. It was pretty cool. But, after a while, I became frustrated just doing more and more and more of them. And along the way, kinda lost the love to draw any pixel stuff. I still did it, but mostly that was because I couldn’t be arsed to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator. But this last year, I’ve started to enjoy pixels again. And this drawing is the best thing I did this year, I think. I enjoy that I stuck with it and created something that by my standards was pretty epic. The more I drew, the more I wanted to draw. But I was also glad that it had a natural end point. The drawing outgrew the title, but I’m still happy that I called it Flower.
And that is, self-indulgently, that. Thanks again for visiting, commenting, sending emails, etc. It really is appreciated. Onwards and upwards, hopefully, in 2015.
Merry Xmas Everybody.
On Insurgentes, a very long and busy street in Mexico City, there’s this burger place. It has great fries. While looking around the Internet for reference images from the past (the above drawing is a present day version), I found nothing about Mr. Kelly’s but I did find some stuff about an old, now defunct Mexican burger chain, Burger Boy. There was an ad in the 1980s that Salma Hayek appeared in, but my fave is this one from the 1970s.
This photo is a couple of months old. I was awake early, and the volcano on the outskirts of Mexico City was cough up smoke, so I went up to the roof and had a proper look.