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3,355: Tea

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Here’s something I thought would never happen: I think I’m slowly switching to being a tea person in the morning. I’ve been a coffee person for as long as I can remember. Instant coffee at home, something from the art school vending machine, instant coffee at the office, cappuccino from local cafes in Berlin, or from Starbucks in Mexico City, and in the last few years, via a cafetière or Bialetti Moka thingy.

Tea is something I remember drinking as a youngster, but at some point in my mid-teens I stopped, didn’t really like it, and never bothered with it again until about five years ago when I was a little bored of coffee being the only hot drink option aside from the occasional Ovaltine.

I bought some Earl Grey and forced myself to get used to it. It didn’t take too long. A couple of weeks, I think. I got used to it, and then started to enjoy it. Just English Breakfast and Earl Grey, though. I’ve never enjoyed the fruity tea stuff. Smells like someone’s making jelly.

But for the last couple of weeks, instead of automatically making coffee when I get up, I’ve found myself making a cup of tea. It’s still more coffee than tea. But out of the last ten first-thing-in-the-morning-drinks, I’ve had tea four times.

This got me thinking: do our tastes keep on changing? I don’t think it’s too presumptuous to assume most of us make most of the changes we’re gonna make in our twenties. When we try something again as an adult for the first time in ages. In my head, I don’t like rhubarb. But I’ve not eaten it since I was a teenager. Dates and plums, too. Maybe I would like them now. I still can’t get my head around chicory, but if it’s in a salad, I’ll just get it down and out of the way.

But yeh, a minor thought. Nothing big or spesh today. Just a quicky blog post. Have a good weekend.

A wee bit of artwork
Covv and Mooonlight.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Viva La Vida by Coldplay

On this day
Motorway blocks, 9 June 2014

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Bosphorus

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Written by Craig

June 8th, 2017 at 11:51 pm

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,354: One Love Manchester

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I wasn’t able to watch One Love Manchester when it was on telly live, but thankfully the whole thing’s on Ariana Grande’s YouTube channel. It was a beautiful concert: perfectly judged for her audience and the circumstances.

Liam singing Live Forever was fantastic. Coldplay’s version of Don’t Look Back in Anger, too.

Coldplay showed exactly why they are so great and so popular. Fix You and Viva La Vida were fantastic.

But, of course, the star of the show was Ariana.

When I watched it all yesterday afternoon, there were many moments when I had a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes, but Ariana singing Over the Rainbow to close the show… man, that did me in completely. I have no idea how she kept it together enough to be able to sing it all.

A wee bit of artwork
Pyyramid2, drawn with the Ipad app Pixaki.

Other business
Please.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Flash Delirium by MGMT

On this day
Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and beyond, 8 June 2008

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Bosnian crisis

Self-promotion
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Written by Craig

June 8th, 2017 at 12:00 am

3,353: How I Minipop

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A couple of weeks ago, when I was doing the Mexican Minipops Week (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) I made an effort to do something with one of the ‘pops that I’ve not done before: copied, pasted, amended every step of the process.

Usually what happens is I work on the same drawing, changing, erasing bits, adding stuff until it’s how I want it. This time I did something, copied, pasted, make mistakes, corrected mistakes, until it was how I wanted it. The Minipop in question is this one of Juan Gabriel.

🇲🇽🎤 Juanga 🎤🇲🇽

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The specific moment in his career that I drew is from this live concert in Mexico City. This song below (Hasta Que Te Conocí) is, in my opinion, his best song. One of those songs that is close to being perfect. It’s nine minutes long, and it’ll be the best nine minutes you will have today if you click play unless, y’know, something really good happens, and in that case: congratulations.

So, how was that for you?

Great, right?

Back to the drawing process. I thought Juan Gabriel would be an easy one right from the off. But I’ve been doing Minipops long enough to know that often the thought and the reality aren’t always the same. I have four abandoned attempts at Kim Jong-un on my computer. You’d think he’d be an open goal, but he’s tough to get right.

With Juan Gabriel, I started with the clothing. This is bad practice on my part. Normally I try to do the head first. If I can’t get the head right, there really is no point in carrying on. But I guess I was blinding by the sparkles of Juanga’s threads. I always begin with a template figure who is about my height (5’7″) and adjust it up or down and adjust the skin tone. First thing with Juanga was to make the skin tone a touch darker. Mostly his clothes are black so that part was easy, and he looks like generic art director in the second figure. I drew the jacket decoration in grey first, just to get the pattern right, then gold-ed it up. Two tones of gold-ish colour to hopefully indicate a bit of sparkle.

Time for the hair. His hair is quite distinctive here, but not actually easy to draw.

I went through a few different attempts. It’s long-ish at the back, but there’s quite a lot of volume at the front, in the fringe (or “bangs” if you absolutely must insist on calling it that, North America). It’s almost got a quiff-ish quality to it. But as you can see, my first four attempts weren’t getting that.

Next step was awful, trying to add more volume by making the whole hair thing bigger. After the second step below, I was close to giving up, thinking he’d be another in the pile of “un-Minipop-ables.”

And it really was by chance that from the second drawing below I moved the top three pixel section of the head one pixel over to the left, like you can see in the third drawing. The quiff-y bit hanging over, way out (ie. one pixel out) from his head. That seemed to click. This is why I sometimes think of Minipops as reverse caricatures. Normal caricatures accentuate the features, but with Minipops it feels like the same idea in reverse: taking out everything that isn’t needed. In this one, a bit of both is happening, cos his fringe isn’t as big as that, and the hair at the back doesn’t poke out like that, but it seems to work. With Minipops, I’m not doing an accurate drawing of a person, I’m trying to draw what you think of when you imagine that person. The last of the drawings below just adds a dark tone to the jawline.

Most of the time, that’d be the point where I would stop. The normal Minipop style is standing straight, arms by the side, just like my Uncle Harold:

But there’s a moment at 4m 56s in the above clip where he’s shimmying with his arms outstretched. You can see the tassles on his jacket, and it seems to fit the idea of Juan Gabriel more than an Uncle Harold pose.

First attempt was simply rotating each arm 90 degrees, but that made them look a bit long. So I shortened them by one pixel each.

And then tried to put a bit more movement into the arms. Neither of these were particularly successful.

Thankfully, I’ve done enough Minipops now, where I’ve quite often experienced any posing problems before, so I go to the archive and see how I’ve dealt with outstretched arms in the past, and found this one of Luciano Pavarotti, which, I should note, I just spelled correctly on the first attempt.

Double thickness arms, a bit more gold, and a microphone added. Getting a lot closer. Nearly there.

The shortened arms from a bit earlier needed re-lengthening again. The outstretched-ness needed it. And the final touch: the tassles.

And that, dear reader, (and thanks for reading), is how I Minipop. Sometimes they are easier than that, but Minipops like this are the most satisfying. Having moments like that in the middle where I’m ready to abandon it have a nice cumulative effect of stopping me from giving up on a drawing way more often.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Let’s Get Lost by Carly Rae Jepsen

On this day
My Coldplay review, 7 June 2005

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Austria-Hungary

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Written by Craig

June 7th, 2017 at 2:22 am

Posted in Artwork,Minipops

3,351: Fußball in Berlin, game 27

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This blog post’s title is inaccurate, it wasn’t in Berlin, or anywhere close. It was a proper away day in Wismar, up north on the Baltic Sea coast, about 250 kilometres from Berlin, about three-and-a-half hours on the train. The last day of the Oberliga Nord season, FC Anker Wismar v Tennis Borussia Berlin. A fairly nothing game in terms of things to play for: TeBe were fourth before the game, Wismar sixth. Those three places were up for grabs (Hertha 03 Zehlendorf were fifth).

I joined about eighty TeBe fans on the train. Lots of group tickets were purchased which allow five people to travel there and back for just €11 each. We were on one of those double decker trains which I’ve never seen in the UK (or anywhere other than Germany, but that speaks to my lack of European travel more than anything else). We kinda colonised a whole two level carriage. There were other people, non-TeBe people, there but while there was drinking and merriment, this is a club whose fans do not in anyway appear threatening. I made a choice last week to have a bit of a break from drinking. Something I tend to do every once in a while. Sometimes it’s related to a spurt of cluster headaches which make drinking impossible, sometimes just for a bit of a break. It was interesting to be amongst people who were knocking back the beers and schnapps for three hours before we even got to Wismar. The amount that some people were drinking would’ve floored me.

It was drizzly when we arrived. A bit muggy. A brief stop at the harbour for some fish and chips, and a fun walk through some allotments and fields taking a short cut to the stadium, the Kurt-Bürger-Stadion. And what a lovely wee stadium it was, too. Like a lot of stadiums at the level, there was one stand, a bit of terracing, and some trees on the far side of the ground. It was nice to stand there and appreciate the joy that bigger stadiums don’t give you: trees. Beautiful green trees as a backdrop to a game of football. Wismar looks like a city that keeps itself clean and tidy with tourist money, and the town’s money has also seemed to have kept the stadium looking good. The main stand looked like some sort of horse stable building from the outside. To enter the main stand, there were doors. Proper doors. Wooden doors.

A few minutes before the game, some news started spreading around the TeBe fans: we only have ten players. I don’t know if this is true, it was just rumours that were going around, but it seems like players that hadn’t had their contracts renewed for next season had decided en masse not to travel, leaving Tennis Borussia with just ten players. No substitutes, obviously, and one of the goalkeepers playing outfield. It was a little odd. But, somehow it added to the occasion for me: I was in a town 250 kilometres away from Berlin watching a ninth game in a row (home and away) of a fifth tier German team that I’ve somehow come to care about.

Wismar were the better team somewhat unsurprisingly given the situation. But good gosh, Tennis Borussia played hard and with a lot of heart. They kept it 0-0 until the 65th minute, and a good chance to equalise a few minutes before the end of the game, just before Wismar went straight back up the other end and made it 2-0. Which is how it ended. The whole game, from kick off the final whistle, the Tennis fans were singing and shouting. It was incredible fun to be in amongst that. When the PA played Zombie Nation after each Wismar goal, and a few of the home team fans celebrated looking over at the noisy visitors, what they saw was TeBe fans dancing to the music.

After the final whistle, the knackered players came over. We clapped them, they clapped us. And we all gathered ourselves together, and as one trudged back into the town centre. Some people got more beer, some had döners, I had a chocolate ice cream. Even more beers were bought on the way back to the train station. And somehow, people drank them and kept on partying. It was a long journey through fairly ordinary landscape, and I was happy, as one is on any journey back, when the train pulled into Alexanderplatz station, so I could jump on the U-Bahn to return home.

It was a splendid day. The bad result meant nothing to me, really. The day had been a victory. The nine Tennis Borussia games I’ve seen have been a victory (technically four wins, two draws, three defeats). I’m looking forward to the dates of the 2017-18 pre-season friendlies being announced.

Fußball in Berlin:
Hertha BSC v Eintracht Frankfurt, (25/2/17)
FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin v 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig (18/3/17)
FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf v SV Lichtenberg 47, (19/3/17)
Berliner AK 07 v FC Schönberg 95, (22/3/17)
SV Empor Berlin v 1. FC Union Berlin, (23/3/17)
VSG Altglienicke v FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin, (25/3/17)
Berliner FC Dynamo v Hertha BSC II, (29/3/17)
Hertha BSC II v FSV Union Fürstenwalde, (1/4/17)
Charlottenburger FC Hertha 06 v 1. FC Frankfurt, (2/4/17)
1. FC Union Berlin v Erzgebirge Aue, (5/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v Berliner AK 07, (7/4/17)
SV Lichtenberg 47 v SV Victoria Seelow, (14/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v FC Hansa Rostock II, (15/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v Hertha BSC II, (20/4/17)
FC Strausberg v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (23/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v Charlottenburger FC Hertha 06, (26/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v FC Energie Cottbus, (28/4/17)
SV Germania 90 Schöneiche v SV Altlüdersdorf, (29/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v FC Mecklenburg Schwerin, (30/4/17)
1. FC Frankfurt v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (7/5/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v SV Grün-Weiss Brieselang, (12/5/17)
SV Empor Berlin v SV Tasmania Berlin, (13/5/17)
FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (19/5/17)
SV Tasmania Berlin v SC Staaken, (21/5/17)
Berliner FC Dynamo v FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin, (25/5/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v SV Altlüdersdorf, (28/5/17)
FC Anker Wismar v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (3/6/17)

A wee bit of artwork

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
I Don’t Wanna Live Forever by Zayn and Taylor Swift

On this day
My beautiful La La, 5 June 2014

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
World War I

Self-promotion
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Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

June 5th, 2017 at 3:09 pm

3,349: LFC kits and other drawings

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Bad Liar by Selena Gomez. One of the best songs of the year so far

On this day
London teams, 3 June 2015

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Cape Arkona

Self-promotion
Flip Flop Flyin’ Flip Flop Fly Ball
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

June 3rd, 2017 at 12:06 am

3,348: Minipop No. 1,326: Richie Hawtin

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I did a Minipop of Richie Hawtin in the early days: Minipop No. 97, 21 October 1999, listed under “Plastikman” on the archive. A couple of years later, I got an email from Mr Hawtin asking if he could use it on the back cover of his new album, DE9: Closer to the Edit. It’s a fantastic album, and I was quite thrilled to have my Minipop on the cover.

Mr Hawtin doesn’t look like that anymore, though. So it was time for a new one. I drew it last autumn, intending to animate it, but got distracted by something else. Life.

I finally did it. And here it is:

A wee bit more artwork
Here’s a thing, drawn with Procreate on an Ipad.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
I Don’t Wanna Live Forever by Zayn and Taylor Swift

On this day
Double Turkey, 2 June 2005

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Rügen

Self-promotion
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Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

June 2nd, 2017 at 12:21 am

3,347: 32×32 pixel jungle

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Previous jungle drawings/paintings gathered together here.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Chained to the Rhythm by Katy Perry

On this day
World Cup pizza, 1 June 2006

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Baltic Sea

Self-promotion
Flip Flop Flyin’ Flip Flop Fly Ball
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

June 1st, 2017 at 2:09 am

Posted in Artwork

3,346: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)

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I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) by Whitney Houston was number one in the UK thirty years ago.

It is, of course, a magnificent piece of work. A teenager at the time, I had decided that Whitney Houston wasn’t my cup of tea. The whole vocal gymnastics thing. But, y’know, you can’t deny this song, eh? It’s ace.

I actually think, though, that it took me until hearing Whitney Joins the JAMs by the Justified Ancient of Mu Mu for me to properly appreciate the original.

Previous posts about number ones from thirty years ago:
18/1/2017: Jack Your Body
1/2/2017: I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
15/2/2017: Stand By Me
8/3/2017: Everything I Own
22/3/2017: Respectable
29/3/2017: Let It Be
19/4/2017: La Isla Bonita
3/5/2017: Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now

A wee bit of artwork
Following on from the drawing of Dynamo fans yesterday, here’s some pixel “art,” some adult entertainment. There’s a reason for this, not just titillation for people who like to squint. I was thinking that I need to practice drawing people in other poses, and people close to each other. This seemed like an obvious place to begin.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Kissing Strangers by DNCE

On this day
London football teams, 31 May 2014

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Saltholm

Self-promotion
Flip Flop Flyin’ Flip Flop Fly Ball
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

May 31st, 2017 at 2:14 am

3,345: Fußball in Berlin, game 26

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Tennis Borussia Berlin v SV Altlüdersdorf at Mommsenstadion. Last home game of the season. Home team in purple jerseys, white shorts and stockings. Visitors in white jerseys, purple shorts and stockings. That would never fly in a World Cup, would it?

A quiet one for me. Not feeling so great, and blistering sunshine on the terrace. It was nice to see the rainbow flag flying again, which has apparently been a point of discussion between the club and fans. More details (in German) here. I spent a great deal of the second half stood in the shadow of a tree behind one of the goals. Just before the teams came out for the second half, the PA played Crucified by Army of Lovers which was a highlight.

TeBe won by three goals to one in front of a crowd of 347, a prime number.

Fußball in Berlin:
Hertha BSC v Eintracht Frankfurt, (25/2/17)
FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin v 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig (18/3/17)
FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf v SV Lichtenberg 47, (19/3/17)
Berliner AK 07 v FC Schönberg 95, (22/3/17)
SV Empor Berlin v 1. FC Union Berlin, (23/3/17)
VSG Altglienicke v FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin, (25/3/17)
Berliner FC Dynamo v Hertha BSC II, (29/3/17)
Hertha BSC II v FSV Union Fürstenwalde, (1/4/17)
Charlottenburger FC Hertha 06 v 1. FC Frankfurt, (2/4/17)
1. FC Union Berlin v Erzgebirge Aue, (5/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v Berliner AK 07, (7/4/17)
SV Lichtenberg 47 v SV Victoria Seelow, (14/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v FC Hansa Rostock II, (15/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v Hertha BSC II, (20/4/17)
FC Strausberg v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (23/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v Charlottenburger FC Hertha 06, (26/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v FC Energie Cottbus, (28/4/17)
SV Germania 90 Schöneiche v SV Altlüdersdorf, (29/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v FC Mecklenburg Schwerin, (30/4/17)
1. FC Frankfurt v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (7/5/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v SV Grün-Weiss Brieselang, (12/5/17)
SV Empor Berlin v SV Tasmania Berlin, (13/5/17)
FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (19/5/17)
SV Tasmania Berlin v SC Staaken, (21/5/17)
Berliner FC Dynamo v FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin, (25/5/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v SV Altlüdersdorf, (28/5/17)

A wee bit of artwork
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been playing around trying to see what I can do with the idea of amended pixels. Doing a drawing as I would ordinarily do it in pixels, but then when I re-size the image, each of those pixels is bigger than one pixel. Like a 20×20 square. And then playing with those 20×20 squares, adding curves and such. Here’s a drawing of some BFC Dynamo fans in their original Minipop style, and then re-sized and played with. This, I feel, is one step in a process, not a finished “new” style.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Cake by the Ocean by DNCE

On this day
Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca, 30 May 2016

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
List of islands of Denmark

Self-promotion
Flip Flop Flyin’ Flip Flop Fly Ball
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

May 30th, 2017 at 2:04 am

Posted in Artwork,Minipops,Sports

3,341: Mexican Minipops Week

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And here we are, the last day of Mexican Minipops Week. It was fun for me. Hope you enjoyed it, too.

I have a plan for future Minipops Weeks. We began in Germany and then went to Mexico, it kinda makes sense in my head to keep going anti-clockwise around the continents. Next will be a South American country, then an African country, then an Oceanic one, and finally an Asian country before the next European one.

There’s a couple of reasons for this plan: it feels nice in my brain, and it would also be very easy for me to accidentally slide into a pattern of doing loads of European countries straight away. Indeed, before I thought about doing Mexico as the second Minipops Week, I was thinking about an Irish or Swedish one next. I don’t wanna do all the countries where I could name 25-30 people off the top of my head before tackling, for example, Mali, Ecuador, or Bhutan.

So yes, coming at some point in June: Argentine Minipops Week. If you have any suggestions for that, let me know. But for now, here’s the last bunch of Mexican Minipops.

🇲🇽 El Santo 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Comandanta Ramona 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽💵 Carlos Slim 💵🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Chavela Vargas 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz 🇲🇽 That's the last one of Mexican Minipops Week. Hope you enjoyed it. At some point in June I will do Argentine Minipops Week 🇦🇷

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German Minipops Week: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.
Mexican Minipops Week: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.

Written by Craig

May 26th, 2017 at 3:12 am

Posted in Artwork,Minipops

3,339: Mexican Minipops Week

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Buenos días, y’all. Day four.

🇲🇽🎤 Juanga 🎤🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Juan García Esquivel 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 El Chavo del Ocho 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Rafael Márquez 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Moctezuma II 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Vicente Fernández 🇲🇽

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German Minipops Week: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.
Mexican Minipops Week: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.

Written by Craig

May 25th, 2017 at 1:54 am

Posted in Artwork,Minipops

3,337: Mexican Minipops Week

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Day three of Mexican Minipops Week.

All the important aspects of life covered today: the arts, the sports, and ¡revolución!

🇲🇽 María Félix 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Hugo Sánchez 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Emiliano Zapata 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Japhet Amador 🇲🇽

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German Minipops Week: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.
Mexican Minipops Week: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.

Written by Craig

May 24th, 2017 at 1:41 am

Posted in Artwork,Minipops

3,335: Mexican Minipops Week

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More Mexican Minipops…

🇲🇽📺 Odisea Burbujas 📺🇲🇽

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🇲🇽🎤 Paulina Rubio 🎤🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 Vicente Fox 🇲🇽

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🇲🇽🎭 Cantinflas 🎭🇲🇽

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🇲🇽⚾️ Fernando Valenzuela ⚾️🇲🇽

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German Minipops Week: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.
Mexican Minipops Week: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.

Written by Craig

May 23rd, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Posted in Artwork,Minipops

3,334: Mexican Minipops Week

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Back in April, I did a week of German Minipops. I called it German Minipops Week. It was fun. so I’m gonna make an effort to do something similar every month. This week (starting a day late, somewhat appropriately) it’s Mexican Minipops Week.

I enjoyed doing the German Minipops Week in April, so I'm gonna make an effort to do something similar every month. This week (starting a day late, somewhat appropriately) it's Mexican Minipops Week 🇲🇽🎉🇲🇽

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🇲🇽🎉🇲🇽 Blue Demon 🇲🇽🎉🇲🇽

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🇲🇽🎉🇲🇽🎤 Timbiriche 🎤🇲🇽🎉🇲🇽

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🇲🇽 EPN 🇲🇽

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German Minipops Week: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.
Mexican Minipops Week: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.

Written by Craig

May 23rd, 2017 at 10:08 am

Posted in Artwork,Minipops

3,332: Fußball in Berlin, games 23 and 24

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Friday night was another local derby for Tennis Borussia, the last of their eight Berlin derby games of the season, away at FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf. I went to see Hertha 03 in March. Nice little stadium. It was grim and rainy and cold that day, Friday was a lovely warm evening. The weather and the visiting team made a big difference to the attendance, too. I’d been told that a lot of Tennis fans went to this game last season, and it was no different the other night. Hertha 03’s average attendance this season has been 183. Their previous highest attendance of the season was 275. On Friday, it was 407.

They had laid on extra staff, too, compared to the last time I was there. Someone grilling sausages, a couple of lads sorting out the beers, and someone else selling cakes, the proceeds of which were, if I remember correctly, going to the girls team.

It was a monumentally fun atmosphere. Chatting, singing, balloons. The deeper one gets into being a fan of Tennis Borussia, the more rewarding it is. I like that when I walk to get a beer, I can now say hello to someone I’ve spoken to at another game along the way. It’s not the football quality, of course, it’s a feeling of being part of a group. This is obvious. But I have struggled with the idea of fandom over the past few years. I had issues with the New York Yankees to the point where I just stopped supporting them, I’ve not felt comfortable with some of the things the Cruz Azul ownership has done, and the Diablos Rojos del México’s new policy of only hiring Mexican players makes me very angry indeed. But here, with the Tennis fans… it sounds sentimental, a bit mawkish maybe, but it’s so nice to feel at home even though I’ve only been to seven of their games. And that’s entirely down to their fans.

Tennis took a 1-0 lead into half time. And made it 2-0 just after the break. They lost 4-2.

On Sunday, I went down to Neukölln. A part of the city I never really went to when I initially lived in Berlin. But since I’ve been away, it’s become the cool part of town, because of the cheaper rents. A friend and I went to see SV Tasmania Berlin v SC Staaken. This is the Berlin Liga, the sixth tier of football, one tier below Tennis Borussia’s division. Before the game, Staaken were top of the league with four games remaining. A victory over third place Tasmania combined with a loss from second place Eintracht Mahlsdorf would give Staaken the title. Staaken won 1-0, but Mahlsdorf won their game, too. Champagne on ice for another week when the title is purely in their own hands: win one game, and they are champs.

In a way, Tasmania’s ground Werner-Seelenbinder-Sportpark is kinda perfect. It’s small, has some seats in the middle, and terraces either side of those seats on both sides of the field. One end of the field, where several balls were hoofed, there’s some trees. The other end, some benches and tables were a bunch of people sat, drank, and watched the game. I went to this game with a friend. It was her first live football game since seeing Arsenal at the [Name of Airline] Stadium. Thankfully, she enjoyed it. As always: live football is fun. Be it a shit game or a good game, there’s usually something to enjoy.

While we were there, I met Ben, a British photographer living in Berlin. He takes great photos of football in the lower leagues. If you like photos and football, he’s worth a follow: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Web site. His photos are very much better than mine.

My next game (Thursday) should be an exciting one: it’s the Berlin Cup Final between FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin and Berliner FC Dynamo at my local stadium, Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark.

And, finally, the old style naming of the Berlin Fußball Project now seem a little pointless. What started out as an inside-of-my-brain school project to see the eleven Berlin teams in the top five tiers of German football was completed in the middle of April. I am, though, still writing about football in Berlin. So I will continue to link to the posts until the end of the season.

Fußball in Berlin:
Hertha BSC v Eintracht Frankfurt, (25/2/17)
FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin v 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig (18/3/17)
FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf v SV Lichtenberg 47, (19/3/17)
Berliner AK 07 v FC Schönberg 95, (22/3/17)
SV Empor Berlin v 1. FC Union Berlin, (23/3/17)
VSG Altglienicke v FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin, (25/3/17)
Berliner FC Dynamo v Hertha BSC II, (29/3/17)
Hertha BSC II v FSV Union Fürstenwalde, (1/4/17)
Charlottenburger FC Hertha 06 v 1. FC Frankfurt, (2/4/17)
1. FC Union Berlin v Erzgebirge Aue, (5/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v Berliner AK 07, (7/4/17)
SV Lichtenberg 47 v SV Victoria Seelow, (14/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v FC Hansa Rostock II, (15/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v Hertha BSC II, (20/4/17)
FC Strausberg v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (23/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v Charlottenburger FC Hertha 06, (26/4/17)
SV Babelsberg 03 v FC Energie Cottbus, (28/4/17)
SV Germania 90 Schöneiche v SV Altlüdersdorf, (29/4/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v FC Mecklenburg Schwerin, (30/4/17)
1. FC Frankfurt v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (7/5/17)
Tennis Borussia Berlin v SV Grün-Weiss Brieselang, (12/5/17)
SV Empor Berlin v SV Tasmania Berlin, (13/5/17)
FC Hertha 03 Zehlendorf v Tennis Borussia Berlin, (19/5/17)
SV Tasmania Berlin v SC Staaken, (21/5/17)

A wee bit of artwork
Minipop Nos. 1,312 and 1,313: The Horrors and Reggie Watts


The song in my head when I woke up this morning
What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber

On this day
Animated GIFs for IBMblr, 22 May 2014

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Happy Birthday (Altered Images song)

Self-promotion
Flip Flop Flyin’ Flip Flop Fly Ball
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

May 22nd, 2017 at 9:11 am

3,327: Jungle

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Here’s a new digital painting of jungle done with the Procreate app. It’s been a while since I’ve done any jungle stuff and it was very nice to revisit it. So maybe it’s interesting to have another look at the older jungle stuff, too. New one directly below these words, older ones below that.

The older ones are digital (usually the Procreate or Paper app) and real paint. I’d like to get to a place with these where the paint ones are closer to the Procreate ones. Those types both have qualities I like, and if I can get a bit more of the Procreate-ness into the acrylics, then we are in a good place. Royal we, obvs. You might already be in a good place. If you are: high five.

These three are acrylic on board:


These are the weakest bunch, I think. They were done with the Paper app:



A couple done when I was playing with the Adobe Sketch app. It’s quite nice, but I don’t really use it anymore.:

These are all Procreate:







And this self portrait was done with the old Brushes app:

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Ink by Coldplay

On this day
Sucks ass, 17 May 2011

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Papua New Guinea

Self-promotion
Flip Flop Flyin’ Flip Flop Fly Ball
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

May 17th, 2017 at 12:26 am

Posted in Artwork

3,326: Sportslounge Berlin

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Quite near to my apartment, there’s a bar. A sports bar. They have a kinda funny silhouette painting of a football player doing a dramatic aerial kick on the metal window shutters. I walk by this place quite a lot. And it never fails to make me smile a little. So yesterday, I took as straight and flat a photo as I could, then when I got home imported it into the iPad app Procreate, and painted over the silhouette to see what he might look like if it weren’t a silhouette.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Steal My Girl by One Direction

On this day
Consecutive items on my Tumblr dashboard, 16 May 2011

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
French Polynesia

Self-promotion
Flip Flop Flyin’ Flip Flop Fly Ball
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

May 16th, 2017 at 1:18 am

3,322: 18 years old

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Eighteen years ago today, I transferred some HTML documents, GIFs and JPGs to my little bit of space on freespace.virgin.net, and Flip Flop Flyin’ was born.

Eighteen seems like an important age. One of those ages that is important in your own life. In terms of a Web site, though, 18 is actually pretty ancient, innit? Flip Flop Flyin’ is older than MetaFilter, DeviantArt, CollegeHumor, and Wikipedia.

The first version of the site is a bit of a nightmare to move around. It’s archived here. Annoying navigation, and a pointless splash page with a basic animated GIF for every section. There were some digitally fucked-with photos I took in New York the previous year, some scans of Polaroids, digitally coloured scans of sketchbook doodles, something called People (which was just a photograph chopped up and made into a few GIFs that faded in and out lined up next to each other), and a links page.

The links page seemed important on Web sites back then. The Internet was a lot smaller. And once you’d found your little corner, you linked to the things you liked, and hoped some of those people might like and link you back. Pre Web 2.0 is something I look back on fondly. I still have links on my homepage specifically to keep that spirit alive.

In the early versions of the site, I really thought that redesigning the whole site every month was a good idea. Looking back, that was a lot of wasted time that I could’ve been using doing other things, but in a way, it was important. I started a site because I was I wanted to do something online that I was doing already in sketchbooks. Drawings, photocopies, collage, Tippexing and Letrasetting over those things. Designing every page of a sketchbook. I think that only settled down once the Web site became the blank sketchbook itself, and the layout was just there to help people find specific chapters. And just like culturally the Sixties didn’t start or end at the start or end of the actual 1960s, it took a couple of months for Flip Flop Flyin’ to start to become what it should be.

I’ve marked this anniversary on the blog four times before. In 2005 I wrote about wanting to do bigger, longer, more substantial things. In a way, not much has changed since then. I still feel that desire to do that without the concentration levels to actually do it. Very specifically, there’s one picture story/comic strip type thing that I’ve been slowly planning on and off for about a year-and-a-half. I’ve got it pretty much planned as a bunch of notes and a fairly solid story outline. The stumbling block in this plan is drawing the main character. Once I know what that person looks like, I think I’ll be off and running. I do fear, though, sitting down and actually drawing that person is a self-made block that allows me to continually put off starting the project.

On the seventh anniversary in 2006, I looked at a few of the things that I’d done that I liked the most. I still like most of them, actually, which is a good sign. I need to re-do some of them one day, though, cos they are Flash animations and those don’t seem to work too well on mobile devices. (This is a general thing about the site, actually. It’s long overdue a redesign. I last did that in 2009, before mobile devices became such a big thing.)

In 2009, on the tenth anniversary, I made a wee comic strip with 1999 Craig having a chat with 2009 Craig. I think I will revisit this strip and do a sequel in 2019.

On the 15th anniversary in 2014, I wrote something that was a bit more reflective. The kind of post I would do today, frankly. One good thing is that the regret I expressed about letting the blog slide away eventually turned around, and now is running better than ever. Less readers, but that’s life. I am well aware that the Internet has changed, and people are less likely to read blogs nowadays. Not to diminish my role here, because I really did neglect it for quite some time. Here’s to you lovely people that are still reading! [raising imaginary glass of champagne]

I’m happy now, though, that the blog is properly back as a thing. For my own enjoyment, really. 205 posts since I committed to doing it properly again on 5 October last year. 205 posts in 220 days is something I’m pleased about. As for everything else, I’m glad to be doing Minipops again. I have weird feelings about Minipops. Some positive, some negative, but on the whole I’m glad I had the idea. They’ve been good to me, and I’m glad I appreciate that again.

I need to look at what I’m doing, though. The main thing is deciding how I want the site to exist in the future. I put new things on Instagram and Twitter before I put them on the blog, just because it’s easier. And sometimes it’ll take a while for those to appear on the main site. The modern Internet dictates that that is probably an okay way to go about things, but at some point, when a redesign is getting going, that will be addressed.

Anyway, seeing as though the site is ordered chronologically, I figured on this coming of age anniversary, I’d have a look at my current favourite thing from each year. Self indulgent? Yes, of course. Necessary? Not at all. Fun for me? Indeed it is.

1999: Minipops
It would be churlish to choose anything else from 1999 even though the Minipops of that year were quite crude and, in my opinion, only started to get good (as in the actual drawings) around 2002-03. It really was (in my own head and in terms of response) what turned Flip Flop Flyin’ from a little side project on the Internet to the thing I thought about all the time. The first reference to Minipops was on 18 July. On the home page, writing about the new content, I said “First there’s Minipops. Absolutely nothing to do with the slightly dodgy TV programme, it’s just some tiny pop stars.” It is genuinely bonkers to think I’m still drawing tiny pop stars. Here’s a brand new one. And seeing as though we are now 18 years old, let’s get a little bit after dark with Minipop No. 1,311. He’s not a tiny pop star, though. Well, I guess he is in one sense of the word “pop.” It’s pornographic actor Ron Jeremy.

2000: Fun fun fun
Fun fun fun seems like a pretty crucial moment in the development of what I was doing. The Minipops style was making me happy, and Fun fun fun was a nice way to expand on that, bring more my brain into it.

2001: George
And this one is the other side of my brain. The melancholy sentimental side. George was my grandfather’s name. And the woman looks a bit like my grandmother. These weren’t intentional choices, but I guess it must say something, right? (It’s a looping animated GIF, you will notice where the start and end is.)

2002: Pete and Bob
Two dancing owls that I will always love. Possibly the thing that brought me the most joy while actually doing it.

2003: Uibbles
There wasn’t much good stuff this year, but these little animated GIFs are still kinda nice, I think.

2004: What if…
Very self-indulgent, imagining lots of different possible lives up until that point in my life and into the future. None of the future ones are actually close to being accurate. Some closer than others, though. Others still seem like a nice idea. The more realistic ones.

2005: Witham and Woodhall
This is one of those things where I wish I’d put in more effort, cos I really like the idea. It’s simple, silly, and had lots more potential. In my head it’s still an ongoing project, but in reality, I’ve not touched it or the list of unused ideas in a decade.

2006: FFF pictorial atlas of the world
This was the beginnings of what became the Atlas, Schmatlas book. The book has many flaws. But I’m still proud of it. For its relatively tight deadline, the decent amount of writing and drawing that was needed, it turned out okay. I’ve often thought of George Lucas-ing the whole thing, doing a second edition online. One day, maybe.

2007: Die Wunderbäume
Weird looking back to imagine there was a time when I didn’t enjoy living in Berlin. I really didn’t appreciate it back then. I had had enough. I can’t change that. I wish I could, though. But there was always Mauerpark. Mine and Billy’s park.

2008: The real Paraguay
Really solid idea, I think, which is kinda lost in the poor execution. Another thing I’d happily do again if I found a way to stop time for a few months just to focus on those things.

2009: Sleeping laptops
This year was probably the worst year of FFF. It’s probably not a coincidence that it was also the year I started doing Flip Flop Fly Ball, my baseball-themed site, which took up way more of my time and creativity. That last sentence neatly glosses over the personal stuff from that year which also had a fair amount to do with things. This was a nice light moment, though.

2010: Where do I belong?
A year of quite a lot of change. Starting in Berlin, ending up in Mexico City via a few months in Toronto. Main focus of that year was working on the Flip Flop Fly Ball book. I think the best thing on FFF, though, was something from a less-upbeat time in Berlin: a snow globe spray painted entirely black which seemed to perfectly express how I was feeling in the immediate aftermath of 2009.

2011: Hungry man
A drawing done with the Brushes app on iPad, which has been my tool of choice for most of the decade so far. I’ve switched to using Procreate now which is probably better on the whole, but in lots of ways, Brushes is still my favourite iPad app.

2012: Beastie dots
After four or five years doing sporty infographics, I kinda liked the idea of doing something that was closer to data art, and these two graphics and Beastie Boys songs are probably the best non-sports things I did.

2013: Ciudad de México
For a while I’d had this idea. I began it in 2010. I wanted to do a digital drawing like a mural. And when I saw Diego Rivera’s mural Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central, the idea sort of clicked into place. A modern version, just with the impressions of a foreigner who’d been in Mexico City for a couple of years. I also did a London one in 2014, and I’m currently working (slowly) on a Berlin one.

2014: Flower
While I’d never stopped doing pixel drawings, I didn’t enjoy them as much as I had in the past. That all changed with this. A tiny drawing that grew into a massive drawing. (The first version is below. Much more more at the link.) It only grew so big because I’d fallen in love with pixels again.

2015: This season’s flags
I went into the reasoning behind this on the blog at the time. Basically, though: treating flags in the same way sportswear companies treat football kits.

2016: Mein Berliner Würfel
A sentimental drawing of the city that I think of as home more than any other.

2017: Nature thingies
This was something I did over the course of a weekend. A quick idea, quickly executed. I’m not sure it’s the best thing I’ve done so far this year, and I hope it’s not the best thing I will do this year, but it’s the best thing that is on the site as of today.

The best thing from this year is, I think, the painting I’ve been doing, getting to a place where I was happy with what I am doing. I had an idea of where I wanted to be with it, and it took a few months to get there. And now I’m at that point, having done this process on paper, I’m ready to (and working on) producing a series of works that will all be bigger acrylic on canvas pieces. I hope to show you those later this year.

For now though. Thanks for reading. Thanks for visiting Flip Flop Flyin’. I really do appreciate the comments, emails, tweets. If I die tomorrow, Flip Flop Flyin’ is a decent thing to leave behind. In the grand scheme of things, I’m well aware that it’s not really that important, but it has made me quite happy for 38.6% of my life.

Other business
As well as being the day I started this Web site, 12 May 1999 was also the day that Saul Steinberg died. An absolutely incredible artist. It’s still my dream to one day do a drawing for the cover of the New Yorker, and a big part of that is because Steinberg did such great work for them. Here’s lots of his New Yorker work. And here’s a New Yorker article about him from 2014. Here’s another New Yorker article about his love of baseball. And here’s the Saul Steinberg Foundation site.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Live While We’re Young by One Direction

On this day
Foul ball, 12 May 2011

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Tragedy of the commons

Self-promotion
Flip Flop Flyin’ Flip Flop Fly Ball
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

May 12th, 2017 at 2:11 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,321: Pixel food

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As you may have noticed, I’ve drawing a bit of pixel food recently. More than anything it’s a) fun, and b) really good pixel practice. Doing precision is pixels is time consuming, but relatively easy. Buildings, machines, trains, etc. Once the shape is right with those things, the rest falls into place. I find food a bit harder, mostly because food doesn’t have too many straight lines, and drawing things with random shapes (like the edge of a fried egg, for example) takes a bit more work. Getting things to look random usually has way more attempts than a straight thing. Colour is also hard. My natural tendency is not to have too pronounced an amount of chiaroscuro. And that, combined with how I rarely use black outlines on my pixel work (in the way that Eboy do, for example), means getting the slight changes in colour can be a challenge. The white of a fried egg is a good example of that. Don’t want the whole thing to be too grey, but need some highlights.

A decade ago I did a Big Mac. Felt like it turned out okay at the time. Fairly sure I’d do it differently today, mind.

In 2015, while not strictly food, it’s food-related. One of those self-ketchuping hot dog sculptures.

A first attempt at a fried egg.

A better attempt at a fried egg from 2016, mostly because it’s a fried egg sandwich.

Here’s one of my favourite FFF things, Neptune Fish Bar. I liked the idea of a fish and chip shop trying to go a bit upmarket by pretending it was a sushi restaurant. I am planning a new Neptune Fish Bar thing. It’s probably gonna be “taco nite at the chippy.”

Some more stuff from the last couple of years: sushi (these were part of the process for the Neptune Fish Bar thing), a taco al pastor, a pop tart, piece of Battenburg cake, Marmite on a crumpet, a teabag, a cosmic potato, and a hot dog with toothpaste instead of mustard or ketchup.

That all brings us up to date. The recent flurry: a pretzel, the wurst triptych (bratwurst, weißwurst with a slightly different pretzel than the previous one, and currywurst), Weißer Spargel mit Holländische Soße und Kartoffeln (white asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and potatoes), a piece of Stilton, tacos al pastor (I’d totally forgotten I’d done this before), and yesterday’s fish finger sandwich.

And here’s a couple of new ones: baked beans on toast, and the king of all food, Marmite on toast.

Looking at all of those tells me, amongst other things, that I really should start drawing some healthier things.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Solid by Ashford & Simpson

On this day
Madonna, 11 May 2007

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Traffic congestion

Self-promotion
Flip Flop Flyin’ Flip Flop Fly Ball
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

May 11th, 2017 at 1:43 am

Posted in Artwork

3,320: a self-published ebook synopsis

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A wee bit of artwork
More pixel food: a fish finger sandwich

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Perfect by One Direction

On this day
Romantic, 10 May 2009

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Public transport

Self-promotion
Flip Flop Flyin’ Flip Flop Fly Ball
Behance Feedly Instagram Society6 Tumblr Twitter (@flipflopflying) Twitter (@manypencils)

Written by Craig

May 10th, 2017 at 3:14 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah