Sunday 31 October 2010

♥ ★ Happy Halloween ★ ♥

so Happy Halloween at last!

in case you haven't already guessed it... that's right, i haven't done ANY more Halloween Pinup Girl illustrations... or any new Halloween illustrations of any kind!

like i said in the previous post, i intend to make up for this by doing several Christmas themed ones over the next 2 months leading up to Xmas day, a fair deal i'm sure you'll agree...

anyway, back to Halloween... or should i refer to it as Hop-tu-Naa??? i don't know, never mind...

ok so last night my little 4-year-old cousin Sienna came to stay for a 'girly night' which included...

 dancing around to 'Lollipop' by Mika many MANY times, 

sitting applying gems to Cinderella's dress (Cinderella is a doll, i should point out), 

enjoying far too many chocolate coins and kinder eggs, 

watching lots of lovely Studio Ghibli films which i'm glad to say Sienna really enjoyed (Ponyo, Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro) 

having a yummy dinner of 'dippy egg', apricot yoghurt and sliced apple,

and also... a Halloween themed 'makeover'

look at the actual makeover CARNAGE on my dressing table! oh and there's 'cinderella' as well...

this was the overall result of the makeover since i didn't have a costume but Sienna did

you can't really see it but she's covered in luminous sparkly silver shimmery stuff and she has electric blue and hot pink eyeshadow on as well to match her dress... genius

anyway back to the question, should i say that today is Halloween or Hop-tu-Naa?

now you're probably wondering... what's the contest here, Halloween is celebrated (almost) universally whereas Hop-tu-Naa isn't...

however, i live in the Isle of Man so i'm afraid that here it's pretty much Hop-tu-Naa all the way!

(oh and in case you were wondering... it's pronounced hop-chew-nay)

so what is it exactly...

well let me enlighten you dear readers...

Hop-tu-Naa is a Celtic festival celebrated in the Isle of Man on 31 October. Predating Halloween. For modern Hop-tu-Naa, children dress up and go from house to house with the hope of being given sweeties or money (just like Halloween traditions)

However, for Hop-tu-Naa the children carry carved turnip lanterns rather than pumpkins and sing Hop-tu-Naa songs. Here's an example of a rather creepy looking Hop-tu-Naa turnip lantern...

Hop-tu-Naa is still celebrated widely on the Isle of Man, although most of the old Hop-tu-Naa traditions aren't practiced much any more, like the making and eating of a 'dumb cake', an old form of Manx divination that supposedly, if done correctly would reveal to a girl, who her future husband would be in a dream or vision. 

However there is still a Hop-tu-Naa pentagram (available to buy) that is supposedly based on the original one worn by the old Manx Witches that would fly out on Hop-tu-Naa to wreak magic and mischief. (NOTE: i don't want ANY complaints about the pentagram please! pentagrams are NOT evil! upside down ones are... normal ones are a-ok and if you thought otherwise then that makes you a fool i'm afraid so... yeah, stop being a fool and ssshhh)
The differences between Hop-tu-Naa and Halloween are barely apparent any more, on the 31st of October Manx children dress up in spooky costumes with face paints and 'trick or treat' bags just like children all over the world. Even the carrying of turnips is something that not all Manx children partake in, preferring to carry a little plastic torch or a small pumpkin instead.

One of the differences that still sometimes remains is that nowadays most Manx children are still taught some of the traditional old Hop-tu-Naa songs to sing on the 31st during their trick or treating.
The original songs are all in Manx Gaelic and the English translations don't always make sense but there's a modern 'Manx English' song that i remember from my own childhood, it's called 'Jinnie the Witch' and goes a little something like this... 
My mother's gone away
And she won't be back until the morning

Jinnie the Witch flew over the house
To fetch the stick to lather the mouse

My mother's gone away
And she won't be back until the morning

ok, there are other variations on the song but that's enough Hop-tu-Naa stuff... for more information, and a wonderful article on the celebration of Hop-tu-Naa check out this BBC Isle of Man page.

* * *
ok back to Halloween

i've been saving this for a while but, it's one of the old 60's American ads i found at college a few weeks ago (more on the awesome old American ads can be found HERE and HERE

so apologies for the massive crease down the middle but... it was a double page spread and i could sooooooo not be bothered to try and remove it on photoshop... sorry

* * *

i should explain that i am a big fan of all things Halloween and Hop-tu-Naa (i am a big kid after all) and that i usually do dress up as a witch every year (black suede heels, floaty Monsoon dress and an awesome embroidered witches hat) and that i was supposed to be spending my Halloween this year taking my little 5-year-old God-daughter Bonnie out trick or treating but...

she told me last week that she couldn't 'do' halloween because she was going to a party

ditched... by my own god-daughter!

so instead i intend to spend this evening watching scary films by myself...

now that IS a scary thought!

* * *

i shall leave you with my most Halloween friendly illustration to date, the charming, the creepalicious, the ever so slightly wrong... 'Zombie Ninja Panda Bear'

 i wish you all the Happiest of Halloweens (and Hop-tu-Naa's) and hope that you have a super spooky day/night, whatever you're up to or wherever you are in the world

that's all folks...

♥ ★ ◕‿◕ ★ ♥ 

Saturday 30 October 2010

my Free Crappy Portrait ♥

i know yesterday's uber boring 'garden' post didn't go down too well, so hopefully today's will be a little bit brighter!

so... last night while I was sat snuggled up in a blanket eating a ridiculously large bowl of ice cream (strawberry, chocolate and vanilla... in case you were wondering! in fact, stop wondering... you shouldn't be so nosy!) 

anyway, I was in the middle of watching a moooovie when I heard the little telltale 'ping' letting me know i'd received an email.

So I opened it up and...

THIS is what was in it!

That's right... it's a drawing of me making what are apparently 'Bluebird Cupcakes' (according to the wonderful 'Anne G' that created this masterpiece for me) 

the drawing was based on THIS photograph...

(explanation of the photo can be found in THIS post – Baking Day)

but that is beside the point


Now let me explain... a few weeks ago, while I was in Montenegro (read about my eventful trip here – Montenegro Times) I came across this super duper little site called 'free crappy portraits' (the discovery of this site was all thanks to the fabulous Mr Alex Mathers who posted about it on Twitter, check out his epic site here, and don't forget to sign up for his newsletter... he'll send you a super duper illustration if you do – Ape on the Moon)

so basically what the FCP site offers is... a 'free crappy portrait' based on pretty much whatever you want

you send them a photo (or two... or three) and tell them a bit about the picture, the people in it etc etc then one of the resident 'crappy artists' draws you a picture and sends it back... all for FREE

that's right folks... it doesn't cost you a penny... the site also has some of THE best hand drawn link banners i have ever seen...

so anyway, while I was away in Montenegro, all ill and felling verrrry sorry for myself, I decided to send them a photo in the hope that one day... I too would be the proud owner of my very own 'free crappy portrait'

so suffice to say... i'd long since forgotten about sending in my picture.

Yes I do visit their blog from time to time to marvel in awe and amazement at some of the FCP's they upload daily but I guess i'd pretty much given up all hope on ever getting my own special FCP

that was until I got an email from them during the ice cream/movie fest of my Friday night...

Hi Jade!
I just posted your portrait on our site and have attached it in this email. I hope you enjoy it! It was done by a guest artist who is way better at drawing than any of us. 

After looking at your fun illustrations, I would love to convince you to be a guest artist! You don't even have to draw at our crappy level since you are an actual artist.
Let me know if you're interested!


that's right... you read it correctly!

Not ONLY did they send me a truly amazing FCP... they also invited me to be a guest artist!

So naturally I accepted STRAIGHT AWAY!!!

I am a bit busy at the moment but hopefully in the near future I too will join the lofty ranks of the truly genius FCP guest artists!

big thanks to Alyssa, RJ and Sarah who are the 'artists in residence' and ruling overlords of FCP (the drawings are usually completed by these 3 or one of the Guest Artists) 

I am soooooooo excited!

And did I mention that I LOVE my FCP!!!! because I do... I L-O-V-E it!!!

you can read the original post on their fabby blog riiiiight HERE - Bluebird Cupcakes

and if you're interested in getting hold of your very own Free Crappy Portrait (as i'm sure many of you will now be desperate for one as well... and quite rightly too since they are so EPIC) then all you have to do is send them a photo + some info, all you need to know is right here - Get Yours

i know for a fact that my friend Mike (see his photography blog here - Point and Click) has already sent them a picture as words literally cannot begin to desrcibe how insanely jealous he was of my FCP when i linked him to it last night... right Mike?!

i can already think of a few other people that will probably send in for one of these as well... i wish you all luck in your quest for an FCP and give this advice... just be patient! 

the site gets a LOT of FCP requests so don't get annoyed f it takes weeks, months or even years for you to get sent an FCP

* * *

ok it's the Manx Radio Dreamcatcher appeal 'Big Shout' today so... i'm off to the Villa Marina here in the Isle of Man to show my support and give some dosh to charity and generally have a splendiferous time...

good times all round!

have a super weekend, whatever you're up to!

that's all folks...

◕‿◕ ★ 

Friday 29 October 2010

Weather and Wheelbarrows ♥

blanket... CHECK! 

cup of tea... CHECK! 

fave owl mug... CHECK!

chocolate biscuit... CHECK!

So I have spent the past two days (ok... half days) outside in the cold, cold October weather to help my dear old dad move tree branches and rake up leaves for our annual Bonfire on the 5th of November to celebrate 'Guy Fawkes Night' (if you haven't heard of Bonfire night then I suggest you read this – Guy Fawkes Night)

so why have I been helping?

Well... I've spent most of my week off college sat inside on my laptop and pretty much doing NOTHING (apart from the odd bit of housework now and again) so he offered me £20 in exchange for some work in the garden

i'd have been a fool to say no so...

I didn't.

However... the work outside wasn't fun and it wasn't easy but it WAS very cold and windy and rainy and not the most pleasant way to spend your half term!

Anyway... this afternoon while I was snapping endless piles of chopped down tree branches and shoving them into a wheelbarrow (I HATE the wheelbarrow!) I took a little photo of a particular branch...

that's right... even though it was pouring with rain and i was freeeeezing cold and soaked to the bone, i STILL found time to get a quick shot of a tree branch snapped in half...

THAT'S dedication right there! or is it just stupidity...

i don't know what it was about the branch though, i just really wanted to get a photo of it. 

there was something so beautiful about the way it broke, the way the bark split but didn't snap completely in two creating that perfect little arch with all the greeny phloem tissue and the cambium layer and the wood (thank you old Biology lessons) 

i just really liked the arch it made i guess!

and yes... i am aware that i sound like an idiot but come on... it's kind of pretty! c'est incroyable et mervellieux... oui ou non??? 

by the way...

i should probably explain something about my garden if you're sitting there thinking... well it can't take that long to shift a few branches from one side to the other...

it's not exactly a normal garden per se...  for a start, a river runs through it and there are trees EVERYWHERE 

you see... a river! true story! and lots of trees = lots of branches to move...

STUPID stupid branches because... my arms hurt from lifting them, my feet hurt, i have scratches all over me from them and i picked up a massive branch this afternoon and it whacked me straight in the face and sent me flying... not cool nature NOT COOL!

it's a pain of a garden to be honest! takes ages to sort, but you know what... i still love it! especially when it's covered in snow...

now let me point out that it is NOT snowing here at the moment, these photos were taken in January 2010 when the island was hit with some of the worst snow it's had in a loooong time! 

it's pretty though right?! kind of... 'Narnia-ish' maybe? it's when the garden looks best i think, don't get me wrong it's super duper in the Spring/Summer with flowers and lots of green everywhere but come on... fresh snow makes everything look prettier!

see what i mean about the trees though? they are freakin everywhere!

ok i'll shut up about the garden now... promise

* * *

in other news...

due to the hard graft and manual labour i have endured over the past 48 hours (yes i did just write that...) it means that i STILL haven't started any more Halloween Pinup Girl illustrations...

this means one of two things... either i will get my bum in gear and get to work on some sketches asap... or i'll just abandon the plan completely and make it up by doing LOADS of Christmas themed illustrations instead for November/December

i haven't decided yet but stay tuned!

ok, that's all folks...

tatty byeeeee 

◕‿◕ ★  xX

ps - apologies once again for another boring post... i'll do my best to liven it up a bit next time!

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Halloween Pinup Girls ★

so it's almost that time of year again, the most spooktacular and creepalicious of days... all Hallows eve aka Halloween or Samhain or Hop Tu Naa etc etc...

anyway in light of this, since i literally never do anything for Halloween i thought i'd have a go at a few more Halloween Pin-up Girl illustrations.

so... thus far i've completed the Tattooed Pin-up Girl and the Midnight Burlesque Girl (follow the links if you haven't seen them already)

i haven't actually finished any more of them yet but i HAVE been trying to gather a pinch of research and a sprinkling of inspiration from some of these gorrrrgeous classic Pin-up paintings...

we'll start off with a little bit of Gil Elvgren magic...

swiftly followed by... some more Gil Elvgren spookiness

followed by this super duper Pin-up Witch, by Bill Layne (1966)

and 'This Trick's a Treat' by Freeman Elliot (1950) 

then on to... George Petty's 'Salem Witch' (1945) 

and after that, here's the rather fabulous 'Lady is a Witch' novel cover by Earle Bergy (1950)

and we'll finish with my personal favourite... some more classic Gil Elvgren sparkle... 
'Riding High' (1959)

and that's pretty much all of my research so far... just thought i'd share these rather darling little vintage lovelies with you all...

ok i'm off to have a go at some more of my own Halloween Pin-up Girls now!

i'd also like to point out that almost all of the pictures used in today's post were sourced from the utterly fabulous and super duper Sexy Witch blog which (witch...) you can go and visit riiiiight HERE - Sexy Witch

actually... now it's time for some lunch so i'll start on the pin-up stuff after!

that's all folks...

◕‿◕ ♥ xX

Monday 25 October 2010

Adoration of Animation ♥

so... apologies for the lack of posts over the past few days, i guess i've been enjoying my time off College a little too much!

i've basically spent the past 2 days just watching movies (with the odd bit of house cleaning thrown in) and pretty much chilling on the sofa. i'm not going to lie... 

it's been blissful but now the real world beckons again and i have commission work to get done and lots of chores to do!

but before i morph back into an artistic and domestic goddess i thought i'd do a little post about one of my fave things in life...

it's no secret that i'm a big kid (it's true... i know it and you know it) and i have a particular penchant for animated films of all kinds from flawlessly perfect CGI creations such as Finding Nemo, Shrek, UP (and the up and coming Disney film... Tangled)

right back to super duper painstakingly genius stop motion flicks like the Corpse Bride, Wallace and Gromit, Fantastic Mr Fox etc...

heck... i even love foreign animation like Belleville Rendezvous (Les Triplettes de Belleville),  Persepolis or of course... just about anything that comes out of Studio Ghibli! (Howl's Moving Castle, Nausicaa - Valley of the Winds, Laputa - Castle in the sky, Ponyo etc etc etc)

i'm going to be honest though... i am a massive Disney fan, 

true i don't always love what they do but when it comes to animation... they get it spot on almost every single time! 

although to be honest, it's also a long time since i've seen a film as charming as Studio Ghibli's Ponyo (yes... i know Disney helped produce it to the Western World but it is still a Ghibli creation)

but seriously now... words cannot describe how excited i was to see the Princess and the Frog when it first came out (and yes... i did see if 4 times SO WHAT) and i have watched it over and over again since...

you may be thinking 'grow up' but i literally do not want to such a thing! in fact... as long as there are animated films and cartoons on tv i shall continue to sit and watch them, enthralled as if i were still 5 years old!

i don't know what it is about animation that makes me so god-damn happy! i love everything about it, the colours (or lack thereof), the music, the songs, the story, the characters... it's all good

it's not just Disney though... it's that moment in an animated film when the music fits so perfectly with what's happening on the screen that it's like magic...

audios and visuals in perfect harmony, THAT is why i love animation so much! (the ocean scene in Belleville Rendezvous is a perfect example of this, boats and waves in perfect sync with Mozart's Mass in C Minor, K 427, "Great"- Kyrie. it is a truly epic scene and a wonderful feat of imagination and animation... genius

i also love the way that animation isn't just for children (contrary to popular belief) since half the time, the writers pop in more than a fair share of jokes that are clearly targeted at the grown ups in the cinema audience (Shrek... i'm looking in your direction here especially) but that just adds to their charm

you really grow up with these films and i find that every time i re-watch one of the old animated films i remember from my childhood, i spot something new or pick up on another joke i wouldn't have understood when i was little.

so going back to the music fitting with the animation...

 today i've self indulged a little by watching both of the genius creations that are Fantasia (the original) 1940 version and Fantasia 2000 (the December 1999 version... in case the title wasn't enough of a give away as to when it came out!) 

in case you've never seen either... basically they are some of the best examples of animation i've seen (considering the dates they were made). each film contains very little talking, a little bit of live action footage, dozens of original animated characters (+ a few friendly faces), lots of super abstract animated scenes and wonderful scores that interact with the animation seamlessly. 

the original 1940's version is wonderful but i kind of prefer the 2000 version.

so... favourite part of Fantasia 2000???

the Firebird scene without a doubt! 

there is something so ethereally magical and spectacular about watching Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite played out on a screen by a beautifully animated Spring Sprite, a kind Elk and the truly terrifying Firebird that she awakens by accident in the nearby volcano... it is just gorgeous! 

i know everyone always loves 'the Sorcerer's Apprentice' bit with Mickey but... the Firebird is my fave part! it just wins, hands down...

so what other animated films do i adooooore?!

well... there's 'My Neighbour Totoro' of course!!!!!

now i know i'm always going on about Studio Ghibli films but 'My Neighbour Totoro' really is one of my absolute favourite animated movies EVER 

(the top fave is probably a tie between another Studio Ghibli masterpiece, Spirited Away and my favourite Disney film Beauty and the Beast

so back to Totoro, if you've never seen this... go and watch it NOW!

that's an order...

it's a smashing film, cute characters and that's before you get to meet Totoro and the Cat Bus... trust me, it's amazing!

Ghibli at it's best... 

and do you know what... i think that's enough for today! i've rambled on about the magic and genius of animation for long enough, i'll no doubt post about it in the future but for tonight,

that's all folks...

◕‿◕ ♥ xX

ps - if you enjoyed the post and the prettyful plethora of movie posters it contained... why not leave me a comment telling me what YOUR favourite animated film is???