Tentacles in Pots


My love of tentacles is no secret around here so you won’t be surprised to see me gushing over these wee tentacle pots. They’re made by one of my favourite internet friends, Erika Moen. She also shares the tentacle affinity and when I saw her make one of these pots after she finished this cephalopony, I very unsubtly begged her to sell some.


I’m sure I wasn’t the only one asking and soon enough she had them in her etsy store where they never lasted much longer than a few hours. I’d planned to take them out to the beach and put them in their element for a miniature shoot before they even landed in my post box; I just had to wait for the unpredictable Vancouver weather to calm down.


So here you go! My tentacle obsession will probably have no end, and thanks to Erika these little guys now sit on my desk. Product photography has shifted in the past few years with more being photographed in appropriate surroundings with a creative twist that was sometimes passed up in order to get a crystal clear and detailed photo. Some of this may have to do with the handmade movement that’s snowballing the internet, who knows. It might just be as simple as people expecting photography to have an artistic edge that was only really used by top design houses in the past. It’s definitely an inspiring part of the industry these days. I remember picking up magazines when I was in Japan in 2004 and dreaming that western magazines had as varied and beautiful photography on their pages, and in 2010 it’s becoming much more common.

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The Great Train Adventure Part 2


Here it is! Better late than never, right? What a year 2010 has been so far; a runaway train no doubt. With fresh eyes I’ve actually managed to cut out even more photos of the originals that I’d selected, so hopefully you still get the best. If it’s one thing I need to get better at (even after eight years of doing it) it’s selecting a smaller number of final photos.

This part of my journey took me along the coast staring at the sea and the flocks of birds that populated the area. It began with a heavier rain that we even had in LA, but there were constant signs of the sun breaking through, as you’ll see in the photos. There’s something about the coast that makes me feel peaceful. I think it has to do with growing up on a tiny island like the UK where even though we didn’t live on the coast that was where our “summer holidays” were every single year until I left home at 15. I suppose they’re the happiest, least crazy memories of my childhood; when my family would mostly get along and enjoy our surroundings. If you ever do visit the UK I suggest taking at least one train trip to the seaside. Of course the biggest attractions to people visiting are the cities like London or Manchester, but the heart of England (and dare I say Scotland and Wales too) is in their coast lines.


Back to California… I’d thought seeing the north Pacific up here in Vancouver I’d know what to expect on the California coast, but I was so wrong. Vancouver’s coast line is all sea level (until you get to the mountains) so there is never a cliff in sight. Along this Amtrak route, however, you mostly zip along the cliffs in a way that evokes film-like memories. There were a couple of times where the track dipped down and was level with the shoreline and sounds of OHHHHH filled the cabins on the west side.

As you can see from the photo above, there were various shipwrecks in the deserted bays with no sign of life whatsoever. It was really eerie and reminded me very much of the beautiful Slint track, Good Morning Captain. I always thought the story in that song would make a great short film, but could never find the coast-line that I visualised so clearly when listening to it. I think this part of the California coast would be more than perfect.


Even though most of these photos make it seem empty and desolate, the sparse stretches were nicely filled with dips into civilisation that made me want to jump off the train and explore. I think it would be really enjoyable to have the kind of adventure where you could stop at every single little place and find out what made things tick. If only I had the time for such luxuries! So for now, sitting on the train, taking a breather from life and wondering about those little worlds will have to suffice. Perhaps in another life I’ll have time for such calmness and exploration?

Take a look at the other 25 odd photos I’ve chosen from the coastal portion of the journey and next time I’ll bring you trundling into the grassy hills. It won’t be so long this time, I promise.

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NBC on a Canadian summer holiday?




This morning I was walking along Kits beach near my house and it was so peaceful that I completely forgot the Olympics are still in town. That was until I ran into this NBC crew doing a piece. I’m really curious as to what this ended up being. If you happen to see this scene on TeeVee let me know what it was all about? It was sort of funny to see the crew in my own neighbourhood. It was the only marker of the Olympics still being around on my morning stroll!

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Thursday’s life sketch


I owe you quite a few updates and my hard drives are bursting with photos from the epic train journey, the olympics and Chinese New Year. I promise to make time for those soon.

When I was sketching this week’s Quotidian Robotics update it was a surprise at how out of practise I was already. For the past while I’d been doing at least one life sketch a day; mostly random objects around my house, people from photos I’d taken/retouched. I’d gotten so busy that it fell by the wayside and I realised this week how much of a mistake that was! It’s amazing how much of a difference sketching every day can make. I have to remind myself to make time for it. So, here’s a quick snap of today’s life sketch.

It’s actually my favourite so far, although not entirely perfect it shows me how much I’m learning about drawing facial features. I’m still somewhat caught in this middle ground between realism and my favourite comic styles, so I really need to find where my skills comfortably sit.

Here’s the line work of the piece I was talking about. Head over to quotidianrobotics.com to see it digitalised and coloured.


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