Weeknotes 22

Somehow I'm still doing these. Even if no one reads them at least I'm regularly reflecting on the week rather than letting time drift by. Most of it is pretty mundane, but that's life.

I noticed this blue butterfly and it let me get very close to take a photo. I think it's an Adonis Blue, which is strange because we're way out of their usual range, and we're a sandstone ecology round here too. I'm going to assume it's a good sign as they're rare. It's nice that they're in our garden too, we're keeping it semi-wild as much as we can. We planted a few trees and now we've got what feels like an edge-of-woodland thing going on now, which is perfect. We've trimmed paths through the lawn so we can get around and the rest is growing fairly wild. I've chucked loads of native wildflower seeds over the thing so I'm hoping some of them take and grow as we've already loads of bees in the garden. There are honeybees as well as various species of bumblebees, but we noticed some of the bumblebees are feeding off the honeydew from aphids which is a bad sign, they're short of actual flowers. We're doing our bit but clearly more is needed. The Cotoneaster bush we have is full of a frenzy of bees, so we should plant a couple more for next year.

This whole thread by illustrator and concept artist Ian McQue is full of inspiration. It's a series of sketches and artworks for the books and film of Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines. I didn't know there was a film out but I do now, and I want to see it.

I follow a lot of illustrators on Twitter and Instagram and now and again the subject of references comes up. It's interesting and reassuring that the more experienced the illustrator the more they defend using reference photos. One anecdote (that I can't find) was the art tutor's response to a student boasting they hadn't used reference, "It shows!". Not to say you can't do good work without ref, but it's vital for learning and there's no problem in using it.

Related to that, Thomas Fluharty made a series of Instagram posts on how he uses ref, and his guidelines for using it are valuable. He believes you should always take the reference further, add your own story to it. Well, he explains it better, there's this post, and a whole load of others after.

Bosh. That'll do.