Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Penpal With Me: Outgoing Snail Mail

eccentric diy envelope
my style is often described as eccentric and dark. I let that shine for this diy envelope

black star diy envelope
david bowie black star vibes for the inside of the envelope

paper spell
a little good luck wish
paper spell
a kind of spell

penpal a letter and few extras
A letter and a few extras on it's way

penpal playlist side 1penpal playlist side 2

penpal with me snail mail september 2019
my pretties!

penpal with me snail mail september 2019
wax seals are nice, aren't they?

Friday, 13 September 2019

Portrait Sketching - INKTOBER 2019 Prep

Like a bat shivering across the sky, or a headless horseman wielding an axe to the thunder of hooves, October is fast approaching. And it's Spooky season. It's almost time for Inktober.

Did you know, Inktober is in it's tenth year? It's creator, artist Jake Parker originally undertook the 30-day drawing challenge back in 2009. I think I completed it first in 2016, and I'm pleased to notice my work has improved considerably since then. I like to make sure my illustrations have a dark tone - always, but particularly now. I have followed Mab Graves' Drawlloween prompts in the past, but for Inktober 2019 I'm going my own way. I think I'm going to loosely focus on monsters and villains.

The big secret is, nobody really has time to do one drawing a day. Or at least, I certainly don't. So I'm using September to get ahead, and here I have some sneaky peeks of my sketches.

Every few years I get obsessed with something. Lately, I've become besotted with the romantic comedy horror show that ran from 2013 - 2016, Bryan Fuller's Hannibal. I had strong resistance to horror as a whole genre before I watched this show. But Bryan Fuller's engagement with horror has changed my perspective. (And Mads Mikkelsen's face has changed my life, I'm not even joking.)

inktober 2019 hannibal sketch
I am going to make a zine called "ALL THE TIMES I FAILED MADS FACE" and it's going to be a 300 page collection of all the really bad, horrendous failed attempts I have made trying to get a likeness of my beloved Mads Mikkelsen. He is so handsome, but also kind of a freak. Very difficult to render, can confirm.

inktober 2019 hannigram sketch
HANNIBAL/WILL. My ship is canon. #FANNIBALFAMILYFOREVER. Imagine casting these two beaut's and having them appear in front of each other for three years. Bryan Fuller is like a kind of Christ, I adore him and light a candle for him and wish him the very best for the rest of his life.
Henry Spencer and Laura Palmer obviously do not count as monsters or villains, but they definitely sit within the horror genre, and I couldn't touch on it without having some of my favourite Lynch characters in the series.

inktober 2019 lynch sketch
Lynchian weirdos, huzzah! It's only now that I noticed Laura's right eye is too big.  Shout out to pencil for being erasable! You da best.
Hannibal is nothing without Will Graham. I am 100% in it for Hannigram. Will likes fishing and rescuing stray dogs and has social anxiety and he's kind of a Baby. And his face alone could kill.

I'm including all of my favourite vintage monsters. Here's Bela Lugosi as Dracula. There's an amazing podcast I'm obsessed with called You Must Remember This - it's about 'the secret history of Hollywood's first century'. I loved the episode on Mr Lugosi. Click for it HERE.

inktober 2019 vintage dracula sketch
I don't have a favourite Dracula. I even like the one in Hotel Transylvannia. Just give me well dressed Vampires all day, everyday.
BETTE DAVIS IS QUEEN OF EVERYTHING. If you don't agree we cannot be friends.

inktober 2019 bette david baby jane sketch
I am DELIGHTED by how scary this Baby Jane Bette Davis has turned out. Holy mackeral, I'm getting shudders every time I turn the paper over and remember I drew it.
That's enough spoilers. I'm a little bit scared to do the actual inking bit, not gonna lie. But lo, God did, himself, design a pen and bestow it unto man. And from the vicious nib, a swell of pitchest, blackest, liquid essence did gushingly surge. And Amy Len did take this pen tool of divine intent and lustily she did unto herself connsumate a series of markings upon the dried pulp of a glorious tree, and uponst the refined and perfect sheet of virtuous and shining white colour she did make a drawn image upon which you and any person might gaze. Strap in.

Monday, 9 September 2019

MANY MOONS a poetry, fiction and photography zine

many moons zine by amy leonard
Many Moons - Poetry, Fiction and Photography Zine

A collection of my original poetry, fiction and photography.

Many Moons features some semi-autobiographical content and themes of grief and loss.

Printed on off white linen paper with a high white 160g cover.

I actually finished this last year, but I had an extreme attack of self-consciousness immediately after finishing it and wondered why I could possibly think it was a good idea to share my highly personal written work.  

a flash fiction story and some photographs

I had completely forgotten about its existence, but I just found it in a box and flipped through it and I didn't hate it. It's emotional and sad, and I think anything that looks like the outward expression of emotion sends me into a tail spin. But I'm fighting through that. And seeing what it's like to be proud of myself and my work instead. I mean, why not? 

only true goths are allowed to read it, okay? type in your True Goth membership number at checkout

You can find it HERE.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Outgoing Snail Mail: UK Penpals Wanted

hand made envelope penpal letter
Outgoing snail mail to a UK Penpal.
I always wanted penpals when I was a child. I used to send elaborate letters to my friends, but I don't think they appreciated them. Or if they did, they couldn't possibly match my enthusiasm. When I was younger I was too anxious to reach out and make contact with random people on the internet and give them my address. I think I might have started World War 3 if my parents had seen a letter from a stranger land on the doormat. But I'm not little anymore. I've been enjoying journaling and planning, and following this path through the interwebs has lead me to the penpalling community! What could be more exciting then aesthetically pleasing notes sent to your IG mutuals? To a nerd like me, not much.

penpal supplies stationary addict but make it weird
Assembling supplies and inspirational artefacts

I'm learning more and more how pleasing aesthetics nourish me. I don't use all the supplies, but as a stationary addict, I like to be surrounded and immersed in ink and paper and shiny things.

a pen pal package
These are cuttings  and petals from my garden

I snipped some strawberry leaves, a fever few flower, some lavender, rosemary, a bloom from a head of hydrangea and some sweet pea petals. I parcelled them up. They're like a spell or a wish.

pen pal parcel from my garden
Gorgeous petal pink cotton rag paper, magical by default

Sealing wax with my initial
I have had this red sealing wax since I was about 12. I remember buying it on one of my first trips alone to Brighton. There's an amazing stationers on Sydney Street in the North Laines called Pen to Paper. I'm always delighted it's still there when so many of my favourite shops and cafes have ceased to exist. I have almost never had a reason to use it. I always scold myself on hot wax, but I maintain that it's worth it.

Harry Potter aesthetics. I'm a Ravenclaw if you wanted to know, although I do love Slytherin. Naturally I include feathers and stars.

what to send to your penpal
Here's the final letter.
A drawing from a test print of an old zine, a folded star, sprayed gold, a paper letter and a playlist. A good start.

travel safely

And off it goes! I hope it made the post persons day. And Marta's, of course. I'm so excited to send some more.

Friday, 30 August 2019

PLAN WITH ME- Bullet Journal Set Up - September 2019

september 2019 bullet journal set up
my first bullet journal set up

I've been intrigued by bullet journaling for quite a while. I like the notebook feel, the way you can create order from chaos, the flexibility and the space for spontaneity. I'm also a stationary fetishist and a paper planner, so the idea of giving myself permission to by a new book with dots instead of lines was VER EXCITING.

hunter s thompson bullet journal title page
a title page featuring a quote from the genius hunter s. thompson
Naturally, I knew if I was going to do, I was going to have to make it as extra as possible, and treat it as an art journal and as a way to get my shit together in equal parts. My first page is a quote from the forever genius Hunter S. Thompson. Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why. I've been thinking a lot lately about how loneliness and pain is fuel, transmuted into creativity. Or some shit. This quote seemed to carry that vibe inside it.

gonzo bullet journal aesthetic quote page
all of my favourite things on my first pages: ink, letters, and gonzo
I can't remember if I made the official announcement here, but I'm starting my MA in English with the Open University on the 28th of September, this year. (2019 AD). This was another reason to get onto the bullet journal bandwagon, as I've got lots of planning to do, and making it Arty(TM) will act as motivation as well during dry spells. (See also: a tool to procrastinate over...)

bullet journal reading list spread
an aesthetic reading list set up
I've got a reading list of all the books that feature on my syllabus. Light, fluffy works like Paradise Lost, Antigone and Coriolanus. It's all in hand. *SCREAMING*
student bullet journal 2019 reading list close up
the reading list i'm working on for the start of the academic year, 2019
I wanted an overview of the months remaining of 2019. This is mainly so I can outline assignments and word counts and chapters read etc. I needed to keep this simple and clear. I had a lot of problems when I was setting out these pages, namely getting almost all of the dates wrong and having to redo them, but also smudging stuff all over the white pages. Hence the selective papering over with square scraps. I don't know. I've forgiven myself for fucking it up as it's my first ever set up. It's not my best aesthetic work, but it should be helpful to plan with??

autumn 2019 bullet journal monthly spread
a simply monthly list spread to see me to the end of the year

bujo september spread set up
i went wrong and had to redo the dates twice
My September title page definitely shows how ready I am for the days to GET DARK and the nights to DRAW IN ALREADY. I try not to wish the sun away, because I do love meddling around in my garden in the warmer months, and spotting wildlife and playing outside with my little one. But I do like being inside, with candles on, reading books and making a mess at my desk. And not being bitten by insects. Or sweating. (Unacceptable.) I also made a social media tracker, to keep an eye on when I post content and engage with the work of others and if it affects my numbers at all. I have only gained 100 on Instagram ALL YEAR. But then, I haven't been Instagramming "proper". So there's that.

september 2019 bullet journal title page
a mysterious september title page and my social media trackers
I hate that money exists and that I have to think about it. But I do. So why not make an aesthetically pleasing financial habits/ budget tracker? I used the motif from our English 20 pence piece and some of the lettering found on our notes. I didn't want it to come out looking all royalist. But yeah, accountability, girl. Pull your socks up.

bullet journal no spend tracker
my financial tracker featuring the motif from an English 20 pence piece
I wanted a "brain dump" or notes page. But I didn't want to write BRAIN DUMP or TO DO LIST on it, so I went with some poetry from one of my favourite musicians of all time.
art journal to do list spread
"grow paradise" is a line from House by Patrick Wolf and titles my brain dump/ to do list spread
I've only made one weekly list page, because I'm not sure how it will work out for me, and I don't really know what space I'm going to need. I kept it bold and simple so I can fit lots in. And we'll see how the rest of the month pans out.

weekly spread aesthetic bullet journal 2019
my first take on a weekly spread. bold and simple as i expect i'll need to tweak it
I recorded myself working on this! In the dark. And I filmed it on a potato. (I know, I'm really selling it.) But if you want to Plan With Me you can check it out here, dolly birds: