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Monday, 18 November 2019

November 2019 - Playlist



My MA in English has started and it has kicked most of my other creative pursuits out of the window. Not a bad thing, I'm LOVING it. (My first assignment is due on the 28th of November, so let's see what my tune is once the scores are in.) Anyway, here's a collection of dramatic cold-days songs that have been giving me life this November.

Joni says it best:

I awoke today and found the frost perched on the town
It hovered in a frozen sky, then it gobbled summer down
When the sun turns traitor cold
And all trees are shivering in a naked row
I get the urge for going but I never seem to go

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Inktober - 2019





Claude Rains was the Invisible Man (1933)



Please watch this film, or at least this scene:


"We'll begin with a reign of terror, a few murders here and there..."






Laura Palmer



Murder Husbands Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. #savehannibal

Frank N. Furter

Dani Dennison from Hocus Pocus

Coraline


Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Inktober - 2019 - Week 1



Grace Jones Katrina VAMP 1986 Illustration Digital Colour
VAMP, Grace Jones colour illustration.


Grace Jones Katrina VAMP 1986 Illustration Dotwork
Grace Jones dotwork


Grace Jones from the movie
Vamp (1986).
 My theme this year is Monsters and Villains. I'm picking my favourites from film, TV and literature. I'm using the opportunity of this 30 day drawing challenge to really practice my dotwork skills, adding colour digitally. Although, as always I'm being ambitious with the time I've got, so we'll see.


Eraserhead dotwork portrait david lynch
Jack Nance in David Lynch's Eraserhead (1977)

Mads Mikkelsen Hannibal Dot Work Portrait
Bryan Fuller's Hannibal series single-handedly changed my appreciation of the horror genre as a whole. Forever in love.

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

Mab Graves Portrait

I was compelled to pick up my pencils. My little one wanted me to draw "a beautiful lady with pink hair". This immediately made me think of the mighty and forever inspirational Mab Graves. She's a creative force of nature, and the fun and creativity she makes with her nephew Ransom is forever giving me goals. I really enjoyed this. Pencil behaves more according to your direction then ink, which has a mind of it's own. It was refreshing to erase imperfections, and have second chances. And what a face.

mab graves pencil portrait with pink ink
pencil sketch of Mab Graves with carmine pink ink

Sunday, 25 August 2019

GIF Making in GIMP

I have always been mesmerised by GIF loops. But then I'm old and I remember the whistling sound of a dial-up connection. GIF's (pronounced "J" - if - FIGHT ME) were a kind of witchcraft for me in the early days of the internet. Fandom members I knew well (on livejournal) had the power to make there own edits of shows, music videos and films I was obsessed with, and reduce them to beautiful second long sequences of awesome beauty. But for some reason, this always felt like something other, clever people could learn how to do, and that I would never get to know the secrets of how they were made.

Then, I watched a 3 minute video on YouTube this morning and now I have come to realise that this was a lie. The internet is still for everyone and it's all fair game. This sulky girl I drew a while ago seemed like a good place to start in my GIF making career. She's shaking her head, and to her everything is a full body cringe. BUT I MADE THAT. I'm a bit nervous as a peer down the rabbit hole I'm about to tumble down. The very limited social life I currently maintain is about to die. But look at the shiny moving thing! 



Saturday, 3 August 2019

Whitby

“I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can talk together freely and build our castles in the air.”
Bram Stoker, Dracula

 
Last week I went on an adventure to Whitby with my family. A full week of English sunshine. Very heaven. We stayed in a pretty little cottage on a pretty little street, just two back from the main part of the town. We had no idea we were so close to the harbour, in all honesty, when we booked. But we had seen we had a cracking view of the Abbey from the attic bedroom window. Be still my gothic heart. I dreamed Dracula passed through the keyhole of our front door and materialised in the house. A trip. 




I mean, have a word! I did spend some time shouting out of that window "Listen to them! The children of the night!" But it turns out it wasn't howling wolves, just exuberant gulls.


We had a little sitting-out spot under a pear tree at the front of the house. This house was just over from us, and it held our attention. It's designed like a ship. And we watched some absolute legend push his motorcyle through the front door. To park it. Respect.



What about that wood carving, aye? Oooph.



Whitby Harbour, from the bridge looking towards our favourite pub of the visit, The Endeavour. 

From a set of arches mimicking the Whale Bone arch, these found at Pannett Park which was also home to the Museum.

We took a day trip out to the Moorland Visitors Centre and had a walk around the woodland there and enjoyed a tea in their pretty tea room. Ideal for little one who is 6. We drove over the Denby Beacon which was epic and covered in vibrant purple heather. I failed to get a single photograph of the actual Moors, and I didn't even get out of the car to sing Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush at the top of my lungs, which I consider a Serious Life Regret.




Pennies for wishes thrown off the bridge into the stream.




Strange natural things like this remind me I'm on a rock in space.



Stars, caught.


We made the climb up the 199 steps. Not as laborious as I expected, even on the stupendously hot day we chose to do it. I got very romantic about the Abbey. This amazing human achievement, reclaimed by nature and degrading in front of our eyes with the salt from the sea carried on the wind biting into stone. The active church of, St Mary was absolutely beautiful as well surrounded by beautiful graves.

Grave stone spotting like a true Gothic, obviously. The demonic babies are clearly the best part.







We enjoyed the rockpools at Robin Hood's Bay. We saw a bright red sea anenome and several crabs. Extremely exciting to our small minds.






Runswick Bay was easily our favourite beach. The sand was clear, not even a strip of seaweed or a twig to be seen, and the water was beautifully transparent. I managed to get up to my waist, and really intended to swim, but the cold was truely overwhelming. I failed to get a picture of this beautiful spot because I was having so much fun taking it all in. The pub was the only feature of the tiny hamlet, and the beer was cold and delicious and the food was proper. The only downside was the hover flies constantly trying to commit suicide in my pint.


We went out to Staithes too, and it was too gorgeous to be true. And we found an ammonite! What more? 






All in all, a wonderful trip!