The funny thing about ham - take a slice made from say a Gloucestershire Old Spot or perhaps from a Swallow Bellied Mangalitza, and the slices will just fall flat if you drop them from about waist height. But then a nice juicy piece made from either a Hampshire or a Chester White or even a Red Wattle - a piece of ham like that will flip over once before hitting the floor.
I learned this from Saskia Winterthorpe of Jolly's Bottom, Cornwall, who also showed me a rather curious parlour trick using a chicken filet, a tumbler of water and a shoelace.
Ibrahim L. Igneous says one night, "I'm gonna comb me hair real good, I am. And then I'm gonna change me pants and put on me good trousers. Once that's more or less done, I'm gonna go up that pole and pet a head, if there's a head up there somewhere." And under a starlit heaven, as the sounds of crickets and night birds filled the summer twilight with a pleasant nocturnal melody, that is what he did.
He patted the head for fifteen minutes and then climbed back down, rather pleased with himself and ready to curl up in bed with a good book and perhaps a cheese sandwich.
Being an old-fashioned romantic, Sir Dougal Constipation enjoys long walks in the rain. To keep his tampons dry, he puts them in a small waterproof purse. "It makes good sense," he remarks, "and besides, it'd be stupid to lug around an empty purse in the rain."
And all about the village one could hear the sounds of domestic industry - the sweeping of steps, the scrubbing of stones, the clipping of hedges and the cutting of grass. The walkways being tidied, the windows being washed and the laundry being hung out to dry in the midmorning breeze. For Frankie Pimplebottom (below) the Friday is a most wonderful day, a day to clean and prepare his wardrobe for the coming weekend's active social obligations.
Professor Ginger Bread Infinity is best remembered for having invented the year 1973, which he discovered in the winter of 1972. But his scientific career was marked by many other ingenious creations and innovative theories (most of which have been sadly overlooked by modern scientists).
His work on the Fohnhurst-Melbourne project, for example - a theory which states that "dog" is not the opposite of "cat" - was quite progressive at the time, as was his static-electric imagery of tube socks. Perhaps his most ambitious research was published in his pamphlet "Nuclear Precipitates and the Feather Duster - Practical Applications in the Fields of Fusion and Light Housekeeping".
Ha, ha, ha - the joyous roughhousing of a young laddie and his canine comrade on a pleasant summer's morning. It is enough to fill one's heart with "ha, ha, ha's".
Upon reaching "Willow Pond" (the race was a tie, by the way - neck on neck at the finish line), the two had a small picnic and basked an hour in the sunshine, listening to the dull hum of the bumblebee and sharper whines of the mosquito and shit fly.
Insect life and waterside creatures abounded, and both child and doggie were soon utterly crawling with ticks and fresh water leaches. Their panic ridden screams were enough to fill one's heart with "ha, ha, ha's"... serves 'em right, the lounging little layabouts.
"A Run in the Summer - From Giant's Meadow to Willow Pond"
A Desert with Moderate Temperatures, Low Humidity and Mild Winds
A keen amateur meteorologist, Gilberto del Smythe is pictured here during the final stages of his exploratory march over the sands of the Pulacaca Plateau, near modern-day Swindon. He was keen - enduring days of hardship in this barren, sand-swept wasteland. He was an amateur - forgetting to bring any type of meteorological instrument. But he dressed sensibly, in a fine white linen suit and comfortable shoes.
Here's a simple little cartoon I drew and thought I'd make a short film of it being inked. The film is sped-up considerably - in real time it took about thirty-two minutes to complete the figure, but that might be far too dull to watch.
I inked it on a piece of Canson Bristol paper, using Talons ink and a Winsor & Newton brush (Cotman series, 222, size "0" - it's a fairly cheap synthetic brush and I really like them).
Here's the finished picture:
And the little video (with some bluesy-ragtime tunes I made up last summer for fun):
His first selection was "The Wheels on the Bus - Will They Never Stop?", quickly followed by a languid rendition of "Every Breath Mint You Take". Near dawn he left us, the strains of "He Ain'tHeavy, but I Still Can't Lift Him" fading as dew before the sun on the soft summer morn.
The past three years or so I've changed the way in which I make my drawings. I still draw with a pencil (a technical drawing pencil - handy not to have to sharpen it) and ink with a brush, but I've added a few extra steps, which have really helped to improve my work. I'm happier with it, in any event. I obviously have lots of room for more improvement - and practicing all the time is probably more the reason I'm happier with my work, of course - but there are a couple little things I've been doing that seem to help, too.
- When I draw, I'm always holding my paper up to the light and looking at the reverse. Like when I was a teenager and my art teacher told me to hold a picture up to the mirror. I found the mirror-thing a little distorted to be of much use, but perhaps I just didn't know what I was looking for. It's just amazing how the mistakes - poor proportions, slanting, crookedness -how obvious they can become when viewing a sketch in reverse.
- I correct what I see is wrong and finish the sketch. Well, almost - some things I'll leave, even though I know they're wrong. Things like a hand that's too big, but drawn perhaps nicely enough. Or a finished head that's not quite resting straight on the neck. Or that the entire figure is slanted to the left or right. For these large alterations, I use the computer.
- Scanning the sketch, the first thing I do is reverse it. Even more so than viewing the paper in reverse, seeing it mirrored on the computer screen seems to make mistakes even more obvious. And then things like reducing a hand or two, or straightening a head or figure - these things are very simple to remedy in your graphic program. And I learn from it, too, of course. I see what's wrong and how to fix it - and try not to make that mistake again. I often do repeat it, though, but gradually my sketches are improving.
- An example. Here is a sketch I've scanned, with the reverse to the right:
Looking at the mirror-image, I wasn't too displeased with the drawing. The fellow's head is a little off centre, maybe, and his eyes are a tad un-level. His one shoulder bothers me a bit. And for my taste, the head of the pike is too close to the man's body, the "5" on his sweatshirt is too near his knee and his rear leg is too close to his bum. These tangents, as they are called, make things look a little busy, they detract from the total image and form shapes/connections that were not intended. I also didn't like the speed-line behind him.
- Using Corel Photopaint I adjusted the sketch. I should have maybe fixed a hand too - they're not quite the same size, but I have actually just noticed it now (and in a week I'll probably see lots more I should have changed that I just don't notice now). Here is a Gif showing the changes:
I then print out the sketch, slightly bigger and in cyan, on Bristol paper and ink it with my brush. Scanning it in, I then colour it nice and simple and, for the fun, add a little "aging-effect":
In a day or two, I'd like to show another example, and perhaps talk about my ideas about colouring and even make a quick film of a cartoon being inked. Sounds like a grand time! Yes, just grand.