Thursday, 18 September 2014

Scotland’s exit


Our Man isn’t sure whether he has any right to offer an opinion about Scotland, having no vote, being English and living on the other side of the world. 

But that hasn’t stopped him before. Or David Beckham, who’s equally unqualified from offering his insights either, telling Scots that he saw their passion on the football pitch (er, playing against England) and therefore the two countries are better working together, because, er, they have more in common than they have apart. Like ying and yang, Laurel and Hardy, Posh and Sporty, yeast and sugar. You know. Or something.

But.

While faffing about sketching and colouring a shot of a Victorian London doorway he took on his last trip back to Blighty, Our Man was struck by how odd a concept Britain and the United Kingdom is. We don’t even know what to call our country. UK? Britain? England? I suspect it’s something to do with empire and all that. I mean, Victoria even called herself Empress of India. Slightly un-PC, eh Vicky? 

Well, it’s over. And if Scotland leaves, the union will be dissolved, the marriage of two unequals will be left to history. 

And maybe it’s about time. If not on Thursday, then someday soon. The arguments about currency and jobs and all that are secondary. Independence is its own reward. 

And if you accuse Our Man of being superficial and not really knowing the issues, the split loyalties of Celtic and Rangers fans, of first footing and, er,  kilts… you’d be absolutely right. I mean, Scotland’s like a whole other country, right? 

Right.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Abiko abandon



This here is Our Man’s first ever water colour. It’s a house, round the corner, whose shutters are always shut, gate is always rusty, and has had less paint slapped on it in 30 years than Our Man has used in the last 30 minutes. Our Man realises he can’t do much detailed work in water colour which, given his poor attention span and lack of patience, is just fine with him anyway. Will try to do some more of these.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Magic ink


Our Man had a great idea after surviving his 10th Japanese school sports festival today. He thought he’d pop down on his bike to the Orwellian named Unidy to pick up some water colours to add some warmth to his rather dour-looking monochrome sketches. 

The DIY emporium was all out of water colours, so Our Man bought some black and red ink and a set of brushes and thought he’d mix them up with some water  and add a wash to some sketches tonight. But when he got home he found that the Magic Ink he’d shelled out 200 yen for turned out to be disappointingly unmagical marker pens. Still, they do look pretty bold and smooth, might be able to add them to his repertoire, being er, bold and smooth himself, ahem. 

***

Later, just realised, forgot to put George Orwell's name on the book, tsk tsk. But you knew the quote already, right?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Tom Boys and the Lapdog of Doom


So here’s Our Man, back facing his demons. This one being an exercise in drawing a woman’s face. Well, it is what it is, caught halfway between naturalistic and cartoonish, boyish or girlish, with eyes wide-shut. The lips work and all the bits are in the right places, but she’s supposed to be looking down and yet we can see up her nostrils. It’s a muddle.

But that’s life.

Just realised this is the anniversary of 9/11 (actually just passed here in Japan) and Our Man has nothing to say other than looks like another war to celebrate the occasion. Laptop of Doom? Are you serious Foreign Policy? Call Our Man old fashioned, but he preferred it when propaganda was a bit more subtle. Like under Stalin. Sheesh. Still, you never know what a malcontent might do with a laptop and a recipe for a bomb. 

He might write a novel, forchisssssakes.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Masked Woman


Our Man has worn a mask like this one he just sketched. It’s a dust mask, not one of the flu or hay fever “surgical” masks that are commonly seen worn on the streets in these parts. The last time Our Man wore one of these was a couple of months after the tsunami, one day in May in 2011, in Ishinomaki, and then it wasn’t to ward off dust but to combat the stink of rotting fish, sea water and god knows what else that was fouling the land. But Our Man digresses. The various distinctions of mask play a role in his second Hana Walker novel and he needs a cover image. We’ll see if this or something like it cuts the mustard.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The tanuki in the garden

This one-foot high tanuki from the edge of the garden stares at Our Man everyday as he works. So today, Our Man spent lunch staring back. And sketching. Our Woman reckons he looks like a sphinx, but Our Man thinks it’s just how he drew him. Tried drawing a Japanese maple next to the little chap, but it came out a mess. So, added to the must-improve folder (currently containing hands, faces and proportions) are maple trees.

And yes, the tanuki in the garden is a little creepy, but probably better than the elephant in the room.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Monday, 1 September 2014

High Life


Our Man survived his Saturday soiree with the Abiko’s artistic elite. His take away from it all was: it’s not a question of sucking or not, it’s more about expression. He thinks. And also having an artistic vocabulary to play with. And there’s only one place to get that: by ripping off other folk. (Er, surely you mean practice -- Ed.?) So here’s Our Man’s latest rip off, er, inspiration from those rofftop climbing selfie ruffians that the Washingrton Post doesn’t know whether to celebrate or castigate. All Our Man knows is that those shots give him the willies. But the perspective is pretty wild.