IATEFL – A Week of Stewarding. With Some Sketching.

I spent last week in Harrogate, working (loose term) on the registration desk of IATEFL‘s 48th International Conference and Exhibition.  It was a superb time – many, many lovely and interesting people.  I have more sketches on loose sheets, but would quite like to work on them some more before uploading, but here are the ones from at the Open Mic session on the Friday night, here’s what I gat:










I must remember that a fine point is my friend – be it a biro, fine liner or even just a mechanical pencil.  My softer strokes are awful to look at.



Just viewed the prologue of new painterly Ghibli film Kaguyahime No Monogatari on Halcyon Realms (a great blog altogether), and I am too jittery to type very efficiently.  But look, and rejoice for such gorgeous animation techniques being employed in a feature film by one of the world’s biggest animation companies.

Also, watching this fills me with the urge to get back to animation (with a boxful of watercolours and slick brushes no less), while simultaneously making me think positively like I might have even a chance of getting a job doing something I like some time in the future.

Return to Albion


I practically skipped over the Irish sea with a bagful of excitement for what I had hoped would be a massively transformative few months for me in terms of productivity, professionalism, and above all, being much more happily on top of things.  I was all set to launch a new and exciting career of teaching enthusiastic young children about the innards of animation for the Summer School at college; get a part-time job to prevent starvation and eviction; as well as that real big dream of work, work, working at animation to the point where I could actually say, “Me?  Oh, I’m an animator.  Yeah, hey check out my Vimeo sometime.  Sure thing, sure thing.” (I’ll never say those words, don’t worry.)

These things did not happen.  The Summer School animation course did not get the numbers they needed to run.  A few hours after arriving in Leeds, I got the message and I seemed to shrug it off pretty quickly, thinking this would just leave me even more time to do plenty of reading and watching for my COP3 Extended Research Project, as well as look for jobs.  These things I did, though the latter was not quite as enthusiastically approached as the former.  In the past, I have struggled against the unbalancing and upsetting demons of anxiety and self-loathing to the point where I could not face going to college without a bellyful of beta-blockers, never mind an interview (even for a part-time retail assistant post at Wilkinsons).  Going to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy last year was helpful, though with the end of year deadlines, and being out of the country on a few occasions, I wasn’t committing to the appointments, and missed out on the full benefit of what they were offering to help me with.  This is something I will return to at a later date – it’s an ongoing issue that always rears its head with pinpoint timing precision to help muss my brain up some more.  Long story short, I didn’t get a part time job.  HOWEVER, I did go for an interview, a group interview no less, for Shelter.  I talked openly and amiably – potentially being a little too honest about the fact that I am in no way suited to hailing strangers on the street and asking for money.  The surprising thing to come out of this mini-adventure, was that I actually enjoyed the experience, and am beginning to believe that I am at least mildly capable of functioning socially in public.

So, back to the dream of working on animation in college, applying for larger overdrafts to cover rent, and also trying to enjoy my first summer in Leeds.  There were a few problems with these goals (who’dathunkit?).  Firstly I wasn’t able to rent out a graphics tablet much while the college was functioning under summertime timetabling, which was a dampener, but not a catastrophe since we have very lovely and very accommodating technicians in the college.  Secondly, banks are awful hard to negotiate with sometimes, and sometimes the bankers just don’t really feel like doing the job they do, so sometimes that fucks up, and you’re left with no money, and your only – very, very fortunate – salvation is getting a bloody generous gift from a great aunt you barely even see any more.  Sometimes things like that happen and you can’t understand how in the hell you are so lucky.  And then that makes you remember your responsibilities again.  Thirdly was quite successful.  I went swimming in a beautiful place with some beautiful people, enjoyed barbecues and tea with the same and more beautiful people, and had beautiful study days in the beautiful park with very beautiful people.  Beautiful.

As well as this, I went and done my first ever paid illustration commission work through People Per Hour!  I hope to keep on building my profile on this site, as well as Behance (though I’ll have to actually produce some work to flesh that one out).  I’ve been making noise on Twitter and doing little bits of ink drawing to make myself think.  This has more recently come to a halt, but I did manage to have some inking fun in the closing days of the Summer of 2013.





(a tint snippet from the working progress on my PPH commission)

(a tiny snippet from the working progress on my PPH commission)

Well, that was the sickening dirge of complaint I needed to expel, and I’ll do my utmost to avoid stinkin’ excuses and blame displacement throughout the rest of this blog.  Third year will be good, so help me I’ll…