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First Days of Rehearsal!

December 11th, 2011 Comments 0

Welcome to production update No.1!  I’m so excited and happy to be working on the creative parts of this project and not just on the admin.

So far I’ve been working on the narrative, the script and the AV.  There have been some interesting decisions to make.  The more I work on the story, the more I feel like I really understand what makes a story work.  I’ve noticed that sometimes I don’t know what the answer to a narrative problem is yet, but I am very clear about which potential solutions DON’T fit.  The process of examining what doesn’t work often brings you closer to a solution that really does.meeting 1 1

The second thing I’ve noticed is what happens when you immerse yourself in a creative world.  My mind is inside the story now (sometimes when I’m tired I wish it wasn’t).  This state of thinking is the only way to arrive at exciting breakthroughs.  I’ve been working on the character design for one of the creatures in the play, and just kept drawing the same slightly boring version again and again, until all of a sudden a slightly different idea leaped off the page – ‘The One’.  As my mind was ticking over the consequences of this new design for the other elements in the play, a HUGE solution for the ending became clear.  I can’t tell you what it is because it will spoil it for you when you come to see the show.  I was so excited I wanted to run around the room and phone people to tell them.  It was midnight so I held back on that.

This ending solution has actually renewed my excitement for the second half of the play and removed many obstacles I was feeling were in the way.  This couldn’t have happened a few weeks ago.

meeting 1 5

The other new and exciting thing that happened this week was starting work with the rest of the team.  The first production meeting went really well, we dived into the costume boxes, tried everything on, and made new plans.

meeting 1 2

I will introduce you to individual members of the team over the next few weeks.  They’re all wonderful.

The video above was an example of trying something only to discover it is not going to work.  We fiddled around with the video effects and I thought I’d keep it to show you.  It doesn’t tell you a lot about what we were trying to achieve, but you can see we’ve been busy!

And with that, I am having an actual day off today, the first in a while, so off I go!

meeting 1 6

Photos by Sarah Jane Leigh.

Facepainting Summer 2011

September 19th, 2011 Comments 4

I’ve been learning to face paint over the past couple of years (very slowly) and this summer I started earning proper money from it.  Here’s what I’ve managed to paint. 

Butterflies:Blue Bow Butterfly small

Butterfly Love Hearts smallButterfly Pink smallButterfly red smallButterfly Turquoise smallButterfly1 small

Some One Direction fans wanted carrots and turtles (and a shamrock not pictured). 

Carrots Turtle small

Other pretty things:

Mermaid small

Pink Flower Princess small

rose arm purple small

Big Cats, small cats and a Parrot:

Brown Pink Cat 2 smallBrown Pink Cat small

Cheetah smallTiger girl smallFunTiger small

Snow Tiger smallParrot small


Godzilla small

skull smallT Rex small


Teifi painting small

It’s very pleasing to practice something and watch yourself improve.  When I started, the brushstrokes felt impossible, then there comes the magic moment where you realize you can do it – the point where the muscles in your hand understand what’s going on.  Face painting is completely different to ordinary painting because the surface is rounded and with crevices, each face is completely different and what’s more, many children move the whole time.  The challenge for me now is to speed up, when I can do a face in 5 minutes I’ll be happy.

Evolution of a theatre poster

August 6th, 2011 Comments 1

Hello, been away from blogging for a while, busy creating a new life for my play.  I will be performing it next January and February, more about that another time…

So, with new life comes a new image and even a new name!

My play, previously called Dance Beast Voice Monster – Mooing for the Soul is now called, (drumroll…)


Obviously my simplification brain-lobe has recently been activated.

You can see the previous posters here and earlier versions here.  I was really happy with the posters I made first time around, but when I arrived at the venue last February they didn’t stand out at all.  I thought all the colour would make them pop out, but instead they made a beautiful blended backdrop for all the other posters.  On top of that I needed to make the artwork look less like children’s theatre.  Although I love childishness, and I use a child’s persona in the show (amongst others), it is definitely a show for adults, with a darker edge. 

Would you like to see how my poster has evolved over the past three weeks of blood sweat and tears?

I started with one idea – a close up of my face with costume from a scene I’m using in the trailer, to be surrounded by painted artwork… somehow.

outdoor idea with crown

(Here I am using my mum’s solar cooker as a light reflector.)

The problem was, having seen my artwork on the walls of the theatre not working, it had shifted my confidence in my own artistic judgement, this made it quite hard to follow my own ideas, as I didn’t know if I could trust them.  Instead I listened to other people.  Which is good too of course.  I’m sure there’s an ideal balance to be found between listening to other people and to yourself.  I spent a week brainstorming and sketching pages of poster ideas.  I studied great cinema posters and National Theatre posters (they have a fantastic archive).  I realised that in no way am I a graphic designer. 

Deciding on one idea whilst not listening enough to my own judgement was… interesting.  But decide I did. 

Something a bit like this:

Wild pencil sketch

or this:

Wild pastel sketch

We did a photo shoot and I chose this photo:photo1

(second choice would have been this, in which I have somehow managed to capture the jaunty angle of ‘being on a ship’  -photo on a ship

inexplicable, but true.)

Next came painting the artwork, learning a bit more about typography by copying fonts I like:Wild typography crop

(this was the most fun thing to do).  After that came scanning everything and assembling all the pieces.  There followed two gruelling days of sitting in front of a computer for 12 hour stretches trying to make the material work together in time for my deadline.  And here are all the fun things we made!

The beginning:
Postcard 1

the wrong proportions version:
Postcard 2

the version that was closest to what I was aiming for but in real life looked hmmmm:Postcard 3

the ‘My Little Pony’ version:
Postcard My Little Pony

I may point out that after many hours of staring at your own face it starts to lose all meaning – like saying the same word over and over again.

The Polar Bear version (brilliant, not my idea, also no Polar Bears in the show (yet…)),
Postcard Bear

the wings version (I like it – but snow angel isn’t really the look I’m going for),Postcard Wings

and finally the one I ended the night in despair on:Postcard Blob on the I

Overnight I racked my dreaming brains for a better idea.  I like the red theatre curtain poking out in the original photo, so I bounded to the computer the next morning to try this:Postcard Curtains

A crude first attempt, but it didn’t inspire me to continue with the idea.  Undeterred I started listening more to myself about what the play is really about, what the nature of the play is.  ‘Theatre’ as a theme started to make sense, and I wanted something more fun and less pastel purple.

Two more days of painting and research produced these ideas:Wild ribbon banner resized

proscenium arch line drawing

which I liked on paper but just didn’t fit together with the photo. 

I felt so frustrated at this point.  I wanted something that would genuinely reflect the show, be strong, eye-catching and adult as well as fun.  Finally I decided to go back to the colour scheme of my previous posters, but even that was all wrong.  I needed a black background, not a white one. 
Aha!  Then, as if by magic, everything slotted into place.  I made some more artwork on black paper (in an hour, not two days).  Oh yes, this was also the day I began learning how to use the graphic design software (Xara if you’re interested).  Learning curve set to steep.

I assembled this, entitled “finally something that might work”:
finally something that might work 1

I then spent far too long handwriting the copy for the back only to find it was unreadable.  So I stayed up late making my own handwriting font with Scanahand (I recommend).  More interminable hours in front of a screen tweaking ridiculous minute detail has finally brought this version, now winging it’s way to me from the printer (another drumroll, if you please)…WiLD Front Final small

So there you have it. 

And if any of you dare to suggest that one of the previous versions is actually ‘your favourite’ then someone may have to play me the grumpy song, because I will need it.

(I’m actually really pleased!)

The Poster is ready!

January 17th, 2011 Comments 5

A too long absence from this blog, because I have been busily making a play, and all it’s accoutrements.

Here is the poster and the back of the flyer which I am definitely happy with.

Dance Beast Final 6MG Small

Flyer Back Small

I am now off to make more accoutrements…  and rehearse… and write more script…

Actually – this is a fun process – demanding, but definitely fun.  Which I hope you can see from the artwork.

Oh yes, and if you’re planning on coming to see the show, get your thinking hats on for a suitably silly hat for the silly hat competition.  Mine is ready and waiting…

I am REALLY excited!!!

November 25th, 2010 Comments 3

I finally have a time and place to perform my first solo show, something I have been dreaming about for years, at least since I was 9.  It’s funny how when it becomes real it’s more… real… less of a dream.  Less awe-inspiring.  Because there’s certainly a lot of work to do (sound of sleeves being rolled up).

Most exiting are the lovely friends who have agreed to help me on this journey, and with their permission I may profile them here later on…  Hurray!!

Here are some first stages of artwork to go into the programme.  The poster will be different again… Dance Beast Voice Monster artwork first draft

I always do a first draft which I love but is not perfect, in an irreverent, unthinking messy way.  Then I try to improve on it in the second draft by planning and plotting and trying to make it ‘good’, but these things are unrepeatable and I get so frustrated with myself.  The best drawn lines are ones I look at afterwards and can’t fathom how I made it – it doesn’t look like it’s mine.  Or that they’re just random flicks of a wrist that I didn’t care about at the time but now are perfect.  Or perfectly imperfect.

Dance Beast Voice Monster artwork first draft detail

And the final version:Dance Beast Voice Monster Mooing from the Soul programme artwork

Right, now I’m off to bed, was up til 4am doing that last one…

Thinking Hat!!!

April 17th, 2010 Comments 0


Yes! It has arrived! The long awaited Hat of Thinking-ness! 

Thinking Hat surprise, wonderful blue hat creating good feelings on the wearer who is jumping out from behind a door

It has an antennae, in fact it has eight, to help me tune into the most useful thoughts,  Thinking Hat antenna, made of special curly wires of differnt colours, pointy crystals and pretend diamonds

it has pictures on the front and the back, to remind me of what is important,Thinking Hat front, on a pouty person, hat showing sun, sea, flowers, flying fish and other paraphanelia Thinking Hat back, showing dolphins, big purple bow, start, sea, black glittery flower and more

it has several magical flying fish,Thinking Hat flying fish, gren and silver flying fish leaping out of the waves

dolphins, stars, bows, sparkle swirls, the sea, the sun, a heart, and giant flowers –
– friends to encourage  joyful-beingness and tomfoolery (most vital for correct thinking),
 Thinking Hat dolphins sparkle, melange of incredible dolphins, starts swirls, heart and explosions, all on an incredible hat
and a bell,
Thinking Hat bell, little bell, pink iwre, ribbons, blue thinking hat.

so i can hear myself think.

In fact this hat has everything I need.
  Thinking Hat eye, an interesting expression

I am taking commissions.  Each hat will be unique.  Form an orderly queue…  

I did one of these!

March 5th, 2010 Comments 1

brightly coloured painting, 50cm x 100cm, inks and acrylics, a big swirl and flame, flower, ammonite spiral

It’s the first painting I have ever done on a canvas!  I bought a canvas on a whim, and I knew the longer I left it sitting there, unused, the harder it would be to paint without having a fit of ‘oh my god it will never be good enough’.  Blank canvas terror.  So I just did it.  I used inks and a bit of acrylic, painted mostly with my fingers, which made it infinitely more fun.  I stayed up late to do it, and finished it the following night.  I made it without trying to do anything ‘good’.  Afterwards I had a truly wonderful feeling of contentment for several days, of having completed something that is meaningful to me, and is bright and whole and finished.  I need to do some more painting to have more of that feeling.  I recommend it.

Do It Now!

October 29th, 2009 Comments 0

Late night, no sleep… paint!

It’s a message to myself to do the things I’m dreaming about.

Here are the details:

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