Tiny Ballerina.

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A friend’s gorgeous, little, piercingly-blue-eyed niece, bed-hair, tutu and all… This was one of the commissioned drawings I rather enjoyed doing and that I was somewhat tossing up over whether or not to actually keep it all to myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have any time left to do another one, so I was forced to part with it after all.
I hope you like it, albeit pixelated and washed-out and all.. Hopefully I will, sometime in the near future, be able to put up a few high quality ones that I took a while back, but at the moment they are residing in my above mentioned-and-less-than-reliable friend’s camera, yet to be released into my inbox.

Seeing Double.

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For a while now I’ve really wanted to be a casual model scout. I believe my love for models started with Natalia Vodianova back when I was a teenager – I just thought she was the most beautiful, otherworldly woman I’d seen (and as previously mentioned, is the inspiration behind the blog name). Fast forward 10 years, I open up a magazine and seem to know the names of most of the fashionably-clad women adorning its pages, and, while this might sooner fit the category of a party trick than something worthwhile putting onto a CV, it’s definitely helped me developed an eye for the kind of look needed to fit the purpose.

The funny thing about this photo is that when I came up to ask her to take it I also asked her if she was a model, and she kind of smiled and pointed to the window display of Jack Wills, which we were standing if in front of – and there she was, only in a (relatively smaller) cardboard version, in all its cardboard glory. I took it as a yes.

Anyway, the lovely lady in question is Kristine Barupa of IMG models, who I shot on London’s Carnaby Street back in March or April (procrastinate much?). She reminds me of a young Julia Stiles with a hint of Kate Moss thrown in there somewhere. I do hope you like it :)

Holidays, Drawing, and Lots of Babies…

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To say I’ve had a busy last few months would be a mild understatement, mostly as it has involved moving my entire life back to Australia after what felt like a rather short two years in London, doing a bucketload of barely-worth-it paid commissioned drawings for friends for a couple of months, and planning out the following three months’ worth of a final lot of holidays before finally heading back to Aus for good… which, at the moment means for at least a couple of years in any case.

Here’s some things I’ve learned, friends: doing drawings that take days and getting paid peanuts is not fun, but I only have myself to blame. You see, I was going to be back in Aus for two months with no job as of yet and nothing to do, a poor lady of leisure if you will, so I came up with the brilliant idea of doing really cheap commissioned work for the duration I was there, more to get the word out that I was doing commissioned work at all than anything else, and posting this idea up on Facebook. The idea behind the idea was that it was better to do them cheaply and have 10 people commission you and therefore ten different word-of-mouths, rather than doing them expensively and having only two of the said. Plus, besides for planning out my upcoming vacation, I literally had nothing else to do, so – why not?
I suppose that firstly, I never really counted on just how much interest it would gather; I think that realistically I expected a few people to vaguely pop their heads up and go ‘yeah, that sounds kind of interesting… I might get back to you’. Instead, I felt, if anything, a bit inundated. And oh, it was all so exciting in the beginning. But my biggest mistake was that I completely, utterly underestimated the time each drawing would take, and averaged them according to size and subject, without seeing the photo first. I think the biggest example of this is the little cutie above having his bath. I suppose I’d hear the word baby and think ‘no hair, no detail, not much to it – easy’, and then, having already said the price, I got the photo the drawing above is based on and saw all those bubbles. In the end, those bubbles just about killed my soul. And I wouldn’t have minded that much I suppose, if the killing-of-the-soul was done at a reasonable price, but I think that for what I charged – $40 (and not even in USD)- it made me want to cry a little. Also, I think that even when I did see the photo first, I would also underestimate it based on the fact that most of what I’ve done before was pure portraiture, or very small head and body drawings, meaning barely any clothing or hand details, which, as I’ve now found out, can just about double, sometimes even triple the amount of time needed. So the take home lesson is – see the picture first, and actually evaluate it.

Having said all that, however, I can’t really say I regret any of it either. It turns out having a deadline actually made me do the work, and made me do a lot of it, fast. Well, not as fast as I’d initially estimated, but I was churning them out a lot faster and doing a lot more than I’d ever done before without that pressure . Also, I think I was glad to see that no matter how cheaply I was doing them for, I was still putting in 100%, because, rather than having the view that ‘well if I’m getting paid peanuts then I’m allowed to make peanuts too’, there was still a sense of owing that person something decent that they would be happy with, and above all, that I would be happy with myself. I think a lot of time people can be impressed if you can draw decently at all and not notice the finer details that you may have omitted to save on time and effort, but that you notice and would not be happy with were you doing it for yourself.
Additionally, it was bloody great practice – I learned so much about the medium I was working with than I ever knew before, what to do and, most of time, what NOT to do.
Finally, it made me miss my own work – things I’d chosen to draw, and all the sketching and doodling in my sketchbooks – with the commissions, I just had no time for it.

So I suppose the moral of the story is – while I would still be more than happy to do commissions, it would definitely have to be worth it.

Just Me and My Hat.

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And a pair of jeans. Which she is clearly about to take off anyway, so I’m sure we can just disregard them.

A tiny, tiny sketch of tiny Erin Wasson, who, admittedly, I am not the hugest fan of (explanation here http://www.thevine.com.au/fashion/opinions/erin-wasson-is-a-model-idiot-20080923-239036 and here http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/26348196.html), but, the photo is incredible so who cares.

Enjoy.

Success? Yes, thanks.

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Long time before the idea of this blog even entered my head, I’ve been wanting to photograph people on the street. Partly for the fashion side of things, partly to draw them, mostly both. There have been times where I’ve just about chased after people just to get a second look at their shoes, or coat, or whatever else it was that caught my eye (discreetly, of course; I only ever aim to look slightly psychotic).

However, while I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as a shy person, I’ve found that having to ask people to take their photos can be extremely intimidating. There’s always that fear of rejection, fear you’ll end up standing there, empty-handed, and looking like an idiot. Because you are putting yourself out there, or at least that’s what it feels like at the time. However, while I am sure there are photographers out there who’ve from the very start never had that problem (or anyone else for that matter who’s in any line if work that requires such skills) and will therefore probably only understand what I’m talking about from an outsider’s perspective rather than personally, I can’t really imagine I’m the only one.

Admittedly, I took a few photos here and there at London Fashion Week, but I figure that doesn’t count seeing as everyone’s there to do one of two things: photograph or be photographed. Which basically means that so far, my actual street photo count is this: zero.

But – a revelation! Well, maybe not quite, but here’s what happened so you can decide: I was walking past St Paul’s on my way home on the beautiful Friday arvo we were having when, right across the road, I saw this man in his early thirties talking animatedly on his phone, and dressed in this I-rolled-out-of-bed-and-across-my-floor-then-these-clothes-attached-themselves-to-me-and-now-I-look-really-stylish kind of way, and I immediately wanted to take a photo. However, I was way too far from him and had a prime lens, so I walked across the road to where he was standing instead. Then, disguised by masses of people and a bus stop, attempted to take a few discrete photos, milking the situation of him being deep in his phone conversation. But, people in the way and him turning around every few seconds made this a somewhat impossible task, and before I knew it, he was off the phone. ‘Come on, go do it now, ask him!’, I kept telling myself, ‘It’s easy, you’ll probably never see him again!’, but my feet stayed put; I couldn’t even look at the dude. And then, as suddenly as I saw him, he walked right past me and jumped on the next bus.

Oh well, I sighed. There you go – another ‘fear of failure’ failure.

So I kept waking home, thinking about how silly and pathetic I was being. How they will always most likely say yes, and how even if they said no, I would most likely never see that person again. How I’m not going to be in my 80s and remembering that time I went up to that person and they said no and wishing I’d never done it to. And, moreover, how the more likely scenario is that I’d be in my 80s and remembering that time that I didn’t go up to that person and will now never know what could’ve been and wishing I had done it.

And so, walking along, having this internal conversation in my head, which was minute after minute getting more and more courageous (‘what was I even thinking being afraid’; ‘I’m so gonna do it next time’) I look to my right and – there he is again. He must’ve gotten off the bus at some point and he was now just standing there again, supposedly waiting for another one. Right on my path home. It was a sign.

So, flash back to me having acquired this ‘I’m determined and unstoppable and nothing will stand in my way’ attitude over the course of the previous 10 minutes, I now look at him and, with determination on my face – walk right past him. The giant inside me deflated once again. Except this time it was rather laughable.

And so then, I don’t know, I suppose out of sheer embarrassment at what a chicken-shit I was being, I stopped. And I walked back. And I asked. Politely.

And he said no.

I added that I sometimes draw and I kind of have this blog that I sometimes update and I would sort of at some point like to become an illustrator I am an illustrator and would really like to draw his outfit. He barely looked at me and merely repeated himself.

No.

So I said no worries, and turned to walk away, but then, out of sheer curiosity, decided to add “can I just ask you why?” And, as he prepared to walk off (to catch his bus, or get away from me, not entirely sure which), he just said in this thick Italian accent, not even bothering to glance at me: “Because I don’t like..”

And as I walked off I realised I felt – happy. Victorious even. And while you may be confused as to why on earth I’d be feeling happy, let alone victorious, seeing as I technically didn’t actually achieve anything, I realised it was because of three things:

Firstly, because he acted like such a douchebag about it (it really wasn’t so much what he said, it was the way he looked at me [when he bothered] like I was something nasty he had no interest in conversing with, his body language and, moreover, his tone) I realised that instead of feeling like I was the idiot, I felt like he acted like one instead. I realise some people are shy, or just don’t like having photos taken of them (and subsequently put up on online) and those are all valid reasons. But there is a polite way to refuse, especially if you were also asked politely, and, unless I’m really going out of my way to bother you, there’s really no need to be nasty about it. Especially considering the courage it might’ve taken that person to come up to you – not everyone will see these events in a positive light, after all.

Secondly, after not even having the courage to walk up to him in the first place, when it actually came to it, I suddenly found the courage to even ask him why, and that felt good. Admittedly, there may have been a bit of an out of body experience there where I stepped out, looked at myself quizzically, and went “Really? Did you just say that?”

But, mostly, I felt happy because of the fact that I tried. Yes I failed, but I tried and I failed and I realised that trying and failing and knowing the outcome, versus not trying and always wondering what could’ve happened was a much more satisfying feeling. And that realisation in itself felt victorious.

And thinking about it now, I realise that this is possibly a bigger step forward than it would’ve been had he said yes. Then again, who knows – maybe if he said no and was nice about it instead I actually would’ve felt like an idiot after all. I suppose I won’t know until I try again.

Kate Moss Twins… If only.

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Kate Moss, in all her innocent, youthful, pre-overload-of-drugs-smoking-and-partying glory, as photographed by Corrine Day.

Having a rather unproductive day, sitting on the bed and watching the blue glory that is the London sky at the moment, and trying to decide whether or not to go out and attempt to enjoy it. This would require getting dressed of course, so there is clearly a lot at stake here.

See, this is the beauty of having something already finished at hand – the illusion of productiveness whilst still in pyjamas, barely enthusiastic enough to pass for a functional human being.

Hope you’re discovering a cure for cancer instead. I’m clearly not the person for it today. Or that you’ve at least managed to make it outside the confines of your own four walls.

Xx.

The Finished Jane Doe and the Incredibly Late Post..

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I must admit it makes me a little sad to see just how long ago I wrote my last post. I suppose when you don’t make it a priority, life gets in the way. Admittedly, I had been working away from home for a few months now, not that it’s really much of an excuse, but I am clearly desperately looking for one.

Anyway, soppy story aside, let me focus for a second on what I HAVE managed to get done, as pitiful as the effort is. The model whose name I am yet to find out, finished in all her charcoal-and-pastel-fuelled, intense-staring glory. Hope you enjoy.