Please follow the new blog
I appreciate the responses from my previous posts here, but in case anyone missed it….I’m living at this address now:

IamRobertShaw.tumblr.com

Cheers!

Please follow the new blog


I appreciate the responses from my previous posts here, but in case anyone missed it….I’m living at this address now:

IamRobertShaw.tumblr.com

Cheers!

Updated blog link

My blog is moving home, and will be here from now on. Please update your links, etc. and don’t forget to follow! ;)

Thanks!

Rod Land: The Mirror Image
'How things used to look?' said the Handyman. 'Then where is everything?'.
'It's all gone. Destroyed. There is nothing left but this' replied the face. The Handyman placed the scroll down on the floor and began to roll it open, its markings seemed to document a history of the land and the people that once occupied it. The images gradually became much darker, and a depiction of battles covered the tapestry to its end. The timeline ended with what appeared to be a large monster eating the landscape.
'A great battle took place here, known as The War of Opposition' said the face. 'For every good thing that exists in the world there is also an opposite, but whilst this must be for the sake of balance; a great evil came upon the land with a quest for power and undid all that was good'.
'But what is that,' said the Handyman, gesturing towards the large structure, 'and why are we here?'
'That is totem, the creator of all things. When the great evil had ravaged the land and threatened to destroy the totem itself, it realised that the only chance for survival would be to cleanse the world and start afresh. And barely a moment later the notion came to pass: the landscape flattened, the evil vanquished, the sounds of battle ceased. The totem, almost drained of its power, had not the energy to recreate the world and thus created a lifeform in its own image: you, to build a new world. It created me as your guide and gave me the knowledge of the past to save you this burden, but in this process the totem exerted itself and now sits in great slumber.'
The Handyman looked up at the totem. ‘I feel it somehow’ he said, as the large structure looked on passively. ’ But wait, you said that there is an opposite to everything. If we’re here does that mean there is an opposite to us?’
'Undoubtedly' replied the face.

Rod Land: The Mirror Image

'How things used to look?' said the Handyman. 'Then where is everything?'.

'It's all gone. Destroyed. There is nothing left but this' replied the face. The Handyman placed the scroll down on the floor and began to roll it open, its markings seemed to document a history of the land and the people that once occupied it. The images gradually became much darker, and a depiction of battles covered the tapestry to its end. The timeline ended with what appeared to be a large monster eating the landscape.

'A great battle took place here, known as The War of Opposition' said the face. 'For every good thing that exists in the world there is also an opposite, but whilst this must be for the sake of balance; a great evil came upon the land with a quest for power and undid all that was good'.

'But what is that,' said the Handyman, gesturing towards the large structure, 'and why are we here?'

'That is totem, the creator of all things. When the great evil had ravaged the land and threatened to destroy the totem itself, it realised that the only chance for survival would be to cleanse the world and start afresh. And barely a moment later the notion came to pass: the landscape flattened, the evil vanquished, the sounds of battle ceased. The totem, almost drained of its power, had not the energy to recreate the world and thus created a lifeform in its own image: you, to build a new world. It created me as your guide and gave me the knowledge of the past to save you this burden, but in this process the totem exerted itself and now sits in great slumber.'

The Handyman looked up at the totem. ‘I feel it somehow’ he said, as the large structure looked on passively. ’ But wait, you said that there is an opposite to everything. If we’re here does that mean there is an opposite to us?’

'Undoubtedly' replied the face.

Lawrence Okoye: 21 going on 49
Former Team GB discus thrower Lawrence Okoye signed this week for NFL team the San Francisco 49ers, despite never having previously played the sport.

He may have to adjust his throwing technique however.

Lawrence Okoye: 21 going on 49


Former Team GB discus thrower Lawrence Okoye signed this week for NFL team the San Francisco 49ers, despite never having previously played the sport.

He may have to adjust his throwing technique however.

The Duke of New York

'They sent in their best man. And when we roll down the 69th street bridge tomorrow on our way to freedom, we're gonna have their best man leading the way. From the neck up.

…..on the hood of my car!’

The Duke of New York

'They sent in their best man. And when we roll down the 69th street bridge tomorrow on our way to freedom, we're gonna have their best man leading the way. From the neck up.

…..on the hood of my car!’

Paint a picture for Alfie

If you follow my blog then you may have noticed that I recently posted the above illustration under its title ‘Vincent’s Ices are the Nicest’. I created this for a specific purpose, but wanted to wait until now before giving away the full story of it. 
A few weeks ago I noticed a blog post by the Eccles Community Art Gallery which mentioned their upcoming exhibition: ‘Paint a picture for Alfie’. I read on to find that this was a fundraiser for a local (then 15 month old) boy who had developed meninigitis just before Christmas and as a result had most of his fingers and toes amputated. The exhibition aims to raise as much funds as possible to aid the family in getting the best possible prosthetics for Alfie, and put out the word for local artists to donate works for sale.
Having read through this I felt that I could put my skills to some good use, decided to put it on my list of creative things to do. However, a few days later I revisited the bookmarked link for the story and read into it a little bit more, it was then that I came across a photo of Alfie with his parents. His mother is someone that I have known since an earlier age having gone to the same schools, and so that gave me even more reason to donate something for the exhibition. We were never particularly close friends, but despite the bad reputation Salford sometimes gets I feel that a good community spirit does exist and I would like to think that everyone I shared my early schools days with has gone on to lead happy and successful lives….whether they are.
I decided then to create an illustration based on the street that I spent my younger days, and the scene pictured is directly outside where I lived at that time. The street was also home to Tootal Drive Primary, the school that we both attended and is unfortunately now demolished. The local ice cream man, Vinnie, is a strong memory from this time and place for me and it made sense to center the piece around his familiar van which still drives around our streets today.
I produced a 10x12 print of the finished illustration but was a bit reluctant to donate it, as most of the works handed in were paintings and I wondered if my piece would be well received. But I eventually popped into the gallery today and handed it over, and I was surprised that it immediately provoked a reaction with the connection to Vinnie. I knew that something relating to the local area would be particularly special for me as a donated piece, and I was informed that these were the kind of pieces that tend to do well. So I was happy that my donation was accepted with open arms.
The picture is now hanging for sale in the gallery, I hope that the exhibition fundraiser goes well and that it helps to make Alfie’s life a bit better. Check it out people!

Paint a picture for Alfie

If you follow my blog then you may have noticed that I recently posted the above illustration under its title ‘Vincent’s Ices are the Nicest’. I created this for a specific purpose, but wanted to wait until now before giving away the full story of it.

A few weeks ago I noticed a blog post by the Eccles Community Art Gallery which mentioned their upcoming exhibition: ‘Paint a picture for Alfie’. I read on to find that this was a fundraiser for a local (then 15 month old) boy who had developed meninigitis just before Christmas and as a result had most of his fingers and toes amputated. The exhibition aims to raise as much funds as possible to aid the family in getting the best possible prosthetics for Alfie, and put out the word for local artists to donate works for sale.

Having read through this I felt that I could put my skills to some good use, decided to put it on my list of creative things to do. However, a few days later I revisited the bookmarked link for the story and read into it a little bit more, it was then that I came across a photo of Alfie with his parents. His mother is someone that I have known since an earlier age having gone to the same schools, and so that gave me even more reason to donate something for the exhibition. We were never particularly close friends, but despite the bad reputation Salford sometimes gets I feel that a good community spirit does exist and I would like to think that everyone I shared my early schools days with has gone on to lead happy and successful lives….whether they are.

I decided then to create an illustration based on the street that I spent my younger days, and the scene pictured is directly outside where I lived at that time. The street was also home to Tootal Drive Primary, the school that we both attended and is unfortunately now demolished. The local ice cream man, Vinnie, is a strong memory from this time and place for me and it made sense to center the piece around his familiar van which still drives around our streets today.

I produced a 10x12 print of the finished illustration but was a bit reluctant to donate it, as most of the works handed in were paintings and I wondered if my piece would be well received. But I eventually popped into the gallery today and handed it over, and I was surprised that it immediately provoked a reaction with the connection to Vinnie. I knew that something relating to the local area would be particularly special for me as a donated piece, and I was informed that these were the kind of pieces that tend to do well. So I was happy that my donation was accepted with open arms.

The picture is now hanging for sale in the gallery, I hope that the exhibition fundraiser goes well and that it helps to make Alfie’s life a bit better. Check it out people!

Notes from Pictoplasma 2013: Characters in Rhythm
The animation screenings at Pictoplasma were split up into different categories based on their style, as some were specifically created as visuals for music whereas others were more narrative based works. The first day of screenings pertained to ‘Characters in Rhythm’ and most of them were either set to a song or beat matching the imagery to some bespoke piece of music. Given that my my own work tends to blend animation and music, I was very much looking forward to this particular set of screenings. And whilst I enjoyed most of the work on show, here are a few that grabbed my attention:

‘Planet One>' and 'Dry Fish' by Andy Martin were two short animations incorporating his own music. Whilst very brief and simple they both received a good reception from the audience, and since returning home I still keep remembering the orange circle singing about a weird place.

‘I Love Your Face' by Chintis Lundgren was probably the first screening that I felt was more in line with what I was hoping to see at the festival. A simple hand drawn animated music video. I did feel though towards the later part of the film that it would have seemed to fit more in the ‘Psychedelic Midnight Mix’ screenings programme.

‘Living in the Sunlight, Loving in the Moonlight' by The Layzell Bros may look familiar if you have seen the latest issue of Creative Review, as a character from the short is featured on the front cover. It’s another animation set to a song and was commissioned by Adam Buxton, so it ‘s a fun watch and it certainly went down well on the day. This piece was clearly inspired by the ‘Yellow Submarine’ animation featuring The Beatles, but I had previously seen some of the Layzell Bros’ work for E4 and been equally blown away by it.

‘Got Me A Beard' by Chris Edser was undoubtedly the screening that received the most laughs through the entire festival. Another music video, this time for a band that performs songs about different aspects of their lives as bearded men.

‘Dumb Ways to Die' by Julian Frost was another fun and catchy animation set to a song, feeling a bit like a public information film. Definitely one that stuck with me much later.

‘This Land is Mine' by Nina Paley was for me personally the highlight of all the screenings at Pictoplasma, and the only one to provoke an emotional reaction. It’s another animation set to a song and it charts the history of man in the middle east through the ages via a bloodbath scene of “who killed who”. As the piece started and the first few characters were cut down, laughs erupted from the audience. But as it continued and I then began to realise what was going on I was struck by its message, and it irritated me slightly that whilst I on one hand was drawn to the film on an informative level, it seemed that most others were still viewing it from another as laughter rang out until the end of it.
I think that perhaps another reason that I really enjoyed this piece was that the Egyptian style side-on imagery was very reminiscent of Michel Ocelot’s animation work, whom I have previously mentioned has over the past few years has become possibly my favourite animation director.

Notes from Pictoplasma 2013: Characters in Rhythm

The animation screenings at Pictoplasma were split up into different categories based on their style, as some were specifically created as visuals for music whereas others were more narrative based works. The first day of screenings pertained to ‘Characters in Rhythm’ and most of them were either set to a song or beat matching the imagery to some bespoke piece of music. Given that my my own work tends to blend animation and music, I was very much looking forward to this particular set of screenings. And whilst I enjoyed most of the work on show, here are a few that grabbed my attention:

Planet One>' and 'Dry Fish' by Andy Martin were two short animations incorporating his own music. Whilst very brief and simple they both received a good reception from the audience, and since returning home I still keep remembering the orange circle singing about a weird place.

I Love Your Face' by Chintis Lundgren was probably the first screening that I felt was more in line with what I was hoping to see at the festival. A simple hand drawn animated music video. I did feel though towards the later part of the film that it would have seemed to fit more in the ‘Psychedelic Midnight Mix’ screenings programme.

Living in the Sunlight, Loving in the Moonlight' by The Layzell Bros may look familiar if you have seen the latest issue of Creative Review, as a character from the short is featured on the front cover. It’s another animation set to a song and was commissioned by Adam Buxton, so it ‘s a fun watch and it certainly went down well on the day. This piece was clearly inspired by the ‘Yellow Submarine’ animation featuring The Beatles, but I had previously seen some of the Layzell Bros’ work for E4 and been equally blown away by it.

Got Me A Beard' by Chris Edser was undoubtedly the screening that received the most laughs through the entire festival. Another music video, this time for a band that performs songs about different aspects of their lives as bearded men.

Dumb Ways to Die' by Julian Frost was another fun and catchy animation set to a song, feeling a bit like a public information film. Definitely one that stuck with me much later.

This Land is Mine' by Nina Paley was for me personally the highlight of all the screenings at Pictoplasma, and the only one to provoke an emotional reaction. It’s another animation set to a song and it charts the history of man in the middle east through the ages via a bloodbath scene of “who killed who”. As the piece started and the first few characters were cut down, laughs erupted from the audience. But as it continued and I then began to realise what was going on I was struck by its message, and it irritated me slightly that whilst I on one hand was drawn to the film on an informative level, it seemed that most others were still viewing it from another as laughter rang out until the end of it.

I think that perhaps another reason that I really enjoyed this piece was that the Egyptian style side-on imagery was very reminiscent of Michel Ocelot’s animation work, whom I have previously mentioned has over the past few years has become possibly my favourite animation director.

Thomas Was Alone
As somebody who provides content for indie games I don’t play as many as I probably should, but yesterday I played through a title that has made its way onto the Playstation Network. Priced at £5.99 it isn’t a title that I would usually go for, but the game is currently being offered to PS+ members and so I picked it up.

'Thomas Was Alone' carries a very simple A-to-B gameplay system in which you have to maneuver a series of differently shaped coloured squares and triangles to an end destination. An accompanied narration presents a simple storyline in order to give the shapes their own individual characteristics and some kind of purpose in their quest.

Following the first few stages I felt that the characterisation was a bit shallow and the storyline was a bit random, but I kept playing when the arrival of Claire (a plus-sized blue square) made it a bit more interesting to me. The repetitiveness of each stage got a bit boring after a while, but it was when thomas (the red rectangle) eventually met up with James (the green rectangle) that things started to get more inspired based on the way they interact with each other. The storyline seemed to come apart towards the later part of the game and there is no real ending or closure to the plot and characters, feeling more rushed than anything.

The narration was essential to giving the shapes their characteristics and for telling the story, and there were many geeky jokes in there which did at times raise a chuckle. But I sometimes got to the end of a level before the narration had ended and it simply cut-off meaning that I missed part of the story. The music was the element that really almost tempting me to switch off however, its repetitiveness and emphasis on rhythms as opposed to melodies became irritating very quickly. And perhaps it may have had something to do with the new age style that seems to be very popular amongst games like this as of late.

It was an interesting game to play based on its simplicity and gameplay methods, and although the characters felt shallow earlier on in the game I can look at each of the coloured squares above and give you their individual names, physical characteristics and moods. A lot more than can be said for many of the big commercial titles whose characters can often be forgettable.

Thomas Was Alone

As somebody who provides content for indie games I don’t play as many as I probably should, but yesterday I played through a title that has made its way onto the Playstation Network. Priced at £5.99 it isn’t a title that I would usually go for, but the game is currently being offered to PS+ members and so I picked it up.

'Thomas Was Alone' carries a very simple A-to-B gameplay system in which you have to maneuver a series of differently shaped coloured squares and triangles to an end destination. An accompanied narration presents a simple storyline in order to give the shapes their own individual characteristics and some kind of purpose in their quest.

Following the first few stages I felt that the characterisation was a bit shallow and the storyline was a bit random, but I kept playing when the arrival of Claire (a plus-sized blue square) made it a bit more interesting to me. The repetitiveness of each stage got a bit boring after a while, but it was when thomas (the red rectangle) eventually met up with James (the green rectangle) that things started to get more inspired based on the way they interact with each other. The storyline seemed to come apart towards the later part of the game and there is no real ending or closure to the plot and characters, feeling more rushed than anything.

The narration was essential to giving the shapes their characteristics and for telling the story, and there were many geeky jokes in there which did at times raise a chuckle. But I sometimes got to the end of a level before the narration had ended and it simply cut-off meaning that I missed part of the story. The music was the element that really almost tempting me to switch off however, its repetitiveness and emphasis on rhythms as opposed to melodies became irritating very quickly. And perhaps it may have had something to do with the new age style that seems to be very popular amongst games like this as of late.

It was an interesting game to play based on its simplicity and gameplay methods, and although the characters felt shallow earlier on in the game I can look at each of the coloured squares above and give you their individual names, physical characteristics and moods. A lot more than can be said for many of the big commercial titles whose characters can often be forgettable.

The Son of Jor-El
Inspired by René Magritte’s painting ‘The Son of Man’.

The Son of Jor-El

Inspired by René Magritte’s painting ‘The Son of Man’.

Rod Land: Snapshot
'So what is this place,' asked the Handyman, 'and where did you come from? I don't even know where I came from, I just remember waking up strapped to the side of that thing' he said, pointing towards the large structure.
'I have always been with you, we are a team' said the cloth face. 'Here…take a look at this'
The front pocket expanded as its mouth gaped wide open, ‘I can hold that brush for you’.
The Handyman shook the excess paint off the brush and placed it inside the pocket. It wasn’t deep and it felt empty, but almost as if by magic something else seemed to just appear in his hand. He pulled out his hand to find a paper scroll within his grasp and rolled it part way open to reveal some sort of map.
'This…' said the face, 'is how things used to look'.

Rod Land: Snapshot

'So what is this place,' asked the Handyman, 'and where did you come from? I don't even know where I came from, I just remember waking up strapped to the side of that thing' he said, pointing towards the large structure.

'I have always been with you, we are a team' said the cloth face. 'Here…take a look at this'

The front pocket expanded as its mouth gaped wide open, ‘I can hold that brush for you’.

The Handyman shook the excess paint off the brush and placed it inside the pocket. It wasn’t deep and it felt empty, but almost as if by magic something else seemed to just appear in his hand. He pulled out his hand to find a paper scroll within his grasp and rolled it part way open to reveal some sort of map.

'This…' said the face, 'is how things used to look'.