Reflection & Change

31/12/2017


Its that time of year again, Christmas time is coming to an end and the new year is fast approaching. I'm a sentimental person who often likes to look back on the past and reflect on what good has happened, though this time of year can also be a time of mixed emotions, perhaps inner conflict and anxiety of what is ahead within the coming year. The fear of the unknown is wired into us as humans from birth, you see something you're afraid of; whether it be deep water, that assignment you've been putting off for weeks or meeting someone on your first date, that little (or big) voice in your head tells you to get the hell out of there and head for safety.

Fear can be useful in some situations - hell, you wouldn't have lived very long at all if you didn't have fears to keep you from doing stupid things whilst you were a kid. We're constantly learning and adapting to survive within our surroundings and I think that my 2017 has been another long learning curve for me which has helped me grow into a much better person.

My 2017

On last year's New Year's Eve, I wrote the post 'My 5 New Year's Resolutions for 2017' where I set myself the following goals: figure out my career, travel more, experience more of the unknown and learn new skills, read more books and blog more. After reflecting on each of these goals, I can honestly say that I've nailed each of them, okay the career one still needs some work but I think I've made some pretty solid steps towards that (plus, who in the hell really knows what they're doing in this life?). I did my annual couple of weeks travelling across Europe with one of my best mates, travelled up and down the country for gigs, cons and seeing friends, experienced new food, music, art and ways of living, read a whole bunch of books and kept on top of my blogging game. 

Whilst I consider myself a glass half full kind of guy, I do often get that little voice of fear in my head which tells me to look at my living/working situation and makes me feel like I'm in a bit of a rut, working a part-time job to make ends meet whilst I pursue a creative career and juggling a social life, and as much as I hate to admit - makes me wish my life away for a better job, living situation, personal living environment and life overall, constantly wanting something more. It isn't until take a step back to look at the achievements of what I've done throughout the year though, that I notice the growth that I've achieved and that voice slowly fades away and stops making me fear the unknown and uncertainty of the future and what it may hold for me.

The above being said, the feeling I get whilst looking back at my year isn't of contentment. To be content is something that I will never aim for. I'm all or nothing, I don't just want to keep my head above water and swim through life at a slow and steady pace after completing my goals, fuck that. After completing goals, I want to be making a list of new goals with feet strapped to two jet-powered sea turtles, hurtling me through the water at light speed into a retrowave sunset.

Looking at 2018

Ridiculous(-ly awesome amirite?) mental imagery aside, I can't wait to see what 2018 brings me and to look back a year from now and see what kind of experiences and growth that I've had for another year. For 2018, I want to continue to kick fear in the butt and keep doing more new things and experiencing more that will get me out of my comfort zone. The one goal that I'm starting the year with is to pass my driving test as I feel that not having a license is impeding my growth by being unable to get out of my city and even do smaller things like just being able to jump in a car and quickly go and visit a friend. Aside from this single goal, I really just need to hone in on and improve on the mindset and ways of living that I've already adopted over the past couple of years:
  • Continue making rad art things - I put my art out into the world this year and people actually purchased it which is fucking awesome. Many, many more art things will happen in 2018.
  • Minimalism, mindfulness and spirituality will continue to be a part of who I am - starting with a much needed new year clear out of clutter and stuff that I've accumulated as of late. 
  • Invest and spend time wisely - continue to save more and start making solid investments for the long term as well as choosing the right things and people to spend my time with.
  • Drink less alcohol - If there's one thing I've noticed recently, its that me and alcohol just don't get along, I'll feel great for a couple of hours whilst drinking and then towards the end of the night the comedown happens and the following couple of days I get really depressed, like extremely. Its time to cut it out - sure I might have the odd glass here and there for special occasions but no more excessive drinking. 
  • Eat less meat - I aren't going fully vegan or veggie, but I am being more mindful as to what I choose to have for each meal for both my own personal benefit and the whole bigger picture.
  • Carry on doing more of what I love and expressing what love - I went to my first con this year, saw more of my friends, went to more gigs, threw myself into my art and found other artists to follow and fall in love with their art; more of this for 2018! 

That just about wraps up my reflection and outlook for the new year. How has your year been, do you have any new year's resolutions or goals for 2018? Let me know in the comments down below.

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MCM Comic Con London 2017

09/11/2017 London, UK


MCM London, Saturday Pass

I've wanted to attend Comic Con for the longest time and now finally, last month I was able to attend in London with Alex, Ben & Matt. I really didn't know what to expect whilst we were travelling to it, with it being my first time going to a Comic Con but all expectations were blown out of the water as it was such a brilliant day filled with Comics, Games, TV, Film and all kinds of collectibles and memorabilia, along with a hell of a lot of cosplay.

After quite a lengthy wait to get into the con due to a lot of security checks, long waiting queues and generally such a hell of a lot of people trying to get inside at once, we finally made it inside and once inside Ben, Matt and myself all felt that our choice of not getting dressed up was a major bad move; Alex, on the other hand had dressed up and was in his element with people already snapping photos of him and talking to him about his costume within only a few minutes of being inside. We pretty much became Alex's entourage and photographers for the day, more or less. 


Thor, Hulk, Hela & Grandmaster Costumes for Thor: Ragnarok

Upon entering the con, one of the first areas that we walked through featured a hell of a lot of Marvel figures, memorabilia, collectibles and all odds and ends. Among them was this awesome little exhibition stand which featured some of the costumes from the latest Marvel film, Thor: Ragnarok. It was great to get up close to the costumes and see all of the little details on the weapons and armour. I love the new look that Thor has on this film and the Norse mythology mixed with space/sci-fi opera theme, similar to that of Guardians of the Galaxy is something really unique.


Awesome Cosplay


The best thing about the whole day for me was how so many attendees were dressed in cosplay. A lot were so well made and you could tell that a lot of passion, love and care went into creating the costumes that they wore. It was great to see different people cosplaying together as well, often you'd see different groups of friends mixing with one another, like when two cosplayers dress as the same character but both went about creating the costume in completely different ways and stood talking about how they went about creating them or how perhaps a Joker would play off of someone dressed as a Harley. 

Here are some of the cosplays that really stood out to me the most on the day.

Left: Tyrande (Warcraft) Right: Ghost (CoD MW2)

Left: Mera & Nightwing (DC Comics) Right: Urdnot Wrex & Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect)

Left: Tux Trooper (Star Wars) Right: Wonder Woman (DCEU) 

Collectibles, Collectors and Creators

There were stands, stalls and exhibits everywhere you looked, filled with all matter of collectibles. Admittedly, a lot of it kind of went over my head or didn't interest me all that much as the majority was Anime/Manga orientated, which I've never really delved into (though after returning home from the con, a week later I did pick up 'Deathnote Vol. 1' from my local Waterstones to see what all the fuss was about). We also came across the awesome independent gaming clothing and lifestyle brand Insert Coin's stand and saw some great Pokémon themed clothing; and whilst doing so happened to bump into PokéTuber, Bird Keeper Toby who was so humble and such a nice person to meet. Check out his content if you're a Pokémon fan!

Overall Thoughts on Comic Con From A First-Time Attendee 

After a long day of taking pictures of all manner of cosplay, nerding out over some great exhibitions and drooling over some rare collectibles that would cost me a small fortune, Comic Con sadly came to an end for the day and we had to make tracks back to Hull. My first con was an awesome 10/10 experience which honestly I don't really know how it could have been any better, perhaps if I also dressed up and got involved in some pictures? There's always next year I guess! 

If I had to take away one thing and one thing only from my first con experience though, would be just how amazing it was to be amongst other people who are all there for the same thing; all interested in similar media that I love, whether it be games, TV or fim, everyone was there for the same purpose and were able to fully express themselves without fear of judgement from the outside world. There appeared to be (from what I could see anyway) no judgement, fear or hatred of anyone or thing within the con, everyone was so happy to be there and it was just such a buzz to see everyone vibing together. Needless to say, I can't wait to attend more in the future!


Have you attended Comic Con before? Did you get to attend this one? I'd love to know your thoughts on Comic Con, whether you've attended or not, let me know below!

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Getting Into The Halloween Spirit - Hallowed Art *NSFW*

25/10/2017


*Quick disclaimer - this post features some NSFW artwork, not suitable for viewers under the age of 18.*


Welcome back to the final week of my weekly Halloween season themed posts, where I've been bringing you a new post each week for the month of October. Not had the chance to read the previous posts yet? Check out my Seasonal GamingOctober Soundtrack & Spooky TV & Film.

In this fourth and final week of my seaonal posts I'm going to briefly go over some of the awesome Halloween inspired artwork that I've seen online recently. Hopefully you'll discover some new artists along the way, be sure to give them a follow if you love their work!

Pokémon Go Halloween Log In Screens 

Pokémon Go always has some great log in screens all year round, usually themed to the specific time of the year. Halloween is no exception, last year Gengar graced the log in screen, lingering in the woods waiting for unsuspecting Pokémon Trainers. This year, Gengar has brought a whole host of Ghost, Dark and Poison type Pokémon along with him to the log in screen! I absolutely love this piece of artwork for the log in screen and think it'd make a great print to hang up!

I love Dark & Ghost type Pokémon, have you been playing Pokémon Go lately or any other Pokémon games for that matter and had chance to catch any? I've not had chance to play much of them during this month, though I did pick up the Silver remake for virtual console on the 3DS.


Halloween Pokémon by @_AshKs

Sticking to the theme of Pokémon for a moment, whilst scrolling through some artwork posts on my Twitter feed, I came across these awesome illustrations of the Bulbasaur evolution chain which has an awesome added Halloween twist! I love the colour scheme of the orange contrasting against the Grass type evolutions and giving the leaves on top a crisp, dark orange autumnal glow.

These illustrations are done by AshKs, her brilliant illustrative work can be found on Instagram, Tumblr & Twitter. Go and check it out!

Matt Bailey Illustration

Probably my favourite pieces of art that I've come across online this month, Matt Bailey's illustration is iconic and once you've seen his style, you'll instantly recognise his work again wherever you may find it. I love the pen and ink process that he uses on his print range. Black pen & ink drawings are something that I'll always be drawn to, especially ones that have a BDSM/Kink or darker tone to them like those of Bailey's.

I really love kink/sex drawn artwork, I've no idea why really, perhaps its just the way artists interpret the kink/darker sex, or how the female form is taken and portrayed along side a darker theme. I especially love the little details on these prints that I've added below. The little nipple details, spit and drool along the tongues and partial shading, all done with line work. Seeing artwork like this really inspires me to make some kind of print or digital mini-series in a similar tone and style!

Check out Matt Bailey's awesome work on Twitter and you can order some neat prints through his website.



Edgar Sandoval Illustration

I think one of the things that I love about art, illustration and design is the fact that it doesn't have to be serious and often, never is taken too seriously. Edgar Sandoval was another artist that I came across this month whilst on my search for darker and Halloween themed artwork. Upon looking at his storyboard style pieces I instantly fell in love with the way that he shows the female form. He doesn't generally do the typical stick thin figure of a woman, each piece of his work features all kinds of body shapes and some really kink/bdsm heavy themes with some Succubus styles (one of my favourite dark themed art characters). 

His artwork is super detailed with lots of flowers, skulls, dark themes and sexual overtones. Perfect for this seasonal month! Check out his work over on Tumblr.




My Drawtober 2017

Of course, I couldn't make a post about Halloween inspired artwork without doing a little plug for  my own art, could I? Over the month of October I've been participating in Drawtober, a great daily drawing challenge where each day you create a piece based around a different Halloween style theme. I've been keeping mostly up to date with Drawtober and have been enjoying every moment of the artwork process. It's really helped me keep the creative juices flowing this month and has made me realise that I need to try and keep creating each day. I don't want Drawtober to end!

You can check out my Drawtober pieces over on my Instagram or follow my uploads daily on Twitter.


Day 3 - Double double toil ‘n trouble


Day 17- Daddy Long Legs

And here we come to an end of what's been a great Halloween month for Music, Gaming, Tv & Film and now also Artwork. The season isn't quite over just yet though and I intend to be carving pumpkins, watching as many horrors, looking at as much kink art and playing as many spooky games as I can until November 1st.

How's your Halloween season been so far, have you got any great plans for Halloween night? Let me know below. Do check out the artists which I've featured in this article too!

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Getting Into The Halloween Spirit - Spooky TV & Film

18/10/2017


Welcome back again to the third week of my Halloween season themed posts, where I'm going to be bringing you a new post each week for the month of October. Not had the chance to read the previous posts yet? Check out my Seasonal Gaming & October Soundtrack.

This week's theme is all about the TV & Film that I watch around the Halloween period. Typically, I aren't one for many horror films and have to really be in the mood to watch them, though I do love some of the cult classics and more modern ones that have a side of humour or deeper plot to them, rather than just mindless killing and butchering; oh and good luck to anyone who tries to get me to watch anything remotely paranormal (demon babies flying around the room and strange things climbing around ceilings? no thank you, good day to you, sir!) So here are some horror TV & films which I really love already and some that I plan to watch soon.

Saw


Saw is probably one of my favourite horror films, the original that is and perhaps the second, any instalment afterward is just a blatant cash cow and terrible film by my books. What made Saw so appealing for me was how original the story was. I remember heading to Blockbuster as a kid with my friend and his Dad when the film released on tape and us begging him to rent it out for the night for our sleep over in his loft. His Dad ended up renting the tape for us and we pulled an all-nighter watching it, playing games and eating sweets (oh how I wish I was a kid again, all-dayers are hard enough to pull off these days, nevermind the thought of an all-nighter).

The storyline to Saw is always one that comes straight to mind whenever someone asks me what my favourite horror films are; its filled with great plot progression, gruesome horror that actually makes you think and uses it as good plot device for the main story. Its not just some mindless killer killing for the sake of it, there is method and reason behind each death and the killer is a cunning mastermind and the story really does make you think.

Cabin in the Woods


I love horror films that have a slight hint of humour in them without going completely wacky and Cabin in the Woods nailed this perfectly with a horror theme, an overarching plot to the story which isn't quite fully explained and leaves you to think about it afterwards and draw your own conclusions. When I first watched this film I was pleasantly surprised by how it panned out as I expected it to just be the typical group of teenage friends get it on in a cabin and then end up being murdered by a Jason-like psychopath in the woods -- this was not the case though.

Without giving too much away about the main story, I love how horror folklore and different styles of horror are worked into the storyline and how each main character plays a role in the varying styles of horror included. If you haven't checked this film out yet then I seriously recommend you do over this Halloween period, its even on Netflix right now!

Young Frankenstein



A cult classic of comedy genius mixed with horror fantasy themes. This hilarious film is, what I consider to be one of Gene Wilder's best performances; seeing him play the role as the Dr. Frederick Frankenstein inheriting the estate of the late Dr. Frankenstein in Transylvania, discovering and then going on to recreate his late Grandfather's work on reanimating the dead.

With witty humour, charming and clever sexual tones and innuendos that only Wilder could pull off, as well as a great support cast that just cracks you up with laughter, Young Frankenstein is a light hearted comedy/horror fantasy film that is a must watch for the Halloween period. It's also available right now on Netflix too!

Other notable seasonal films that you shouldn't miss out on

Beetlejuice
The Addams Family
Shaun of the Dead
Freddy vs Jason
Hostel

On my Watch List

Lore



Whilst searching through Prime & Netflix for horror and fantasy films to watch this Halloween season, I came across the trailer for Lore on Amazon Prime. The art style and brief write up instantly pulled me in and enticed me to watch the trailer for the series. The six-part series goes over the history of folklore and the history behind the most iconic horror figures of today, ranging from vampires, werewolves and more. From the sounds of things it seems to be factual information, mixed with some drama and fantasy filmed perhaps a little like American Horror Story. After watching the trailer I cannot wait to jump into this series and learn more about horror icons! 

The Walking Dead Season 8


Season 8 is here soon and man, I have mixed feelings about The Walking Dead as of late. What a rough road this show has been, with some seasons having non-stop action and others being mind-numbingly boring, I really don't know what to expect from this show anymore. I love Negan as a villain and the ideas of the different factions banding together to overthrow him but each episode from the last few seasons has always left me high and dry without actually delivering the goods, too much seems to centre around Rick and just when you think everything's going to be hunky dory again, shit hits the fan once more and everything seems to get put straight back to square one again, leading up to more long and depressive episodes of not a whole lot happening!

That being said, I am looking forward to the series returning and its always a good addition to this time of year. The Walking Dead Season 8 returns on Monday 23rd October.

Stranger Things Season 2



I. Fucking. Love. Stranger Things. Season one was one of the only TV shows that I had to sit and binge watch all day until I reached the end, something that I very rarely do. When this promo shot for season two appeared with the gang in Halloween costumes as the Ghostbusters I nearly imploded with nerdjoy as the theme, subtle 80's references and storyline to the first one was just so perfectly executed in the first season, I cannot wait for more of Stranger Things.

I think the thing that I love most about Stranger Things is how there's just such an awesome community around it, making cool art, merchandise and all kinds of cool stuff related to the show. It's kind of just become this huge entity that isn't going to be going away any time soon and I fucking love it! Hell, this month they even released a FREE mobile game WITHOUT micro-transactions (hell has officially frozen over, water is no longer wet, the end is near) based on the first season in a style just like the old retro games of the 80's! 

Okay, before I go on and talk about Stranger Things for too long I best wrap up this blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading through some of my favourite picks for TV & Film for the Halloween period. Hopefully you get a chance to check out some of them over this season. Do you have any favourite TV & Films to watch over Halloween? Let me know below!

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Getting Into The Halloween Spirit - Seasonal Gaming

11/10/2017


Welcome back to the second week of my Halloween season themed posts, where I'm going to be bringing you a new post each week for the month of October. Not had the chance to read last week's seasonal post? You can check it out here!

This week I'm going to be doing a quick run down over three video games that I tend to play throughout the Halloween season each year, as Halloween is such a fun theme to explore in the world of gaming and it doesn't always have to be a scary horror game either!

Overwatch - Halloween Terror Seasonal Event


Its finally that time of year again in the Overwatch universe where Dr. Junkenstein is up to no good, sending wave after wave of his zomnics (zombie omnics, Overwatch's self aware robots which were originally created for labour) at a group of 4 players who have to survive the night by going up against staged boss fights with scaling difficulties.

What makes the free additional seasonal themed game mode so fun is the chance to obtain limited edition Halloween themed character skins which change the appearance of your favourite characters to a more spooky style. Check out the trailer to Halloween Terror below for a quick look at some of the new skins that have been added to the seasonal event, it also looks like last year's skins have been reduced in price and are still available to obtain in this year's loot boxes also, so if you missed out on that sweet Mercy Witch skin like I did last year, you always have a chance this year up until November 1st!


Overwatch Halloween Terror 2017 Trailer

Cthulhu Cultist Zenyatta and Witch Mercy, you shall be mine! 

World of Warcraft - Hallow's End Seasonal Event


My favourite time of year within WoW has got to be Hallow's End. I just love seeing the major city streets filled with pumpkins, people casting spells on one another to turn other players into bats, wraiths and other spooky entities, and of course, the Headless Horseman's dungeon in Scarlet Monastery Graveyard!

Its been a few months now since I last stepped foot into the world of Azeroth but now seems like a great time to delve back into such an amazing fantasy world and get into the seasonal spirit. I'm going to be rolling a fresh character with Vee and we're going to head off exploring, dungeoning and picking up as many spooky treats as we can along the way throughout the Hallow's End event, starting October 18th, I seriously cannot wait!

Screenshot from last year's Hallow's End event. The Sinister Squashling pet is my favourite!

There's all kinds of loot that you can get from doing dungeons, daily quests and simply picking up candy from the pumpkin heads outside of each Inn, dotted around the world. Two of my favourites are [The Horseman's Horrific Hood] which lets you scream out the terrifying laugh of the Horseman himself and of course, [The Horseman's Reins] letting you fly the skies on his horrific steed.

Full details on the Hallow's End event can be found here.

Fallout 4


Fallout is a video game franchise that I'll always hold close to my heart; since first playing Fallout 3 back in 2008, the charm of the post apocalyptic world of 1950's stylised, yet futuristic America will always be one of my favourite open worlds to explore in gaming.

The whole theme of the nuclear powered, incredibly stylistic 1950's inspired world which is filled with all kinds of dangers, from mutant animals that have been transformed by the radiation of the bombs that fell in the nuclear war, quirky factions that worship the very radiation coming off of unexploded bombs laying idle throughout the landscape and out right hilarious quests which can sometimes put you right on edge if there are a gang of these little fellows waiting to greet you inside of an abandoned building that you're about to explore..

Waddup Ghouls, it me, ya boi

Fallout 4 tells some great stories throughout it's main campaign, side quests and additional DLC. Some of my favourites which are perfect for playing during this seasonal period would be the hunt for alien technology from a crash landed space ship, visiting the Museum of Witchcraft in Salem and finding a sinister surprise inside, and of course, Halloween wouldn't be complete without donning the Silver Shroud costume and taking on the persona of a cliché crime detective/super hero inspired character, tackling the miscreants of the streets!

Fallout 4's Museum of Witchcraft, Salem - filled with all manner of spookiness inside

So there you have it, my three seasonal top picks for gaming during October which I always get around to playing this time of year without fail. I'm a sucker for anything iconic that has a pop culture Halloween theme to it when it comes to gaming and will always find the time to play. Do you have any favourites to play during October which has a Halloween/Horror theme? Let me know below!

(header picture from Wallpapersin4K)

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Getting Into The Halloween Spirit - My October Soundtrack

04/10/2017


It's finally October, my favourite time of the year! I don't know whether its because I'm a November baby and I've always gotten excited as my birthday comes closer or just that I'm from the cold north of the UK and grown accustomed to the colder climate pretty much all year round; but seeing the leaves turn a golden colour, the sun fighting through the cold mist of the mornings and seeing people's excitement for Halloween gradually develop throughout the month.

Now, I couldn't let the month go by without making some kind of seasonal celebration, so I've decided to run a small series of posts all throughout October, one post a week, each with a different theme in turn -- so, join me in this first post of the month where I'll be talking about my soundtrack for the month of October.

Spooky Cover Design Influence

Whilst curating my soundtrack I started to notice how a lot of the songs that I'd picked out went right back to when I first started getting into alternative music and gradually into heavier metal. There's something about metalcore and 90/00's rock that has always just screamed out spookiness and Halloween to me right from getting into it in my early teens. Perhaps it was seeing Slipknot's masks for the first time after school on Kerrang! TV or after picking up Bring Me The Horizon's first EP, 'TIWTEOYSWMF' off of the shelf in Virgin Megastore (R.I.P. Megastores, you are still missed) and instantly falling in love with the cover art. Whatever the reason, metal has always kind of made me feel more alive this time of year.


BMTH - 'TIWTEOYSWMF' EP Art 
('Who Wants Flowers When They're Dead? Nobody' is still my fav song /cry)

BMTH's EP wasn't the only cover art that I adored whilst going through my early teen years and discovering more and more alternative/metal music; take Alexisonfire's cover art for 'Watch Out!' or Slipknot's 'Vol: 3 The Subliminal Verses' -- I remember when I first laid eyes upon these and instantly having a sense of wonder and amazement over the illustrations and kind of design that was used. In fact, I'm pretty sure that this is where my love for graphic design really stems from, I've always loved looking at album artwork and picturing what kind of music I'd hear on the disc based on it.

Alexisonfire - 'Watch Out!' LP Art

Slipknot - 'Vol. 3 The Subliminal Verses' LP Art

To look at some of the selections for my soundtrack which have been produced in more recent years, the spooky/alternative and kind of general darker theme is still very prominent within the metal/rock scene, just taking on a more cleaner aesthetic with influences from old school tattoo flash and medical illustration. I absolutely adore this style of art at the moment, based around tattoo flash, old anatomical drawings and just general alternative and quite darker themes. Lately I've been working towards achieving this kind of art style with my own prints that I've been drawing on my iPad and I can't wait to show you guys some of what I've been working on in the near future.

Stick To Your Guns - 'The Sun, the Moon, the Truth: "Penance of Self"' Single Art

Fit For A King - 'Deathgrip' LP Art

So here's my October Soundtrack, 31 songs for the 31 days of October Halloween. Its been the motivation to get me through a lot of my work load and has gotten me right into the Halloween spirit, I hope it does the same for any other metal heads out there also! Starting off with some heavier new metalcore and some local talent from Hull also, then moving onto 90/00's rock before finally throwing in a few wild cards with the last three songs to get real spooky!


I hope you've enjoyed my little look at how cover artwork inspires and affects the way that I listen to music. What are your favourite spooky/autumnal themed songs for this time of the year? Let me know if you dig any of the tracks I've added to the playlist, hopefully you discover some new bands you might not have heard of!

Keep them peepers peeled for next week's post where I'll be talking about my favourite spooky themed Halloween video games that I love to play during Halloween!

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Discovering Tarot

14/09/2017


A week or so ago I came across a post by @veewilde on Twitter (you should check out her awesome feed for Witch themed vibes) which showed her doing some Tarot readings and I was immediately drawn to it as Tarot has always been something that's piqued my interest though I've never gotten around to having a reading done myself so I had to get in touch with her to find out how she did it and where to go about getting a set of Tarot cards myself.

Vee was super kind and replied to me with info on where to get some cards and gave me some tips for doing my own readings. After reading up a little more into Tarot and the cards themselves I went with a present/future ten card kind of reading and I was that taken a back by it that I thought I'd have to share it on here with you guys. Below I've put the captions that I found aligned to my reading. 

Knight of Swords - Action, Bravery, Capacity.
The Star - Bright prospects.
Two of Cups - Love, Passion.
The Moon - Danger.
Two of Swords - Conformity and the balance of courage and friendship.
Ten of Cups - Contentment, Taking charge of interests at hand.
Page of Cups - A studious youth, Rendering a service.
The World - Assured success along a route, Change of place.
Wheel of Fortune - Destiny, Success, Happiness.
King of Swords - Power, Judgement. 

Whilst each of these cards do have meaning on their own, together -- from what I can make out, with it being my first reading -- I was able to do a present and future reading of my situation in life. Here's what I read from drawing these cards.

I am currently working with hope of a brighter future towards a passion of mine, though along the way I'll encounter hidden dangers of previous contentment. Contentment can be achieved though (for better or worse). During this situation I'll be compelled to do service for good, which I'll be successful with. In the future, along this path I'll have the worry of my hopes and passions not working out though the hard work will pay off and I'll achieve my success. This success could place me in a position of power or I could be very judgemental of my own success, achievements or work.

Okay so, bearing in mind that I am a complete novice at this and probably have no idea what I'm doing, this is seriously far too accurate to just be coincidence. This pretty much just explained my entire thought process and feelings about my creative side and my goals for the future. I have recently started to pursue my creative works again after having some down time. I believe that these hidden dangers along the way is my own self doubt which often appears when I'm creating art. As for the contentment I believe that sometimes I can finish my art and be content with what I'm done though believe I could have made something better. The service for good is 100% my Purpose project which I created to try and inspire goodness in others, which was received well by many. As for the future, I'll always have the worry of not knowing where my creative side takes me in life as its such a hard thing to break into though to see success and a position of power being an end result does give me some reassurance.

[I also did a reading on my Mum too which was 100% her, with completely different cards to mine and just matched her current and future situation so much. Man, Tarot is fucking awesome.]

So yeah, that's what I took away from my first go at Tarot reading; I had such an awesome time learning about these cards and doing this reading, I can't wait to do more with them and do more readings for other people too!

Have you tried Tarot, what are your thoughts on it? Let me know below! 


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Purpose

12/09/2017

How do! If you checked out my previous blog post you'll know that I briefly talked about my most recent personal project 'Purpose' and whilst it was awesome to briefly mention it in that post; I really felt like I needed to give my month-or-so long project more justice and give it a little bit more of a write up within a blog post of it's own.

Ask yourself "what is your purpose in life? What compels you to get out of bed in a morning?" This is the question which I first asked myself and based the start of my project around. It was whilst watching The Minimalist's short animated YouTube video series, based around life and focusing on what really matters that I started to think about the word purpose and the meaning of it. I really started to dwell on the thought of our individual purpose, that of friends, family and loved ones.

From this, I got that feeling in the back of my mind -- that sense of urge, a drive, something that just kind of kick starts something in your very core that makes you want to do something. For me, as a creative person, that feeling often comes along when I get a new idea for a creative piece, which recently hasn't happened all too often, as I had a creative dry spot up until the purchase of my iPad Pro, which gave me that creative spark back! (Click here to read more about that in my other blog post). It was at this moment that I knew I had to create something based around the word purpose and the meaning of it to present to an audience to try and make them think a little differently and provoke some mindfulness, if only for a few minutes out of the day.


I set out straight away and started asking close friends and acquaintances what they believed that their purpose in life was and recorded my findings in my journal for the project. I decided to try and keep the project evenly split between male and female answers, along with different areas around the country and from different job roles, walks of life, etc. In hopes that I would get varying replies. The first batch of replies that I got were really interesting; ranging from short and snappy responses, to really in depth thought provoking ones. This is exactly what I'd hoped for and more.


After getting my first few replies I decided to compile my initial thoughts based upon these replies, taking note of who took part, their age, job roles, where they were from, their initial reaction to being questioned and more -- essentially, anything that could help me narrow down and analyse as to why they gave that particular answer. From this initial analysis, I then went onto ask even more people and then decide on what it was that I wanted to do with my findings and how to present it to people. The last thing that I wanted was to gather all of this information and then present it in a belittling or demeaning manner to my audience. I wanted the people whom I had questioned to feel assured that their replies were treated with respect and used for something good in mind.


Perhaps the most interesting part of this project was noticing how people replied to my question. Some replied instantly, others I had to question again and again to try and get an answer out of them and others seemed to kind of shrug the question off. This all really helped my findings though as it was awesome to see so many different beliefs, interests and thoughts from different people out in front of me on paper.



Once I had all of my responses written down, I started to read over them and really think on what it was that I wanted to create out of this project and what I wanted to put out into the open for the world to see. I wanted to make a difference, even if it was only for a minute out of someones day during their coffee break. I thought on making all kinds of media from prints, t-shirts, webpages and leaflets before finally deciding on making a short film, between 5-10 minutes long. The idea was to write out a script based upon my findings and commentate it over some kind of vector illustration or movie and after about a month or so of working on it between my day job and some rest, I arrived at the end result. Here it is, I hope you enjoy.


So ask yourself "what is my purpose in life? What compels me to get out of bed in a morning?" 

I hope you enjoyed this personal creative project as much as I enjoyed creating it. I've had feedback from several people saying that it really changed their outlook on life and made them think just a little bit differently. I can't wait to start my next creative piece which has a little purpose behind it, whatever it may be. Please do leave your comments below on what you think your purpose is in life also, I'd love to hear them!

The video is also available to watch on YouTube and on my website.

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Getting Back Into The Blogging Game

05/09/2017


Now then! It's been quite a while since I last did a blog post and I can honestly say that its just because of the fact that I've been so busy with life -- in a good way; constantly busy creating, pushing myself to do more and more good things, with good people (as well as, you know, the boring part-time day job but lets not dwell on the negative here). I've felt this constant wave of being super stoked and just really hyped with everything that I've been doing in life lately so let me give you the quick run down of what I've been getting up to since my last blog post back in July!

Firstly, I mentioned back in my previous blog post that I'd purchased an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil as kind of a positive affirmation to myself to keep pushing myself to create more art and further develop my own style whilst broadening my creative horizons beyond just the Graphic Design discipline. Let me tell you, this piece of kit is easily the best product I've ever purchased to help me in a creative way. Lately, I've felt like I've been tied down by the Mac at home and even if I use a friend's MacBook whilst out and about I still struggle to get my ideas out onto the screen but no more -- the iPad is awesome, I can sketch so many thoughts out daily and really spend time to develop those ideas that I feel have potential.


Over the past couple of months I've introduced a couple of really big lifestyle changes for myself. In my previous blog post, 'Change' I talked a lot about The Minimalists (check out that blog post to learn about the Minimalists and potentially have your life changed) and its thanks to their podcasts, books and videos that I feel like my whole outlook has just done a complete 180 -- I mean I feel like I was a pretty chill, zen and progressive dude before absorbing their content but damn, I just feel enlightened as fuck at the moment and there seems to be no end to it, its truly an awesome feeling!

I also think that its with thanks to embracing their content lately that I've seen more of my friends, made time for the people I truly want in my life, really stuck at and more importantly actually enjoyed my creative work, stopped chasing after girls and focused on numero uno, myself.

A post shared by customtaylor (@customxtaylor) on
After getting such a creative buzz with my iPad I figured why stop there -- I started up a small creative video project entitled 'Purpose' which I think I'll really have to cover on an entirely separate blog post on as it deserves more justice than a brief mention within this post. To cut to the chase, this project about life really connected me with some people that I've been out of touch with for too long and has helped me be more true to my creative self. If you're intrigued as to what the hell I'm talking about, go and check out the full Purpose video if you haven't done already - hopefully it'll get you thinking and maybe change your outlook on life!

With the great feelings that I'd been vibing off of with my iPad artwork I decided to finally give myself the push that I needed to get around to redesigning my website and of course, this blog! After a mind boggling couple of days of trying to sort out web domains and giving my brand a new lick of paint I finally landed on having customtaylor as my creative based work webpage, whilst having customtaylorlife to show the personal, blogger side to my identity. I feel hyped every time I go across all of my social media platforms and web pages as it is finally all together and feels like an actual brand image that I've had pictured in my head for so long but always struggled to get off the ground.


Anyway, I think that pretty much covers the really stand out things that have been happening lately for me; I'm super stoked with everything that I'm working towards right now and as I type this I've got tonnes of ideas flying around my head, ready to be put out into the open so yeah, if you dig what I create please do follow me on your favourite social media channels and get in touch with me too!

Tell your sister, your mister and whoever last dissed ya about customtaylor.

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Change

27/07/2017

Change

At the start of this month I invested in an iPad Pro and a pencil to go with it. I'd had enough of putting my creative side on the back burner to work overtime to earn more money to pay for more things that really, I didn't even need. Purchasing the iPad and pencil was a positive affirmation to myself to really throw myself back into being creative by pursuing the little illustrative style that I've been hit and miss developing on pen and paper for the past two years. I kept practicing, drawing; just doodling really - anything that came into my head to try and nail this style that I've been wanting to achieve. This was the first step in a small change for me which would then go on to snowball into something huge throughout the course of the month.

The first sketch I made with the iPad

I met up with my good friend, Jack, a week or so after my iPad purchase, we went for our usual walk by the riverside close to my home where we like to reflect on what we've been up to recently; usually talking about life, girls and everything in between. I'd brought up how I'd recently bought an iPad as a positive affirmation to myself and to try to get back into the creative side of things again. It was then that he recommended the documentary 'Minimalism' to me,"Just watch it mate, it is something else and will help you out big time." he said. This wasn't the first time that he'd recommended the film to me and for whatever reason, I just never got around to sitting down and committing time to watching it except, this time I knew that I was ready for it. Over the course of the past month I'd felt myself become more at ease and letting go with everything from the past, more accepting of the new and ready to start tackling my personal creative goals again. So, after meeting Jack that week I made an effort to sit down and watch the documentary and what happened next is going to sound like your cliché hallelujah "It changed my life!" quote from the back of a self help book but stick with me and hear me out.

Minimalism

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, the creators of the documentary that I'd so long been putting off watching. These are the two dudes who have flipped my world upside down, helped me get rid of (mostly) all my physical and mental clutter, and live a more minimalist life within the past week or so since watching. The documentary shows the pair travelling through the U.S. and teaching the ways of minimalism and helping people take on a more positive life, filled with meaning. Below is the trailer to the documentary which will give you a feel for what its all about.

Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things - Trailer

The documentary isn't about clearing out your cupboards, selling your house and cutting everyone out of your life to then go and life in the wilderness by yourself with no possessions. What minimalism teaches is to be more mindful, non-compulsive and considerate in all aspects of life -- to choose what we value most in our life and not just be a slave to the 9-5 working routine to earn more, to buy more things which will hopefully make us happy. (Spoiler alert, those things never do make you happy, at least beyond the first few hours of purchasing them). After watching the documentary, I went on to do a bit of background google researching into the guys behind the film; learning more about the minimalists and their whole ethos behind the documentary. Going through their website, theminimalists.com, felt like I'd stumbled into Aladdin's cave of wonders, unearthing a whole load of life hacks, tips, tricks and other techniques which would help me out in the future, I knew I was in for a great time ahead.

I completely immersed myself into the Minimalists' world by watching the documentary, reading some of their blog posts, listening to their podcast and went on to buy their first book 'Minimalism: Live A Meaningful Life' within the space of a couple of days. You could say that I'm pretty obsessed about their teachings and way of life -- and you'd be right. I've always considered minimalism to just be a description of a white walled home owned by a green tea sipping, beige turtle neck sweater wearing upper/middle-class couples. Looking back on that I realise firstly, how judgemental I was to categorise people like that and secondly, minimalism is a hell of a lot more awesome than anything in the aforementioned description. Since reading, watching and listening to media by the Minimalists, I just feel more zoned, grounded, awake; whatever typical self help jargon you want to label it as, it just feels great!

What's Changed?

Here's a list of everything that I've been making a conscious effort to do since taking on the minimalist way of life:


  • Bought a pocket diary - To keep a track of everything that I do each day and to look back on and remember how I've spent my time each week.
  • Cleared out my cupboards of items that I don't need or use anymore - Selling them on eBay or giving them away to charity. 
  • Evaluated how much worth I'll be getting out of purchasing a product and decided not to make the purchase - Consequently saving myself time, money and energy.
  • Meditate every morning for 10 minutes each day with the Headspace app - It's free to use and the guy narrating has the calmest voice I've ever heard.
  • Exercise for 15-20 minutes every day - Getting the blood pumping around the body releases endorphins which makes you feel great! 
  • Make sure I drink 2-3 litres of water every day - We're 90% water, stay hydrated and it'll work wonders for your joints, skin, muscles and more.
  • Try not to eat between meals and if I do then I stick to fruit or unsugared cereal - I feel less lethargic and better in myself.
  • Put my phone down - I saw a video the other day which stated that the average person aged 18-25 looks at their phone 40-80 times a day, imagine all of the things we could get done with our time if we just put it down and got on with that thing we've been meaning to do.
and finally
  • Started a personal creative project - One of the short films over on the Minimalists' youtube channel mentioned 'purpose' and finding what yours is in life. This lead me on to start a small project for myself where I've questioned close friends, family and colleagues about what they think their purpose is in life. With the answers I'm going to shoot a small film and potentially design a series of prints and give it some kind of meaning to it all, a purpose if you will -- and try and show people that there's more to life than just a 9-5, worrying over material things and getting caught up in the drama that life throws at us.

Overall, this whole minimalism thing, it's really working wonders for me and I feel like I've only just lifted the lid on it all, I can't wait to find out what it feels like once I'm fully immersed in this style of living. I'm going to keep plugging away at all of the above points and see where I end up with it all. Whatever I may end up making for my personal project I'll definitely be putting it up on here in the future also.

Have you seen the Minimalists' documentary, if so what were your thoughts on it? 'Til next time!



"Love people and use things, because the opposite never works."
-Josua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists.






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