Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The work of Andrew Loomis

Andrew Loomis, 1892 – 1959, best known for his books on drawing.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Want a PC that works? Then don't call Mesh...

According to Woodstream, cockroaches get into the cracks and crevices of homes, taking up residence in kitchen and bathroom cabinets, under appliances and furniture. An adult female cockroach can produce hundreds of thousands of offspring in her seven to eight-month life span.

Eight months is also the life expectancy of a PC bought from Mesh Computers. Except that a Mesh is less capable than a cockroach as it cannot produce a single offspring, let alone thousands. Roaches make their way into your home of their own accord and don't cost much when they there (unless you want them to leave which, admittedly, is an expensive proposition). By contrast the Mesh PC costs hundreds of pounds, arrives late, transpires to be incomplete and those bits that are missing only get refunded after weeks of chasing. Mesh PCs die after eight months. This begins with intermittent hanging, then proceeds to a cheery message which tells you that the hard disk has failed. Frankly, if they were animals they would be extinct by now, but the manufacturers still seem to be producing the buggers despite the principles of evolution being heavily stacked against them.

So, if you want a PC which works for more than eight months DON'T BUY IT FROM MESH COMPUTERS. In fact, don't buy a PC at all and get a Mac, which is what I'll be doing next time.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Life drawing

Tomki and I went to our first life drawing class last night. It was in an old red brick Victorian building in the midst of a horrific East London estate. I shackled my bike to a door as best I could and spent a jolly ninety minutes drawing a very fat, naked man. All the artists lay their drawings down at the end and we took a wander to look at our peers' work. Tomki had chosen an unfortunate seat which allowed him the most unflattering view of the model's last pose. The man lad lain down and his legs were slightly parted. Tomki, bless him, had done his best.
"Which one is yours?" I asked.
"The one with no hands," he replied.
"And the willy," I added.
"Yes. When we did life drawing in school there were only three of us who drew the willy. I was one of them."
"Who were the other two?"
"The girls."

You can see my efforts below. I was unexpectedly frustrated by the lack of flexibility that Photoshop and my Wacom usually allow. You can't just ctrl+z your way out of trouble, or turn off the layer you have just ruined. Next time I think I'll try a different medium. I'd prefer materials that allow me to achieve more detail. These were drawn on A4 with a very irritating brand of pastel pencils which are specially designed to shatter when you pick them up. Or just look at them.

Saturday, 16 January 2010


The great photographer Lee Miller took few photos later in her life. A couple of years before her death she was asked to snap some friends, but declined saying something along the lines of, "Once you have been a professional you can never be an amateur". This neatly sums up how I used to feel about phonecam photography - I considered it too basic and horrific to contemplate.

My opinion has changed recently in response to a long period where I have not taken many photos. Also, I captured the dear old lade below yesterday in a bizarre North London cafe (when I was hunting for a jacket potato for a colleague's lunch). I am attracted by the parallels between vintage photography and phonecam photography (poor lenses, grainy response, long shutter speeds) but dislike the idea of trying to Photoshop the results to look vintage. It seems too dishonest.

I am mooting some ideas so watch this space.

Friday, 15 January 2010

My childhood has just been ruined

I enjoy watching 80s cartoons when I am vegging out. It's never pleasant when your dear little childhood memories are wrenched from you. Which is what tends to happen when the stars of your favorite shows rock up at your flat buck-naked. Which they have just done at Chez Tammy.

I was watching the Thundercats episode The Beginning and suddenly all the characters are starkers. Whoever uploaded it to YouTube decided to helpfully point this out with subtitles. I've only just woken up, so I am really not sure what's going on or what the deal is with this, but I thought I'd share it with you anyway.

Oh, and as you can see, they seem to lack genitalia.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Civil Defence handbook

No idea where I got these, I am afraid, but they are wonderful examples of early 60s American fear-mongering.

Saturday, 9 January 2010


When I started my new job at the NHS I was asked to complete a report on a Grade 1 Listed building. I made a real effort with the document and included lots of 3D renders and exploded diagrams. I was afraid my Director would say, "It's nice, but you haven't thought about x, y and z". When I gave it to him he looked at it for a while in silence, then asked, "How did you do this?" I explained I had used graphics software I had at home.
"How much would it cost to buy a computer to do this here?"
"About £2k, with the software."
"Fine - do it."
So now I get to tinker with graphics for my Trust, which is one of my favorite parts of my job.

Infographics are wonderful. They are a refreshing form of graphic design which prioratises the communications of specific, complex information over aesthetics, but a good infographic looks beautiful. I'll no doubt blog about some of my favourite designers in the field, but I leave you with a WIP version of one of my newer pieces for my Trust.

Also check out:

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Nuclear reactor wall charts

Some awesome cut-aways via peacay.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Comments - please help!

Hi all

There is definitely a problem with the comments on my blog. The comment box does not extend far enough down to show the field into which you must enter the answer to the captcha. My knowledge of HTML is pretty basic and I cannot find any line in the code which controls the height of the comment box.

If anyone can help I would be ever so grateful.

You can download a text file of the code by clicking on:

Do email me on tammy att tearsofenvy dott com if need be.

Thanks all,


Saturday, 2 January 2010

Salem's Lot

One of my abiding memories of the 80s is the video shop. I loved the whole experience of going to choose tapes, not least of which because I was fascinated by all the box covers. My sister and I would spend ages gazing at them and would point to boxes like Jim Henson's Labyrinth and ask, "Mum, is that a man or a woman?" to which she would reply, "That's David Bowie, dear".

The 18-rated films, of course, held a special fascination with their gloriously graphic artwork and airbrushed logos. One that always attracted me was Tobe Hooper's version of Stephen King's Salem's Lot (with the silhouette of the Nosferatu-like vampire above an old house). I have just watched the film (re-cut from the original TV series) and can highly recommend it. It's a slow-burner but builds very well. The art direction really comes into its own near the end when the protagonists enter the vampire's house, the set for which is reputed to have cost $70, 000 with a further $100,000 for a full-size exterior. The interior displays the same twisted decay as the famous house in Hooper's earlier Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Barlow vampire makeup is a bit ropey by today's standards, but it's sufficiently graphic to still shock. There are some truly terrifying scenes with children floating outside windows and, in particular, the most ghastly piece of cloth since the BBC's version of Whistle and I'll Come to You. The title sequence (with the stenciled font you see in the images below) won Best Graphic Design and Title Sequence at the 1980 Emmy's.

And it's got James Mason in it!