Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A Headless Goat and An Unknown Girl

Home education demands time and commitment not only from the students but from their tutors - namely the Itinerant Poet and myself.  There are times when our own work has to be juggled and priority given to these other responsibilities.

Edexcel English IGCSE Specification A requires the in-depth study of an anthology of non-fiction and fiction extracts, articles and poems.  I love being able to plunge into the pieces and indulge my slumbering love of analysing literature and, in particular, the poetry! Moniza Alvi's poem "An Unknown Girl" is wonderfully rich and I enjoy the whacky images of "A Game of Polo with a Headless Goat".  It is amazing how much of my O level English comes back all these years on although, I have to admit, it comes much easier knowing I don't have to sit the exam.  The two students are progressing well and I have great confidence in them to do well this June.

Drawing Doggie Slobber

I have finally made a start on the illustrations for the new poetry collection for younger children (aged 5-7).  The other collections contain a limited number of poems suited to this age group but we have no book purely for them.  The project has now been given priority as World Book Week is fast approaching and this book needs to be ready.

The sojourn in Mallorca on this occasion did not awaken my creative juices - partly due to the distraction of the home-ed push.  The time pressure to produce the book means I find myself wanting to try a different style of illustration with fewer cartoons.  Production turnaround time is usually less than the 7-10 days our printer quotes but this time of year  it is more likely to be nearer the 10 day mark.  That gives me until Wednesday 20th February to finish a book that currently has no title!

My software was looking a bit long in the tooth so I invested in an upgrade to ArtRage 2.5.     I have always liked the feel of ArtRage as it is more like using pen, paint and paper.  I upgraded from my freebie 2.5 to Studio Pro 3.5.5 for only £30.  I will also have a free upgrade to 4.0 in the next few months.  Studio Pro offers more brushes, stencils, media and textures than I could have hoped for.  It also has a wonderful tool called "Sticker Spray".  As a result, my creations are more generic and quicker to produce.  It also doesn't crash on the Mac.

The Itinerant Poet says that our illustrated books sell much quicker but at the same time the readers don't seem that bothered about what they contain (interesting conundrum for another day).  Today I find myself combining a simple cartoon in ink with a "rough fur" and "Paw Prints" sticker spray, Airbrush Spats 3D and "bubbles" to complement the poem "The Doggie and his Slobber".  I think that one of the other titles would lend itself better to the title though.

Batteried and Blue

Our beloved motorhome the "Mighty Buerstner" (obviously jealous of The Green Goddess after her MOT fix-up) has decided that it wants some TLC too.  None of the three leisure batteries will hold their charge so it is evident we need to spend some serious dosh.  Each battery is £110+VAT plus labour to test and fit.  However, it represents such a significant part of our lifestyle that we will just have to scrimp to cover the costs.  This probably means that the Itinerant Poet will be kipping in the tent in the Green Goddess to save on hotel bills.  We just have to hope that the weather warms up a bit!  

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