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Sketchnotes for dummies

November 15th, 2014

Time for some creative goodness.

After reading this article on sketchnoting, I thought I’d give it a go.

Hopefully my attempt (below) explains it a little, have a read of the article to learn more – essentially it’s doodling notes on a talk in a manner more visually-pleasing than scribbled written notes on a page.


Give it a go, get in touch in the Facebook comments or on Twitter if you fancy sharing your attempt.


Ariticle: Smashing Magazine

P.s. Thanks to Creative Market for the share – give them a visit for some great design elements to buy, and six available for free each week.


October 14th, 2014

As someone who regularly ‘self-accuses’ of tidying to procrastinate, this blog post about ‘Clutter’ serves as some sort of therapy.

I enjoy a tidy desk, and I also appreciate how quickly my harmonious ecosystem can turn in to a pile of paper, pens and post-its. Jeff Goins takes a look at how messiness can harm both your creativity and your productivity, and gives some useful tips to get you heading in the right direction.


For me, it can often be as simple as knowing that a messy desk takes time to clear, so having a clear desk gets rid of that potential avenue for procrastination (or ‘Procravenue’). I’m pretty sure that logic works in some convoluted way.

Give it a read, give it a try and see how it affects your personal productivity – you can find it here.

Article link: Goins Writer

Now, courtesy of procrastination, enjoy some more of my recent workspace-related photos.


February 17th, 2014

Tonight I’m at Monty’s Lounge in Pokesdown for the first, hopefully of many, Espresso Session.

It’s an evening of chilled music, both mixed and performance, hosted by the wonderful Dave Ashley, who will be familiar to regular readers.

Here are a couple of photos to give you a taster of the atmosphere, head down to the next one on March 24th.

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

December 9th, 2013

Whilst there are many things I need to get around to uploading here, and many unwatched films on my “play next” list, tonight it’s all about The Hobbit (although we did watch The Muppets’ Christmas Carol first)

Due to our practices last year (evenings of rustic food and The Hobbit being read aloud in anticipation of the first film, An Unexpected Journey) there are now few things that get me feeling more festive than some early Tolkien. And recent production videos (see my previous post about this if you don’t know what they are – although the name does kind of spell it out) all point to the conclusion that this next film will be just as gorgeous.

#nofilter? The Hobbit's eagles fly at sunset

Few shots move me as much as this one. #nofilter?

I’ve talked before about the mixed feelings of awe and frustration that these brilliant films give me, so I won’t waste space here whining about it, but I’d compare it, in a way, to a minor form of the ‘Pandora blues‘ – the frustration of seeing something beautiful but knowing it just doesn’t exist like that in real life. Even small things like the vivid, oversaturated colour pallettes. Kinda makes me want to travel and see what beauty really is out there.

This musing started with an aim. It may have got lost somewhere along the way. Potentially as a result of my tendency to only write blog posts after 11pm.

A summary: I’m really, really looking forward to seeing The Desolation of Smaug this weekend. Let’s hope it inspires me enough to write a review after, although I think I made my views on film-review blogs clear in my last review of The World’s End.

On another note, I hope to use some time this week to upload a huuuuuge stack of pictures to my Flickr, with the aim of some of them sauntering their way over to the photos page in the near future!

First Edition Dust Cover for The Hobbit
PS: Just started watching the film in what I assume is Chinese, just to have something in the background. Brilliant.

Know your Onions

December 8th, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a graphic design book called, “Know Your Onions:Graphic Design“. It’s about graphic design.
Last week I read it.

It was a really good read, written with a refreshing sense of humour – very relatable. It lives up to its aim of trying to save the reader 25 years of experience in the design business – well maybe – but honestly, it’s already proved very useful in helping me to approach my design work in a different way. For anyone who does any sort of design work I’d go as far as to say it’s a ‘must-read’.

I visited the book’s website (which is unsurprisingly well put together, and extremely well-equipped with lots of download-able goodies) and couldn’t resist a quick tweet:

Anyway, one thing led to another, and I’m now proof-reading the new Know Your Onions book, “Know Your Onions: Web Design“. Pretty cool, huh?

So far it’s a great read, so go ahead and buy it when it’s released, and don’t forget to check out the original.

Book series’ website: Know Your Onions.
Buy “Know Your Onions: Graphic Design”: Amazon.
Buy “Know Your Onions: Web Design”: Amazon.

Forced Perspective

November 9th, 2013

Wondered how this would come out, a photo from a model at the dockyard. Think it’s alright, not amazing but I like the mood :)

Music and Short Talks

October 29th, 2013

Don’t be too blown away by the onslaught of blog posts…

I’m so excited for the event we’re putting on tonight, as part of our Twenties and Students programme at Lansdowne. We’re hosting a TED-style event at a local wine bar with some really diverse topics and great speakers, along with some musical performance. Can’t wait!

Event link: Facebook

Panic Station

October 29th, 2013

This is fantastically trippy and glitchy, and brings back so many memories of the gig. Wonderfully weird and so much colour! Is this actually what Japan is like?

Youtube link: Muse – Panic Station


October 28th, 2013

To think I took this photo just last week – with what the weather’s been like for the last few days it feels a lot longer ago.

Taken from the train on the way back from Portsmouth, just past Southampton Docks.

Ring – Guest Post

October 25th, 2013

I go to a lot of gigs. A few years ago I made a new years resolution to go to at least one gig a month and it’s the first resolution that I can honestly say has been a pleasure to keep. This has meant that I’ve wracked up a good number of gig experiences. I know all the top tips: (1) Don’t bother arriving at doors open, (2) dance your way to the front (it’s easier than walking), (3) always avoid taking a bag/coat. Whilst each gig is an absolute delight and I can honestly say not much makes me happier than live music, not many of them have made me leave with my jaw dropped after experiencing something massively out of the ordinary and unexpected.

So when Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival came round this year I made a point of not just going to the gigs but also to the things in the programme that made me go “What the….?!”.

So when I saw the description for ‘Ring” I knew I had to go! Here’s what it said:

“Presented by Fuel, Ring is a sound journey in complete darkness and an antidote choice. Wearing headphones that amplify every intimate detail, you are transported to another room very similar to the one you entered…

But in this room you have been recognised.

At times seductive, at times unnerving, Ring places the audience at the heart of a thrilling attack on their own identity.”

What you’re thinking now is exactly what I thought. What on earth am I letting myself into? I went on my own, which is always a bit of a leap out of my comfort zone, and joined strangers in being “recognised” in pitch-blackness on a VERY wet September evening.

We were led to a room with 6 rows of chairs facing each other. A man leaning heavily on a walking stick, Michael, welcomed us as we entered, took our names, gave us headphones and directed us to our seats.

We all had our headphones on as the lights went down. The headphones were only amplifying Michaels voice as he was talking, presumably through a microphone either on his person or hidden in the room somewhere. As it got darker there were mutterings from the audience, all heard through these headphones, and by the time it was pitch black there was a few nervous laughs and the sounds of people shuffling in their seats. Michael, with his walking stick, paced around the room explaining why it was so dark (to aid our collective imagination within this ‘group therapy’ session) and we all settled a little bit. Until he said,

“Right, now we’re going to move our chairs into a circle.”

WHAT?! It’s pitch black! How are we going to do that?! My bag’s on the floor, how am I going to find it… I’m going to trip over it and land on some ones lap! With the sounds of chairs scrapping the floors filling my ears I sat there, gripping the sides of my chair waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to awkwardly shuffle in the darkness.

But no one did.

On removing my headphones I heard nothing; no scrapping of chairs, no awkward laughing and shuffling and no Michael walking around asking people to move. Only then it was obvious that all the noise was coming from the surround sound headphones! I’m glad it was dark, I was pulling some ridiculous faces before I realised this!

For the following 50 minutes of AA/NA style ‘therapy’ I was introduced to a number of characters, their voices each seeming to come from different points around the circle we were all ‘sat’ in. They all seemed to have an issue (whether love or hate) with a character called Francis and after a short while (mostly after promptings from Michael) I realised that this Francis character was supposed to be me! So that’s what being “recognised” meant. During my time sat in the dark, not saying a word, Francis/me seemed to be the reason for loud arguments, storming outs, serenading (Why do birds suddenly appear!), and vivid story telling where we were encouraged to visualise the scene in the darkness.

All together it was an incredible exhibition of the power of sound engineering. By manipulating the sound heard it is possible to play tricks on your brain. There were so many occasions during the 50 minutes of blackness that I thought I saw a shadow pass in front of me, or feel someone hovering behind me, or lose myself to the point where I honestly believed I was sat in a circle of people in a therapy-esque setting. When the lights went back on I was surprised to see us sat in the same rows as when we started!

As you can probably tell, I haven’t stopped talking about this experience since I left that very dark room a month ago. So on that, I can’t recommend going to “What the…?!” performances enough. Of course, you are going to encounter some events/exhibitions/performances that are going to be a bit of a flop, but those are vastly outweighed by those experiences that you are going to carry with you for a lifetime.

So that’s my dare to you. Go to something that’s a mystery, and laugh with strangers because ultimately, at these kinds of things, no one knows what’s going on.

Thank you to the wonderful Daisy Carr for the first guest blog here at Sticks and Stones. Hopefully many more to come!