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Monday, 18 January 2016

More Experiments with Affinity Designer

2016 already, and a very Happy New Year to you all, albeit a little late.

I have continued my foray into the mysterious and fascinating world of Affinity Designer. Over Christmas a raft of new brushes were included in an update, which inspired a flurry of activity here, followed by giggles of delight at some of the effects achieved. I've also improved my understanding of the transparency tools, helped not least by the discovery that they were in fact hiding in plain sight. I'm embarrassed to say I was confounded by the beautiful simplicity of the package.

I've been working on a new look for QT in general. I'm aiming for something bolder and simpler, that is hopefully instantly recognisable. I think I'm close, but the question now is whether or not it will translate to the web. This is deeply technical and scary territory and so must wait until my resident expert has a few spare moments to investigate. Updates on progress, or perhaps lack thereof, will follow.

For now, here's a couple of examples of my experiments with Affinity:

An imagined planet with moon in partial transit

A hopefully slightly more familiar planet!

And a little hint of things to come.

And I'm being creative in other areas too thanks to a recent birthday present from my gorgeous daughter - wait for it ... dadedededadada daaaaaa! I got a 3D pen! I'll post about that another day. This is just a teaser.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring Petition

This is a plea to all UK based readers to sign a parliament.uk petition calling for continuous blood glucose monitoring to be available on the NHS to all insulin dependent diabetics. Continuous blood glucose monitoring (CGM) is a system of sensors that constantly check blood glucose levels without the need for repeated finger prick testing. It's more accurate and less arduous (and painful) than finger prick testing and it's safer as it works 24 hours a day, but it isn't routinely available on the NHS, only to those who meet certain criteria. The petition is asking that it be available to all who need it.

Please take a few moments to consider lending the petition your name.

Many thanks, and a very Happy New Year to you all.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Major Tim

Good luck Tim Peake, first British astronaut to go to the International Space Station (ISS). Wishing you a safe flight and a fantastic and productive 6 months in space.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

New Christmas Story

As promised, and seeing as it's December once more, there is a new story in the Christmas section of the Quirky Tales library. This one is called 'The Christmas Shakedown' and it's an appropriately daft story about three Christmas characters who decide on a change of scene.

I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Christmas Commercial Break

It's that time of year once more, roll out the decorations, swear at the blinking (or not) fairy lights, panic over undelivered parcels and ... yes, the annual Christmas advert competition! The papers have been discussing them at length, but I've picked out three that stand out for me:

This year's contenders are pretty good. I rather like Lidl's different take on things, with its School of Christmas, Sainsbury's  Mog's Christmas Calamity has to rate highly, after all, it combines a monumentally clumsy cat with a heartwarming story of neighbours helping each other, what's not to like? But I think the best is one from the left field - the advert for the Spanish lottery. Don't worry, you don't need to speak Spanish to understand the story, there are no spoken words, just a really sweet animation about a night janitor who fills the lonely hours by ... well, I'm not going to say any more, it would spoil it.

I'm working on another story to add to the Christmas section in the QT library. Hopefully it should be up in a few days.

Happy Advent everyone.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Affinity and Boldre Wood

I haven't done quite as much practice with Affinity as I had hoped. I've been occupying my time with a psychology course (coursera - University of Toronto) as well as looking at further work on the Boldre Wood Trilogy (more on that to follow).

I have however been looking at improving my logo/ emblem. The reader beneath the tree is nice enough, but I think Quirky Tales deserves a stronger image. What that will be I have yet to decide, but whilst I was mulling ideas I ended up creating a keyboard:

It was surprisingly easy, using Affinity's 3D effect to create the buttons, along with a metallic gradient for the case of the board. The more I use the software the more I like it. Hopefully it will inspire me to come up with a really strong image for Quirky Tales.

Now to Boldre Wood. I realised some time ago that the three books were perhaps a little long for the youngest readers in my target audience. With that in mind I am working on a shortened version of the story. At the moment I'm ploughing through the three books, working out which are the key points and which can be cut without changing the story too much. It's tricky. Some of my favourite scenes will have to be cut from the finished book, but the three full books will still be available even when the shortened version is released. It's going to be a long job, but I'll issue updates as I progress.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Free Books for Halloween!

My entire collection will be on free promotion tomorrow, Saturday 31st October. So, if you get bored with the witches and ghouls why not curl up with one (or two, or three, or even all seven) of my books.

Have a great, and safe, Halloween.