It seems like recently I have caught the drawing bug, probably largely helped by a sudden avalanche of sales for my Penguin Valentines Cards! It really has been rather exciting over here at Penguin HQ!
I’ve found that I really do love drawing cute little animals and it seems like i’m getting better and better every time i open up photoshop! I’ve even started recording my drawing process as i think it does help to watch back when i’m not concentrating on drawing, plus i think it could be quite a nice little addition to my youtube cannel that’s been lying dormant for so long! You can watch all my time-lapses here!
I drew these seahorses as another option for valentines day, but ended up not really liking them enough to put up in my shop. I do think they’re cute but, gosh, are seahorses hard to draw! Maybe i’ll revisit them once i’ve improved a bit more.
I started to relax into my drawing a bit more and drew this adorable Hippo! This has to be one of my favourite drawings to date! He’s wearing a cute little party hat and singing ‘Hippo Birthday’, because Hippo’s are obviously amazing singers! 😉 I think my shading improved so much on this picture and I just love the hippos character!
You can buy my Hippo Birthday card here!
Ashley then gave me the idea of drawing a shiny-object-loving magpie stealing a ring for a wedding or engagement card and I thought it was a great idea! I wanted to add a little simple background to this one and love how it turned out although i think i will tweak my shading tomorrow as it isn’t as good as on my Hippo.
You can find my Magpie Thief card here!
What do you think I should draw next?
I also have some other exciting plans for my youtube so do keep an eye out for more learning, projects and other fun things!
But for now, it’s time to sew!
I’m sorry for my quietness as of late, I promise I haven’t been lazy (in fact i’ve been more productive than usual) but my laptop decided enough was enough and stopped working completely.
Unfortunately for me it was the hard drive that had gone and I also had some unsaved work on there which I stupidly forgot to back up. 2 videos nearly completed (1 with animations and everything!) and a couple of photoshoots. All gone. But it’s my fault for not making sure I had extra copies of them, I can’t really blame my laptop as it is 5 years old.
I did go to the Apple store. Their customer service was amazing and the guy who saw me was really nice and friendly. But unfortunately it would cost about £200 for them to fix my laptop, something I just can’t afford at the moment. I probably had a very peculiar look on my face as then he suggested I refit it myself, showing me which to buy, and how to refit it. Instead of spending over £200 i spent £32!
My new hard drive is very shiny and pretty and I even fit it in myself, which, by the way, is super easy.
So now my laptop is up and running again, soon I’ll have photoshop installed again too and then maybe I can re-make the videos. I’ve now renamed it the FrankenMac as it’s been brought back to life with odd parts!
In the mean time I have been sewing. I’m in the process of using all these old t-shirts i collected whilst working the pub job to make a picnic blanket. Not much more to do!
In other news : I snuggled with a baby penguin. It was the cutest, softest and smelliest thing ever!
Obviously I was working hard at the same time, actually I find talking to the keepers is the best way to learn about all the animals. It really is the best job ever, I learn something new (and usually amazing) every single day! I seriously don’t want this summer to end.
I’ve always had real trouble with photography in low light situations and always blamed it on my old camera, plus they always say that light is a photographers best friend! But sometimes good lighting is just not possible, especially when not based in a studio.
I recently took my camera to work with me to take pictures of all the cute baby animals we have running around at the moment. I was getting quite frustrated at my camera not being able to cope with the light levels in the perfectly lit room, no matter how much I changed my shutter speed and aperture I just couldn’t get a clear, well lit photograph of the sloth and its baby (see attempts below). But there was an old gentleman, and regular at the zoo, who then told me about ISO.
Both unfortunately blurry and dark.
I had heard of ISO but had always thought that it would seriously reduce the quality of my photographs, something which is of course true if you’re not using it properly, as I wasn’t. After hearing his brief explanation I decided to change my settings and finally got some good photographs! I just wish i’d played with it earlier on in the day.
I did get a couple of good shots on a low ISO
Well since that day I’ve done a bit of research into ISO so I can learn exactly what it is and how to use it.
So what exactly is ISO?
ISO is the speed of the film, not to be confused with frame rate but instead it’s how sensitive the film would be to light. So a Low ISO would correspond to an insensitive film that would require more light to create a good quality image, whereas a High ISO would be a far more sensitive film needing less light for the same image quality. But even though you may need a higher ISO in certain situations, the higher ISO does also create grainier images and so it is best to keep the ISO as low as possible for the shot.
Of course if using a Tripod for a still subject it would be fine to use the lowest ISO possible, but for handheld camera work and moving objects it’s best to experiment to find the perfect balance between brightness and noise in the photograph.
It really is so important to understand all the workings of your camera, I’ve had mine for nearly 7 years and I’m only just learning how to really get the most out of it! I plan to carry on learning about all aspects of photography and hopefully it will improve my photographs, in fact i think it already is!
But it’s not only understanding your camera, it’s also understanding your subject so I also plan to study the animals i’m wanting to take photographs of as well. There’s not all that much known about sloth babies, as they have about an 80% mortality rate in just the first week of being born, and a lot of that percentage is from the mother dropping them! I believe this is the first sloth baby in our zoo for around 50 years. So not only is the sloth baby proving to be vital research for myself into the animal kingdom, but also for the keepers who are learning new things about how they develop, grow and learn too! It’s all very exciting.
I plan to take my camera to work again very soon and experiment more with the ISO settings, plus i want to get even more adorable photographs of various animals!
On the 27th I finally finished this tie I’d had in mind for far too long and I love it! It’s already available on my etsy here
On the 28th I opened the kitchen for the second time ever and first time on my own (5am starts! Ouch!) but as I was lighting the grill I noticed it looked kinda pretty. Obviously being at work I only had my phone on me, but the picture still came out pretty cool…or should I say hot 😉
On the 29th I was playing with this adorable fabric! I think I have to buy more soon!
On the 30th I dressed up all Chinese style for a photoshoot to celebrate the new year! Ok, so I didn’t actually take these photo’s but I did think of the concept, the styling, modelled and directed the shoot so I think it still counts. You can find the post I wrote here
I did actually take a photo myself on this day (sort of, it was after midnight but I was only just leaving work and hadn’t slept yet so I guess it counts). The weather was super foggy and looked awesome so I just couldn’t resist!
The 31st I had finished the adorable-fabric skirt and it really is cute! I took some bad phone photo’s as my camera’s battery had died and I’d lost the charger! Oops! Lots of photo editing later and you can find the skirt in my shop here
On the first (wow February already!) I had my last day of work for two weeks! Yey for being owed holiday! I also went and bought a new charger as I will be needing my Camera on Sunday! This charger not only charges my old styled DSLR battery (my camera is a very old model) but also AA, AAA (etc.), newer camera batteries, phones and has a car adapter! It’s going to be perfect for holidaying!
Today is Sunday and I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for the photo as I’m probably out and about taking it! I’m adventuring to the centre of London for the Chinese New Year celebrations and hoping to get a few really good shots! I’ll definitely update with a blog post when i’m back and the photo’s are fully edited so keep your eyes peeled!
What have you been celebrating this week?
I have a new endeavour to go hand in hand with my wildlife photography in progress and so set out to Alexandra Palace to see the fallow deer that will be featuring in it. Unfortunately they had all disappeared! I assume they are inside and away from this bitter, cold weather, but it was quite a disappointment. I do have some ideas for what I can do with some other creatures, though, whilst I wait for their return.
So as not to waste our trip, I got Ash to take a few photographs of me in my newest creation! A sparkly, flowery, cosy infinity scarf! It really was very warm and cosy.
The outer fabric is the same as with my cape, and beautiful black, shimmering fabric I just adore. Hopefully I can buy more of it soon as I’ve more or less run out!
The inner fabric is a gorgeous, silk-like fabric which feels lovely against the skin and features a pretty flower design.
The scarf can be worn in the depths of winter with a thick coat to keep you nice and toasty warm, but it is also a good match with a simple t-shirt in slightly warmer weather.
I wore it with a plain black top, and big black waisted belt finished with this gorgeous blue skirt. I felt that the flower patterns in the skirt and scarf complimented each other well, plus I am just in love with this skirt (a bargain £3 from Primark!)
As it was a rather cold day I also wore tights with knee length socks to keep my legs warm, and these adorable fluffy boots!
Finally I finished the outfit off with some earrings I made for myself ages ago (more like I loved them so much I couldn’t bare to part with them). The blue matched perfectly and the chain drops gave a sense of elegance to the outfit.
My make-up was simple. Just a light pink on my eyes with some winged liner and a hint of pink on the cheeks and lips.
Hopefully the Fallow deer will return soon, but for now you can find this scarf listed in my shop right here
I know this is something which is said every year, but for the first time I feel like it is actually true for me.
This year will be so much bigger and better than last year and it really will be a new start! I’ve just moved house, far bigger and better than the last place and I actually have a place I can call an office (I will have to take photographs soon!). After 2 years I finally seem to have a way out of the day job, which was only meant to be temporary in the first place, and seem to have bagged a job which actually excites me and makes me happy to go to work. And I’m more determined than ever to make The Penguin Theory a success.
Last year i’m afraid I only managed to reach one of my goals, but luckily I think that goal will be crucial for success this year. I am finally a lot more organised than I’ve ever been in my life, keeping to deadlines, sorting out paperwork, keeping notes in my diary. There is still a lot of improvement to be done but i don’t think myself or my family have ever seen or expected me to be quite so diligent.
I thought I should have some goals for this year as well, but this time maybe actually manage more than one. I decided to narrow it down to 5 big goals of things that definitely have to happen.
1) Make The Penguin Theory more successful
Regularly update my blog and other social media. make an item and/or go on a photography adventure every week. Make more sales on Etsy and at craft fairs. I don’t have to be living off it (although that would be nice) but i definitely want to make visible progress.
2) Get a Job I actually enjoy
I need a day job to fund my penguin theory adventures (unfortunately) but whilst I can’t survive of The Penguin Theory for the moment, I should at least be in a job I enjoy. My current job was never meant to be permanent and yet i’ve been there for almost two years. It’s time to move on to something I can look forward to everyday and I think I may have already found it! A couple of months ago I worked at Legoland for a week and loved every second of it. It’s a longer commute but so much more enjoyable which makes it an obvious choice for me. Not only are the hours more regular but they’re actually during the day! The only problem is that Legoland closes for a few months every year as a lot of the rides cannot be operated during the winter months. I am still trying to decide if I should keep the pub job for 1 day a week so that I can definitely have work in the winter or just to quit altogether and hope that I can find a temp job or make enough money through penguin theory for the winter months.
3) Go travelling
I want to go on holiday and explore somewhere I haven’t been before. In all honesty even somewhere in the UK would be fine, but it would be amazing to go abroad.
4) Enter Wildlife Photographer of the Year
It’s something I’ve always been fascinated with and in these last few months i’ve realised that I really do love to take photographs. I’ve always followed Wildlife Photographer of the Year and seen the exhibitions whenever possible. This year I’m determined to enter. It doesn’t matter if I don’t win, or even get a mention, I just need to try. I will most definitely be viewing the exhibition at the Natural History museum this year as well.
5) Pay off Debts and Start Saving
I wont lie, the end of this year has been horrendous money wise. Ash, unfortunately, had to leave university as we couldn’t afford for him to continue and with this difficult time in the job market he had to rely on me for a few months, the problem being that minimum wage is barely enough to cover my costs. Luckily I had a lot of savings but they are completely wiped now and we’ve even had to borrow money from my mum and our housemates. But now that Ash has, not one but two jobs ,we are slowly paying everyone back and can hopefully build up some savings between us again.
So did you reach your goals for last year and what are your goals for this year?
Now available in my Etsy store is this lovely woollen and Burberry patterned infinity scarf.
It’s a shame I wasn’t able to make this sooner as i will no longer be able to make and ship it in time for christmas, but i’m sure there will still be lots of cold necks around in January! (along with Etsy gift cards which I now accept thanks to my amazing sister)
This scarf is the perfect addition to any outfit as its colours and pattern make it very versatile.
One side is a thick woollen material for comfort and warmth. The other side is a stylish, burberry-esq material to add a pop of colour and interest (as well as being nice and smooth against your skin).
It is the perfect scarf to keep you cute and warm, but it also suits a more grown up attire. I also believe that it would look just as fantastic on men as it does on women!
So don’t let your neck get cold in this wintery weather! Wrap up warm with this cute and cosy infinity scarf!
Picasso is getting all excited for Christmas and already has his stocking out! Although he’s having a lot more fun inside it rather than hanging it up 😉
Have you got your stocking out yet?
Now available in my shop is your choice of 4 of my London 6×4 prints for only £6!
Choose from any of my london prints (priced at £3.95 separately) to create your own collection. There are lots to choose from and even more to come!
Express your love for this iconic city with your very own set to decorate your shelves. These 6×4 prints would look great in frames for any London Lover.
All are printed by a professional photo lab on archival paper. Watermarks will be removed and replaced with a small logo on or around the print.
Other sizes of all photographs as well as mounting, laminating and canvas prints are available. Please contact me for more details.
I really do love london (although living here is maybe a little too expensive). I think my favourite place to go is the natural history museum. It’s just such a beautiful building and holds so many weird and wonderful things! I also love the south bank as there’s always so much going on! And you can’t forget the many parks dotted around for nice relaxing summer days!
What’s your favourite thing to see and do in London?
Sorry I’ve been so quiet yet again, it’s just all very hectic on this end. I have just moved house (I’m sure there will be pictures soon once everything is sorted out) and I am currently working 2 jobs. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for The Penguin Theory but I promise I’ll be back with the regular updates soon. 🙂
I have managed to squeeze in a bit of time to update my shop with some new halloween products ready for the scary season! You can click on the images to find the items in my Etsy store (watermarks on prints will not be on the purchased product but replaced with a smaller logo on or around the print).
If you want some spooky halloween decor which would also be perfect all year round then look no further than this Halloween Glycee Art print . It features a stunning spiderweb glistening with early morning dew. I took this image on a misty october morning in Newquay. It is available in a range of sizes and would be perfect this halloween.
I have also listed another very eerie print which I took from a small boat on the reservoir at Panjiakou, China, where the great wall crosses water before heading into the mountains. The misty morning combined with the mountains and the lake made for a very eery atmosphere, just perfect for some dramatic photography.
Although I was mainly at Vandem for the gnarly skating shots and to support Ash and our skating friends, the fashion loving side of myself also kept my eye on the clothing which was coming down the hill. There were a lot of bright, fun shorts, vest tops, and colour matching; from the normal skater to the quirky and distinctive.
There were a lot of full leathers, obviously you want to keep yourself as safe as possible when travelling 40+mph on board, and quite often these were not only colour co-ordinated with their helmets but also their boards!
There were a lot of brightly coloured shorts.
And of course no event is complete without a bit of fancy dress!
There was even this beauty spotted partying the night away:
But my favourite fashion find from the weekend was around the neck of a skater named Ryan Swanton. Not only did he look pretty cool in his sporty shorts and vest top, but he was wearing a nice black beaded necklace to which he had attached an old rusty bearing.
Ryan has been skating for around 2-3 years but this was his first time at Vandem. I asked how he found his Vandem experience and he told me that ‘it took a while to ease in, but all today i’ve been getting faster’. He agreed with me that it was extremely well run and he would definitely be coming again next year!
I actually have some old ruined bearings in my drawer and so think I might make some jewellery out of them for myself.
Thanks for the inspiration Ryan!
‘Till next time!
I have been playing with my photography and decided I’d love to make some more interesting things out of it. I got brainstorming and have come up with some good ideas, the first of which is now up for sale!
This is the first of my clock series. I have many more ideas and will be accepting commissions if you have a particular print of mine (or even your own!) which you would like to be turned into a clock.
This modern clock features some gorgeous welsh countryside, complete with grazing sheep!
It measures 30cm in diameter. It is also available with numbering or dashes, please contact me for more details.
The back is signed with ‘The Penguin Theory’ the clock name, and the number of clock made. It runs with a standard AA battery which is easily changeable and has a hook on the clock mechanism to hang it on your wall.
There will be more clocks to come in future as well as more prints and some new sewing items! (Yes i promise I haven’t forgotten about the sewing machine)
In other news, I finally got some new glasses! They’re just for reading and computing so hopefully I will be able to see what i’m editing a bit more easily now. 🙂
‘Till next time!
I have a lot to catch up on, such as a recent trip to cornwall to shoot a skating event. I’m still editing all my photographs and will be doing a big blog post on it soon! But first an update on my photography!
Today I received the first of my prints in the post! I just ordered some small ones as a test purchase but they all came out great! Very happy with the quality and speed of delivery from DS colour labs and can’t wait to get ordering more!
There are also two more items not included in these photographs as they are part of a top secret project I am working on and should be completed in the next month or so!
I have actually put one of my photographs up for sale on Etsy already! This print was taken in Grosmont which is in the county of Monmouthshire in Wales.
I loved this photograph as soon as I took it, I find the rolling hill very relaxing and love that I can see walkers trekking up the sides and standing at the top.
It is available in my etsy shop here and can come as just the print or mounted on card or foam board.
I can’t wait to get more of my photo’s printed and up for sale! I have some prints which I am really excited about showing off!
It was my birthday a few weeks ago and to celebrate I decided what better way than with Zoo Lates at London Zoo!
I am obsessed with animals (especially Lions and Penguins) and felt that I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
The zoo was filled with exciting things to see and do, we started with the animals, in particular the Africa area. We spent probably far too long laughing at an Okapi’s tongue, watched a graceful giraffe, braved the nocturnal section, searched for the illusive sumatran tiger, partied with the penguins, longed after lions and much more!
My favourites, of course, were the Lions and Penguins. The Lions we’re so close to the glass I could’ve touched them! The penguins unfortunately stayed towards the back of their enclosure, but then again it was right before they closed so maybe they were all tired. I pulled a penguin pose for the camera and then tried to steal one of the cardboard cut outs…Or at least thought about stealing it…
They also had lots of bars, all with a different theme such as the playroom where you could have a wrestling match, hula hoop, play jenga and even twister! There was a silent disco where everyone wears headphones which the music is played through, hilarious to listen too when you take them off and hear everyone singing out of tune. There was also a big international food market with lots of tasty delights to sample.
I wore a bright, high waisted, tribal skirt to to give off an African feel and matched it with a bright orange crop top and sandals. I felt quite…naked. I’m not used to going out in such little clothing, but it was really warm and so i didn’t regret it.
I even painted my nails to match with the animal theme!
The whole event was very well run. There were loads of things to do, not just seeing the animals, the staff were extremely helpful and the atmosphere was electric! The animals started going to bed (or so we were told) at 8:30 and gradually the enclosures were closed off until everyone was in the ‘entertainments’ area for the last half hour.
Afterwards we carried on the party in Camden, always a fun place to go.
The day after was my actual birthday. I decided what better way to celebrate and recover from the night before than by having a bbq! We borrowed a friends garden and bbq and then had a nice, relaxed afternoon chilling in the sun (if you ignore the random downpour that stopped as suddenly as it started!)
For the bbq I decided to dress up a bit still and wore one of my favourite dresses. I bought it at a festival and have always loved the way it poofs out in the skirt. The fabric is also really pretty, I fell in love with it at first sight!
I kept myself warm with a cute, batwing cardigan from warehouse.
I made these earrings ages ago and found they matched perfectly! I really like the little red and blue beads and was experimenting with using suade, i think they turned out really nice.
The bag is from Zatchels and was a suprise birthday gift from my sister! Zatchels are all handmade and just exquisite. I absolutely love it and it even has a little space for one of my business cards to be on display! They come in a wide range of colours and patterns too.
It was a really great birthday! Hopefully next years will be just as good!
I finally updated my Etsy shop with a new listing! I got the inspiration for this tie from my day out at Royal Ascot. I felt this would be the perfect tie for the more laid back man who wanted to show his patriotic side.
It boasts fun a fun print of royal crowns on a vivid, red background and is made of cotton.
You can find the item in my shop by clicking here
All my other projects, though, seem to be very against me. I’m either messing up the measurements, making silly little mistakes or just not having enough material.
I’ve decided all these projects have been weighing me down as they’ve been in progress for months and I just dont know where to go with them, and so I decided it was time to start afresh. There’s no point in forcing these other ones, my theory is that I’ll think of a way to fix my problems when i’m not forcing myself to.
So i’ve started a brand new summer project! So far so good, lets just hope it stays that way!
‘Till next time!
Recently not only have Ash and I taken up Longboarding, but we’ve been trying lots of other fun things such as slack lining (walking on a special rope that has been stretched out, usually between two trees) and Poi (balls on string that are swung around in different patterns and rhythms).
I really enjoy Poi and just have a feeling that this will be something I could actually get really good at if I keep going! (much like my sewing which has been sadly neglected recently, there will be more updates on that soon though I promise!) Ash and Jack taught me my first move, but that was all they knew, some of the longboarding crew also know Poi and a very nice girl taught me some very pretty moves which I am practicing to get them flowing nicely together.
Yesterday Ash, Jack and I decided to relax in the park and practice some of our hobbies. Ash tried the Coleman Slide again on his longboard, he’s almost got it and I think it wont be long until he’s busting them out like a pro!
Jack wiggled around on his waveboard. I really want to learn how to ride it but last time I tried I hurt myself quite badly, one day I will get the hang of it though as it does look pretty cool!
I practiced Poi, trying to link my new moves together. I didn’t quite get the hang of it, at least not smoothly, but i’m getting there.
I wore a nice summery outfit with a comfy maxi skirt, flip flops and a flowery top. Well I say top, it’s actually a little skirt but as I was looking through my wardrobe I started thinking a strapless, flowery top would look nice with my skirt and decided to see what this skirt would look like worn this way. I think it actually turned out really pretty and I’m so excited to now have a ‘new’ item to my wardrobe without spending any money!
The boys were also dressed very nicely.
Ash was very colour co-ordinated in his green and orange shorts and a green ‘sack boy’ t-shirt, even his helmet (green) and board (orange) matched!
Jack wore his usual comfy attire with his nice new shorts from a shop called ‘The New Yorker’ that he found on his recent travels around europe. The shorts were brown with a tribal pattern. I love tribal patterns!
We also took some video’s as I’d like to document my progress in both Poi and Long boarding. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to make a little montage of both mine and Ash’s progression. 🙂
‘Till Next Time!
Congrats to Jennie Evans! I have already sent an email and hope to post the bag to you soon. 🙂
And don’t forget there’ll be more competitions to come!
For now though I have some more screen printing to do (and some new designs to try) before going and practicing some long boarding with Ash.
We both have snazzy new helmets from Octane sports to keep us safe now so there’s no excuse! 🙂
I’ve been bad and haven’t quite gotten round to much sewing, but I do have another competition for you all!
Again it’s for a Penguin Theory Tote bag with your choice of lining (to be discussed with the lucky winner)
It’s easy to enter: Just tell me what your favourite penguin is! Simples!
I have a handy little thing from rafflecopter this time as well. You can enter here on my facebook page
Remember you can also buy this bag on my Etsy and 20% of every sale goes to the RSPB to help save rockhopper penguins!
As promised May brings you lots of competitions and new products!
Here is your first chance to win, all you have to do is like and share this image on facebook to enter! But hurry, you only have until midnight on Monday the 6th (GMT)!
Up for grabs is this adorable tote bag with Picasso the penguin printed on it. It’s the perfect bag for this summer to carry all your extra bits and pieces!
This bag is also available in my Etsy shop where 20% of every sale is going to the RSPB to help the falling numbers of rockhopper penguins.
And remember to follow this blog and like my facebook page to know if you’ve won!