illustrated moment

making sense with words and pictures


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Creativity creates creativity

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Are you as excited as I am to see the days lighten just that little bit – signalling the approach of warmer seasons?

This winter has been going on for so long, and when you’re forced to commute to work in the dark hours, things can quickly seem bleaker than they really should be.

But I can’t complain – I have been feeling quite excited lately with the realisation that this is (hopefully!) my final year at university – before I enter the big adult world of paid employment and taxes. I enjoy the sense of progress, as I’m sure you do too! There’s nothing more satisfying than being close to achieving your targets, giving you the opportunity to dream more realistically about the future waiting for you.

I admit illustrated health has been unintentionally paused until the summer months. This is a fact which makes me sad – along with enjoying the sense of progress, I’m also a big fan of multi-tasking – but the reality is that my current workload is dictating my life. I cannot wait to get back to creating cheesy videos (which I hope you all enjoy!).

But I haven’t completely stopped, I’ve created a shop on Etsy to sell greeting cards with even cheesier health-related designs! Creativity creates creativity, and that’s what I’m banking on – by refusing to give up the part of my life where I can draw, make and write, I’m hoping that as the following months intensify with stress due to upcoming exams, my imagination will be a healthy escape.

I’ll leave you with a couple of links: for an occasional tweet check out the illustrated health twitter account, for all the slow work I do in illustration and selling of greeting cards head over to my Etsy shop!

In the meantime, know that I miss you all!

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Twitter: a politician’s nightmare

Today is a day of enthusiastic voting – well, it is in the UK anyway! Citizens of the kingdom, which is united, will be visiting polling stations to register their vote for their local government and European Parliament representatives. There are even a good majority of citizens who have already submitted their votes by post, and are seriously on the ball.

If there is one thing us British do well, it’s the thing the rest of the world calls democracy. As a nation, we are fearlessly outspoken about who we want to lead us politically and are unafraid to bring lazy politicians to their knees. People take pride in their votes – and they most definitely should be. Every significant candidate is scrutinised by the media under the watchful eye of the public, so that when the time comes to put a big juicy cross next to the name of your choice, you are very well informed about your decision.

So that’s great…yes, but despite living in a super-multicultural society, with people from every possible background, faith, sexual orientation and socio-economic status, there will always be a handful of the population who want to vote for a party which only favours those who are pro-segregation, racist, intolerant and just darn right silly. Unfortunately, there isn’t a shortage of such parties wherever you go in world.

Now for the gossip low-down! There is a party which calls itself the UK Independence Party, otherwise affectionately known as UKIP. They are the definition of that racist, backward and intolerant mentality that we all want to cleanse from this Earth. Anyway, so they thought hey, let’s show people how we can use technology to look like we care about the public’s opinion – why don’t we gather some virtual support for our waste-of-space-excuse of a party by encouraging people to use #WhyImVotingUKIP.

And people took to it like a pig to mud.

What was initially invented as a way of gathering positive support before the big election, was quickly devoured by the glorious sense of humour and effortless sarcasm that make the British so awesome. For the first time I really really liked Twitter! I found myself laughing at the hilarious genius behind the long list of tweets and sat there for a good hour just soaking it all in. Boy, did UKIP’s efforts at social media backfire! It’s hard not to feel proud that these are my people – their wit and their fearless objection towards intolerance will protect the interests of everyone who calls the UK home. Regardless of who you are and what your beliefs are, you have the right to be here and have your say (even if you do want to vote UKIP), but that right is actually a privilege which is defended by the tolerant, compassionate and crazy cool people who make up majority of the population. You cannot yap on about the importance of your freedom without giving a single thought to the freedom of your neighbour – so when you do vote make sure that your choice is one which will enable others to have a choice too!

Now here are some of my favourite #WhyImVotingUKIP tweets:

 


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The 4 truths of being a pet owner

Living with a pet is the most amazing thing, right?

Watching them grow up in front of your eyes and becoming more confident with each passing day. Watching them make a complete mess of your house but only being able to see their cuteness. Caring for them by cleaning and feeding. Playing with them. Using every given opportunity to buy them new treats and toys.

Oh, what great fun it is to have a pet! Or is it that your pet has you…?

Are you ready for the 4 universal truths of being a pet owner? In the usual illustrated moment tradition there will be dorky cartoons to emphasise my points, and today the role of the pets will be starring the Bumble chicks!

Let’s begin with the first truth!

1. You are their personal slave

Once upon a time you had autonomy – you decided how you spent your time. You were wild and free! But then you brought home your pet and now you are doting on their every demand. You feed them when they want to be fed – how dare you try to adjust their diet into something healthier! It is playtime when they are in the mood for it – what do you mean you have other areas of your life you need to pay attention to? You may sleep soundly when they permit it – why do you keep moaning about this ‘not getting enough sleep‘ thing? Admit it, you are their personal slave and you don’t even mind it. You witness that little jump for joy and the energetic, happy run at 3 in the morning and every bit of it is justified for you! Ah, the ball and chain of Love.

2. Your day revolves around them

Your beloved pet determines every aspect of your life. All the activities in your day are scheduled after their needs have been met. It’s all part of being a loving pet owner. Sure, it can be annoying when you don’t have a pet who is good with travelling or boarding services, so you must resort to never taking a holiday. Yes, sometimes you want to stay out a bit later than usual, enjoying the moment, but actually you must get home because they would have missed you and you can’t stop thinking about them. Of course, you would absolutely love a lie in and wake up lazily around midday to forage for food in the fridge, but let’s face it, they determine when you wake up as well as when you can sleep. Our pets can be demanding and bossy but isn’t it amazing to know that they crave our attention because they love and trust us completely? Our day may revolve around them but we must remember that they depend on us with their lives.

3. You are convinced they understand you

You moan about your day to them, you sing to them, you read them bedtime stories, you don’t swear around them, you use baby babble to coo at them. Whatever means of weird and wonderful communication you have adopted with your beloved pet, just know that non-pet owners think you’re losing it in the mental department. Some pets are intelligent and well trained to understand certain words and gestures, but I don’t have that kind of pet. I am the proud owner of a rabbit by the name of Bilbo and he is deaf. Yet I still speak to him and read him bedtime stories (not making this up), because in my heart I think he understands the attention I give him. When we communicate with our pets we tend to face them, make eye contact and physical gestures, and for that moment we are not glued to a computer screen or a phone – that has to mean something to them. However, I must admit that sometimes I see understanding in their eyes and then the conscious decision being made to be mischievous, just because they know we can’t do anything about it. Little cute monsters.

4. Your choice of discipline? Why, cuddles of course

Oh goodness me! They have been so naughty! They’ve just chewed through your favourite shoes, gotten into your important documents, declared war on the furniture and momentarily lost all sense of toilet training. You might think you’re mad, but if a human did the same, you would have attacked them by now. So you’re not that mad. In fact when you look into their guilty eyes you are sent into a trance. But you must show them you’re not happy with what they have done – you wouldn’t want to encourage this type of behaviour. You hold them close and cuddle them as you softly explain in big words that they should never do that again, but that you love them. Yes, you’re a pro at this. The truth is your love for them trumps anything else, which makes you the best pet owner ever, and that’s why they can reciprocate all those squishy feelings. For our beloved pets, positivity and rewards when they are well behaved works better than any form of negative discipline method you could adopt.

Here’s to pets and being owned by them!


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4 annoying things about Disney

I am a sucker for Disney movies. I love them. The colourful animations, the beautiful dresses, the clichéd stories and the catchy musical moments. How can you not love them?

Even though I will stay an eternal fan, I can’t help but notice a few seriously annoying things whenever I watch an animated fairy tale by Disney. Here are my top 4:

1. Breaking into song is weird enough – spontaneous duets are weirder

Spontaneous, yet harmonious, duet anyone?

Spontaneous, yet harmonious, duet anyone?

There is nothing more ‘Disney’ than a random musical outburst by a main character. Often the song is about true love, how awful it is to be lonely or a medium to express true inner feelings about the main character’s current situation. There’s beautifully choreographed dancing – even passers by are in on it – there’s a superb orchestra and very-well-thought-out-yet-spontaneous lyrics. It’s what Disney is known for, and it can be one of the most annoying things ever!

In the movies, nobody even raises an eyebrow when someone randomly bursts into song, but if I tried to give it a shot I will be arrested for public disturbance. Maybe I’m just jealous – maybe I crave for such a moment, with an inspiring and motivating soundtrack playing as I bellow out my emotions like a lyrical genius – maybe. However, there is one thing I am definitely not jealous about – the romantic duets. You know what I’m talking about! Disney princess is dancing aimlessly in the forest, singing a tune that seems just a bit well rehearsed, and she hears a distant man singing the same song, in complete harmony. Oh, she doesn’t run in the opposite direction, assuming that he must be a seriously dangerous stalker – no, she runs towards him with open arms! They meet each other’s gaze, hold hands and dance like a pair of lunatics. Why is she so confident to wrap herself eagerly around this stranger? Oh, did you not know, they were meant to be…their love is the truest love. Urgh, how annoying!

Random songs and duets that seem far from random, have to be the most annoying thing about Disney.

…or so you thought…

Actually, the most annoying thing is that you go home download those optimistic fairy tale tunes onto your iPod – and then have to answer to all the teasing and laughter you get when someone else discovers that you’re really a reluctant fan.

2. Only Disney characters can’t tell who is pure evil

Stereotypical Disney evil

Stereotypical Disney evil

This one just aggravates me. The movies always start the same way: there is love and music in the air, the trees dance in the wind and people of the Kingdom laugh with joy, the colours are bright and the soundtrack is happy. Then you cut to the evil character’s lair, and the music becomes heavy accompanied by thunderstorms. Disney has forever portrayed its bad characters like this – it is one of the most popular stereotypes of the industry. If you’re a step-mother or a jealous uncle you are very likely to develop this evil disease. Every good story needs an antagonist, but it’s time their stereotypical appearance is noted and foolish mistakes are not made by trusting them. Now, we know that the characters in Disney movies can hear the soundtrack playing in the background (as we discussed in point 1, above) well enough to sing along perfectly in tune, so why do they choose to ignore the moment that the bass drops? Disney antagonists tend to wear black and purples, they are drawn with sharper lines, they lack the cheerful manner of everyone else in the story and they are usually quite creepy. Despite their traditional appearances, the naïve protagonists do not register the danger they are placing themselves, until it is far too late!

3. ‘Happily ever after’ is not a satisfying ending

Awkwardly walking into the sunset

Awkwardly walking into the sunset

There you are, clutching your chest, all emotional, with tears in your eyes and a tennis ball sized knot in your throat, as you get romanced on this fairy tale adventure. You battled through the unrealistic hardships alongside the main characters and you vouched for their love, even when your family and friends mocked your weird emotional attachment to the animated movie. Then the lovers hold hands, victorious and happy, they make out quite conservatively and walk/ride off into the sunset. You have a stupid grin on your face as you are told that they went onto live happily ever after. The end.

It’s forbidden to ever discuss what happens in the vast space of time which we call “ever after”. Disney has always assumed that we’re satisfied with that ending. Well, I’m not. Forever is a long time, and the odds are against the one-day-old relationship the Disney Princess and Prince have. No-one can be happy 100% of the time! Having only met yesterday, no doubt there will be a lot of fights about quirky aspects of their personalities which are far from ideal and appealing. They will get angry, complacent and probably fat. If they were brave enough to marry, they’ll probably get divorced, and Prince Charming will most likely have a mid-life crisis and charm some young blonde female in order to justify his existence as a man. The odds are against them living happily ever after, that’s all I’m saying.

4. Gives girls unrealistic expectations of hair

You will NEVER have hair like Disney hair!

You will NEVER have hair like Disney hair!

As a young girl, I watched every Disney movie I could get my hands on. I gushed over their love stories, obsessed about their inspiring songs and thought that one day I could have wild forest animals run to my aid as I get ready for a fancy, royal ball. The one thing I didn’t really give much thought to was hair.

Every single Disney character, whether they are male, female, good or evil, is blessed with thick, luscious, long, flowing and well-behaving hair. If it happens to be windy, oh my, each strand moves uniformly with the others to mesmerise us all. If they just came out of the ocean, oh my, it’s still full of volume and bounce. It is a universally well known fact that Disney hair never has a bad day, looks flat or becomes greasy. I must admit that it left me disappointed in my human hair, which was difficult to tame, style and maintain – something Disney heroines rarely have to think about. Isn’t Disney annoying with its unrealistically good hair?

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I love Disney movies – always have and always will. I really like the new direction they are exploring, with Frozen they turned the usual boy saves girl with a kiss on its head, and it’s about time too! The quality of Disney animations have stood the test of time, and regardless of little annoying clichés they still stand by, their movies will always have a captured audience. Hey, maybe we all watch them because we kind-of-actually like those annoying clichés.