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Well, this is what can happen sometimes, when you try to juggle too many things, you tend to drop a couple, and I have dropped the ball on this site for far too long now. If you've been here before, you may have noticed a few relatively minor changes. I updated my logo to its latest incarnation, I was going for something resembling a Japanese Hanko stamp, which is a stamp of the kanji of your name in a red circle or square that you can use as your official seal in place of a signature.

One update Im going to talk about here today is an update to one of my illustrations , the alien portrait 'Mary Blue'. I originally started this picture back in 2012 or so on my ipad 2, after reading an article about painting the face. I wanted to create something realistic using nothing but my shiny new ipad, and the stylus I had made for myself out of an old radio ariel and a bit of sponge (for real it actually works really well and has a unique flow to it that you just cant get with a store bought stylus). It had been awhile since I had tried anything like this, and I was still learning how to use the thing for art, choosing which apps were the best (incidentally, procreate, best hands down).

I was living in Japan at the time and going through a rough patch, so I would often pull out my ipad and just paint whenever I could. I remember sitting in a cafe in Chiba, in this little patch of warm and light with my coffee and my ipad, while it was below zero outside (something that a Sydney boy just cant get used to). Id glance up and watch people go by, some friends came up to the window and tapped on the glass at one point which caught me off guard, Id been totally absorbed in my painting. In difficult times, art, creativity can be a unique escape.

This was some years ago, and Ive grown as an artist since then. Mary had already gone through so many revisions - she had big eyes, then small eyes, then no eyes and then alien eyes, and then human eyes again. Her cheeks were big and then small, I redrew her mouth a hundred times, and she has had any number of hair styles and colours. This is what she looked like the first time I considered her 'finished'.

For a first attempt, Im still rather proud of her, I managed to get a smooth blend going, her eyes look great, she has shine on her lips and she has character. She has her flaws, yes, but that doesnt take away from what she is, and she was the first time I had attempted this level of realism. A good test drive of a tablets potential as a creative tool.

Ive gone back and redone her several times as Ive learned new things and had some new ideas. Here is what she looked like until recently on this site.

Its amazing what a little hair and makeup can do. And freckles too!I learned some things about colours, decided to keep her eyes green because I felt that made her gaze a little piercing, but Im a little unhappy with how the green clashes with the rest of the colours in retrospect. Nevertheless I am proud of this Mary too, shed grown as I had.

This week I decided to give her one last update. Ive picked up some new tricks and I wanted something special for my site update.

And here she sits, new hair, new makeup, new skin colour, but still the same Mary. Ive always been fascinated with elaborate makeup designs and the way they can add colour in exciting ways to a portrait - and thankfully one of my friends is a makeup artist and was able to offer me some good advice in that area. Mary has come alive in this in a way Id never thought possible when I first started her sketch a few years ago. But here is where Im going to leave her for now. I may very well do another update somewhere down the line but its time to finish some newer works. Certainly I know I still have room to improve - art is a game you never reach the end of, you never stop improving, if you're lucky. Marys changed a lot these past couple of years, but I feel its important to remember where you came from. Ive grown, shes grown, and you can see some of that in her pictures. Im excited to see what comes next!

Thank you for reading all of that, please take a look around and tell me what you think of my site update, my illustrations, sketches and showreel and everything else Ive got here!