Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

I learned about shading in school, probably like most children with graphite pencils first then colouring pencils, we weren’t taught about tone and blending, that’s something I saw from Mum – she drew and still draws stylistically and at times cartoony. At school we were taught to draw ‘realistically’ – later on I thought we’d finally learn about art history and movements. It didn’t happen, we were told to copy animal skulls and stuffed animals in pencil, shown how to draw in perspective and made to do linocuts (which I got out of by delaying as long as possible because I thought it ruined my original.) That was it, all the rest of time we did whatever we wanted which was not very much, some of us did try at times – I branched out into chalk/charcoal/pastel for example and that I bought for myself. One problem was I wanted to draw my way, which I hadn’t really figured out yet though had ideas, but was told in no uncertain terms “you have to draw from life not from imagination, or you’ll fail”. Hmm I’ve never been one for modern art but I do like abstract to an extent and surrealism, plus I used to love fantasy art. Great. How to get round it, since Art was kinda relaxed I could bend the rules a little. So I still drew what I considered fantasy art but using objects from real life like clothing, facial expressions etc and with a focus on texture. That said I still drew the backgrounds at the very last minute so I could get away with drawing them how I wanted and she had to admit my use of colour and ‘energy’ was at least powerful in a complimentary way. That said, I didn’t leave much space for the backgrounds, just in case. (I also didn’t want her drawing all over my work, which she had a habit of doing unless you quickly moved it/got in the way and started talking about something else.)

The other problem was that not learning how to use multiple mediums/techniques meant come exam time we roughly knew what we wanted to do but not necessarily how to do it, I was told to look at the artwork of former students (because ultimately our work belonged to the school so they still had most of it) and learn from that i.e. copy what I saw. I didn’t like that.

I think nature is the ultimate science and art but I wasn’t keen on ‘imitation is art, imitation is life’ – I don’t think we comprehend the entire picture, we try to by sense parts of it by using machines and copying or literally using animals. So when it came to the art exam and I wanted to use watercolours I decided against it and stuck with what I knew; a couple of other girls were braver and used plaster of paris and acrylics (I was interested so helped both, yes that was not allowed but oh well – it’s not like we could get it all done in the limited time otherwise. Ironically when one of them tried to help me in return the resident bullies told her not to as well as their other usual crap.)

I didn’t and couldn’t keep up with physical art after school, materials way too expensive and no space, so I went digital/virtual. By that time I was stuck in a mental rut, I’m used to drawing what I see and every time I try to draw stylistically it just looks wrong no matter how attractive it looks when other people do it. I’ve done some pieces like that but I haven’t developed a personal style, however when I look at signature art I do find it lacks variety. For the moment I’m just sticking to shading and tone.

I’ve said it before but digital art takes aaaages, you can’t be free spirited or slapdash with it – at least it’s easy to erase unlike regular mediums. But still, people take for granted how much time/effort goes into it, I liken it to watercolours – it’s all about the layering. Something ‘simple’ and plain looking can still have 20-40 layers, a bunch of those just for the shading. Then if you’re drawing in vectors i.e. scalable images that no how you re-size them their proportions stays the same – that’s just hell because it’s like drawing backwards; erasing/removing sections is the way you get a picture there and it’s not fun or easy. My fingers swell up easily too so I’m not doing myself any favours with typing and drawing this way.


Anyway as unimpressive as the following examples may look especially since they are pieces rather than a whole landscape/picture they illustrate textures. It’ll also probably mean more to people like me who make their own brushes.

Many people are influenced by anime, this type of shading and outlining looks cool but it’s not realistic.

anime style 1

anime style 2

anime style 3

anime style 4



satin style 2

satin style 3

satin style 4



Fabric with a slight stretch (softer versions of the above)

jersey cotton

jersey cotton 2




faux fur 1

faux fur2

Or you could just leave them plain but unfortunately aesthetic value of the drawing is part of the appeal no matter how much I’ve tried to get people to understand it’s the quality of the potential design outcome that counts and hence give people who aren’t as graphically competent but still have good ideas a chance.


All of the examples above are entries into fashion competitions on Chicstar using their templates (compulsory). I’ve been entering for 8 years and never won even one of the minor prizes, recently they gave me a ‘chance’ to progress but took it back like it was a mistake lol. I also keep wanting them to accept more original design Patterns rather than Ideas – ‘Ideas’ is a competition where you submit images of clothes specifying the part(s) you most like which they’re then supposed to re-draw on their templates but much of the time they just copy the whole thing. That method pays less than Patterns, if either an Idea or Pattern is accepted you get to change the colours/patterns, if it goes public you and the other members can change its features but you can no longer change the silhouette, those alterations are called Designs. If a Design is accepted it’ll be made into a prototype for auction. If that’s accepted it’s considered a Win and will become part of their stock. Almost the whole shop consists of the Wins of two/three designers but that’s always been the way of it there. I’ve even been in batches where in one of their token acts of accepting other members they’ve chosen Design(s) from every other member who submitted but me. I haven’t even won the customer photo contest lol where you don’t have to jump through so many hoops and the rules (particularly the hidden ones) don’t change as rapidly and there aren’t anywhere near as many. Why do I keep trying? There have been other members who made a point of quitting after they finally won something, it’s partially like that but mostly because it started as a hobby but got more demeaning, frustrating and humiliating so I focused on helping other members, some who’ve been ungrateful and just ended up as a regime change, others who get acceptances after I say how much I like them or take a stance and then act like I had nothing to do with it even though I’m one of a few really old members and despite not liking me personally when I say something about the London fashion scene and how things do there ears do listen. Mostly though people give up and it’s understandable but sad.

It’s supposed to be a talent competition but favouritism dominates, that’s not to say the favourites aren’t talented but they’re certainly not the only ones, especially when it’s the idea of the end result that’s supposed to be the basis, not how well you draw. Most fashion designs looks messy and stylized rather than realistic but it’s very much become a drawing competition even with the new-ish standard templates. Before that we drew clothes with or without models and however we wanted, plus we could submit in colour/pattern without having to be accepted first. We’ve often had to submit what were our original pattern designs as alterations of one of the favourite’s acceptances when they went up for public entry otherwise we’d have little to no chance, however the changes you can make have been further restricted and there’s not much you can add so it’s the favourites who submit the most. It’s gotten to the point where they have to pay for votes, they previously had a coupon scheme where members could share a coupon with the public and get commission but two of the favourites hijacked that and others found their coupons being marked down as ‘fake’, ‘not working’ etc and that was scrapped to pay for votes. Now you have to enter the Idea competition to get that pay but if you wear their clothing and submit a customer photo you get cashback too. I wrote up all the rules in a user friendly way before but they kept changing and since members don’t have an equal chance I stopped promoting the place. I just keep trying myself now and supporting those who are there, when a conversation about the lack of transparency and unfairness starts the posts are often deleted.

Thankfully the one they temporarily accepted was a generic part of an Idea as intended rather than the whole thing which wasn’t a skirt to start with and so just ended up like a ra-ra skirt which I could then customize. I’m not happy with the Idea competition, though they’ve made it compulsory to enter to get your credits so I enter maybe once every two months or so, I prefer my own ideas i.e. original patterns unless agreed otherwise like if the acceptance goes public and other members can submit variations. I also found it a hassle when that one Idea was temp accepted since it wasn’t something I had thought about (plus the usual time wasting and entry restricting happened where they change the goalposts and tell you one thing then tell you that’s not allowed do the thing they previously said was disallowed, then do another etc etc), most members just submit them because they have to and don’t even check their progress.

This was the original from an image search found in various stores – a quick search just told me Lands End for example:


I changed it by adding another layer to the bottom and moving the buttons before even submitting it and said I liked the hem:

Coat 2

They drew it this way:


It was accepted and as you can see from the examples above I did my best to change it completely (I was also the first on CS to draw in different skin colours and fabrics when we started with designs fully drawn on paper, it was then picked up by a member who was a popular and already successful designer in manga and animation and then other members took her lead, she being what they aspired to be). If they had drawn more than the hem I would have declined it (yes I have declined and lost eligibility status in the past in contests they’ve had where everyone else eligible went along with it, it’s that kind of behaviour that probably got it rescinded, they were probably drunk when they accepted it anyway on the 26th Dec! Ha it’s been said that if I was up against mannequins in the photo contest I’d still lose! I’m the biggest loser on the site and I’m beginning to wonder if I’m kind of proud of that title now since I’ve stood up for many people, although unable to help myself…)

The problem with art, traditionally taught art anyway is that it’s very much about copying, for example all those masters who had workshops of artists producing works in the master’s style and forgeries that were often done by people taught there (like designer items that are called fakes when they’re made in the same factory or from the same pattern or leftovers/run off/unwanted parts of the order). The same applies to other subjects e.g. culinary/food. Most things have been thought of before but the norm is to change/adapt/add to and display them when they’re not in fashion, that gets people copying you and if you’re unlucky overshadowing/replacing/surpassing you whilst they often still keep an eye on what you’re doing to keep their position.

Imitation is part of involuntary/automatic life survival/propagation but I don’t find it flattering for conscious decisions, I find it insulting when it’s done to steal, claim credit for, twist to a different viewpoint, jumping on the bandwagon etc. It’s also something to watch out for when big business and organisations sponsor/fund/donate to schools. There are many motivations for wanting to make use of such a huge pool of potential talent/ideas and how often have you thought – “school students do better than that all the time” when looking at a famous person’s work? Not all the time of course, but often enough.

It’s easy to say ‘nothing’s unique, someone else just thought of it’ but I’ve been in enough situations where I came up with something and then someone else present/involved used it whole or a significant part and managed to elbow me aside, I’ve also had people ask me for help or involvement in projects and not get credited even when publicly presented and I was there with them (once even on stage – I was an original member that was taken off the bill but still there). On 1 contract it was admitted I’d done 70% of the work out of a team of 7 people but I wasn’t even mentioned and then devalued and lied about afterwards; another approx 35% but the other 55% person tookover, acted like they did everything and then said at the end ‘oh Dolly and ___ helped a bit’ and the 10% person didn’t care because their position was secured by high level nepotism. Ever lent or given someone money, even your savings for their business and they didn’t even give you a share or acted like they owed you nothing; worked for them and never got paid?

Imitation shouldn’t be the norm, if you’re influenced by somebody or saw/read their work then bloody mention them, what’s so difficult; why paraphrase, incorporate their structure/style etc without it? What are you afraid of? That you’ll get less credit, that you won’t seem so cool? So what? It’s pathetic. If you can’t think of ideas yourself or credit those you take from then you’re in the wrong area, do something where you can actually use that brain of yours yourself for something other than thinking about the best way to cash in. I use so many quotation marks in my writing that it can look funny to me sometimes because I use them for phrases too but if I didn’t think of it (and even if I did I acknowledge I might not have been the first or anywhere near it historically) then I’m not interested in presenting it as mine. If I think it’s better than mine I’ll say so, if I think it’s been done before I’ll mention it and sometimes don’t go over that ground again at all but direct people to the source instead.

It’s like when I was uni many lecturers just wouldn’t accept that you could think for yourself, they were obsessed with the bibliographies/citing, your work had no value (hey we weren’t asking for validity at that stage, just to have an informed opinion) unless it was regurgitated from someone established/recommended reading. Even the conclusions! I’d write my own thoughts about what I’d learned from other people and they’d still ask me – source? Excuse me!?!? Weren’t we supposed to have observations that weren’t mutually agreed in advance by qualified people? Then I realized, no you’re not. That’s for when you get to PhD level. 🙄 What a waste, you could learn a lot of it yourself just by having the reading list and going to libraries/bookshops in comparison to tuition fees. Tuition should have been saved for lab, field work, seminars and going on the private projects of teachers, not to be practically read aloud to (that’s what audio books and videos are for) & expected to copy to a more plausible level than plagiarism. When I used other sources they’d get confused and unsure if they could accept them or mark above a certain level.

I don’t want your reflected glory, I find the idea of vicariously basking through someone else’s ability/work/achievement disrespectful to me.

It’s like when you’ve done everything and then some that the council tells you to do for a business, handed in the paperwork, but they won’t accept it unless you spend an arm and a leg to hire a ‘professional’ in that type of paperwork, explain everything to them because they weren’t there/don’t know the business like you do, and then have them put together that information in a nice shiny folder with pockets to hold the tables/sheets for you to fill in based on the info you provided and already did yourself that were just as effective but not as pretty oops I mean not as qualified as the contractor’s. Aw look they included a CD of the tables that anyone can make in Word or Excel and their contact details just in case you need more at a good (hundreds) price. People are obsessed with red tape. Akin to the amount of forms people can get themselves for little to no cost and fill in with free guidance from financial advice providers but still go to a solicitor and pay through the nose. We’re not encouraged to think or think about thinking, rather to defer thought to titled authority.


The story behind the Mario Savio speech is interesting, I first saw it in a Linkin Park music video ‘Wretches and Kings’ but then read up on it.

To end with: Mum has noticed Youtube getting heated with opinions about Michael Brown… Yes him again. Four days ago the git face, I mean the esteemed, eminent Professor (astronomer) Brown (not Dan Brown) came out with another big announcement. He and his assistant have come up with a way to fill our spiritual void after the loss he caused when he told Pluto to get lost shorty, you’re not big enough, be gone midget… Or words to that effect. So now thanks to God I mean Mr. Brown et al we finally have a 10th planet, oops I mean 9th planet? Did he demote Pluto just so he could jump on the decades nay thousands of years worth of research if we go by the Sumerians and claim the position of the missing planet as his own discovery by changing the name I hear you say? *Shock* *Gasp* *Horror!* Who would do such an awful, audacious, egotistical, arrogant, deluded, up his own backside thing… A lot of people actually given half the chance. The problem is he can make a claim about a real Planet X because of all the controversy and hysteria over all the possible things it’s (if it does exist) associated with and all the names it has e.g. a twin star making our system a binary one, a dark star system of its own that overlaps ours, Nibiru, Wormwood etc it’s size, distance and direction is ever changing though apparently on a regular orbit to the many, many researchers out there. There’s so much confusion and hysteria that it’s all considered conspiracy theory or mumbo jumbo until someone with a relatively household name and credentials says something. His observations about its effects on other bodies are not new and no he hasn’t observed it.

“I would love to find it,” says Brown. “But I’d also be perfectly happy if someone else found it. That is why we’re publishing this paper. [in Astronomical Journal] We hope that other people are going to get inspired and start searching.”

He’s. T-a-k-i-n-g. T-h-e. P-i-s-s. Proper.

It’s the ‘Hey we just discovered new land… Oh wait are those people over there…? Oh well stick a flag in the ground anyway and call it ______, we’re the only ones that matter here, go call the guards/soldiers, oh and we’ll decide from now on who gets to come and go and call them the immigrants and we’ll blame them and those we impoverish for everything!’ mentality on loop. (Seriously do you know masses of people actually think Anglo-Saxons were British and take that to mean native? And why start from there? Totally forgetting about the Romans beforehand? And those they conquered? And the vikings afterwards before the Normans? But that’s the problem, people use the terms ‘British’ and ‘English’ interchangeably and act like the English Nation is a representative of the rest/even all the counts.)

Comments on: "Imitation is Life? What are you a Clone or Human?" (1)

  1. […] last time I wrote about it was exactly one year ago HERE (no I’m not posting this as an anniversary coincidence 😉 and no I still haven’t won […]

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