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Anna Rogala: You Can Do More!

What is a better way to end a fantastic year than looking at some fantastic artwork? Known as Yelou on deviantArt, Anna is an otherworldly talented painter who specialises in watercolour and
whose gallery is simply exquisite. She is also one of those kind souls who answer my fanmails ;) I literally jumped up and down for a good half an hour when I heard from her. Let’s meet Anna Rogala

>+ Please introduce yourself and what you do (your real job/profession and how it is related to the arts you make) 
My name is Anna Rogala; my profession is graphic design, which I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw from 2003 to 2008. Now I create graphics such as posters, books, catalogues; and paint, draw, as well as looking for new jobs related to arts.

>+ A quick description of your artwork 
My artwork is generally based on portraits, which I try to do with every technique I know. I love to paint and draw people - they are the most interesting, various, unpredictable, and beautiful things to depict.

>+ How is watercolour different from other types of traditional art?
Watercolour is for sure more difficult - if you make a mistake, it's really difficult to change it, sometimes even impossible. That's why you have to know what you want just from the beginning. Watercolours are delicate, full of light, give lots of possibilities to play with their thin layers and with letting them mix on a paper. Watercolour works are always unique - it would be much more difficult to copy them than acrylic works for example. 

Two Me
>+ What is your process of producing a piece? How do you draw with such precision (in watercolour, no less! which is one of the most difficult medium to have control over. And you do it with such ease that makes people envy)? 

;) Working with watercolour, I usually draw a very light sketch in pencil, just to compose the portrait or scenery, anyway everything must already be in its place and faces must be exactly like models' faces - in good proportions and as similar as possible. Then I put a lot of water on the whole paper and add some colours in different places (thinking of course about final look of the work). This is a kind of base - relations of dark-bright and warm-cold
colours. I tilt the paper and move it to let colours mix, and then wait until this first layer dries. When it is, I start working on little parts of the work, putting more (transparent) layers where necessary. Sometimes I use masking fluid (when I need to leave brighter spaces), and tissues (not to let colours diffuse too much). Every time I use few kinds of brushes - thin ones to draw details and thick ones are for putting a lot of water at the beginning.

>+ If possible, could you send us pictures of your work in progress (like a step-by-step kind of thing)
Yes sure! (as posted below) 




>+ In your works, what theme do you pursue? 
Portraits, people in different poses, people of different characters, faces and expressions. I also like towns and sceneries - they are great themes for watercolour. I plan to do some kind of abstract acrylic paintings with sceneries and iconic Italian views. 

Monte Pulciano
>+ What do you like and dislike about your works? 
I like to start doing them, I don't like finishing - as I never know if it's time for finish or no. If I don't finish, there will be always something to add. And this is the easiest way to destroy the work... Sometimes, when I look at my "step-by-step" photos I can see that the best moment was just before I put the last corrections...

>+ What is your dream project? 
I love series; I'd like to do a series with Spanish women, which I've already begun. There are also books for children - I have some ideas and would like to realise them.

>+ Name three artists who inspire you 
I don't know to be honest. The fact that I like El Greco, Carpeaux or Mucha is still not the reason they inspire me - they are more like historic figures who I look up to, but not necessarily find inspirations from. In contemporary art maybe 5% of the works really inspires me. But there are things I simply see and pass by (in shop, at gallery, in newspaper, and from the Internet), which authors I don’t know, they tend to give me whatever I need to start working on a new piece.

>+ What's the best piece of advice you've been given? 
Something like "You can do more; try to look for new solutions, new styles, new techniques. Go ahead and don't stop". I think it’s really inspiring.

>+ Thank you Anna. Good luck and keep us posted on the children books - we would love to be one of the first to review them. 

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All New

OK, so this should explain my absence lately: I’ve re-designed my website. Not that the old one wasn’t good enough, I thought a new year, a new layout – hey why not? ;) Go check it out at, hope you’ll like it.

Lucky me I had the right partner to do this hard work with, and I meant ‘right’ in every sense of the word. T.’s been there all along, it’s not like his support is a new thing, but his endurance for all my nagging whilst we were doing this site makes it hit me at an oblique angle.

It bolts down to this: the necessities of the day to day pull us along, against our will or otherwise. The alarm wakes us, we have to down enough caffeine to be awake and alert, and we need to look presentable to the world, all the while checking the clock on the wall. If it’s one of those perfectly easy mornings, we fulfil these obligations with time to spare.

But some mornings one of us wakes up with a massive headache, there’s nothing in the fridge for breakfast, not because we forgot our food shopping but the fridge was broken and the replacement has not yet arrived. Sometimes there’s no caffeine and we are forced to face all this when being all grumpy. And then one of us would start working on her (or his) website ;) and nag the other into helping her (or him!). And you would actually get on with it giving her your full attention and all the time you could afford. This is life. This is ‘partnership’. The majority of it is even more mundane than what I just described, interspersed with moments of joy and pain that acts as markers on the road. It’s a challenge. But when you have the ‘right’ partner, you develop a rhythm, a way of balancing each other’s weaknesses, so that even on the catastrophic mornings you can pull it off. You still sometimes take the hits from life, but you divide the pain, and at the end of the day, you commiserate together.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is THANK YOU 

And hey, HAPPY NEW 2011! ;) New year, new website, new job, new life for me. What’s new for you? Let us know.

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Happy Holidays!

Our dearest, 

To mark our 100th post and of course, the festive season of 2010, we want to thank you all for being so supportive throughout - you are simply the best! Hopefully we'll be able to bring you more exciting news/stories/artwork this coming year 2011 at

Special thanks to: 
April - for being the perfect blog partner. 
Bella, Thu VuKim, Alejandro, Akutou, and Aleksander for the amazing featured posts. 

May your Christmas be bright, warm and cheerful, and your New Year begin on a prosperous note! 

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From Danish Hearts*

*translated from DR with the help of Google Translate ;D 

Christmas is upon us and it means that the music shops are full of Christmas albums. One of the more interesting this year is Nicholas Nørlund’s project ‘From Danish Hearts’, where he collected a handful of young Danish bands and artists and gave them the task of interpreting a well-known Christmas song. The Kissaway Trail has also been invited to participate and they set themselves a challenge of covering one the most loved and hated Christmas songs of all time: Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’. 

A bit of background information: The Kissaway Trail is a five-piece indie rock band from Odense, Denmark. They follow a number of other Danish alternative bands to make names of themselves, such as Mew, The Raveonettes and Carpark North. Three members of The Kissaway Trail (Søren, Thomas and Rune) originally recorded together under the names of 'Hostmom' and 'Isles'. Isles self-released an album called ‘We have decided not to die’ in 2005. Since then, an additional guitarist, Daniel, and drummer Hasse joined the band, while Thomas started to sing alongside Søren making the distinctive two lead-vocal sound that they have today. 

"It is a very difficult number to do", says Soren Corneliussen from The Kissaway Trail. "For us it's the ultimate Christmas track."

But how long will it take to get George Michael’s out of everyone’s head and put The Kissaway Trail’s imprint on a song that everyone from four to ninety knows? "Well, it took Thomas (Fagerlund) two hours to make the draft as we went into the studio and worked on with. We wanted the number to sound like The Kissaway Trail, and it seems we have succeeded quite well."

And now that you have finished, and even think you have got away with it, are there any plans to send the interpretation to the original author, none other than George Michael? "Naaah, I don’t think so. He can find it on Youtube easily enough" says The Kissaway Trail.

Other bands and artists From Danish Hearts are:
Figurines – All I Want For Christmas Is You
Fallulah – Carol Of The Bells
Teitur – Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
The Blue Van – Merry Christmas Everybody
Coco – The Christmas Song
Peter Sommer – Fra Døren (Hansemand)
Sonja Richter – What Are You Doing New Years Eve
Kirsten & Marie – Little Drummer Boy
Jacob Bellens – You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You
The Fireflies – Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)
Nørlund/Giana Factory – En Helt Fantastisk Jul 

Now it’s time to check out this breathtakingly beautiful interpretation of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’:
Last Christmas

Happy Christmas and A Wondrous New Year to all of you invisible peeps from April and Hien at !!! 

And also, Happy Birthday to two of my most beloved people, T. and M. It's party time! 

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Aleksander: My Work is My Life

This is going to be one of the most intensively-illustrated posts ever on this blog, because I want to introduce to you all THE MOST BRILLIANT 3D/2D artist from Kiev, Ukraine: Aleksander Kuskov. 

I consider myself a fan of computer graphics and everything related to it. My work is my life and my hobby.

Let me briefly tell you about one of my favorite works - Shoker. I was inspired by unknown horizons of steam-punk style, especially its unbelievable transformations from one form to another. Composition is rather simple, I placed objects on suitable perspective for reading form and geometry. Objects separated in depth for better effect of perspective. As of lighting: the main task is to show objects clearly with all their complexity and variety. There was this idea to control the lighting by using only lamps, but I changed my mind, because the whole picture was a bit too gloomy and dark, and I could not see all the details. The arrangement of the objects was enjoyable and experimental, which process took me 3 weeks. The program used for modeling is Maya. I used mental ray for rendering. A LOT of layers was rendered not only for this piece of work, but also for future setups and compositions. This image’s original resolution was 7000/10000 pixel. Average render time was 117 hours.
I have the habit of fine-tuning all my works, with great attention to details. Generally I like to challenge myself with the most interesting, difficult and exciting projects. My dream is to work on large and labor-intensive projects in the cinema industry.

Shoker step-by-step: 

Shoker - The Masterpiece!
I have a lot of respect for Aleksander, so I chose to post the email he wrote me (of course with his permission), instead of editing it into the usual interview format. He is a truly truly great artist – so talented yet humble and friendly. After a couple of emails back and forth (me brave enough to send him one of my architectural sketches and him kind enough to give me a pat on my shoulder and say it is pretty good), we decided to collaborate – yays! It’s going to be a long-term thing, as we’ll have to fit it in our hectic schedules. Initial concept: a futuristic city, lots of machineries, post-nuclear war type of thing. I can’t wait to start. And you, watch this space! ;) 

If you want to get to know this amazing guy, go to his website or drop him a couple of lines at I’m sure he would love all your support.

More 3D works:

And 2D drawings: (done by hands! and pencils! I can't get my head around this!!!)


P.S.: Click on the images and view them at their original sizes. They will blow your mind! 
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Cambridge Snow

winter fashion shoot ;)


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My Architecture

and their Meet Our Students section 
and of course link to my website :) 

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Akutou: Asking for Advices. Eh?

This guy is too cool for words. I seriously pulled all my hair trying to come up with an appropriate title for this post that appropriately suits his awesomeness. And couldn’t find any! (Well, this one was the best I could do, playing on the fact that he shouldn’t have been the one asking for advices, because he’s already TOO COOL!) See how many ‘cool’ words I’ve been using in this super short paragraph? Once you’ve seen his works, I’m sure you’ll sympathise with my speechlessness... And he’s so much fun to talk to. And
his website is to-die-for. But enough of me, OK, you ready? Here we go:

Q: Introduce yourself and what you do. 
A: I'm AKUTOU, I'm a French graphic designer. I create pictures on my computer, sometimes because I want to, sometimes because people ask me to. I mostly work with bands / labels, clothing brands or even blogs.

Q: A quick description of your artwork?
A: My works are usually vectors done with Illustrator. They're generally colourful and there is always some kind of humour in them. There are a lot of references or direct homage to games or movies I love. When I make a piece for fun, I pick a subject that is fun to me. It'll make me work on my technique and I'll have a good time doing it.

Q: In your drawings, what theme do you pursue? 
A: Taking a look back at my last artworks, lots of girls in there and video games related stuff. I guess I'm a ‘pervert’ and I play too much video game. I don’t pursue anything though, or if I am, I am not fully aware of what it is. I just want to have a good time and make something that looks ok. 

Bang Bang
Q: Why that particular style of graphic? 
A: I did not really pick it. That's just me and a computer. I could try to do something completely different I guess, but that wouldn’t be me anymore. At least right now, I really feel like doing this stuff. I don’t want to get serious, I don’t want to change the world or become pretentious with my art. I make "fun" or "cool" pictures. If people think they're cool, then I'm satisfied.

Q: What do you like and dislike about your works? 
A: I'm not thinking too much about it. Maybe I should? Something I like about my work is that I'm comfortable enough to experiment things, you know, using different techniques. If you only have one technique, maybe you'll get stuck sometimes or get bored of what you do. But me, I can adapt. I take a look at my options and I do what I feel like doing. About what I dislike, I can’t work when I'm given too many directions. I need some freedom otherwise it kills the fun and the creation is poor. When you make a picture, and you're working for people, you’ve got to please them. And sometimes pleasing them means going the opposite direction of the one you'd normally take.

Q: What is your dream project? 
A: Well, it's simple. As long as I'm working with people I like on a project that speaks to me and that allows me to make something good and have fun in the process, then it's a dream project to me. I have a blast though when I create something that ends up being a real product. By "real" I mean a tee shirt or an EP cover, something that exists physically. It's really rewarding for me to see the virtual pictures I made up on my screen get alive somehow in the real world, almost magical!

Q: Name three artists you would like to be compared to. 
A: I don’t want to be a clone of someone I like. I want to be me. Sure there are plenty of artists out there which amaze me, some I don’t even know their name. I don’t look up to a person in particular, right now I look up to myself and all I see is a very lazy artist who should kick his own ass and produce more and better stuff! I'll punch myself in the face tonight to remind it.

Q: What's the best piece of advice you've been given? 
A: Why don’t you give me some? 

Federal Agent Jack Bauer (Akutou's first graphic I saw - and OMG was I impressed!!!)
Q: Professionally, what's your plan from where you are at the moment?
A: I wish to finish all the things I started, to work on bigger projects, to meet new clients... maybe join a studio at some point. I'm not a person who has a plan. It's ok so far, hopefully there's a lot to do for me in the future and I get to work on new stuff continuously.

Q: What wouldn't you do without? 
A: My friends (online and offline), my computer, my precious mp3 collection, my video games that I play too much, all the pizzas I eat, my iPhone that I haven’t yet bought, people I've never met but who has liked a picture I did when they saw it, my awesome childhood, Japanese pranks, typing cute girls name in Google and lots of other things... but I'll stop there.

See? Coolness overloaded? I told you so. I would highly recommend you to go to his website and spend some quality time exploring it. For God’s sake this guy even has an online radio station! Now I’ll go and sit in a corner and sulk off in quiet jealousy ;)

Fiesta de go! Cover art
Nerdette (Collab with Souloff)
Oh Deer Indeed
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Food is Fashionable: Karl Lagerfeld's Special Salad*

*found on and thought it was too good to be missed! Hence the re-blog. 

Karl Lagerfeld has a salad named after him! It is made entirely out of oxygen and diet coke. No, not really. It’s made with crab. In addition to which it contains Extra Virgin olive oil from Sicily, black pepper, bread crusts, sea salt, and lemon juice. I am fairly sure that bread crusts weren’t in the Karl Lagerfeld diet book (all I remember taking away from that book is that eating is for people who want to be fat) but it sounds like a delicious salad. And something that Karl actually eats when he’s at La Gioia in Saint Tropez. You can order it at Cafe de Flore in Paris. Or you can just hide a hamburger under a Chanel logo.

OMG, I can't help but wonder how expensive it would be?! 

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Christmas in a Glass

mulled wine
• 2 clementines
• peel of 1 lemon
• peel of 1 lime
• 250g caster sugar
• 6 whole cloves
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 3 fresh bay leaves
• 1 whole nutmeg
• 1 whole vanilla pod, halved
• 2 star anise
• 2 bottles of Chianti, or other Italian red wine

This is dead easy to make and tastes like Christmas in a glass. It’s a lovely celebration of those traditional festive spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. If you’ve got your own favourite spices, then feel free to add those to the pot too. Let everything cook away and warm up gently so the flavours have time to mingle with the wine.

Peel large sections of peel from your clementines, lemon and lime. Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar. Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you’ve got a beautiful thick syrup.

When your syrup is ready turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and both bottles of wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve them to your guests.

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Blackmago: Life is a big project!

Blackmago (DeviantART’s ID)‘s works are ‘amazing’, ‘cute’, ‘admirable’, ‘charming’, ‘wonderful’, ‘lovely’, and ‘awesome’. They are just a few among hundreds of comments he receives every day. Let’s meet the guy (who is, by the way, just as lovely as his works): 

Q: Please introduce yourself and what you do.
A: My name is Alejandro Velasquez, I am Peruvian and am currently residing in Equator. I enjoy illustrating using both traditional and digital media (painting in gouache and working on pixel art). As of now, I am an assistant working for a game's development.

Q: How on Earth have you mastered the two very different techniques – gouache and pixel – I am amazed! A quick description of your artwork please, especially your pixel pieces. (You’re the first pixel artist I know so I am super curious!)
A: Basically, I will always use a specially selected colour palette. This is how I try to keep it all under the same atmosphere. My pixel works are mostly based on friendly characters inspired on Peruvian or Japanese culture, sometimes even elements from my own life.
Green is a must in my pixel works; you will always find nature thematic as well. 

Kappa Planet
Q: How is pixel art different from other more traditional types? What is your process of producing a piece?
A: it is different because here you can easily depict small things while keeping its sharpness. It is addictive, a challenge in its own way, not unlike many other medium. Sometimes I think of pixels as Lego blocks. Firstly, when producing a piece, I sketch the character on paper. Once I define the desired shape, I start doodling on "Paint" program using a single base colour. After laying down the black line art, I add the colours and detail. If animation is required, I use "Animationshop3" program.

Q: In your works, what theme do you pursue?
A: Nature, whimsical stuff, green colours, anything that can be friendly and cute. 

Bringael Kappa Bottle
Q: What do you like and dislike about your works?
A: As any other artist I have to like my own works in order to show them to others...even if I still think I am " under training", I like to push the limits all the time , even if my style is minimalistic in some way. There are many things I can do better, it's just a matter of time and practice.

Q: What is your dream project?
A: I think I used to have this dream when I was a child... Now I AM living my dream... to be an artist and live of it. Life is a big project presented in several layers. 
Opito's Spring Garden
Q: Name three artists you would like to be compared to.
A: I would like to be known for having a personal and original style; I would prefer that, instead of being compared.

Q: What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
A: To never think there is a limit... as long as we are alive, we can change anything we can, as long as we let others do the same.

Q: Professionally, what's your plan from where you are at the moment?
A: I am working now as an pixel artist in Equator, I will stay here until March next year, one of the parts of this project is a game made entirely in pixel art. Once the project ends, I still have other proposals for other kind of projects (related to pixel art or illustration). At the same time I supervise my new collection of nativity ornaments for Italy and Germany, as for today it's something I am doing online.

Q: What wouldn't you do without?
A: I wouldn't have done it ...without the people who are all the time encouraging me, my mother, God and my beloved friends.

Thank you Blackmago. Please write us again when your pixel game is done – we can’t wait to see/play it!!! :) Now you readers, go to
Blackmago’s website and swoon! There are some of the cutest things you can ever find on the Internet, like these:

Sonata Quatro
The Place I'll Return One Day

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