Archive for November 17, 2014

Creative SparKs are Flying

Although I am only just writing about this, the things I am about to share with you actually started just over 18 months ago.  But it has taken this time to get the project to where it needs to be.

A friend of mine is a magician, children’s’ entertainer and balloon artist.  A role that he has played out for many years before I even knew him.  Many of his clients and party gig’s he got through word of mouth and his website and business card.  Both of which he admitted didn’t show his true personality.

He is known in the business as sparkey…..  A play on his main profession and surname, but with no definition between the two parts.

He mentioned that he was trying to redesign his image and website, to enable him to move forward in his role.  This is where my creative brain kicked in  And I asked him if he would mind me having a play around with his ideas.

So, I started with my brief and his name….. And off I went.

First things first, his name….. I wasn’t going to change it, but I did ‘alter’ it a bit.

So sparkey became SparKey.

And the fun really started to begin.

I am not going to bore you all with the sleepless nights and crazy ideas that flowed (due to me suffering with insomnia, not due to the stress of the brief!)  But I took the initial idea of a ‘burnt out clown’ and gave him The SparKey personality.


The brief was to work in fun, laughter, magic and balloon modelling into a single character.  The balloon magic was a challenge, although it didn’t need to have been, I was missing one key feature of the package.  SparKey always made and wore a 3 coloured balloon made top-hat.

The magic was simple with a traditional black and white magic wand.

The fun came in the form of 3 iconic metallic green juggling clubs that SparKey used within many of his shows from the very beginning.

The fun, from his oversized green and blue clown shoes.

But how to portray the laughter?

That took more work, that took many a drawing being scrunched up on the kitchen floor, over flowing the waste paper basket at the kitchen table.  It turned me into, what to appear to others, unaware of the project….. A First Class Stalker.

Several hundred photographs, videos and observations of the man behind SparKey.

As the time went on, my sight went away.  Graphics was part of my degree, part of my soul and a brief like this wouldn’t have taken me a quarter of the time before.  This with it, bought its own demons, its own dark moments and at the same time, its own moments of creativity that may not have come, had the brief been completed in a quicker time.

One part of the design was really challenging, it was the key to bringing the whole design and character together.  It was the laughter, the smile, the energy that came through from the man behind the costume that was SparKey.

At one point, I struggled to distinguish shadows and laughter lines on his face, so I even spent time, feeling his face.  Touching his mouth and sketching as I felt the ever so slight small lines that made the smile.  The smile that made SparKey the character come to life and also the smile, that on many a draft occasion made the character look more like a psychopath than a childrens’ entertainer!

Tweaks and re-draws filled yet more waste paper baskets.  Colours and rendering took time.  Then, just before Christmas 2013 SparKey was born, he wasn’t perfect…. But that was part of his charm, part of his fun and part of the cheeky personality of the man that lay behind the image.

The man that is Simon Key. A.K.A SparKey.




Then came the colour and the logo to match.




All in all not bad for a VIP like me !!!

The images above are the ‘computer tweaked’ images of my hand drawings. That have now been formed to make SparKey’s business cards and website. A website that you can find at


(copyright 2014)

Fabulous Five Years

An image of Tee and Vicky (Tees Guide Dog)

Today marks Five Fabulous Years since I was signed off as having qualified with Vicky, my guide dog.  In that time, she has given me so very much, at a time of sadness, sorrow and increasing darkness, she has given me love, support, companionship and above all else….. Independance.

Without her guid are readding ing me, protecting me, showing me the way, I honestly feel that the darkness would have taken over, and it is propable that I may not even be here today to tell you these tales.

I know you, you are reading this thinking “she has sightloss, its not terminal.”  Which yes is true, but with my sightloss, came depression.  And if not treated, it can become all consuming and that can be a terminal illness.

I’m not here to talk of that though, I am here to talk about how much I have gotten from my gorgeous guiding girl.

She is a dog, YES.  But actually, she is a walking, breathing, living mobility aid.

Without her by my side, I wouldn’t be leaving the house.  I wuldn’t be able to take the kids to the park, I most deinately wouldn’t be contemplating returning to Uni next year.

As my guideing star, a friend has nominated Vicky for an award with Guide Dogs.  She is in the final 3 for the ‘life changing award’ to be decided at the annal Guide Dog Gala Dinner, to be held in December in London.

Me and Vicky have been invited to the awards ceremony, which if she wins her catagory, she will also be put forward to be crowed as Guide Dog of the Year.

I am very excited, to win this award wold be fabulous recognition of all that she has done for me.  I already know all of this, so if the judges don’t pick her, it won’t change my ove for her and my appreciation for having her by my side for the past five years.

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