Tag Archive for Artist

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 www.thesparkeyshow.co.uk


(copyright 2014)

Silly Sewing

My daughter moved from Rainbows to Cubs in September. She has been a very busy bee with her challenges, leaving me with the joy of sewing them on.

Until recently I had called upon my ex-partner to do this, but on Monday evening when Alannah came to me stating she needed her art challenge badge sewn on before her meeting in 45 minutes time! Eek….. It was down to me to get out the needle and tread.

Well, you can imagine, just threading the needle to start with was fun! Not.

Then trying to figure out where the badge needed to be placed followed with a quick call to a friend who is a cub leader.

Calm restored, the sewing began. It went very well, it was neatly done and in the right place as described to me.

Although the badge itself…. Was upside down!

Dilemma struck.

Do I un-pick it and send her in in-complete uniform or make her look a fool?

I admitted defeat and un-picked it.

Alannah explained to AJ her leader about my ‘silly sewing’ And came home with yet another badge for me!

Thankfully she didn’t loose points for my mistake and I have already had an email offering me sewing support too.

Running my hands over a bronzed beauty

This post is not necessarily what you are expecting, I thought I would share a ‘perk of being a VIP’. When I found myself stood in Southampton art gallery, watching the curator unlock the glass case that surrounded Auguste Rodin’s crouching woman, a small bronzed sculpture.  So along with other members in our group I was stood with a pair of white cotton gloves ready to do something special that very few get to experience.

Black and white image of rodin-s bronze cast of crouching lady.

I grew up being constantly told by my parents that “you look with your eyes, not your hands” and here I was about to dispel this theory.


Black and white - newspaper print image of Rodin's bronze cast of crouching lady.


Bronzed sculptures have always been something of great interest to me, but by their nature, I often miss most of the detail other than the outline shape.  But here I was, about to run my gloved hands all over a cast of a sculpture that had been handled with such love and care when sculpted by the artist himself.

It felt amazing, that first touch, the coldness of the material.  The feel of the finger marks beneath mine.  The detail of the sculpture, you can feel the individual vertebrate in her back, the bones in her shoulders.

This was a wonderful experience that I can’t wait to repeat with other works of arts and artefacts and make the most of my new found ‘perk’.

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