A shorter #introduction now I have a bit more of a hang of this!
I'm a UK-based neurodivergent, easily distracted and enthusiastic IT professional with a wonky body.
I mostly work digitally, but daily art challenges, including Inktober, have improved my traditional skills.
I'm aspiring to be a comics creator, but to be less extreme about it than I've been during challenges. More self-care and fun, less argh-deadlines.
Here's some self-portraits, scroll up this thread of replies for a selection of favourite comics, Inktober entries, wildlife art and Doctor Who fan art.
I've now made a 10 page printable PDF colouring book, featuring 16 characters including Ood, Cybermen, Daleks and K-9!
As long as you're not making money off these, they're free to download and use however you wish - just please give me credit and link back to the download page:
I'd love to see what people do with them 🙂
Here's that autoharp chord layout heatmap as a PDF https://quarridors.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/ergonomic-autoharp-heatmap.pdf
It occurs to me that I never posted the various heatmaps and autoharp chord button layout diagrams I made throughout this process to help me decide which chords to cut.
Here's an updated 'before and after' version comparing the original setup with the new customised version.
Most-used chords are now in the places my fingers can most easily reach, and chords in the same key are close together, not diagonally opposite.
I probably would've already cut extra chord bars, but it seems to be surprisingly difficult to find spares for coverless 21 bar autoharps like mine (aka 'Chromaharp').
I couldn't even find second hand broken ones being sold for parts.
Making new bars from scratch would be a big job involving bending black metal over wood and 3D printing new buttons. Clearly not a priority!
I have this silly idea about possibly making a set of extra autoharp chord bars with more esoteric chords cut into them, possibly even somehow modding my chord bar holder so it's quick release.
Then I could choose the chords to install based on what the songs on my particular set list needed.
Like if I'm going to be accompanying a melodramatic silent movie, then diminished 7th chords all the way! 👸 🚂🎩🦹
Ab major is one of those chords that the autoharp can't really play in the lower octave thanks to missing two thirds of the notes in the triad.
I considered cutting one of the fancier chords instead, like something suspended or diminished, or maybe a minor 7th. But, eh 🤷🏻
I think overall, it's more useful to be able to play 2 octaves and a bass note that isn't out of chord for 2 more major and minor chords, especially for key transposition purposes.
All the affected chords had stretches of 4 or more muted strings in a row.
After some experiments, I ended up making straight cuts in the felt to prevent there from ever being more than 3 strings worth of uninterrupted muting felt in a row.
I've also made a straight cut on the chord bar holder side whenever the highest or lowest string is muted.
Only about 4 bars were left unchanged.
It's made a clear improvement! 🎶 👍🏻
Autoharp re-felting update:
While practicing earlier I noticed some chords sounded a little off in the lower octave, even after tuning the strings.
The worst affected was A Flat, a chord the autoharp can't play in the low octave due to missing the flat strings, so it has to mute 8 in a row.
The strings in the middle of that run sounded more like quietened notes than the usual 'dead wire'.
And here's the first test recording of the untuned autoharp made through its newly installed bar magnet pickup last month.
(This was definitely flat, but I think all the strings were out of tune by roughly the same amount, so it hopefully it's too awful)
Here's the awkward phone camera video demonstration I made a couple of days ago to demonstrate my first complete re-felted autoharp chord, B flat major! 🎶
(I didn't tune the strings first, so this may be flat, major apologies to those with perfect pitch if so.)
…I've just hooked the strap back on and played through some chord progressions with a few different strumming patterns, and I'm happy to report it's SO much easier and more comfortable to play an autoharp set up like this! 🎶😁🎶
I haven't found any chords that sound off, so I might have actually managed to not make any irreversible mistakes! 🤞🏻
Here's some highlights of all that's been done to the autoharp over the last few weeks.
All the hard work has paid off, now to make some music! 😤🎼🎤🎧🎵🎶🤘🏻
The long running project to make my autoharp into an accessible musical instrument that I can sing with despite connective tissue myopathy is complete!🎶
A pickup was installed, chord bars refelted, the buttons somewhat ergonomically rearranged to centre on most-played chords in my vocal range, and their tops and sides labelled with label printer tape.
It's designed so it can be angled upwards to let my ulnar-drifted left hand strum comfortably while my weak right hand and fingers play chords…
It's a shame that I got the bit of my asymmetrical fringe that overlapped my left eye cut off recently, all the self-portraits there were from before that.
(The one on the left was when it was long on one side and a buzzed undercut on the other.)
Mastodon followers, I've been trying to keep this place focused on drawings and comics I make. But would you like me to share musical creativity on here too?
I kind of oscillate between the two and I've mostly been focused on reconfiguring my autoharp and improving my home recording setup recently, sharing posts about that elsewhere.
I just couldn't believe it, the print A4 landscape preview looked like the image was touching the right edge of the paper, so I eyeballed the margin size to get some clearance and printed.
It came out shifted too far to the left.
Later I accidentally printed on the wrong side of the paper from the wrong dialog box, and got that perfect overlap with the tail forks forming a diamond! Completely by chance!
Because a couple of people asked, here's some more favourites from my 2015/16 Days of Christmas coloured pencil sequence.
In order: Drummer Drumming, Piper Piping, Calling Bird and Dancing Lady.
And now it's almost midnight on Twelfth Night, so these must go into the dusty drawer along with all my Xmas cards!
Happy Twelfth Night!
Here's a favourite of my coloured pencil drawings from my Days Of Christmas series in 2015/16:
Goose A-laying, aka Draw me like one of your French Hens
I hope this cheers you up while you're taking your decorations down!🎄♻️🗑️