Category Archives: Art

Behold: The Red Dragon Pumpkin Carving


Some of you may be noticing a theme appearing throughout my recent posts.. something to do with Hannibal, and the Great Red Dragon..
So, obviously, I’ve gone ahead and attempted to recreate the William Blake painting “The Great Red Dragon And The Woman Clothed With The Sun” in pumpkin form – for Halloween!

I used my reference photo:

Extract from The Great Red Dragon painting by William Blake
Extract from The Great Red Dragon painting by William Blake

I drew it freehand on the skin of my pumpkin – using a red sharpie (other permanent markers are available!). I then had to figure out which bits to carve all the way through – the highlights – and which to only carve half the depth through the pumpkin flesh – the mid-tones. And different depths for shading effects. Leaving the lines and darker shadows with the skin still attached.

So.. after about 3 hours on Friday night.. and a further 3 hours on Saturday morning (and extreme cramp and pains in my arms!).. I ended up with this beauty:

And view a spin around the lit result:

Click through to see the higher-res images on flickr:
Red Dragon Pumpkin Carving by @crownjulesb Oct 2015Red Dragon Pumpkin Carving by @crownjulesb Oct 2015Red Dragon Pumpkin Carving by @crownjulesb Oct 2015Red Dragon Pumpkin Carving by @crownjulesb Oct 2015Red Dragon Pumpkin Carving by @crownjulesb Oct 2015Red Dragon Pumpkin Carving by @crownjulesb Oct 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)


Format Reviewed: Cinema Release – May 2015

CrownJules Concludes: 4 out of 5 stars
Full Star_76Full Star_76Full Star_76
Ultron wants to be a real boy; but has no “Jiminy Cricket” to keep him on the straight and narrow. I’ve marked it down a star, only because as a standalone movie it’s a little weak. You need to be following the MCU.

WARNING: Review contains Moderate Spoilers.

This movie has a lot going on. It’s very much the “middle” of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and therefore if you haven’t seen at least the previous Avengers movie, and Guardians of the Galaxy, you may not really follow the plot here.

So, the Russians via HYDRA got their hands on Loki’s scepter and have been using the information contained within to do their own human experimentation and augmentation. The results of which are Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, AKA Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. The Avengers come in to reclaim the scepter, and Tony Stark (Ironman) finds out that the gem which gives the scepter it’s power over the mind also contains the key to an Artificial Intelligence program he and Bruce Banner have been working on – Ultron – to bring “peace in our time”.

5 minutes after having been created, Ultron absorbs/learns the entirety of the internet (with a few exceptions) and decides that the only way to bring “peace” is to wipe out the human race. Of course.

We later learn that the blue gem in Loki’s scepter actually contained one of the six “Infinity Stones” – the Mind stone. Within the MCU, we’ve been introduced to a few of these stones already: the Space Stone is contained within the Tesseract (from Captain America & Avengers 1), the Reality Stone took the form of the Aether (Thor: The Dark World), and the Power Stone changed hands a few times at the other end of the Galaxy (Guardians of the Galaxy). That’s 4 out of 6 so far: just the Soul and Time stones left to find (I reckon Doctor Strange could certainly put the Soul Stone to good use… that’s the plot for his movie pretty much in the bag then). The “big bad” of the MCU, behind all nefarious acts, has been Thanos. Usually sat idly on a big space-chair looking smug, and purple(ish), he’s after all of the Infinity Stones with which he will complete the Infinity Gauntlet – and no doubt bring death and destruction to the universe!

Ultron’s attempts at building himself a new body (he wants to be a “real boy” – cue the constant humming of “I’ve got no strings”), ultimately bring about the newest Avenger “Vision”.

There’s plenty of action to keep you going throughout the story here. Scarlet Witch throws a few spanners into the works by playing her mind games. A few of the otherwise neglected characters from previous movies get a little bit more to play with this time around. Finally Hawkeye (Clint Barton) gets some fleshing out with a more rounded personality, and a hint at a backstory. Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) and Hulk (Bruce Banner) keep plotting to run away together, which is cute but there are bigger issues that keep getting in their way. Like saving the world, again.  The most under-served character this time around is Captain America (Steve Rogers), but then he has already got two solo-movies to his name.

There seems to be a fair bit of buzz online regarding the so-called-misogyny around the Hulk/Black Widow relationship – however I didn’t see that theme to be particularly pronounced.  As their relationship developed, the scared Bruce Banner simply wants to run away with his new lady-friend.  Natasha, however, although tempted by this invitation to a simpler life, realises that their responsibilities outweigh her personal wants.  So she essentially says, “Thanks, but no”.

Lastly, Ultron’s final plan to turn an Eastern-European town into a man/machine-made meteor has a few real-world-physics errors, and (probably) wouldn’t have had quite the result he was after.  But it would have caused a large amount of destruction nonetheless.  Check out the reasons why, via the link below.

And Bonus – I felt compelled to draw a picture of the Hulkbuster Armour (or Veronica as Ironman calls it), because obviously – it’s the Hulkbuster!  It came our more comic book like than I originally planned, but it’s otherwise OK!  I’m going to have to upgrade my drawing materials methinks..

Hulkbuster Sketch, (c) @crownjulesb May 2015
Hulkbuster Sketch, (c) @crownjulesb May 2015

References/Links:
Marvel Cinematic Universe (Wiki) Infinity Stones
Kyle Hill via Nerdist – The Physics Behind Ulton’s Earth Shaking Ending

Orchid – Sketch


After months and months of my orchids being nothing but twigs and leaves – FINALLY they’ve burst into flower again!

To celebrate this, and to do a little practice with my sketching again (I pick it up and drop it again within days!), I had a go at drawing one of these beautiful blooms..

I chose the purple one (I have some yellows, and some variegated ones) as I know that I can get heavy-handed with my shading!  Perhaps next time I’ll try using coloured pencils to bring out the detail.

Still.. for a first effort, I’m quite pleased:

Orchid. Julia Barnard April 2015. ©crownjulesb.
Orchid. Julia Barnard April 2015. © crownjulesb.

Grey Alien (Stargate SG-1’s “Thor”)


Readers of this post who are already familiar with the now old (bring it back guys!) show Stargate SG-1 may recognise this little alien guy as “Thor” – a prominent character from the race called “Asgardians” (literally sourced from Norse mythology, as is the Marvel comic incarnation of Thor).

His little face was looking at me from the side of one of my DVD box sets!  For an animatronic model, he was pretty cute..  and in the show he was voiced by Daniel Jackson – Michael Shanks!

Thor - Stargate SG-1
Thor – Stargate SG-1