Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Happy New Year! from Spudgirl Daisy - my latest Spudpeeps character for children

Happy New Year!—this message brought to you by...

Spudgirl Daisy

I'm pleased to introduce you to Spudgirl Daisy. She is the official artist of the potato patch and is always busy with banners, pamphlets for tourists, t-shirts and so on - she does them all! Spudgirl Daisy likes flowers and bright colours. Do you see the red and yellow daisy she's wearing?

See the kids gear and gifts she appears on over on my Zazzle Store

I'd love to hear what you think of her....

comments / feedback always welcome :)

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Another Spudpeep - meet Bounce!

Spudpeep Bounce

Here's another of the Spudpeeps folk that live in the potato patch. Spudpeep Bounce is lots of fun and likes to bounce everywhere. If you can't get there by bouncing, Spudpeep Bounce just might not turn up! And being so bouncey, a special tumble-proof hat is a must. Do you see it?

See the kids gear and gifts he appears on over on my Zazzle Store

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my readers!
Have a really great time and here's hoping for a prosperous New Year to you.

Spudman Yeehaw

My new character comes from a series I have planned, called the Spudpeeps of the Potato Patch. And he says "Happy Christmas", too!

I've been drawing these characters for years, mainly for personal amusement. Back at school and college I used to sneak into empty classrooms and draw them on the chalk / whiteboards. I've even been known to do it in meeting rooms in my business life! Ever the child, hehe!

Spudman Yeehaw is a delightfully friendly chap. He loves horses and wants to ride one someday. He runs around all the time pretending to be a cowboy and being very helpful in a clumsy sort of way. Sometimes things end up in more of a pickle after he's been helping!

He even features on some of my cards and gifts over at my Zazzle Store

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Desiderata Poster - love it or hate it?

This just goes to show...

I Have Time

I took this picture ages ago now and returning to it recently, I wondered why it's not proved more popular. My artistic intent was to use it to portray a sense of facing the future, one with portent and hazard but with a feeling of being in control of your own destiny.

A serene horizon shows the outlook is potentially good but the overhead clouds curling down, almost reaching for you (the pillar), acts as an omen, warning of the potential danger that lies all round.

I processed it with that in mind, going for heavy contrast and lots of grainy, dirty noise in the sky. Maybe it was lacking something else? This is the one:

I Have Time

As I said, its not done so well in views, comments or with real-world galleries. But I was confident in its 'worth' as an image so I scratched around in my head for ideas and Desiderata (that great verse, starting "Go placidly amidst the noise and haste...") came to mind.

It's a wonderful verse, imparting great wisdom from a father to his son. Written in the 1920s it was, and still is to this day, great guidance for any teenager.

There's such a great fit between my artistic intent for the image and the verse, that I put the two together for a poster in my Zazzle store ...and a couple of days later I sold two!
Here it is with the verse in place.

Yaay for me!

The lesson? Don't give up on an image that you feel is great. All you have to do is find the right venue and audience. Like that's easy! lol, but at least you know where to put your effort.

comments / feedback always welcome :)

Monday, 14 December 2009

The Photgraphic Aspect - Mark Alan Meader

Short and sweet this time...

Mark Alan Meander

...has produced a stunning bw image: In The Twilight Zone, which you can see on his blog

It's a beautiful quality of light and there's so much interest in the shot. The lead-in and leading lines take your eyes through a journey of gorgeous texture, contrast, light and shade. Exquisite!

I've seen so much that is good but, sadly, not astonishing, lately that it's kind of deflated the creative urge in me. But this image from Mark has picked me right up again. Thanks Mark!

comments always welcome :)

Friday, 11 December 2009

Another verse, Gothic this time...

Well, I don't know if I'm any good at this 'ere poetry, but needs must when the devil drives!

Folley's Dream

I created a poster that felt like it needed a verse. I was feeling a bit gothic and came up with:
In fright she fled
From love foreseen.

The fears she felt,
The tears she shed
- blood red! My heart!

In flight from Folly's Dream
Copyright © Highton-Ridley 2009

Here's the poster
Folly's Dream poster with verse print
Folly's Dream poster with verse by HightonRidley
Shop the other artwork at

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

New Zazzle Promo Panels and more poetry

I'm finding the Google Gadget I called Zazzlit! very useful in my publicity drive and I've been trying my hand at more poetry with another verse, for a Christmas Card this time.

New Zazzle Promos

As promised to my Zazzle community, I've just added another three panels, one for Christmas (HRXms), one for Hanukkah (HRHnk) and one for New Year (HRNyr) gear.

Christmas Card and Verse

Here's the verse:
In lowly manger gathered they,
Who, led by star to holy crib,
Brought gifts of Olibanum,
Gold and Myrrh

And, joining feather, hide and wool,
Gave praise to God for our Lord Jesus
Born to save us all
Copyright © Highton-Ridley 2009

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

More poetry - well, a card verse...

I actually did this a couple of days ago but haven't found the time to post about it. Giving you plenty of time to recover from my last verse! Hehe!

Another card verse

I wanted to do some Thinking Of You cards for my Zazzle store. Again I had to write a short verse for the sentiment. What do you think, is it up to scratch?
It's been too long since last we met
Since strolling where
our feet would lead
And chatting all the while

So, friend of mine, here's hoping soon
Our paths again will cross, and
Once again we'll chew the cud
Until the time to part
Copyright © 2009 Highton Ridley

Here are the cards that the verse is in:
create & buy custom products at Zazzle

So, what do you think of my little ditty? I'd love to get some feedback...

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Sunday, 6 December 2009

To Zazzle store owners...

Find out how to promote your Zazzle store's gear more widely

Getting greater exposure

No, not in the camera sense of the word! I've written a promo page on my site specifically for featuring the best of the best designs on t-shirts, cards an more, by some fantastic artists and funny folk in the Zazzle community.

Good luck promoting!

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Saturday, 5 December 2009

I tried some Card Sentiment poetry

I've been a busy chap, juggling various activities...

This evening, I'm a poet...

...maybe :)

For my Zazzle store I thought I'd do a couple of thankyou cards with a poem for the sentiment. Hmm, not quite sure, what do you think? Does it catch the sentiment ok or should I think about changing it?
Thank you for being you
For always being there
For shielding me from all the hurts
When thoughts became despair
But most of all you have my thanks
The answer to my prayers
But due the most, are thanks for being
An answer to my prayers
Copyright © 2009 Highton Ridley

create & buy custom products at Zazzle

Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you think—yes, you blokes as well!!

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Friday, 4 December 2009

Another from the digital darkroom pile

I've just about finished the backlog in my digital darkroom. This one came from my visit earlier in the year to the Dartmoor Miniature Pony Centre.

Here's lookin' at you

Miniature Pony At Rest

Patiently waiting for the last of the visitors to leave, s/he was perfectly happy to pose for me, not minding at all the movement as I tried out different positions. You can tell s/he's resting and quite relaxed—you can just see the cocked rear leg if you look closely.

I might be spending some time around Potter's Bar in the next few months and am looking forward to a new area to take my camera around :)

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

I made some sales at Zazzle!

I know some of you are thinking about joining Zazzle so I thought I'd report back on recent progress.

Sales made

Dog Rose - notelet / card card
Sold 2: Dog Rose - notelet / card by HightonRidley
Browse more of my Cards

Grazing Pony - postcard postcard
Sold 1: Grazing Pony - postcard by HightonRidley
Browse more of my Postcards

Products designed

I've laid my designs on 425 products from 40 images so far. The most popular fine art ones are shown in the panel:

make custom gifts at Zazzle

How easy is it to have and manage a Zazzle store?

In a word, relatively straightforward. I created my store on 11th Nov, so I'm three weeks into it (not many sales yet - but that's to be expected for such a new store) and haven't found anything that irks too much.

Like with any new arena, it takes a little while to orientate yourself to their way of thinking but once you've done that all works well.

The basic principles are:

Zazzle is..

...a Print on Demand store. Your designs get put on their product blanks and when they sell them, you get a royalty payment.
You don't even have to have any designs yourself, you can promote others' work and still earn a goodly commission from it.

Store Setup

  • There are no setup fees or running costs. When an order comes in and they fill it, you get a royalty fee, based on a commission you set
  • You create a store, choose a template / theme  and give it a name. Your store is located at
  • It's also mirrored at .au .ca and others, with all prices displayed in the local currency

Making products

  • You place your uploaded images onto the various product blanks that Zazzle stocks
  • You fine-tune your design for a product using a pretty neat design tool, sizing and placing the image. You can also add text with a huge number of typefaces / fonts to choose from.
  • You give the product a title, description and a bunch of tags
  • They have a Marketplace where you can put your stuff for sale, or you can keep your gear private
    (once in the marketplace, you can't change the image of a product)

Managing and promoting your store

  • You get to create category folders and can have nested subcategories. You put the products in them and it's up to you how you organise this.
  • They make it dead easy to promote your store or individual products, with the same sort of sharing facilities you see all over the web. They give you html for pasting into blogs and emails and generally make it easy to show off your stuff in places other than Zazzle
  • I've used some of their promotion facilities in this post—all I had to do was copy and paste.
  • They give you a Zazzle blog panel for putting in your blog sidebar though I find it a bit limiting. Instead I use Zazzlit! a Google gadget I created for the purpose. Look over in my sidebar at the top. See a tutorial on using it.
  • Most blogging platforms are supported
  • If you're feeling brave and aren't too afraid of changing CSS and HTML, they have a store builder and you can then control all aspects of your store layout
  • ...and, no, I haven't been brave enough yet!
Most of my followers are other artists so I'm guessing you're one too? If you are, why not give Zazzle a go for your artwork?

If you decide to have a go, let me know so we can hook up on Zazzle :)

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Dartmoor Farm Granite

It's been a while since I posted a photo, having been focusing all my energy on marketing. It's amazing how quickly time slips by...

Granite and lichen

This one was partially processed in the digital darkroom and I bumped into it today while having a tidy up (and there's another one on the way).

Dartmoor Farm Granite

On a grass verge bordering the car park for the Dartmoor Miniature Pony Centre, the function of this and the other granite boulders must be to stop cars parking where they shouldn't.

I'm not sure what the hollowed out granite was originally used for but it's now home to some wild grasses and what looks like chickweed. It's completely covered in lichen so I guess it's been many tens of years, maybe more than a hundred, since last used for its original purpose.

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)


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