So, What/Who is ApopheniaInc?

•October 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

0 Sketchbook Gareth Sleightholme hesir Apophenia Inc is the digital online sketchbook and reflective blog for: Gareth Sleightholme (AKA hesir) – an Illustrator, Scenographer and Creative Consultant who has, for two decades, generated Concept Art and Production Design for the Visitor Attraction, Exhibition and Leisure industry, Historical and Heritage Illustration & Design Work for Museum and Archaeology Services, amongst other clients. He remains an educationalist who is currently lecturing in Games Design & Animation at BA(Hons) level whilst pursuing post Masters research looking at the links between deep reading, empathy and creativity, as well as working on his own personal projects. – Contact – mob 07403861838 – or email – or alternatively tweet me on @hesir.0 Gareth Sleightholme - hesir Apopheniathe cognitive experience of discovering, or becoming aware of, meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data where there was no prior or causal connection – Coined by Klaus Conrad in 1958, as the “unmotivated seeing of connections” accompanied by a “specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness”. Sometimes linked to Patternicity – The self-convincing perception of patterns or connections where none actually exist. Most psychologists agree that this condition exists in everyone to some degree; it is a bias of the human mind. – “I personally believe it plays a fundamental part in the act of ‘creativity’“. “Inc.” or “inc.”, abbreviation of “incorporated”… Sounds a bit like ink.

“My Masters Degree Study looked in particular at Visualisation of Educational Concepts for Art School Students, and links between Reading, Empathy and Creativity as well as Developing Concept Art for an Empathy/Games based research project called Rabbit Heart.

Elsewhere, I am generating artwork for follow up issues to my 2012 self-published comics debut – “The Indian Fighter” – (The Cthulhiad Book 1), and three subsequent comics: The White Ship (pub 2013), and Vanitas and Severed Head Cult (pub 2014); including a new title (co-plotted by @wildflowerfaery), The Red Corsair.

I have also occasionally produced posters for Theatre and Music Events as well as getting involved in local arts events, having drawn my freelancing for the Leisure/Visitor Attraction & Heritage markets to a close. …plus, you can find my observational drawings in and around my home city over at the Hull Urban Sketchers project pages on Facebook. … Please, take look around the blog and let me know what you think.”

Oh, and we (Iron-Shod Ape Comics) are hoping to be at ThoughtBubble again this year… Come by our table, we will look something like THIS: Thoughtbubble 2013 A ______________________________________________________



Making Comics – Tragic Tales of Horrere & The King’s Leap

•October 5, 2015 • 1 Comment

Okay… So that’s the second #comics project completed (all artwork completed and sent that is) ready for Thought Bubble…

YAWYE (SMEAT) - Horrere - Postcard 004

You can find out more about this and the other stories for this great indie horror anthology over at the official pages:

Web:  & Twitter:

YAWYE (SMEAT) - Horrere - Postcard 002

It’s been great working alongside everyone, and I’m looking forward to working on issue two if they’ll have me…

YAWYE (SMEAT) - Horrere - Postcard 003

And though I seemed to drag my feet a little there I’m pretty pleased with some of the outcomes.

YAWYE (SMEAT) - Horrere - Postcard 001

Prior to that short for “Horrere” (a co-production between Madius Comics and Horrere Comics), I was working on “The King’s Leap” with Rob Jones of Madius Comics

Kings Leap - Postcard 002

A tale of Vikings and Monsters…

Kings Leap - Postcard 003

Both Projects are debuting at Thought Bubble this year, but you may well get some previews at Nottingham Comic Con at he Madius Comics table… So go up and say hello!

Now it’s onto project 3… “The Lance“, part 2 of “The White Ship“, which is at a very rough thumbnail stage as you read this…

The Lance - thumbnails - 001

And which I’m really hoping to complete at least as an “indie ashcan” style book to have on my table at #TBF15 in November.

The Lance - Thumbnails - 002

Who knows… maybe I’ll even achieve that… laughs.

See you in the funny pages…

Thought Bubble 2015… only two months away.

•September 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

So, just a quick update on all things comics, or Thought Bubble related:

So, we have a table… You’ll be able to find me and whoever else is joining Sarah and I at the Iron Shod Ape stand in the New Dock Hall (our first year in that space, we are a little awed and excited by the prospect, despite having loved the two years we had in – virtually the same spot in Royal Armouries Hall).

I’m currently finishing a six page post global catastrophe comic for a new horror anthology called Horrere, to debut at Thought Bubble 2015… WIP inks grey-toning and pencils below.

xx Horrere - You Are What You Eat - Page 004


Pencils for Maddox's Room

Driven by, and including work from the following creators: Robin Jones (Writer of: The Kings Leap, Papercuts & Inkstains), Alisdair Wood (Beagle), Michael Sambrook (Papercuts & Inkstains), Al McLauchlan, & Neil Ford… all of whom are very talented chaps… Go check out their great stuff.

This all follows on from the work on “The Kings Leap” with writer and comics letterer extraordinaire Robin Jones of Madius comics… All the Art is Now done for this, and we should be seeing press online shortly about its release and again, its debut at Thought Bubble.

xxx Kings Leap - Page 001 - WIP

It’s been a really fun comic to artwork, lots of sword, giants and monsters…

xxx Kings Leap - Page 002 detail A

…and who doesn’t like to draw Vikings?

xxx Kings Leap - Page 004 detail

xxx Kings Leap - Page 006

Beyond that, I’m still investigating the possibility of having a collected book of sketches ready for the show,

0 - aa 100 Drawings Sketchbook Cover A

…but this might not happen this year, or at least not that early in the year, though it is coming together slowly.

Then there is the overdue final part to the St. George tale “The White Ship“,

Ladon - Dragon - St George

…part of the ongoing Cthulhiad comic book narrative… That will probably take the form of a “ashcan”, line work only, comic; offered at a reduced price.

I’d also hoped to get a short intro to the new stories that Sarah and I are working on together, called about The Red Corsair, an espionage comic set in the 1930’s and 1940’s featuring a merry band of adventurers working out of their museum “base(ment) of operations” in Hull of all places.

Female Flyer Comic 006 - Comic Cover Sketch

Pencil Layouts for Corsair Comic - Page 01

Whether or not that will reach fulfilment in time for publication for #TBF15 only time will tell…

Still, there will be plenty of work on the table, plenty for people to peruse and buy… so, see you at Thought Bubble 2015, best comics event in the UK (if not before of course).




#REVOLUTIONS! – live sketching for theatre…

•September 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Last year I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in Ensemble52‘s embryonic play #Revolutions, developed as part of the Grow event at Hull Truck Theater.

This year the play has been expanded upon by Dave Windass (writer) and Andrew Pearson (Director) and I will once again be live sketching (with those sketches forming part of the stage set, via projection) in front of the audience, this weekend and next week, as part of the performance.

Screen Shot of Hand Drawing

Above – projected image as seen behind the actors of the live feed from above my sketchbook during the performance last summer.

The play will debut at Freedom Festival in the Main Tent, and be followed by three nights at Hull Truck. More info at Ensemble52’s Revolution’s webpage.

NOTE: The Wednesday night performance (9 September, 7.30pm) will be a BSL Signed Performance.

The images below are from last years performance.


“Modern day, but a feeling of Revolution in the air…”


“Summer of Love 2, Warehouse party…”


“Somewhere, in a square, outside of a church in Leipzig…”

The Statue

“Tearing down the statues…”

Scan 21

“Tearing down the wall…”


“Perhaps it’s evolution, not revolution…”


NOTE: All the images above needed to be created in reverse, as the feed to the projector reversed the image, for example, the image/collage above actually looked like this…

Evolution as Drawn

…to me as I created it below the camera. An added layer of difficulty (the text mainly being an issue, not so much the images), laughs, while still working in front of a live audience.


For my involvement in other #Hull based Theatre projects see >HERE<, >HERE< & >HERE<

“Will” as an under examined part of the Creative Process.

•July 1, 2015 • 1 Comment

Just a bit of a thought avalanche…

So, below, a possible starting point for an “equation/formula” for WILL, as it effects creativity at least… to be added to my diagrammatic examination of creativity, created as part of my early research into the links between Creativity, Empathy & Deep Reading

WILL – the toughest and most (only) unteachable element of the creative process.


The Experience of Failure Remembered (anxiety) – EFR

The Projection of Future Failure Imagined/Revisited (anxiety) – PFI

 – all balanced/reckoned against… (and this of course needs to take into consideration any current mental state of the individual and their “in the moment” predisposition to the above balanced against the below)

The Potential for Positive Outcomes/Experiences Imagined (the drive to act) – PPO



————–      =  Will (to attempt to create, despite the Fear of failure)


This equation’s weighting seems to shift in favour of “the drive to act” the further down the road you travel as a creative (occasionally flipping back during times of stress or prolonged failure), with EFR and PFI becoming more diminished with more positive valence experiences following the commitment to the creative act.
“…now able to overcome without fear a situation that formerly would have overwhelmed [them] with anxiety, [they] experience(s) a certain kind of pleasure” Fenichel, 1945/1966, p. 45 via Lumby, J. 2011, Enjoyment and Learning: policy and secondary school learners’ experience in England, British Educational Journal Vol. 37, No. 2, p 249.
All this is tied to the human tendency to prefer rewards (in this case positive feedback on their own work from within or without) that present themselves sooner; this hyperbolic discounting/cognitive dissonance (added to the miasma of Frankl’s often ignored idea of Noogenic Depression that seems ever more prevalent in our students) is often the major factor in students simply giving up – which is why his argument/position has been countered in several ways by creatives recently including Ira Glass, Chris Oatley and Elisabeth Gilbert.

That said, they are often vastly over emphasised in students who are just starting out, particularly in situations were peer criticism and the preservation of any fragile social standing (or agency*) are viewed by the student as of more importance than success.

*again tied to Empathy.

King’s Leap – Vikings Vs Monsters …a comic book.

•April 20, 2015 • 4 Comments


…just a little teaser.

Promo Image 002“The old woman smiled”

To let you know work is slowly coming together on a B/W comic written by the “very metal” Rob Jones (@RobJonesWrites) and illustrated by myself… called King’s Leap.

It has Vikings in it… I’m sure you’ll like it…

Promo Image 001The creature fell, transforming …then SLAM!

Keep an eye on my twitter feed (@hesir) and that of Madius Comics (@madiuscomics) for more teaser art, also check out there last release Papercuts and Inkstains, and finally, don’t forget to track us all down at this years Thoughtbubble!

Art below… work in progress (highlights, shadows and text to be added etc) on Page 6, King’s Leap.

x Promo Page Kings Leap- Page 006

…more to come.




Observational Drawing – Waiting Room, Hull Royal.

•April 20, 2015 • 4 Comments

Drawn whilst waiting for Sarah…

Just exercises in observation for the most part… the arms on those chairs where a nightmare to visually untangle…

x Scan 6

Whilst the chap below was fun to draw particularly as he became more and more flustered with his newspaper… mostly trying to hide behind it as he had cottoned onto the fact I was drawing him…
x Untitled-7

Finally, three chairs… I think I’d have preferred the composition without the interloper who arrived after I’d started… but observation is observation, and it seemed a cheat to leave her out…

x Untitled-9

Observational Sketches & Drawings – Travelling, Part 2- Germany (on the Mosel) and Bruges…

•April 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

…over Easter Sarah and I managed to get away thanks to out friends dragging us across the water (laughs) and we had a fantastic short holiday in Germany, Sarah and I’s first holiday abroad.

I still snuck some sketching in mind, the place was beautiful and full of great looking architecture set against the fantastic landscape* of this wine making region (the Mosel).

x Scan 9

None of my drawings will really do it justice, but it was fun trying to capture the scale and the relative antiquity of the views… above, looking across the Mosel River from Zell.

*imagine a scaled up pennine valley without any of the industrial blots on the landscape and instead picturesque collections of spires of all shapes and sizes, dominating Disney/Medieval style pitched roofs and shuttered windows.

x Scan 10

Marianburg (above), was a convent, now a hostel(?) perched high above the steep vineyards that covered the the hillsides… Drawn from outside a little restaurant in Punderich.

x Scan 13


Whilst this pencil sketch was done from the window of our guesthouse window in a little village called Merl.

x Scan 32

Above the ruins of the Grevenburg (built around 1350, destroyed following several sieges, in 1734) overlooking the cafe we ate at in Traben-Trarbach.

x Scan 16

There was a whole bunch of Castles of varying structural integrity along the river… one of my favourites was Castle Metternich at Beilstein. This view (above) looks down onto the town and the Mosel (Moselle) from the base of the castle…

x Scan 17

Looking back up from the river side you can see the Old Tollhouse and how the castle dominates the hillside and the surrounding area…

We caught a boat from Beilstein to Cochem… the sketch below was done from the riverside looking up a steep escarpment with fortifications that seemed to have tumbled down the slope over time…

x Scan 15


Its only when yo go further down the riverside and look back that you really get a sense of how high that building is on from the previous drawing, and why my neck ached so much whilst drawing it.

x Scan 20

Below the hillside, the town centre seemed dominated by the huge tower and dome of St Martin’s Catholic Church…

x Scan 21


The doorway just above the notes in the sketch leads to a great little cellar restaurant (the Rathaus) where we ate… highly recommended.

x Scan 18

On our last day I managed to get a few more drawings finished… this modest little sketch in Merl (just along from the guesthouse) showing the decorated fronts of the houses so typical of the area…

x Untitled-3

…this rough doodle of the approach to Zell from Merl.

x Scan 28

And finally this drawing of one of the old timber framed buildings from outside a cafe in Zell…

From Germany we headed back to England stopping over one night in Bruges…

x Untitled-10

Not a great deal was drawn I admit, I like my little night sketch, done while drinking cloudy beer, and I like the cyclist… Bruges is certainly somewhere to head back to with a looser itinerary and more time for sketching…


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