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 ______________________________________________________



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

•April 20, 2015 • 1 Comment


…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…

Observational Sketches & Drawings – Travelling, Part 1- Heerlen, The Netherlands, and Airports…

•April 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Okay, so I’ve been managing to get some travelling in, both with work and just for pleasure of late, and I tried to get a little drawing in as I went…

First up was a research trip with work out to Heerlen in the southern most part of the Netherlands.

x Scan


Above Manchester Airport…

Work obviously comes first and the few days we were out there where pretty hectic and exhausting, so I didn’t get much chance to draw until the last night before heading back, when I threw this drawing of the bar down…

x Scan 33

And of course in the airports… there is always time there… and plenty of people to doodle. Just try not to catch their eye, none of them seem to be enjoying themselves… (laughs)

x Scan 2

x Scan 1


…and the first time ever and inspired by James Jean‘s amazing airborne images from his sketchbooks, I thought I’d have a go at drawing whilst on the plane…

x Scan 34


Next up Germany and Bruges…

Sketchbook Dump – Characters (Pirates, Detectives, Robots etc).

•April 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Okay, so some of you tweeters out there may have seen the occasional sketchbook image drift past your feed… Here are a whole bunch of those sketches in one place.

x Scan 105

Love that central figure (from back in February)… probably influenced by all the great sketch stuff I see Karl Kopinski putting out on his FB feed… essentially a doodle at heart (i.e. it was serving no real purpose beyond practice), but one that settled into an interesting character drawing…

Similar in tone is this (from Saturday) unfinished blue line sketch… again of a piratical type.

x Scan 29

More pirates below… this time inspired by the TV showing the version of Treasure Island which stars Orson Wells as Silver…

x Scan 8a


Blind Pew is one of my favourite characters in that version… he looks just like the image created by NC Wyeth, in fact the whole film looks like it owes a debt of thanks to his work…

x Untitled-6

I have no idea what happened here (the distance between his eyes is ludicrous), but I kinda like the overall effect… A ranine/batrachian, Innsmouth denisen, that could pass for Captain Marsh just as the change came upon him…

x Scan 3

Above is more doodling whilst watching TV… this time, the remake of Nosferatu…

…and Vincent with Ray Winstone, love the scene with the fire extinguisher; thought him holding this weapon of choice might make for a great hero pose at the centre of a Drew Struzan style image…

x Scan 11

Again, projects that I may or may not ever get around to…

And below more of the same, though more likely inspired by Dick Tracy or some such show that they rerun on the Info Channel or TCM…

x Scan 4


…I love watching those old shows… I was particularly enamoured of an episode of Dragnet I caught (great cinematography for a TV show, particularly of that period, really cinematic, especially the aerial shots of Los Angeles).

x Scan 14

Above and below… more warm-up/warm-down sketchbook doodling, done whilst (before and after) working on the Kings Leap comic pages.

x Scan 12

x Scan 30

The central figure above, along with the Hellboy-ish character below no doubt drawing some inspiration from my recent acquisition of a Joseph Clement Coll compendium… And if you don’t know that name, your in for a treat when you look him up.

x Scan 19

…finally, robots.

x Scan 25

Big robots… because, well, do y’really need a reason?

x Scan 23

Animation/Games Design Mini-Brief – “Library”

•April 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment
Animation/Games Design Mini-Brief  – “Library” This Mini Brief is given as part of Yr 1 Games and Animation “Creative Futures” and allows opportunity to develop both traditional and progressive digital skills, it follows on from the other single word briefs in providing entertainment media developers (and students) the opportunity to explore Ideation, (implied) Narrative Development, Environment Design, Prop & Object (inc. Vehicle ) – with Character Design (actual or in absentia) if appropriate. For others this kind of project can be used to support your portfolio, and/or assessable project work.


How do you make an environment or develop a scene based on information you are not familiar with, or beyond your experience (or at least beyond regular exposure)?

Research, research, research…

The theme of your short Pre-viz/narrative development exercise is to be “LIBRARY”.

For the purposes of this brief, a LIBRARY can be interpreted as “any place at which an individual or a body of people have decided to store, display and/or catalogue a range of texts”.

These texts can be in the form of codex (the form we commonly call bound books), scrolls (if ancient perhaps), or other contemporary or futuristic forms including digital, holographic etc (What if your library was a library of sounds, how would that look?).

Your library may well be openly accessible to the public and so reflect that usage, your library may have been abandoned, ill kept etc; your library might reflect the politics of a culture; ie. is it an austere prison for books that a body of people have locked away? Or is it part of a place of learning where intelligence is valued? If so does your architecture reflect that?

Your submission can encompass any genre, any historical timeframe or period, any style, and be delivered in any media (pencil, pen & ink, paint, digital 2D, traditional 3D, Digital 3D, moving image etc.).

Whether a single image, a sequence of images, storyboard or animatic – your project should convey an underlying story or narrative.

We will expect to see all developmental materials, from thumbnails to final image/s. We would expect reflective blog posts detailing a list of influences/artists/creatives who you have looked at during your research and ongoing development phase and how they have influenced your decision-making.

Games Designers – you may wish to employ the design processes we have discussed previously i.e. iterative traditional design development through to grey-blocking and then final image/model.
Animators – you may wish to develop and compose as a scene, or a short storyboard/animatic.
You will continue to work on this until your final hand-in.
ALL elements of the brief above MUST be evidenced.


Populating the Scene – Part 2 – (Back to Basics) – “Grey Blocking Existing Assets”

•March 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Mini-brief – Games Design Year 1 – Populating The Scene 2 (Back to Basics)

You are to look at all the assets you have personally created so far in 3DSMax since the beginning of the course and develop an assemblage/scene that utilises those assets in a way that achieves believability in its “narrative”, i.e. “how all the objects came to be there” (clearly relative scale will be important here).

Your scene should not be overly large (thus spreading your detailing too thinly), and it should not look like it was assembled/collaged by robots.

Your scene should look like humans/characters have interacted/interfered with the objects in the scene.

You should use as many of your objects as many times as possible to add complexity and to further the human/character narrative.

You are not to develop any further objects beyond the ones you already have made in your Games Design Yr 1 sessions (unless agreed by your tutor, and only then after you have created your “Version 1” of your assemblage).

Do not be overly concerned about materials and textures at this time. This method of working relates directly to an industry practice known as “grey-blocking (see Lichdon Process video shown in session).

Should you in this your briefing session not have access to all your models (i.e. you “left them on another drive/computer/account” etc) you should instead* develop as series perspective drawing/sketches that shows your plans for your assemblage. These can be submitted along with your final model.

Scan 96

This can be a simple or a complex a planning image as you need.
*… for those of you who understand the design process, you may find this a useful element of your process anyway, rather than going straight to the screen.

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,543 other followers