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 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”… and 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), VanitasSevered Head Cult (pub 2014), and Drakon (part 2 of The White Ship, pub 2015); 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:

x 00 001 Thought Bubble ______________________________________________________



“Roof Space” (Games Design, Film & Animation Production Design) Mini-Brief:

•February 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The following project is to help you explore and consolidate many of the various skill sets, techniques and processes that you looked at in Semester 1.

You should try to utilise the full design process, from research through to final image/s.

The Brief:

Games (Environment Design) – You are (i) To develop a pre-visualization (PreViz) for a scene/environment in a digital/traditional animation or game based around the concept “Roof Space”, without showing the person/character/creature who owns/inhabits it.  As always this is to be an exercise in Character Design without the character being in shot (“in absentia” if you will).

Context: In a Game or Animation/Film, this could be a great place to set up some character interaction (or development or important dialogue), it could be an environment to hide within, a base of operations for your player/character or another regular NPC, a place to explore to look for pick-ups, useful objects/weapons for your inventory, or it could be this levels full extent as part of a point a click puzzle game for example.

The stipulation that it is a roof space, i.e. above the living/office/other interior spaces of a building, and that your design re-imagines this space for a new activity/purpose than expected.

Of course there can be various manifestations of this all too familiar type of place

A three-person temporary encampment in an abandoned, broken-down Medieval turret; A post-apocalypse (zombies-water-levels rising) survivor’s camp on the top of a New York tenement, An Unexpected Roof Garden, a well chosen assassin’s eyrie, a graffiti-covered teen hangout, etc… All of which could have game play implications.

Try to keep the size of this roof space down, try to keep it smaller than that size of the games studio. This way you can concentrate on populating the space without it becoming exhausting.

If you wish to show the surrounding areas, layering your finished image into a photograph using photoshop is acceptable (credit sources where possible), this might be particularly of benefit if you are working in 3D.

If you wish to develop a second visual with figures in shot – please feel free, but one image, as stated, must be supplied sans characters), plus (ii) a rationale of how a “Roof Top” space could be used in a game concept, fully explored, descriptive outlines, with rough visuals and gameplay/mechanics discussed.

A Reiteration of Project Requirements:

  • Research*, developmental sketches/screenshots** and final image/render (full colour*** or line work/blocking out), grey-blocking to full 3D render, or physical model set.
  • …or, if concept or asset design is your goal, 3D modelling or Set Design is not wholly necessary in this project for your portfolio remit;


*…a list of influences/artists who you have looked at should be submitted with examples or their work on your blog; along with any of your own photography and observational drawing.

**Preliminary sketches/screenshots/sketch models as well as final imagery and sketchbook work to shown as part of hand in.

***Any colour should be digital, worked over a scan of the sketchbook & posted to your blog.

You may also wish to take a look at.

Thinking about level design and developing these with quick mock ups

Rockets & Rooftops – Marek Denko

The 19*** point* Student/Amateur/Untrained Genius Design Process

•February 10, 2016 • 1 Comment
For fun/comedy effect… perhaps to contrast with a more traditional design process explored here…

1 – Ignoring/dismissing the Brief

2 – (A), Paranoia/incredulity about imagined work-load (this ethereal amount should always be much smaller than the work-load the staff were imagining). (B), Subsequent discussion of course validity/legal ramifications/human rights breaches.

“Oh god, another brief?!! We only had one six weeks ago!!!”

3 – Cognitive Dissonance regarding the value of at least a century of accepted design process/dismissal of tutor’s guidance.

4 – Two months of “tossing it off”, not giving any of the above a second thought.

5 – Remembering the deadline, having overheard someone talking about it in the corridor.

6 – Research – Read = Uninformed conjecture, hearsay & a quick look at pages 1,2 & 3 of Google with a hasty one-word search parameter.

7 – Jump to the “final*~*” piece/knee jerk response.

8 – Half-assed (or less) engagement in “final** piece”/Go out to get head together and come up with ideas (ideally at a party or nightclub).

9 – Give up due to “Software Issues” or because giving up now would be better/more acceptable than having to try with no magical guarantee of success.

10 – Losing things… work, hard-drives, pets etc or changing emails, so thereby missing communications.

11 – Last minute blog post, with indecipherable, un-proofread content.

12 – A handful of poorly constructed, glib or colloquial expression laden description of how, with what, and in which order, alongside a reluctance in discussing own work at a critical level; i.e. No discussion of why.

13 – A list of excuses dressed up as a post-project evaluation.

14 – Hand-in “all” the above burned to an unnamed disk containing unnamed folders, handwritten upon (despite label-makers being around since the 90’s) own name and imaginary project title (i.e. not the one on the course website). Make sure some files are un-openable. Use any old scrap of paper as cover insert (preferably torn, with two different coloured pens for title, submission details etc.; preferably changing colour half-way through a word).

15 – Become ill (or have proxy become ill) on day of presentations.

16 – Then enter final stage by showing utter disbelief at time taken to assess their “work”, revert to position in 2(B).

17 – Aghast/stroppy response to partially read detailed feedback.

18 – Petulance/avoidance/further exhibition of Dunning-Kruger effect.

*This will of course take more effort than the conventional Design Process.

**…it should look like your first grudging thought.

***CBA with the last one, this will do surely?

*~* …the thought that “final design” inherently suggests “previous/earlier/prior/initial/developmental designs” should not enter your head.

The idea of “Quality” in these non-professional scenarios of instances/behaviours such as those sketched out above rarely relates to any idea of “Technical Competence” or comparative quality with finished professional work (which is of course a sliding scale based on experience and not being judged here), but instead the quality/care/attention to detail of the evidence provided, this relates much more to the “Professionalism/Engagement”, of the individual and the “Presentation” and subsequently the “Communication of Ideas” of the work, i.e. the care taken with the work, its packaging and its submission.

Hare of the Dog – …those rabbit like rockers

•January 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment

On a number of occasions I post images on my twitter account from my sketchbooks with the simple note “I have no idea”…

These drawings certainly started out that way… But they kept coming…

Now an idea is creeping in to my brain that there might be something here worth exploring…

So, this is “Hare of the Dog …One! …Two! …Three! …Four!”

xx Rabbits Covers Concept

Touring through the cities of the outer rim…

x Rabbits Touring the City…playing to some rough crowds,

x Rabbits on Stage 003

x Rabbits on Stage 002

x Rabbits on Stage 001

…and hanging out in rough dives.

x Rabbits relaxing

x Rabbit Vehicle Concepts 00

…spilling out of limos and tour buses.

x Rabbits Vehicles

x Rabbits City Scape

…then heading out to the next gig.

x Rabbit Space Craft

x Rabbits at Rest

…”it’s a long way to the top, when you wanna” etc, etc, etc,

x Rabbit Ref Drawings

Rabbit & Hare reference sketches

Maybe something will come of all this nonsense… maybe not.

Star Wars – an awakening of enthusiasm…

•January 6, 2016 • 1 Comment

I’m not going to say much more than “it was the movie I’d been hoping to see since Jedi”.


So much so that I went home and broke out the sketch book and drew a bunch of characters with lightsabres fighting the forces of the empire…

(Just to be clear, there are no spoilers here, most of these characters don’t even feature in the movie, or the others, just me getting of on designing characters that COULD exist in that universe…)

x Scan 11x Scan 15x Scan 9


x Scan 12x Scan 2

…and then some weird stuff I can’t really explain.

x Untitled-2x Untitled-1x Scan

It was cool…

I want to go see it again… My fave scene? Snoke… the scale of that. Loved It. Reminded me of some of the scale ideas I’d played with with my last Star Wars fan art outing.


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<


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