The Lighthouse (2022, Figma edition)

Years ago, while exploring Gravit Designer*, I created with its help an illustration of a lighthouse on a night sea.

The Lighthouse -- a vector illustration created in Gravit Designer, in 2015.
“The Lighthouse,” a vector illustration that I created in Gravit Designer, in 2015.”

Fast-forward to today, now Gravit Designer is Corel Vector* (RIP, Gravit!), the world of graphic design software has changed a lot, and one of the most popular apps for screen design became Figma Design. I wanted to try Figma and learn its basic tools and workflows, so I opened Figma and tried to make a similar illustration in it. And couple of hours later — voilà, all done!

“The Lighthouse” (Figma Design, 2022) — final version with colors and everything.

The experience was fun and overall I liked Figma’s vector tools and how they behave. Only nitpick: I am missing a real noise filter in Figma, but now that Rogie King is working on a Noise & Textures plugin — currently it’s work-in-progress — I am sure this will be not an issue soon.

“The Lighthouse” (Figma Design, 2022) — vector outlines and colors overlaid.

“The Lighthouse” (Figma Design, 2022) — vector outlines only.

P.S. It’s sad to see Dribbble change so much — now it’s even impossible to post an image and not see it blurry and pixellated.

The Party Tree (Monsters & Carrots project)

I wasn’t drawing for months, then I tried again. Some things take time, plus, the years 2020/2021 took their toll on me so I was too tired to draw and to be creative… Still, I tried.

The Party Tree, the beginning of this illustration. (Monsters & Carrots project)

And some things take a lot of time. It took me almost eight months from the A5 blank sheet of paper in my notebook, till the moment when I was mostly happy with the final fullcolor illustration, ready to be scanned! Once done and scanned, it required cleaning up some pixels and adjusting a few things, before making a couple of test prints.

The Party Tree, when I reached the stage of scanning the drawing and then fixing a few stray pixels in Adobe Fireworks. (Monsters & Carrots project)

Once I did some test prints and a few adjustments in-between them, the final A3 print was ready, framed and shining in all its glory.

The Party Tree, the illustration is now printed and framed! (Monsters & Carrots project)

I am not drawing much lately. Maybe it’s just a moment in my life, when I need to pause, to reflect, to take some rest.

But I am very happy with “The Party Tree” which I completed and sold at the end of 2021, in only one copy. And what’s more, the person who commissioned this artwork, was also happy! 💖

We make art for ourselves but also for others. The world is in such a dark state now… We need more art and more light in it.

(Edit: You can also see these three stages of the illustration in my Dribbble profile.)

Cat’s In The Cradle

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, dad”
“You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when”
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw, I said-a, not today
I got a lot to do, he said, that’s okay
And he, he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
It said, I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when”
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?
He shook his head, and they said with a smile
What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when”
But we’ll get together then, dad
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind
He said, I’d love to, dad, if I can find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when”
But we’ll get together then, dad
We’re gonna have a good time then

Cat’s in the Cradle, written by Sandy Chapin and Harry Chapin

* * *

“Cat’s in the Cradle” is a 1974 song by Harry Chapin from the album “Verities & Balderdash.” The single topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in December 1974. As Chapin’s only number-one song, it became the best known of his work and a staple for folk rock music. Chapin’s recording of the song was nominated for the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011. In 1992, the band Ugly Kid Joe covered the song and released it as a single; their version became a major hit in several countries, including Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

* * *

The lyrics though… So good. So powerful.

Removing some cobwebs from my blog

I am trying to remove some cobwebs from my personal blog.

For now I keep using Twitter (@optimiced) but my idea is to start posting at least some of my content here. I am tired of “social” networks and their “algorithms” which shuffle and re-shuffle the things that my friends and acquaintances are posting.

And the next logical step would be to refresh my RSS reader and to start adding to it the RSS feeds of active blogs that I want to keep an eye on.

One step at a time! :-)

We are tied to the ocean…

Here’s a quote that really clicked with me while while I was browsing the Sailing Soulianis blog by Lauren & Kirk.

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.”
— John F. Kennedy

A sailboat sailing on the ocean on a sunny day
(photo credits:

Maybe this explains why I often feel significantly better when being at the seaside, and then much worse when I need to head back to the big city where I am spending most of my time currently, working and living.

This short blog post is just a reminder to myself that the ocean is there, waiting, and it is where I feel betterwe all feel better. So maybe one day I should go go back to it, with my beloved Ani 💖… just live at the seaside, or maybe even roam the seas for a while before settling in a nice little house by the sea, who knows?

What would be life without dreams? :-)

The Forest Beauty

This photo shows one the rare moments when my phone camera lens was able to create such a nice bokeh, a real explosion of light behind the object in focus! At macro focal lengths, I can compare the optics of the tiny Pixel 4 lens to my Pentax-M F1.7/50mm when shooting at normal portrait distances. This was an interesting experiment. :-) I love my Pentax-M lens, btw! (Here’s a sample shot with the 1.7/50, “Red and green” — in the distances between 0.4 and 2.0 meters, the large Pentax lens will truly shine!) But shooting in full manual mode is quite difficult and time consuming; so I am carrying with me much less often my Pentax K100D + 1.7/50.

When shooting macro, the Pixel 4 is as good as my old Nokia Lumia 830 with Zeiss optics (here’s a macro shot that I made with Lumia 830, “The Magical Kingdom of Mushrooms“), probably even better — which is to be expected, because it’s newer and has better optics and better imaging processor.

The Forest Beauty
A real forest beauty! Shot in the forest of Marchaevo on 30-Oct-2021. (Shot with Pixel 4; macro subject distance, minor post-processing.)

Note: I have posted this shot also at 500px.

Update (01-Nov-2021): My little moment of fame… my photo made it to the “Popular” page on the 500px website! :-)))