Gunns Travels Update & Current Plans

Gunns Travels Update & Current Plans

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It has been a little while since I last gave any kind of update on my current situation in regards to travel; and so I thought that, before I carried on I would give anyone who has followed up to this point an update.

If you haven’t followed up to this point, then I’ll give you a brief catch up: On this site I tell the stories of my travels and give an honest account of the things I have experienced. I have volunteered in Nepal, travelled Australia and talked in depth about my experience as a Team Leader in Ghana with VSO – all of this and more you can find on my blog. Most recently I used my TEFL qualification to go and teach English in Shanghai, China. Now we are all up to date, let me tell you how after all that, I ended up back in the UK taking a different path to what I had intended on doing for the next year…

So, I am back in the UK and although I’m not happy about the sudden drop in temperature change, I am happy to be back; but not for the reasons you’d expect.

Coming home is obviously full of nice comforts: foods, family, understanding shop assistants, not getting hit by cars crossing the road…but I am more happy to be back, so I can focus on things that I have more passion for. Don’t get me wrong, teaching English in Shanghai was a fantastic opportunity and I certainly learnt a lot from it. I got to experience daily life in China and be immersed in a culture that I had been long fascinated by – as well as getting to fit as many freshly steamed dumplings into my time as possible! But for me it was never about pursuing a career in teaching, which I came to find was a pretty common thing amongst foreign teachers doing the same.

Let me say first up that living in a different country is hard. I am no stranger to being away from home but this time it was different. I think in the end for me, it was that I had put myself into an environment that I just wouldn’t enjoy living in. It came as no surprise to me that the neon, grey bricked and sky scraping surroundings were going to be something that just didn’t interest me.

The novelty soon wore off for me; I enjoyed seeing it all for the first few weeks and then weeks turned into months and I found that the surroundings were having a direct effect on me. I’m more of a green open space kind of guy. I enjoyed aspects of the job and I loved living the Chinese culture – I was even taking Chinese lessons! The only thing was I knew I didn’t want to pursue teaching as a career and knew there were other passions I had put on hold because I had wanted to see how this experience went. It wasn’t working. I weighed it up and decided that the best thing for me was to head home and ‘re-group’.

Fast forward to now and as I sip my boiling hot coffee trying to ward off the chill of a Friday morning. I feel so much happier knowing that, although I have yet again decided to steer off into a different direction. I am only heading to something more fulfilling – at least that’s my hope.

Right, all sounds great but what’s the actual update? Ok, ok – sometimes I gotta find a creative outlet for writing ya know?

THE PLAN (along with some amendments and minor changes to ‘the plan version 26 original draft’)

My passions have always been surrounded by travel: most notably my volunteering experiences. They have been what have defined me and my goals from the start of this travelling bug or full fledged personality trait as it now has manifested into.

What I have realised is that it is not necessarily ‘travelling‘ that is what I need to feel ‘happy’. It is the sense of personal freedom that comes with something like travelling. I guess it’s more the sense of being able to move around anywhere, anytime without being tied to anything. Which is a pretty common desire for so many people that are pursuing the ‘laptop lifestyle‘ the ‘digital nomads‘ and ‘dreamers‘. This is what I want to create for myself and this blog.

My first point of action is to focus more time on the things that fuel my creativity. I want to dedicate more time to design, drawing and creative outlets. I have begun to try and create habits that help me sustain my ‘creative bank account‘ but as much as I wish it did, currently this doesn’t sustain my ‘financial bank account‘.

I’ve set up my store which sells a variety of unique hand drawn products inspired by my travels that I hope to grow and add to in the next few months!

Gunns Designs Shop More Products

My second motivation is to put more time into my other passion: volunteering. I will be working for Latitude Global Volunteering in their digital marketing & design department for the next 3 months! They are a global player in the volunteering sector and here is a little snippet of what they believe in:


“Lattitude Global Volunteering is an international youth development charity.  Our mission is to educate and develop young people worldwide by providing opportunities to volunteer abroad and to make a positive difference to the lives of others through a distinctive, challenging, structured and supported overseas volunteering experience in a culture and community different from their own.

Through volunteering abroad, we give young people the opportunity to experience the world beyond their community and to truly engage with it.  We help to develop young people’s awareness and responsibilities towards themselves and others, and equip them with employability and life skills.”

They’re pretty awesome and I’m proud to be working somewhere that I can truly be passionate about!

I’ll also be taking on multiple part time ‘side projects‘ (a fancy way of saying I’ll be taking on retail work *again*, client work and any commissions I can get!) to supplement the time I’m investing into these passions. I say ‘investing‘ because hopefully I’ll see a return on it early next year but if nothing else, I would have focused towards the ‘lifestyle‘ I am striving for.

Lastly, I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has read, supported, bought art, encouraged or endured my constant ‘change of plans’ in the last few years of writing about my travels & creating artwork. I always appreciate every opportunity I have had and I hope to continue to inspire more adventures, creativity and to follow your passion persistently until you create your own reality.

Peace & Love

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Travel. Create, Be Nice!

Design Kit Essentials

Design Kit Essentials

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I’ve had a massive sort through the piles of stuff I have in my room and what became clear to me is that I have a problem…my name is Jack and I am addicted to buying stationary. I thought I’d give a quick run down of the things I’d recommend filling your life with, if, like me you are partial to a marker or paintbrush. Here are some of the things I can’t draw without. Creating and building a professional design kit is a must for any conceptual artist or creative enthusiast. I’ll be suggesting my top 6 things that everyone needs in theirs! Wether your trying to master a marker rendering or capture a detailed pencil sketch these kit essentials will help you along your creative way.



Marker pens are a must have for any design professional looking to create clear, sharp and realistic hand renders. I use Letraset pro markers ( RRP. £2.23 each) which give great coverage and with the double ended tips can be used as a thick edged pen or thin nib line. There expensive but well worth it if you want to build a reliable collection of markers. Copic, Kurecolor and Spectrum markers are also favourites!

*Tip : Add blender pens into your marker kit to help give a smooth, seamless blended colour transition when creating shadows or highlights.

Graphic Pencils


One of the basic essentials are pencils as they allow a structure for sketching outlines and framed sketches for whatever your drawing or media preference. A good set of graphic sketching pencils like these from Derwent, with a range of degrees i.e. non scratchy 9H to a soft 9B. These pencils really are great for crisp outlines or shaded sketches.

Putty Eraser


A good quality eraser can help save a mistake in a drawing or help remove shade to create highlights in a soft sketch. Choosing to use putty based erasers allows you to kneed it into itself to refresh the eraser giving a clean finish each time without smudging.

White Gel Pen


Keeping one of these pens handy can help to emphasise a highlight or spot glow on marker renders; adding to the realistic effect of demonstrating lighting.

Blending Stumps


These blending stumps have helped me to create believable blended smoothness in my pencil sketches by helping to eliminate harsh pencil lines. They can be used with a variety of media including; chalk, pastel, coloured pencil and charcoal.

A black Marker/Fine Liner


For creating a strong defined outline a black fine liner is a must. I use these Staedtler & UniPin fine liners, I have a few in smaller nib sizes like 0.5 for those thin precise lines and thicker one at 0.7 & 0.8 to give a bolder more weighted line.

And those are my 6 must have pieces of stationary equipment as a designer and artist that I constantly have to replace because I use them all the time!

Wacom Bamboo Tablet | Review

Wacom Bamboo Tablet | Review

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The first tablet I purchased was the Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet. I paid £60.00 ($90) on amazon and needed something to practice on and begin getting used to with. So this was ideal for what I needed it for, anyone who is looking to buy there first tablet and not wanting to shed out loads for a top of the range product I'd recommend buying this one. The feel of the pen on the tablet was the only thing I disliked, it took me a while to co-ordinate my hand with the on screen cursor. But at it's price and for what I was able to achieve with it I was pretty pleased.

After a few months of having this I feel like I'm happy with the functionality of it and ready to save up for an upgrade and investing in one that I'm able to draw right onto a screen with as It would be a lot more creatively beneficial for my work. The tablet drawing space is quite small so you do have to keep hovering over the tablet if your working on a larger document on  screen but the pen does pretty much copy your movements and creates a realistic hand drawn finish.

What they say:

"Just getting going with your art? Transitioning from paper to computer-based work? The Bamboo is a great way to explore your interests, with a premium feel of the pen tablet and everything you need to get started in the box.

• Start something fun! Sketch, draw, paint, all on your computer with the new Bamboo Splash. You'll work both digitally and naturally, thanks to the feel of the Bamboo pen in your hand. Whenever your art and your computer come together, a Bamboo pen tablet is a must have!
• You can replicate pencils, chalks, oils and watercolors as you move the Bamboo pen naturally across the tablet. Create your own effects, experiment, and share your stuff with others digitally. Most of all, have some fun!"

• Accuracy: +/- .02 in (+/- 0.5 mm) 
• Active Area: 5.8" x 3.6" 
• Color: Black and Lime 
• Compatibility: Windows 7, Vista SP2, XP SP3, Mac OS X.10.5 or higher, Intel Processor 
• Connection: USB Type A (PC) , USB Micro (tablet) 
• Max Data Rate: 133 pps 
• Orientation:Reversible for right- or left-handed users 
• Physical Size: 8.3'' x 5.8'' x 0.3'' 
• Pressure Levels: 1024 
• Resolution: 2540 lpi 
• Warranty: 6 months

Package includes:
• 1x Bamboo tablet
• 1x Bamboo pen
• 1x Spare pen nibs
• 1x Quick Start Guide

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 15.06.31

Some of the work I was able to create with this tablet and pen is below and I'm fairly satisfied with the finish that was achieved by using it.



Overall I'd give this a 3 out of 5 for any beginners looking to use something better than their mouse and wanting to learn how to paint and draw digitally.

Happy creating!

Bio Beetle | Portfolio

Bio Beetle | Portfolio

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I’m always setting myself projects to do and to add to my ever expanding portfolio. As a result 80% of my portfolio is self-taught and motivated work but I don’t really see it as work – it’s too much fun for that!

Over the past few months I have been enjoying teaching myself some new techniques on Adobe Photoshop. I’m absolutely obsessed with watching, buying and testing out everything to do with the software. I think i’m going to look into doing a course on it. Here’s my take on a bio-mechanical insect using so so many layers and overlays. I was pretty pleased with the end result and tried out some other techniques with animals in photoshop which i’ll upload in another post; perhaps i’ll make this a regular thing and focus on the different aspects in my portfolio to give you a more in depth knowledge of the different pieces I have. Note to self: remember to keep creating!

Bio Beetle



The Insect series of images I created was was a really fun set of images to produce. I wanted to create a robotic feel to the creatures using techniques I had learnt from tutorials.

I’ve always had a creative background studying graphic design at college. Then whilst at uni studying Industrial design. I’ve dabbled in web design and recently started looking at UX & UI design.

By far, my most used and loved program has been Adobe Photoshop CS6.

Why do I love Photoshop? Photoshop allows you to create anything that is in your mind. With imagination and creativity you can create images that are other-worldly. I’ve always used the program and enjoyed learning all the tools in the program. My favourite tools have to be the pen and wand tools! You can create some crazy things with just these tools. There are still so many things I want to learn. I enjoy watching tutorials or reading articles explaining the newest techniques.

When you have such a powerful tool as the Adobe suite at your disposal, you can really achieve incredible images. Graphic design is something that I have always done and will continue to do.

Creating images that could be used in marketing and advertising campaigns is something I really enjoy doing.

Unleash your creativity and invest in learning more about at

If you have any queries or any information about work opportunities then message me . I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as I can!

An image inspired by Transformers created in Photoshop CS6.

Take time to doodle!

Take time to doodle!

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Being able to set aside time to just sketch something is so important for me. The enjoyment I get from just simply picking up a pencil and sketchpad is unparalleled, especially when I know it’s not being graded and isn’t for someone else! Being able to just doodle is a great way to get everything out of my head into a visual form that I can build form. Sometimes choosing the creative career path can actually be pretty draining on your creativity; so it’s great to remember that it started as a hobby and is beneficial to do things for your enjoyment as well. Loved drawing this jamming to one of my old school favourite bands. This blog is designed for me to able to release some creativity in my own little section of the internet and deliver some great content which hopefully inspires you to have a go yourself. I’m always working on a variety of projects so there will hopefully be something you find interesting here! I’ll aim to upload new content weekly and if you’d like to follow me on my social media then you can stay up to date with the newest creations from me.





Open For Business | Shop

Open For Business | Shop

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Very pleased to announce the arrival of my online shop! It’s taken a while to finally get to this point but I am now able to sell online content in the form of digital images, stock photography and much more. I’ll be adding new products gradually and building up my new retail venture into a creative treasure trove for anyone looking to purchase high quality resources.


Looking forward to progressing this website into bigger and better things.


Come in and have a look!