Man it is late. But I started reading and it was difficult to stop. I have been laser focused on something I can’t even talk about, and tonight I started reading a pair of books to help get my mind into necessary shape (which, honestly, has been needed for awhile for any number of reasons ). They both are off to a good start. I got through all of the introductory chapters for “Making Ideas Happen,” which has been rotting on my iPad since before I even had this particular iPad — so, Y’know, a long time. I read the 22-page iBookstore sample for the second book, which was fascinating; I will definitely get that book once I have finished “Ideas.”
Obviously my little goal of posting here daily has been a dismal failure so far; part of my efforts tonight with reading are to try and do better and to force myself into a disciplined rhythm even if, like tonight, I end up being awake irresponsibly late in order to do what I want to do each day. The kids/family/job/school blender of life makes my days pretty short, but I would like to put more effort into making good use of the time I do have — which I am terrible at.
I do like posting from my iPad though… Maybe I just need to be more flexible with my writing source instead of deciding I am not in the mood to get to the MacBook Pro. We shall see.
In closing, the greatest thing ever is hearing a two-year-old tell you, “thanks for making me happy.” Life accomplished, basically.
(This post took 11 minutes. I can find 11 minutes a day to do this…)
In an effort to get back on track with my sketch diary and to actually work toward making sure things are consistently improving, I’m going to start doing a series of brief post mortems here after the Tumblr posts go up to recap what went well and what I still need to improve.
• Monday, Oct. 25, 2010
- cake turned out well. I tried to go for quick and cute. Could’ve put more effort into the flowers on the side; I’ll do better there next time.
- I’m reasonably happy with Mel’s hair.
- Melissa still looks exactly like me, with different hair and a bigger mouth. I need to do a bunch of sketchbook work to polish her character design. I’m not remotely happy with it yet.
- as always, proportions are a disaster. Table is about a foot too high, I still can’t draw hands, she’s got a monster neck, etc. Practice, practice, practice.
I found a website last night that has some low-res versions of eBooks that have figure drawing models. The high-res photos would be nice, but I think there’s more than enough in the low-res versions to get me started. I’m just struggling to find a good entry point; drawing skeletal armatures isn’t quite enough — even though I know full well the lack of fundamental skill in areas like that is a huge part of the reason I’m so terrible at this…
I found a pretty killer deal on a drafting table, complete with a drawing machine, on CraigsList in Minneapolis; hopefully the person who had it listed will respond to my e-mail (hopefully he’s just out of town for the long weekend). If it’s somehow not still available, there are dozens of alternatives, and more added daily. I’ll find a suitable Plan B, I’m sure.
I want to put something like that in my office upstairs so I can have some space to set up a drawing and not have to put everything away after an hour, like I do when I set up in the dining room.
I wish I had some actual money to spend on this; there are some beautiful vintage hardwood drawing tables available, but I’m hoping to spend like $75 on this and not $350. Someday, maybe, if I actually get good use out of the low end one…
But, as always, once I’ve got the space, I’ll then need to make a concerted effort to actually use it…
I had a pretty good “This Week in Twitter” post cooking up on my laptop; I was trying to compose it in a trial of MarsEdit to see if I wanted to take the plunge and buy that thing for managing the ol’ blog, but it decided to eat about five days’ worth of updates for some reason. And I do not feel like backtracking through an entire week of Twitter updates from teh 100-something folks I follow (many of whom are quite proflic) to remind myself of what I put in there.
So I’m skipping a week. It’ll hopefully be back on Sunday. Damn your dirty, evil soul, MarsEdit.
I want to start a new Lego Gaga tonight; I might do this red carpet dress from this year’s Grammy’s. The Hello Kitty one was really fun because of how colorful it was, and this seems like a solid followup.
Lady Gaga red carpet dress from 2010 Grammy's
I don’t post about work stuff very often here because, well, it’s work and the other stuff I post about here is fun. But I did two things today that I thought were fun, so I wanted to share them.
First, this silly little image is going to be a handout at Bemidji’s Women’s Expo; this will have a little fun-size bag of M&Ms stapled to it and it’ll be handed out at a presentation given by a couple of BSU staff members. There’s nothing to this, but it’s the first “design” assignment I’ve had at work in I have no idea how long, so I jumped at the chance to do it. I’d change some things if I had to do this again, but isn’t that always the case?
Second, I wrote this story about a lecture coming up on campus in September; a guy who spent 17 years at the Navy’s NCIS lab in San Diego as a forensic chemist is coming to speak during a meeting of the American Chemical Society’s local section. I liked the lead a lot.
Somebody scanned and posted JPEGs of Charlton Comics’ “The Comic Book Guide for the Artist • Writer • Letterer” from 1973. I made a handy-dandy PDF of the images for easier consumption. Download it if you wish; it even includes the old Code of the Comic Magazine Association of America, which is a great read if you are old enough to remember when comics had “Comic Code Approved!” on the covers. Very cool.
Charlton Comic Guide (6.8 MB PDF)
I’m going to try again to kick out a few sketchbook pages tonight, and hopefully will come up with some results I’m more pleased with. I’m going to switch reference books, just to change things up a little, and see if that helps. I need mannikin practice, and I really like the look of the one being used in this new book; we’ll see if getting into a different way to present the shapes will help the end result.
Mel went out with some friends last night, so I sat down and tried to kick out a couple of pages of drawing practice in my sketchbook. I did get the two pages in, but everything I tried to draw was *terrible*. Everything was a step in the wrong direction from the things I was trying earlier in the week; I couldn’t get proportions down, nothing looked right, and the one thing that started going in the right direction fell apart halfway through and the end result was more of the same.
I know I shouldn’t be getting frustrated because I really haven’t had/made/whatever the time to do the work I know I need to do. But, sheesh.
I know I’ve got it in me and that, somewhere, I can find again the guy who drew this almost 20 years ago (yikes). But right now, I’m amazingly frustrated.
Late last week, an artist I follow on Twitter named Ryan Stegman (@ryanstegman) posted a small image from an old art book by a guy named Andrew Loomis on constructing heads. He said it was still the best way to construct a head, from a book published around the 1940s.
Loomis’ books are long out of print, and apparently are now in the public domain; I was able to track down PDF copies relatively easily last night (originals are pretty expensive on eBay) and have started reading them. Putting digital copies of very old books onto my iPad in order to read them was a highly entertaining experience.
I started reading them this evening and have even gone so far as to break out a notebook and take notes. My attempts to get back into drawing have revealed a lot of the weaknesses I knew I had when I was drawing a lot more often in college and shortly after; I need to work on construction fundamentals, perspective and lighting, and at first glance I think I’ll get a lot out of these books. They’re significantly more approachable, and more focused on general principles of designing and constructing an image, than the Burne Hogarth books I’ve picked up that focus on anatomy and they human figure.
Tomorrow, I’m going to try and sketch something every day and post it here, even if it’s just a light study on a cube or something. Hopefully that’ll help me get in some of the work I need to improve.