Archive | December, 2008

Having a bad hair day

30 Dec

If drawing badly is the same as being evil, I’m pure evil.

monkey evil

That is all.

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Fast sketch of a cat

30 Dec

Active cats don’t sit on one place for long. I only had a few seconds (less than a minute) to draw this sketch.

Rasheed 008

That is all.

Animated logo for TWiT Army

30 Dec

purpleboxanimI’m quite active on TWiT Army. It is a community of people who love technology and are followers of Leo Laporte. On this community I use the avatar of a purple box, and my handle is “purplebox”. I’ve made several versions of my avatar for TWiT Army, and even a few movies with this avatar on the TWiT Army Death Match, where people playfully kill each others avatars (as in third-person shooter videogames).

Now it is very enjoyable to create fancy avatars, but is it always necessary? The animated avatar you’re watching right now, is very simple, though effective. And it IS  animated, which is always a bonus. The size is only 1090 bytes. That may seem much in Commodore 64 days, but nowadays, this image size is miniscule.

The  animated GIF  is converted into a non-animated version. This happens when the 96 x 96 pixels image is converted by the TWiT Army service to a smaller image (48 x 48 pixels). Perhaps it is better that way, because too much animation would distract from the message (or mu, as it is called on TWiT Army).

Ah well, I have at least made an animated logo for this article.

That is all.

You have to suck first to get better

29 Dec

I was trying to draw Darusha Wehm, from a photo made by Kreg Steppe at Podcast and New Media Expo 2007. I wasn’t paying attention, and should have tried to approach the drawing with less preconceptions, more loose and relaxed. Instead I barged in and spoiled a good drawing opportunity. I suck at drawing people.

And yet, I didn’t give up. I continued drawing, trying to make the best of it, and learning from my mistakes. It is so easy to say to yourself you suck and quit. It takes real courage to admit you suck and try everything you can to get out of that state of “suckiness”.

I’ll share my horrible drawing with you here, so you can learn with me.

DarushaWehm 001

I’ve added some notes after I’ve judged my own drawing (not while drawing, of course!). It says:

Darusha Wehm
29-12-2008

Oops, sorry Darusha !

Wrongety Wrong

KISS

  • first look what’s up, only then go into detail
  • keep it loose

Perhaps I’m a bit harsh on myself. I know I suck at drawing, especially that I’m being impatient and want to advance too fast. I guess you need to be in a state of suckiness long enough to realize you don’t want to go back to that state ever again. It should motivate you to stay focused and never think it is easy to draw people. It has to be a constant battle between reality, interpretation of that reality by the observer, and playfulness of the hand.

If you don’t look at your subject, you can’t possibly draw it with any acceptable degree of accuracy. If you don’t concentrate on the interesting stuff, and throw out most of what you see, you’d be better off taking a photograph and throwing a cartoon filter at it in Photoshop. If you don’t rely on your mistakes, by sometimes not drawing what you see, you’ll never find “happy mistakes”, which makes your drawing so much more enjoyable and human.

Eyes, mind and hand are the three cornerstones of good draftsmanship. To fine-tune those, make them work for you, you first have to unlearn what you have learned to be true. Preconceptions make your drawings dull and predictable. Of course, there has to be some structure, some adherence to rules of thumb.

The main object, though, should be to draw what you want people to see, what you think is interesting. What is the impression you want to show through your drawings? Unfortunately, I haven’t reached that stage yet. I’m still trying to hold a pencil, put pigment on paper in a somewhat predictable manner, and, as a result, have something other people recognize as something you want them to recognize. This is called drawing after life (or after a photo, in this case).

And I admit that I still suck at drawing after life. This realization makes me feel humble. I also feel so sorry for people whose picture I’ve taken and tried to immortalize with my limited skill set. It inspires me to get better at my craft, but also to not give up so easily.

Enough talk, more drawing.

That is all.

My awesome cat drawing … NOT!

28 Dec

With the end of 2008 closing in on me, I so wanted to draw a beautiful drawing of my Bengal cat, Rasheed. I had it planned. I would wait until he got to sleep, and then I would draw him most beautifully. Wham.

But first something else. Fetching my A4 pad, I saw there was still a drawing (sketch is a better description) of Rasheed, dated December 14, 2008, on it. So I tore it off, and scanned it, so I can show it to you here.

Rasheed-006

It is a typical run-of-the-mill drawing from me at that time. I was more looking at the drawing than at the cat, and it shows! At least, some of the objects are clear (the pillow and the “ball” –which isn’t even round).

So, the first thing I did was warming up. I did some sketching to get into the spirit of drawing, while listening to a NaNoWriMo podcast by Darusha Whem, called NaNoWriMo podcast 2007.

sketches-001

In this stage it is OK to listen to music and such, because you want to prep your mind for the drawing challenge, to let those creative juices flow through the gray matter inside your skull. During the real deal, you need to concentrate fully on your subject. I’m easily distracted, so I can’t listen to music and draw at the same time. Rasheed had settled into his sleeping posture, and I was so ready.

Rasheed 007

Then the cat decided he hadn’t had enough and walked away to do some more “cat business”. Rats, my carefully prepared plan was foiled by a little kitty-cat. I didn’t get further than the sketch above. The expression is good, t hough. It captures the cat, more or less.

Better next time.

That is all.

PS I found a photo of Darusha Whem on Flickr, which I can use for drawing people. It was shot by Kreg Steppe, who has a podcast with Chuck Tomasi, called Technorama (another podcast I have to check out, the iTunes description is as follows: “Take a light hearted look at the world of tech, science, and sci-fi. Special interviews with industry notables. Feed Your Inner Geek!”).

Anyways, here’s the photo of Darusha Whem, made by Kreg Steppe at the Podcast and New Media Expo, on September 30, 2007, and released under Creative Commons license, non-commercial, attribution, share-alike.

Darusha Whem

That’s my next project, I guess. It is strange how things work. Listening to a podcast while drawing is inspiring, to say at the least.

Now, I have nothing more to write for this particular post (I hope).

Christmas with Bengal kittens

27 Dec

Watching my short Christmas photo shoot on Flickr, you’ll see I had a lot of kittens to play with this Christmas. As a Christmas tradition, I went to my sister. As a hobby she breeds Bengal cats and had six kittens running around in her house, eager to play with this human who seemed to be as fond of cats as their owner (my sister).

Christmas 2008 - 02

My sister has a small, but very successful Bengal cattery with an excellent reputation, both nationally (in the Netherlands) and internationally. She keeps her cats as companion animals, so all her cats are quite used to humans and other cats. As you’d expect, the kittens always come and look when prospective buyers and other people visit my sister’s home. You can find her cattery’s website at xs4all.nl/~ivbelzen.

Of course, being a TICA judge, she knows a lot about breeds, and as a long-time cat lover she knows even more about feline husbandry, how to keep your cats healthy and happy long term. Her cats are fine specimens of healthy and well-bred Bengal cats.

My sister visits a lot of cat shows, where one can also buy cat toys. I got some of the many sealed toys she had stored as presents for my own Bengal cat, Rasheed. He’s quite pleased with his new toys, as you can see on the photo.

Christmas 2008 - 16

That is all.

Compiling a list of my favorite podcasts

23 Dec

I’m compiling a list of my favorite podcasts. You can find it on the page titled Favorite Podcasts. It is a lot of work, but I don’t mind if it means I can share my list with you.

That is all.