Archive | January, 2009

For aspiring musicians

29 Jan

If you want to start making music with Apple Garageband, be sure to check out these websites:

That is all.

Full circle

28 Jan

I tried to do something creative with my previous circle drawing exercises. Faces inside circles, perfect or not, is pulling me back to life drawing. And life drawing was where it all started.

Full circle.

Full circle

That is all.

Drawing that illusive perfect circle

28 Jan

Why should one want to draw a perfect circle, if one can just get a pair of compasses and be done with it? The answer is: because it is so hard to do.

I used Art Rage 2 as my drawing application on the Mac. Before I used that, I created a perfect circle, using an image editor (GIMP), and imported that into Art Rage 2:

Perfect circle 0

Next, I copied the eight corner points of the two squares inside the circle in a new layer, so I had eight points to guide me drawing the circle. I made the “perfect circle” layer invisible and tried to connect the points. I made the “perfect circle” layer visible again, to check how I did. Not too bad.

Perfect circle 1

Then I kept the “perfect circle” layer visible, zoomed in on the image, and started to trace the circle in a new layer, drawing from one point on the circle to the other, keeping track if I was still exactly on the circle. This required an enormous amount of concentration, because I had to keep track of several things at the same time, the end points, the curvature of the circle underneath, how the Wacom tablet stylus reacts to my hand movement, etc. I got a good feel of how it is if you don’t have a tracing image to guide you.

Perfect circle 2

Next, I tried to use this just acquired skill of drawing with intense concentration to draw a circle without guidance in a new layer, just from memory. To compare, I blew it up in a new layer, and merged that with the layer I drew my freehand circle.

Perfect circle 3

Now I could see what I’ve done wrong, I repeated the process, now with a crayon instead of a pencil tool. And the circle was even better than before.

Perfect circle 4

Of course, a circle is nothing else that a curve with points that are equal distance to a central point (called the center point). So, in principle, you could draw a point as the center point, and draw the curve as described. However, there is the tendency in human beings to judge height more important than width. This means that if you drew a square without realizing that, you actually would draw a rectangle that is less tall than high.

You need to work around this “intuitive knowledge”, because it doesn’t help you. One way is to rotate the piece of paper (or digital canvas, if your application allows it), and only draw in one dimension (left to right). The problem with that method is that you can’t compare several parts of your drawing, only those parts that are left and right of your center point.

I think a better solution is to keep the same distance from the center point, not turning the paper, and, in your imagination, draw radial lines that are of a fixed length. The curve has to be perpendicular on those imaginary line pieces. This requires a lot of concentration, and even more practice. That is why I can’t show it to you here, yet.

Anyway, drawing a perfect circle, as described in the latter method, requires the same fine tuned hand coordination you need for drawing from life. You shouldn’t have to think anymore about how to draw shapes, because if you do, you’d concentrate more on your drawing than on your subject. If you followed my blog, you’d know that is one of the bad habits of newbies at drawing.

Drawing should come natural. To reach that stage, you have to work really hard.

That is all.

I’m inside a square

27 Jan

Someone on the TWiT Army wrote he couldn’t draw a square straight. That inspired me to create this drawing as an avatar.

I used a cropped photo of myself, imported it as layer into Art Rage 2, and drew in a new, semi-transparent layer this image. After turning the transparency off, I exported the result, did some image juju on it, and voila.

I'm inside a square

Simple and sweet. With a bit of practice anyone can do this.

That is all.

Getting better at it

27 Jan

It seems that three times really is a charm, because the third attempt of drawing WowWee’s toy robot Tri-bot is the best attempt, even though it was just a sketch of 25 minutes.

Getting better at it

Still, I caught myself at peeking too much at my drawing and too little at the subject. This bad habit is still withholding me from progressing. In the book “Keys to Drawing” by Bert Dodson, I’m still only at project 1 out of 48.

Perhaps it’s frustrating, but my guess is that if I keep challenging myself, eventually, I will be able to draw what I see or imagine with my mind’s eye.

Still a long way to go, but small jolts of improvement keep me motivated to continue.

If I think back all those years ago when I was drawing and painting under the guidance of an art teacher, I see something has changed since that time. In those days I couldn’t get myself motivated enough to draw and redraw the same subject over and over again. It was just too frustrating to me that I couldn’t get lines on paper the way I wanted.

Now I have learned this steep learning curve is normal. It is perhaps even necessary, that you first suck at drawing. It is a hurdle you must overcome. The harder it is, the more you keep doing it, because once you stop, all that effort you put into it goes to waste.

Furthermore, a teacher can only guide you. You have to do most of the work yourself. The work is that of directly translating what you see on paper, without thinking much about it, other than what might help you to find new ways to put it on paper. It is the self-discipline of keeping those judgmental thoughts and feelings at bay long enough for you to finish your drawing. When you’re done, you can laugh and mock all you want, because by then the artistic work is already recorded on paper or as bits and bytes in an image file.

Oh boy, that sketch is so “b-ugly”.

That is all.

Dopey with Art Rage 2

27 Jan

This was just tracing an existing drawing, colorizing, processing, and retouching. Nothing really to do with creative drawing, but it is a nice result nonetheless.

Dopey with Art Rage 2

That is all.

Kettle on the stove

26 Jan

I’m was thinking of putting a kettle of water on, but didn’t because I thought it would be a good subject for a drawing.

Kettle on the stove

Now I’m going to put some water in and make me some nice tea (or coffee?).

That is all.