Thursday, August 30, 2012

The more you know....

School's started and wow... we just jumped right into it.  After my first sessions last week, I had 25 trees to draw, pine cones to collect, and a completed animation to do... and that didn't count the reading and paper I had to write for my GEs.  =)

The animation was just to gauge where we were; a walk cycle where anything goes.  I wanted mine to loop and keep it simple yet throw in a tiny bit of perspective, so I went with a cube with legs, which morphed into a Wally'esque type robot.  Haha, I love him, he's really cute. ^_^

Animation is below:

Was a busy weekend filled with trees and building my own little animation downshooter.  Still had the program Flipbook from Art28 but I was really unhappy with how the macbook's little webcam handled capturing each page so I ordered a new HD webcam from Amazon and fashioned a mount for it with some scrap wood, screws/brackets and some plexiglass which I could attach the suction cup arm to.  Came out looking kinda snazzy. ^_^

Page from my tree sketchbook (Owen said it was alright for the first pass. I need more detail!):

Tuesday we brought our pine cones (Special thanks to Missy for finding these awesome ones for me).  Mine are apparently from an Austrian Black Pine and are smallish (2-3"), light exterior, black interior, with a small prickle.  We dismantled one of the two and started a graphite drawing of the second.  Tonight I found out 20 factoids of pine cones which was actually kinda interesting.  I never realized that there were a male and female pine cone (the ones we're familiar with are the mature females).  

They say knowledge is power but one has to ask how learning about pine cones beyond what you simply see can help you draw?  Honestly, anything more you know about an object will help you draw it better and more accurately.  Owen used the word "authentic".  You want to make your drawings believable.  For example, learning anatomy will just make your figure drawings that much better, that much more believable.  And once you know how things work, you can start bending, even breaking the rules because you know how you can push it.  

Oh and pines cones (specifically from the family Pinaceae); their scales grow in the fibonacci number sequence, or the golden ratio. It's one of the biological examples of this perfect design.  Other examples found in nature are artichokes (go figure, they look like pine cones), ferns, and the shell of a nautilus.  

Pictures of my awesome pine cone, both dismantled and lit up for a still life:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Final day of summer... first day to a world of new beginnings...

Melodramatic title I know.  But though this summer was one worth remembering, I'm practically chomping at the bit to get back to work.  Knowledge is addicting.  The more I know, the more I want to learn.

This summer was busy.  Spent a great deal of time re-connecting with my family and over the past 3 months, I really had a chance to form a special bond with my son.  I remember the turning point vividly.  It was when I had left for San Luis Obispo for the weekend and when I returned, I hadn't seen Grey for 3 days.  When he saw me, he got more excited than I had ever seen him.  Shouting, laughing, dancing around the couch before he finally came rushing over to give me a huge hug.  Knowing how much he had missed me was an experience I can barely describe.

I will miss these days that we spent together but even the little time that I had to fill my BFA sketchbook was enough to keep pushing me forward.  I learned a great deal in the 96 pages I filled and every mark and stroke I made was pure enjoyment.  I can't wait to get back in the saddle and work my ass off this year.

Spent my final day of summer with Grey and Char.  Took Grey to the park and a good friend came out to meet him for the first time. He was his usual charming (translate: serious face) self and went into his silent strong mode instead of his chatty McJibberJabber silly self.  He did summon up the courage to give her a kiss on the cheek and hand before we left and then napped in the car before we headed to Valley Fair and he played some more before we went to get his favorite junk food, corn dogs!

We went home and Char had finished work so I got a chance to sneak in an hour nap before we packed up the bikes and took a trip out to Yogurtland where we had dinner and then picked him up a Badtzmaru spoon (Yogurtland's having a promotion with Sanrio and has these cute character spoons).  He also drank a good amount of tea so he was bouncing off the walls a little before finally crashing and going to bed.

We turned in our sketchbooks this past Monday and I was sad to see it go.  We'll get it back soon enough and in the meantime I have my two new sketchbooks to start filling.  I decided to splurge a bit and picked up a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook and a Strathmore book filled with tone paper.

I'm trying out gouache for the first time and finding it really fun.  It's so true.  Once you learn to draw, any medium is just that. Drawing. ^_^

I let Grey have some fun with my junky brushes and my watercolors on one of the pages.  I then went over with some ink to bring out any shapes I saw. =)

BFA sketchbook cover (illustration board cutout; I wanted to try and mesh the gears of my mind with my love of trees and things that brought me joy this summer).

New sketchbooks!  Love ^_^

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Seeing w/o Limits

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.” 

 Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

It's interesting, the path of learning to draw.  Drawing after all is really learning how to see.  

We start off, doodling the care-free whimsy that is a child's mind.  The ability to create as a child is magnificent; kids see the world in such a myriad of ways and colors, but are unfocused.  When we start taking direction through art classes, we're taught how to draw what we see.  Utilizing reference as a powerful tool to better know what we want to draw.  First it's reference in the manner of photographs, translating 2d images into 2d images.  When we grow some more, we start drawing from life.  Seeing the world in 3d and reproducing them into flat form.  We grow again and that's when we learn that our eyes can only tell us so much.  A deeper understanding of the form and physiology of our subjects and its environs allows us to push what we draw beyond what we merely can see, into a realm touched only by our imagination and dreams.  

Only one more week til the BFA sketchbook is due.  Got my new sketchbook all picked out and ready to go. ^_^

Spent the day in SF today along the Embarcadero with a bunch of A/I buddies.  Enjoyed possibly the best milkshake I've had ever, a vanilla shake with chocolate syrup swirled in.  Delish!  Was a gorgeous day, think I got a little sunburned though. :-D


Friday, August 10, 2012

The Collision of Dreams w/Reality

My friend posted this pic she found and being an aspiring animator/illustrator, it really spoke to me.

I wonder about the creator of this image; whether they never experienced a dream coming true or seeing a vision fulfilled.  I feel blessed to be an artist, where daily I take my pen to paper and touch my dreams to reality.  It's the one place where I can live the fairytale, and when I return to real life, I'll have brought a small memento with me.

Sketching has taken on a new life recently; now that the first 80 pages are done and over with, I finally feel free.  Having more fun with it and pushing myself further; I really should've been doing that in the beginning I think.  But looking at my progress over the last 90 pages, there definitely has been!

I spent a page with my 13 year old niece who is looking to get into an art centered high school in SF.   Spoke to her about perspective and shadow shapes and the three rules that I put into practice in ever piece I do.  Squint, Contrast is the meaning of life, and REFERENCE.   I hope I wasn't too real with her about the work it takes to become successful in the art field; she's just a kid and should enjoy being one still.

Spent a Monday at the Winchester Mystery House and Santana Row.  That was an awesome day to say the least. I need to go back.  The house is just absolutely massive and a joy to draw in perspective. =)  And as a place to draw people... it's hard to beat Santana Row.  Sat outside Pinkberry and just stared and sketched for a good 3 hours.  Oh and ate yogurt.  Can't forget that.

Friday, August 3, 2012

78... 79... 80!!! and beyond. =)

Oakland zoo again this past Monday where I hit the required page number for our BFA sketchbooks.  I must say, it did feel really good. =)

Unfortunately, I had my page 80 built up in my head that it needed to be something epic and it really fell short.  Probably just trying too hard. Ahh well.  And to top it off, once I hit that page on Monday, my lust for drawing kind of faltered for a few days.  But picked up my tools today and hit the Hakone Gardens in Saratoga with a good friend and thoroughly enjoyed myself there.  Just wish it wasn't so dang gum hot.

Finished my day with a quick mountain bike ride up at Saratoga Gap. I had put a new tire (Kenda Nevegal) on the front of the Superlight and mmmmm... I am very happy with it.  Much bitier than the Mavic Crossmarks (race XC tire) that came stock with the bike and fully restored my confidence in riding again.  I had gotten kind of gun-shy after my front end washed out in some sand at Skeggs a couple of weeks ago.  Sun was setting on me fast though so no chance to pull the sketchbook out but I got some fun photos I intend on working from in the future.

Picked up Grey after the ride and had a fun evening with him.  He apparently likes to sit on my tummy and jump up and down while I do sit-ups.  Kind of like a goofy laughing medicine ball I guess. :-D

He's been getting chattier and chattier every day and his vocabulary never fails to astound me.  I have to kind of watch my language now because he is fully able to mimic anything I say now.  A personal favorite of his is Oh DANG.  At I got him off Oh crap!  Thank goodness that was short-lived.  I hope....

Anyways, here's pages 78, 79, and 80!  and a few beyond. Hoping to reach 120 by the end of the next 3 weeks: