Archive | April, 2012

Cute, Cuddly, Koala….

26 Apr

But before I show you my masterpiece, I’d like you to take a look at my balls.  This was great.  Mark showed me how to make different strokes with my balls to achieve totally different results.  Check this out!

So, the far ball on the left kind of looks like short hair.  The middle ball is a hard prickly thing.  And then the ball on the far right is more traditional.  Something you ladies might come across in a pair of Levis for instance.

Anyways, after practicing my new technique, I am ready to unveil the first thing I’ve drawn that I am proud of.  (Well, almost proud of.  There’s hope.)  A cute, cuddly, koala.  Don’t you just want to squeeze him?!?

My "Mona Lisa"


Some Sort of Fort or Something….???

25 Apr

I don’t know what the hell this is.

I think it’s some kind of fortress or something, but it looks like you could overrun it very quickly.  I don’t think this place would keep out a ravenous pack of geriatrics looking for their 4:00pm dinner.  Mark Kistler calls it Lesson 7 – Advanced Level Cubes.  I know…I know….what’s up with the triangles?  It threw me too, but what the hell?  I went with it.  Triangles are just 1/2 squares so maybe that’s what the “advanced” part is?

Now at first, I was pretty disgusted with my drawing.  It sucks.  I took a break and mentally added another failure to my ever-increasing list of things I can’t do.  Then when I came back and looked at it, it didn’t look that bad.  I actually kind of like the first attempt.  Granted the ramps are a little off-center, but with my limited knowledge and experience, I figured it’s acceptable.

I hate the second attempt.  I did my darkening of the lines again and it just doesn’t look right.  I have to break my inclination to do that.

A lot of the frustration comes from being able to draw a perfect line, and then turn around and not be able to draw one to save my life.  I guess this is pretty normal and I’m hopeful, through repeated practice, eventually I will train my hand to flow with confidence until it becomes second nature.  I’d sure like to get there as I feel like Shakey the Clown.

It’s not the destination.  It’s the journey, right?  I just wish I was journeying to Hawaii, as it kind of feels like I’m heading to Fargo.  See you tomorrow.

Just for fun, I banged this out in GIMP which I know nothing about.  What a sweet program!  Straight, parallel lines are a breeze….  🙂

Stacked Tables….

23 Apr

Hey.  I knew I was busy most of tonight so I came home after work and did my practice lesson first thing.  I made sure to take my time and things came out pretty well I think.  So I drew a little number 1 on my page to note my first attempt at this lesson.  It came out well.  I’m happy with it and it does look 3-dish as it’s intended.  That was a nice surprise.  I followed the instructions carefully and also noted to use lines I’d already laid on paper as my guides when drawing new lines in an attempt to get pairs of lines parallel.  It went pretty good.

So after my first stacked tables, he then wanted me to draw a few more, but this time shooting for a time of less than 2 minutes on each drawing.  This really upped the ante as the first one took a good 10 minutes or so.  Figuring it would be ok, if they weren’t quite as crisp, I gave it my best  shot.  The reason for doing this is to train my hand to draw these common lines in the same 4 general directions; NW, SW, SE, & NE.

My first attempt only took me 3:10 which I was impressed with.  I gave it a couple more shots and noted times on the page below.  Last attempt was well under 2 minutes although I probably cheated as it’s quite small, but I’m happy it still resembles a 3-d stacked table.

Pretty cool.  Well I have one more “shape” lesson tomorrow and then I finally get to draw an actual thing.  Look for my koala bear coming soon.

Hollow Cubes…

22 Apr

After three long days without picking up a pencil, I went back to the drawing board (pun intended, yuk-yuk) tonight.  Just had a few super busy days and no time to sit down and devote.

Lesson five tonight was on drawing hollow cubes.  I’m not real thrilled how mine turned out.  I get the concept of keeping your lines parallel as shown in the foreshortening 3-d compass and the sample box with the directional arrows, but it’s a lot harder than it seems.  I also felt I was rushing.  Drawing these hollow boxes takes a bit more time and in an effort to “fill the page” I think I was working too fast emphasizing quantity over quality.  I also don’t like the darkened lines I made trying to bring out the box.  I used a softer, bolder pencil and that crisp line disappears with the wide strokes.  I don’t think it looks right.

Looking around the internet at others sketches, doodles, and drawings, I am discovering I prefer more of a sloppy or cartoonist exaggerated drawing over drawing objects as they would appear in real-life.  However, I realize to draw anything, the core fundamentals are the same and I am really enjoying Mark Kistler’s book along with his loose writing style and numerous examples.

My daughter was sitting with me tonight and drawing pictures next to me.  She said “Daddy, why do you keep drawing just circles and squares.  It’s boring!”  I laughed, and showed her the table of contents and how the author kind of goes over the basic building blocks of all drawings, but then I get to start drawing actual things pretty soon.  I think there was a koala or something on lesson eight which I’m getting pretty close to.  Look forward to that disaster.

Anyways, it’s not terrible.  It’s only lesson five and I am learning and enjoying it.  I will keep it up tomorrow and remember to slow down a bit and take some more time.  I give you, my hollow cubes……

Cube, Block, Box….Whatever.

18 Apr

I can’t believe it.  I was actually excited to draw tonight.  It’s actually pretty fun and I’m enjoying something new.  One problem I’ve immediately found however is a serious conflict with a couple of my personality traits.  Impatience and perfection do not mesh well together.  I suffer from both.

However, as they say, acceptance is the first step.  I know it.  I realize it.  I won’t let it get to me.  I realistically know I will not be Picasso on Day 4.

Tonight’s lesson was drawing the cube shape.  Pretty cool how the author used guide points to get me a nice distorted top using the foreshortening technique.  I learned a new word: foreshortening!  What is foreshortening you ask?  Lets say you look at a quarter straight on, it’s just merely a circle.  Every point on the surface  is the same distance from your eye.  However, as soon as you tilt it, you’ve added depth to it.  It now has length (the far edge is farther from your eye), width (which it had before), and depth or height (as you can now see the edge).  Funny how looking at something you’ve seen a million times can all of a sudden seem interesting when you look at it a little differently.  I wish that worked with my wife <insert rim shot>.

I think my cubes came out ok.  I am not Picasso.  I am not Picasso.  I am not Picasso.  I will take my time.  I will take my time.  I will take my time and enjoy the process.

I’m Not Real Happy With My Balls….

17 Apr

Well today I cracked Lesson 3.  This was called Advanced Level Spheres or something like that.  My lighting was much better.  The drawing isn’t.

My 9-year old was working diligently on her fraction homework right next to me which proved to be a bit distracting.

I already know about numerators and denominators and this is her homework, not mine.  (Subsequently, I learned I didn’t know as much about numerators and denominators as I thought I did.)  We worked through the problems together and I got a little drawing practice in on the side so today’s lesson was more of an art/math lesson.

The object is to lay out spheres (balls) to create a three-dimensional picture.  It looks so easy in the book, but laying it down on paper is another story.  I think mine pretty much sucks, but I’ll keep practicing.

Just for fun, I did another little homage to my good buddy Dean.  See if you can find it!

I call this work of art....Balls On Chin.

8:15pm Update – After my meeting I just had to give it one more shot.  For Lesson 3, and going out of a book, I’m happy with it.



Frustrated Balls….

16 Apr

I don’t think my overlapping spheres (balls) turned out as well as my first single spheres.  The lighting at my desk wasn’t so hot so I’m going to move tomorrow.

Anyways, I did some more practicing today where I was taught a little more about lighting and cast shadows using overlapping spheres, or as I like to say, balls.  As I’m sure most loose women know, working with multiple balls, can be a bit more perplexing and complicated than a single ball.  There are more areas to worry about shading, and if you don’t get the back ball just right, it looks kind of weird.  When this occurs, I have coined the phrase “cramped ball”.

Anyways, I gave it a worthwhile effort.  Please notice, I also drew in a little homage to my good friends, Dean and Don; The Hairy Boys!  Enjoy ridiculing my sucky balls….

Don't miss my friends Don & Dean; The Hairy Boys!

My Balls…

15 Apr

Actually, they’re called spheres.  But “balls” is so much more fun to say.

So, I have to apologize to Mark.  I just couldn’t find the time to give him his 20-30 minutes a day the last couple of days.  Too busy.  However, I jumped back in the saddle this morning and got started with “Lesson 1 – The Sphere”.  Mr. Kistler tells me about light sources and shadows.

Playing with my pencil on the paper and above the paper, I do see what he’s talking about with these cast shadows.  Eventually I feel a little silly as my daughter inquisitively watches what I’m doing and then quickly goes back to the much more interesting Disney Channel show she’s watching.

I think I’m ready and I lay out my first “sphere” (or as I like to say ball (heehee)) and it does resemble an actual circle.  Maybe I do possess some artistic ability.  I start screwing around with my shadow and a bit of shading.  I blend with my finger as he suggests and low-and-behold, it’s not terrible.

In fact it was kind of fun.  So I did it again.  And again.  And then again…..a couple more times for good measure and wallah!  I present you with my balls!!

The Artist….in Me. No, it’s not Prince.

12 Apr

I have always wanted to learn to draw.

I drew as a child constantly.  Usually underwater battles or army battles.  And anything Star Wars.  I wasn’t very good, but it was fun and like all good parents, my folks lied to me and told me it was good.

Many seasons have past and it’s been a long time since I picked up a pencil and I wasn’t really sure how.  So I figured I’d find a good book and go for it.

I picked up a book by Mark Kistler called You Can Draw In 30 Days.  Which is really perfect for me being an inpatient son-of-a-bitch.  I read the forward and scoffed at Mark’s claims that I have talent.  I just need to be taught.  I already bought his damn book.  He doesn’t need to butter me up.

Mr. Kistler  ensures me if I give him 20-30 minutes a day for 30 days, I’ll be MUCH better than when I started.  I know I’ll be better,  but I’m curious about the “much” part.  I figured this would be kind of fun and put him to the test.  The commitment is small and I’d like to ensure myself that I am a terrible artist with absolutely zero God-given talent.  And to keep me honest, I figure I’d post it online, so in the likely event of failure, it’s something else you can rip on me for.

Without further adieu, I give you “The Pretest”.

Mark said to do this pretest and I don’t have to show anyone.  No one will ever see it.  I’m going to cheat a bit and show off my lack of talent for your amusement.  He wanted me to spend two minutes or so drawing a house, a plane, and a bagel.  I did it.  And here’s what they look like.  This will apparently be used as the benchmark at the end of 30 days to see how much I’ve grown.  I can’t wait.

  Well, here’s the house.  I imagine it to be a ghetto crack house.  Inside lives Meth Kingpin Jr. and his bitch.  The cute little smoke coming out of the chimney is not from a cozy fire…’s meth fumes because they’re cooking.

Here’s my airplane.  I have no clue what the star and the circle on the tail mean.  This plane most likely is crashing.’

Here’s my bagel.  It looks more like a doughnut no one would eat to me.

Ok Mark.  This Buds for you.  I’ll see you in 30 days and we’ll just see how good of a teacher you are!