Archive | May, 2012

Plant a Seed … and Watch It Grow

25 May

I decided I wanted to learn to draw.  I wanted to draw anything that would resemble (loosely) what I was intending to draw.  I sucked.

But that wanting was the seed being planted.  In just 21 short lessons from a book designed for children or slow adults (like me), I am actually progressing as evidenced here!  And I sure like it when something turns out “OK”.  I don’t aim too high.

This was Day 1. I know this isn’t a tree. It’s a bush, but come on….Someone asked me why there was barbed wire in front of my house.

This was about 2-3 weeks later. A little tree off to the left of a house I drew. It is definitely a tree. There’s no doubt about it. Right?

And tonight, I drew this.  Now the top looks a little lame, but I think the trunk looks pretty cool.  A seed is planted and the tree grows!

One Lovely Blog Award…WHAT?!?

25 May

I’m still brand new to this whole blog thing and amazed anyone other than my 9-year old would pay any attention to it, but I do get some hits and was actually nominated for two Lovely Blog Awards by two of my favorite bloggers out there in the big world wide web.  So first and foremost, thank you so much to Doodle Dad and LestTwentyTwo for their nominations!  DoodleDad is the Superman of Fathers and is an incredible artist.  I enjoy his touching & heartfelt blog very much and his work is amazing.  LestTwentyTwo is an incredible artist as well and draws an original comic strip that I dig.  I’m a sucker for cute comics!  Really great work.  I think my blog sucks so I’m really blown away.  Thank you thank you thank you!

So, the rules:

-Thank the person/people who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
-Share seven possibly unknown things about yourself.
-Nominate fifteen or so bloggers you admire.
-Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know and link back to them.

Seven unknown things about myself….

1. I love heavy metal.  I find it so relaxing and stress reducing.  I can pop on my headphones, crank the Maiden, and just melt away into a deep slumber.  But don’t tell anyone that I’m a rabid Jamiroquai fan too.  I don’t know how it happened either.

2. I’m loud, obnoxious, and probably drink too much.  But I am a highly respected and very active Boy Scout Leader and member of my daughter’s PTA at school.  (At least I think I am.)  Again, don’t tell anyone.  I really love these volunteer jobs and would love to keep them.  I don’t act like the irresponsible, big mouth fool that I am in front of the kids.  Much.

3. I am an avid scuba diver.  And I live in Seattle, Washington where the water is cold, dark, murky, with lots of currents.  Most divers would scoff at these conditions let alone get in the water, but I swear to you the underwater world here is every bit as unique and far out as your favorite tropical dive site.  Albeit, not as pretty.  Not at all.  But we are the only place in the world you can find the Giant Pacific Octopus!

4. I have never been outside of North America, but will be in Great Britain one week from today and you wouldn’t even believe me if I told you HOW EXCITED I AM!

5. I have worked for the same company for 22 years and could not be happier there.  Only another 146 years and I can finally retire.

6. I don’t eat any vegetables.  Ever.  Well, maybe an occasional carrot.  Vegetables suck.

7. While I really loved Thor & Captain America comics growing up, my favorite was always Richie Rich.  So embarrassing…<head hung in shame.>

My favorite blogs that you should check out!

Sassy Hand Turkey – very creative sketches.  Love ’em

Ali R. Thome – Awesome caricaturist

Dannymartinart – USPS box art!  Cranks out the portraits.  Great stuff usually from classic movies.

Yes I am being facetious – I really dig the artwork!

Red is Not Dead – This one blows me away.  Love these drawings!

Fingerprint Len – Quite possibly the cutest little blog on the web.  It’s irresistible.

Absterabbi – A potpourri of everything!  Finds all the great stuff!

Superquieteye – Another love.  The finest collection of stick people on the planet.  Drew me a “Metallica” today.  I’m getting a TShirt made.  Don’t tell him.  I don’t want to pay him.  🙂

Runaway Jane – Entertaining little Scot who travels the world over and shares with all of us.  Great!

Amanda McManaman – Simply amazing.

Ashcat Blog – So very, very cool.  Dark, cute, and great!

Cup of Joe to Start the Day!

23 May

Do you know how important foreshortened circles are to artists?  (I am not claiming to be an artist for the record.)  Do you care?  Nah, me neither, but I’m learning I need to know if I want to draw anything remotely 3-D or good for that matter.  Foreshortened circles are everywhere I look these days!

I am actually VERY happy with how my cup of coffee came out!  See the foreshortened circles at the top?  I also banged out a solid volcano.

Progress!

The Great Pyramid of Giza: A Wonder of the Ancient World

22 May

Remarkable in every way from it’s beauty, to it’s architecture & design, to the marvels & mystery of how it was even constructed.  Built some 2,500 years ago, it has stood the test of time and dazzled all who gazed upon her.

And then we have this pile of sh*t.  Pyramids don’t look very hard, but mine sure didn’t come out too well.  The Egyptians and pretty much anyone with the gift of sight should steer well clear of these travesties.  I’m pretty sure King Tut would have me executed.

I am not too happy with how they came out.  Bleech.

Hear Ye Hear Ye!

17 May

I proclaim that I can draw a scroll!  I didn’t say it was a good one.  Tonight’s lesson was on constructing scrolls and kind of built on the old rose lesson.  I am learning shading is tough!  But I am also learning it’s what separates great drawings from good ones.  I imagine it’s going to take a lot of practice and a lot of study of light and the way it falls on objects.  I’ve been noticing myself looking at things lately and the way the light hits them.  However, transferring that to paper from memory is proving difficult.  Practice and practice and more practice as well as drawing from life should improve my not-so-hot current abilities.

So the first scroll I constructed using the book as my guide came out ok.  Using cylinders for the ends and basically connecting them.  Then the hard part is getting it shaded right.  It came out ok.  I do not know why I felt the need to write on it.  It looks stupid.  The number 2 drawing, I did on my own from memory.  It’s ok too.  I like using the paper stump to blend the shading.  On number 3, I took a shortcut and decided to go freehand.  By not drawing the cylinders, you can easily see I made the ends of the scroll too wide and it shows.  Also tried to change the light source and it was tough to figure out what should be darkened for shading.  The last one, I went back to the original design using the cylinders.  It came out pretty good I think, but somehow I got my peeking lines wrong and cut off half the cylinder when building the ends of the scroll.  It still looks ok to me, but I’m not sure how I did this.  I left the sketch lines in so you can see my goof.

I’m looking forward to the day I can try to put all these skills together and make an original drawing I am proud of.  Seems a long way off, but I am determined.

You’re A Grand Ole Flag…

16 May

I got to draw flags tonight for lesson 17.  The came out ok, except I went out on my own on the bottom one and totally botched the shading.  Wrong directions.  Oh well, they still came out kind of cool.  Very easy to do with near instant results.  I like drawing flags.

Speaking of flags…I think it’s time to wave the Coors Light flag cause I’m heading to the pub.  Cheers!  xo

Let’s Go Surfin’ Now

15 May

Hey!  Chapter 16!  There’s only 30 and I “should” be able to draw soon according to the book title, You Can Draw in 30 Days.  I’m over 1/2 way!  Tonight’s lesson was “The Wave”.  Building on the lovely contour tubes I learned in the previous lesson.  The first one looks pretty lame to me.  I think the froth is a little too frothy, but the second one vaguely resembles a wave.  With a little imagination.  What do you think?

If only I could draw a cute little surfer girl on top hanging ten.  With a bikini.  With a little bikini I mean.  In France, where it’s cool to go topless.  With long dark hair.  And a sexy accent.  And a cooler of ice-cold beers.  And maybe a picnic basket with salami and cheese.

Nascar & Scuba…What a Combo!

13 May

Figured I’d skip the lesson today and just try to draw something.

I had DVR’d last nights Nascar race from Darlington and watched it this morning with some coffee and eggs.  It was not a casual fan’s race (no wrecks), but pretty damn good if you’re a Nascar fan (like me.)  The only one not having a good time was the commitment cone right before pit road.  I saw that sucker get taken out 3 separate times.  I don’t think Coney enjoyed being plastered to front end bumpers all day long….

Went scuba diving on Friday after work with a couple of buddies.  Here in the Puget Sound we’re not used to very good visibility.  If we can see 20 feet, we call that a very good day.   However, on Friday, we hit some pretty serious surf for these parts which stirred up the water and we were looking at visibility of about a foot.  It was pretty terrible and about 11 minutes in, we decided to bag it and head for the bar.  I miss my little fish buddies….

Contour Tubes – I Have a Lot to Learn

10 May

Ok.  These are contour tubes.  Contour lines are apparently very important for drawing things like trains, planes, and automobiles.  As well as trees, people, clouds….the list goes on and on.  Now I’m not seeing it because these are just tubes and don’t look anything like any of the aforementioned.  However, I’ll take Marks word for it and trust all will be explained in time.  My first one sucked.  I was following my tendency to rush, so I really slowed down on the second one and I think it came out better.

Download Festival 2012 – Who do I see?

10 May

I am getting ready to travel to Great Britain in a few weeks to attend the 2012 Download Festival.  I have never been outside North America so I am really looking forward to this trip for a variety of reasons, but Download was the initial calling for me.  Being a mega-Metallica fan, they announced they were headlining this festival and playing the Black Album in its entirety.  That’s about the only reason I needed to start reading guide books and searching feverishly for airfare.  I’ll write more about the trip and plan to blog my entire adventure, but more about that later.

My metal journey officially began when my Boy Scout friend, Christopher Scott, loaned me his Motley Crue Shout at the Devil album.  (The actual record, most of us didn’t have cassette tapes yet.)  Smuggling it into the house, past my parents, I went into my room, shut the door, and dropped the needle.  I was in love.  Being a metal head since my early teens, I can’t wait to immerse myself in the music and culture non-stop for three days.  Head banging and beer guzzling is something I happen to be very good at through decades of practice.  (I am also a kick ass air guitar player.)  I’m an old man now, but I believe slow-n-steady wins the race and I plan to finish.  In preparation for this epic event in my life, I figured I better do a little bit of reconnaissance as a lot of these bands I have never heard of and I want to make the most of my head banging.

I’m planning on attempting to listen to 3-5 songs from each artist up until the  time of the trip and post my brief findings of each.  I’m doing this in efforts to figure out who I really want to see with so many bands to choose from.  There is no possible way to see them all.  I am a huge fan of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin to name just a few.  I like the old, traditional “heavy metal”.  Who do you think I should see?

This post will  be a work-in-progress for a few weeks.  There’s a shitload more bands than this, but I’ll start with the Mainstage acts.

KEY
Bands I LOVE = Green
Bands I LIKE = Red
Bands I’ve HEARD OF (maybe a song or two) = Blue
Bands I don’t know SHIT about = Brown (obviously)

Friday – June 8, 2012

  • The Prodigy
  • Chase & Status – Uhhh….at first I thought I was listening to the wrong band.  This is not metal.  Synthesizers, drum machines, and lots of tribal beats.  That is not to say I don’t like this, but it’s not what I expected.  This is going to be quite a stretch following Machine Head.  What I heard was pretty cool, but sounded more like the soundtrack at some sex dungeon party.  I don’t think this is my cup of tea.
  • Machine Head – Wow!  I really like this.  I hear a lot of Exodus & Testament, but amplified with a big arena-rock kind of sound.  Also picking up some Alice In Chains (an all time fav)  and System of a Down vibes.  Way cool.  I’m going to have to check out this band a little more for sure! 
  • Billy Talent – Solid alt rock band.  Very catchy tunes.  Singer has a unique voice.  I like this a lot.  Not enough to run out and buy the record, but definitely worth enjoying a live set.  Wonder why these guys aren’t bigger in the States?  Just as good as any of the shit our alt rock bands turn out, if not better. 
  • NOFX – This was like finding buried treasure for me.  Thinking it was hardcore, I was surprised to hear fun-poppy punk cranking from my headphones.  Listening along and grinning from the sarcastic and sometimes hilarious lyrics, it was easy to hear the Offspring and Green Day influence.  That’s when I discovered, I guessed backwards.  These guys were the trendsetters, cranking this gold out from the early 80’s.   After a handful of songs off of Punk in Drublic, I had to hear more and was thrilled to find a massive catalog of LPs and EPs enjoying each song more and more.  I got to this party late, but better late than never.  Who’s got a beer?
  • Fear Factory – Love it!  This is hardcore metal with infused synthesizers and it sounds awesome.  I immediately felt my neck loosen and start involuntarily moving up and down.  It’s 5:30am and I’m ready to crack a beer.  Usually don’t like all the yelling, but it’s ok when done properly a la Pantera.  This is a nice mix of the yelling and singing.  Reminds me a lot of Linkin Park, and there’s some groove a la White Zombie.  Something tells me these guys are awesome live.  Looking forward to this one!
  • Cancer BatsI just discovered this band yesterday.  I had heard of them and decided to give it a try.  I am not crazy about the vocals.  I hate that guttural, devil’s-in-my-ball-sack yelling, but this guy’s voice has grown on me and he actually does sing pretty well on a few tracks I heard.  I love the music and guitar riffs.  Heavy.  Looking forward to these dudes!  UPDATE – I had to change this band to green.  I LOVE them and am pumped to see em live!
  • Rise to Remain – I only found one song by these guys and it didn’t really grab me.  It was fine.  Unless I hear something else, I’ll probably mosey over to another stage during this set.

Saturday – June 9, 2012

  • Metallica – My fucking favorite.  I even like St. Anger.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Biffy Clyro – Fantastic alt rock band.  Another one I don’t understand hasn’t made it to the States.  I loved every song I listened too.  I believe the singer is Scottish and sings with that excellent accent for improved cool factor.  (At least for me.)  I just love finding all this new music and know I’ll get to hear it all live soon.  A lot of mellow songs, but there’s some rockers in there too.  All sounds great!  I hope I can find someone who’ll smoke me out or give me a hit to enjoy these guys.  Seems like good weed music to just lay back on the grass and enjoy.  Listening to one of their live albums and they sound amazing.  Crowd sounds high-energy and really into them.
  • Tenacious D
  • Steel Panther
  • Trivium – Hard and heavy, but nothing special or memorable for me.  I just couldn’t get into it.  I kept hoping the next song would be better, but the hook never came.  I hear nothing that differentiates this band from 100 other mediocre hard rock bands that came out mid 90’s to mid 00’s.  We’ll be in England so I can officially say “this is not my cup of tea.”
  • Black Veil Brides – Cool name.  I think this is what would happen if Lamb of God raped whatever hot alternative band happens to be happening now.  Not that it’s a bad thing because the metalcore goes pretty nicely with it.  I really like the harmonizing guitars a la Maiden too.  Do I want to hear more?  Yup!  I will almost certainly check out this set.
  • Saxon
  • As I Lay Dying

Sunday – June 10, 2012

  • Black Sabbath – OMG.  Original lineup.  Ozzy, Tony, Geezer, and Bill.  This will be EPIC!  The Godfathers of metal!
  • Soundgarden – Being a Seattle native, I knew of Soundgarden long before the world did.  Outrageously creative music, backed by power chords, and Cornell’s amazing voice.  What’s not to love?  So many great, great songs.  An all time favorite!
  • Megadeth
  • Lamb of God – PRECONCEIVED NOTION ALERT!  I saw this band on Ozzfest several years back.  I know they have legions of fans so I was curious.  Two songs and I was running to the beer garden never looking back.  I’ve steered clear ever since.  However, in the interest of being fair, I’m going to give them another shake.
  • Black Label Society – Balls driven rock & roll.  Zaak Wylde is a living legend and I really dig this band.  One of the few guys on the planet who can take his axe and make it a vocalist in the band.  Stoked!  Plus Black Label is like almost the shittiest beer on the planet.  A perfect pairing of beer & metal!  Praying for Ozzy to come out and sing Stillborn with them!  Fingers crossed.
  • Anthrax – Churning out killer thrash for decades.  Sergeant D and The Stormtroopers of Death, an Anthrax offshoot, is one on my favorite albums of all time.  I love these fuckers and can not wait to see them live for the first time!
  • Kyuss Lives!
  • Devil Driver
  • Stellar Revival