Lazy

That’s what I am today.  Also, not able to settle very long, because we’re going out for most of the day, so…

Anyway, I’m trying to write only three of the hard-to-write posts a week, and I have one scheduled for tomorrow.

So, let’s talk about art.  Not art in general, that’s one of the dangerous posts that will end up at two thousand words and frothing at the mouth.  No, let’s talk about my art, attempts at art, etc.

When I was very young, say around 14 I did art as well as writing.  Then I decided I had to concentrate on ONE, and because art required materials and I was perma-broke and hated to ask my parents to finance me, I decided not to do art.

I was perfectly happy with this decision (Dad might have been less so, since his first degree was in art, and he regrets not having pursued it) until almost 13 years ago I passed out in our tiny bathroom (and we still don’t know why I passed out.  For years I was afraid it was a mini-stroke, but there have been no others this long, so…  we assume it was my blood-pressure bottoming out, which it does at times) and hit my head so hard that I had memory fugues for six months, and my eyes went up a diopeter (I went from wear glasses only to read, to wear glasses all the time.)

And then, as I recovered I got an incredible need to draw.

There was a problem.  It quickly became obvious that my drawing had “frozen” at 14.

cupofjoe
Mind you for 14 that’s pretty gifted.  For 40, not so much.

So I started taking lessons and classes and…

dragoninhands
There were also realistic portraits and stuff, like this one of D’Artagnan-cat.
dartagnancat

d'artagnan
And this was a model at a class, that I decided looked like the real D’Artagnan in the mysteries.
Hoyt 5.2
This guy looked like Plato to me, so I might have changed his clothing… somewhat.

This was done from a picture-model and you can see the difference (Also it was before the others.):
maid and dragon
This was also done from a model in a book, but after classes. (And in colored pencil.)

magician'sbrat
And this one which I’m rather fond of:
strays

Anyway…  I have progressed from 14 to about Senior in High School Level.  But the thing is, I haven’t done it in about 6 years (no money for classes, too sick) and I miss it horribly.  I’m hoping after the Great Move of 15 is done I can draw again.  I will never be professional (that’s writing) but I’m hoping to be better, and to inflict it on you now and then, because I can.

So, wish me luck.  And now I’m running to several appointments.  Have fun.

71 responses to “Lazy

  1. have fun storming the castle!

  2. Art – drawing – relies on muscle memory and control, fully as much as does typing a manuscript (and somewhat more delicately.) It also depends on an educated eye, which sees and translates images into lines, blocks, etc. It is unsurprising that such skills would have not advanced when left unused, although it is likely the Artist’s Eye would have continued its education subliminally.

    Myself, I can’t even draw mosquitoes.

  3. Like anything worth doing well, you have to practice drawing or painting as often as you can. I would love to take lessons again – it’s been many years

  4. Try doing some anime. The style is very simple in terms of construction, and easy to pick up. You can get a handsome result with just a pencil. Add markers or coloured pencils and the pictures come out very handsome indeed.

    Best of all, it is fast. Time is a luxury.

  5. c4c

  6. Overall, and acknowledging my naive eye for Art, I would say your early works demonstrate a nice sense of proportion and balance, with good employment of shading. The D’Artagnan-cat seems a touch anthropomorphic, whether because of the eyes or the mouth I cannot decide, although I lean toward the mouth. All of your “people” sketches seem good, with the minor exception of

    in which the dragon seems flat in the background and the model’s face a trifle oddly balanced (which may have been an accurate drawing of her, but the eyes seem not quite right and, frankly, you seem to have no feel for boobs.)

    • Reality Observer

      I dunno… looks kind of Picasso-ish to me…

      (If you have the same opinion of Picasso as I do, though, no it doesn’t.)

  7. Better than any of my stuff, at any age. I’m still stuck at the “bad cartoon” level. 😛

    One current frustration is that I can never get maleness/femaleness of what I draw right. When I draw a face, it’s a coin-flip which it’ll end up being, and in no way correlated with what I intend.

  8. I can do industrial drawing – blueprints. Freehand art drawing? Nope. I’ll stick with words.

    • Reality Observer

      Same. I think I could have, if I had been willing to put the time and effort in.

      I pretty much leave the graphic arts to my daughters, though.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I can do 3D CAD part modeling. I can use Pro/E, SolidWorks, and Inventor.

      My dexterity was always poor, so I never trained to the point of being a real manual draftsman.

      When I’m in the mood, I draw for fun. Inside the past few years, I read about placing the eyes in the middle of the head. I’ve since tried it a couple of times.

      • I can do some stuff with photoshop. Mostly stuff that requires no real drawing.

      • Actually, except for lettering free-hand, the old style of drafting took about as much dexterity as CAD. T-Square; 45 and 30-60-90 triangles; scale; compass; templates; freezer tape* and paper; and your choice of technical or mechanical pencil; and you’re good to go. The next step up requires vinyl eraser, erasing shield, and a brush to clean eraser dust from the drawing. That’s pretty much it. Everything is drawn by measurement and straight edge. Isometric drawing is surprisingly easy, once you see how it’s done.

        I haven’t mentioned drafting board because it can be done on small, smooth pieces of plywood with carefully finished edges (usually wood tacked like molding and flush with the surface; a home-made “desk” with a vinyl drawing surface, or, what I did at home long ago, top of a smooth freezer. It could really be done with moderate expense.

        Ink drafting on Mylar ™ is harder, and the pens aren’t cheap. But pennies taped to the bottom of the triangles kept you from having to invest in special edge drawing tools, and a punch looking thing let you press risers in your templates, all to keep from smearing the ink. You also really need an electric eraser; ultrasonic cleaner for the pens; and a pantograph letterer. All comes to a big chunk of change.

        All this assumes you know of a place where you can get your drawings duplicated. Those old blueprint machines were interesting in a Chinese curse sort of way. Even today, those machines aren’t cheap, but fortunately you don’t have to mess with special papers and developing fluid.

        Thanks to CAD, all of the above is obsolete. OTOH, given the cost of AutoCAD, it’s a good question of whether it’s cheaper.

        And now I’m feeling old, for I learned drafting decades ago in high school and working summer jobs in construction, and have done some work as a draftsman using paper and Mylar ™. Kids today probably never pick up a T-Square.

        *Freezer tape works in place of drafting tape, and is easier to find.

        • An Autocad annual subscription is $225 or so a month depending on the package you get. Paid on an annual basis its a bit cheaper (like 25% off). So, basically, a little over a day’s salary for the average CAD Draftsman. Yes, i know the price to ‘buy’ Autocad is five grand or more, but they are really pushing for you to use a subscription. Its also about the same as the amortized cost of a top-end CAD workstation purchased every three years.

    • As a mathematician, I can produce amateurish free-hand industrial diagrams; when it comes to drawing people, however, I tend not to do so well.

      The funny thing is–and this may be a certain “blueprint” mindset–I wish I can draw things at a “Calvin and Hobbes” level. Some realism, some cartoonishness, but enough to draw out stories and proof-of-concept ideas. I took a Summer Term drawing class because I hoped it would help me get closer to that, but the shading, coloring and what-not I did in that class, while fun, weren’t exactly what I wanted.

      I wish I had time to pursue drawing classes of some sort!

  9. richardmcenroe

    Lazy,
    I’m lazy but feeling so posty…
    I’m lazy,
    Lazy but posting to yooooo….

  10. Have you every tried “Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain”? It’s a pretty sneaky way of getting past your brain’s optical processor so you draw what you actually see vs. what you brain “tells” you is there.

    After a while you can learn to tell your brain “Yes dear, that’s nice, but I’m doing a 2-D representation on paper right now so you can take a nap for a bit”, and it does!

  11. Every example is orders of magnitude more interesting and relatable than 95% of modern and postmodern art.

    • The Other Sean

      Looking at Sarah’s sample of her artwork is far more enjoyable than 97% of what I’ve seen at modern art museums. 🙂

      This reminds me – I’ve been playing with 2D space partitioning and tesselation algorithms. To assist with debugging I was displaying the results with a random color for each different partition/shape. Staring at the colorful results I thought: Gee, this looks like modern art! It even has deep meaning: the bug is fixed. 😉

      • Reality Observer

        Um. 99%? More?

        I have to admit, though, that I like Shadowdancer’s work. Sexy secretaries! Someday I’ll have the spare cash to commission one of her screensavers…

      • Yeah. But that’s a really low bar. Like. “McD’s is better than freegan garbage surfing.”

        If she wants to put in the time, I think Mrs White can do better than that.

        • Hoyt! Sorry! Didn’t spot the autocorrect.

          • GIGGLE. You know, when I call in reservations we always end up being called “Mr. and Mrs. White” which is… amazing. I always assumed it was my accent.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              I still can’t get why some people hear “William” when I tell them my name.

              My last name is frequently misunderstood as “Blackbird”, but that’s because I have sinus problems.

              • My first name is “Steve.” It hasn’t happened lately, but I used to get a lot of people calling me, “Dave,” particularly on the phone. I suspect that it was a more common “single-syllable-with-V” name.

  12. Christopher M. Chupik

    Back when I was younger, I used to draw a lot. For some reason, after high school I just stopped. About the only thing I draw now are maps.

  13. Oooo! D’Artagnan! Drool!

    As a horse-mad teenager, I drew millions. Took some oil painting lessons before kids, that was tons of fun, and I really ought to get back to it. And pottery. I swear, the only time I feel like throwing pots, is during the hottest most miserable weather down here, so I never get further than thinking about cleaning up my work area. I should go buy some clay, we’re just getting into the good weather. Then I could find out just how bad I am after probably three years of doing nothing.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      You drew millions? Wow, you’re older than I thought. (RUNS, shouting, “Just kidding! I’m sure you’re really 29!”)

  14. I’ll admit I know nothing about art, but frankly, that first picture you posted, the one with the winged amphibian clutching the coffee cup, is not just fine but awesome.

  15. I think they are darn good drawings, and you should do more and take more classes when you have time.

    You have a style, and, as in writing, a style/voice is a good thing to develop.

    I’M impressed.

    • My art teacher said the same. Something about very distinctive and painterly for pastel and coloring pencils. She said I needed two years hard work to be “professional”… and then I got sick. I know I’m not sharing anything new with you, but I heartily resent my health breaking down these last few years…

      • I seem to advance by rather big leaps every time I manage to start practicing seriously, not just doodling for fun (then when I stop being serious I get stuck and start more or less from that previous level when I get serious about it again, but at least I don’t seem to lose anything), so don’t assume you can’t get to professional level if you can, at some point, devote a few years to it.

      • I don’t think any of us actually likes it, but sometimes we can use it to make our characters more human.

        As Kary says, “You liked the books? They wouldn’t exist.”

        Not so much that I would CHOOSE it; I have a lot of questions to ask one of these days.

  16. Just tell them you’re exploring your “American Primitive” period… or “Portuguese Primitive” if you want some of that sweet grant money.

  17. Write enough to earn a little time and money for the art lessons. Make us and yourself happy.

  18. Sooo, how much $$ for a nice print of the coffee-dragonet? The holiday loot,er, gift season is coming, after all.

  19. I have used and recommend the book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards for teaching yourself to improve your drawing. When teaching my kids or giving art lessons, that is what I use. I made magnitudes of improvement from just doing the exercises way back when. Most libraries have them. And they aren’t that expensive, anyway. Good Luck you can do it!

  20. Add artist nook with good natural light to your list of requirements for the next house. Not a studio, just an area where you can set up an easel and a few materials.
    Side note, artist nook must be cat proof.
    And a question. I think your art is quite nicely done. My thought was illustrations or covers for future work. Second thought was, given your style what genre messages would your art send to a potential reader?

  21. Dragon coffeecup on a t-shirt! I’d buy that!

  22. To carry coal to Newcastle, there’s different types of graphic art and all that. Your pencil sketches look pretty good. FWIW, your painting looks better than I could probably manage.

    My own drawing leans heavily toward technical style, which is probably why it lends itself to cartooning (thinking up gags, that’s another issue). Drawing is surprisingly easy to do on the cheap. For cartooning I invested in a sketch book, only to find letter sized paper atop a grid template I made worked just fine.

    Something I’ve wanted to try: This requires printable transparency film, a freebee computer drawing program, and some cardboard. Lay off a grid in the drawing program, and print onto the transparency film. Print the same grid again on paper. Make an open frame out of the cardboard so it will hold the film taut, and you can look through it, as well as make the frame self-supporting. Position the frame in front of an object to draw. Place a piece of paper over the printed grid. Now duplicate what you see in relation to the grid frame onto the paper atop the template.

    It should work, and I offered to make one for the kids, who wanted to improve their drawing, but have never tried it.

  23. I prefer the wicked, cruel, sly and hyper-intelligent dragons of Tolkien over the glorified german shepherds too common in modern fantasy.

    • Some of them can be fun.

      But my own dragons tend toward the seriously draconic.

    • You’ll love this section:

      • Cool!
        I’ve been trying to think of how Tolkien’s dragons differ from the more common types we read about in fantasy.
        Tolkien’s dragons are very human. There is little about them that is mystical. They are as “earthy” as hobbits and men.
        Tolkien shows his dragons to us (in _The Hobbit_ and _The Children of Hurin_) as they relate to their human adversaries. We don’t get much of the glory of flight (as we do with the Eagles). Instead, they rend, burn, destroy and kill.

        • OK, I’ve not seen the film yet, and that gave me the cold chills. Yeah, that’s Smaug.

          • I am unsure which was more disturbing: that video, the fact that it is over five hours long on youtube, or that they’ve labeled it “Part 1.”

    • This was the first glimmer of my dragon-shifters’ mil sf idea. The little dragons? Those are just fun. Our cat Miranda had nickname “little dragon” so…

      • Given the lifespans experienced by dragons, it might make sense that they enjoy a symbiotic relationship with humans, granting they start that small and require an extended time to “get their growth,” not unlike a certain Lummox with whom I believe we’re all acquainted.

  24. I lose more time than I want to admit to this site: it’s working artists interviewing other working artists about their processes, and their approach to handling art as a business and as a creative endeavour. (Not unlike writers.)
    http://www.onefantasticweek.com/

  25. Hie thee hence to the webcomic Player vs. Player and hit the archives for the earliest drawings. Now take a gander out there current comic. I admit that there is rather more than a decade of concentrated effort between then and now… But unless you plan to drop dead in 10 years there is no reason you cannot do the same as did Mr. Kurtz.

    Godspeed