Trying Tuesday

Trying Tuesday | Practice 

I have this thing I like to do. It’s really easy and it’s really cheap, which are things I love. Someone got me a magazine subscription for Christmas. Also, I seem to just randomly get a lot of magazines. I don’t pay for them, they just show up and I don’t question it. 
Here’s the thing, magazines have pictures of people. People moving, zoomed in pictures of faces. As someone who prefers traditional mediums, this is awesome. I mean, they make great references for practice drawing. Especially if you hate when people realize you’re drawing them. But that’s not what I did today. I did something way easier. I traced. 
When I was little and in art class, I learned things like “the eyes are in the middle of the head.” But I obeyed without understanding. So a few months ago, I decided to study. Which is what I did today as a refresher:

And look! The eyes are in the center of the head. I’d like to say that these pictures are sideways because it’s easier to see that, but it’s really because I’m writing this on my cell phone and can’t figure out how to fix it. 
Note that I have done some weird geometrical tracing on the nose. Noses are hard to draw and it’s nice to get some rules to understand how to draw them. 
But that’s not all. 

I attempted to analyze movement and the underlying skeletal structure that you can’t see. I particularly love the picture with the kid because there’s so much movement on the same figure. I keep hoping this will help me with foreshortening. 
One more thing. 

Just tracing! It’s nice because you get used to the curves and contours of the face. I like to trace the way the light falls too. It’s fun and easy. I like it. 

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Trying Tuesday

So, normally, Trying Tuesday would be all about art.  However, I, having temporarily re-discovered a game from my childhood, am in no mood to try new art.  But there is something I’m trying.


Don’t laugh.  Bran cereal.  Here’s the thing.  I’m trying to have an efficient diet.  I want to eat foods that are a good bang for my buck.  I know I need more fiber, and there were so many promising nutrients.  I’ve been eating chia seeds for the same reason (really good when soaked in orange juice).


I got started on this kick because of instant oatmeal.  I mean, oatmeal is supposed to be good for you.  High in fiber, bla bla bla.  Legit oatmeal is.  But instant?  It’s so many calories for feeling ZERO percent full.  So disappointed.  I don’t really track my calories, but that’s mostly because I’m lazy.  I want to be healthy without having to think about it.  Also, I want to be healthy without a lot of work.  And also, I want to be healthy without eating miserably gross food.  I’m looking at you kale salad with cranberries and cayenne pepper and walnuts and olive oil and apple cider vinegar and honey.  Gross and too much work and not filling.  Also, fruit should NEVER go in a savory salad.  I have opinions.


So this bran cereal.  It looks like dog food or cat food or something.  But it tastes fine.  Totally tolerable (and you’re talking to someone who has been subjected to liquid thyme being just dropped into her mouth, I KNOW intolerable).  The word isn’t in on how good that fiber is, but I’m sure I’ll find out in the most inconvenient way at work during a meeting tomorrow.


So far though, it seems like a good idea.



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Trying Tuesday | Office Design

Nothing too fascinating today.  I’m trying to design an ideal office for myself.


I would like (in perfect dream world):

Office Corner

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Filing Cabinet

Sewing Corner

  • Sewing Machine
  • Dummy
  • Materials

Art Corner

  • Easel
  • Drawing Table
  • Light box
  • Small Table to Hold Paints


And obviously a rolling chair and a stool.  And possibly some bookshelves.  And if we’re going full out perfect dream world, I want a hammock too.

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Trying Tuesday | Primary Colors

So, I decided to try two things today.  One, a drawing from a reference.  Two, using three colors (the primary colors) and seeing what I could mix.


Here’s my reference (thanks Google and The B in Apartment 23…which I highly recommend, great show) (also, look how lazy I am, didn’t even bother to cut the top off):


Screenshot_2017-06-13-17-55-46 (1).png


Preliminary sketch I didn’t even try to fix:




Added layer of yellow:




Added layer of red:




Added a layer of blue:




Realized I forgot to color her shirt:




Layer of yellow on shirt:




Added some fix up colors???:




Lazy background and ink:




Yay!  I did something!  I just love the idea that if you have the three primary colors, you can just make all the other colors.  It’s very exciting.



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Trying Tuesday | Perspective Again

I decided to try perspective again (and probably again and and again and again until I finally understand it).


But this time I watched a video because that’s almost like being in class.  So I found the following awesome videos that helped me wrap my brain around the topic:




Look, I’m serious.  I even took notes:



I even attempted my own thing, which is unfinished because I got tired of it:




Mistakes are so important in art.  More important is recognizing them.  I have so many more mistakes to make, and I am happy about that.



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Trying Tuesday | Danged Buildings

I was wasting time on the internet today…or researching, paint it how you will.  In any case, I found this AWESOME tutorial (or awesome to how I work in particular) for perspective.  Can I just say that drawing buildings, inside or out, just hurts me.  I want to be able to so much, but I try, cry, and then go on to doodling more faces.






It’s supposed to be terrible because pre-sketch (keep your expectations LOW):


Let’s move it and pretend like that will help me:



My hopes were low (but hey, first attempt at this method, obviously need LOTS of practice):



Clearly should have done some warm-ups:




End result, mostly because I literally gave up:



I have much more practice to do.



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Trying Tuesday | Critique Edition 1



I’m going to try something I haven’t done since college; a critique.


In my painting classes, all of the students would gather their current projects together and crowd around them.  One by one, we’d discuss our thoughts on each painting.  At first, it was scary and painful.  Your art is your baby, and putting it on display is like putting your child out there for the world to judge.  Our professor encouraged constructive criticism, happily.  No one was looking at anyone’s painting and calling it crap.  Or you know, not justifying why they didn’t like it.


Taking criticism is an important skill.  Not everyone is good at it, but you can learn to take it.  You just have to be able to discern the difference between people who are being mean for the sake of being mean, people who genuinely want you to improve, and people who are too nice (or just don’t have the eye for it).  I want to get better.  As such, I have to be willing to hear where I can improve (and why I should improve).


I don’t really have anyone right now to give me constructive criticism on a regular basis.  My hands are still catching up with my eyes, so I feel, that at the moment, I can give myself some level of a critique.  I think also that examining what I’ve done is a good chance for me to learn and improve.


I did this portrait fairly quickly, only looking at a reference for the hair (couldn’t think of how to style it).  I really want to be able to do quick portraits.  Right now, I just draw and hope the pieces come together.  I don’t try to draw any specific person, just whatever comes out is good enough.  Drawing people I know can be a little scary.  If they see it and they ask “who is that?” it’s pretty horrifying.


Here’s the portrait:




Positives:  I think I captured an uncomfortable expression, which I’m satisfied with.  I like the depth to the bangs.  I like the outline of the left side of the face.


Negatives:  My line work is clumsy.  Rather than draw a line, I go over it again and again until it looks like what I want.  I do often like that style, but it can go from a cool style to sloppy real fast.  Other than her bangs, the rest of hair is flat and something seems off dimensionally.  If I can put my finger on that, I think I can really work out some kinks in general.  The background doesn’t really give a good enough balance.  There’s too much white space at the bottom.  I don’t mind the texturing, but I think it could have a better structure to it.


Happily accepting constructive criticism.  It’s hard to look at your own work objectively.



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Trying Tuesday

Today I decided to try a self-portrait, free-hand, no helpers.  Sadly, the selfie is not my self-portrait.


This is, however, the picture I decided to base my self-portrait on.  Selfies really aren’t my thing, that’s as good as it gets.


So I started sketching:



No tutorial here, me just attempting to draw what I see.  It’s not perfect.  Someday, maybe I’ll do a VERY long series of blog entries covering hours of a project.  Until then, here is a 10 minute drawing.


But I decide, since I’m using my fancy Bristol board, that I would use marker/ink/whatever:




But it’s not bold enough so I add lots of black.  I love black:




I tried.  I’m not satisfied, but that’s ok.  Not being satisfied pushes me to keep going.



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Trying Tuesday

I’m starting this Trying Tuesday with keyboard problems.  It’s very…trying.


I was struggling to think of what I should try to today.   So I thought big.  Or at least, try something I’ve done small…big.  I have a certain origami pattern memorized.  Mostly because I did it again and again when I was trying to de-stress at work.  I don’t know what the technical name is…but I call it “Big Blow Up Cube.”


Also, I own wrapping paper.  Always prepared, this one.




Obviously, you have to make a square:




And then cut it out:




Now fold it diagonally the other way:




Now fold it hot dog (hamburger? does it matter if it’s a square?) both ways:




Now is probably the hardest (maybe second hardest) bit.  It’s much easier to think through on a smaller piece of paper first and then try to replicate it on the very large piece of paper you’re dealing with.  Kind of grab the sides and squish it in together?  Think of it as a brain teaser.  You can do it.




Pretty tricky.  Now you’ll take the bottom right of the pyramid (Christmas tree?  weird shape?) and fold it so it touches the top corner (where you’d put the star on top of the Christmas tree):




Also, fold the left tip the same way (except it will touch the right tip in the middle making a diamond shape).  Then flip the shape over and do it on the other side:




Once that’s done, you’ll have a nice diamond shape.  Then take the corner on the right and fold it in so it hits the very center of the diamond:




Do that on all sides and you’ll end up with something looking like this:




At the top, there are two corners that are un-attached.  Fold them down to meet the corners of the other flaps:



Do that on both sides.  You’re going to need to tuck them into the flap, which is totally easier if you bend them over the flap first to make a crease:




Do that on all sides and it will look like this (the same as before!  But now with things in pockets!):




Now we do more creasing.  You see those top and bottom diamonds?  We’re going to crease them both directions as firmly as possible (pro-tip use your fingernails or a sharp object):





Here’s the hardest (or second hardest?)  part.  There’s a hole in one end.  When you make tiny ones, you can blow in it and you have a cube!  Ummm, it’s not so easy with giant cube.  Sadly.




So what I ended up doing was pulling carefully at the sides and getting seriously frustrated with the wrapping paper for not being strong enough.  But I got there…eventually:




Here’s what I learned:

  1.  Wrapping paper is not strong.
  2. Making things bigger is hard.
  3. I really like my hands.



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Trying Tuesday

I wasn’t sure what to do today.  So I went with a Brush Pen and some markers.  Wanna know what I actually tried today?  Horrifying myself.  Totally succeeded too.  Are you ready?  Probably not.  Brace yourselves for an onslaught of terrible cell phone pictures of the timeline of a questionable drawing.


I started with a stick figure.  Not the most dynamic, but I guess it’ll do:


I filled in some gaps.  Wish I had noticed the head being too far left.  Oops:


Adding in details:


Outlining even darker:


Shading in for no reason:


More details!  I decided she was the kind of girl who wore flip flops with a fancy dress:


And hops fences.  She had to be hopping over something:


Maybe a tree?:


This is when I broke out the pen.  See kind of pen:


This is ok.  My hands are not yet steady enough to really use this pen so it’s not thick all the time:


I hated the tree.  Tree gone.  Erased everything.  Should have stopped here:


Nope.  Just nope.  I miss oil paints.  I do not like markers:



But hey, at least I tried?