Category Archives: drawing

Learning to Reproduce Art Digitally

I began this journey in 2013 as author of Catch a Falling Star, using a blog to promote the book at the prompting of my publisher.  They basically set the blog up for me and then handed me the steering wheel.  And I drove right into the deep pool of creative liquid filled with my own writing, artwork, and goofy thinking.

One thing that was critical was adding pictures, especially my own colored-pencil art, to the blog.  And so, I had to start converting my portfolios full of colorful scribbling.  I bought a digital camera and started my quest to reproduce in digital form the most important parts of my soul.

Here is an example of one of those first reproductions done in sunlight with my digital camera.

In the Land of Maxfield Parrish

It was acceptable enough to post, but look at the unicorn’s muzzle.  Do you not see the glare?  And how about the overall graying of the picture even at the most careful aperture settings?  Not to mention the camera’s penchant for posting the date in the corner if I don’t ask it not to politely enough.

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This one is so much better, having managed the settings better, having bought a 100 watt and a 300 watt light to light it better, and having practiced repeatedly.

 

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This one is even a little better.  It is done on my cell phone camera with a carefully selected and tested app that retains and enhances color so much more easily than the digital camera.

It is entirely possible you are looking at these three digital images and not seeing any difference.  But the differences are noticeable to me.  And I am proud of the progress I have made in four years, even if it is all in my stupid old head.

 

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Crayon Addictions

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A simple, black-and-white drawing done in pen and ink.  Elegant. Easy to understand.  At least, if you can get past the weird little kid inside a birdhouse who has apparently saddled a mutant pigeon-sparrow. The black and white is the essential underpinning.  The bones of the idea.

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So, adding color makes things a little more complex.  I started with the girl’s face. Here is where I establish the basic color-theme.  And give more character to the surprised face peering through the portal of the bird house.

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Much of the work in coloring this little articus projecticus is a matter of pattern.  I like doing wood-grain patterns in colored pencil.  It looks good when it’s finished.  But it also takes time to do line after line.

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The last step is to color the bird-riding fairy-kid. Here I am completing the color-echoes and the pattern-making.  More lines.  More care with giving the shapes volume by using light and shadow.  And now we are at the final destination.  The picture is complete.

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Filed under art editing, artwork, colored pencil, coloring, drawing, humor

Doo-Doodly-Noodly-Day

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This is a doodle even though it may look like finished art.  I began doodling with a pencil and she wasn’t a starship captain until I began inking it.

Yes, now and again I have to doodle.  You pick up the drawing tool and a blank piece of paper, and you let your mind go anywhere and everywhere that it wants to go.  Why did I choose to doodle a girl?  Sounds kinda creepy and bad, doesn’t it?  But I like science fiction and adventure and young people… I’m turning myself into a young adult author, after all.  And I like girls… even though I am 60 and my prostate is enlarged and rather dead.  I’m still a guy and I ain’t completely dead.  So maybe it isn’t really so creepy.  I am trying to keep my mind off of you-know-who… he-who-shall-not-be-named.  Yeah, this guy.

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This is truly a doodle.  I drew it in pen in about ten minutes time.  And it sucks (in the sense of a vacuum cleaner) because the overlong tie looks like a stream of blood and I think I drew the hands too big to look realistic. 

Random and open to the bizarre, allowing for accidents to appear on the page (both the Bob Ross happy kind and the not-so-happy kind), able to follow the wandering mind as fast as the hand can capture the flow of images and ideas in the silly old noodle.  That is not only what a doodle is, it is what this essay is.  A doodle essay.

I can do that without making a total poo-poo mess because I have practiced so much with pencil and pen and ink and paper that the lines flow naturally from my fingers.  And I can rely on my constant habit of writing stupid thoughts down to create a semi-coherent essay out of random jumbled thoughts.  Instinct born of practice guides my mind and hand.

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Here’s a random picture of the wall by my bed where I am writing this.  Perhaps it could be called a camera doodle?

Doodling helps me avoid the things needing to be avoided.  The world is ending.  Betsy DeVos is likely to be the Secretary of Education.  A trade war with Mexico will bring an end to much of the fruits and vegetables we can afford to eat.  I am big on avoiding.  You can tell that in my camera doodle.  Christmas lights Mickey hasn’t taken down yet?  Yeah, I’m thinking about leaving them up permanently.  You know, just until the world finishes ending.  My family, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, don’t celebrate Christmas anyway.  So what can it hurt if I keep my one dollar string of colored lights up for another few weeks.  Just until the Russian nukes start raining down on Dallas Fort Worth thanks to the red tie guy.

So there is nothing important at all in today’s blog.  Just doodles everywhere.  But why, then, does it make me feel so much better?  Well, I would say, “Because doodling makes it better.”

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Happy Doodle Day!

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Dippy Doodle Dave says, “Howdy!”

Still not feeling well, and still constantly being sabotaged by my fritzy computer, I decided to post a double doodle today.  I can post quick and drippy doodles and fulfill my obligation to posting every day while binge-watching TV.  A doodle, as I’m sure you know, is absent-minded drawing that starts without a plan and is sometimes done without even looking at the paper.  I did them in ink with no under-drawing in pencil… kinda like walking around in blue jeans with no underwear on.  Certain kinds of chafing and shifting can lead to unintended things putting a hitch in your stride.

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Doodleburg Castle on the banks of the Doodlestein River

Each of the doodles presented today was completed in about 15 minutes of constant pen-pushing.  So, there you have it.  Have a happy-daffy doodle day!

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Drawing Nude

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God didn’t really want me to write this post.  How do I know this?  Well, my computer is old and quirky (sorta like me) and it constantly spits up and farts when it is most inconvenient.  I had half of this post already written when it decided to release some toxic venom.  By its own volition it suddenly highlighted and erased the whole post except for the title and a random letter “r”.  And WordPress automatically and supposedly helpfully did its little “save the changes immediately” thing.  The whole post was gone in a flash.

Why did God do this?  Well, this isn’t really a “How to Draw Nude Figures” post as it may at first appear.  It is, in fact another in a series of “Why I Am An Artist And Not A Pervert” posts that attempt to justify why a potential “dirty old man” like me spends so much time drawing pictures of naked girls.

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My latest art project is a picture of Brekka, the Telleron tadpole, completely nude.

I am currently drawing the illustration above for my novel Stardusters and Space Lizards.  It shows the scene where Brekka, admittedly a female, although not a human female, has just been accidentally swallowed and then regurgitated by Lester, her friend who is a man-eating plant from an alien solar system.  So excuse number one would have to be, “She’s naked because it fits the story.”  I will stand by that one for matters of illustration.  And you will note, there isn’t anything even remotely sexual about the situation… er, I think I would rather not be subjected to Freudian analysis on that one.

Here are three previously posted nude drawings that I used for previous attempts to corrupt the minds of readers and viewers.  I got a lot of views for these posts, and may at least partially benefit from using the “naked” and “nude” tags on those posts.  Illegitimate excuse number two, then is, “drawing and posting nudes increases the number of people who pay attention to my work.”   My most popular blog post this year has been Be Naked More in which I rationalize my interest in naturism and walking around naked, even though I am certainly far from brave enough to do so in public.

Creativity

And I further claim that it is not a sexual thing to draw someone naked.  One of the fundamental truths about art is that every person I draw or paint or write about in a novel is really me.  The only person who stands revealed by the work of art is me, and it is a portrait of what is inside my head.  Of the five nudes in this post, only one of them was not drawn from a real life model.  (And no, I am not counting the butterfly, or the Gryphon, or Lester as nudes… so stop thinking I’m just playing word games.)  (Lester isn’t even a real thing… man-eating plants don’t exist… so stop it!)  But none of the subjects were ever uncomfortable about posing for me.  Of course now that I have suggested that lame excuse number three is, “All nudes are really me.”  I probably have you thinking about the real meaning of the title of this post.  I have psoriasis, I do tend to feel more comfortable with no clothes on, and do tend to write and draw when I am sitting on my sickbed naked.  But I am wearing clothes at the moment.  Considering the content of this post, anything else would just be creepy.  So, stop trying to picture me all hairy, fat, scabby and nude.  After all, you chose to look at and read this thing.  Maybe I’m not the one who needs to explain why I am an artist and not a pervert.

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Truthfully…

Truthfully… for a fiction writer, a humorist, a former school teacher of junior-high-aged kids, telling the truth is hard.  But in this post I intend to try it, and I will see if I can stand the castor-oil flavor of it on my tongue.

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  • The simple truth is, I rarely tell the unvarnished truth.  And I firmly believe I am not alone in this.
  • Yesterday I battled pirates.  (While this is not literally true, it is metaphorically true.)  They were the scurvy scum o’ the Bank-o’-Merricka Pirates who are suing me for over ten thousand dollars despite my efforts of the last two years to settle 40 thousand dollars worth of credit card debt.
  • I hired a lawyer, but in spite of what he told me, I expect to lose the lawsuit and be wiped out financially.  I also believe Donald Trump will win as President.
  • I am a pessimist.  And it helps me through life.  I am always prepared for the worst, and I can only be surprised by happy and pleasant surprises.
  • My son in the Marines has developed an interest in survivalist gear and chaos-contingency plans.  We are now apparently preparing for the coming zombie apocalypse.
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  • I like to draw nudes.  I have drawn them from real-life models who were paid for their participation.  But no bad things happened.  It was all done with professional integrity even though I am an amateur artist.  Chaperones were a part of every session.
  • In high school I identified as a Republican like my father.  In college I became a Democrat (Thanks, Richard Nixon) and voted for Jimmy Carter.  I argued with my father for eight years of Ronald Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush.
  • My father has now voted for Barack Obama twice and will vote for Hillary this fall if he is still able.  We spent most of our conversations this summer exchanging “Can you believe its?” about Donald Trump.
  • Blue Dawn
  • I have been collecting pictures of sunrises for three years now.  I stole the idea from my childhood friend who now lives in Florida and takes beautiful ocean sunrise pictures over the Atlantic.  But I do it because I know I don’t have many more sunrises to go.  I have six incurable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and COPD.  I could go “BOOM! …dead” at any given moment.  I believe in savoring it while I have it.
  • I was sexually assaulted when I was ten years old.  I can only tell you this particular truth because the man who assaulted me and inflicted physical and emotional pain on me is now dead.  It is liberating to be able to say that.  But I regret forty years’ worth of treating it is a terrible secret that I could never tell anyone.
  • Telling that last truth made me cry.  Now you know why telling the truth is not easy.
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  • I really do love and admire all things having to do with Disney.  And when I was young, I really did want to find a picture of Annette naked.  There was no internet back then.  That quest helped me learn to draw the human form.  I know how bad that sounds… but, hey, I was a normal boy in many ways.  And I don’t draw her naked any more.
  • Finally, I have to say… in all honesty… I don’t know for sure that everything I have told you today is absolutely true.  Truth is a perception, even an opinion.  And I may be wrong about the facts as I know them.  The human mind works in mysterious ways.  I sometimes think I may simply be bedbug crazy.
  • (P.S.) Bedbugs are insects with very limited intelligence.  They cannot, in fact, be crazy or insane.  Their little brains are not complicated enough for that.  But it is a metaphor, and metaphors can be more truthful than literal statements.

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Filed under commentary, Disney, drawing, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, healing, humor, mental health, nudes, Paffooney, pen and ink paffoonies, pessimism, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Mangaphile

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My wife brought treasure back from the Philippines for my kids and me.  She spent over a thousand Filipino pesos at a book store over there and apparently bought out the store’s entire supply of “How-to-Draw-Manga/Anime” (though the amount she spent is not so impressive when you realize the exchange rate for a Filipino peso is .025 of an American dollar).  Anyway, I happen to love the Japanese anime-style cartoons.  I have since I was a kid in the 60’s watching Astroboy in black and white on the old Motorola TV set.  So, just as you would expect, I had to go on a drawing binge, copying ideas from the books, but putting my own spin on them.

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It is not the first time I have gone on anime-drawing binges.  Let me provide some proof of that from past posts;

So, there’s my original content for today.  The day after the 4th of July, I am celebrating one of the ways that Japan conquered the United States after World War II.  Yes, manga-style cartoons have far more kids carefully copying a cartoon style with big, cute eyes than probably ever tried to draw like Walt Kelly or Al Capp.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, cartoons, drawing, humor, Paffooney, pen and ink paffoonies