Monday, January 3

Art: Body practice proof

Hopefully this should prove to those determined to improve me, that I am indeed practising bodies:

Okay yeah, most of these are clearly just copied straight from pictures. And not very creative pictures either, but once I master the proportions, then I can start putting people into proper poses.
Now let me post faces in peace! ;P

Saturday, December 18

Vaguely Caricature-ish Sketches: Internet Celebrities

I used to hate drawing faces - so I started forcing myself to do them. And then that marvellous thing happened where, because I was somewhat good at it, I enjoyed it more, so I did it more, so I got better at it, so I enjoyed it more, so I did it more etcetera.

This wonderful snowball effect has gotten to the point where if I want to relax, I'll draw some faces. I know I need to practice bodies, but it will be a while before I have anything worth posting on that topic so here are some celebrity caricatures. Caricatures from around the web specifically. In fact, most specifically they are obscure celebrities.

I never really posted actual celebrity caricatures before, as rather than just being an interesting face they can be judged by other people as to how much they genuinely look like the subject. They can be measured. But "...without criticism, art stagnates," which isn't a real quote but it sounds like one, so I'm going to use it.

Anyway, enjoy and critique:

Andrew Pants
Actually, his YouTube account is probably a better place to find a picture of his face. A super talented musician that takes requests on his website, both paid and free, and turns them into songs.

Copper Cab
I think I like him because of his passion, and his earnest attempts to control his anger - which is very interesting to me.

Very funny guys who I've only just started watching. I wanted to draw their faces because they looked very difficult to do, especially Jake (left).

Wednesday, December 15

The dangers of unintentional plagiarism

So I was thinking the other day "Wouldn't it be a great idea to mix Boba Fett and Bulbasaur? Creating Bobasaur, if you will.

I mean, they're kind of the same colour, and they both have something on their back and everything. So I did a rough of just that:

"Brilliant," I thought. "A totally original idea that my generation should love on every level. Maybe this could be a T-Shirt or something, who knows."

So I was all geared up to do a properly inked version when I stumbled across this:

Bulba Fett

I must stress that I found this after I drew the first picture. I stress this because as you can see it is ridiculously close to my picture in many ways.
I mean, Bobasaur and Bulba Fett? Seriously?

This just goes to show how easy it is for two people to independently arrive at a very obscure idea, and have it turn out identical - and why artistic plagiarism should be enforced carefully.

Monday, August 30

Art: Stumped Book Illustrations

Since the book is still wading its way through limbo, the illustrations are sitting inactive on my harddrive. I thought since this is an art blog, I might as well upload them.

Here is a low res compilation - let me know if you need a bigger version:

These are just the polished sketches, in very rough chronological order - Only a few have been inked.

I haven't shown this to anyone but Luke, and since this is one of the biggest works I've put time into I thought it'd be pretty valuable to get some 'outside' feedback.

This has given me the steepest learning curve since I first picked up a crayon. I tell you what, forcing yourself to draw poses, characters, backgrounds and events that are already there is so much harder and rewarding than just drawing whatever you feel like. There are pictures up there that I would have never chosen, really didn't want to do - but often they're the ones that I'm now most proud of. It really stretches you as an artist, and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, August 12

DIY: Whiteboard

Time for a new segment! Helmut of Hardware's DIY corner - hooray!

Today I'll show you how to put up an enormous double-sided whiteboard for up to a fifteenth of the price! Here's mine, set up and already in use:

Please ignore the bizarre paint job on the wall behind... it's a long story. The main thing is that this is a 2400 x 900mm whiteboard, of which I made two for less than $65! (Australian)

All you need is a drill, a few common fixings and some elbow grease (although I needed a jigsaw as well).

STEP 1: The board

Proper whiteboards are usually made out of porcelain or hard coat laminate, and are very expensive.

My board is simply particle board with a Melamine surface. However, you can't just use any Melamine - you need a particular smooth finish, or the ink dries in the miniature creases. (See Step 4 for Pros and Cons of Melamine)

Bunnings doesn't sell any smooth finish Melamine off the shelf, but it was a simple matter of asking at the Special Orders desk and they were able to order me something called Velvet Melamine. It arrived the following week.

I purchased a colossal 2400 x 1800 mm Melamine board for about $55. There were also smaller, cheaper boards available, but I was being greedy ambitious. Admittedly, I was barely able to get it home.

STEP 2: Putting it up

First of all, I decided to cut it in half with my jigsaw. 2400 x 900mm was a much more manageable and pleasing size, which meant that I could reach the whole board and wouldn't be wasting any of it - as well as having a second board which I could sell on or swap out later should it become damaged or marked.

Also I couldn't fit it down the stairs, so... that was a consideration.

How to attach to the wall:
Melamine sheet is double sided, and I really wanted to be able to flip it around later. This meant I couldn't just screw it up tight to the wall. I also didn't want to just lean it up against the wall either.

What I decided to do was 'sit it' on three or four strong screws, fixed into studs.

(EDIT: That line underneath isn't a crack, just careless pencil work marking out the stud)

Finding the stud:
If you don't have a stud finder, like myself, you can knock and 'hear it out'. This takes a lot of practice to get any accuracy and I certainly didn't have any of that. However drilling a few tiny holes in a row will eventually tell you exactly where it is. Of course, this does leave you with a few tiny holes in a row, but the way I figure it is if you ever take down the whiteboard which is covering those holes, you'll have to patch up the screw holes anyway - it's almost no extra effort to fix a few extra holes.

- Leave the screws sitting out about 20mm (as pictured). That leaves 10mm for the plasterboard, and 20mm for going into the stud.
- Make sure you pre-drill the hole, or you'll have a hell of a time getting the screws in.
- Make sure the screws are all the same distance from the floor, or you'll end up with a crooked whiteboard.

10g x 50mm Pan Head screws - pack of 10 for about $3.50

Holding it in place:
There are two things you can do to stop it falling down or tipping, while still allowing you to swap it over. I did both. First there is a little toggle.

These toggles are used for holding fly screen windows in, but with a nail, it's pretty easy to put on at the top of your whiteboard. Just twist to release.

The second is a metal plate, which you can slide the whiteboard out of.

Both of these options cost around $5.

STEP 3: Adding a shelf

This is an optional step, but since I found a cheap shelf kit for $1 and since I'd already found the studs, I thought why not add a shelf to hold all my markers and cleaners? Or indeed, a range of different items:

STEP 4: Using the board

Now Melamine is a cheap alternative and does have its downsides, but with some care it can work just as well.

First of all, I found it didn't erase as well. If you just use a cloth or normal whiteboard eraser, it will leave smudges - or worse, not erase anything. Cleaning products help a little, but with some testing, I found wetting the area with a small spray bottle of water works better than anything.

I also recommend using good quality markers, as the cheaper ones (especially the red and greens) can stain over time. These are the ones I use:

Because I often use it for art, you'll notice I've gone with markers that give me a variety of lines. I tend to fill it up quickly, so I've bought some small pens to allow for maximum space saving.

Also, permanent marker really is permanent on Melamine - so go carefully.

Now when I wake up I have my chore list, and things I need to remember for that day. As well as a large area for brainstorming and drawing. As a highly visual person, I find it invaluable.

Feel free to ask me any questions about my confusing instructions! And if you have any good tips for dealing with whiteboards, or brainstorming... or anything really, feel free to comment.

Saturday, July 3

Vaguely Caricature-ish Sketches: Monk Faces

While working on a short animation, I had to design three monks - two silly, and one serious - I also didn't really want to just do the normal monk cliche (like #1) so I drew a few different types till I was happy with them.

I decided to use #11, #6 and #17, though I may still use some of the others for something.

This is what I ended up with:

Saturday, March 6

Art: Treff

Every now and again I wake up in the middle of the night and write down some strange, random thought I had while sleeping. I then find the text the next morning waiting for me, though I barely remember it - They are reliably insane.

Evidently, I now do that with illustrating as well.

I found the above picture open in a Flash document and I do... vaguely remember getting up in the middle of the night to draw this. I also remember having the whole book planned out in my head. I wish I had have written that down as well.

I don't know who or what 'TREFF AND HIS DIRTY, FANCY SHOES' is, nor do I have ANY idea what it means - or what the story might entail. (I think my Grandmother had a loyal dog named Treff...?)

Any ideas? What happens in the book?

Friday, February 19

Deltora Quest Audio Books

Hooray! Today is the day I complete a year long quest of my own.

Let me set the scene: I'm a huge Emily Rodda fan (Enid , Edith and Emily - they got my back) and had read through her Deltora Quest series multiple times when younger. Now one of the perks of being an artist is being able to listen to whatever I want while I work, and I found if I could find the audio version of a book, I could quite literally 'read' the whole thing two or three times a month (I read the Great Divorce eleven times last year alone).

So now I'm a big collector of Audio Books. My prize jewel is still Patrick Stewart reading The Last Battle - is there any better way to fall asleep?

As far as the Internet was concerned, however, no such thing as a 'Deltora Quest Audio Book' existed. Wikipedia made no mention of it, Google was empty, all the Audio Book websites were pessimistic and even Emily Rodda's own website confirmed it. Apparently after 30 countries and 8 million copies it had been made into an anime series, before an Audio Book was even considered. Well, the Internet had never failed me before, so I trusted it.

Then, about a year ago, I found a copy of 'Return to Del' (the final book) in audio format hidden in the back room of Angus & Robertson. It was even read by Ron Haddrick who *squee* sounds just like Patrick Stewart!

The woman at the store said it had been sitting there for about six months, well after it had gone out of print. According to her no other book store would have it, and that it was probably the last purchasable copy in Australia (the only country in which it was released). In the months that followed, I began to agree with her.

The local library chain had a couple which were sent across, and I managed to find one more at the back of a similar book store. Stonnington Informational Services and Monash University Library each had another. I was getting close now.

ABC Audio and Scholastic Australia remained tight lipped, and even Ron Haddrick didn't list it among any biography. Most book stores had never heard of it, and everywhere else said it was out of print and 'unattainable'. I rung companies, searched databases and emailed online stores. To almost no avail.

A government program called Library Link provided the answer. It allowed me to track the remaining books across Australia.

Three months ago I ordered one over from the Eastern Regional Library Corporation, and just today I picked it up. The final piece. I think I am now one of maybe 20 people to have the full collection. It's very satisfying.

I finally have the full collection after a ridiculous amount of trouble - I just hope they're not terrible.

Sunday, January 31

Vaguely Caricature-ish Sketches: Morgan Freeman

I know I said I'd start practising bodies, but...

I had to post this portrait I did for a competition over at Newgrounds:

I'm trying out a new colouring technique I've stolen from a number of places including Emmy C's art blog - and I think it turned out great... for someone who never colours anything.

Next time I do it, I want to use Quicktime's new screen-capture function, and do a time-lapse video. It'll be fun!

Drawn from scratch in about 4 hours.

EDIT: Alright! I won 'Sexiest Freeman'

Wednesday, January 27

Vaguely Caricature-ish Sketches: Backlog

I did this as a birthday present for my sister - she used to be quite fond of Sylar. Fond of him right up until I decided to spend time making this, of course.

My sister says the nose is wrong and his eyebrows are bigger, but hey - I don't watch the show, so... whatever.

And here's just a few random faces from here and there:

Drawing random faces is good practice, but drawing celebrity caricatures - ones that people can potentially recognise - is really another level. I hope to post a few of them in the next few weeks.

Thursday, January 21

Vaguely Caricature-ish Sketches: Penny Arcade Crew

So recently I've been fascinated by PATV (Penny Arcade TeleVision), seeing such a dynamic workplace and all the characters working there. I thought to myself, why would Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik choose to portray themselves as Gabe and Tycho when their real faces are so much more interesting?

It was at this point I decided to draw them. Then, having attached myself to the entire Penny Arcade crew I couldn't bring myself to leave anyone out. (That being said, they are in no particular order)
EDIT: There are a lot of people left out; PATV takes no real interest in introducing you to the entire crew in any comprehensive way.

The videos are not the best way to draw the crew for many reasons; one of which being entire members are not featured (Jeff). That and the camera is always close enough to make out skin pores, so you almost never see anyone's face as a whole.

I also cannot find one picture that shows the whole group in one shot - so names and faces are probably all over the place. I might change them as the series progresses.

It's a very interesting place. The PA Offices are the Pixar Offices of the comic world. Just as the Pixar Offices are the Valve Offices of the movie world, and the Valve Offices are the PA Offices of the game world.

I heartily recommend it.

PS: Brian - Damn your face. It defies rendition!

Monday, December 14

REVIEW: Strange Wilderness

If you liked The Benchwarmers, then you are going to love the first half of this movie... until it becomes so crass and unbearable that even your hulk-like tolerance for execrable rubbish is shattered irredeemably and you lie weeping in a pool of blood, vomit, skin and hair, a shivering broken husk of a person, crying out for your lost childhood.

On the bright side, I now have a renewed respect for whoever was behind the excellent and misleading trailer. It's a complicated relationship though, as I do want to murder him for tricking me so.

So heed my warning. Meanwhile, I am off to cleanse myself with some David McGahn's World.