Calibrating Stylus Pressure

  • Post published:June 2, 2017
  • Post category:Blog Post

I didn’t know anything about calibrating your stylus pressure until I read this article that I came across today. I used to press hard on my tablet but thanks to Krita’s built-in curve editor that is now a thing of the past. Now my hand can really relax! You should check out these two articles if you want to learn more:

Copying What You See is a Skill

  • Post published:May 6, 2017
  • Post category:Blog Post

Back in the old days, I started off by copying other images/photos and it was a time consuming process (eye / hand coordination) because I didn’t know any method or technique to help me with (I was all on my own), so it was a trial and error thing. As I got older I didn’t like the idea of copying. I wanted to be able to draw things from my imagination and so I practiced a bit more and got to a point where I can improvise (somewhat). However, I now come to see that observational drawing is a skill that needs to be learned. Even if copying a photograph is not your thing, it is still a very useful skill to have! Something I’m currently trying to grow in.

On the positive side of thing, even though I didn’t learn proper observational skill for drawing, my eye and hand coordination that I practiced back then now helps me with 3d modelling! (see examples from another artist here)

Here’s the thing: We all have strengths and weaknesses. My weakness right now is in copying a photography. I could do it, but it’s very time-consuming because I didn’t start off with proper methodologies. For some of you, your strength might be in copying a photography, but have a hard time doing things without it.

There is no manual: We must learn to observe

I have been very busy trying to setup my workspace so I can get back to exploring traditional media. This means that I have to go to and fro looking for materials and stuff and that takes time. Work also keeps me busy so I didn’t really have a chance to really sit down to practice anything yet. With that said, I want to write a quick post to share something that I have been pondering today while walking.

As Artists, life for us doesn’t come with a manual. Most of what we know, we know by observing. We study life, we dissect and break things down and that is how we come to know the thing that we seek to bring to life through art. Rembrandt once said: “If you want to paint an apple, you’ve got to be an apple!” You’ve got to carefully study an apple, and get really intimate with it so that you can come to know it and know it well.

Suppose you have never drawn human eyes before, where would you begin? These days with the internet we can look for tutorials. But how did these artists come to know how to draw human eyes? You can say that they also looked up tutorials but if you keep going with this question, eventually someone somewhere had studied the human eyes, had carefully observed it and deconstructed it. One Artist did it this way, and another that way. I say this to encourage you to observe and not be afraid. We can only draw what we know. As our knowledge and understanding of our subject grows, so will our drawing grows and improves. If you have only three photo references of the human eyes, and if you study these three photo references then your drawing will reflect your understanding of the human eyes based on these three photo references alone. That is okay! Your vocabulary is limited because you have only three photo references to study from. Now suppose you have 100+ photo references of the human eyes, ranging from male to female and with many different races. Soon you’ll see patterns and similarities and your vocabulary will grow. You might even come up with your own constructions, and when you sit down to draw, all the knowledge that you have gathered through observations will help you in your drawing.

NA: “Why do you draw the female eye like that?”

AN: “I have gone through 100+ photo references of the female eye and I notice that they all look like that.”

NA: “But I notice that there are female eyes that don’t look like that. In fact, some male eyes look like female.”

AN: “True. We can say the same with other parts of the body. Some male’s hands look like female’s hand. But this doesn’t mean that we should start drawing male hand that look like female hand (unless that is your intention to begin with and you have a reason for it!). The whole purpose of studying and observing is to know what a thing is [generally], not what a thing is in rare and exceptional cases. On the flip side, we know that an average male is roughly 7-8 heads tall, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make him 10 heads tall if we wanted to. Before we improvise, know what a thing is generally and common.”

Failed Art, We All Have Them!

  • Post published:March 13, 2017
  • Post category:Blog Post

Here’s a word of encouragement if you’re struggling. This is the spirit behind this weblog that I am running.

I think it’s such a disservice to the public that galleries and museums display only artists’ successes, but never their failures. There should be a Museum of Failed Art. It would exhibit all the terrible art that would have ended up in trash bins and garbage cans, lost and unknown to the public. My museum would give a true picture of the artist’s life, and provide much consolation to fellow artists. — R. O. Blechman (Dear James: Letters to a Young Illustrator)

Lectures on Digital Photography

  • Post published:March 7, 2017
  • Post category:Blog Post

A free course by Marc Levoy (18 lectures)

An introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, optical effects in nature, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, and computational photography. We will also survey the history of photography, look at the work of famous photographers, and talk about composing strong photographs.

Character Design

  • Post published:March 5, 2017
  • Post category:Blog Post

An artist’s study on character design and color. Check it out!

Escape Artists: Why These 7 Creatives Disappeared from the Art World

  • Post published:March 4, 2017
  • Post category:Blog Post

In 1923, rumors circulated that renowned artist Marcel Duchamp was renouncing art to devote his life to chess. “I am still a victim of chess,” he explained at the time. “It has all the beauty of art—and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position.” Duchamp’s retreat from the art world wasn’t total, however. Instead, it gave him space, away from the distractions of the art scene and its attendant market pressures, to make his final work (in secret) for the last 20 years of his life.

Throughout history, many great artists have opted out, taken significant breaks, or withdrawn from the art world altogether—whether in search of a mind-clearing reprieve from commercial and social stresses, as with Agnes Martin, or as the final act of a practice animated by institutional critique, like Lee Lozano. Below, we take a look at seven such instances. (Read more)

Pure White Canvas

  • Post published:February 16, 2017
  • Post category:Blog Post

“In the real world there’s no such thing as a white piece of paper. Even if the paper was a perfect diffuse reflector with no flaws, the colour is still determined by the lighting. You won’t get a perfect light source that will give you a perfect distribution of chromatically perfect light across your perfect diffuse piece of paper. So in ArtRage we add some chaos to the creative process with a rendered light source across imperfect paper.” — AndyRage

ArtRage is known for giving you that natural painting look. And since it’s a painting tool, it seeks to mimic what you would see in the real world of painting by giving you a specialized Canvas with grain and lightning.

If you’re like me and want a pure white canvas (for digital sketching), here’s what you do: Menu [View] –> Canvas Settings and you’ll get a box that looks like that (I’m using version 5). Uncheck “Canvas Lightning.” That’s it. Click on the Canvas Color and change it to white because by default it’s not 100% pure white. When the lightning is off you can choose any color for your Canvas and it’ll be flat.

Simple Forms

  • Post published:February 15, 2017
  • Post category:Blog Post

To draw the human figure well from imagination you must first be able to draw the simple forms of construction — the sphere, box, cylinder and cone — from memory, in any position and combination. The famous Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens said that “you can draw anything using a sphere, box, and cone.” These simple volumes are the foundation of good figure drawing, and are the fundamental tools of figure construction. These “tools” not only help you to draw the figure from imagination but to see the forms of the model. A portfolio will almost automatically be rejected if the figures inside do not have a clear sense of volume and unambiguous space based on model observation. —  Glenn Vilppu

6 Photographers, 1 Man, and 6 Perspectives

  • Post published:February 10, 2017
  • Post category:Blog Post

A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what’s in front of it. To prove this we invited six photographers to a portrait session with a twist. ‘Decoy’ is one of six experiments from The Lab, designed to shift creative thinking behind the lens.