Line of Action is back online!

I’ve moved the scanner to a more convenient location, but haven’t had the chance or energy to scan more art. (will do so very shortly!) But I wanted to take a moment to celebrate that Line of Action, a website with lots of pose practice photos, is back online!

I’ve been using r/sketchdaily while LoA has been down. It’s a good site, and very useful as an alternative. However, Line of Action has a few more features I like.

First, they have tons more pictures, although r/sketchdaily has over 1200 now so less of an issue than when they only had a few hundred. Second, Line of Action has the option to choose between figure poses, animals, hands/feet, and faces/expressions.

Lastly, Line of Action has ‘class mode,’ in addition to just having the same length of time for each drawing. This starts you out with very quick sketches in succession as a warm-up, followed by longer periods of time to really get at the details. Now that I have more practice with anatomy, I find both doing quick gestures and longer studies very useful. While I could manage it with r/sketchdaily, I really having all the technical details of the site handled so that I can focus on my art.

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My local art shop does an awesome charity event every year called the 6 by 6 show. Artists sign up, receive a 6 inch by 6 inch canvas, turn it into art, and then turn it back in. Visitors bid on pieces, and the money goes to different charities.

I hadn’t done hot glue in awhile, so I decided to experiment with doing lots of texture work. I also wanted to try doing the hot glue first, then doing layers of tissue paper and modpodge, then painting the top.

The first thing I discovered was that I had completely forgotten how much fine detail I could manage with a glue gun – which is unfortunately not enough for what I was trying to do here. (I’m hoping to find a work-around for this in the future.) So I decided to fill in some of the failed details and just create a nice base of raised outlines from which to do something similar to what I had in mind.

Instead of the small repeating triangles, I tried doing longer ‘finger’ shapes, totally exaggerated. With the red and orange color scheme I had worked out, the hairs ended up looking a bit like flames shooting out in all directions. I added in black lines to outline everything, and wasn’t too happy with the result. Then I decided to add white dot patterns, to go with a mix between fireworks and a festival parade with lit up floats. The piece came together after that.

There is a second 6 by 6 show, so I’m busy thinking of what I should do for this one. I’m thinking of something simpler, and making shapes ahead of time to attach to the canvas, then covering it with material again.

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Abstract texture on concrete figures

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I’ve been curious for a long time if I could mix what I love about Celtic and abstract art into more representative stuff. I have had mixed success before, but I feel like these two drawings above really worked out well.

For the fish, I figured the underside could be covered with scales, and that would be easy enough. I wanted to simplify the many patterns that can show up on fish into a very simple display that didn’t need color. Stripes and dots are very simple, but they can also look really exciting in repeating patterns right near each other. The branching v’s for the tail didn’t turn out quite like how I was hoping, but I do like something about it.

As for the cat, I’m really enjoying stalks with balls on them to represent whiskers. I think the whiskers in the ears turned out elegantly, but I still don’t have the hang of making designs with lots of Celtic spirals in them. They often just feel ‘tossed in’ when I try to add them. This could be because I still haven’t learned a lot of variety in making Celtic spirals.  I’m not sure. I’ll continue experimenting.

I have always enjoyed drawing series of triangles growing outward from a line or point, though usually I have them go all the same direction. When I sat down to make this drawing, I remembered some other sketches I did where I had them purposely head in specific directions. I thought that would work here for showing the flow of the fur. It seems more appropriate for a dragon and has a scale look to it – but I do really like this as a representation of fluff in a cat. I think where I could improve most is in fixing the blank gap that happens around the whiskers. Planning out some white space there would probably look good, instead the haphazard way I ended it here.

One thing that seems to work consistently well in this kind of art is using the curling, dark outlines of strong structural details that shows up a lot in Celtic figures and animals. It provides a nice break from all the busy details.

I did end up using the cat design to make some hot glue art for a charity show. I underestimated how much detail I could get on a 6′ by 6′ canvas, so I had to improvise other details there. I’ll upload the image and do a side by side comparison of that later.

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Overstimulated Cat

I enjoy doing abstract art. Lately I have been experimenting with doing less abstract stuff, but filling it in with textures. As someone with aphantasia (a lack of a visual imagination), I often find that a textures or shapes are good enough to fill in spaces, and are interchangeable with the actual details people expect to see inside another object or figure. So I am experimenting with evoking different kinds of feelings and experiences  with mixtures of these textures.

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I intended for this to be an overstimulated cat, although the features look much more like a rabbit. (It’s on my list of drawings to do a second draft of.)

The main structure is the swirl and outline of the cat. I used zoomorphic shapes based on what I’ve seen show up in Celtic art. From what I have read and seen, it was more important to depict important things about what the animals did, rather than just putting down an image that showed what the animal looked like. Cats curl up when they are sleeping, but they also coil like springs when they are getting ready to expend a lot of energy. And this cat is chock full of energy and ready to snap.

I went with pointy shapes and straight lines. The pointed wave pattern is both based on the usual patterns found on cat fur, as well as lightning bolts. The dots on stalks, and the dots on stalks with 3 lines coming off them, are based on how sensitive a cat’s fur is. Cats are covered with whiskers all over their bodies, though we mainly notice the ones on their faces (which in this case are merely triangles.) I also thought of how neurons firing off are usually depicted as lightning bolts between two ball shapes – and I thought this represented them nicely as well.

 

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Art Studies – October/November 2017

I’ve been making art. Awesome! But I haven’t been scanning it. Not awesome! So I sifted through what I thought was worth sharing, scanned all that, cropped it, etc. Today I’m sharing my practice and what I’ve been learning.

Sometime in October, I decided that what I really needed to do in order to actually draw whatever I felt like was to work with and fix my anatomy problems. After fussing around looking for anatomy resource books, I finally decided to just do google searches for what was giving me trouble, and then to practice it. It was frustrating, but I am amazed at how much progress I made in just a month or so.

First up, feet and hands!

 

It wasn’t that long ago that I purposely tried to make poses where the character’s hands were hidden. I really wasn’t happy with that, and spent a lot of time trying to figure out the difficult poses. I didn’t have too much success, even with plenty of help. This time, I found images of hands and feet from every possible angle, and in a variety of poses. I also pulled up references of skeleton hands and feet. Between these two, I was able to figure out easy masses that I could position relative to each other.

For feet, the biggest takeaway for me is the middle chunk of food between the ankle and the arch can be represented by a band. If I use that band while drawing a foot from different angles, it turns out really well. Trying to freehand without that doesn’t work at all.

Torsos/Full body

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I’ve worked to learn proportions before, and had some success. But generally I just ended up trying to pin things up somewhere in space without a good idea of what should be where. So I started using the separate references for arms, torsos, backs, etc, and made Frankenstein’s monster style sketches. I still have some issues – making people too short, for instance. But it’s all coming together nicely!

The sketch above shows a problem that I just managed to fix yesterday. I had been mixing in the old fashioned cartooning ‘heads’ into my other proportion tricks, but I couldn’t figure out how the head fit into it. I tried just making a circle the size of all the others and moving it a little further up – but the head was always too big. So I realized that if I added two short lines about 1/4 of the way up the top circle, I could then draw another circle inside for the head, and voila! It’s in proportion.

 

While the people I’ve been drawing didn’t seem short to me, apparently they are short. So I drew from my previous attempts at drawing Bigfoot, and made people with exceptionally long limbs. They still don’t look right to me, but I figure the more I practice with them, the more natural it will seem.

I also experimented with doing different amounts of heads for the heights. 7 heads for average, 6.5 for a little short, and 6 for very short. Presently I am still drawing everyone as pretty muscular – but that will change as I practice varying it up with different body shapes.

Lastly, here re some poses and faces!

I really enjoy how the soccer player turned out. I didn’t start out with anything particular in mind, but I thought the flailing pose would be amusing if it were a soccer player.

The faces in the last image are not the most up to date, but that one does contain my notes from learning where eyes are in the skull. I have a good sense of where the eye sockets are, but had to fuss at muscle references for quite awhile to figure out where the eyes actually end up – rather than having them just floating somewhere in the skull.

 

I’m very happy with the improvements in my art, and I am finding more and more that I can actually draw the things that pop up in my head. To celebrate this, I’m intending to doodle lots of fun little fan art while I continue to learn. In the meantime, here is a happy happy chicken lady!

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Updates and changes and all that

It’s always fun to be, “Time to update my blog with updates about when I will start blogging again,” and to see previous attempts at saying, “I’m really gonna do it this time!”

Well, I’m really gonna do it this time!

It turned out I wasn’t as unpacked as I thought, and things happened that got in the way of regular updating, as well as enacting other plans. That happens a lot. And since it doesn’t take much to prevent me from getting things done, I just nope nope noped away.

I’m set to be very busy again, but have enough time this week to actually get everything in order. And I had a brief breakthrough with my anxiety that allowed me to actually finish other things that needed doing, so there is actual hope! Woot!

I have also recently committed myself to learning anatomy very well. My progress has been swifter than I expected, and I’m amazed at what I’ve accomplished. And you’ll all be able to see what I’m doing once I sift through to find the good stuff, then sit down with the scanner to digitize the sketches.

<3<3<3<3<3

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Changing things up

I’ve just finished up with moving, and have been scarce. Now that I finally have some time to sit down and write, I’ve realized that I want a more cohesive plan.

This blog should resume regular service by next week.

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