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Posts tagged as “Sith Park”

Day 105 (and Camp Nano Day 9)

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capaldi sketch

Sharpie sketch of Peter Capaldi from the Doctor Who episode "The Pilot," which is lightweight in tone and stakes but stands up surprisingly well to repeated viewings, especially Capaldi's knockout speech about time in the beginning, the Doctor's amazing office, and the introduction of the TARDIS.

The sketch is ... OK. Slightly squashed, and I'm still doing eyes too big (likely a function of the Sharpie sketches, which put a minimum size on the features I can draw). But it ... kinda looks like him? His head's not turned the right way, and I still have trouble getting the "landscape" of the face right.

capaldi drawing

Still, drawing every day.

-the Centaur

P. S. Only got ~50 words on Camp Nano, but I feel good about those words, as they're stitching parts of a scene together so I can really roll with it tomorrow. 11K words behind, but I've been behind worse.

VAC-CI-NATE! (and Drawing Every Day #103, and Camp Nano …)

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vac-ci-nate

So! I got my first shot today, and other than a little arm soreness, a headache which may or may not be related, and some tiredness which may just be because it's 3:21am, I have not yet had any ill effects. I was totally lied to by my album covers though, and have not been able to hack into Bill Gates' secret global network through the tiny implanted computer chip in the vaccine, maybe because neither exists.

centaur, vaccine 1

Ouch. First picture failed for some reason, so we get this charming shot of the needle coming OUT rather than going in. But it didn't really hurt at all, maybe because I was fiddling with my camera. Our Dalek friend below is proud that he was able to contribute his catchphrase to our cause:

dalek toy

~500 words on Camp Nano, still behind, but I am too wiped to write more.

Drawing, writing, being a good citizen every day.

-the Centaur

Day 052

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spock sketch

As Spock says: it's 2am, but if it was an hour earlier I'd have done another whole sketch before rendering. The side to side tilt is right, but I've leaned his head way down from what it is, making his face look bashed in. This is sort of the opposite problem from what I was having earlier, so ... yay?

spock picture

One of the things about learning is that regular, immediate feedback is important for progress. That's why, when I have reference material for what I'm drawing, that I post both of those here so I can compare and judge what I've done, looking for things to improve.

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

Day 045

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Googley Eyes Sketch

As it says on the tin: it's late, I'm tired, and I have early meetings tomorrow (fine, fine, FINE, 10am Pacific, which is 1pm my time, but it's 3am already) so here's a quick sketch of the Fourth Doctor on Strathmore using a dry erase marker, because damnit, the point is not to perfect the drawings, but to not break the streak. This one could really have used a preliminary sketch and a normal render though:

Googley Eyes Original

I'm happier with the jaw, but the hair could have extended about another 10%. Another thing to watch out for (though it's easier to get right when you're doing preliminary sketches before diving in, instead of jumping straight out of the airplane with nothing but a dry erase marker and hope).

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

Day 044

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Wibbly Head Traced

To see what was wrong with the previous day's drawing, I traced - literally traced - the outlines of the image and then rendered it as before. To facilitate this process, I spent a good part of the day yelling at my drawing table, Photoshop, and Google Chrome. Oh wait, that came before and after what I did to facilitate the process - I took the Matt Smith image and Photoshop filtered it to bring up the outlines:

Wibbly Head Filtered

This process of mine, which you've probably seen on other art such as the current banner to the Library, involves duplicating the background layer, smart blurring it to create a softer look (and to make the outlining features work better), then duplicating it 3 more times and applying the following filters:

  • Top layer, set to Darken, Opacity ~75%: Filter Gallery > Stylize > Glowing Edges, then Inverse
    This creates a heightened set of outlines.
  • Middle layer, set to Darken, Opacity ~50%: Filter Gallery > Graphic Pen, often Inverted
    This creates a shading layer. You may need to play with levels, contrast, or lightness, possibly with other filters, to create the necessary dark and light areas for this filter to give good results.
  • Back layer, set to Normal, Opacity ~90%: Filter Gallery > Poster Edges
    This creates a cartoony layer; a 75% to 90% opacity lets part of the original image through to fill in tiny details to create a slightly more realistic look.

This combination creates the impression of a colored drawing. I like how it turns out, though your mileage may vary. Regardless, in this case, it punched up much of the outlines and dark/light areas of the drawing, which facilitated doing the tracing layer.

The Drawing Table

The screaming and yelling came in when I tried to compare today's work to yesterday's. Well, actually, it started when I tried to make a minor upgrade to my drawing setup above, a lip to prevent things from falling off; this was a pain in the ass because my nice but cheap drawing "table" had a lip so short that not only would notebooks and such fall off it, it was hard even to attach something to extend it. Yelling ensued. But eventually I did extend it, using a thin lip of oak held on by carefully angled screws:

The Hinged Table

It's a little too deep now, but that can be compensated for with a mat, whereas not having a decent lip can't really be compensated for at all. Regardless, I drew on that tonight, and when I was done, I scanned the image and compared it.

Or tried to, as I hit a wall in my Photoshop knowledge, right when my disk filled up so I could neither undo changes, nor save files, nor really look anything up online. More screaming ensued, followed by an exhaustive closing of apps and Chrome windows. (Note to self: clean off the hard drive of your main computer, there must be some free space somewheres).

I hit the place I call "stuck in molasses" where every attempt to fix a problem creates a new obstacle (down to Chrome not even wanting to close web pages when I'm trying to free space, or web pages popping up "Would you like to sign up for my newsletter" right over the instructions as I'm reading them). This is often related to "the novice penalty" where you have all the general knowledge needed to tackle a problem but none of the specifics, so nothing you try getting started works; it can also happen to experts working in an area where they've grown rusty or the equipment, real or virtual, has bitrotted through disuse. The solution, I've found, is staying with it, focusing on an area of work, constantly seeking ways to either improve your skills, streamline your process, or eliminate blockers. As you build up this library of solutions, you reach a point where making progress is quick and easy, despite blockers.

In the end, ears ringing from yelling, I did manage to find the solution I wanted - to lighten "black" ink layers to a midscale grey prior to trying to colorize them - and that enabled me to produce this:

Wibby Head vs Head

Red is yesterday's drawing; blue is today's rendered trace. Trying to line this up by matching nose to chin, I discovered various things:

  • I got the top of the head pretty OK: Matt's hair is roughly in the right place. That doesn't surprise me: I like drawing hair, as all my favorite character creations are well-coiffed.
  • I was correct in thinking I'd gotten the eyes too wide.
  • I tend to exaggerate chin shapes, or at least I did here (and even in the trace before I caught it), leading to the too-wide original face. Human heads are narrower than I tend to draw them.
  • I underestimate shoulder shapes, or at least I did here, or, more accurately, only Matt Smith could make someone as totally ripped as he is look like a goobery old professor.

Well, now I have some more things to work on. Onward!

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

P.S. You may be wondering, "Yelling until your ears are ringing ... are you OK?" No, no I'm not. Welcome to the pandemic, which is actually the least of my problems. Thanks for asking!

Day 043

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11th Doctor Sketch

11th Doctor sketch, done with much tighter pencils than normal. Forget the crosshatched shadingo on the coat - wasn't trying to get that right, it was just a means to the end - but as for the face ... Meh.

Much about this sketch is better than many of my previous ones, but there are still proportionality issues - the left side of his jaw is lopsided, the eyes are too big and too far apart, and the whole proportions make the head too big and too squat despite my attempts to get the rough proportions right before I started the detailed pencils. The real Matt Smith is ... shall we say ... more lantern-like:

11th Doctor Original

Not quite sure what I'm doing wrong there, but it's something to pay attention to. While I could do some work on proportions and drawings with graph paper, or read more books on anatomy, I think the real solution is to draw a heck of a lot of faces and keep doing this analysis to them.

Which is why I am ... drawing every day.

-the Centaur

Day 036

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Tiny Lion

As it says on the tin. Quick sketched with a dry erase marker on 9x12 paper, then rapidly colored / filtered / rendered in Photoshop. Subject: one of the plush lions from my vast collection of genre toys that I once had on my desk at work - with the excuse that these were my motivation to keep working. "This is why I'm doing this: to be able to afford to enjoy that." 

So far, the motivational experiment seems to be working.

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

Day 035

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Sketch of Zendaya in Dune

A quick sketch of Zendaya portraying the character Chani in Dune. (Yes, I put a lot of effort into this sketch, but I call it a "quick sketch" because I specifically optimized getting the sketch done for its purpose - making faces that look like particular faces - rather than solving all problems, e.g. developing a strategy for rendering her woven shawl with crosshatching). As for making a face look like a face ...

Picture of Zendaya from Dune

... I give me a "meh" on this one. Still, I think she'd make a good Cinnamon Frost.

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

Day 032

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Star Trek The Official Fan Club

An attempt to recreate the March/April 1988 issue of "Star Trek: The Official Fan Club". Could have matched the cover more closely, but, really, this was an exercise in trying to make a face look like a particular face. Comparing with the original cover, I don't think human eyes are supposed to be that large - it's interesting how your mind distorts what you're seeing when you try to recreate it on the page.

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

Happy Freedom Day

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fireworks at the end of the street

Recently, I had a potentially bad interaction with a powerful person. I didn't lose my head in the encounter, and I didn't lose my head as the result of the encounter. What's even better, both of us were in the encounter because we wanted to be: neither of us were trapped by vassalage or nobility. Both of us were free to walk away at any time. So ultimately I did the right thing in that situation, and ultimately they made the right decision required by the situation and we both walked away winners.

That's the kind of thing that can happen when people are free.

So yesterday, while our cats were hiding under the bed because of the rumblings echoing through the valley, my wife and I paused our preparation of our holiday dinner and went outside to watch the fireworks sparking at the end of the street … beyond the end of the street … and in all directions around us that we could hear or see.

Fourth of July is an American celebration, and yes, technically it's a celebration of our independence from England, but the idea behind the celebration is far more important than that history. We're celebrating freedom: the right for each individual to do what they want with their lives as long as they're not directly harming anyone else.

And that's an idea which belongs to everyone in the world.

It may be a long time before freedom is implemented for everyone in practice, equitably, with sensitivity to each culture's unique sensibilities. It's tricky, because many people in this world think that they have the right to control others, or think that they're being actually harmed when someone else's choices simply make them feel uncomfortable. We have a lot of work to do.

But we knew all that. The Fourth isn't a time to mourn for victories not yet achieved; it's a time to celebrate, and cherish, the victories we have in hand. So hugged, and smiled, and watched the fireworks, and then went inside and called our neighbors to make sure they'd left their garage door open on purpose (they had; they were also watching the fireworks, just up the street). Then we had tabbouleh and vegan crab cakes and watched a Doctor Who story about haunted houses, time travel and love.

It was a good day to be free.

-the Centaur