Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Knight's Likeness

I've been practicing my likeness drwwing skills.  A good way to do that is draw very familiar faces.  I've been practicing on celebrities.  It's just been a few days since I started this practice, but improvement happens so quickly!  (It's very satisfying.  Try it!). Today, I give you what is actually my second shot at the face of Gandalf and Magneto: Sir Ian McKellen!

I worked small, and in gouache to help me work fast.  I'm fairly unfamiliar with gouache, so part of this piece was just figuring out how it works.  In real life, it's very flat, but it photographs with more fidelity than oil, as there is no tranparency to lose!  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Beholder's Share

One of my favorite painting teachers expressed an idea to me that has always stuck.  He taught us never to include too much detail, and told us that the viewer's brain would fill it in.  (This was complete with optical illusion demonstrations, and lots of science.  Pretty fun, for an intro level art class!)  But the real lesson here is that a work of art needs a viewer, and that the viewer will better appreciate art that includes them.  "Great art is great, because it is ambiguous." 

Saturday, June 8, 2013


A friend of mine has commissioned me to make a couple of messenger bags.  I'm once again using this great pattern from the weekend designer (the same pattern I used for the army owl tote).  The only thing  lacking from the pattern is pockets.  My friend is a programmer, so naturally has lots of gadgets to carry about.  So I want to include pockets with a bit of volume.  I've made them a couple of ways, but it's usually a trial and error thing for me.

This tutorial in Cut Out and Keep shows a couple of ways to achieve nice pockets.
Here is another for cargo pockets on pants.  On yhis, the top is a fixed width, but the bottom of the pocket will expand.

Happy pocket making!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated with the idea that we are all alone in our heads, that maybe my truth isn't the same as everyone else's.  (I was a deep little kid.)  Only since I have grown did I realize that this came down to perception, and how it shapes our thoughts.

One of the simplest and easy to simulate examples of this is colorblindness.  In this video, the small image is full-spectrum vision, while the large image is deficient.  A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with both deuteranopia and protanopia, meaning he can see neither red nor green.  Can you imagine seeing in only blue, yellow, and grey?

What's interesting is that we can simulate the deficiency for those of us who can see in full spectrum, but you can't simulate full color vision for the colorblind.  Here's a great website with more information about color blindness: Colblindor

This has me thinking a lot about my own tendency to rely on color in my work.  I really need to push the value factor, if I'm going to make this enjoyable for colorblind people.