Sunday, May 28, 2017

1379 - "The Girl With The Gerbera Daisy"

"This little fella will bring some colour into my life," thought the girl with the Gerbera daisy.  Purchashing the cute potted plant, she climbed into her rocket car and took off for the rings of Saturn, where she battled Kromm The Destroyer and saved the universe.

The girl with the daisy is a real individual, I saw her from a distance in a plant shop.   I have no idea what her story is, though, at least not past the moment where she posed with her flower.  You could probably guess that from my opening paragraph.  

She was attractive, but wore drab clothes.  The daisy was as stereotypical as a houseplant can be.  I was really excited by her composition and mein, which looked to me like a New Yorker cover or a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.  (At this point, I imagine my wife is a little bewildered: You look at other women and you're excited by their MEIN!?  I am certain, dear JSVB followers, that I will have to pay for this in the future somehow.)  Since I had no camera, I came home and drew what I remembered of the girl, whoever she was.

I am developing a personal mania for recording my remembrances.  I don't want to rely on photography, but on translating what I have in my head through my right hand and onto paper or digital media.  That seems really important right now.  It sure is hard work, though, and I wonder who would buy any of this stuff.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

1378 - Gerbera Girl Getting Colour

Some days, I get the impression that I might somehow know a little something about just what it is I do.  And look!  I drew the daisy!  

Friday, May 26, 2017

1377 - Gerbera Girl Treatment

Today, while shopping for houseplants (the first time I've ever used that phrase on JSVB, I'm not much of a botanist), I saw a pretty girl carrying around a potted Gerbera daisy.  The girl was attractive in a way that reminded me of Olivia de Havilland, and the plant she carried was the most stereotypical plant you could ever hope to see: a bright round orange face, a tall emerald green stalk with exactly three perpendicular leaves, and a humble terracotta pot.  

The composition looked exactly like a cover for The New Yorker.  I was too shy to ask the girl to pose for a camera, even if I was carrying a camera.  So, I will illustrate what I saw.  It took some work to wrangle this sketch to the point where I think it resembles the girl.  The daisy is omitted for now.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

1376 - Hokey Religions & Ancient Weapons

So today is the "real" Star Wars Day: exactly forty years ago, Han, Luke, Leia, and Darth Vader all had their debut.  I was only ten years old at the time.  You can do the math about my age relative to the movie.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

1375 - Zones Of Shade In Ink

A combination of lack of meaningful work and a willingness to be distracted that goes beyond normal reason means that I haven't posted much to JSVB, and I certainly haven't been drawing anything exciting.

I decided to go back to art school basics.  Above is a drill to practice making grades of shade.  It's pretty easy to do this with the computer, harder to do it with paint, and kind of tricky with pen and ink.  

The exercise begins with defining the ends of the scale: pure black and pure white.  Then you discover the intermediate shades.  With a computer this is easy, since most colour scales range as defined bit elements numbered from 0 to 256.  If you want a particular value, you can arrive at it mathematically: 0 is white and 256 is black, so if you wanted something halfway in between, you'd enter a value of 128, which is 256 divided by two.  

Ansel Adams, the master of photography, used a zone system that works much like the computer bit range.  Black is 0 and white is Roman numeral X.  Adams' system has eleven values, so that the mid-range value V is in the center of the scale.  Adams would carefully measure his subjects with a light meter to make certain all eleven values were represented in his photograph.  Human and animal subjects tend to fidget when being metered so much, so Adams used this system best on his gorgeous landscapes.  In order to make the subject fit all eleven zones, he adjusted his camera exposure to try to account for as many as possible, similar to using the histogram function in a digital camera.  If there were zones missing, he would add them during development using dodge and burn techniques.  In this way, aligning the picture's value scale to the zones was both additive and subtractive depending on his method.

There is far more to the Adams Zone System than I will mention here.  Although there were eleven values to the range, only the middle seven were practical.  This aligns with what I have learned about painting, in that you can lay down a mid-range colour as your base value, and then either lighten it or darken it by three steps each.  

With paint, you can change the value by tinting it lighter with white or shade it darker by adding black.  That's the very basics, anyways.  It's also an additive and subtractive system, since you can always adjust a colour by using tint and shade.  

Ink is difficult to translate into zones since it's only additive, a one-way trip.  I suppose you could subtract from back ink by using white ink,  but since a pen is a linear tool, you are simply adding black or white lines depending on ink.  Once the ink is laid, you cannot subtract from it.  So, to create zones, you start with white and add a few lines until you get your next zone. You add more lines to the second zone and so forth until you get all the zones you need. 

Since creating zones with ink is laborious,renowned illustrator Alphonse Dunn encourages us to use just six a, b, c, d, e, and f values as I have above.  This eliminates the mid-range value (c₁, pictured as "cd"), but it has the benefit of making the process of shading easier.  

The first two values (a,b) can be condensed to make an even simpler value: black.  The next two values (c,d) can be condensed to make the mid-range grey.   The final two values (e,f) condense to make white.  Now we have a compact three-point scale which can be used to define the values of the portrait much more quickly than Adams' method.  Since all the shades have to be rendered by hand rather than through the process of photography, simplicity is golden.  You start with white and work your way up to black using first the three point scale and then by refining the shades using the six point scale.  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

1374 - Chicken: Covenant

I am excited enough to see the new Alien: Covenant movie, just enough to snap this Ungood self-portrait, but not enough to put much effort into making the chestburster look less like one of my toy stuffed chickens.  

Welcome to Ungood Art Day, traditionally the thirteenth day of every month, where I post my stuff that ain't so good.   


Friday, May 5, 2017

1373 - May 5, 2017

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!  May The Fifth Be With You... Always.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

1372 - May 4, 2017

Happy Star Wars Day!  May The Fourth Be With You... Always.

Monday, May 1, 2017

1371 - Mayor TV Podium People

After bowing out with fatigue yesterday, today I rallied to finish my Facebook banner for the upcoming Mayor TV Election Special.  I feel I did a decent job of representing visually the three candidates, and I look forward to the show hosted by my friend Mayor Greg Moore!