Wednesday, February 28, 2018

1483 - Quads

This is a quick adaptation of quarduplet babies' clip-art.

Monday, February 26, 2018

1482 - Sylvia Post Padding

JSVB needs posts!  So I decided to take my Sylvia picture and turn all the shadow layers on to see what it would look like.  Dark!  

Then I used Photoshop's Invert function to turn all the black pixels white and the white pixels black.  Bright!

Yep!  That's entertainment! 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

1481 - Mona Sylvia - Foreground Lit

You are looking at the third and final experiment in light and shadow featuring my model, the Mona Lisa of the modern day, Sylvia. 

This time around, the foreground is lit while much of Sylvia and the background are in darkness.  I figured that the table would reflect a fair amount of light into Sylvia's face and hair, so I sketched in some details to make her stand out from the flat background.  The thematic focus is on Sylvia and that she is drinking, so this time the light source helps push the narrative.  Unimportant things in the background are now invisible.  I think this gives Sylvia  an air of mystery.

So that concludes my experiment!  I believe I learned a few things about light and shadow in composition.  It's not as black-and-white as I first thought:  sometimes the shadows and white areas help to push the viewer into considering the motivations in the scene, while other times they obscure details that may have been necessary to the picture, or worse point to details that are not relevant.  The trickiest parts to draw are the transitions from light to dark.  Sometimes the shadow swallows up too many lines, and sometimes the light brings out so many lines that the picture becomes too busy.  I figure it's better to have too few lines rather than too many.   

I had been wanting to complete this project for several months: thanks to Earl and Sylvia who provided their kind permission to use their picture as my reference. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

1480 - Mona Sylvia - Lit Midground

This is the second of my experimental series of illuminating a picture of that girl with the enigmatic smile, Sylvia.  

I think out of the series this is my favourite, perhaps because it's also the most conventional.  It holds  close to the source photograph (JSVB Post #1478, please click here).  I tweaked the light source so that the drinks and Sylvia are in the lighted area, while shadows add necessary volume to the composition.  The effect to me seems both balanced and dynamic.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

1479 - Mona Sylvia - Lit Background

This is the first in my series of experiments with light and shadow in composition.  The model is la Giaconda of our modern day, Sylvia.  

In this version, Sylvia and her table are thrown into deep shadow, while the background is fully lit.  This is supposed to call the viewer's attention to something essential in the illuminated area, only I didn't draw anything of importance there.  I guess I should have.  Well, you could use the light to find your way out of the room. 

Since the subject and her props are all in deep shadow, I had to use some fine white lines to make that part of the image readable.  The effect is brooding.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

1478 - Hatching My Plan

JSVB Post #1466 was a contour drawing of my friend Sylvia.  In today's JSVB post, I want to revisit that picture to bread it down a little. 
First of all, here is the source photo of lovely Sylvia as shot by her husband Earl:
Photo used with permission.
I was taken by the composition of this picture, although poor Sylvia is trying to get some rest at the end of a long day.  Normally, she's smiling.  What I like about this picture is how the light from the window plays across the subject.  It's very dramatic!  

If I had taken the photo, though, I would have had the sun hit the drinks and illuminate Sylvia's face.  Stupid sun, being in the wrong position!  If I could, I would have moved the table around to make the shadows hit precisely.  Failing that, maybe gigantic proton thrusters mounted on the Earth's crust would have shifted the planet enough to make the sunlight fall correctly.  Either way, Sylvia would remain equanimous as the Mona Lisa.  

Far easier to make a drawing, which is what I did back in JSVB Post #1466.  I'll repost it here:  

Print this out!  Colour it in! 

After posting this drawing, I received comments about all the hatching work.  I'm not much into hatching - using small, repeated lines to create a mid-tone value in a line drawing - so this is something I would like to learn how to do well.  The intent of the drawing wasn't to practice hatching, but to use this artwork as the base for working out schemes of light and shadow like in the photograph.  I'll post my results in the next few days!

More on the hatching.  There were three areas I felt that needed mid-tones: the hemp curtain, the wicker partition, and the pebbled tabletop.  I've broken down these three hatches in this illustration below:

From top to bottom: 1. Wicket hatch 2. Hemp hatch 3. Circular pebble tile 3a) Circular pebble tile solution by K. Neko, 4) Original pebble tabletop

To speed things up, I made simple hatches in Photoshop and then tiled them.  You can see clear linear hatches for the wicker and the curtain: they are basic repeated patterns.  I used Photoshop's distortion tools to make the hatching fit the perspective of the picture, and in the case of the curtain I warped the lines to make the fabric appear to curve.  No sweat!  

The pebbled tabletop was a lot harder to finish.  I really liked the contours of the small stones, but tracing them all would be time-consuming.  I opted to make a selection of each stone and combined all of the selections.  Then I used Photoshop's stroke command to automatically generate the lines.  Unfortunately, there were dozens of imperfections in the selection that the smoothing algorithm could not fix.  I ended up making the repairs by hand, which took a couple of hours.  The results still looked awkward, as you can see from above.  

I decided to simplify the stones into circles which would look cleaner.  I wanted to make a repeatable tile of circles of varying diameters.  At first, I tried freehanding the arrangement of circles, but as I worked I recalled reading an article about a computer program that would arrange circles efficiently into a square space.  As it turns out, this is a very complicated task for a computer.  Sorting applications have a lot of difficulty understanding the difference between a circle and a square, as the math to optimize both becomes complex.  

The small grey image is a solution from Kuroi Neko, who is a programmer at Stack Overflow.  The solution is not to use a rectangle as a boundary, but rather a shape made from the edges of four nearly infinitely large circles, which in practical terms amounts to the same thing as a rectangle.  Using this new system the program will run very smoothly.  I used this application to generate the tile and then duplicated it a few times in Photoshop to  make the tabletop.  The clean circles replace the irregular rocks and they look good.  

The next three JSVB posts will show the results of my experiments in light and shadow using this picture.  Stay tuned! 


Friday, February 16, 2018

1477 - The Trio Of Sierra Hoth

Previous JSVB Post, I mentioned how my wife was becoming a champ at crochet.  Following the Star Wars pattern, she put together these three amazing Imperial Stormtroopers.  With snow on the ground, I made my own Hoth and home for them. 


Thursday, February 15, 2018

1476 - Little Sign Of Horrors

So my wife is becoming more interested in making crafts.  She is swift at crochet.  Now she wants to make miniatures, and to help her out I bought some tiny tools she can use to make interesting projects.  

"I want to make this (a recreation of the infamous advertisement featuring the nefarious Saskatchewan Roughriders football team that had been placed next to the sublime home stadium of our courageous BC Lions) into a billboard for our friend Ted's N-gauge railroad," she says.

"Engage N-gauge!" I reply.  "If you build the billboard, I'll do the graphic so it can be printed properly."

So she made the billboard, and did an amazing job!  It's 1½ inches long and including the supports about that high as well.  She made it out of popsicle sticks and balsa wood.  The image I had to work from had vertical slats that detracted from image quality, so I decided to fabricate a new one.  The pretty girl model had a number of poses online, so I chose one and sampled the typefaces and colours used in the original.  This is what I made:

Then we cut out the image and pasted it onto the billboard.  It was a true husband-wife collaboration!  I thought the billboard would look more realistic with lights, so I snipped some wire paperclips and dabbed glue onto the ends to make bulbs.  When the glue was dry, I added a touch of silver Sharpie ink. 

  And that's the whose sordid story of how a couple of BC Lions season ticket holders ended up with a Saskatchewan Roughriders billboard in miniature.  Later on this year, we'll discuss how those same Lions went on to win the 2018 Grey Cup! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

1475 - What The Phở !?

For Valentine's Day, I made for my love a big hot pot of home-made Vietnamese soupWhat the Phở !?

(Pronouncing Vietnamese words is my Achilles' heel.  I do know this much: it's spoken like using the swear word at the end of a question so that there is a rising, querulous tone... what the fu...??  but not finishing the last bit of the swear.)


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

1474 - Packing Meat: Hamburger Handgun

The meat pistol is real!  The Photoshopping is suspect.

Welcome to Ungood Art Day on JSVB, traditionally the thirteenth day of every month.  On this day, I try to show art that I have made that can't qualify as being "good".  

I did not on purpose go out to create a gun out of meat, why would anyone do that?  When I make my best spaghetti sauce, I use three kinds of ground meat: beef, pork, and veal.  The portions I got from the butcher were too big, so I split them.  The remainders went into the freezer for later.  

When I retrieved them, I had discovered the three meat lumps had frozen into a shape resembling a gun.  Knowing I had an opportunity, I took a picture of it and here we are today.  I applied some Photoshop to make the picture more dramatic and to make the meat more Magnum-shaped. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

1473 - Archangel (Gabriel?) XIII

I've finished the painting for this icon.  It still needs to be sealed.  Sharp-eyed JSVB viewers will notice that there is no letter "G" in the inscription, something you'd expect to see with the Archangel Gabriel.  That's because at the last moment I decided this angel was a Michael instead.  Since angels are noncorporeal (don't have human form), I can get away with the name switch.  

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

1472 - Godzilla! Godzilla Lives!

I had my Godzilla print made up and framed.  My wife holds it for me to take the picture.

I rushed to get the image to the printer, since it takes maybe a week to get it back.  "I'll have it done in an hour," the printer says.  There are 320 shopping days until Christmas, but for my printer holiday spirit seems to be all year 'round!   

Monday, February 5, 2018

1471 - "One More Bite..."

Well!  The finished Godzilla poster, at last!  

All the details are in place, and I corrected many, many errors large and small.  Mostly, I redid Godzilla's chest.  I also erased many extra lines that were clogging up the page.  Especially, I got rid of the contour lines around Godzilla's arms and body and that magically made him look like he belonged in the picture. Eee-Rrrahrgk!

I added some urban brand names to make downtown look more lifelike: they are all fictional logos from James Bond villains (Eon Productions).   

Godzilla is the intellectual property of Toho, UPA, and Sony.  The tag line is courtesy of my friends Earl and Scott, who dreamed up the perfect words to fit the picture!  

Saturday, February 3, 2018

1470 - Godzilla Bites Again III

This image is nearly complete.  All the basics are in there plus many exciting details.  

I'm not happy with it, though.  I've used hatching for Godzilla and hard shadows for the cityscape, and I don't think they go well together.  I've tried to fill in the blank space at the top with a lot of hatched smoke.  

Godzilla looks flat.  The arms don't hang right and the chest armor looks like it doesn't fit very well.  Looking back  at my construction sketches (which I haven't shown), I see that I've made critical mistakes with my foundation lines.  Fortunately, Photoshop will help me deal with flubs. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

1469 - Godzilla Bites Again II

At this point, I'm deciding where to put the dark blacks.  I settled on using a hatching pen to create texture on the giant lizard.  I used Photoshop to make grids of windows for the modern buildings.  Photoshop's warp function allowed me to mold the windows to the perspective and curvature of the building next to Godzilla.