One of the things I did when making my resolutions for 2019 was lower the bar. In some cases I didn’t just lower the bar, I gently set it down on the ground. I wanted as little friction as possible to make progress, hoping the ease in doing so would provide sufficient psychological boost to push me beyond my terribly modest goals and reach for the sky, or at least something that requires me to stand on my toes.
One might make the argument that since I obviously know I’m trying to “trick myself” into improvement, it will never work. And that’s possible. But I like to think I’m at least willing to meet my brain halfway on this.
And so I am adding another resolution for the remaining 11 months of 2019: A drawing per month. Not one per week or day, just one every month–a modest goal that can be built on.
I have 20 days to keep pace going forward. Will I draw a blank (lol)? Find out on February 28! Or hopefully sooner. You never know.
Yesterday was the first day of my “write something or draw something or photograph something every day” thing.
I did none of these things.
Actually, that’s not accurate. I did get out the iPad and pencil and did some sketches in Linea, none of which I liked enough to post. But then I didn’t promise quality and you have to start somewhere, so here are all of the sketches in a gallery, with commentary. Enjoy?
What will I do? Parade through downtown in the nude? Don a wingsuit and glide down to English Bay from Grouse Mountain? Attempt to lift five times my own body weight? Pull a fire truck with my teeth?
In a word, no. I will do none of these things, for the following reasons:
likely arrest and fine
probably not physically possible, likely to result in devastating injury or death or both before possibility can be verified
would result in arms popping out of sockets or other less entertaining permanent injury
teeth would be really sore, fire truck would remain unmoved
But what I am going to try to do is at least one of the following on a daily basis:
take a photo of something
The “write something” I’ve been pretty good with for the last few years on this blog, though the daily part slips occasionally and the quality varies wildly. I am in no danger of writing a Pulitzer-nominated essay is what I’m saying. But This one I’ve mostly got down. (We won’t mention my fiction writing. That is a separate and semi-tragic discussion.)
Since my kidney infection–which is admittedly a curious trigger–I’ve been more interested in taking photos of flowers and things and often catch myself observing angles and shots, even when I’m not actually taking pictures. I find it relaxing, engaging and possibly a tiny bit therapeutic, though I’m a ways from writing the book How Taking Photos of Simple Things Changed My Life and Made Me A Better Person. Since I don’t always have a ready subject, I can’t rely on a photo a day, but this will encourage me to look for more opportunities. I now also want a phone with some kind of optical zoom. That costs less than a thousand dollars. Make my dream come true, Apple (ho ho, as if).
For the drawing, I’ve wanted to do this for awhile but never seem to find the inclination to just sit down and draw. Part of it is fear of mediocrity–I was never especially great at drawing, though not awful, either. But to improve would take the kind of dedicated practice I’m unlikely to engage in, so I may have to content myself with artfully arranged stick men or something. Still, I do not lack for media–I have pens, pencils, paint (sort of–some dried-up watercolors tucked away in a drawer), sketchpads, plus technology like a Surface Pro 3 with pen, an iPad Pro with pencil and also my own uncoordinated fingers and smartphone (which I used to produce an apple).
In the end I’ll mostly keep writing, but I’ll try to mix in some photos and drawings, something every day. And maybe I’ll post these things to some social media, though I generally think all social media is awful and truly one of current society’s ills. Facebook is terrible. Instagram is owned by Facebook. Twitter is largely a dumpster fire of hate and misinformation. Maybe I could lead a revival of Myspace. Or local BBSes. A man can dream.
The first result will come tomorrow. What will it be? I have no idea!
This crudely drawn T-rex was done in almost a single continuous line due to how the Autodraw site works. As far as I can tell there is no erase function, though there is a generous undo ability.
But I don’t have the patience to keep doing and undoing so here’s my stick man dinosaur.
Autodraw threw out a ton of completely random guesses so it wasn’t too terribly impressed by my artistic ability. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was never great at drawing or painting and I’m okay with that.
It did include a T-rex head as one of its guesses, though. I’ve included it below my masterpiece.
Program used:Autodraw, Photoshop CC 2017 Hardware: Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet, my uncoordinated mouse hand
Yes, I realize I am way behind on these. I’ll catch up somehow!
Program used: Sketchable, Photoshop CC 2015.5
Hardware: Surface Pro 3 and pen
Photoshop was used to crop and resize the image and to add the text.
I bumbled my way through Sketchable, learning a few more things. The following is a very crude depiction of Angry Carrot, with no shading at all. Think of him as an untextured polygon from a late 1980sPC game.
I’ll try to revisit this one later if I make it through all 26.
I actually struggled with this one, even though there are a billion things that start with the letter B.
And then I cheated.
B is for Ball.
Program used: Photoshop CC 2015.5
Cheat used: created ball using ellipse tool. Freehand drawing is for losers.
More cheating: used the Lighting Effects filter to create a pseudo-3D effect
In other words, I used about the least amount of my own minimal artistic talent as possible. I’m okay with that because I dig the totally retro border and Cooper Black font. Also, you can see the pixels on the ball because I was too lazy to figure out how to apply antialiasing. That makes it more retro.
I am going to do the old shtick of going through the alphabet and draw something each day that starts with the appropriate letter.
Today, A is for Apple.
Drawn in: Paper (iOS app)
Tool used: My finger
The combination of an inadequate tool (my finger) with inadequate drawing skill (my brain) has produced something vaguely reminiscent of an apple. It could also be a tomato. Possibly a short-stemmed cherry. Maybe an apple.
Probably an apple.
Edit: I went back and edited the image using Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5, adding a snazzy (?) red border and explanatory text.
The Gum Gum People were small, pink elastic beings that giggled a lot (specifically “HEE! HEE!”) and in a handwritten and unfinished screenplay for what would have been the best Gum Gum People movie of all time, they plot to take over Earth, without having any real malicious intent.
I occasionally doodled out the GGP (if I write it as The GPP it looks a bit like a funky band name) and below are a few sketches that appeared to be a part of a series explaining them, perhaps as a primer before people went to see Invasion of the Gum Gum People. By the third sketch (not included here because it’s little more than a few errant lines) I either ran out of ideas, enthusiasm or pencils.
The GGP getting scratched looks positively delighted. It almost makes me want to try using a toothbrush the next time I’m itchy.
You may have noticed the first drawing looks a lot dirtier. This is because it was on the top of the drawing pad and picked up something like 20 years of crud that the scanner accurately captured. Hooray for technology. (I chose not to clean it up because cleaning up art can have unintended consequences.)
After toiling away on my Surface Pro 3, first using the included Sketchpad app (which is pretty bare bones) before switching to Photoshop (which has 5,000 pounds of blubber on its bones), I have drawn a potato.
An amazing potato. It sits on an abstract landscape that invokes memories of the family farm. If you didn’t have a family farm it may instead invoke memories of bad drawings you did when you were a kid, which this essentially is, minus the kid part. I’m a little out of practice.
Secretly I wanted to draw Super Spud but balked because trying to do a simple shape and then adding arms, legs and a face to it was too intimidating after years of not-drawing and even more years of not-drawing-in-computer-programs-I’m-barely-familiar-with.