Saturday, December 19, 2009

Face Time

Image here.

Start of a more detailed pass, fixing up some of the colors as well. I almost always start with the face and work outwards, once the large areas are in place. On the other hand, when placing those large areas I work in from the edges of the picture, or from left to right, usually, although I will place shadows first sometimes. And on the other, other hand, when drawing I tend to start with the outlying edges of a dominant shape (or negative space), which often turns out to be the top of the head if there is a figure involved.

I suspect none of this makes much difference, except for one thing: I do believe that seeking out and concentrating on negative spaces in the picture helps me get the shapes correct more easily.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Colors and Textures

So, trying to keep the blog alive.

I started doing this one because of the nuts colors and the textures of the fabric. The patterns on her dress (not well captured at this point) are the kind of complicated reflective mess that is very attractive to me as something to try and recreate. I'm always optimistic about this point in the picture, that I will actually be able to do that, so I expect something will go horribly wrong soon (or already has and I have failed to notice).

Saturday, December 05, 2009


For the first time in ages, an uninterrupted hour. So, to the tablet!

Not much to say about it. I had to draw something. Quite a relief to be able to.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Tonight, I will draw something. Definitely. Grr.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This is a boring, non-art, non-funny post. You may want to skip it.

There is an interesting guest blog over on Boing Boing about Straussian thinking. Which quotes another piece by Robert Locke:

The key Straussian concept is the Straussian text, which is a piece of philosophical writing that is deliberately written so that the average reader will understand it as saying one ("exoteric") thing but the special few for whom it is intended will grasp its real ("esoteric") meaning. The reason for this is that philosophy is dangerous.

And it was this that prompted me to the blog, where I will say my piece into the void so that it may be lost forever and no longer bother me.

This touches one of my most raw nerves. It's an arrogant thing to believe, and if there is one thing that really pisses me off, it's arrogance.

As summarized in that quote, the concept of the Straussian text is based on a few key ideas:

1) People cannot be trusted to think for themselves.

2) You, the initiate, and I, the teacher, are some of the special few people who can grasp the esoteric meanings (and, of course, be trusted to think for ourselves and others).

3) The vast majority of philosophers agree with point 1 (and, of course, me).

More succinctly, "You and I know better than everyone else what is best for them."

Which is poppycock. The only rational basis for a moral system is that people should decide for themselves. They're going to decide things for themselves whether we want them to or not, and if we do not allow them to make those choices, at some point we must discuss how to coerce them, which leads, inevitably, to force. I don't believe that force is never called for, but I do believe it is the last resort, and starting from the basic position that people should not be allowed to think for themselves and act on those thoughts seems entirely backward. You start from a position of complete freedom for all, and only restrict those freedoms where the case can be made that restrictions on freedoms of some are necessary to prevent harm or other damage to the freedoms of others. Otherwise you always end with special pleading for the ruling class, because rulers by definition have more freedom than the ruled. Perhaps my real problem is with kings, and those who would justify them.

I digress. Item 2 on my list is base flattery. The philosophy calls on you to join an exclusive club, which automatically makes it more inviting. One should always be wary of suggestions that you are better or smarter than other people. The people making these suggestions are all too often trying to sell you something you don't need.

3, of course, is arrogance (again). The Straussian text assumes that the authors wanted to hide something in their books, for you, the specially chosen, to extract. There are philosophers who would think so, certainly, but I believe they are at best second-rate. Ideas can be dangerous, to the established social order, to peace of mind, but hiding them does us no great service. Better that ideas see the light of day, to be challenged, and that we may challenge ourselves with them.

Fine if you are ready for the challenge, you say, but what about all those other idiots? Back to point 1 again. The problem with philosophies based on taking away people's choice for their own good (or not), is that you have to decide who gets to do the deciding, and there is no way to do this. All systems of choosing rulers will, at some point, lead to corruption and abuse of power. It is true that people will sometimes make choices that lead to harm for themselves or others, but this is the price we pay and the risk we take for being able to make the same choices ourselves. I would rather have an imperfect but free society than a more efficient dictatorship. (Of course, in current societies I don't get that choice, but I lean towards the one which more closely resembles my ideal.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Post Pictures

I seem to have a thing for kimono lately.

Also, I apologize for the people waiting for me to finish things. I have not forgotten or given up. I ask for your patience.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Artrage is...

... really quite incredibly frustrating for someone (too) used to digital tools.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Done That

In the end, it was a bit more frustrating than I like, and I wasn't really pleased with the results. Still, it's the first time I managed to get something out of Artrage's paint brush tool that I didn't just want to throw out. So I guess that's something.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Tools, Same Subjects

This is fooling around with Artrage. I'm getting the hang of these tools, but the free version has a lot of restrictions. Still, it's kind of interesting to see what I can do within the framework.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Do I Really Need to Start Another?

I need the practice, but I also need to finish something. Many things, even.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Carp: First Attempt

Trying to come up with a nice picture of some fish. Needs work.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Yes, Another One

Started and stopped a while ago. Now with new startage and stoppage.

Friday, August 28, 2009


He decided to paint a picture. This is as far as he got (tonight).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't Quit Your Day Job?

Nothing much, but it is one of the only things I have done in weeks. Don't quit your day job, but what if your day job becomes a day, night and weekend job? Doesn't leave much time for hobbies, does it?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is It Twitter's Fault?

No, not entirely. I do have a twitter account, as most anyone who could be reading this knows. However, the main thing is I have been insanely busy. Insanely. As in, busy in a way that constitutes a serious risk to one's mental health. Yes, busy, kinda. And, as is the norm when one is busy, nothing is getting done, at least, not much that I want to do, and absolutely nothing that would go on a blog.

There is some hope that the glimmer of light up ahead is the end of the tunnel, and not the oncoming train, but you'll have to give me a little more time to find out.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Filling In

More of that.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Not really filler, but quick sketchy stuff while I try to dig myself out of this hole. Work has kept me away from this thing.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Changing the Past

Edited that last one (long after it had gone out). The pretension was bugging me.

Friday, May 29, 2009

And Writin'

I was going to post an excerpt from the latest novel slash comic-book-without-the-pictures, but everything I've written recently seems to reveal too much. It seems like it would be better to come to it without knowing anything, except what came in the books before.

(It might work as a stand-alone, too. But I think knowing the characters and relationships from earlier books makes it much better.)

Monday, May 25, 2009


A couple of pages from the sketchbook, done today. Nothing significant except that they were done at all.

A few contributions from my daughters as well.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Almost a Month

Quite long to go without posting anything. I have been very busy with the day job, and also working on a project which is way behind schedule. But here is a little experiment I did. The idea was to paint with a very big brush and then erase to do the smaller shapes and values.

(Censored because I've had pictures taken down from Photobucket for less.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some of the Better Ones

A roundup of sorts, of the pictures (mostly unfinished, and mostly from photographs or imitations) which I don't mind too badly.

(There's a theme here, and I'm just going to ignore that completely, thanks.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I was going to wait

I was going to wait until I did the wolf shading, but I'm getting bored of seeing the old version.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Form, Dimly

So, an update on that picture in progress, which I seem to get a half hour to work on every week. Adding shadow, and starting to define some forms:

I have no good reference for this pose and lighting. Another reason this is taking so long.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Song of the Moment

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (Guest Vocals: Ito Fumio) - A Pride of Lions

(Thanks Hasa)

Not Dead

Just busy. I continue to draw pictures and write, much to the horror of those with the misfortune to be exposed.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Better or Worse

Sometimes it's hard to decide. Better to just say "work in progress."

Finished? I think I've heard that word somewhere. What does it mean?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Finished Ink + Flats

Let's call the lines done. Color... well, I'll try. Flats are almost never really pretty anyway, so I can maintain some optimism at this point.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Long Week

Not much got done this week.

Here is some continued work on that girl & wolf picture.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ink and Hmm

Not really ink, and not finished. Since I couldn't get the color right, I did this instead.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Other One

There was also that other picture with the wolf and the girl that I was working on. Just painted a little more on it, to distract myself.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Color Rough

Closer, anyway. Another thing to keep practicing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Now If Only I Could Color

I tried to color that picture twice last night, no, actually three times, with entirely different methods each time. They all looked horrible. The painter-ish one had a bit of promise, but went south. The flat colors one stumbled pretty early on and never recovered. The other flat color one was a total wash from the start.

Stupid hands! Er. Stupid eyes!

I will search for inspiration and reference, and try again. Sigh.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Repititions on a Theme

Slog. Slog. Slog. Stupid hands!

Anyway, at the moment I'm happy with bits of it, but very unhappy with other bits. It may be fixable. Maybe.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stupid Hands!

Last night I spent a couple of hours grumbling and drawing and drawing and re-drawing and grumbling again. I had a picture in my head. Have had it for a few days. Never got what I wanted on the screen. In fact, what I saw made me doubt that I can draw competently at all. I hate it when that happens.

After all the thinking that maybe I should give up on this whole thing, I said to myself. "This is how it works. Tomorrow night, you'll draw it again."

And I will. From scratch. Because, otherwise, how the hell am I going to get any better?

Maybe if I was some kind of genius, talented artist I could whip off six great pictures an hour every time I sat down to draw. Maybe someday I'll get to that point. But for now, nine out of ten pictures is a slog through the muck, constantly cursing my stupid, stupid hands. So the only thing I can do is to start over, and do it better next time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

From a Certain Point of View

Today was productive, too, from a certain point of view.

Monday, March 16, 2009

So You Know

Today was kind of productive.

There, now I've gone and jinxed the rest of the week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Like I Said

Doing it for fun. And to get better. But mostly for fun.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nearly Pointless Update

I used to tell myself I did these pictures as practice. And it is practice. I think it helps. I keep thinking this is working towards some end state where I will be able to paint whatever I want. But lately I've decided to be honest. I do it because it's fun to do it. I like the pictures that come out of it. I like the feeling of accomplishment when one goes well, and I don't mind staring very closely at a beautiful woman for hours. It's fun.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Not Lying In Bed

Something to try and get back in the habit.