Sunday, November 29, 2009

Strangler Fig

While in Costa Rica, I was introduced to strangler figs. They get seeded on rain forest trees and start growing up to get light and down to get roots. They wrap themselves around the tree and sometimes end up killing it by depriving it of nutrients. Dead trees rot away, leaving a hollow center in the shape of the tree, with only the strangler fig remaining.

This immediately made me imagine a strangler fig doing this to a person, leaving behind only a shell in the shape of the person. A travel companion pointed out that the person would have to sit still for a pretty long time... But then he suggested that maybe this could happen to one of those monks who go out into the wilderness and just sit meditating in the lotus position until they die.

So of course I had to sketch this idea...

P.S.: These hollow constructs often serve as homes for various critters, and I figured I'd add that to my sketch, too...

Leaves at a hotel in Costa Rica

Leaves at my hotel (Arenal Observatory Lodge) in Costa Rica

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Batman Beyond Villain Ken

Okay so to compensate for my self-emasculation yesterday, here's a buffed up version of me, based on this freeze-frame of a villain in a Batman Beyond episode.

I colored it in Photoshop after scanning in the line art.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Æon Ken

I finally got around to Netflixing the early 90s MTV animated series Æon Flux. It's awesome! It's the most "holy crap how did I not see this until now" show since Freaks and Geeks. Minimalist, avant-garde science fiction that tosses aside everything non-essential and just focuses on one interesting idea each episode. It also features show creator Peter Chung's distinctive character design. Here are the distinctive opening credits.

I decided to do a self portrait in its style, basing the design mostly on this freeze-frame.

Update: Okay, here's a less effete self-portrait I did the next day. :P

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Air Doodles

I doodled my friends on my flights to and from LA (to see Depeche Mode). The likenesses aren't that great, but I did them pretty quickly, the first and third ones in about half an hour each. This is the first time I've ever tried drawing portraits from life!


The next one is a mini-doodle that I started in the hotel and finished up on the plane ride home (with no reference!):


I like drawing hair. Facial proportions are still hard, but that's why I need more practice.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sphinx-like Rock

This rock reminds me of a Sphinx. This is one of the rocks in the ocean by Cabo San Lucas, Mexico [Google Maps], but I'm not sure which one. We took a boat ride, and my friends went snorkeling, while I doodled the rock.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 42: Busted Wagon

Don't worry. I'm not an alcoholic. :P I went to the gym for a few days straight, but I fell off that wagon. Planning to get back on. :)

(I was also trying out my new pencils! This was done with a 4B.)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 41: Jumpman Levels

Okay, I may be cheating a little bit today. I've been playing a (free) indie puzzler/platformer game called Jumpman. I wrote a blog post about it here. The game has a level editor, and I made a few levels that are inspired by some classics. I figure this did involve some "drawing", no? This counts as art, no? :) Anyway, see my blog post for more thoughts about the game, a download link for my levels.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 40: "Beach Closed Today"

Based on this photo I found by doing an image search for "shark sighting".

I'm trying to learn to draw waves. They didn't come out as well as I had hoped. Will need to try them again some time. Anyone have any tips for drawing waves? I'd like to learn how to draw waves with just line art, too (i.e. not shaded).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 39: Gorilla

It's been two weeks since my last "daily" doodle, but I'll just number this consecutively. Based on this flickr photo. I decided to try being a bit more abstract, simplifying the lines from the photograph.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 38: Meta-Drawing

Drawing the hand that's drawing the hand! :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 37: Colombian

Portrait of my Colombian friend. Same method as yesterday: Based on looking at the LCD of my camera after taking this photo. I'm really surprised at how well this turned out!

Day 36: Lucy

My friend's dog. I took this picture and then drew based on the LCD on my camera.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 35: Wide-eyed Man

Based on this photo I found on flickr. It's not quite the same, but hopefully it's more or less recognizable? I think maybe I needed lighter shading on the eyes, because it kinda looks like he's wearing makeup. I guess that's partly because I didn't shade it much in general, so the high contrast gives it a bit of that Joker vibe. :P

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 34: Work in Progress: Hair

Another work in progress. I'll finish this later. Can you guess who this is? I hope you can, because then it'll save me the trouble of trying to get the eyes to look right. I haven't done them yet, and I bet it's going to take me forever. :P

Update: Okay, I've completed this portrait.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 33: God Rejects Your Bling

While waiting in line for the bus this morning, a pickup truck pulls up. This guy comes out and starts yelling angrily at everyone in line.

I don't remember much of what he said, since I was mostly trying to avoid eye contact, but I think he said something along the lines of the above. He ranted for a good minute or two before getting back in his pickup and driving off.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 32: Bride from To Live

This is how people got married in 1960s China! The circular pins feature a portrait of Chairman Mao. She's holding a Little Red Book off-frame, too. :P

Based on a still frame from my To Live (活着) DVD. I did a terrible job with the eyes. This looks nothing like the actress, but luckily the actress isn't famous anyway (that was her only film), so you don't know who you're supposed to recognize. :P The eyes actually looked better before, but I erased them in order to try to match the actress better. Instead, I still failed to match, and the eyes look even worse now. I gave up on trying to tweak them. I did draw them right-side up this time, so maybe I should try upside-down again next time?

To Live was directed by Zhang Yimou, who had previously directed Raise the Red Lantern, and would go on to make Hero, House of Flying Daggers, etc. I've always felt that his later martial arts movies were pale imitations of Crouching Tiger, but To Live is one of my favorite movies. I describe it to people as the Forrest Gump of China. It's about the lives of a couple from the 1940s through the 1970s, a tumultuous period in China that spanned the Chinese Civil War, World War II, the success of the Communist Revolution, the Great Leap Forward, the resulting famine officially called the Three Years of Natural Disasters (in which some 15-30 million people died), and the Cultural Revolution. There's a lot of heavy stuff, but the film also has a deft touch of humor, sometimes broad, often subtle.

The movie, made in 1994, was banned in China. Zhang Yimou himself was banned from directing any movies for two years. Later in life, he went on to direct those politically safe martial arts movies, and even the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Some say he sold out. Personally, I think he proved everything he needed to prove with To Live, and while I would love to see more challenging films from him, I don't think he owes me a thing.

I guess this movie has special resonance for me because I know my own parents and most of my relatives lived through this stuff. I saw this movie for the first time with my family, and whenever something totally insane happened, they would tell me that the reality was even crazier!

Perhaps the best example of insanity was during the Great Leap Forward, when Chairman Mao became determined to surpass steel production of the UK within 15 years. How would he achieve this? Why, by asking everyone in the country to take all their iron, and burn it in furnaces into useless slag, of course! If you tried to withhold even a doorknob, you were billed an anti-revolutionary, and awful things could happen to you.

I guess the thing I most want to keep in mind with this stuff is that crazy revolutions and stuff aren't just stuff you seen in the movies. It really happened to my parents. And it could happen anywhere. We can never take peace for granted.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 31: Super Bowl XLIII Game-Winning Catch

I don't really follow football, but the Super Bowl this year was a pretty good game. Pittsburgh earned their win with this perfect leaping catch of a perfect pass over the heads of three defenders, right at the edge of the end zone. I drew this based on a photo from ESPN.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 30: Garlic

Cooked tonight. Here's the left-over garlic.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 29: Footballs

Just sketched a couple of footballs (based on photos found on the Internet) because the SuperBowl is in a couple of days. Apparently they still had four 30-second spots left as of earlier today. Economy affects everyone! :P (I drew the one on the right first. I think I did a better job on the one on the left.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 28: Coding

I'm working late tonight, so here's an old school CRT's eye view of me coding (even though I don't have any CRTs any more). I drew this while waiting for compiles. :P

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 27: Birthday Candle

Another inverted drawing, where I drew using complementary colors. Take a look at the uninverted ("verted"?) image. That's how I drew it. It's fun coming up with the right colors, though I admit to cheating a bit by scanning and then adjusting when the colors weren't quite right the first time. :P I sorta roughly based it on a couple of photos of candles, but it's not quite a copy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 26: Water Buffalo

Based on this photo on flickr by user Happy Year of the Bovini, everyone! And if you're wondering what a Bovini is, see the post on my main blog about cattle terminology.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 25: Lyrics Born @ The Independent

Click to view large. Completed yesterday's drawing. Drew in black and inverted in Photoshop. Based on this photo I took. I failed to match the scale of the spotlights with the performers, which is why the lights skew to the right. Oh well. It took me forever to try to draw his nostril right, and I eventually gave up. Pretty happy with how it turned out overall, though!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 24: Work In Progress: Spotlights

This is another work in progress. A copy of a photo. I haven't done the bottom half yet. Again, it's black pencil on sketchbook, then inverted in Photoshop.

Update: Completed drawing here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 23: Portal Turret

The video game Portal [YouTube Trailer] was the most innovative game of 2007. Just Watch that video if you haven't heard of it. I was showing it to a friend tonight, so I decided to draw one of the adorable turrets from the game. Unlike the evil robots from most games, these little guys are simply adorable. They speak in the voices of baby robots. (And don't worry; you never actually destroy them; you can only knock them over to disable them.) I based my drawing on this painting I found on flickr.

(Also, I've been drawing with a mechanical pencil this whole time. Today I went and bought some old school pencils so I can shade better... though I'm not sure how well it's working out. I kinda like how the lines are rougher, though. The laser is from a red colored pencil.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 22: Ugly Delicious Pear

I don't know what these pears are called, but they are both ugly and delicious. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 21: Niagara Falls

Click to view larger.

Based on this photograph of Niagara Falls I found on Wikipedia. This is pencil on sketchbook, except I drew all the mist as black and left the river empty, and then inverted the whole picture in Photoshop. At the last minute, I decided to replicate the rainbow with colored pencil, using complementary colors, so it would invert properly along with the black and white parts. :D See yesterday's work-in-progress for what part of it looked like before inverting.

The inspiration: I've been watching the short-lived TV show Wonderfalls recently, which is set in the vicinity of Niagara Falls. I started looking up Niagara Falls on Wikipedia, and I found this photo rather striking and different, so I decided to copy it. Because it was mostly dark, I figured it would be easier to shade if I drew it in reverse color.

Self-criticisms: I didn't measure too carefully, and the proportions are a bit off, but I had a lot of fun with all the details. I did the top left area last, though, and it's a bit sloppy because I was getting tired. :P I also got lazy with the building in the top center. I should've erased my edge lines so it wouldn't glow like that... I also was kinda clueless about what to do with the trees. I like how the boats came out, though!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 20: Work in Progress (Claw?)

This is a work in progress. It'll take me a while longer to finish it, but I decided to post what I have so far anyway. I figure doodles that take longer than a day to finish can count for multiple days. :P It's hopefully not too clear what this is supposed to be yet.

Update: Okay, now you can view the finished product.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 19: Kilroy Self Portrait

I'm really surprised at how well this came out. I think it's the first time I've tried drawing myself, and it actually kinda looks like me! It's based on the photo of myself at the top-right corner of my main blog. I used my friend's advice and turned that source photo upside-down before copying it, to avoid distractions, and it worked pretty well! The proportions are a little off; mostly it's a bit too tall I think. But still, I can recognize myself. It's crazy. I'm excited. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 18: Teacup

Okay, today's is pretty sad... I started out trying to draw a portrait based on a photo, but that was taking too long (will finish it another time), so then I tried to quickly sketch my teapot with pen, and that failed miserably, so finally I settled for drawing this teacup in pen. I think I need to allot myself more time to do my daily doodle.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 17: Cushion

More practice with folds. It's odd: while I'm drawing each fold, it feels totally wrong, but when I stand back and look at the whole thing, it can actually kinda work. I think that's what I find difficult about drawing stuff from scratch: I don't understand yet how to construct the various parts that make a whole.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 16: Achoo!

I started out drawing the Sun because I wanted to be positive and draw something happy and cheerful, but then I somehow ended up drawing the Earth with one of those gauze masks that Asian people wear when they're sick (or afraid of SARS). I'd been reading a lot about climate change earlier. :P

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 15: Sniffles

I goh a wun-y 'ose... :(

(I'm going to stop bothering to write "pencil on sketchbook". You can assume that's the case unless otherwise noted. :P)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 14: Sleep paralysis, lamp and jazz edition

Have you ever suffered from sleep paralysis? It's a state where you think you're awake, and you're lucid to some degree, aware of being in bed and asleep, but you can't move. You can't move partly because you're mostly still asleep, and partly because your body produces chemicals during sleep to paralyze you (and prevent you from sleep walking or tossing and turning too much). In this state, people tend to get paranoid delusions, and it's quite possibly where many UFO abduction fantasies come from, as well as visions of, say, incubi in the olden days.

The first time I got it was in college, and I felt that I was in my bed in my dorm room, and two men in black suits were sitting very still in chairs to my right, silently watching me. I tried everything I could to move or to wake up, even trying to spit on myself, to no avail. Freaky as hell.

Anyway, sometimes when I drive long distances and get drowsy, I pull out at the next exit and take a brief rest to refresh myself before getting back on the road. Today I did that at a parking lot, rested my eyes a bit, and I guess I actually kinda fell asleep... and then suffered from sleep paralysis while trying to wake up.

I thought that I was home in bed, and that my bedside lamp was on my chest for some reason. I could only open my eyes half-way. I could sort of barely move my arm, but not enough to push the lamp off. Meanwhile, it seemed I was actually in some sort of college dorm room or apartment, because through an open window to my left, I could hear the faintest jazz playing.

When I finally woke up, there was no lamp on my chest, I was still in my car, and the jazz I thought I heard was actually the drone of nearby machinery.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 13: Jacket on Stool

I need to practice drawing drapery more.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 12: Quick Eye Sketch

I need to practice drawing eyes more. This is just a quick rough sketch before bed. Will try it again another day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 11: Chiquita Banana

Based on this classic Chiquita spokesbanana. Yeah, I'd never heard of her either. But here's a YouTube clip of a commercial she starred in! I'm as disturbed as you are. (Okay, you're probably more disturbed that I spent an hour and a half drawing her. :P)

I had a lot of trouble with the eyes, actually, so I ended up giving up and making her eyes half-closed, which gives her an even more seductive look. :D

(Pencil in sketchbook.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 10: Vampiric Self-Portrait

Saw the very blue-tinted vampires vs. werewolves movie Underworld on TV. It wasn't very good. They did at least try to give it a story, but it's the kind of story that interests the "I wonder what the mechanics of their vampires and werewolves" geek in me, but not the actual story-liking part of me. :P

(Pencil in sketchbook, tinted in Photoshop.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 9: Strawberries

I wanted to eat one or two strawberries, but they were so good I almost ate the whole box. :P Anyway, half-way through drawing the specks (seeds?) on the front strawberry, I realized that I should actually place them very precisely to reveal the shape and depth of the surface. But that would be a lot of work, so I gave up on it and tried to just shade it a bit. I'll have to try drawing a strawberry again when I have more time/patience. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 8: Braid Goomba

Based on promo images for the video game Braid. I drew it while my friend is over playing the game. (He's still playing as I write this.) Braid is easily the best indie game of 2008. It looks like Super Mario Bros., but it soon reveals itself to be a puzzle game based on time manipulation. As its tagline says, every puzzle is unique. There is no filler. It's only available on Xbox Live Marketplace right now, but it's supposed to be released for PCs in Q1 2009. Anyone who has an Xbox 360 should go grab it right now and play it!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 7: Bunny, Upside-Down

So the same friend who recommended that I try drawing directly in pen also recommended drawing my subject upside-down so I can focus on shapes and not on what I think I see. This was a bit of a rushed job. I definitely messed up that one hand, and the shapes in general could be more accurate. I'll probably have Bunny do this same pose again some time so I can try to do a better job. Bunny is patient.

(Blue pen in sketchbook.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 6: On the Bus

The person sitting in front of me had interesting buns in her hair. Black pen on notebook. Okay so I cheated a bit, because at first I tried to color in the hair and the black leather seat back more thoroughly, and it looked AWFUL. So I re-did it when I got home. :P

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 5: Rudolph

Black pen and red pen on a piece of 8.5" x 11". No pencil! The chin part is a bit too tall; I didn't get the proportions right there, but using a pen wasn't that scary. I think one nice thing about this sketching every day thing is that it lowers my standards, so I'm less anal.

Rudolph's hide is supposed to be gray (with white belly and face), but I didn't know how to color him, so I left him like this. I guess I needed a gray marker or something?

And in case you're wondering, that's a cubicle wall at work that he's straddling.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 4: Oakland Docks

Click to expand.

I got a print today of this photo of the Oakland Docks I took a couple of months ago, so I decided to try to sketch it. I didn't really get the scale right. Everything's too big, so I had to compress things a bit. I think I should've drawn it bigger to start with, to give myself more room to work with.

I sketched it in pencil in my sketchbook, then colorized it in Photoshop.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 3: Yawn

Too tired to do something more elaborate today, but I'm going to stick to the regimen and not skip a day!

(Blue pen on Post-It Note.)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 2: Shiitake Mushroom and Bamboo Shoot

Tonight I cooked shiitake mushrooms at a bamboo shoot for a a potluck dinner. Shiitake mushrooms typically come in dried form (seen here), and you have to soak them in hot water for a while first before cooking them. Fresh bamboo shoots have a lot of outer layers you have to peal off before you get to the edible part (less than half the size).

(Pencil in sketchbook.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 1: Dino Run

Project 365 for photography worked out pretty well for me, so I'm going to try to start drawing something every day. Let's call it Doodle 365 Here's my first attempt. Technically drawn early morning January 3, but we'll count it as being for January 2. It's my dinosaur from Dino Run, which I just reviewed on my blog.

(Pencil in sketchbook.)