Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Working on my Spelling

PID (Production in Development) Picture
 So I was cleaning my basement one day when I came across a glowing red pentagram on the floor. As soon as I lay my eyes upon its eerie light a booming, layered voice pierced into my mind, speaking in ancient tongues never before heard by mortals, singing incantations as old as the moon and sky. Well, that's awfully peculiar, I thought. Of course, I did as any character in any horror movie would do, and walked straight toward the danger with no prior planning, leaving only my instincts and common sense in my wake. In the center of the pentagram, I found a small tablet. I thought it looked cool, so I took it. This is the story of that tablet.

Sadly, there's a plot twist. I don't have a basement. I'll tell you what I do have, though: a global awareness of art making. I think it's kind of apparent, really; the Aztec dragon, the viking and Anglo-Saxon text and designs, and the phoenix (which is a Greek myth, and even though it is doubtful that the Greeks drew phoenixes the way I did, Myths and fables are still art methinks). This art circumnavigates the world. Essentially, I wondered, hmm, what is magical? The answers I came up with dragons, phoenixes, and runes. I think that's pretty accurate.

Another thing I have is the development art-making skills. Firstly, I finally learned how to color paper with tissue paper pigment without making it look like a mess of bleeding colors and blobs. I don't know how I learned that, it was like I just inexplicably became a color-things-with-tissue-paper-expert. Weird. Speaking of tissue paper coloring, I discovered a whole new medium while procrastinating from the painting portion of the painting. In my boredom and laziness, I decided it might be fun to ball up some tissue paper and dip it in a bowl of water to see if it explodes or something. Sadly, it did not. Happily, I squeezed the paper and out dropped some sort of magical colored liquid. I discovered that this liquid had virtually the same properties as watercolor paint. I used it to color some of the rhomboids, and it worked very nicely.

And at last, I have is risk-taking abilities. This complete tablet was only completed by me compounding tasks one by one upon each other. So I came home one day with a wonderful piece of cardboard covered in newspaper. My plan was to color the newspaper with tissue paper and water. I soon learned that newspaper + water = a no-no. I saw that the paper absorbed so much water that it couldn't hold the pigment. I panicked for about five minutes, but then I had a brilliant idea: "Of course! I'll just take some printer paper and some scissors and cut it into A MILLION TINY RHOMBOIDS AND PASTE THEM IN OVERLY INTRICATE LAYERS OF PATTERS OVER THE PLACES I WANT TO COLOR. Several hours of cutting and pasting the evil shapes ensued. When I was finally finished, I let out a sigh of relief. I also burned the remaining diamonds, but that's not important. What was important was coloring this paper.  That wasn't necessarily a risk, but a soon learned that tissue paper + a layer of glue = absolutely nothing. The pigment refused to even touch the layer of glue, let alone absorb into the paper under it. But I'd gone through all this effort to color the paper, so I was determined. I scratched through most of the layer of glue with my fingernails over the next hour; I had managed to remove about 60% of it. I began to color the paper regardless of the spots that I missed and I found that the patches of glue assembled in to the splotches that lacked any color. Believe it or not, I actually created an equation I used to color through these splotches: 15n = g, where n is the number of sheets of tissue paper it takes to color a non-gluey area and g is the number of sheets of tissue paper it takes to color a gluey area. Even using the equation however, several of the splotches refused to be colored. I ended up just painting over them, which brings me to my next point; painting. The first thing I painted was the colorful orbs on either side of the tablet. The only risk here was that I had no prior planning whatsoever and totally winged it. And as with most of the things that I totally wing, this ended up being my favorite part. Next, I added the animals decorating the longer sides. The phoenix was wonderful to paint and turned out rather nicely, but I was concerned that the dragon would to fit in with the rest of the painting. I thought the green, a color only present in the dragon, would look out of place. But it was the only color that fit with the rest of the dragon which I had already painted, and I couldn't exactly remove the dragon at this point. It looks alright, I think. Perhaps something blue would have turned out better. The final thing I did was write all of the words/the spell in ink. I did quite a bit of googling for this one, as I unfortunately am not fluent in Anglo-Saxon. But Anglo-Saxon was not my only idea for the language of the spell. My original thought was Akkadian (which amusingly spell-checks into 'Canadian'), which was too much work because the Akkadian language is apparently made by insane desert people with styli. One needs only to look at their cuneiform to be discouraged from writing their cuneiform. I also tested on another sheet of paper Tibetan, Chinese, Elvish, Hebrew, Persian, Latin, Minoan, old Gaelic, some languages that I made up, and some others. The result ended up being Anglo-Saxon interlaced with runes interlaced with a sentence from one of my own languages (The circle-thing at the top is, indeed, a sentence from a language I designed when I was supposed to be taking notes for American History). It was a risk even putting the words in at all, as I was afraid the ink might not mix with the rest of the painting or that it was unnecessary to begin with, but again, I think it turned out well.

And here I leave, hands stained with ink and covered with glue, mind weary from so many innovative ideas,
and burned to the ground from the fire in my heart which ignited when glue pigment collided (or rather, didn't) with glue. My only wish is that the Tablet's next heir is more prepared than I. Perhaps I shall keep it for an eternity, then. Or perhaps it has alternate plans.

Monday, June 2, 2014

I call it "Fort under siege"

Work in progress
Work in art room

Work in workplace
   Sometimes I like to transfer my more ingenious ideas onto an illustration. This time, that idea was "Woah, if there was a giant thumbtack crashing into the roof of some sort of military base, it would be a base under a tack. Heh." and then I high-fived myself.

As far as artistic ideas go, I went with one of my old classics: taking risks. Here's the thing: the extent of my reasonably realistic looking paintings before I started this project was this tree and only this tree. I daresay that by painting at all I was taking a risk. But as if that isn't risky enough to satisfy any extreme sadistic art preferences, there were also several features of the painting that were risky. For one, the shadows. It is somewhat apparent that I struggled with them. I have concluded that the best course of action regarding this is to only draw on a quantum scale, where photons can tunnel through solid objects or exist in a particle-wave duality. My next painting will be of a carbon atom; it will symbolize life. Believe it or not, I already have a series of paintings of various atoms, but they are life-sized; that's the series's gimmick, you see. Anyway, the next challenge was probably the sky, which at first I thought would be simple. It's just a sky, after all. I've painted plenty of oxygen and nitrogen atoms before. But then I decided to make it all dramatic and orange and lighting foiled me again. I eventually just covered the rather jarring transition between yellow-green and blue with smoke trails and thumbtacks, which is a sentence I say every day. It also brings me to my third challenge: smoke trails. Honestly, I don't have a good idea of what smoke trails looked like. So I just sort of went with it and they turned out wonderfully. Smoking, even. The last issue I had was time. Now, I usually take a while to make art, and I don't think there has been a project so far that I haven't taken home to finish, but this painting was quite a stretch. I probably spent at least ten hours at my house slaving over a hot palette to bring this painting into creation. I have created a term to describe the feelings this ordeal produced within me: Imagopollexaclavumophobia, or the fear of creating pictures of thumbtacks. This is quite an unfortunate condition to have, especially because I see thumbtacks when I close my eyes. Every time I blink I have a small panic attack. Was it worth it? I ask myself when as a lay in my bed with my lights on, scared I may fall asleep and have my mind synthesize monstrous images of thumbtacks within my dreams. All the things I've seen during this project, the terrors I have survived. Am I better because of it? Perhaps, perhaps not. Alas, I may never know. And as I stare at the ceiling, thinking happy thoughts to mask the evil, multicolored, and somewhat sharp parts of my mind, I understand why so many have strayed from the path of creating images of thumbtacks. It is no easy road. Also, I nearly forgot one more risk I took: this is the first painting on which I painted a fancy signature on. Cursive is hard.

And another classic I used was creating original art. One thing I like doing in my art is putting a lot of cool things in them. Sunsets are cool. Mountains are cool. Airstrikes are cool. Smoke is cool most of the time. Military bases can be cool depending on whose military they belong to. My views of the coolness of thumbtacks has been distorted by my experiences with them. So I added all of these things onto the canvas and a cool painting emerged. I know this may seem radically uncanny, but the word "composition" never entered my mind in the two or three weeks it took me to make this painting. But hey, it's original, because everybody perceives coolness differently (unless it is my painting, which is universally cool). In fact, it's the best painting of a thumbtack airstrike on a military base in snowy mountains at a sunset that I've ever seen.

The last skill I used was a new one: developing art making skills. That's right, not just any skills, but skills that make art. The skills I used most were: Fine motor skills, ocular skills (unfortunately, this one doesn't positively develop much), pun synthesis skills, paint mixing skills, paint peeling skills, paint pouring skills, paint critical thinking skills, paint analyzing skills, paint reading comprehension skills, paint writing skills, and paint application skills. Indeed, I am well prepared for my painting exam. I developed particularly the skills that involved paint. Believe it or not, I did not bother to develop these skills prior to beginning my painting, but they mostly evolved during the painting itself. At the beginning, the paint was rather clunky and difficult to use. At the end of the painting, however, when the smell of acrylic paint was embedded in my nose and my sanity was at its lowest point, I felt like a relatively masterful painter; here I was, galavanting through the fields of paint and smoke trails, spitting out unto my subjects the most beautiful thumbtack mortal eyes have ever seen. I then collapsed, twitching, as I had not eaten or slept in days. Thumbtack is love, thumbtack is life. Then I died, but life is weird like that sometimes.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I drew a cephalopod again

So, one day, I was sitting in my room, thinking "You know, I suffering from a distinct lack of cephalopods in my life." Then this happened:

Now, I know what you're asking yourself. It is the obvious question: "How did the artist challenge himself and explore new techniques and experiment with ideas while he was drawing his cephalopod?" I ask myself this question every day. The answer is that by simply making this drawing I was challenging myself. Frankly, I didn't even know my colored pencils could blend into each other before this project. Since this particular cephalopod is displaying a wide range of colors, I had to do that a lot. Also, can we talk about how cephalopods are just such a surreal experience to draw? I mean, if evolution was an abstract artist, cephalopods would be its masterpiece. Why does it have a fancy ornament on its head? Because it's a cephalopod. Why does it have that weird black pattern around its eyes? Because it's a cephalopod. Honey, where are the kids? Oh, the cephalopods took them again, darling. Those rascals.

Work in Progress
The legendary goggle squid
Now the next thing to think would be "After having traveled into such uncharted territory, how did you cope? Most people would have gone insane! How did you create solutions?" The answer to this one is that I was already insane; only insane people draw cephalopods, this should be common knowledge. The insane state of mind I had while drawing the creature was as follows: "You know, I'll just draw this here because that might look good. If it doesn't, then it only looks like that because it's a cephalopod and cephalopods are weird." This idea served me well in the end, because I cannot find a place where my experimentation backfired. In this case, my woes were not solved by planning, but by following my primitive cephalopod-drawing instincts.

And finally, the most prominent thought in your head is probably "Wow, you are really bad at drawing octopi." Well, you are wrong. I am the best octopi-drawer that I know. But that is irrelevant, because this cephalopod is not an octopus. It is an original cephalopod that I made with my mind so I could develop a truly original cephalopod drawing. Naturally, I had to make the idea believable, so I spent a while developing a cephalopod. And right now I'll give it a name, too, because I am really sick of writing the word "cephalopod". So, I imagine that this species would have deviated from other cephalopods in the Cephalopoda subclass of Neocoleoidea, creating the order Polypodiformes, family Humusomoenia, genus Reprobaformus, and species Spectaculums, making its scientific name Reprobaformus spectaculums (in Latin: Shapeshifting goggle monster), which isn't much better than the classic "Cephalopod," so people just call the species "goggle squids" even though they are not actually squids. See? Originality. Anyway, the goggle squid, as most cephalopods do, has superpowers. It can change the scales that cover its body into any color, and it can use its one hundred or so tentacles to mimic other animals and move really fast. It has evolved two false eyes on its four dorsal tentacles, that can wrap around its face and scare predators away. It can use the dimly glowing ornament on the top of its head to attract prey, though often the creatures live in environments not dark enough for it to stand out. Instead, they use pursuit predation to catch most of their prey. The goggle squid's skin secretes a lethal poison that that will kill most of the prey they touch, at which point they will just wait for it to die then mosey over to eat it. The spikes on the end of its arms are only for defense against hard-skinned fish. In the 1970s, a Russian scientist attempted to domesticate this species, but he accidentally poked it and died. The goggle squid then escaped by taking the form of a human and living among society. The particular goggle squid is known to most as Vladimir Putin.

And so ends the tale of the genesis of the Reprobaformus spectaculums, the goggle squid, the cephalapod, the Vladmir Putin. And what a learning experience it was.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

In which I draw tools for cavity-constructing

The pictures you see above of sugar in both solid and liquid forms are the result of me using things that aren't non-colored drawing pencils for once. Really, I use them all the time. It's gotten to the point where I've stopped bringing regular pencils to school because I could just whip out my HB or B pencil to achieve the exact same effect.

The first medium I used was a reunion with an old friend: oil pastels. Only when I started using them did I remember that they weren't my friend at all, but just people from my fondly remembered past that I only consider friends upon recollection. They're actually a bunch of little jerks. They get all over my hands (and everything else within a meter radius it seems), they are generally broken in half, and most of all, they are too dull on their ends for me to see where I'm coloring. I just can't maintain a friendship with them; they're too unpredictable. I might think that I'm coloring lightly in one place but end up coloring super intensely in another place. And before this starts sounding too much like a Taylor Swift song, I digress.

The next medium was chalk pastels, which I thought where pretty great. They had all the good qualities of oil pastels without all of the hassle. Unfortunately, they were located in a shelf, in a box and had to be picked out one by one by sifting through trays of one million other colors of chalk pastels. It was simple logistics that kept me from using this medium.

The third (but second in the chronology of my drawings) was colored pencils. They are so simple, but so wonderful. I imagine that one day there was some ancient Greek philosopher who was looking at his boring ordinary drawing pencils and decided that they would be a much better allegory for the universe if they were in color. And thus the genesis of colored pencils occurred. They are so easy to handle, unlike the preceding mediums. They are colorful, as the name implies. And most importantly, they can be sharpened if they get too dull. Ahh, what rapture.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Consider the Following

Well well well. It's been a while. How are you doing, art blog?

YOU... you left me here to die... I waited for a year, but you never returned...

I appreciate you ever-insightful input, art blog. But we shan't dwell on reintroductions for too long. I have a project to explain through comedy of a range of brows.

I'm starving...

Moving rapidly on, my first art project in this class was to draw science. Naturally, such a simple concept wouldn't satiate my endless artistic hunger, so I did not only draw science, but I drew the manifestation of all things science, the science king, but above all of these things, the Science Guy.

Work in progress photo: Workiness is evident by the sheer amount of art supplies lying around

The King in his full glory

Of course, if you know anything about science, Bill Nye should be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think "Scientific". He ranked on the top of my list of scientific things, right up there with "zombie kittens" and "dinosaurs" and "rocks" and "ghost busters". None of these things stood a chance. Let's be honest, I knew from the beginning that Bill Nye the Sometimes Wry Fly Bowtie and Science Guy was what I was going to draw.

In between deeply contemplating how to fit a summation of Bill Nye's ever-glorious character onto a single page, I was vaguely aware of drawing shapes with implements that were pretty much pencils but not quite, like charcoal pencils. Charcoal pencils, instead of using graphite to draw, use burned dinosaurs. We also used pens, which are magical implements that use black magic to stain paper until the end of time (Really, imagine if the declaration of independence was written in pencil. The pencil would have smeared off as soon as Nicholas Cage took it out of it's display case). This is the same black magic that, if used by an inexperienced sorcerer, can the the three pages below it stained with the shadow of it's inscription. Using these implements intimidated me and caused me to retreat back into my comfort zone, which is the pencil equivalent of a ball pit. Though, even my comfort zone hurts me sometimes. Most of the pencils in the pencil pit are sharpened, so I imagine you can see the design flaw. Alas, I stayed there (Not because I had crippling lead poisoning, but just because I prefer pencils).

I showed contrast by suspending Bill Nye between the realm of Light and the realm of Darkness. He exists in the middle of the two. He is everything, but he is also nothing. He can be found in every direction, spatial or temporal. He has always been there, but should you look for him, you will not find him, and believe that he is nowhere. He is the universe. Nay, he is all universes. Also his body is lighter on one side and darker on the other, and all of the wrinkles have a light area and a dark area, etc.

In line with the theme of this project, I used complex science to create this piece. You see, the chemical reaction that occurs between the graphite of a pencil and whatever eternally mysterious element paper is made of creates a product of paper with graphite on it. This works because graphite is made of layers of hexagonally organized carbon atoms called a graphene layer. Paper really loves hexagons made of carbon so it takes the graphene layers and wears them as a fashion statement. I used this relationship to manipulate the paper into making a picture of Bill Nye on itself. Whenever I told the paper about this, to make sure it couldn't discover my real intentions, I used the code name of "Shading" which is kind of a menacing sounding codename and honestly I'm surprised that the paper wasn't suspicious. Shading, as I had explained it, was the technique of rubbing more graphene layers on one area and then gradually rubbing not so much on adjacent areas (Or, more specifically, to "put more graphene on some places for maximum stylishness"). Shading, of course, wouldn't have worked with pens because they don't use graphite and therefore cannot be fabulous (as far as shading goes, that is; no offense to pens).

I took a major risk by making the sleeves and bowtie have wrinkles. I wear wrinkled sleeves all the time, you know, and by virtue of that I often look at wrinkled sleeves, but even with all this experience I couldn't hold in my mind a stable image of what one looked like. So I did what any sane person would do; I traveled to the Tibetan Plateau and sought guidance from the monks that lived there. "How do I remember what wrinkled sleeves look like?" to which Grand Master Choden (We go way back) told me: "To understand the image of the wrinkled sleeve, you must find the wrinkled sleeve within yourself." So, in the monastery's courtyard, I meditated on my inner wrinkled sleeve until I became united with it in my mind, and I came back, and projected it onto my paper. It turned out alright. They were much easier to pull off than I had expected, I just had to plan it out a bit.
*It was also during this time that I got sick with some vicious malady and crawled around on the street trying to make dolphin noises, wondered about the plurals of words, died, etc., etc. In true Art tradition, it seems.

Overall, I think this is probably the best drawing of Bill Nye the Science Guy that I've ever seen. I always appreciate a good, old-fashioned pencil drawing of Bill Nye the Science Guy, but this one is the best. Under the "Good times list" (A list that I have been compiling for several years so I can read it when I'm old and remember that I wasn't always old but, hey, at least I can still read) I will add "Drawing Bill Nye in art class for the first time" because I assume this will happen again, because it was just such a splendid experience.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ballad of the Mongeese

This unit's assignment was to create an ink print of some sort of wildlife. I pondered on creating a print of the Shoggoth, but decided something in the Lovecraftian realm would have to many complex textures. So instead, I made a small legion of mongeese:

(Reference Photo)

As you can see, I was going for photorealism.

I noticed early on that many people were also doing this creature for their projects - or something almost identical, the 'mongoise' - so I took a risky decision and made it a baby mongoose, to add originality. Don't let its large head and eyes deceive you, however; this here's a battle mongoose. It may not be apparent at first, but on closer inspection you can see that the scar tissue between its plates give the illusion that large sections of its armor is barely connected as if they were splotches of ink, as well as the gash on its chin, no doubt the result of a gruesome battle with some metallic, wedge-headed serpent.

**Fun fact: Another distinctive feature of the battle mongoose is its color patterns - similar to that of a great white shark, it has a darker colors on top of it's body, so it blends in with the dark waters below when seen from above, and lighter colors on the bottom so it can blend in with the lighter water above when viewed from below. However, most battle mongeese will swim upside-down, standing out from all angles. This is an even more effective defense mechanism in the wilderness, as then it is not confused with the puny great white shark, but something several orders of magnitude deadlier. Generally, the passage of a battle mongoose through some of the more populated waters is accompanied by hushed whispers of one fish to another: "Hey, is that a battle mongoose?" to which the other fish would reply, "Yeah, let's not mess with that guy."

This valiant warrior mongoose has has ambitions, visible by the death glare it is giving the creature that inhabits the plastic bottle in front of it. This ocean litter is both a statement about pollution and a metaphor for the ultimate goal of every mongoose: become a moongoose, navigating through vast spans of space with a roughly bottle-shaped vessel. Deeper meanings are left to the viewer to unveil.

I crafted this battle mongoose from linoleum with nothing but the power of my mind, which manipulated devices called 'limbs' into clutching tools and moving them in such a way that they carved away the linoleum, leaving only the image of the mongoose in their wake. It was a grueling task, of course, scratching away the material through sheer will, focusing my mental power on the narrow spaces between the plates. But my concentration was still intact at the week's end, though I had to rest it back to its former glory before I could write this post, and even now, I can hear the sticky sound brought about by rolling ink on a brayer ringing in my ears. From this experience, I can deduce an important life message: some cuts are not deep enough, and can become so over-encumbered that they can no longer be seen.

Sometimes, I lay awake at night, wondering, "Could the battle mongoose's struggle to attain its dream of becoming a moon-goose really just be a symbol for my struggle to create battle mongeese?" and I can't help but think that I have been up far too long pondering these things and should really go to sleep before further psychosis begin to develop.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lily the Blood-Curdling, Bone-Chilling, Brain-Consuming Pancake

Have you ever thought, "Wouldn't it be interesting if pancakes were vicious terrifying demon-spawn that were baying for your blood?"

Well, if so, meet Lily, which is essentially that. Unfortunately, I am still unable to answer that question because Lily is an illusion. She was fabricated, you see. And not by a chef, but by me, using photoshop, which as you know, is made primarily out of magic.

Following instructions on a video, I was able to make a basic template for Lily, which was only her mouth. This went quite smoothly, but I later decided it wasn't enough. I added some more teeth, in case she needed spares. But then I was hit by a huge problem: she didn't look very happy. For this, I magically warped her mouth so she would be happy forever. And I imagine she is happy on the inside as well, because her mouth is no longer a massive division around her entire face.

However, I believe the mouth not coming from such a division may have detracted from the illusion of realism. Similarly, I believe a mouth existing as an anatomical feature of a pancake detracts from the illusion of realism, so I'm not too saddened by it. And, by the looks of it, neither is Lily.