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.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I've run out of foot puns

In this project, I was supposed to take an 'expressive photo', turn it into a gradient thingy on the the computer, then turn the computer gradient thingy into a spray paint gradient thingy, and it turned out like this:

(Reference picture added to avoid confusing the spray paint picture with a bird)

I chose this picture to recreate as a spray paint gradient thingy because I felt like there was an empty void in my collection of art projects that could only be filled be people getting hit in the face with soccer balls. This was an appropriate oppurtunity, I felt, to address it.

That was the first step in the overall project; but as with all my projects, there was not yet enough internal and external strife to prove it worthy of completion:

Next, I went back to the art room with print-out gradient thingy. I was still working on my last project, drawing a chinchilla. While I was doing this, everybody suddenly crowded around the projectors they used to trace their stencils. Even after I finish drawing my chinchilla, everybody is still occupying the projector. Having nothing to do, I read for several days. Eventually I get a chance on the projector and trace my stencils.

Afterwards, I began cutting out my stencils. About half way through I realize that one stencil I made was completely redundant and sacrificed it to the stencil gods.

After sacrificing and maiming the poster board with an exactoknife, I paint a piece of cardboard burgundy. I procrastinate for a bit, then I spray paint the yellow layer on first.

The next day, though, I am infected with a plague similar to the one detailed in my first blog post. I went through similar stages of philosophical introspection regarding grammar and the making of dolphin noises. In the end, I die briefly, but life's weird like that sometimes. After the gruesome journey, I come back and finish spray painting. The product of the whole shebang is the topmost picture shown (unless you are reading this blog upside down or sideways) above. 

The first thing that I noticed was how unexpectedly dark the blue spray paint dried like. The contrast it adds makes it look a bit odd, but I'm not bothered by it too much. The color, distracted me for a moment of the giant mutant blob in the bottom right corner, just under the soccer ball. It was very out of place, and didn't even really look like an arm. It took me looking at my own reference picture to find out that it was somebody's elbow photobombing the picture. But in my mind, I would justify the existence of the blob by saying that it is the trail of flames left by the ball as it flew so fast toward this poor lad's face that it ignited the air.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Great Things are Afoot

What did the shoe say to the hat?

 Foot note: This shoe drawing is a foot long.

"You go on ahead, and I'll follow on foot."

Anyway, about a month ago, my art class was occupying itself with contour drawing. The assignment above was our project for the unit, to make a contour line drawing of a shoe. As you may guess, this was no easy feet.

The drawing is, certainly, recognizable as my own shoe, but it still does not contain all of the characterizing feetures of my actual shoes; the holes near the sides that go straight through the shoe, the scratches, gashes, dirt, etc. Indeed, my real shoe may be on its last leg.

I've got to hand it to myself, though, it's a lot more realistic than the contour hand drawing I was doing earlier. In those, I could hardly handle constructing five fingers; it was a bit out of hand. Hands down, however, all of the practice with contour drawings eventually made me get a grip on the whole concept, I learned it's not that difficult to grasp. I give myself a hand for this one.

There is one thing I want to point out, however: the laces. They're a bit wound up there, but it's for a reason. It's a bit of a tradition for me to tie my shoelaces in ridiculous patterns, and there is a story behind it.

You see, back in 2010, during April fools day, I was watching my step at school, as everybody was. Trying to avoid being tread on by other peoples' tricks. I didn't last very long, though, as I've always been a bit gullible, I was defeeted by somebody telling me my shoes were untied when they weren't.

Next year, April fools day 2011, I was still kicking. But I was still quite laced up from last year, and had created, after some sole-searching, a brilliant plan. I tied my shoes in the most ridiculous way, a way that could not possibly come undone in the next several days; a Gordian knot to boot.

When I went to school that day, I inevitably ran into the person that had so callously waded up to me and told me my shoes were untied last year. This year, again, she could not hold her tongue and told me the same thing: "Hey, your shoes are untied."

I grinned, and without even looking down, replied, "No, they're knot."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

BREAKING: First Fruits on Pluto

(From left to right: Astronaut Samantha Lawrence the apple, Doug Clark the Kiwi, Charon)

On Friday afternoon, in Art class, while the other students where contently drawing pictures of pears and cones and grapes and whatnot on iPads in the library, I was guiding a mission to land the first fruits on Pluto.

After much sweating, teeth gritting, hand clenching and pen tapping, the fruits' vessel finally touched down. I withheld my clapping and cheering, however, because I was in a library.

The mission was not over yet; as astounding as the feat already was, there was still more to be done. You see, it was a special occasion. On the day of Friday, February 8th, was the fifth annual Things That Aren't Planets Convention, or TTAPCon. Annual meaning once every Plutonian year, that is; the last TTAPCon was about 250 Earth years ago.

The above picture was taken on the surface of Pluto, once Pluto's sister-moon, Charon, was in sight. The picture was the objective of the mission; it served as documentation of the historic event. It was released to the public hours ago, and already skeptics and conspiracy theorists are picking apart the picture for any and all evidence of fraudulence. More updates to follow.


During a video interview with the crew's camera, whom wishes to remain anonymous, it was admitted that this was not the actual photo of the astronauts on Pluto.

"Don't get me wrong, though, they were still on Pluto and stuff," the camera had said. "But I was out of memory from all the pictures the astronauts were taking of themselves making funny faces, so I had to draw a rough approximation of the scene on a tablet."

The rest of the interview the turned into a discussion of the camera's artistic talent:

You said earlier that you had used oil pastels to draw similar pictures in the past. How similar was that to drawing on a tablet?

Well, I found it somewhat limiting. The blending options were a bit wonky, in my opinion. You may notice in the picture that there are some abrupt changes in shading, and that is primarily why. It was also difficult to find the right colors. For the shading, I had to find a color lighter than the one I had been using. Sometimes my selections would end up being too pale or too much towards one side of the color spectrum. With oil pastels, there are only so many options for color.

What did you feel this picture accomplished?

For about eight days, the entire world was fooled that this was an actual photograph. I found it flattering that so many were fooled by my artistic ability, especially when all I had to work with was an iPad.

What did you learn from drawing the picture?

I learned that using styli is quite different from using fingers. Even though, being a camera, I have been known to use fingers as styli in the past.

How is technology important in art?

Technology is quite a broad term. To many, paper and pencils are technology. Perhaps, without technology, the highest form of art would be cave drawings. But then some might argue that sharp rocks are technology, which is debatable.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Regarding Various Evil Cats and Deadly Illnesses

A week or two ago, I was assigned my first project for my Art class, which was to draw a skeleton of a cartoon character. In addition to it being my first Art project, it was also the first Art project in which I contracted a sickness during the time it was due. It was a harrowing and gruesome plague; I ended up eating my own leg and crawling down the road, making abhorrent attempts at a dolphin noise at all the irritated drivers that stopped around me.

I struggled through those long, painful days of groggily wondering what the plural of esophagus was and what it would be like to have a third eye on your hand, barely making it out alive. And in celebration of my survival, and the one week anniversary of this post being due, I present to you my first blog post, first completed art project, and the first art project I finished while I was sick; ladies and gentlemen: Ebeneezer the cat!

(Disclaimer: Note that the use of the phrase "one week anniversary" is fallacious. The prefix "anni-" in "anniversary" means "year", also seen in words like "annual", the Latin "anno", and similarly in the Spanish "año" therefore using the word "anniversary" to describe anything other than a celebration of something that happened on a past year's corresponding date is an oxymoron. Such speech should not be used without the supervision of a professional bad speaker, or else one could risk prosecution by vocabulary elitists.)

There he is, the evil mastermind half of the cartoon "Two Lumps". I noticed about half way through that his skeleton was a bit realistic and I could have chosen something more interesting to draw the skeleton of. I vaguely remember pondering on the thought of doing the Pixar lamp. Alas, I figured that would have probably been cheating, and frankly, in my sick daze of dolphin noises and esophagi, I couldn't be bothered. Of course I blame my own cat anyway, who was watching over me sternly as I drew.

Other than that, however, I think he turned out great. It's hard to judge - seeing as I do not draw skeletons terribly often - how good I think this ranks among my other drawings, but I think I would give it 5/5 esophagi.