Tag Archives: landscape

I have a headache and now you can have one too

Alien world or weird filter? You be the judge.

Alien world or weird filter? You be the judge.

One of the hardest parts of drawing webcomics, for me, is the constant staring into the screen. My eyes, as I’ve written before, do not work all that well. They certainly don’t work like normal people’s eyes, and sometimes they betray me. Migraines, nausea, that sort of thing. When I was just writing 4 or 6 hours a day, it didn’t bother me, because I touch type, and by and large I don’t look at the monitor anyway, but I’m a much better typist than artist, and drawing a hand, or something like that, means squinting at the pixels and erasing and redrawing and shifting perspective, zooming in and out and erasing and redrawing again.

I’ve got a big analog project I want to tackle, which I will share when it’s ready, and tonight seems like a good time to start. No webcomic, no eye strain. There will be tiny scraps of fancy paper involved, but they won’t be backlit.

Instead, feel free to enjoy this weird portentous beach scene I painted about a year ago. My painting always looks pretty rough and experimental, because it is. I know nothing about painting. If I could afford it, I would take a class, at least something basic about technique, because I’d love to paint more, but it’s an incredibly expensive past time.

For that reason, I’ll probably be sticking to my Wacom tablet. You can have any size canvas, and any color paint, and it’s free.

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Painting with Thick Pixels

Quite a few digital artists whose work I admire post drawings in this sort of hasty style, comprised of thick brushstrokes, almost a modern kind of impressionism. At the Grand Canyon, I couldn’t help but think it might be easier to render all those strata of rock using a technique like this, but even with all the shortcuts I took, the Grand Canyon is not an easy thing to capture. 

Sorry I couldn't do you justice, majestic view. You're kind of close to being something like what I meant to draw.

Sorry I couldn’t do you justice, majestic view. You’re kind of close to being something like what I meant to draw.

I worked on this one for about three hours or so, then realized it was after midnight and I needed to upload it regardless, then realized that at some point in the process, I had completely ruined the bottom part of the sky, which I had been pretty pleased with to start. So then I tried to draw over it and fix it. Needless to say, the results were not as good. Ah, well.

Overall, it’s not a bad drawing. The Grand Canyon just has so many colors. Not to mention all the layers. And rocks. And trees. Perhaps I will attempt this technique with a less complicated image. 

 

Side Trip to a Big Hole

My traveling companion wanted to meet up with an old friend she hadn’t seen in 30 years. He works as a singing cowboy on the Grand Canyon Railroad and she is interviewing people about the intersection between art and culture. Normally, I wouldn’t spend that much time away from my desk on writing retreat, but this promised to be a special sojourn.

Singing cowboys for the win! The one on the right is my friend's friend, and he was very wonderful.

Singing cowboys for the win! The one on the right is my friend’s friend, and he was very wonderful.

My friend’s friend got us on the train for free, for which I was grateful. It’s a pricey experience, even at the lower levels of luxury, and the train takes about 3 times as long as it would to drive (135 minutes to go 65 miles). Since we were friends with the cowboy, we got some freebies and were able to hang out on the back of the caboose and watch the track peel away behind us, which I have wanted to do my entire life. (Yes, it was everything I envisioned.)

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No picture of the Grand Canyon does it justice, which basically makes my attempts to sketch it kind of futilely hilarious.

While my friend went off to reminisce about the old times and do some preliminary interviewing, I walked along the rim a bit and did a little writing and a lot of sketching. The problems with sketching the Grand Canyon are a) it’s huge, b) there’s a lot going on visually, and c) the shadows change every 15 seconds.

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Sorry about this reproduction. I very seriously considered bringing the scanner with me to Flagstaff. I would have used it! But I was afraid it would get hurt/broken.

The Grand Canyon is an impressionist’s fantasy. It’s all light and shadow. It was hard to render in pencil. When I did try to focus on the dark parts, the clouds kept moving, so the dark parts kept changing. I’m not dissatisfied with this attempt. If I had kept at it longer, I think it would have improved. The digital drawing tablet might have rendered better results, but the sun shone too brightly to really use the computer.

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The shadow knows…

After I got frustrated with the first sketch, I mailed some postcards to my nephews and sat down in a different place, thinking of focusing on a smaller section of the landscape. Before I started, I noticed that the tree above me cast some interesting shadows on the paper, and I decided to just draw the shadows, as an easier exercise. My sketch is not quite as awesome as the shadows were, plus you can see through to the next page. Oh, well.

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A few details

Then I decided to focus on one tiny canyon, which you can see in the middle, before getting distracted by some interesting trees. The trees are not bad for the time spent.

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Tiny details

Here I try a couple views of a squashed pine cone and a bit of pine that fell on the walkway. All in all, I’m really glad I went, but maybe I shouldn’t have walked so much. I could have gotten more accomplished.