shadesofmauve: (Shades Of Mauve)
At my annual review my boss gave me permission to practice figure drawing for 15 minutes a day as 'professional development', since we never get any training opportunities back here in design land*.

I haven't actually managed it every work day, but it's still better than I had been getting. I'm saving jpgs of all the sketch pages so I can look back at 'em later.

Today I cheated and took a full half hour, though:



The really funny thing is that it took me about two weeks of this before it occurred to me that I was looking at nekkid people pictures at work.

*Technically HR is supposed to pay for any training opportunities if we go out and find them, but there aren't any classes in town that would really add to my level of CS knowledge, the time we tried to organize a trip to Seattle for an official Adobe workshop HR dropped the ball on our registration, and I've been begging for a Lynda.com membership for YEARS. So: No professional development.
shadesofmauve: (Lert)
Chicken festival and game nights.

Skeeetches. )
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Towards the end of January I went up to Vancouver to visit my friend B. She was busy Friday, so on a whim I spent pretty much the whole day hanging out at the Vancouver Aquarium with my sketchbook*. My much-belated new year's card is going to be a beluga, so I spent most of the time with them.



When I was a kid we lived in Tacoma, and the three belugas were my absolutely favorite thing at the Point Defiance Zoo. In retrospect I guess we spent quite a lot of time at the zoo; at least, that would help explain why there are so many things about animals I assume are common knowledge but are totoally new information to others**.

The first "C'mon people, really?" moment was while I was drawing in the under-water viewing area. A whale relieved itself; cue the entire room going "Ewwww!" Kids of a certain age'd be one thing, but even the adults were saying "Wow, it lives in that water! That's gross! It could, like, drink it!"

With great self control, I did not throw my pencil to the ground, leap on the bench, and shout "What'd you expect it to do, hop out, grab a towel, and use the pool-side potty? IT'S A FUCKING WHALE."

Never let anyone tell you that I have poor self control. I have excellent self control -- and I am using it all.

After a break for some salty poutine because it's not just a crappy zoo food stand; it's a crappy zoo food stand in Canada!, I watched the seals for awhile and then checked out the rehab tank. There was an awesome Harbor Porpoise there who'd been stranded, and she really like to bounce around right in front of the viewing glass, so I hung out sketchin' for quite awhile. Long enough to see a lot of people walk straight past the "This is a porpoise!" sign and say "Honey, look at the dolphin!"

Okay, I told my inner pedant, they're closely related. You may correct them nicely if they are children, otherwise, sit and play nicely with your sketchbook. So far, so good.

Then a biggish group of adults came into the room, talking loudly. Wonder of wonders, someone read the sign that said 'porpoise!' The inner pedant heaved a sigh of relief at this proof that the entire world was not illiterate. Poor inner pedant; it had no idea how disappointed it would soon be: a woman asked, reasonably, what the difference was between a porpoise and a dolphin, and a guy in the middle of the group loudly started explaining that "Well, dolphins are mammals, like whales, but, uh... porpoises are fish."

The inner pedant was stunned into silence -- but not so the porpoise! She valiantly swam back and forth in front of the ignorant humans. She rolled, as if to say "See my blowhole? This is where I breathe the AIR!" Up for more air, then back for "Here is my belly! You can see the slit for GIVING BIRTH TO LIVE YOUNG."

Head. Meet desk your sketchbook, on the cold unforgiving bench of the Vancouver Aquarium.

*And then I walked back from Stanley park all the way to waterfront station. Oof. The lovely evening view of Canada Place made watching said landmark get destroyed by Reapers in the ME3 demo even more exciting, though.

**When I was seven that Baby Beluga song drove me nuts. Stupid Rafi -- doesn't he know baby belugas are GRAY, not white? C'mon!
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Aaand here's a little colored comic-me:



I started the sketch with light blue, and then each time I wanted to refine it or change something I used a darker and redder color so it would stick out (yes, I take the shotgun approach to sketches -- the right line is in there somewhere, I swear!). By the time I got to dark red/purple it was a sketch I liked, and I just went with variants on that for shading.

...and THEN I realised that I was fast approaching mauve, which happens to relate to the screenname I picked for fandom schtuffs, so I left it.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I have a so-far unused deviant art account that didn't have an avatar picture, so, since I didn't get much traditional sketching done this week*, I drew a me for it.



I don't think I've drawn comic-me since college or shortly thereafter. Not much has changed -- my hair's in a bun more often. If I refine it I might add mitts, since the reynaud's thing is kind of a big deal, and make the pencils stuck in the bun more obvious (My bun is usually held up with only one stick, but it is still a handy place to stash extra pencils. Or would be, if I didn't promptly forget about them).

I'm not sure I'll keep the pointy ears. They were a random addition in college because I was struggling with whether or not to draw my limb-length discrepency. I decided not to, on the basis that it would just confuse people or make them think I'd screwed up the drawing, and then figured, heck, if I can zap away defining features in my comic-me, I could add things, too. Also that one kid in middle school told me I had pointy elf-ears once.

EDIT: I forgot the most important thing! I sketched it straight onto the computer! And I think I'm going to spend the money from the painting commission on a tablet (extra incentive to start the darned thing).

*Well, I drew a motorcycle. It made my cycling buddy freak the hell out, because she was sitting next to me at the D&D table while I drew it and she thought I'd gone over to the darkside.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Well, I cheated again -- the only real new sketch this week was from life, at a Randal Bays concert at traditions. The concert was marvelous for many reasons, but the sketch isn't, particularly:

Randal Bays sketch and snuggle-sketch progress )

Not cut or flocked to the sketch filter because everyone should listen to Randal play:

shadesofmauve: (Default)
Okay! After having a wide-variety of things pointed out to me, and spending an hour last night with my tired-but-mostly-biddable sweetheart, I've some different options for how to have the guy sit.

Investigate, vote, critique, shake head in pity )

Working this out with Erik last night was a wonderfull lesson in how Different Bodies are Different.

I know, I know, you'd think I'd have figured that out already -- after all, it didn't take me that long to figure out that most people have legs of roughly the same length and ten toes -- but it's worth a reminder, especially when it comes to odd things we don't normally notice, like hip rotation. If E sits with his legs out in front of him, his toes want to turn out. Mine are happy pointing up (I tried to ask about this with regard to knees, but he was exhausted and not really understanding and started to seriously over-splain something about guys and scrotal pressure, which was, er, not what I was asking about at all).
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I'm close to done with the sketch I've posted process pictures of, and I want to be damn sure of the anatomy before I start playing with digital coloring/shading processes*. Any and all feedback is welcome!

Even something as vague as "something bothers me about the left arm" can be really helpful, so don't be shy just because you're not an art/drawing person.

critique, please! )
shadesofmauve: (Lert)
My sleep schedule is totally and completely borked. On saturday I slept for over ten hours and still had big coon circles under my eyes, then I spent all day doing active work in the yarden, which in any sane universe would mean I slept like the dead. BUT NO! The dead were restless! So I stayed up past midnight making a character in Oblivion because Skellington plays games late zomg, and then when my contacts were trying to peel out of my eyes I went to bed and still didn't sleep.

SO! I have had five hours of sleep, a triple-shot latte, and a nigh-inexplicable euphoric obsession with argonians, the race I chose for my new character in Oblivion.

Why, you ask?

BECAUSE THEY ARE GENDER-SWAPPING AMPHIBI-LIZARDS, THAT'S WHY.

Well, technically Lore says they change sex as part of life phases, like some fish do, so the term is 'sequential hermaphrodism', and I totally should have said 'sex', not 'gender,' but "sex-swapping' sounds way more like a particularly risky-life-style choice than a life-phase thing.

Anyway. The actual appearance of The Awesome Race of Awesome does not please me, so I drew them while I waited at my shoe-appointment today. Apparently they're supposed to be all lizard-y, but they come from the marsh and breathe under water and also I LIKE SALAMANDERS OKAY so I tried to make a humanamander. A Salamanaman. Amphihumibean. Thing.


They do not look like Bethesda's argonians. Bethesda's argonians have boobs. Fuck that noise.

Last night I was totally going to write something thought-provoking about the strong and weak points of Bethesda and Bioware games and how I love to run around Bethesda games for the first few days until I have more money than god and can slaughter the world, but all of my critical thought processes have devolved into I AM A SEQUENTIALLY-HERMAPHRODITIC ALBINO AMPHIBI-LIZARD WITH MAGIC, Y'ALL.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I was down in southern Oregon the first week of October visiting the grandparents, and we went to see Great Minds Unplugged, an awesome accoustic rock cover band which just happens to consist of my third cousin and my second cousin once removed (I think? Dad's cousin, anyway).



This is the kind of drawing I do a fair bit of (musicians from life). I normally I wouldn't even count it as part of the challenge, but I tried to pay more attention to on-the-fly composition, which ties in nicely with my practice with multiple figures.

Bonus You-Can'-Take-Me-Anywhere Moment: Midway through the set, Matt put on his capo and said "Well, now I have my strap on..." and I said "But it makes it SHORTER!" because the opening was just so bloody obvious. (Did I mention we were at the concert with my parents and grandparents?) After he got done chiding me for my gutter mind (and Grandma stopped hammily pretending she was totally innocent and had NO IDEA what we were talking about), Chris, who's about my age, choked out "I love my family!"

This isn't locked to just the opt-in sketches filter because I want everyone to know how cool GMU is. I'm related to awesome people of awesomeness. Check out the videos on their site. If nothing else, you've probably never heard classic rock covers done with cajon and melodica before.
shadesofmauve: (baby)
My schedule is insane, and will remain so until October 8th, but in the odd moment here and there I've played with the sketch I posted here, and I cajoled a very tired Erik into posing for reference last night (hooray for pliable significant others), so...

Be amazed by my anatomical disasters! Be bored by my stunningly slow progress! )

In other arts news:

I'm involved in a little Quebcois demo gig at the FiddleFest (we're the Quebequackers and we start at 8:30), which is the best part of fall artswalk. (Sorry, Erik, I know you're playing that night too, but my gig is more fun). We just had the second rehearsal, and It was great, though if my old orchestra teacher knew that *I* was the go-to person for upper position work in this bunch, he'd be spinning in his grave. And he's not dead.

Pinniped is playing a very tiny gig as the opener for the Shelton Timberland Library grand-opening tomorrow, which is made a tad more intense since we're all going to Oregon at various shades of early the next morning (visiting my grandparents).

In totally non-arts news...

I have a pile of SHIT!

For reals. Great Western Supply refused to sell me compost -- apparently someone's cornered the compost supply for their construction project? -- and so with Nancy-from-work's help I picked up a yard of dark bark/manure mix for the yarden instead. Nancy-from-work is also Nancy-plays-freaking-polo, so her truck is built to haul ass. Now I have a steaming dark pile in my front yard. It makes me happy, though not as happy as the organic compost would have.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I'm staying at work a bit late tonight to play with the tablet, working on the sketch I posted yesterday. The big thing to figure out is where the guy's legs go, and, me being me, the easiest way to figure these things out seems to be to *do* them.

I'm glad my coworkers aren't here to see me repeatedly posing myself on the floor of my cubicle.

ADDENDUM: the cat-enforced stillness the other night is probably a big part of why I had such trouble with the original sketches.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I actually drew this week!

For some reason my writin' beta and I started discussing Mass Effect characters and hats, and we both immediatly pictured Thane as the sort who sports a fedora. So. Lizard alien assasin. With a fedora.



But, you say, that's not very creative at all! It's just a character you copied from screenshots and a hat! Right you are! So the next bit is still someone else's IP (thanks, D&D), but I drew it from a verbal description.



The DM has informed me that it is a 'chuul' and I shall please stop calling it The Lobsterpus.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Despite minor illness and out-of-state travel, I do have sketches this week. They're thumbnails for a comission.

I drew these on the plane to L.A., and discovered that it's really, really hard not to make sheep noises while I'm drawing them.



(it's also really hard not to draw helmets).
shadesofmauve: (Default)
It was a week of hats!

For some reason, several of my practice-people demanded fedoras, so I gave them all fedoras. To be fair.




Most of these were drawn during game night. The tiny guy flying backwards into the pillar was a skeleton Maeve turned with particularly enjoyable results.

Then there was a Mass Effect sketch, where EDI got a hat.



(It's hung over her holographic projection using fishing line, in case you're wondering).

On the writing front, this week's chapter of the oh-lord-did-I-just-admit-to-writing-fic was all action, which is totally out of my comfort zone. I have the feeling that I either blew it or hit it out of the park, and I'm leaning towards the latter.

I may have leveled up as a writer. I wonder if I can spend my skill points on plot?

I was going to say that writing was the one thing I made last week which did not involve hats, and then I remembered that a helmet was actually a key plot point. HAT WEEK CONFIRMED.

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