Yes, I am back… again

Uncategorized

Okay, it’s been officially established that I suck at keeping this schedule, or at least I did until my schooling came to a slow close. I now have more time and less stress, and so my artistic pursuits will take a major uplift. I have, in fact, produced a few pieces while I was still in school, but not at any rate to sneeze at for that matter, nor of any quality that shows improvement. I was just using them to relax. Nevertheless I will post them and their tutorials if I have the necessary screenshots. Some should already been in my portfolio in the “My Work” section.

I’ve also made a bit of a schedule to keep on track.

Tuesday: Art-related posts

Thursday: Writing-related posts

The other categories will generally be posted on the weekends.

Now all of you people out there who only wish to follow one of the categories can look out for specific days.

Look out for next Tuesday, the official start of this schedule! I’ll be touching on character studies from both art and writing perspectives.

Stay sparky, stay weird
– AJ

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Alrighty. Time to introduce something

Uncategorized

Guess what? No seriously, guess. Because if you’ve already read the title, then your guess is probably right, so why not be right for once, huh?

I know, I know. Last time I introduced something it was a complete failure. But I’ve learned my lesson: I cannot for the life of me keep up with a daily blog post thing. Not. At. All.

So this new thing will basically run on a weekly-ish basis/ whenever I find time which I hope is weekly. Maybe Thursdays. No idea. Until the time when I am free from schooling, this blog will run in this sort of scattered fashion. So sorry. But I promise I’ll tidy it up a bit in 2017 sometime.

And now (because I know it’s killing you) the actual introduction. I’m going to do a “Back to the Basics” series in both writing and art for both beginners and advanced people. Why would and advanced artist or writer need a lesson on basics you ask? A lot of artists want to start off with perfection. They want masterpieces, complex formations, and beautiful scenes straight from their heads. And so they try so hard in weird abstract ways to do this without actually learning anything solid from it that they can carry onto other works. Yes, with experimentation you can learn some things, a lot of cool things that can make your style unique, and I’m not knocking this as a learning method. But you will have knowledge gaps- gaps you might never close because you never notice the pattern or even realize such a pattern could exist.I hope I can fill in some of those gaps and take your art to the next level.

The same thing goes for writing, except sometimes I think that people get the most basic and then the most advanced, if they’ve done their research. They completely miss the middle step from basic to advanced, leaving a different type of knowledge gap and their work seems to miss something, a type of personal flare. I hope to allow you to use the basic tools of writing to develop your own style and subsequently use advanced tools in your own unique taste.

So basically: It’s not going to be boring, and it will be useful for er’ryone.

Stay posted (posted- because it’s a blog haha)

-AJ

Being struck by lightning (from IFLS)

Creativity, Interesting Crap

What Does It Look Like When A Person Gets Struck By Lightning?

Back in 1777, German physicist Professor Georg Lichtenberg made a curious discovery; when dust in the air settled on electrically charged plates, beautiful tree-like “dust figures” formed. Lichtenberg believed that these figures showed the motion of the electric field. The figures, which were later named Lichtenberg figures, sparked a great amount of interest in scientists and philosophers because they believed they demonstrated the true nature of the electric field. Today, we know that Lichtenberg figures are branching patterns that may be created when high voltage electrical discharges pass either along the surface or through insulating materials.

Check out these awesome images of Lichtenberg figures:

Lichtenberg figure in plexiglass. Image credit: Bert Hickman, via Wikimedia Commons. 

Three dimensional Lichtenberg figure. Image credit: Bert Hickman, via Wikimedia Commons. 

Check out this awesome YouTube video of trapping lightning in a block: (http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/what-does-it-look-when-person-gets-struck-lightning/)

So, we’ve established Lichtenberg figures are pretty damn cool, but what is perhaps more intriguing is that they can actually occur on people that are struck by lightning. Lightning, which is a huge discharge of static electricity resulting from an imbalance in electrically charged regions between the Earth’s surface and a cloud, is one of the leading causes of weather-related death and injury in the U.S.; between 1959 and 2003, 3, 696 people died from being struck by lightning and although rates are falling around 30 people per year still die from this. Around 10% of lightning-stroke victims die, and 70% will suffer serious long-term problems such brain damage and personality changes.

Interestingly, when lightning strikes some people they develop Lichtenberg figures across their skin. For example, a 2000 report from the New England Journal of Medicine described the case of a 54-year-old man who was struck by lightning. He was initially stuporous, but by the time he got to the emergency room he seemed well and upon further examination it was discovered that he had a fern-leaf pattern of painless cutaneous marks across his arm, back and leg. The marks disappeared just two days later.

This striking skin pattern, as pictured below, is likely caused by the rupture of capillaries beneath the skin from the electrical discharge. They are sometimes called “lightning flowers” or “skin feathering” but the medical terms are arborescent (tree-like) erythema or keraunographic markings.

Image credit: Domart and Garet, NEJM. 

Another man, called Winston Kemp, was struck by lightning back in 2011 whilst saving his pumpkins from a storm. The man, who ironically is an electrician, didn’t even notice he was struck until the marks appeared on his arm around an hour after he returned indoors. His arm then started to feel sore and blisters appeared. His marks lasted for over a month, although they faded within the first month to a pale pink color.

Winston Kemp’s Lichtenberg figure, via BBC news

Although these marks look pretty damn cool, they are extremely rare, and most people come off much worse when struck by lightning! So don’t try to recreate them at home by shocking yourself.

Updating! Sorry for the Break

The Epic Domestic Journey

Alright guys. It’s time for a little something I call getting my crap together. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve last posted, but a lot of stuff has been going on and I’m rather scatter-brained to say the least, so this blog hasn’t quite made it into my daily life.

But now to the update. All the stuff that has been going on are new projects! Sora, the sculpture I’ve been working on is almost done, and if you have managed to find my Instagram @creatricity, you’d have seen the progress. But fear not. I’ll still post a tutorial for him.

The second is the novel I’m working on. I’ve been working on this particular piece for about… say… 4 years, but it never lifted off the ground until about last year and reaaaallllyyy kicked off this year (or so I think/really hope). I’ll just leave it at that. I’m sure I’ll tease you guys on it when I get closer to finishing.

I’m also working on an animation for an animation class I’m taking for fun, and yeah, I might post it if the formatting works. After all, I promised I’d post every work I do even if I think it’s utter sh*t. ‘Tis the artist process, and I don’t think that people know that it’s supposed to be crap at first.

Aaannnnnyyyyywayyyy, the fourth is the most exciting. I’m working on *drum roll*…… A GRAPHIC NOVEL YAYYYYY

It’s a partnership project in which I am the writer and my artist friend is the artist (makes sense, don’t it?). Check her out on Instagram @thesefewcreatures , and if you see anything including (Mala)kai, Em(erald), Calum, or Aka, get used to those faces. Those are the characters I’m writing the story for. They and the concept are of thesefewcreature’s creation, but I’m in charge of deepening their character and writing out a script for the drawings for follow.

So that’s what’s going on! I’ll try to keep posting tutorials, general updates, and all that stuff.

-AJ 😀

 

Value Planning

Art

Okay wow. First few weeks of having a blog and I can’t even keep up with it. I know what you’re thinking: newbie. And you’re completely right. Plus I’ve been super busy with school.

Nevertheless in my spare time I’ve taken to doodling on my Wacom, and as I realized they my drawings sucked on pure technical difficulties because I’m not used to digital painting (I’ll show you those later), I started watching a few tutorials on the subject. I came across this one video in particular containing a concept I never even knew existed, and in hindsight was probably the downfall to even my traditional paintings (especially in Acrylic; man I suck at Acrylic). Such is the life of being self-taught.

Take a look at the video by Tyler Edlin.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress on this new concept. 🙂

And since I’m on the free WordPress plan, I can’t give you the video directly (I didn’t know). So here ya go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6BlTEytocc

 

 

Tutorial: My logo

Art, Tutorials

So at this point in time, when I have no consistent viewers, I’m guessing no one has witnessed the fact that I added… a logo! Nevertheless, I’m excited, and so I’m going to share my process in creating it. Mind you, this is one of my first finished works in digital art, though I have done brainstorming for animation with my Wacom Intuos (I bought it about a two weeks ago). Plus, I have an artist friend who specializes mainly in digital art on her iPad, and through her I am familiar with the process.

I started off with a basic sketchlogo process1.PNG

I did this in Layer 1 of the free version of Autodesk Sketchbook (because I’m both cheap and broke). To be completely honest, I can’t tell you how I got the idea for the design itself, but I can tell you that I wanted it to be some expression of both myself and the purpose of this blog. Plus the creature’s basic design was inspired by one of Ross Geller’s little stuffed animals for his son Ben (see if you can find it). Inspiration is everywhere you know :). At this stage, I find it important to make sure I use the pencil tool on a fairly transparent setting, either black or blue.

Next, I opened up another layer and cleaned it up a bitlogo-process2

I added a little ear out of pure whimsy and the writing pen thingy to demonstrate that this blog is also about writing, not just art. Make sure the tool is darker at this stage. I usually use the pen tool.

Now it’s time to make yet another layer and lay in some groundwork for the colour.

logo process3.PNG

Like I said before, this little guy (whom I have just now dubbed Harriet for no particular reason) was inspired by a stuffed animal from Friends, so I decided to stay true to the general colouration. Don’t worry about staying in the lines here, you can erase what you need to later without destroying the pen outline because the two are on separate layers.

From here you need to decide on a general direction of light so you can place the shadows accurately, which doesn’t need a lot of thought unless the lighting is crucial to some effect you’re trying to make. In this case, I just wanted it to make it look somewhat three-dimensional and decided that the lighting was somewhere to the right of him after I shaded purely by instinct (I’ll get back to that later).

logo process 3.PNG

Ain’t he purdy? I should probably explain how to determine where the highlights are and all that, but that would take me on a tangent too long and slightly to complex for what I’m explaining here. The basics are what you already know by that little human-animal part of your brain that observes patterns and doesn’t tell you about it, but somehow you know anyway. I wanted to show that he had a flatter head, a squishy nose, and a little happy squishy cheek under his eye that shows a bit of happiness, so I placed the highlights there and highlighted other parts according to things I assumed about Harriet’s structure.

logo process4.PNG

Finally, I added the texture of the tips of both the tools and the shadows cast from them, which I find people forget a lot. This is why is was important to locate the approximate placing of the light source.

Announcing Word of the Day!

Writing

Okay, so this concept isn’t entirely new (fine, not new at all), but it’s VERY helpful to have an arsenal of vocabulary at your disposal if you’re a writer so your prose can be as colourful* as possible.

A diverse vernacular can make an enormous impact on one’s writing. So much so, that it can make the difference of seeming like an amateur versus a professional. For example, a common writing tip is to avoid using phrases along the lines of “very —-“. They call it lazy, and it isn’t that fun to read, either. Instead, use a word that portrays the extremity interestingly. But how are you supposed to replace those two words if you know no other words?

You see what I mean? So I’ll post here everyday with my best attempt at finding you a worthwhile word to learn. And I’m not going to be selfish here. I found another blog that I absolutely love that has a whole bunch of cool words, one of which inspired my current novel in half a sense (good luck figuring out what I mean by “half a sense”). Check it out at http://other-wordly.tumblr.com/ .

 

*excuse my non-American spelling