Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Monday, March 19, 2018

Guess what I found? ... oh and a random photo from my archives

HA! I found it! Found my missing Wacom tablet and am so relieved I didn't stupidly toss it out when I moved. Spent nearly a month moaning and complaining about losing it, only to find the tablet tucked into a side slot of a table. Why I put it there is a mystery, but there you have it. 

So, to celebrate finding the Wacom, I'm going to post ... an old photo from a vacation to the UK. Nothing to do with tablet art, sorry. Had to get a new laptop on the weekend, my venerable HP simply decided to stop cooperating. After 4 years of hard use, I suppose it deserved retirement. I've spent the last week tweaking and playing with the new computer and finally got around to setting up the Wacom the other day. Tested it in Photoshop but, that's as far as I've gotten because I'm too busy playing to actually work. Have to say, the dedicated Nvidia card really makes Photoshop sing.

Read more: Guess what I found?... oh and a random photo from my archives

Spring blossoms in Toronto

One nice thing about padding around the neighbourhood - there's never a lack of beauty.

Photo of blossoms on a tree April 2017 Yonge and St Clair area Toronto


Spring blossoms in Toronto. The colours oh my!

A few warm days and suddenly Toronto looks like a new city. Blossoms popping up all over.  Photo taken Apr 28 2017 at gates to Mount Pleasant Cemetery. 

Photo of blossoms on a tree Toronto Spring 2017

Frankensteining my way towards a full body - drawing eyes

Learned something valuable the other day. If you're going to take a close up of your own eye, make sure the flash is off. I get the type of migraines that are triggered by bright lights (especially flashes) and well, let's just say there was a bit of cursing when the flash went off, rapidly followed by the usual pain.  

I said in my last post, Still sulking, I needed to go back and examine eye structure closely. I wasn't happy with my output, so I lurked around all sorts of medical sights and Bing images for super quality close ups. I dabbled with them and then flipped over to a couple of Youtube channels for some help because I just couldn't get it right. I couldn't see what I was doing wrong. 

Here's the original sketch (posted on the previous article):

Scan of original drawing of human eye 

After watching videos I figured out I was too heavy handed. I didn't leave any wiggle room for darkening and shading. The eye lid was too high and should droop down over the eye a bit. I went back to the original drawing and tried correcting it:

 Scan of second drawing of human eye

Better, but no, not right. The shape of the eye is off. It droops unnaturally down and the eye is too perfect along the top.  I'm struggling with this aspect of drawing the eye. It's not easy getting the shape correct. As well, I was puzzled about how to approach the white part of the eye as it merges with the edges.  I started a new sketch, trying to pull together what I'd learned:

Sketch 3 of the human eye. Not much better

Read more: Frankensteining my way towards a full body - drawing eyes

Still sulking but here's another pencil sketch anyway

Maybe losing my Wacom might have been a good thing (for the short term). I sat down yesterday and looked over some old drawings of cat eyes which were basic and ok but somehow not quite "there" as far as realism. I pulled up all sorts closeup photos cat's eyes and realised how detailed and complex they really are. Veins and shades of colour, splashes of light reflecting - far more than I'd realised. So I sat and started drawing them... just eyes, nothing else. I'm actually a bit staggered at the sheer complexity of the eye. Guess it's a case of seeing something but not really paying attention. 

Here's the one that I really like:

Sketch of a cat's eye done in pencil

The fur around the eye came out better than I'd hoped.  I can see where I should have used a bit more shading around the rim of the iris though, it's a bit too sharp. But overall, I'm happy with it.

I took a stab at a human eye, but I got a bit too heavy handed:

Start of a sketch of a human eye

I need to sit and rethink my approach to the eye and how to get the shading right. It's too uniform and dark. I'll sit and mull over different photos and try again tonight.  

Hope you enjoy the sketches. It's been a long time since I picked up pencils. Discovered something else I'd lost during the move - my beloved pencil sharpeners. Yes, I have a passion for my little metal sharpeners and can't find any of them. Can't find my Winston inks either.  Bugger damn. Then again, it looks like I have an excuse to make a trip to the art store!

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Catpaw with a pint & a typical bad haircutTime for a new look - the venerable cat on a postage stamp is now retired. As much as I loved him, it was time for a face lift - bad haircut & all. 

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself."

- Albert Camus

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