Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sketch Sunday 15

I love alliums. :)

In the picture above, I wanted to draw a caricature/chibi-like cartoon of a garlic girl. I was inspired by this sketch my friend Alex (aka o_8) posted a few months back (check out his DA gallery—really great character design work). I added a few more alliums behind her (which look more like onions than garlic) to suggest that garlic lovers love the company of other garlic lovers, and that one must never be the only eater of garlics. ;)

When I first began traditional drawing lessons, my instructor always emphasized copying what you see exactly as you see it. Later, I understood that this not only trains the drawing hand, but it also helps you learn about the object you are drawing.

I recently read this great article by Mark Kennedy (storyboard artist on Hercules and Tarzan) that emphasizes the importance for aspiring artists to carry a sketchbook around. His main point is this: you don't carry a sketchbook around to draw pretty pictures in it. You will end up with drawings you won't like.

Sketching your surroundings is a great way to learn because you are forced to slow down and analyze your subject extensively. The act of copying a shape or structure helps commit it to memory, and you learn about its spatial relationships, functions, and movements. Our lives move so fast these days that we rarely slow down to appreciate the little details. Spending a few hours sketching is a great way to do that. 

A lot of people shy away from copying things—especially other people's drawings—because they believe that sketches from the imagination are more "valid." While this is true of most major finished pieces that are intended for galleries and such, nothing could be further from the truth if you are still in the learning phase. 

If you are burgeoning in your art career (or hobby!) and have the resources for it, I highly recommend finding a mentor. Their insights can guide you away from mistakes and challenge your talents. Most artists are more than happy to share their bits of wisdom, so go search the 'net for blog posts and articles. 

If I could offer one piece of advice on learning to draw, it would be: Learn by copying. Imitate pictures and styles that inspire you, and try to understand why you find them so attractive. If you are a beginner, start by copying shapes, then move on to shades, then colors. Once you have a firm grip on the basics, you can then try to explore with different styles of expression. 

At the end of Mark Kennedy's blog post, he brings up silhouettes, which reminded me of this article about the importance of silhouettes in logo design. In short, great logo design, like great character design, excels when recognized simply as a shape without any details. Naturally, I was curious as to how my little garlic fared as an outline. 

Does she still look like a garlic girl? Can you still recognize her? I'll let you decide... 

(By the way, if you are interested in a great online digital drawing community, check out our sister site, 2draw.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Natural Hearts

Parakeet love

Valentine's Day, like Christmas and every other major holiday, has become super commercialized by corporations like gift card and candy companies. To paraphrase Michael Pollan from The Botany of Desire, modern mass-production of sugar has diminished our complex desire for sweetness from a powerful divine experience to a cheap prosaic fix.

At the same time, holidays like these give us an opportunity to reflect back on and be grateful for what we have, and to step out of our mundane schedules and do something fun. Here is a collection of photos that depict "natural" hearts. I don't have sources for every photo, so if you know of any, please let me know! Thanks and enjoy! :) 

Strawberry heart by Lisz

Lightning by Andre Nantel

An ox born with a heart on his head

Heart-kun, the puppy with a heart-shaped fur patch

Heart of a Fern by David Manzi

Swans by Laminariya

Heart Fern by Chisme Cait

Flamingo Love by Kjunstorm 

Heart cloud

Forehead Heart

Bleeding Heart flowers

Anthurium flower

Heart book lens

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Reverse Graffiti Project

Stencils by Moose in San Francisco's Broadway tunnel.

I have always been a fan of street art. The creativity artists display, adapting to different urban environments, never ceases to amaze me. However, in recent years, I have become much more conscious of the environmental impact people have on the earth, and my love for street art developed into this kind of love-hate relationship—love the art or hate the toxic chemicals?

Lucky for me, the street artist Moose pioneered the Reverse Graffiti Project, a new street art concept based on cleaning.

Details of the wall at the Broadway tunnel.

The idea is this—instead of using paint to deface existing structures, street artists wash away years of dirt and grime on a surface to create their installations. High pressure water hoses, sponges, stencils and biodegradable soap are used. The intent is primarily environmental: using drawings, artists show glimpses of what preexisting structures look like under their black sooty veils, and what the public could be experiencing instead. These clean spots starkly contrast the darker dirty walls and remind us how much the pollution from cars, factories, and people affect our neighborhoods.

Doug Pray documents the process by which Moose creates art in the San Francisco Broadway tunnel.

The project was powered by Green Works cleaners.

Alexandre Orion used only water and a cloth to etch skulls in a grime-encrusted tunnel to remind commuters how harmful the exhaust from their vehicles are.

Artist Alexandre Orion works on an underpass in São Paolo, Brazil.

When the police showed up, they could not charge Orion with any crime since he was not defacing any structure. As Inhabitat aptly puts it: When is cleaning the sidewalks a crime? When you’re doing it to create art. Obviously. So naturally, the fire crew hosed down the entire section of the tunnel where Orion drew. When he later simply picked up on the other side of the tunnel, the officials were so enraged they decided to not only clean the whole tunnel, but every other tunnel in São Paolo.

Reverse graffiti encompasses all types of graffiti that does not use harmful chemicals the way traditional graffiti does, and often embodies an eco-friendly message. Other examples include Edina Tokodi's green graffiti made by moss and Scott Wade's dirty car art.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sketch Sunday 14

Inspiration comes in many forms. The etymology of the word comes from Latin for "to breathe" and many inspirational things can be said to "take your breath away." Inspiration arouses the mind and cultivates passions for interesting or beautiful things. It transforms us from dull vapid beings into spirited creative thinkers.

Drawing is one of my passions. In today's Sketch Sunday, I showcase three sketches I did around New Year's. The female body is my favorite subject, and with every drawing, I try to learn or do something new. Here, I set a different mood for each picture. By playing with various expressions of the eyes, lips, and posture, I create looks that can say cute or sultry, shy or demanding. While drawing, for me, is the primary component of my creative outlet, I also try to brush up on other aspects of art to be well-rounded.

Inspirimint is the garden where these new ideas can be cultivated, for both myself and everybody else. I like the idea of this virtual garden because, like gardening, creativity is also built on a lot of research and hard work, and needs to be nurtured before ideas form and blossom into a satisfying product.

Inspirimint is not a product. It's a work in process by which new ideas and projects excite people to pursue their interests, try something different, or learn about wonders from all aspects of life.

We are finally coming out of our winter hibernation. Happy 2010! :) What inspires you?