Art Class was fun today. I took a photo of Sandra, gridded it, and then put a matching grid on some art board. Then I sketched into the big grid, using the small one as a reference.

It’s basic stuff. I’ve done it before. Mostly this was the “busy-work” part of my schooling, because what I’m really interested in learning is how to color things. Next week I’ll take pastels to the board, and color it to look like Sandra.

I sat next to Kiki in class, in the room with four or five 10-year-old art students. I don’t have a problem with that — most of the adults were in the other room, but by sitting next to my daughter I get to sponge off her supplies. No way can we afford to buy me a brick of pastels and pastel pencils, no sir. Anyway, I spent the first 40 minutes of the hour prepping: scaring up materials, drawing the grid on transparency over the original photo, scaling the grid up onto the board, checking the landmark points… all the fundamental stuff that you need to do when you’re working from a reference picture. Oh, and I took five minutes out to do a quick cartooning demonstration for the kids (at the headmistress’ request, no less) — it was the “Kaff Tagon, Karl Tagon, Captain Kerchak” demo I did at Fandemonium and Linucon.

Well, with 20 minutes left in class, I was FINALLY ready to start DRAWING. It was fun, because I can go FAST. All those precise grid-measurements, the straight-edging, all that tedium, it all existed to make the DRAWING part go faster and better, and it worked. Just 15 minutes later I had a sketch that was ready for pastels. This impressed the room full of ten-year-olds, which was a disturbingly effective boost for my fragile ego. Granted, it also impressed the instructor, but she didn’t use those fifth-grade exclamations and go all wide-eyed. She just said “wow, that was quick.”

So next week I get to actually play with colors. It’s been 20 years since I used opaque colors, and the process is going to feel backwards. I’m told you start with your darkest shades, and then build lighter and lighter. With markers, which are translucent colors, and with which I’m much more familiar, you start with your lightest shades, and color down into the dark areas last. And both of those are nothing like Photoshop, which is my friend.

“Man, the Undo Buffer on these pastels SUCKS. Is there any way for me to revert to my last save?”


11 thoughts on “”

  1. I know what you mean about the Undo feature with real world tools. It’s gotten to the point that I absolutely dread writing a form or letter with pen and ink! If I make a mistake – that’s it. No backspace, no delete. It’s positively… barbaric.

    I’m seriously considering scanning in every form I get to fill out, using PhotoDeluxe to fill in the needed text (in a freehand font, of course ), and then printing the final version on the color printer. I haven’t felt that much like I was cheating since I started pasting my scanned-in signature into documents created in Word.

    1. But if you make a mistake filling out a photocopy of a form, you still have to start over 🙁

      What we really need is forms that include delete (and preferably cut/paste) functionality. Maybe when we finally get that electronic paper they’ve been saying was right around the corner since I was a kid.

      1. I was just now on my blog quoting a memo I got at work, but adding hypertext links, then saying wouldn’t it be cool if we could actually add links to paper.

        Well, I thought it was an interesting coincidence, anyway.

  2. a disturbingly effective boost for my fragile ego.

    Don’t worry about it. You’ve taken a major leap of faith and you need some validation that you do have the talent to do your career. I wish I had your guts. But I’m working on it.

  3. Ah, the joys of youth

    Wouldn’t it be phun though to go back to the time when such things caused such awe and wonder and wide-eyedness, instead of the “wow, that was quick” of adulthood.

    Sometimes I’m appalled by the wonders I miss while I’m busy being an adult.

      1. Oil, right. I always think of them as wax because they remind me of crayons. 🙂 I never could get any results that I liked with oil pastels, but I think your teacher is a lot better with those sorts of details than mine were.

        I do like chalk pastels, though.

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