Posts Tagged ‘drawing’

Ballpoint Pen Art

Most of my art starts with a sketch in my sketchbook (if you look at the Buccateer, you can see the pen drawing), and almost all of them are done with ballpoint pens.  You can see other pen drawings over in my old mini portfolio thisaway, and interspersed here and there on the blog.

I find that drawing with pens makes me simultaneously more careful and more fluid, as well as faster and more accurate.  When I’m drawing with pens, I have to either get it right the first time or learn to incorporate my mistakes.  Once I made the switch from pencils (sadly, once I hit college… I wish I’d switched in high school or earlier), my line quality went up, my control over pressure was greatly improved, my ability to draw smooth curves and straight lines increased, and I learned to see what I was trying to draw better (especially figure drawings), as I needed to get it right, not relying on “fixing it in post“, as it were.

Dwarven Tinkerer, pure pen

I do sometimes sketch things out and then scan them into the computer, there to be cleaned up a little and/or painted under, making things like this… which was originally two sketches (the book was separate and I spliced it in) and a bit of Photoshop paint underneath.  I describe the process over thisaway, on the Puzzle Pirate forums (I really need to make one of those posts here, too, just to keep it in house).

Vargas the Not Yet Mad

To be sure, working with conte or charcoal helped as well, as those mediums are conducive to quick, loose drawings with a minimum of corrections.  I’ve done figure drawings with conte, charcoal, pencil and paint, and my best work wound up being with the nearly uncorrected conte.  (Yes, it’s nothing great as far as figure drawings go, but it’s my most presentable one.)

Male Seated Back

I think something similar would happen if I finally picked up oil painting.  I’ve done my fair share of watercolor painting, and I’ve learned to make them work fairly well for a variety of effects, but I hated them in junior high.  I pushed through it and tried a variety of techniques, and eventually wound up at least vaguely competent with them, but I’ve never done much with oils.  I’m a little intimidated by them and their appearance of being unforgiving.  (OK, their high cost doesn’t help.)  I know that I could learn control and develop skill with them, even though they can be tricky… I just haven’t put in the time yet.

Anyway, snippets of art wisdom aside, I’m mentioning all this mostly to point out this fascinating and very well-wrought series of pieces done entirely in ballpoint pen from a Mr. Samuel Silva.  His work puts my piddling little sketches to shame.

Ballpoint Pen Art by Samuel Silva

And the best part?  He’s a lawyer by day.  I really have to wonder, what would his art look like if he made a career out of it.  A big part of me thinks that it might suffer, actually, in accordance to what I noted earlier about work vs. hobbies, and doing what you do for love or for money.  Mr. Silva doesn’t do these pieces to make ends meet.  He does them because he can and because he wants to.  It seems to me that it worked out really well.

Sometimes the best art is art you do simply because you need to do it.  (Though sometimes, it’s perhaps best to… forbear some artistry.)

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Stream of Consciousness writing is an interesting thing.  Sometimes, it’s interesting to see how someone thinks, or how they make connections, and other times, it’s horrific to see where people go when they deign to think.  More often than not, it’s an excuse some writers use for explaining why they have textual diarrhea (including bloggers, which is part of the appeal, oddly enough), rather than presenting a tighter narrative or analytical structure.  (I’m certainly not immune to this, but then, blogging isn’t writing a term paper, either.)  It’s especially interesting to see the journey from point A to point B, since the two may not initially seem connected, but following the links in the chain show how even disparate things can be connected with enough meandering.

This, of course, is the appeal of the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory and the casual sport of namedropping.  For some reason, people want to feel connected and important, and if they can prove even an incidental link to someone else who is more important, it seems like a little thunder can be stolen, or at least echoed.  Of course, in a nepotistic society where who you know is more important than what you know, this isn’t a great surprise.  It’s still potentially dangerous, shallow and stupid, but not surprising.

It’s also why people follow the herd in something like American Idol or political campaigns; people like to feel that they “picked the winner”, which somehow makes them feel more important, since their choices were apparently validated by their peers, imagined or otherwise.  (Of course, objectivity is thrown out the window, but facts are so inconvenient.)  Call it the bandwagon effect, the halo effect (or the Halo effect), or social flocking, whatever, people tend to like to find those links that make them feel important.  (What else is Facebook, after all?  Ixobelle noted, rightly, that it’s sort of a game, complete with a very visible score and addictive mechanics.)

This is, of course, a rumination on the notion of internet hyperlinks, and the way that they make research considerably different from the days of card catalogs.  Casually dropping a hyperlink into a blog post can give those so inclined the ability to dig deeper down the rabbit hole of any particular topic.  Links lead to other links, and pretty soon, you can find that you’ve burned hours just following whims and interesting tangents.  (The tvtropes.org website is a great launching pad for just this sort of tangential ADHD research.)

Blogrolls can expand exponentially as a result of this sort of “browsing”.  A sort of “hive mind” can form, where ideas echo around within social circles, everyone adding to the great ball of wax that a simple idea spawns.  Sometimes that winds up polishing the discussion into a pearl, sometimes it just degrades into Gordian Knot, but it’s usually interesting either way.

Still… I’ve got to admit, I miss the intellectual rigors of a University and term papers.  I like it when things are painstakingly researched and analyzed as objectively as possible.  I ramble rather extensively about gibberish here on the blog, but as my itch to create rather than pontificate has increased, so has my desire for data, rather than opinions.  Extensive link browsing winds up creating a lot of mental cruft when I’m looking for hard data and incisive insight.

Short story long, I was all geared up to provide another handful of links for public consumption, but took a moment to think about it.  Do I really want to contribute to the static?  Not as much as I used to.  There’s a lot of good stuff out there, definitely… but how valuable are these little collections I come up with?  I’m a bit ambivalent about them.

So… back to the drawing board.  Literally.  I need to create, not just… graze.  I love data, and I soak it up like a sponge.  I’m just a bit oversaturated, and need to clear the system.  One way I do that is by drawing.

I’m involved in illustrating a children’s storybook at present, so I’ll be busy with that for a while.  It’s not the Steampunk BattleTech art that I’ve really been itching to create, but it will be a great diversion, and a way to stretch my art muscles.  Who knows, I might even dig into art creation a bit in this, my narrative dumping ground.

Back in a bit.

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