Archive for May, 2009

Realism is still not there for me yet. It’s a lot easier to create eyes are are simple dots and take a little creative license. I’ve vectorized photographs before, but only twice. Here’s Bailey from a recent photo and then one I did of myself a couple years ago.

The photo was taken by a point and shoot camera with pop-up flash — so I gave myself pinlight catchlights! I didn’t know any better, so cut me some slack. :)

If there is one thing I’m lacking, it’s patience… and my own soda fountain for unlimited fountain diet coke!!! (but I digress). I was not blessed with patience for long term learning processes. If I can’t be proficient in a reasonable amount of time, I generally accept that it’s not for me. This is why I don’t play the piano and why I still don’t code (two things I would like to be able to do), even though I’ve had more than enough years to sit down and learn.

I was a year into my long term photography learning process before I even realized there was a process! If I had known what a process it was, I may not have ventured away from my point and shoot and snapshots, so in a way I’m glad I didn’t know. Now that I’ve started, I’m all in.

The truth is that I don’t have any natural talent for drawing, but I still want to draw. I’m realizing it may be a very long and painful process. It may involve classes and study and lots of patience. It’s not really “me” to want to do something I can’t figure out all in one day, but I really want to get to the point where I can draw something in my own style and where it comes easily.

There is a great debate in our household about whether this kind of skill can really be learned. I decided that flowers might be easier than people. I quickly learned that flowers are not easier than people. At least not the flowers I chose. A reminder of my childhood and one of my favorites, the plumeria.

This was so much more complex than I intended, but such a good exercise in light and shadow. A photographer should understand light and shadow fully, so any practice in this area is valuable. The finished product received mixed reviews from Brian. He thinks the stems look terrible. I am sure his attempt will be even better than mine!

When I finished the plumerias I thought I was done for the day, but I couldn’t leave it alone, so I decided to start just one more drawing, which of course I had to finish because I can’t leave anything unfinished. I think it’s my favorite so far because it’s a little more organic and grown up than the others. I feel like I’ve learned a lot just through these first attempts and I’m not giving up, even if I still could not draw a cat even if my life depended on it.

A second attempt…

May 23rd, 2009

… and this time I added some context. Trying to create something like this from scratch gives me such an appreciation for this process. New t-shirt designs are beginning to form, wheels in my head are spinning. I haven’t added a t-shirt to my store (<-- you can click that) in over a year, but I feel motivated to channel some of this into some new product for my neglected little shop.

… draw. For as long as I can remember, I’ve envied the people in my life who could convincingly draw an object, an animal, a scene… It’s fascinating to me when someone can just see something in their head and reproduce it. My brain doesn’t work that way.

My 6 year old son draws so convincingly that it’s almost embarrassing. Sometimes I try to tell myself that I could draw when I was 6, too. That’s such a lie. I can’t draw now, either. I have to laugh at the monstrosities I create.

You see what happened there when I got to the body? Can you even tell what that poor sad little creature is? (it’s a cat, by the way)

I’m really trying to train myself to draw. To see things in a creative way and reproduce them. I tore apart the house tonight searching for my missing tablet pen, but it has vanished. I looked for an hour. It’ll turn up approximately 36 hours after I order a new one.

I studied a dozen photos tonight… then set to work on what was supposed to be a really good effort. I have these pictures in my head of how I want my drawings to look, but they never look that way. They’re never colorful and bright and they don’t have depth or doodles and swirls and cute little flourishes all around them.

But… I tried. I am making this my mission. Here is my attempt from tonight. I finished the head and didn’t know where to go, but Bailey insisted that I make a body. Her exact words were, “you better make a body!” and she had to tell me several times. Bailey has claimed this drawing as her, so Bailey it is! Right this minute, I’m going to look for summer art classes at the community college.

Just like last year, I was caught off guard by the stealthy nature of, well… nature. Last year we drove past a park filled with gorgeous purple trees, dozens of them just begging to be the backdrop of a very unique portrait. Each day we drove past I would proclaim my intention and then ask my husband to help me drag the kids (torture, torture, torture) there.

He was quite sure they would last forever and that there was no rush, but just days later we drove by again and they were completely gone. Done. Over. For a year, I’ve been reminding him about the gorgeous purple trees and the tremendous pain and suffering he caused me. :)

This year, for the first time in the 4 years we’ve lived here, I realized we have a beautiful tree in our front yard. I never noticed before because the blooms on this tree literally lasted just a few days before disappearing until next year. I meant to go out and get more photos of this beautiful tree, intended to use it in some way, but snapped just one test photo while I was out playing with the kids.

The next day we were leaving the house and I realized all of the blooms were gone. Hundreds of them. Done. Over. Nature is cruel. How can I enjoy the boring tree that it is all spring and summer now that I know its potential??

… to come outside for a photo. It was gloriously warm yesterday, but unfortunately it didn’t last. Back into the 50s today and for the week. I promised we’d make cookies to make up for the weather, but I win the bad mom award since I just had him clean the living room for a candy reward instead… yeah, I admit it.

… but I ended up taking pictures of Bailey instead. He isn’t ready to put it under his pillow yet. He’s pretty sure the tooth fairy is just a myth (his words), but he’s still incredibly concerned that his tooth might get lost and then on the off chance that she’s real, he won’t be properly compensated for the pain and suffering he has endured.

I have a last minute opportunity to second shoot a wedding tomorrow and I’m heavily considering the possibility. Although I have always believed that I would never want to shoot weddings, I do feel I owe it to myself to find out and this wedding seems like the perfect expectation-free way to do it. Maybe a year from now I’ll go back and mark this post as “Wedding” in my category list, adding it to many other wedding related posts. 😉

I never shared my one-step corner rounding action on the blog, so I’ve used it on my image for the day and I’m sharing it here. Use on flat, web-sized images. It can be batched, too!

The action: One Step Corner Rounding

And a couple from Wednesday… The image on the right is pure Bailey. Unfortunately, it’s an expression the camera so rarely sees.

Bailey Janesville, Wisconsin