Not an actual red eye, just the one I drew above; but I was snowed in. The Maryland/D.C. area was swathed in snow this weekend. I don’t know how much fell but it seemed close to a foot. Granted there are other places further north that has gotten more but for me a foot of snow is enough for me to consider myself snowed in. I hate winter!
After shoveling the driveway thrice between Saturday and Sunday, I sat down to some much needed art therapy. I spent my Sunday afternoon and evening watching art videos on YouTube and drawing the mandala above after watching Tiffany Lovering’s tutorial on drawing a “hypnotic eye” (see video below). It helped soothe my sore muscles for the time though when I got up from my chair my back, side, elbows, and arms began hurting simultaneously. Snow is so heavy!
I tried to follow Lovering’s video as closely as possible but, as you can see, I made a few mistakes in my sphere/hypnotic eye, but I was proud of what resulted from my effort. Since she referred to it as a hypnotic eye, I decided to color it to resemble an eye. And because I was watching Avatar: The Last Airbender while coloring, I decided to make it red and orange—thinking of the fire nation. My original plan was to add several additional circles around this central one, similar to Lovering’s video, but I changed my mind and thought it best to simply add the two triangles of lines to hint at the small space around the eyeball. I guess the finished product is an abstract eye.
What was the last picture you took? Tell us the story behind it. (No story behind the photo? Make one up, or choose the last picture you took that had one.)
I hate winter. I abhor the cold, the sniffles, and that tingly feeling I get in my fingers and toes when they’re numb. I loathe the fall in temperature and the rise in wind. And the burning sensation I get in my nose whenever I step outside that makes me want to sneeze. I dislike the ice, that slippery ice that I slide on, glide, as I fall while running for the bus. I hate winter.
The last pictures I took were three quick snapshots of snowy branches. I was waiting for the bus and was bored and agitated. Bored because I wanted to get back to reading The Fires of Heaven and agitated because a girl was smoking and spitting all over the sidewalk where I would have to walk when the bus arrives.
I was also upset with the weather—snow. Snow means ice and I hate both. I was huffing and puffing to myself as I tried to think of warmer moments in my life when I saw a man and his wife taking photos of the trees with their phones. It was then that I noticed the beauty around me. The trees were all spectacular with their bare branches, some dripping with icicles while others were simply decorated with snow. It wasn’t heavy snow but just enough to give the impression that the trees had somehow sprouted snowy leaves. With the light of the lamp posts shining behind a few, the branches would glitter as if decorated with crystals.
I’ve been a slacker. Back in 2013, I vowed to improve my knowledge of art and art history because they are subjects I love. I wish I had studied them while in college. Unfortunately life and procrastination has caused my efforts to self-instruct to dwindle.
In October 2014, I decided to push myself harder in my independent artistic studies. This new fervor was ignited by an article on Richard Estes on Smithsonian magazine’s website. I had no idea who Richard Estes was but the photo of his painting was enough to convince me to visit an exhibit of his work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The photo of his painting seemed to be a photo of a photo, and I disbelieved that it was of a painting. Hence my decision to visit the exhibit was more for proof than to gain any sort of artistic instruction.
After showing up at the wrong museum, I finally found my way to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and slowly browsed other paintings before visiting Estes’ exhibit. All the while, my music blasted in my ears (something by Jamaican dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel, which is probably highly out-of-place for a museum excursion) and I slowly danced from one painting to another until I danced up to the entrance to Estes’ exhibit.
I actually read this time. I usually don’t read much at museums, which means I miss a lot of useful information. Usually, I dance from painting to painting (I always have music blasting in my ears while at a museum), lingering over the ones I admire while wondering what drove the artist to create the piece, how did the artist apply his medium, and how long did it take to complete, amongst other thoughts. But this time I paused my music. I was enraptured by Estes’ work. The reason being that even with his huge canvas of the Brooklyn Bridge in front of me, I still found it hard to tell that his piece is a painting rather than a blown-up photo.
Richard Estes is a photorealist painter. He was born in Kewanee, Ill., and studied fine arts at the Institute of Chicago. After graduating, he moved to New York, where he worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer at various magazines. At night, he would work on his paintings, which later became his full-time career.
Christmas, my favorite holiday, has rolled around again. I am late with my well wishes but I do hope that everyone had a wonderful and magical Christmas day filled with lots of joy, laughter, and love.
This year I’m highlighting the holiday with this awesome piece by Alexander Jansson, a Swedish illustrator. I’m in love with his work, which is often whimsical and surrealistic. The one above is a mixed-media illustration called “Doctor Blumenauer and His Magical Flying Table.”
I selected this one not for its relation to the holiday but for the story it seems to tell. All the characters are in awe as they watch Doctor Blumenauer’s table fly into air. They all believe it’s a real magic table but there’s a guy in the shadows behind Doctor Blumenauer’s caravan with a control, programming the table. The illustration makes me wonder at Doctor Blumenauer’s back story. He’s obviously a charlatan here but how did he get started and was he chased out of the last town he visited? What are his Christmas plans? Will he spend it alone? And is that his assistant in the shadows?
My mind is already jumping to conclusions, forming a story about Doctor Blumenauer. I hope the illustration tickles your imagination too.
Wanting to know more, I did a bit of digging (which means I typed “Inktober” into Google) and found Jake Parker’s website on which he talks about how he came up with Inktober, the rules for the event (I’ll paste them below), and the possible tools one can use for it. He also has Inktober badges and other items for the event on his site. The badge above is from there.
I’ve seen a few of the artists I follow on Youtube participating in the events as well and that made me even more interested in it. I won’t have the time to do a drawing each day but I’ll try my best to do as much as as I can. I’ll be using Pigma Micron pens and I’ll mostly do some geometric-looking design thingies as seen in the picture above (sorry about it being so blurry). It’s my first drawing for Inktober and it’s unfinished. I got upset with it because it wasn’t going the way I wanted it to but I’ll continue with it and hope for the best. It might look great when done.
Well, for those of you interested in joining the fun of Inktober, here are the rules (as posted on Jake Parker’s website):
1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).
2) Post it on your blog (or tumblr, instagram, twitter, facebook, flickr, Pinterest or just pin it on your wall.)
3) Hashtag it with #inktober
Note: you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. What ever you decide, just be consistent with it. INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.
While laying in bed this morning contemplating what to write, the idea popped into my head to do a post on my favorite Harry Potter book covers. Yes, this is just an excuse to indulge in my Harry Potter fanaticism. I guess I will be rereading the seventh book soon as well. It’s about time too. The Harry Potter bug usually bites me once a year and infects me with a need to reread a Harry Potter novel, usually the first book. But for now I’ll focus on the covers.
Back in July, Bloomsbury announced that it will publish new covers for the UK edition of the Harry Potter books this September. Last year, Scholastic released new covers for the US edition of the books for its fifteenth anniversary. Here, I will compare the covers (the original vs. the most recent US and UK covers). I will highlight my favorites and will list the covers I like that were published in other countries.
When placed together, it’s easy to see the different elements the illustrators chose to emphasize. Kazu Kibuishi, who illustrated Scholastic’s 2013 covers (The illustration of Hogsmeade above is by Kibuishi.), always tries to place the focus on Harry, which makes sense because the story is about him. So Harry is always placed in the foreground sometimes as larger than the other characters or with a spotlight (glowing glasses). Jonny Duddle, the UK illustrator of Bloomsbury’s September 2014 books, emphasizes the obstacles Harry faces. Harry is usually drawn as a smaller figure in comparison to the other images in the scene to portray the enormity of the events he faces.
Mary Granpré, who designed the original US covers, maintains a cheerful/innocent tone that was probably perceived as more appealing to younger kids. Even as the book became more serious the covers still maintained a sense of innocence. The same goes for the original UK covers, which were designed by Thomas Taylor, Cliff Wright, Giles Greenfield, and Jason Cockcroft. Children’s literature has evolved much since the Harry Potter novels were first published and the evolution of the covers certainly show that. These days, it’s not surprising to see more serious, scary images on children’s book covers. So, without further ado…
I feel guilty for liking Kibuishi’s cover more than Mary Grandpré’s original. I get a bit sentimental over books and hate seeing the covers change sometimes but I do find this cover more appealing than the first. I like that it features Diagon Alley because it’s the presence of Diagon Alley that convinces us that a secret, magical world is waiting to be explored. I also like that the illustration consists mostly of blue, which gives it a mystical feel, and that Harry is placed in a spotlight, which is formed by Hagrid’s size. Hagrid is so big that, along with the crowd of people, even the buildings seem to shuffle around to give him space. Plus, the color around Harry and Hagrid is lighter, like a halo. Hedwig, perched on Harry’s shoulder, also helps.
Harry’s face seems to have the same expression on both the original US and UK covers. This cover will always be a favorite simply because it is the first.
A friend of mine invited me to Princeton back in March and I was amazed at how quaint the area around the university is. I was expecting a bustling town but instead I found a sleepy one. Well, according to my standards. It was pretty quiet there. While touring the campus, we happened upon this gentleman taking a break from his day to read the daily news. He was quiet stiff. Upon closer look, I realized that he had forgotten his glasses at home and was straining his eyes to read.
So went my thoughts when I saw this 1975 sculpture by J. Seward Johnson Jr. called the “Newspaper Reader.” The man is reading The New York Times. I admire the details in this sculpture—the stitching in his shoes, the lines of his pants, the wrinkles around his eyes. It’s great. I thought it was a real guy before realizing that the newspapers’ pages weren’t moving.
According to Wikipedia, J. Seward Johnson Jr. “is an American artist known for his trompe l’oeil painted bronze statues. He is a grandson of Robert Wood Johnson I (co-founder of Johnson & Johnson) and Colonel Thomas Melville Dill of Bermuda.”
The following links provide more information on the sculpture.
I found these amazing posts while perusing the web, reading blogs, or skimming through the many newsletters I’ve subscribed to.
A make-up artist paints album covers on her face:
I found this one on Flavorwire. It’s pretty cool. I’m unfamiliar with the albums featured but I am amazed by the artist’s skills. Her name is Natalie Sharp and she’s very talented. Visit her website to see more of her work.