Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Two years (almost)

It is almost two years ago that I came here at Max the Mutt. That is, two years of study and practice. Exercises. And more exercises. Gestures. Blind contours. Modelling. Quick contours. Silhouettes. Extended gestures. Reductive drawings. If I may compare learning to draw with learning to sing, we spent two years on breathing exercises and scales. And never do we sing a song.

At the end of Year 1, with two years to go, the notion that we were just doing exercises, helped me relax. However, now, at the end of Year 2, it makes me slightly nervous. Am I on the right track? Will I ever be the skilled draftsman I want to be?

My teacher took some time to explain the rest of the curriculum to me. Where we are now and where we will be next year. He told me that we are actually doing in 3 years what is normally done in 4 years. It takes 10 years to polish these skills. I still need to talk to next year's teacher, to get a little more insight in what is expected.

For now, I can only find comfort in my sketchbook, which every now and then shows me drawings that I really like. And these drawings do not show up there automagically. They are mine.

Today it happened again. At Starbucks. The little girl next to me had quite a temper, and not too long after I had finished my sketch did she start to scream. She made my week.

Monday, March 8, 2010

More background information

This week's assignment for Layout was a tonal background, in graphite on paper. I found it hard to control the values of the pencil on animation paper, but this comes as close to background painting as I can get.

The funny shape of the background is because the camera moves across this background in a curve, following a monkey running across the trunk in the foreground...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wisdom for Dummies

It must be the age, or maybe just Spring, but I more and more value the words of wisdom typically found in booklets with mushy titles like "Wells of Eastern Wisdom", the billboard of the Church around the corner, and the Bible. Don't worry, I still think that lots of it is cheap gibberish, but every once in a while I find something I carry with me in, usually, my heart. And yes, it is safe there, but not readily accessible for the people around me. So, I'll try to share a bit more of these.

A quote that echoes throughout the Bujinkan, a school where I used to train, is Robert L. Humphrey's Warrior Creed:

Wherever I go, everyone is a little bit safer because I am there.
Wherever I am, anyone in need has a friend.
Whenever I return home, everyone is happy I am there

I love its simplicity, just three lines, simple words, and it does not even rhyme! And yet, I must admit I recognize myself only in the first line. It's a start, but there is a lot more work to do for me...