A brief update: here are the rest of the sketches from my little Object Oriented sketchbook (the rest are here, here, and here). I’ve got another sketchbook going now that’s a different take on objects, so I’ll catch up to that soon.
I’m about three-quarters of the way through my Object Oriented sketchbook–the earlier sketches are here and here. My pen began to run dry, so I switched to a new one partway through this batch. In hindsight, I should have kept the original pen for shading, as it’s been challenging to do detail work with the ink-laden new pen.
The second batch of sketches! It’s been a few months, and I have fourteen more Object Oriented sketches to show for it. When I originally started I promised to post more when I got halfway through, but apparently I went a few beyond that. Carrying this little book and pen with me everywhere has been working in the sketch-more-often department. Enjoy!
I have a weakness for sketchbooks, and often buy neat-looking ones in the hope that they’ll be a good motivation to draw more. I found these funky little 3″ x 3″ leather-bound books at Cost Plus World Market a little over a year ago, and decided it’d be just the right size to carry around. While it’s just a cheap little notebook, I really like the size and feel of it, and wanted to make it into a worthy standalone art piece on its own. I’ve diligently stuck to the same theme and the same marker, a sienna brush pen, to keep the look consistent even though it may be months between sketches.
Why Object Oriented? Objects, as subjects, are easy. They don’t move (usually). They don’t get self-conscious. The textures are challenging…especially the smooth, manufactured ones. It makes me look around my environment more. And it’s a term drilled into me from my computer science days, a concept I still like. I’m a quarter of the way through the book; I’ll post more sketches when I make it halfway.
I don’t usually paint on 3D objects…but when I do it’s usually for a gift. This is a Zelda-themed repaint for my friend Jeremy who has a whole black/white/red setup for his motorcycle & gear. The helmet was pure white with black accents, so I took a few photos and went through a couple of rounds of mockups to figure out the look.
Visualizing on a curved surface is tricky! I considered taking some reference photos and mapping them onto a 3D object so I could spin it around, but (as I often do) opted for the quicker visualization figuring that I’d work out the fine details as I went. These Photoshop mockups just overlay vector masks onto the photo, and I eyeballed the curvature to fit the viewing angle.
Photoshop Test #1 was about establishing the overall placement for the classic Hyrulian crest with a little decoration on the sides. Jeremy wanted to incorporate “It’s dangerous to go alone” on it so he found the phrase in a glyph system designed for the latest game, Breath of the Wild. He also wanted more black along the sides and front, so for Photoshop Test #2 I figured out how to extend it without interfering with the letters (or vents).
Once I was ready to start painting, I knew I wouldn’t be able to mask the fine detail for the glyphs. Instead, I measured the front and printed them out to fit that length. Since it’s a curved surface, I also needed to work out how they would wrap evenly. To get this look, I cut vertical lines between each glyph so I could carefully bend the paper. I taped it over the area to paint them to use as a visual guide, and that worked out pretty well.
The rest I’d masked carefully though I ended up doing a lot of cleanup on the edges. Since I painted it (rather than spraying it) the paint didn’t leave a clean edge on the first pass. I wasn’t ready to invest in the kind of system (and masking, and ventilation) I’d need to do a proper spray, so it’s a good thing this worked! I used Testor’s Paint which seemed to grip pretty well. A final gloss coat by a professional painter helped seal it in. Ready to go!
Darkrooms are the fourth of seven technologies I’ve explored in Prior Art: analog media manipulation and vintage virtual reality.
“As a digital photographer, the world of film has always been cloaked with the mystery of alchemy and magic. Exploring a working film lab was fascinating, and Lynde was so generous in explaining different aspects of development – the process is much more rich and complex than I had imagined.”
Jillian Cocklin // epoxystudios.com
The darkroom is a workshop to allow photographers to develop film and make prints. Since film development relies on careful control of light, a safelight is the only lighting used for illumination. Many black-and-white papers are sensitive primarily to blue or blue-green light, so a red or amber- colored light will keep the paper from accidental exposure. A variety of chemicals are used to develop and set the film, usually in conjunction with a trough-style sink and plastic trays. An enlarger, which looks somewhat like a vertically-mounted camera, is used create prints by projecting light through a piece of film onto exposure-sensitive paper for a precise amount of time.
Correct exposure depends on the content of the photo as well as the sensitivity of the paper. To get the right tone, photographers will take a test strip of paper and progressively expose portions of it for set durations of time. That way, they can evaluate a range of results to identify the right exposure time to use for that particular photo and paper.
The amount of time a photo is exposed to light before it is “set” determines how light or dark it will be. Photographers can selectively expose or mask areas of photos to create particular effects.
“Dodging” involves using a cutout shape on the end of a thin stick to prevent portions of a photo from being exposed to light. Since exposure to light makes a photo darker, those protected portions remain lighter. “Burning” creates the opposite effect: using a mask or hole for light to pass through to create extra exposure to light (and therefore darker results). A quick way to do this is with one’s hand, but it can also be done with any object that can selectively expose light.
To create consistent results, film producers created a reference photo to represent an ideal range of colors and tones. In addition to showing basic colors and a grayscale range, these also included a person for reference. One early model was a Kodak employee named Shirley, so they became known as “Shirley cards”.
However, each reference only included one model that was always a caucasian female. This resulted in chemical calibrations that had very little nuance in brown tones, so all other skin tones turned out off-balance with distorted colors and often too dark to capture detail. Amazingly, film producers didn’t start including a wider range of brown tones until they received complaints from furniture and chocolate manufacturers that they couldn’t differentiate their range of products in photos. Later reference cards were updated to include multiple multiracial models.
Just scanned a bunch of the sketches from the little notebook I carry with me (theme: Undefined Variables). Much like my first notebook (Object Oriented) I started running out of ink at about the 3/4 mark, right near the end of these. I remembered that a drying-out brush pen is still pretty useful for shading, so now I’m carrying both it and a fresh one.
This one’s another commission from my friend Kevin. Merry Christmas Allie!
I worked from an Instagram photo of her two cats before a windowsill. The layout was the first challenge. Since the original photo was square, I mocked up a few options in landscapes and portrait orientations. This landscape option gave it a little more room to breathe, and is closer to what an observer would see. I made some small adjustments to the composition to remove a few ambiguous objects (between the cats, and on the far right), add a little more separation between the cats for a better silhouette, and scooted the vase over a bit.
The second challenge was getting an accurate sketch of the perspective. Between the windowsills and the blinds, I spent a little extra time on the sketch to be sure I got it right. This painting is a bit larger than I usually work so I used my massive T-square (3 feet long) to make the sketch. It’s so big I often only use it for mat cutting…or retrieving things that have rolled away under furniture. Nice to use it for its intended purpose!
Since the lighting is so bright, I used a few additional reference photos of the cats to get the colors right. They have a light tan undercoat with grayish stripes. The stippling texture I’ll often use in details worked out well here for their coloration. One of the most interesting parts to paint was the tabletop due to the window and vase reflections. I also enjoyed painting the cats, and in particular getting the ear positions right. They’re definitely listening here.
It’s been a fun exercise, though I like having these as pick-up projects rather than forcing a daily schedule. I’ll keep doing this and posting batches as they are ready. It’ll be a good project to have on hand if I’m more in the mood to draw people rather than my current object-sketching project, Undefined Variables.