Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Staying on the path

One of my biggest problems with doing long-term projects is that I lose focus throughout the process. I get all kinds of great ideas that will be awesome as long as I stick with them...and then somewhere along the way I either don't see any reason to continue, or I forget what I was doing and move on to something else. I've been nervous this year that I would fall into that same trap.

This morning there was a snow day, and I opted to stay in rather than chance it on the road. I decided to spend a few hours setting up my workspace & organizing my files.  While poking around, I found one titled, "Pre-2017 Perspective."

I couldn't remember making it, or what was in it. Maybe stuff about how I was feeling emotionally at the time? Nope. Apparently, I made a list in December 2016 of all the stuff I intended to work on during 2017. I was surprised to see that the things I have been focusing on are exactly what I put down on the list. Some things, like developing Auto Von Makenstüff and doing videos with Cadaver Dave, haven't moved much forward. But even with those projects, I've actually been on track. Awesome!

I'm pretty sick of the snow, but I am very glad to have this break to get myself in order. I'm finding that having time to do things like this is making everything else I do much more effective.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Invasive Weeds

Gardening time is nearly here! That means things will start settling into the soil, stretching their roots, and preparing to blossom. It also means a lot of prep work to get to that point.

Among other things, I have to do something with the blackberry vines. They grow and grow and grow, and then when they reach the ground, a root forms at the tip of the vine. And that root sprouts more vines. It's so easy for them to infest an area, and difficult for us to figure out where it all begins.

Chainsaws can be useful to clear a lot away, but aren't accessible or advisable for everyone. Try to cut it down with clippers and you'll spend all your time defending the ground you've gained from new growth.

Far better to put on thick gloves and pull. Tear at it until it rips out, like old fashioned wires from the walls of a cheap house. And there it will be - the new root that has buried itself deep down in the ground. Cut it off and look for another. Repeat until the garden is clear.

It takes a lot of work, and it isn't an instant fix. But the more roots pulled out, the less work maintaining it in the future, and the healthier the garden will be.

Monday, February 20, 2017


One of the tough things in trying to go a new route in life is persisting through the iffy times - when it's not clear if current actions are leading anywhere productive. Are we using the right path, or are we wasting energy and risking permanent residence in the deadly woods? Giving up on useless endeavors is a good strategy for survival. Like any good tool, though, it is easy to use giving up too much.

The key is learning when to keep going and when to rest. Now is the time to keep going.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


I have had to take a break from making art progress. Too much learning going on, so now trying to sit and free draw makes my mind come up blank.

However, I don't feel too bad about not practicing. There is a lot besides skill with pencils and other art tools. There is also scheduling and business skills to master.

So pardon, I have unscrewed my skull & taken my brain out for a good cleaning. It's a good thing to do when possible.

In the meantime, if you are having trouble feeling love for your fellow sentient beings, I suggest thinking about what you do feel love for. When you have trouble making art, return back to that love and make something easy & simple to showcase it. It's good for you and for the world.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Proko: Gesture drawing

I challenged myself to sketch 100 gesture drawings by Sunday evening. It was fun and challenging, and I am still not sure I'm doing it 'correctly.' But, according to Stan Prokopenko, the exercise is more about doing a mental shift in how we approach drawing. Awesome!

After geting all that done, I decided to try sketching from refs & from my brain. Result: What happened to my drawing abilities?! This happens to me sometimes when I study some aspect of a process closely, so I'm reasonably sure I'll get it back. For now, I'm practicing Prokopenko's take on the Andrew Loomis style of drawing heads.

I will keep tryong to make a finished piece. In the meantime, I'm approaching my "Why isn't it working?!" Problems with more study & practice. My progress is happening fast enough that wading through this is much more pleasant than it used to be.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Working on the basics: Proko video series: The Bean

I'm working on the basics I never learned very well: Proportion, anatomy, basic design. It occurred to me that all the problems I'm frustrated with could be solved if I just immerse myself in study and practice. Thankfully there are many free resources, including extensive art lessons and tutorials on youtube.

I started following a channel called Proko, and have given myself homework from what I've been watching. Today's homework: doing 100 sketches of The Bean.

The bean is a way of drawing the human torso. It seems to work really well for me.