Less than an hour ago I was sitting outside and inside the venerable S&W; diner. A co-worker and I were going to have breakfast there before starting to work, but I think he forgot. No matter, there’s always the trusty sketchbook!
Sketchup is a 3d modeling program that is very “drawing oriented” and has been adopted by several storyboard artist friends of mine as a way to segue into the world of 3d. I’ve never used it, but have been aware of it for years. Most 3d programs like Maya or LightWave make use of “primitives”, ie: cubes or spheres, from which you can create complex objects by extruding faces or dividing and shaping the primitive. Sketchup actually allows you to “draw” shapes in a 3d window and “pull” other shapes out of it. Some video tutorials of what I’m talking about can be seen here. It seems like a great program especially for creating archetectural objects like buildings and rooms.
This program used to cost about four or five hundred bucks. Now it’s free. No kidding. You can check it out and download it here. I guess Google bought it and is making a version of it free to download for PC.
I’ve had several friends use it to generate background images for storyboards, and the results are impressive. And, as I’ve said, it may be a good stepping stone from the world of drawing into the world of 3d, if one were inclined to go that way.
This is one of those mysterious things coming out of most of our homes. It’s a 1930s-era electrical power terminal, I’m pretty sure, seeing as the wires go to the telephone poles in the backyard. It’s one of those things you see all the time but never really look at, if you know what I mean.
I sat down in the backyard while the kids were running around and sketched my studio (click to enlarge, if you want). Note the Texas barbecue prominently positioned for maximum use (I love to barbecue). The strange shape in the lower left is part of a kids’ slide. I was inspired to draw this from reading a book, The Creative License by Danny Gregory. Monica, a reader of this blog, was kind enough to recommend it to me a short while back. The book came in the mail on Friday and I spent a good portion of the weekend reading through it and enjoying every minute of it. Mr Gregory is an entertaining writer and a real proponent of drawing – as a way of seeing, as a tool of discovery – and of journaling too. It lead me to want to draw even more than usual, just for the fun of it. I’m not even finished reading the book either. Ha.
I’ve slacked off a little on my sketching and blogging lately because work’s been so crazy – 16 and 20-hour days, etc. I love my work, I’m not complaining; but I have been looking forward to a moment to collect myself and sketch something unrelated to the current job. We had a few days off this weekend for the holiday, so I did some sketching, which I look forward to posting up here in the near future.
This weekend was beautiful here. I had to work on Sunday, but on Saturday the kids kept trying to play practical jokes on me (“April fools!”). The weather was perfect, too.
I love this book. Sketches from Japan by Francis D.K. Ching is a reproduction of a sketchbook that Mr. Ching made during a month’s stay in Japan. Every day he would go out and sketch the buildings and things he saw around him in the area of O-okayama, where he was teaching and staying, southwest of Tokyo. The drawings are all made with a Mont Blanc fountain pen and are some of the most beautiful free-hand perspective drawings I’ve ever seen. He made the drawings as a pure exercise in the enjoyment of drawing, never intending, necessarily, to have them seen or published. What I like is the delicate, yet supremely confident line he uses. There is a polite authority, a quiet, understated power to his sketches that I find really compelling. I also love the simple open white space in this book. I’ve made sketchbooks in which I’ve seemingly tried to fill up every inch of blank paper before going on to the next page resulting in a manic quality that, looking back on it, I’m not too fond of. But Sketches from Japan is the exact opposite: there’s a wonderful serenity to the openness, as if the artist is saying, “Look at this… Now look at this…” Every time I pick this book up and leaf through the pages I want to grab a pen or pencil and go out and draw. And since the original journal was not intended as anything other than a personal exploration in the use of a pen for it’s own sake, there’s an unpretentious freshness to it that is almost impossible to find in books about drawing.