Obscure, Destroy | Sketch 5 WIP

Obscure, Destroy | Sketch 5 WIP+ View the sketch on Flickr.

This one’s accumulating over the course of many nights. An hour here, a half hour there. I think this page’s pencil work is done. Not sure if I’m going to continue the theme on the facing page. But I wanted to make sure to document the progress before I did anything truly destructive to it.

I’m bound to mess this up.

View / leave a comment: 0 Comments
View / leave a comment: 0 Comments

Jake and Allison

Jake+ View the drawing on Flickr.

Allison+ View the drawing on Flickr.

Today The Stables had a 4-hour workshop focusing on The Portrait. Pretty humbling experience for me. It had been a [seemingly] very long time since I had drawn from life. And Alec and Joe are really good artists (the guys that run the Stables and the workshop).

So I was definitely fumbling and mis-measuring a bunch during the drawing of Jake from above. But with lots of erasing and re-measuring and remembering how to see, I managed to pull out a decent likeness.

Allison’s portrait was more successful only in the sense that I had the measurements down much quicker. Probably because I was warmed up by this point. But I failed to capture the beautiful volume that describes the form of her head.

Beginning to think that it really is better to find a middle value before attempting to lay down other values — that way you can find that volume much easier. But today’s workshop was more about measurement techniques and accurately seeing.

View / leave a comment: 0 Comments
View / leave a comment: 0 Comments
View / leave a comment: 0 Comments

Obscure, Destroy | Sketch 1

Obscure, Destroy | Sketch 1+ View the sketch on Flickr.

I’ve had a lot rolling around in my head lately — specifically around how to go about being a “real” artist. Being a “real” artist is merely a concept. It doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s not something measurable or tangible or even universally definable.

But I have this Platonic ideal of what an artist is. And I am not this thing.

For a long time now, I have been privately fighting an uphill battle to find a looser technique in my [occasional] work. To find less precision in my linework. To find more expressiveness in my gestures. To convey something demonstrably human-made, I guess. And today, I decided to stop fighting the nature of what I am decidedly good at: tightness.

So much of what I do is so measured, calculated, controlled. And perhaps a bit cold because of it. This goes well beyond pencil sketches and into every facet of my living day.

So I’ve decided to embrace these traits in what I do now. I’m going to push this aspect of me that I’ll never be able to shake out of my being.

But I still want to find a sense of looseness. I want to learn to give up control. I want to learn not to hold that which I create as precious. And so I started a new sketchbook today. I’m calling it my Obscure, Destroy Sketchbook, and I’ve got some simple goals and parameters:

  • Each sketch must consume the entire 2-page spread.
  • Each sketch must in some way obscure or destroy the under-work in some way.
  • Each sketch must use at least one color.

I want to examine controlled destruction. I want to build up and tear down and watch the interplay between the two acts. I want to have no idea of the outcome. I want to have intention, but I want to let the “now” lead me where it may.

Maybe along the way I’ll manage to create a compelling image. Here’s hoping.

View / leave a comment: 2 Comments

Thoughts on FITC Amsterdam

Wrapped Statue

So, I just have to say that the gang at FITC did an amazing job with FITC Amsterdam. I’m back, fully energized, inspired, and jetlagged.

On day two of the conference, I presented a modified version of the “Harnessing the Abundance” presentation I debuted at FITC San Francisco 2010. The talk was well-received, and it seems folks took a lot of different things away from the presentation. It’s really interesting to connect to people in so many different ways and levels — especially considering the international, multi-disciplinary nature of the audience.

But one question I encountered quite a bit when talking with the other speakers was, “What was your talk about?” Stacey Mulcahy asked me this during her Influxis Voodoo Lounge session, requesting I sum it up in a single sentence. After some floundering, I eventually settled on this: “My talk was about how we can use technology to make our dreams come true.” It was a bit of a tongue-in-cheek interview, but looking at that statement, it’s really not that far off.

My presentation was about ways we can make the most of today’s technological landscape in our creative process — specifically in realizing our creative ideas. I firmly believe that we’re living in a special time. The technologies and communities that surround us have reached such a tipping point that regardless of your background, we have never been more capable of taking our ideas and making them real.

I created a special page on my site devoted to covering the tips and pointers I discussed during my talk. You can find them here:

Harnessing the Abundance Notes

During my presentation, I attempted to illustrate these pointers through a project I’ve been working on for the better part of two and a half years. Here are some blog posts and videos that chronicle that project’s progress, most of which was shown during my talk:

Also, all the software and tools that I wrote and released during the creation of Flow can be found over at this Google Code project:

capturingflow.com (if link is down, check here instead.)

And for me, the highlights of the conference were definitely presentations from Evan Roth, GMUNK (Bradley Munkowitz), and MK12 (Ben Radatz). Getting to meet and interact one-on-one with these personal heroes of mine was quite humbling. They were modest, kind, and appreciative through and through. I tend to forget sometimes that these people we look up to and admire are, in fact, people. And every time I get to meet and have a discussion with one of these pillars of our community, the world gets a little bit smaller, things seem a little bit more possible, and I realize just how amazing it is to be a part of this community.

A big thank you to everyone who came out to FITC Amsterdam, who came out to see me, and who came up to me afterward to share their comments and make a connection.

View / leave a comment: 0 Comments
View / leave a comment: 0 Comments
View / leave a comment: 0 Comments
View / leave a comment: 2 Comments