SPREY Log #22 – Far Away

I’m writing you from a weird place in my life. I’m at a crossroad with regards to many things, and another day another crossroad choosing one thing over another again. I kept my promise to myself and continued grinding the art and filling the gaps in the fundies. I’ve even taken up learning to code and 3D animation.

This time around things are actually working out for me. I’m learning to code. In a couple of weeks I might actually be able to help my husband on the coding front of Your Land and other future projects. I think what made it so hard for me to learn it for such a long time was the wrong belief that coding is so „different“ from art and I’m somehow jeopardizing my specialization/skills if I try to dive into that as well. Then I would be double zero, not pro at art, not pro at code. What actually is happening though was the opposite, surprisingly. The moment I didn’t care about my art gains anymore, they started chasing me. And the coding gains exceed what a beginner has when they quickly dive into a thing and get stuck at the first bigger roadblock. I was always good with computers and coding in school, apparently that never went away. Now it can shine. What I did not know was that most „tutorials“ for beginner games are too difficult for an actual beginner. It’s not crochet, you aren’t done with learning a couple of moves and getting comfortable with the patterns. Yes, you can absolutely just copy the code and hope your result does what you want it to do – but if you don’t know what the computer science definitions and abstract principles mean, when you don’t know the language and engine used enough so that you actually understand what you are doing… you know nothing. If you go wrong at copying the code you have no chance to find your mistake. And worse, if the tutorial is wrong…you are left with nothing, even if you followed it accurately. Most tutorials will not start to explain to you the basics and underlying principles of things. Also these aren’t things you can just stumble upon through trial and error. So if you find yourself in the position of someone who either never had computer science classes or forgot them, go for the actual dummy classes on the level of what words mean and simple exercises to understand simple things such as how to make the program repeat a snippet of code three times without you having to spell it out.

I feel hopeful for my future. What if I can make it and fulfill my dreams after all? I feel, even being very far away from SPREY right now, what I’m doing, serves SPREY and all of my future creations. I believe in it.

See you next blogpost!

Lessons from the One Week Portrait Challenge 01

I took part in the free One Week Portrait Challenge hosted by Paintable this year. Thank you for the short and entertaining course. I went in with the intention to watch my process and learn from the process(es) I would be presented to improve my digital portrait drawing skills in the future. Whereas some of my friends seemed to bored because the tasks at hand did not challenge them enough (lucky them), I got a lot from returning to the basics of the basics and I’m going to share this with you!

Day 01

This day was all about perception & measurement. Think about it, if nothing is to be taken for granted, not even *seeing* like an artist and understanding and translating what you saw – then often a portrait is doomed from the start, even before the pencil has hit the paper. If you, like many other artists (including myself) fail to instantly see and understand the facial planes and proportions of the individual face before you, you will not achieve likeness in your drawn result. I am not saying that you can’t do a good drawing. You might just feel this nagging unease that you don’t know what went wrong and don’t really know how to fix it to make it look more alike to whatever reference you are using.

I have included my own visual notes from that day. The reference picture I chose is an obscure low res photograph of young Jeremy Dufour. Whatever it is not, it is more than enough to study proportions and perception.

My most interesting finding was that up until then I had ignored angles. Angles are fantastic to tame out of control geometry. Do you know the situation when you have drawn a face and it has all elements of a face you remembered a face should have – you even considered perspective and anatomy – but it’s wrong. It’s not what you want and you can’t lay your finger on it. Your result feels so off from the reference (or worse, from your own imagination), but everything that should be there, is there! Not always, but often enough, checking your angles helps to bring a drawing back into the “proper” shape. The “right” facial features do not help when they are placed in the wrong position at the wrong size. Relying on geometry alone (such as planes of the face) can trick you, because geometry does not solve your placement and size problem – you can still see or remember the wrong things and then have a wonky result. But bring the angles in and suddenly your geometry doesn’t have as much wiggle room.