In case you’re anything like Natasha, you may be wondering if the only thing I ever draw is pretty girls. The answer is yes, I draw other things in my sketchbook. 🙂 I just find pretty girls to be incredibly difficult and this other stuff comes pretty easily now, so it doesn’t seem like such a big deal when I draw a horse.
Laser guns! Pew pew!
Pretty girl face! Heyyyy….. that’s not supposed to be in here. Okay – so I have a few ladies in my sketchbook.
I’ve been kindof prolific in my sketchbook lately! Overall, despite all my complaining, I’m liking the visible improvement over past sketchbooks. Not everything is gelling quite the way I want it to, but I’m holding my expectations up against a lot of really talented artists, so if I’m getting even a little nearer, I feel pretty proud.
My lifedrawing is getting faster, and although you can’t see them in the final images, my drawings are humming with construction lines by the time I’m done and I think I have a pretty good sense of where all the parts of people go.
The summer’s been full of big blockbuster movies that I’ve been excited about, so here’s a couple of quick reviews of stuff I’ve seen lately:
Man of Steel – Mostly Good – I was conflicted about going to this movie because I didn’t think Superman needed a dark angsty reboot, and since the movie I’ve read a lot of really valid criticism of the film, but I still had a lot of fun watching Zod and Kal-El wrastlin’ around Metropolis levelling everything as they went. I dunno – go for the spectacle of a fun popcorn film, but if you’re a big Superman fan, leave your heart at the door, because this version of him is technically kindof a monster, when you think about it.
The Bling Ring – Neat but Slow – I’m a Sophia Coppola fan, and I dig caper movies, so Natasha and I went opening night and had the theatre entirely to ourselves. It’s the true-life story of a bunch of bored LA teenagers who break into a series of celebrity homes and ransack the places for glamourous outfits. A large part of the movie felt unscripted, Coppola’s long lingering shots of teenagers going through closets and snatching handbags were eerie and chaotic. As far as capers go – the kids brag about their exploits with everyone in earshot, so it’s hardly a whodunnit for the police. This is mostly an analysis of the lives of materialistic, drug-addled teens making terrible choices. More of a renter than a theatre movie.
Moon – Weird and Fun – In this 2009 flick, Sam Rockwell plays Sam the isolated moon miner, who’s looking forward to going home to his wife and kids on earth. That is – until he crashes his moon rover and upon returning, realizes he’s been prematurely replaced by his clone. It’s a fun film made better for the incredible acting and camerawork required to shoot Rockwell opposite himself throughout most of the film. The effects work was really cool – I suspect they used physical models out on the lunar surface, because the shots were gorgeous and the lighting was amazing.
The King of Kong – Super Crazy – This documentary film about trying to set a Donkey Kong high score was way more intense than it ought to have been. Steve Wiebe obsesses over the game after getting laid off from his engineering job, and finally beats Billy Mitchell’s record, only to have his entry disqualified by what can only be described as video game henchmen. So he sets out to prove his mettle against Mitchell in a live tournament for the Guinness book of records. The drama over something hardly anyone cares about is incredible, this one is a must-watch. You couldn’t have intentionally written weirder, better characters. Two thumbs up.
I frequently attend a life-drawing workshop with a twist – every month the Dr. Sketchy models dress up in fun costumes and we get to draw them in their outfits. Last month local cosplaying guru Champagne Sugar showed up as Wonder Woman and struck a bunch of fun power-poses.
My drawings were so-so – superheroines are supposed to be easy to doodle! I really agonized over some of the lines and I never quite got the proportions right on this one. I wanted to post it anyhow (with a quick splash of colour) because Wonder Woman is fun and I’m a big fan, and I figured I should eventually post some of my sketchy sketches.
I’ve been messing around with an off-camera flash system I bought, and I’m having a lot of fun experimenting with translucent flowers and edge-lit stuff. This is a peony from our garden outside. There’s lots of highlight blowout, but that’s sortof the luminous effect I was going for.
I gave the Kerbal Space Program game demo a shot on the weekend after watching some Youtube videos of people’s game play. It’s a physics sandbox game where you build rockets and send little green men (Kerbals) to the moon (Mun), planets and various other spots in their nearly-to-scale solar system.
So at first it’s super fun – building rockets and having them go horribly awry on the launchpad is often hilarious – made extra-macabre by the terrified facial expressions of the little astronauts onboard. Sadly the better you are at the game, the less fun it feels to play. Once you figure out the logistics of building viable rockets, all the planets are more or less reachable if you’re patient enough to wait through the sometimes really tedious (if you have to make a lot of course correcting burns) gameplay.
There’s plenty to do if you’re self-motivated – beyond the demo there’s space planes, space stations, docking ports, weird propulsion systems – how little fuel can you take to reach Eloo or Duna? How many engines does it take to put a Kerbal into the sun? 🙂 Build a habitat on the moon! But the game’s unfinished yet, and as such there’s not a ton of extrinsic motivation to do any of these things unless you’re really passionate about optimizing orbital mechanics.
If you’re a space enthusiast, the game has lots of fun science and physics behind it, and I learned a lot of interesting things in a first-hand way – why they do rollovers, choosing engines based on (real-ish) specs, the ship design impact of trying to keep the G-forces within survivable human (kerbal) tolerances. So it’s worth playing, just for the sake of wrapping your head around practical physics stuff you think you probably already know on paper.
Graphics are pretty good, for an indie game, and certainly good enough for the kind of game it is. Music is actually great – I really enjoy the spacey sounds that play when you accomplish various orbits. The controls are a bit painful, and made worse by a lack of tutorial mode. There’s a heap of keyboard commands that are integral at various points in your rocket flight – you’ll need a keyboard shortcut guide to make it through even the first launch stages.