Schedule 2C

Gestures and something new... The flash pose.

Flash! AAAA-aaaa!

Another gesture exercise. This one's pretty interesting. I have only seconds (as in, one to five) to save the earth scribble down what I see. It's supposed to help me acquire the impulse of the gesture, the thing that supposedly holds it all together. Less time encourages me to see more.

Just a man
With a man's courage
Nothing but a man
But he can never fail

Another cross contour of an arm. Another contour of a toilet. Kidding. It's actually a dude at an odd angle. The posemaniacs site files it under full, h0, v60, male, stand. Not sure what all that means. Full, man, and stand are pretty obvious (not necessarily by my picture), but the h0, v60 I'm not sure about. Horizontal? Vertical? I'm sure it's something to do with angle. Hmm... Maybe. If h spears his side, and v splits his left and right, if the camera is angled 60 degrees from his belly button (or, navel, since that makes more sense), that might just be what that means.


Schedule 2B

When I was much younger, I used to draw very darkly with my pencil, used to cram the lead right in to the paper, which made it quite difficult to erase properly. Slowly but surely, by the time I was younger, I started to draw quite lightly, only darkening in what I considered to be a good enough final product, which really saved on erasers. Now, I'm having to draw heavy again in order for it to show up on my scanner. Not that that's a real problem, though. Kimon said not to even use an eraser until Exercise 28. I'm at 4.

"This thing we call gesture is as separate from the substance through which it acts as the wind is from the tress that it bends."

Mmm. College rule. I wanted to stop wasting the more expensive computer paper on gestures. I have loads of loose leaf paper that I no longer have immediate use for and it's a lot cheaper. Well...it *was* a lot cheaper. Some of this stuff is even yellow I've had it so long.

Cross contour of an arm. Contour of...well, I did do a pair of crossed legs, but it was crappier than normal (no kidding), so it's a no show. And I keep running out of paper. That is, to draw on. That is, the paper itself is lacking surface area sufficient for my practicing. It just doesn't feel free enough practicing contour and trying to keep it in a box.

Ouch! I probably haven't stabbed myself with a pencil in five years. Welcome back, Josh.


Schedule 2A

Nothing like looking at a naked old lady bending over every time I open this book. I don't know... She is kind of hot. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing how the more you look at someone, the better looking they start to get.

Yesterday was a "long" day. Not bad or unfortunate day, simply tiring--but a good tiring. Drawing had to be relegated.

Potential gestures. It's what it sounds like. Instead of drawing the gesture, I am commanded to draw what I imagine to be the next gesture in the sequence. Which means nothing to you, since you'll just be seeing more of my scribblings.

Feeling a little dull at the moment, wondering what I should use to draw, I typed the first thing I thought of--"model gestures"--into Google image search. Saw a sheet of gestures and clicked on it. Wow. The dude improved pretty impressive in twenty-two days. Something he wrote though should have been an obvious to me: "I also played some movie to get some inspiration for different poses." A movie. Kick ass, dude. Man, some things sure are slow coming. I blame it on not watching movies often and not watching television at all. Not something I care to change. I will, however, appropriate some of it for art practice. Movie of the day? "One Upon a Time in China."

Aah! More reading is good. Found this neat little program following one of the links from the page. I think my last practice was a little too sketchy and not enough gesturey.

Cross contour... I'm gonna let you guys figure this one out.

"Of course, the pose you draw will seldom be the pose the model actually takes. But the effort to realize how the model could move from his present position--what it would be possible for him to do [...]"

Kung fu movies were a bit before his time.

Personally, I don't immediately see the value of potential gestures. Frankly, they bug me. Probably because the word "potential" bugs me.

I decided to continue on with the kung fu gestures--back to static, this time--since the movie was still playing.

For this contour (I've seen it called *blind* contour in another place), I decided to do something simpler for myself. That, ladies and gentlemen, is my tablet stylus standing in its stand. Yes, I traced around that for thirty minutes trying to synchronize my organs.

Honestly, this is the first day since Schedule 1A that I did all five exercises required of me. Also, I know I'm training something. When I was contouring the pen, occasionally I could feel my eyes latch onto the edge and follow it smoothly along--that is, before my eyes got dry and I blinked and lost focus. Regardless, it was smooth and not jumpy like usual. A couple more years of this and we might just have something.

Like a stare. A cold, penetrating stare. Or possibly a warm one. A warm, penetrating stare. Mom said it's not polite to stare. But I'm twenty-five mom, and a man that's been dead for seventy-two years says that I must.


Schedule 1E

Kimon introduced cross contour, today. Which is, well, different from another version of the term that I've read. No big deal; I'm going to try it his way (or, that is, what seems to be his way, according to the single picture in the book). Contour's all about finding a sense of touch, he says. Touch, touch, touch. No, not poke, touch--as in that gliding type of touch like petting a cat. Or person. I pet people sometimes. Hasn't seemed to help my art, though. Yet.

Google image search fails me.

I'm glad I'm a picture pack rat. Don't have many physically, but I can store loads and loads of them on my computer and they take up very little space. Like, nanometers or something. Yes, I realize that a meter is a linear measurement, but bear with me. It's great because I can just go along and pick them up right and left at my leisure. And the great thing about electric theft is that the people still have what is theirs--I just have it too, now. Crazy.

Well, here's a couple. Correct me if I'm wrong: this gesture thing seems pretty easy to me. I wonder if I'm doing it right.

Well, seeing that contouring organics is much more enjoyable, I decided to sketch a body builder today and...what the hell is that? My. Well, I decided to go with a one a little more realistic. Still shying away from the women a bit. I remember when I was fifteen and I got a little more interested in this (art) and mom found out that I was using this half naked picture of a woman for artistical learning purposes. Half naked. She was wearing a light green skirt over her nether regions and covering the delicate areas of her chest with her hands. It wasn't porn, didn't even feel like porn, but it was a half naked woman on my computer with me in front of it (pencil in hand), and that was all mom needed. The conversation went something a-like-a this:

Mom: (angry, hurt-ish eyes) What were you doing looking at *that* on your computer?
Me: (wary, scared-ish eyes) You won't believe me if I tell you.
Mom: Try me.
Me: Art.
Mom: I find that hard to believe.

Thankfully, I didn't get beat that day.

I find it amusing that I managed to sketch the guy's left hand huge like that each time. I started at different sides each time, too--to the left of his neck with the first one, to the right on the other. I also realize that I must have looked at the clock wrong because I did the cross contour before the second set of gestures. Which means it would have at least have been before 1953. The girl was from the first set of gestures which I completed around 1400 this morning, but I forgot to date her. Oh well, it's a mystery I don't care to solve.

"These contours may be drawn haphazardly on the paper--one across the forehead followed by another across the chest. They need not be connected or in place, and to an uninitiated observer they will be entirely meaningless."

Well, that's comforting.


Schedule 1D

Since I've started this book, I've started sharpening my pencil with a metal file. Frankly, I quite like it. I sharpen it on six sides to give it this hexagon shape. I particularly like the hexagon.

I figure I'll let you guys in on the specifics of the schedules this guy's laid out, that is, at least 1B-1D:

Half Hour -- Ex. (Exercise) 2: Gesture (25 drawings)
Half Hour -- Ex. 1: Contour (one drawing)
Quarter Hour -- Ex. 2: Gesture (15 drawings)
Quarter Hour -- Rest
Half Hour -- Ex. 2: Gesture (25 drawings)
One Hour -- Ex. 1: Contour (one or two drawings)

Honestly, I've been following it pretty well. Well, except I drop the middle gesture exercise and take breaks between each exercise. Except my breaks are actually studying Japanese. Gotta keep the learning juices flowing, you know. Honestly, this is the most studious I've ever been. Up to high school, I didn't study at all, did all my homework in class, and got straight A's. 4.0 GPA (Actually 11.0, they didn't use the 4.0 grading scale in Missouri.) In high school, I still didn't study, I did 3/4 of my homework at home, and started getting B's. Graduated with a 3.87 GPA, I think. In college, I studied, did all my homework at home, and started getting C's (and even a D [Calculus]). Dropped just below a 3.0 GPA. But now...I don't go to school and learn everything at home... Not quite sure how that figures, yet.

I decided to lump both the gesture exercises together (same with the contour). Besides, all of them were based off the Google image search "people in park". I started with "people at beach", but there was too much skin and art was starting to stray out of focus, so I had to quickly change gears. And the umpire says, "Safe!" Honestly, the people in the park were more animated than the people at the beach. The latter were like of bunch of sea lions. I never saw the attraction of laying down in a broiler. And I'd rather swim in fresh water than salt.

You know, the dude made some arbitrary distinction between a gesture and a sketch; I wonder which one I'm doing. Said it needed to say something about the whole form within the first ten seconds, and I accomplish that...

I did these with one stroke--that is, I never pulled my pencil from the paper (or looked at the paper until it was finished). When I did the previous ones, I stopped at points to move the pencil to a new place and became discouraged seeing how bad it was. This way, at least it's a solid mess instead of many messes.

And yes, that was my third attempt at the toilet. If a guy can't hit a toilet right, what kind of aspiring artist is he? I think it's the long, cold lines that's getting me. You know, like walking in the desert and how everything starts looking the same. "Wasn't I just there?" So my eye balls jump forward. "Oops, I think I went too fast." So my eyes go back a bit. However, I am more satisfied with this toilet that the last two. Serious.


Schedule 1C

Helped some friends set a deck today. Ate a very nice (and very large) breakfast, there. Played some Rampart (finally found someone else that enjoys that game--props to you, Jacques-man; yes, the swelling did go down in my finger). Got back home around two. Which left me doing art at (glances at clock) five. Seeing I'm already typing on the computer, I'm going to look into my big ol' bag of pictures for the gesture (and likely, contour) exercises.

Ever have one of those moments where you go "Oh!" because you've finally realized something that had been happening for a while or, perhaps, realized what you had just (as in, just four days ago) seen? I have them all the time. Recently (a few seconds ago), even. I had this music (Mother) playing while doing the aforementioned gesture practice. Fifteen gestures later, I realized that the song hadn't changed. Particularly notable because the song is about a minute long. I had checked the "play indefinitely" box on the NotSo Fatso NSF plugin for Winamp when I was using it the other day. Funny, too, because when I was closing the program the other day, I distinctly remembered that I'd probably forget to uncheck it when I started it up again. Viola. As far as gestures, though, nothing new to report. Well, except that I went with some facial gestures this time. That, and either I draw too lightly or I haven't figured out how to use my scanner.

Back in seventh grade, at the ripe age of twelve, I attended Mr. Mack's art class in our public school. It was easily my favorite class. I liked band, and Mr. Bales was easily as superb a teacher, but the trumpet ended up being not as enjoyable as I had expected it to be; no less my best friend Derrick decided to switch from trumpet to baritone and was moved several seats away from me. Mr. Mack's (his real name was Roger MacHaren, or something) class had this...ease to it. We had our projects, and our deadlines, and boy did he get anxious when school plays were coming up, but it was...easy. The only--only--hard time I had in that class was the toothpick project. It was something I had looked forward to. In previous years, I saw kids come out with boats and rollercoasters and all kinds of cool crap. But Mr. Mack liked to vary things a bit, keep things fresh. During my year, during the toothpicks, our job was to make a mobile. Okay. No big deal. Out of "abstract 3D shapes". My understanding flatlined. Three days passed, and as every other kid was gluing away and making a mess, I managed to make one meager, very pathetic "abstract 3D shape". And I cried, right in front of everybody, so damn frustrated at not being able to *not think*. Mr. Mack, being the cool dude he was, just for me alone, let me make a mobile of weapons. Weapons are what I loved, and he well knew that. I finished the project in a couple days.

And so we come back to contour. Thankfully, I've doubled my years since then, and I will mount up against this foe with head held high. It's just a good thing you can't see my eyes.

For your information, that was my second attempt at the toilet.

As a humorous note, I decided to search Google images for more gestures. A baseball batter was the first thing that came to mind. So, I typed "batter" into the search bar. Out of eighteen pictures, four were what I was looking for (only one good one); one had to do with laying foundation. The other thirteen? Didn't even cross my mind until I saw them. Food. Mostly, pancake batter. Before I typed pitcher, I realized what I was getting into. Not entirely, though. There's something incredibly attractive about the woman in this picture. I generally find tattoos quite undesirable...but war paint's a different story. And the way her hair goes all *woosh*. And the double barreled shooter.

It actually took me thirty minutes to draw this. As a picture, it is a complete failure. I assure you that my friend is not radically deformed like that, with one skinny arm, and one fat arm. However, as practice, it was a perfect exercise. This is the most accomplished I've felt doing contour, yet. Then again, maybe there's something more to it than contour. Like tracing the form of a lovely girl with my eyes. For thirty minutes.


Schedule 1B

Oh, my love, my darling
I've hungered for your *touch*
A long, lonely time

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to another exciting day of learning to draw the natural way. Has he gotten any better? Let's see what fourteen hours of sleep can do for a man! (I did not sleep for fourteen hours.)

"Probably you realize already that contour drawing is of the type which is to be done 'painstakingly.'"

No doubt.

"On the other hand, gesture drawing, which you will begin today, is to be done 'furiously.'"

Which is nice. Something like a gesture a minute. I like that pace. Given so many pictures, I had to pick out the *good* ones, though. The cat was my model for thirty minutes. Thirty minutes but not one "Cat, licking butt" pose. I was really looking forward to that one. She does this thing where she sticks her leg straight into the air like some kind of ballerina. I could probably frame a house with that pose. But she was a no show, today.

Back to contour. This exercise, as well as the first, was outside today. It's the water pump house in our back yard. Weee. I waited a few hours after the gesture drawings so, you know, that practice wouldn't interfere with this one. Good thing.

Seeing that not a whole lot's moving around the house, and my sister's birds decided to stay in the shed this gorgeous day, and "Tree, standing" was, I considered, not worthy of being called a gesture (today), I took a movie of me doing silly poses. Work with what you've got, Joshua. Work it! Work it, baby! You sexy thing!

And another round of contour. Really...how is it that my skill got worse? And I know I'm not taking as long as he suggested, either. This was supposed to be an hour of drawing with 1-2 contour exercises. One to two, meaning that one should take more than thirty minutes. As you can see, there was ten minutes between the...handlebars and the...flower pot. Realizing this, I took another effort, a little radical. I closed my right eye, thinking perhaps my binoculars were causing some confusion, and contour-ed the leg attachment for the old Bowflex. Not that you can tell. Dad bought that thing (the Bowflex) back in 2002, or so. All four of us have used it, barely. Of us, I've used it the most. My opinion is that...well...I like free weights better.

I found this bit humorous:

"In general, do not start with the head. Offhand, the only times I can think of when the head would be the natural place for an action would be when a man is standing on his head or hanging on the gallows."

Well, at least I've always done something right. But, that's because I've always sucked with faces.

"There are many things in life that you cannot get by a brutal approach. You must invite them."

Thanks, bub. Ain't that the truth. And I thought this was an art class.

Schedule 1A

Doing something different this time. Just because I can. "Just because" is a good reason to me. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Because He could. Because it seemed good to Him. And nobody questioned Him. I mean, who can argue with the Almighty? I'm not almighty, but, given that I'm living up to His Word, I have the authority to use that same authority. Nice. And what am I doing, just because?


A few days ago, I was cleaning the terribly messy recreation room and I came across a book by the name of The Natural Way to Draw by some dude named Kimon Nicolaides. "Well, crap," I thought to myself, "Why not?" Says the dude died in 1938, born in 1891. Given my superior math skills, I deduced that the dude lived a massively short life of forty-seven years (leave or take, depending on the month). Ouch. The book was copyrighted 1941 by some lady named Anne Nicolaides. I'm guessing wife.

When I was a kid, dad and mom renovated a 1941 Plymouth. Nice car. Quite comfy. Green. Everyone liked it. Different story.

Anyways, this book, so far, is written pretty well. Like the dude's actually talking in this firm but edifying voice. Even has these schedule things. I like schedules. Doesn't mean I apply myself to them very well, but I like them nonetheless. So...this here--something different--is going to be my adventure into this book, in the hopes of improving my drawing skills that are twenty-five years over due. Ladies and gentlemen...

And so the book starts with lessons in "contour". It gives this nice little informative lesson about the arbitrary difference between contour and outline, and, given the explanation, I understood it. Really seems to me to be a lesson in eye-hand coordination, seeing that I'm not allowed to look at my paper and draw at the same time. These pictures will show how little I've developed this skill.

You are now entering...the Kindergarten Zone. Worst. Guitar. Neck. Ever. Hahahaha. Said the subject matter didn't matter. Just draw. So, I picked the first thing my eyes laid...eyes...on... That didn't really make sense. Anyway, it was supposed to be a guitar, but I ran out of paper. I started at the top right and... well... hehe...

So I thought I'd move onto something easier, you know, with less changes in direction--like my mortar and pestle.

My...computer monitor. I realized that I should probably put the time, too. Which is why it's on this one and not the ones before it. This way you can find out how much I'm rushing through these things.

A telephone. With a *cord*. You know it must be an old one. Actually...I think I got it back in 2002. For whatever reason, if I have it plugged into this wonderful dial-up modem at the same time that I'm logged onto the Internet, my connection gets bogged down like...well...I've never really liked similies. So, I keep it unplugged most of the time. I don't like talking on the phone, anyway.

I had to get something organic for this last one. Guess what it is. Come on, guesswhatitis! A foot! Spontaneously quoting one of my all time favorite movies, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles": "Together we will punish these...creatures. These...turtles." Make the connection? That was Shredder talking; he's the leader of the Foot. Hahahahaha. Dude...that was a good movie. I think I'm going to watch it again, later.

The book assured me, in full uppercase, THE SOONER YOU MAKE YOUR FIRST FIVE THOUSAND MISTAKES, THE SOONER YOU WILL BE ABLE TO CORRECT THEM. Personally, I'm glad I made half of them, already.