Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Killing Lines

What is it that makes the smaller than an inch wrong turn of a mark upset a design so. As I sketch these imagined objects in pigment pen on an appropriately weighty stock, the forms I derive from skeletal frames materialized in alien eggshells, so easily broken. Today, I made a fist with my free hand after another failed formation, not for pounding, but for the tension it let me release when I eventually opened my hand.

Does it ever get easier? Will I sooner than later get my bearings and draw good things on purpose (whether they have one or not?) There was a moment tonight where I recognized a few of those shapes from my explorations on an existing vehicle, an underground LHD loader. It was an incredibly simple partial cylinder fused with a boxy wedge shape, and I felt as though I had already drawn it 100 times.

A dreadful day of drawing awaits. I'm close to wrapping up an evening of scanning the web for inspiration. I have a newly found fascination with flintlock pistols, afro picks (contemporary and ancient), resonanators and oscillators, and gun katars. So much to draw. So little time.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Real Drawing

It was during my misguided days as an engineering student at San José State University that I had phenomenal luck of rooming with an industrial design major. He was a transfer student from an area junior college who had already amassed an impressive body of work in the form of latex creature masks sculpted and cast completely on his own. Tom was always either sketching for his design classes, or sanding Bondo® in the stairwell of Hoover Hall, or working in the model shop well into the early morning hours. I envied the fact that he had found a major that allowed him to do what he loved and what he was good at.

Years later, after my disqualification from the mechanical engineering program and Tom's leaving for Art Center in Pasadena, California, I ran into him at a Massive Black Inc. workshop in Seattle, Washington. We had corresponded off and on through email, but it was great meeting up with him again and seeing how far his work had progressed while working in games. I remember seeing him surrounded by attendees at his table with his portfolio of sketches strewn about for anyone to browse through. He was that kind of person: generous with his knowledge and unpretentious.

This semester's props, weapons and vehicles course with Brandon Luyen at AAU is my first time experiencing first hand an approach to design drawing that reminds me of what I enjoyed about seeing Tom's marker and ballpoint pen sketches on vellum. Even as an undergrad at CCAC, I was always intrigued by the dynamic and expressive form studies the lower-division industrial design students posted on the crit walls near the beginning of the semester. As with so many other practical drawing and painting principles I've learned at the Academy, part of me dreads not having gotten a stronger foundation as an undergrad when I was much younger. And yet, after two weeks of a highly focused sketching regimen, I am seeing some improvement in an area of sketching, namely sketching mechanical objects and basic geoforms freehand with a pen. It's easy to overlook the importance of drawing mechanical objects freehand in a way that reflects a deeper understanding of the structure of things. We spend a significant amount of time looking at and drawing existing objects using a method that forces us to see through and around objects.

Aside from having a couple of amazing classmates, we look a lot of inspiring examples of prop and weapon designs for games done by industry professionals. The continual emphasis on design in my illustration, animation and game design courses reminds me of how much more I need to study through sketching.

An added bonus has been time with a Cintiq. We used them in Visual Development for Games with Michael Buffington, but the class was so poorly taught that had to force myself to do the assignments, let alone take full advantage of the facilities. Nonetheless, with or without a Cintiq, it's great to once again wake up with a strong desire to draw first thing in the morning.

Here's a look at Tom's amazing and diverse body of professional work: Tom Johnson Studios

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Nr. Young

An inordinate amount of time on public transit over the past couple of weeks has led me to conclude that we might as well just go ahead and add "nigga" to the list of accepted honorifics, along with Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr. etc. I shall hereby accept Nr. Young as an expression of cultural awareness and sensitivity until further notice.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Willie Brown's Bridge

I am happy to share that in spite of the usual pattern of inconsiderate drivers encountered during my morning an evening commute to and from San Francisco, driving under the new gleaming white tower and suspension section of the Bay Bridge is always an uplifting experience.

Beauty matters.

Attaboy coming to CCSF!

Hi-Frucktose Magazine Founder/Publisher, Toy Designer, Book Illustrator/Designer, and more!
Attaboy will talk about his pilot with Cartoon Network, his new book, Hi-Fructose's upcoming box set, some toy inventions, and Hollywood/art misadventures.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
City College of San Francisco
Visual Arts Building
Room 102
50 Phelan Avenue, Ocean Campus
6:10p to 7:30p

Space limited due to classroom size, so arrive early!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Short Good-bye

My work and school schedules will prevent me from frequent blog posts until mid-December. Having entered what may be my second to last semester at AAU, the challenge of crafting a strong and cohesive portfolio and final thesis presentation will require my full attention. I've added a new and intensive regimen of daily sketching exercises in addition to my weekly homework assignments and learning Maya. I'm hoping that sacrificing a bit of fun, sleep and socializing (including deactivating my Facebook account) will keep me on track for a successful fall semester.