Sunday, August 28, 2011

In Waves

Wow, I guess it's been quite some time since I made a post. Unfortunately I haven't done much drawing since you guys heard from me last, but what I did do is shown on the right. I should note here that my scanner didn't really get it right, and I had to play with it a little in photoshop just to get the image to show up. No real image editing, just adjustments made to the contrast, etc..

Now first, I'm using a different medium in this drawing. Previously, I've been using just a regular sketch book, which was a bit rough. At least, it was compared to the Bristol board I'm using now. Michael's was having a sale on it a few weeks ago, and when I opened the pad and ran my fingers over the board, I was amazed. Completely smooth. Which really helped contribute to a much more crisp, evenly shaded image. Speaking of shading, this image was drawn without the use of any burnishing tool, tissue, or blending stump. Purely done with shading technique, and this is exactly what I've been trying to accomplish. It was a bit of a hurdle, because I couldn't use a tissue to bail me out if I had some white showing through in the shading. It made me pay a lot more attention to the details, and I will admit that I feel pretty accomplished having drawn this.

I may not have done a ton of drawing over the last few weeks, but I have been playing a ton of guitar. Trivium came out with a new album recently, "In Waves". I can't stop listening to it. The guitar work in it isn't anything ground-breaking for them, though. I honestly think a lot more attention was paid to the riffs and solos in their previous album, "Shogun", from a technical standpoint. But at the same time, this new album is more catchy. I say that in the sense that if I play a song off this new album, with no other instruments or vocals backing it up, the song still makes sense, and it still sounds good. That seems to always have been a problem with most the stuff I play - if you haven't heard the song before, it doesn't really make much sense. Of course, that could just be an issue of my own skill, but anyway.

So, I've already learned seven songs off the album. Well, mostly. Two of the songs I've learned in their entirety - solos, leads, rhythms, everything. The other five, I have at least 70-75% of it down. I'm still working on my soloing skills, so that's the usual story for the things I learn. Hey, I'm teaching myself here, cut me some slack ;-). I wish I had some videos or recordings to share to show what I'm talking about, but I simply don't have the equipment to record anything decent enough.

I realize that this is the first time I've talked about music here, so maybe I should go into a bit more of what I play. In the first years of playing, I spent a lot of time trying to cover songs from Avenged Sevenfold, off their albums "Waking the Fallen" and "City of Evil". Played around a little bit with trying to learn a few things from Between the Buried and Me, but it was just way to complicated for me to understand at that point. Had a little stretch learning songs from Killswitch: Engage, which is where I started tuning down to Drop C tuning. From there, I decided to start learning some Bullet for my Valentine after their album "Scream Aim Fire" came out. I don't play much off that album anymore, but I do still have fun playing songs from their other two albums, "The Poison" and "Fever", and their self-titled demo album. Along the way, I also learned Fade to Black by Metallica. That is one of the few songs I have learned in it's entirety. The day I got the solo completely down for Fade to Black almost felt like a turning point for my confidence in playing music. It was amazing.

For the last year, though, I've focused a lot on Trivium. I can only stick to learning songs off of "Ember to Inferno", "Ascendancy", and "In Waves", though. Their other two albums they released were played solely with seven-string guitars, and there's no practical way (that I can see) to emulate that sound with a six-string. I've probably learned about 50% percent of the music on those albums, which is quite a bit. Lots of triplets, speed picking riffs, and some damn difficult rhythms that have helped skyrocket my ability (at least, in my opinion).

I think I hear my guitar calling my name, I should go see what it wants...... =)

Thanks for reading!

--Will

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Work in progress

I've been doing a lot of surfing around, trying to find any tips or advice I can get on drawing, shading, and any techniques that I can find. Shading has been my main focus this week, and I feel some good progress has been made. My secret weapon? A tissue. Somewhere in my travels I read that a tissue can help create perfect skin tones when blending, and I am so glad I found that out.

I've also been working a lot on slowly building values up, working from light to dark, and better placement of my shading. It's amazing how just one or two (properly placed) shadows can bring a picture to life, or totally define the expression on someone's face. Achieving the realistic quality I want in my art is going to depend on my skill in shading - I've always known that, but now I feel I have a good foundation of knowledge to practice on.

But... now I'm going to be moving on to a subject that scares me to no end..... Hair.

As I'm sure you saw in the title, this drawing I've been working on is just a work in progress. I've cropped the picture above a little bit, because I don't want to reveal the unfinished parts yet. Such as the hair. Drawing realistic hair... I don't even know what to say about it. My first attempt turned out, well, just okay. Not really realistic looking, or what I was going for in any way, but still achieved a slightly cool effect that resembles hair. I don't think I totally botched it to the point of giving up in despair, it's just going to take a lot(!) of practice to get it down before I try and draw out the hair in the picture above.

That's all for now. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think. Critiques are always welcome!

Thanks for reading!

--Will