Sunday, 23 June 2013

Drawing Lines

My growing interest with graphics and communication has recently started meandering towards drawing as a hobby/pastime. I guess this is somewhat unsurprising given the proliferation of tablet-based drawings appearing on this blog.  In addition to the digital artworks, I am also scratching pens into a couple of sketchbooks (which is proving a nice excuse to sit in Holland Park during the intermittent sun that London seems to be enjoying at the moment).

One of the things I'm finding it hard to draw is lines.  Or, more precisely not drawing lines where there are no lines.   I've realized that I find it very easy to see objects, and to draw my model of what they are, instead of what they actually are.  So, practice, practice, practice - but what to practice on?

Ever watched the video to Adele's Rolling In The Deep?  In the middle of it there's a huge paper "city" (ice-white cuboids and dodecahedrons), that rather symbolically gets burned to a crisp by some sparklers.  What's particularly interesting about such a construction is that the edges aren't marked by heavy lines, but by dramatic changes in light and shade caused by shadow and sharp changes in angle of reflected light.

Deciding that "I want one of those", I headed out to my local CASS shop.  Now, it turns out I've moved to about 10 minutes walking distance from one of these shops, and I have a horrible feeling that my bank balance is going to suffer for it.  I should do more crafty things, and the number of ideas that such a shop spawns makes me want to buy most of it.  Lucky that I went in there with a set project in mind!

So, some white card, a polystyrene base, a knife set, uhu glue and a few hours later, I have my own mini white city.  It's not perfect, but it is really interesting. In particular, the shadows caused by the different structures and multiple light sources really change the scene quite dramatically.  I expect I'll be putting some sketches of this up over the next few weeks.  I also have half a mind to wire it up internally with some LEDs for more weird effects.

On the subject of white worlds, I've also been playing "The Unfinished Swan" on PS3 (trailer video left, which is somewhat representative of the gameplay).  The game has an interesting set of mechanics - centered around you throwing balls of liquid into the world, which affect it in different ways.  For example in the first level, black ink turns things black.  This may seem slightly redundant, but for the first level, the entire world initially a shadeless white. No shadow, no imperfection, no way to see where on earth you are going.  It's only through the motion and occlusion of your created black ink-splotches that you can recover a sense of form, of depth and of shape of the world around you.

If you have a spare couple of hours, I hugely recommend this game, it's very pretty and very entertaining.

And to end, I have also been having fun seeing lines instead of limbs.  A friend has been keeping a photo-a-day blog, one of my favourite pics of his is a particularly moody night shot of a netball game.  I took a few minutes to reinterpret the photo on the tablet.