Friday, December 1, 2017

You're My Gee-Tar Hero!

Previously I said that I've been struggling to draw from the head. My more fully-rendered, referenced pieces have been getting better. But my off the cuff drawings just kept getting more and more stale. For a while I just admitted defeat and figured it would come back to me sometime. But, duh, that's stupid. So I concocted an exercise to conquer the issue. And I feel pretty good about it. Honestly, I didn't think these drawings would turn out, as a unit. I was concerned that I wouldn't be consistent stylistically from start to finish. But for the most part, I accomplished what I'd set out to do: I created original work with some substance. The fulcrum here really was doing a series, and I am definitely going to continue in this fashion moving forward. Obviously, it's hard to get better if you only do one drawing a month. Drawing something with intention for seven days in a row, with accomplishments behind you and a new challenge looming in front of you really makes a difference. (EVEN IF you take a tiny little break in the middle...)

I've really been wanting to do some original work that isn't quite so niche as the rest of what I've been doing. Stuff with more of a universal appeal that someone who isn't familiar with a specific band or show could get and appreciate. And, I mean, these are still pretty niche, but I think I'm getting there. So I definitely intend to do more of these folks and more where this concept is concerned. And I'd really, really like to revisit some of these individuals specifically and give them the fully-rendered treatment.

Anyway. Here I am, an old woman, and I still don't really know how to play guitar. But I have so much respect and admiration for those who do. So here they are; a bunch of players and their axes:

Inspired by Paul Weller and Ian Page. This first drawing turned out mostly Paul. 
When I revisit him, I'm gonna get him a bit more balanced.

Inspired by Viv Albertine and Pauline Murray. This is actually my second attempt at this gal. Her 
original depiction just wasn't right, and her original pose may be the clumsiest pose I've ever drawn.

Inspired by Bill Nelson and Neil Finn. A bit more Bill than Neil. Another one to balance out down the road.

Inspired by Pauline Black and Rhoda Dakar. Things started to feel cohesive at this point.

Inspired by– duh– Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. I tried not to 
make him super obvious, but I'm pretty sure I failed there, haha.

Inspired by Clare Grogan and Annabella Lwin. This lady came together 
surprisingly easily. So of course the next one would kick my ass.

Inspired by bass virtuosos Mick Karn and Nick Beggs. Scrapped this boy three (?!) 
times before I finally got him right. Kept wanting to make him purely Mick but 
not too much, and it didn't work. Sacrificed some sleep for this browless wonder!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

On Made-Up People

If I can help it, I try to do something creative every day on top of doing my daily drawings. On Sunday night, I admitted defeat and intended to just sit around, eat, watch a movie, and recuperate. I settled on Big Eyes. In addition to exclaiming, "You asshole!" and, "You bastard!" every five minutes, I felt really compelled to draw. Who watches a movie about art and doesn't draw? I'm not a huge fan of Margaret Keane's style, but I really admire her for her prolific output. So I felt I had to draw something.

It started me thinking about how I used to draw. I used to just go. I had so much inspiration cataloged when I left art school, so for a while there it just poured out. But a few years ago, a stranger looked at my work and asked, "What is your obsession with this guy?" And I realized I'd settled into drawing, essentially, the same thing over and over again. After that, I was pretty lost. And I'm still recovering. As discouraged as I felt, it was extremely important for me to have that crisis. It means that I'm always pushing myself to do way better. When I do my big pieces, I collect a lot of reference. I try to never draw too much from any one piece of reference, and I do my absolute best to make something completely new. My purely from-the-head drawings are a lot fewer and far between than they used to be. So I'm trying to get back into them. And I think the key is to still use reference, but in a very loose way. Even if my reference is just an image I stored in my head, or an interest. If there's no inspiration behind what you create, boy does it show.

After scrawling these ladies, I decided to start doing some occasional weekly challenges and series to build my from-the-head muscle back up. I'm currently in the midst of the first of these projects and focusing on some plucky individuals. More to come.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 31: Even More People of Color

"And if the elevator tries to bring you down, go crazy– punch a higher floor!"

WHELP, that's a wrap. Inktober was about as tricky as I thought it would be. I think moving forward, I'll approach any drawing challenges with a touch more organization. This time I wanted to do new things, so I utilized different papers and different tools on top of the main goal of tackling different subjects. It was kind of a free-for-all. I like the idea of using a dedicated sketchbook or ground for individual future challenges, and perhaps focusing on a specific technique for each one as well so that I can really practice and improve.

Personal projects are so important. It's easy for me to tell myself to draw x amount every week/month and then turn around and NOT do that for an assortment of reasons. So the true value of art challenges is that they keep me creating on a regular basis, where Alternate Universe Amanda is sitting around with a month-long blank page agonizing over not being good enough or having no ideas. Perhaps now that I have the momentum, I can always have a challenge going, even if it's only a weekly or monthly thing.

Monday, October 30, 2017

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 30: Different Body Types

Alison Moyet has the absolute deadliest pipes. Love this lady and her piercing eyes.

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 29: Aircraft


INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 28: More Landscapes

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 27: Trains

Woo, woo.

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 26: Narratives

Not much of a narrative, but there it is.

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 25: Curly Hair

It's important to have priorities. Why is it that nobody ever talks about George's glorious perm???

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 24: Kids

Martin Paul Kenny Dalglish Moone.

"The Church is no place for imaginary friends."

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 23: Vehicles

I couldn't give a shit about cars. But they sure do get me places; so thanks, cars!

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 22: Seniors

Sam Waterston has a face meant for artists.

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 21: Instruments

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 20: More People of Color

Quick study of Derv Gordon from The Equals. MORE PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE EQUALS!!


Well, this is the piece that broke the camel's eyes! I knew it would take me a comparatively longer time to render one of my pantheon bands, especially one with four members. But I found myself sidelined in the middle of this one with INCAPACITATING eye strain. Like, floating floor, bruised eyeballs, head in a vice. That's never happened to me before, and it is a bitch! So here we are three months later, with reading glasses, and a new resolve. (Alas, my eyeballs still hurt a bit, but I guess I'll get there eventually.)


Drums and Wires was my first real dive into XTC. I was very into a heaping handful of material from White Music and the big obvious (awesome) ones like "Dear God" and "Making Plans For Nigel" prior to that. Any self-respecting budding punk/post-punk/new wave fan should be. But Drums and Wires was my definitive entry point. Along with Depeche Mode's Construction Time Again, it became a deeply defining marker in time for me the winter I discovered it. Both albums are icy, urgent, and a bit distant. And in the case of Drums and Wires, also passionate and nervous. There's an imperfect intricacy to that record that really resonated with me. In the beginning, XTC were not one of my gold-plated treasures like The Beatles, The Clash, and DEVO. But they've been slowly, patiently ascending the ranks as the years have gone by and my old favourites have sort of settled in and made space. And in that way, they're sort of like my first grown-up band? After Drums and Wires, they drew me closer with Black Sea. Then at twenty-one I sat down with English Settlement. And it became another extremely vivid wintertime marker. (Andy's "Melt the Guns" yelps and whines were a bit confounding to my Jena. ) It's a complicated, daydreamy, heartrending beauty. I love it for the same reasons I love Revolver and Rubber Soul. It's a lush, innovative turning point in the band's career, but it's not too slick or indulgent. Anyway, then I was a goner.

What is it that I love about XTC? They're not traditionally cool. They're intelligent, humble, and funny. Their melodies are graceful but not too graceful. They're crisp and fresh, no matter how many times I relisten. They're heroes, dammit!!

Bonus points for their respect for women! In the seventies/eighties, no less!! ("Isn't it a shame you kicked that girl? Isn't it a shame she kicked you back, jackass." Ahhh.)

Bonus bonus points for the "No Language in Our Lungs" scene in the "The Diary" episode of Freaks and Geeks. (Can we all agree the Bill-centric episodes are the best ones?)


You're not the boss of me, eyes!

Gah, guh, gurrghhh...
Okay, maybe you are a little.

I DID IT!!!*

*whimpers, collapses

"And I've got one, two, three, four, five
senses working overtime
trying to take this all in."

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 18: More Women

Or more rightly, THE woman. Multi-talented Mom, tearing up the place Beatles-style in junior high.

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 17: Machines

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 16: Long Hair

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 15: Birds

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 14: More Buildings

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 13: Hands

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 12: More Typography

"Have you heard it on the news
About this fascist groove thang?
Evil men with racist views
Spreading all across the land.
Don't just sit there on your ass
Unlock that funky chaindance.
Brothers, sisters shoot your best.
We don't need this fascist groove thang."

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 11: Women

My daily drawings routine has become a cinch now that I'm five years in. Doing an additional drawing per day for Inktober is a slight challenge, but it's also doable. The real challenge is in creating something every day that I feel comfortable sharing. And then having the energy to actually share it. Ho-hum.

INKTOBER 2017: 31 Subjects, Day 10: Buildings