I got the rubber tarantula on Sunday and spent a few hours staging the photo. Here’s the one I like best. (It’s in black and white because we’ll be drawing with graphite pencils, i.e. in monochrome.)
And here are a few of the runners-up:
I like the first one best because the angles are more exciting than in the first runner-up, where the shuttle is nearly horizontal, not as dynamic as a slight diagonal. Also, the spider is close enough to the shuttle to look like it’s weaving, but not so close that it’s hard to recognize as a spider (the problem with runner-up #2). The 3rd runner-up is a bit too full of horizontal and vertical lines – it feels rigid and static.
I love all these photos, though, and would be happy to draw any of them. I’ll be bringing them to my drawing class tonight – will be interesting to see what the instructor picks.
I’m also bringing a sketch I made on Sunday. We planted roses along our driveway soon after we bought the house – they are now well-grown, and flowering abundantly. (And fragrantly; I wanted roses that smelled like roses, dammit – to me a rose that does not smell sweet is not a rose at all.) Anyway, I cut a flower and spent about an hour sketching it. It does look more or less like a flower (hooray!), but the shading was guesswork, and looks it. Here are the original rose, the desaturated version (what it theoretically should have looked like), and my sketch:
I’m actually quite happy with it, though the resemblance to the actual rose is pretty faint. At this phase I more or less expect my work to look crappy: I’ve just started learning, after all, and early work is always awful. But I learned a lot in the process of drawing it – small insights, like shading parallel to the faint veins on the petals to make them look more realistic; and bigger insights, like learning to observe and draw the shapes of shadows. I still don’t know much about how to create a value scale or to translate colors into their black and white values – but we’ll cover that in class tonight, I think.
In addition to doing some early sketching, I’ve also started reading up on digital painting. I did manage to get into the college class on digital painting, a small miracle considering all the things that needed working out! But the Dean kindly waived the prerequisites, the instructor agreed to let me attend only one day a week, and my manager agreed to give me a half-day off every week for ten weeks. So I’m in the class. Of course, the waived prerequisites mean I’ll have some catching up to do, so I’m starting work on that now. I’ve ordered the books recommended in the syllabus, and have already started reading through the first one. So far it’s about creating brushes in Photoshop for detailed effects – which is great, but which assumes you already know how to draw in Photoshop. So I’ve also ordered a book on digital painting for beginners. Class doesn’t start for another month, so I have some time to catch up.
All in all, it’s been an exciting couple of days. Can’t wait to see what the next few weeks will bring!
Speaking of excitement, Tigress is thrilled at the change of seasons. English peas are now in season at the farmer’s market, and pea pods are one of her favorite cat toys! Here is a short video of Tigress carefully inspecting, comparing, selecting, and making off with a pea pod to play with.