Today’s Art (24th February 2016)

Well, thanks to suddenly running out of inspiration halfway through making the lineart for a painting, I decided to end my “awesome stuff” art series earlier than I expected. So, I eventually ended up making this digitally-edited gothic painting instead.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Gothic City" By C. A. Brown

“Gothic City” By C. A. Brown

Why You Need To Use Eccentric Characters When Writing Comedy.

2016 Artwork Eccentric Characters And The Comedy Genre

Although this is an article about writing comedic fiction and/or comedic comics, I’m going to have to start by talking about TV shows for a while. There’s a good reason for this that I hope will become obvious soon.

Anyway, a few days before I wrote this article, I started watching an American sitcom called “30 Rock“. Although I could spend a while talking about how Tina Fey is a comic genius, I’m mentioning this TV show because it’s a really brilliant example of one of the central parts of writing good comedy that can sometimes be overlooked by writers and/or audiences.

I am, of course, talking about eccentric characters. One of the brilliant things about “30 Rock” is that virtually all of the characters are eccentric in one way or another – in fact, the character list on Wikipedia actually points out exactly how each character is eccentric.

If you look at virtually anything in the comedy genre, you’ll see that it contains at least a few eccentric characters. In fact, the comedy genre is one of the few genres where at least some of your characters are required to be eccentric or strange in some way or another.

It doesn’t matter if they’re eccentric in a subtle way or if they’re eccentric in a really obvious way, they have to be eccentric. There are several reasons for this:

The first (and most obvious) reason is that the contrast between the eccentric characters and the “normal” characters can be played for laughs in all sorts of different ways. In fact, the technical term for this contrast between characters is a “foil“. Curses! Foiled again!

The second reason why eccentric characters are such an important part of the comedy genre is because they are inherently fascinating and very memorable. Since a good eccentric character is totally and utterly different from any character that your audience has seen before, they’re probably going to both remember these characters and want to learn more about them.

From a writing perspective, eccentric characters are great fun to write for the simple reason that you don’t have to worry too much about whether they’re “realistic” or not. As long as your eccentric character has a distinctive personality and they don’t act out of character too often, then you can do a lot of things with these characters that you can’t really do with “normal” characters.

Finally, eccentric characters are an integral part of the comedy genre for the simple reason that they make the audience feel better. There are two reasons for this and they both rely on the fact that literally no-one (no, not even you) is a completely “normal” person. We all have our strange quirks, fascinations, mannerisms, ways of doing things etc…

This means that really eccentric characters can make the audience feel better about themselves, because these characters make the audience feel more “normal” by comparison.

But, much better than this, the audience can often see a reflection of themselves (or parts of themselves ) in subtly eccentric comedic characters (like Liz Lemon from “30 Rock”). This can be a strangely uplifting and reassuring experience, especially since most of the mainstream media tends to promote hyper-“normal” characters.

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Sorry for such a short and basic article, but I hope that it was interesting 🙂

Today’s Art (23rd February 2016)

Interestingly, this painting in my “awesome stuff” series wasn’t actually the painting I originally made for today. I’d made another painting, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with the quality of it, so I made this digitally-edited painting (which was vaguely inspired by old 1990s/ early 00s survival horror/ horror games) instead.

I’m sure that the original painting I made for today will eventually turn up in one of my articles sometime though.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Survival Horror Awesomeness" By C. A. Brown

“Survival Horror Awesomeness” By C. A. Brown

Why Sketching Is A Useful Skill – A Ramble

2016 Artwork Why Sketching is useful article sketch

Although this is a rambling article about how useful it is to learn how to sketch quickly, I’m going to have to start by talking about my dreams (of all things). As usual, there’s a good reason for this that I hope becomes obvious later.

The night before I wrote this article, I had some rather visually-interesting dreams. One dream involved accidentally inventing some kind of bizarre cocktail (that probably defies the laws of physics) and a later dream involved looking out of a window and seeing an abandoned, fog-covered “Silent Hill“-style version of the school that I went to when I was a teenager.

Anyway, when I woke up, I did what I sometimes do when I have interesting dreams and I wrote down a brief description of them in my sketchbook but, more importantly, I also sketched parts from both dreams. Here are what my sketches looked like:

The perspective is slightly wrong in the lower image [and the window frame gets in the way], but this doesn't really matter too much because it's only a quick sketch.

The perspective is slightly wrong in the lower image [and the window frame gets in the way], but this doesn’t really matter too much because it’s only a quick sketch.

By making a sketch of these images from my dreams fairly soon after I woke up, I was able to remember them more clearly.

This also meant that when I made a digitally-edited painting of the second dream later, it was easier for me to make this painting because I’d already set out all of the visual information that I needed to use. If you’re interested, here is the painting:

"Through A Window In A Dream" By C. A. Brown

“Through A Window In A Dream” By C. A. Brown

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

The thing is that I used to sketch things from my dreams long before I ever really thought of myself as an artist. Yes, my sketches back then were even cruder and far more technically terrible than my current sketches are. Since sketches are meant to quickly present visual information in a visual way or to help you remember something, you don’t actually need a huge amount of artistic skill to make sketches.

If you don’t believe me, here’s a quick sketch of Aberystwyth pier that I made in 2009, when the only artistic experience I had was doodling on my lecture notes at university, making sketches of my dreams, making sketches when I wanted to plan out a short story and drawing silly little cartoons when I was bored:

 I was planning to use the pier as a setting for a short story, so I made a few sketches of it and wrote some descriptions of it.

I was planning to use the pier as a setting for a short story, so I made a few sketches of it and wrote some descriptions of it.

Of course, when you practice making art and learn some of the “rules” of making art, your quick sketches will improve as a result. But, even if you just make your sketches using stick figures and simple shapes, then they can still be a useful way to help you remember information (or to quickly communicate that information).

Seriously, pretty much everyone can make sketches. Since they’re not meant to be works of art, no artistic skill is really required (although it can certainly help).

So, why is sketching so important and useful?

can’t remember where I read this, but I remember reading somewhere that quite a few of the world’s greatest inventions started life as a small sketch. Historically, when people thought of something that they wanted to invent, one of the easiest ways to record this information was to literally draw a quick picture of it in their notes. Again, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Not only that, drawings – however simple- are pretty much a universal language. There’s a reason why instruction manuals for things often include small line drawings of what you’re supposed to do (and what you’re not supposed to do). It doesn’t matter if something is being sold in another part of the world, or even whether the person looking at the manual is literate or not, if you can see the drawings then you can almost certainly understand them.

In addition to this, if you happen to be the kind of person who thinks visually (personally, I seem to think visually, verbally and – for want of a better description – in a tactile/ physical way), then adding sketches to your notes can be a great way to record information.

For example, back when I thought of myself as a writer, I’d often draw (badly-drawn) pictures of my characters beside my notes since, although I sort of knew what the characters would look like, I didn’t always know that much else about them. As an example, here’s an early sketch of a character I came up with in 2010:

This was one of the earlier sketches of the main character of a series of narrative poems I wrote in spring 2010.

This was one of the earlier sketches of the main character of a series of narrative poems I wrote in spring 2010.

Another cool side effect of adding sketches to your notes is that your notes look a lot more visually interesting. Back in 2009 or 2010 I remember randomly showing my writing notes to someone and being surprised that they were surprised that the notes were filled with drawings. I don’t know, I guess that I just assumed that most writers did this kind of thing.

So, yes, even if you aren’t an artist – you can still make sketches and sketches can still be a useful way to record and present information.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Mini Review: “The X-Files – Mulder And Scully Meet The Were-Monster” (TV Show Episode)

2016 Artwork X Files Were monster review sketch

Even though I still don’t know if I’ll get round to reviewing all of the new “X-Files” episodes, I saw the third one on Channel 5 earlier and thought that I’d share my thoughts about it.

Even though I’m personally trying hard to avoid SPOILERS for this new series, this review will contain MAJOR SPOILERS for this episode. You have been warned.

“Mulder And Scully Meet The Were-Monster” begins with a thirtysomething couple in Oregon who are sniffing paint in the woods when they hear a commotion. A lizard creature flees the scene and a man lies on the floor. Fortunately, the man – an animal control officer – is fine, but another man lying on the ground nearby hasn’t been so lucky. His throat has been ripped out!

Meanwhile, Mulder is settling back into his old office at the FBI and he has grown disillusioned with his previous cases. Talking to Scully, he despairingly explains that many of the monster-related cases he’s found in the archives all have logical explanations. However, Scully insists that he should investigate this new lizard monster case, much to Mulder’s chagrin…

One of the first things that I will say is that I expected it to be a “serious” old-school “monster of the week” episode. It isn’t. This is a comedy episode and, my god, what a comedy episode it is! It’s one of the most inventive, and funny, comedy episodes of “The X-Files” that I’ve ever seen!

The plot twists come thick and fast, and many of them are laugh-out-loud hilarious. The episode just doesn’t take itself seriously at all! The dialogue is witty, the characters are extremely eccentric and there are just so many funny moments. After the dreary heaviness of the previous two episodes, it’s great to see that the creators of the show haven’t forgotten how to write oddball humour.

There’s a fairly good variety of humour here. There are countless in-jokes – Mulder is the sceptic for once, Mulder loses his gun (yet again) and there’s even a tombstone with the name of one of the show’s directors (?) on it etc… There are a few quirky visual jokes too.

There’s a lot of witty dialogue too. Seriously, there are too many funny lines to list here. But the bulk of the comedy comes from the characters and the dialogue.

The main plot twist is that the were-lizard that Mulder and Scully are hunting isn’t actually a person who turns into a lizard creature. No, it’s a lizard creature who – after being bitten by a person – suddenly finds that he transforms into a human (called Guy Mann) when the moon is full. Likewise, he turns out not to be responsible for the mysterious killings (being an insectivore, he even feels a sense of guilt over eating a burger at one point).

Guy is, by far, the best character in the episode. He’s played by Rhys Darby (it took me a while to recognise him, but he’s the guy from “Flight of The Conchords”… although it’s been about eight years since I watched any of that show) and he is, well, brilliant. He’s able to be tragic and comedic at the same time. He’s able to make pretty much every emotion he portrays is comedic in some way or another. Seriously, he’s a brilliant comic actor.

One of the things I really loved about the episode was the fact that the lizard creature is genuinely horrified by becoming a human (and about having to bullshit his way through life as a human) and he quite rightly points out that it’s normal for him to be a lizard.

He feels genuinely happy when he changes back into a lizard in the privacy of his motel room. I’d try to point out that this is a subtle and poignant LGBT metaphor, but the show itself kind of points this out openly – only to (sort of) play it for laughs.

In fact, this episode’s handling of LGBT topics is, well, complicated. Being LGBT myself, I feel like I have to discuss it here, but I don’t want to sound like a humourless political critic (because most of this episode is funny!). So, what I’ll say is that the LGBT stuff in the episode is handled with an equal amount of irreverence and non-seriousness as anything else in the episode is.

For example, a motel owner is revealed to be a sleazy peeping tom, but it’s revealed that he’s more interested in spying on Mulder (who sleeps wearing nothing but a pair of red briefs… which is more than I would have hoped/expected Mulder to wear, but American TV censorship… ). But, before any straight men, lesbian women and/or bi people complain, there’s equal opportunity fanservice later in the episode when Guy fantasises about Scully seducing him. So, it’s cool to see an episode that is refreshingly bisexual when it comes to it’s gratuitous fanservice scenes 🙂

At one point, the “monster” approaches a transgender woman (who, in clichéd American detective show fashion, is a prostitute) however, she’s easily able to fight him off using her handbag. Whilst this initially seems like a cool subversion of the grim American TV/ Hollywood movie cliché about transgender characters always being killed, it turns out to be the set up for Guy to make a groan-inducingly predictable comment about how she “fought like a man” later in the episode.

Likewise, at one point, Mulder begins to give an open-minded speech about the fact that some people are transgender – only for it to quickly degenerate into a few clichéd jokes about genitals being cut off….

So, yes, for every open-minded thing in this episode, there’s also something a bit more conservative. Then again, given that the comedic style of this episode relies on expectations being subverted over and over again, I can’t really moan about it too much. It treats LGBT topics in an equally irreverent way to any other subject.

All in all, even though I spent the last five paragraphs moaning about one small aspect of this episode, it’s my favourite episode in the new series so far 🙂 Seriously, I love it. It’s funny and quirky in only the way that “The X-Files” can be.

The main plot twist is genuinely inventive, and the episode contains a wide variety of different types of comedy that are combined in all sorts of hilarious ways. It isn’t a “serious” monster of the week episode, but it’s an astonishingly good parody of one!

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get at least four and a half.

Today’s Art (22nd February 2016)

Well, for today’s (digitally-edited) painting in my “awesome stuff” series, I thought that I’d focus once again on the most radical decade, to the max! I am of course talking about the 1990s. A decade where technology was reassuringly bulky, where computer games were better, where sunglasses were ten times more rad and where battling robots was not only an actual sport but also part of many awesome saturday morning TV shows.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"1990s Awesomeness" By C. A. Brown

“1990s Awesomeness” By C. A. Brown

Review : “Aeons Of Death (V 6. 06.1)” (Mod For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”/ “ZDoom”)

2016 Artwork Aeons Of Death review sketch censored version

Every now and then, I’ll find a mod or a WAD for “Doom II” that will really knock me off of my feet. This happened to me when I found “Reelism X2.1“, “Reelism Gold“, “Neo Doom” and, to a lesser extent, “Brutal Doom“.

Anyway, the day before I wrote this review, I found another mod for “Doom II” called “Aeons Of Death (V 6.06.1)” that also provoked this reaction in me, but why?

Before I go any further, I should probably point out that in order to get this mod to work, I had to use one of the more modern versions of “ZDoom” (version 2.8) instead of “GZDoom 1.8.10”. In addition to this, in order to get this mod to work, you have to download and use both the mod itself AND the coding pack that comes with it. At the time of writing this review, I’ve played this mod for about six or seven hours.

I should probably also warn you that this review contains (unrealistic) GRUESOME IMAGES.

Anyway, let’s take a look at “Aeons Of Death”:

Best of all, heavy metal music plays when this screen appears :)

Best of all, heavy metal music plays when this screen appears 🙂

“Aeons Of Death (V 6. 06.1)” is a mod for “Doom II”/ “Final Doom” that introduces lots of new monsters, new weapons, new graphics, new gameplay mechanics and two new gameplay modes.

In essence, “Aeons Of Death” is a mashup of pretty much every great FPS game ever created.

I’m not exaggerating here, there’s content from “Blood”, “Duke Nukem 3D”, “Shadow Warrior”, “Wolfenstein 3D”, “Exhumed”, “Painkiller”, “Quake”, “Quake II”, “Heretic”, “Hexen” “Rise of The Triad”, “Unreal”, “Half Life”, “Half Life 2”, “Left 4 Dead 1&2”, “Doom II” and quite a few other games too.

OMG! It's a battle between an assault trooper from "Duke Nukem 3D" and a grunt from "Quake"!. Words cannot express how cool this is!

OMG! It’s a battle between an assault trooper from “Duke Nukem 3D” and a grunt from “Quake”! Words cannot express how cool this is!

There is so much new content in this mod that even after playing it normally and then later looking at more of the new content using cheat codes, I still haven’t quite seen everything that it has to offer. But, I’ve probably seen a significant amount of it. Seriously, this mod has a lot of content and I’m not going to be able to cover all of it in this review.

Anyway, the two new gameplay modes in “Aeons Of Death” are “ordinary” mode and “Left 4 Dead” mode.

I’ll start by talking about “Left 4 Dead” mode, since it’s one of the coolest things that I’ve seen for a while.

Although I’ve been a massive “Doom” fan since I was a teenager at least, I went through a massive “Left 4 Dead 2” single player phase in 2011 and 2012. If you’ve never played this game before, it’s a game where you have to fight hordes of zombies and mutants, whilst assisted by either other players or AI-controlled teammates. And now someone has made a version of it for “Doom II”:

 Yes, it's a 1990s style version of "Left 4 Dead"! This is beyond awesome!

Yes, it’s a 1990s style version of “Left 4 Dead”! This is beyond awesome!

The “Left 4 Dead” mode in “Aeons Of Death” is pretty close to the source material. Don’t ask me how, but the makers of this mod have managed to turn all of the graphics from the “Left 4 Dead” games into cool 1990s-style animated sprites. The only major change is that, for obvious reasons, you don’t have any AI-controlled teammates to help you out.

Like the source material, this game mode even has an AI “Director” that chooses where and when to spawn large hordes of zombies. In addition to this, you’ll also have to fight against mutated special infected too. Many of these are similar to their counterparts in the “Left 4 Dead” games, but the jockey is slightly more difficult to deal with (eg: since you don’t have any AI teammates, I think that you have to look up and shoot at him in order to remove him from your head).

But, usually, if you see a pair of legs appear on the screen, then you're pretty much doomed. Pun not intended.

But, usually, if you see a pair of legs appear on the screen, then you’re pretty much doomed. Pun not intended.

As you would expect, the gameplay in this mode is fast, frenetic, challenging and intense. If you’ve played the “Left 4 Dead” games before, then you’ll be right at home here. Again, I cannot overstate how amazing it is that someone has made a version of “Left 4 Dead” for “Doom II”!

As for the “ordinary” gameplay mode in “Aeons Of Death”, this replaces the monsters with a randomised combination of monsters from pretty much every great 1990s and 2000s FPS game ever made. Using the menu, you can even choose which games’ monsters you want to be included in this mod.

In many ways, this gameplay mode is just like a much more challenging and unpredictable version of “standard” Doom II. This is mainly because the new monsters tend to spawn in relatively large numbers.

Seriously, even Barney Calhoun from "Half Life" has turned evil and is out to get you!

Seriously, even Barney Calhoun from “Half Life” has turned evil and is out to get you!

I cannot overstate the sheer number of different monsters in this gameplay mode. Most impressively, quite a few monsters from slightly more modern 3D games have been perfectly converted into 1990s-style 2D sprites too. I don’t know why, but I absolutely love it when “Doom” mods do stuff like this. It’s like a really cool fusion of old and new.

It's an antlion! In "Doom II"! An antlion !!!!

It’s an antlion! In “Doom II”! An antlion !!!!

For the sake of gameplay balance, many of the monsters in “Aeons Of Death” are either more or less powerful than their original counterparts. Most of the monsters that I’ve seen so far have had reasonably similar levels of health and attack damage.

For example, you might encounter an arch-vile on the second level of “Doom II”, but it has a significantly reduced amount of health and a much weaker attack than it does in “Doom II”.

Oh, how the tables have turned!

Oh, how the tables have turned!

In addition to this, “Aeons Of Death” is significantly more gruesome than regular “Doom II”.

Although it doesn’t reach the excessive levels of sadism found in mods like “Brutal Doom”, this mod includes cartoonish 1990s-style ludicrous gibs, gratuitous blood spatter and polygonal “Quake”-style gibs. Seriously, whatever happened to gibs in FPS games?

Remember when games had gibs like this?

Remember when games had gibs like this?

Not only that, there's also a ludicrous amount of blood spatter when you are shot by one of the monsters.

Not only that, there’s also a ludicrous amount of blood spatter when you are shot by one of the monsters.

As for the new weapons, there are a ridiculous number of them here and many of them are based on weapons from other great FPS games. Some of them are faithful to their original counterparts, but many of them have been changed in random ways:

For example, the chaingun from "Duke Nukem 3D" is now an energy weapon that uses the sound effects from the hyperblaster from "Quake II".

For example, the chaingun from “Duke Nukem 3D” is now an energy weapon that uses the sound effects from the hyperblaster from “Quake II”.

Even using the “give all” or “IDKFA” cheat doesn’t show you all of the many new weapons. To give you one example, when I used the “level skip” cheat to test out the mod on a different level of “Doom II”, I found a nailgun rifle that I’d never seen before:

Hmmm... Sometimes cheaters DO prosper!

Hmmm… Sometimes cheaters DO prosper!

Best of all, unlike many other modern mods for “Doom II”, “Aeons Of Death” mostly avoids using realistic reloading mechanics. Although a couple of the weapons require reloading, most of them don’t.

Since manual reloading systems can get in the way of the gameplay, it’s great to see that it’s mostly been avoided here 🙂

Ok, the rapidly firing shotgun gets a pass here because, well, it's a shotgun that you can shoot repeatedly very quickly.

Ok, the rapidly firing shotgun gets a pass here because, well, it’s a shotgun that you can shoot repeatedly very quickly.

However, if you’re playing the game normally (eg: without cheating), then “Aeons Of Death” has an annoying habit of placing arbitrary limits on how many weapons you can carry.

Sometimes, you’ll spot a really cool-looking gun, only for the game to give you a “slot 3 is full” message when you try to pick it up. Although you can configure the controls to include a “drop weapon” key, doing this when you’re surrounded by monsters can be distracting to say the least.

In addition to this, “Aeons Of Death” also features both an items system and a magic system. The items system functions as you would expect it to do and you can find things like portable medkits throughout the game (which come in handy surprisingly often).

Not only that, this game also includes the “Diabolical Dice” from “American McGee’s Alice” too 🙂 Interestingly, they have randomised effects when you use them (eg: they’re just as likely to help you as they are to harm you).

"Ah, the Diabolical Dice … a word of caution; don't throw them when you're alone. The fiends lack loyalty, and their notion of nourishment is quite disturbing. "

“Ah, the Diabolical Dice … a word of caution; don’t throw them when you’re alone. The fiends lack loyalty, and their notion of nourishment is quite disturbing. “

The magic system is fairly similar to the items system and it allows you to pick up and use various spells that you find scattered around the levels. I haven’t really tested this out much, but it’s still kind of a cool thing to have.

All in all, this mod is amazing! If you grew up playing FPS games back in the days when FPS games were actually good, then you will feel more than at home here. There’s just so much awesome stuff here and I’m also still astonished that someone has actually managed to make a version of “Left 4 Dead” using the “Doom” engine! Seriously, if you’re a retro FPS gamer, then you should play this mod!

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get five and a half.

Today’s Art (21st February 2016)

Well, for this digitally-edited painting in my “awesome stuff” series, I’d planned to make a 1980s horror-themed painting, but it kind of went in it’s own direction.

Even so, I managed to include old spatterpunk novels, zombies, a cube-shaped candle, retro technology, my favourite town (Aberystwyth) and a callback to one of my older paintings in here.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Scarily Awesome" By C. A. Brown

“Scarily Awesome” By C. A. Brown

One Very Basic Technique For Learning How To Paint Or Draw Still Life Paintings (With Examples)

2016 Artwork Basic Tip For Still Life Painting sketch

Although this is an article about learning how to make still life paintings (and drawings), I’m going to have to start by talking about one of my own paintings. There’s a good reason for this that I hope will become obvious later.

At the time of writing this article, I’m working on a series of still life paintings that will probably have been posted here in late January. Anyway, with one of the paintings, I wanted to challenge myself by painting something a bit more complex than usual.

In this case, it was a small statue of a tortoise and here is my painting of it:

"Tortoise Statue And Stones" By C. A. Brown

“Tortoise Statue And Stones” By C. A. Brown

Although I messed up the colour scheme for the background and, although the composition of this painting could have been better – I thought that the likeness of the tortoise was reasonably good (at least in comparison to my other still life paintings). So, I thought that I’d talk about one of the more basic techniques that I used to draw and paint this tortoise.

First of all, how did I draw the statue? This can be a difficult thing to learn when you’re new to still life painting, but you first need to learn how to see the three-dimensional object in front of you as a two-dimensional image.

You can learn how to do this by studying and tracing photographs (but only to learn how to see the accurate outlines of 3D objects in 2D images – don’t rely too much on tracing though).

Once you’ve worked out how to do this, it’s then just a case of breaking down the complex object that you want to paint into a series of basic shapes or outlines. Like this:

This is the tortoise from the painting, let's break it down into it's component shapes.....

This is the tortoise from the painting, let’s break it down into it’s component shapes…..

As you can see, I've outlined and/or highlighted all of the basic shapes in this picture. It looks a bit like something by Matisse, I guess.

As you can see, I’ve outlined and/or highlighted all of the basic shapes in this picture. It looks a bit like something by Matisse, I guess.

Most of the time, it’s usually best to study one shape at a time. Here is another picture that shows all of the shapes separately:

These are all of the separate shapes in this picture.

These are all of the separate shapes in this picture.

Once you’ve got your collection of shapes, then you just need to put them back together. Getting the proportions and positions right can be a little bit complicated, but pay close attention to how large or far apart the shapes are, both in comparision to each other and to nearby objects too. This can take a bit of practice (and trial-and-error), but you’ll work out how to do this eventually.

When it comes to making sure that things like shadows look realistic, just use the same technique. Look at the outline of the shadows and copy that particular shape to the best of your ability. Like this:

This is the outline of the shadow beneath the tortoise.

This is the outline of the shadow beneath the tortoise.

Seriously, you’d be surprised at how useful this one technique can be if you want to make still life paintings. If you’re also interested in learning how to use realistic colours in your still life paintings, then this article might come in handy.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art (20th February 2016)

Well, continuing with my “awesome stuff” art series, I intially thought that I’d try to paint a gothic art deco style painting (and some traces of this can still be seen in the foreground of the painting), but it quickly changed into a picture of a cool-looking city instead.

Like with the other paintings in this series, this one required some fairly extensive digital editing after I scanned it. Amongst other things, this was mainly because my original plan for the the sky was to have it look a bit like a cross between the covers of Iron Maiden’s “Brave New World” album and this Clive Barker novel. Unfortunately, this didn’t look very good, so I ended up creating a new sky digitally.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Awesome Architecture" By C. A. Brown

“Awesome Architecture” By C. A. Brown