Today’s Art (27th July 2017)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the ninth “episode” of a new webcomic mini series called “Damania Replicated”. You can catch up on previous episodes here: Episode One, Episode Two, Episode Three, Episode Four, Episode Five, Episode Six, Episode Seven, Episode Eight

Links to many more mini series featuring (non-robotic versions of) these characters can be found here.

And, yes, the old guy in the background in the fourth panel is none other than a really old version of Harvey. It’s a reference to this really old comic from 2012. Which was actually part of a three-part story arc (1, 2, 3). Interestingly, I wrote this story arc before Rox appeared, so that’s why the only characters in it are Roz, Derek and Harvey.

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

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Replicated - Special Forces" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Replicated – Special Forces” By C. A. Brown

How To Change Art Mediums Quickly And Easily

And, if anyone is wondering, this picture is a hybrid traditional/digital picture. The line art and lettering were created traditionally, but the colours and background were added digitally.

And, if anyone is wondering, this picture is a hybrid traditional/digital picture. The line art and lettering were created traditionally, but the colours and background were added digitally.

Well, for today, I thought that I’d look at how to switch from one art medium to another quickly and easily. Although I’ve only really done this properly once (eg: my switch from using coloured pencils to using watercolour pencils in late 2013/early 2014).

1) Know your skill type: Art skills fall into several basic categories – drawing-based skills, painting-based skills, sculpture-based skills and/or digital-based skills.

Work out which skill type you are best at, and then see if there’s any version of the new medium that you want to switch to that allows you to use some of these skills (eg: if you use a graphics tablet for digital art, then search for a drawing pen that has similar dimensions to your stylus). Although you’ll probably still have to learn some new skills, having some pre-existing similar skills will help you to get started with the new art medium right away.

Since my skills are mostly drawing-based, when I was curious about painting, I chose to use watercolour pencils. Since these are basically just coloured pencils that turn into watercolour paint when you go over them with a wet paintbrush, they allowed me to use (and keep) all of my drawing skills – whilst only having to learn a few basic painting skills (and change the type of paper and pens that I used).

Likewise, if you want to switch from painting to drawing, then something like alcohol-based markers (I’ve never tried these though) or oil pastels might be worth taking a look at. Since, from what I gather, you can still use them to create some painting-like effects (eg: blending colours easily etc…). Plus, they seem to be slightly less “precise” than traditional pens and pencils too – if, unlike me, the lack of precision in traditional painting is something you actually like.

2) Try it out: If at all possible, get a cheap version of the medium you want to switch to and experiment with it. The only true way to know if you’ll get on well with a new medium is good old-fashioned hands-on experimentation.

To use a computer-based example, I was fascinated by Linux (again) the day before writing this article. So, I made a live DVD of Lubuntu Linux. One of the things that this showed me was that my graphics card causes screen-flickering issues with this version of Linux(Ironically, my old Puppy Linux live CDs had better functionality!). Even so, I was able to try out a totally different operating system without having to buy a new computer or anything like that, which was really cool.

Going back to art, the first time that I actually used watercolour pencils was when I got a cheap set of them for Christmas in 2013. This set only contained something like 8-10 pencils and it lacked a few important colours. Likewise, I actually had to use a traditional paintbrush and a bottle of water at first. But, even with these limitations, the medium fascinated me enough to make me want to get more pencils and a (much more user-friendly) waterbrush.

Likewise, I learnt that I really don’t get on well with pastels after I was given an old set of oil pastels by a relative. Although I liked the fact that you could use them to draw on cardboard, they were just slightly too imprecise for my tastes. Not to mention that I was worried about messing up the bed of my scanner if I scanned too many pastel drawings.

Plus, if you want to get into digital art and/or digital image editing, then it might be worth checking out a free and open-source graphics program called “GIMP“. Yes, the loading times for it can be a bit long on old computers, but there are a lot of tutorials for it online ( not to mention that it contains many or all of the basic features that you’ll find in most commercial image editing programs).

So, if you’re curious about switching to a new art medium, go for something cheap and just mess around with it. If you like it despite it’s limitations, then it might be worth investing more in the new medium. The other advantage of trying out cheap paints, pens etc.. is that you won’t have to worry too much about wasting them whilst messing around. And, if you don’t like it, then it’s no major loss.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art (26th July 2017)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the eighth “episode” of a new webcomic mini series called “Damania Replicated”. You can catch up on previous episodes here: Episode One, Episode Two, Episode Three, Episode Four, Episode Five, Episode Six, Episode Seven

Links to many more mini series featuring (non-robotic versions of) these characters can be found here.

Surprisingly, despite being a fairly rushed (and barely planned) update, this one is probably the most cyberpunk episode in the series so far. And, yes, Derek doesn’t exactly have a great history with VR.

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

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Replicated - Records" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Replicated – Records” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (25th July 2017)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the seventh “episode” of a new webcomic mini series called “Damania Replicated”. You can catch up on previous episodes here: Episode One, Episode Two, Episode Three, Episode Four, Episode Five, Episode Six

Links to many more mini series featuring (non-robotic versions of) these characters can be found here.

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

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Replicated - Chips" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Replicated – Chips” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (24th July 2017)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the sixth “episode” of a new webcomic mini series called “Damania Replicated”. You can catch up on previous episodes here: Episode One, Episode Two, Episode Three, Episode Four, Episode Five

Links to many more mini series featuring (non-robotic versions of) these characters can be found here.

And, yes, this update unintentionally ended up being something of a recap/filler episode for the mini series’ main plot (mostly because I made it a few hours after yesterday’s comic, when I was feeling even more tired). Plus, it’s the only “Damania” comic I’ve ever made where the main characters hardly appear at all. Seriously, the supporting cast in this comic is more interesting than I’d initially thought.

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

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Replicated - Disguised" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Replicated – Disguised” By C. A. Brown

Editorial Cartoon – Microsoft To Discontinue MS Paint!?!?!

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Editorial Cartoon – Microsoft To Discontinue MS Paint ?!?!?” By C. A. Brown

[Update (25/7/17): Yay! It seems like MS Paint has been saved, sort of..]

Well, a while ago, I read the terrible news. I then opened MS Paint and made an editorial cartoon. With a mouse. In “Paint”. It seemed like a fitting thing to do.

Of course, having an older computer, I have nothing to worry about. But, the idea that MS Paint may not be included on new computers or even worse, may potentially be removed [Edit: Hopefully just not updated, rather than actually removed] from future updates to the modern version of Windows, is very disturbing. Apparently, it’s going to be replaced with a program called “Paint 3D” (which looks a little bit like Paint, but doesn’t seem to be the same).

MS Paint may not be a fancy program. But, it works. You might not be able to create good art in it easily (but I tried here) but that was never it’s true purpose. It was a quick, simple program that you could use to correct small mistakes in your art. There is nothing more practical or useful for this purpose than good old MS Paint 5.1 (and earlier).

But, in this modern age of computing, “practical” and “useful” seem to be dirty words. I mean, a few months ago, I happened to look at one of the more modern versions of Paint briefly, and it was a confusing mass of “ribbon” menus and options, rather than a simple, reliable, useful program. So, maybe this shocking news isn’t entirely unexpected.

Still, for those poor souls who get a modern PC in the future, there do seem to be some open source programs out there that are vaguely similar to classic paint. However, the most user-friendly looking one of these seems to be Linux-only [Edit: There’s a version of it for Windows too :)].

Still, with the direction that Windows seems to be going in these days (apparently, the latest Windows doesn’t even have a DVD player program by default!), I guess that Linux may well end up becoming more popular…..

Still, goodbye classic MS Paint (1985-2017). You won’t be forgotten and you won’t go unused!

Four Ways That Making Art Regularly Changes How You See The World

2017-artwork-art-changes-the-way-you-see-the-world

As I’ve probably mentioned before, making art regularly can change the way that you “see” the world. So, I thought that I’d explain some of the many ways that this can happen:

1) All of the usual technical stuff: This all goes without saying, but there are a lot of subtle ways that the technical details of making art regularly can change how you see the world.

For example, you’ll get a lot better at noticing and discerning exact colours. Likewise, you’ll instantly notice complementary colour schemes whenever you see them (the famous “most modern movie posters are blue and orange” thing springs to mind) Seriously, I’ve learnt more about colours within the past 2-3 years than I have done in the time before then.

You’ll also occasionally find yourself doing things like mentally converting 3D objects and scenery into 2D images, as if you were copying them by sight. Or, if you see something interesting, then you’re probably going to know how to memorise it so that you can paint it later (unless you carry a sketchbook, or one of those newfangled smartphones).

2) You respect artistic skill more: Last November, I somehow ended up reading an article about an ultra-conservative painter from America. My reaction to the rather provocative political paintings shown in the article was something along the lines of “I strongly disagree with the political sentiments but, on a purely technical level alone, these are quite impressive pieces of art – they’re more detailed and realistic-looking than any of my paintings are“.

Of course, when I looked at the comments, I occasionally saw people conflating the unsophisticated quality of the political messages in the paintings with the (much higher) level of technical quality in the paintings themselves. And I was completely bewildered by this for a few seconds. But, I realised that – without having the experience of making art – I also wouldn’t know the sheer amount of effort, time and practice that must have gone into all of these paintings.

So, yes, if you make art regularly, then you’ll tend to notice art a lot more. If you see an interesting illustration on a website, or even in an advert – then you’ll tend to either see if there’s anything you can learn from it or you’ll think “that’s an interesting piece of art”. Likewise, even if you don’t like a piece of art for some reason, you’ll probably still respect the technical skills of the artist who made it.

3) You become an analyst: If there’s one thing to be said for making art, it’s that it teaches you a lot more about images in general. In other words, the kinds of analytical skills that you need when working out how to make a painting (or researching how to draw something) can also be applied to any images that you happen to see.

In an earlier draft of this article, I had originally written a short essay about how a stock image in an online news article about science was potentially misleading (and how I was able to work out that it was a work of digital art rather than a realistic photo). But, then I worried that it sounded too cynical and I noticed that the stock image had technically been attributed (albeit with a potentially-misleading caption which could possibly lead readers to think it was a photograph of a real place). So, wary of sounding unfair, I decided to replace this part of this blog article with this description. Sorry about this.

But, yes, making art regularly can seriously improve your image analysis skills.

4) You notice beautiful scenery more: If you make art regularly, then when you see beautiful scenery in real life, then your first thought will often be something along the lines of “I should paint this” or “how do I paint this?”.

In other words, you will not only be more likely to look for interesting views of the world when you are out and about, but you’ll also be more likely to see artistic beauty in otherwise “ordinary” places.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂