building_constructionBut before we left on the trip (see previous post) I did get a little bit of work done on The Project for the first time in about three weeks, by making an early start in the morning. There’s this big single-panel splash page with lots of tall buildings on it that I’ve been meaning to finish for a while.

Tall buildings mean… windows. Lots of them. For this piece, this means lots of drawing of construction lines to place the windows. So I’ve been messing around with a T-square, rulers, vanishing points, diagonal vanishing points, a bit of free hand winging it (will enhance with French curves later on), and so on and so forth in the old-fashioned drawing tools department. (I don’t like using computers for this.) All good (slow) fun.

Click for larger view. Yes, you are looking directly up at them. I’ll show you a bit more of it as it moves on to the inking stage. (See earlier posts – 1,2,3 – for more on all this.)


Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Constructing

  1. Ele Munjeli says:

    In all of your work, I think the emphasis on perspective betrays your talent for spatial thinking as a physicist. I’m glad you enjoy working this way- your drawings are beautifully grounded with such details.

  2. Clifford says:

    Thanks. It just seems natural to ground everything with good spatial discipline in order for all the elements (people, objects, etc) to all fit together properly. It is such an easy tool to deploy that turns out to be so fundamental. And fun!



  3. Clifford says:

    (Although I must say I think that being a physicist is largely irrelevant here, or at best, incidental. The spatial thinking and use of perspective is the stock and trade of many non-physics professions, including so much of the visual and graphic arts…)



  4. Ele Munjeli says:

    I dunno: there’s a difference between a painter and a sculptor I think. It’s not just the obvious media. I knew it was time to switch to 3d when I caught myself actually stabbing at the canvas in an attempt to ‘paint deeper’. Spatial skills aren’t necessary for a painter (or any 2d artist) who can create lively compositions without depth, still, they add a particular flavor to an image when I see it…

    Maybe I’m saying the drawings are sculptural or architectural as opposed to a straight-up 2d painter. One of my friends used to say you could tell that Michelangelo was a sculptor from his drawings. I think that’s true. You can swap to sculpture if you relish the dimension and can picture it wholly. You obviously have that ability; but yes, it’s not unusual in visual arts. Sculptors can paint, but can painters sculpt?

  5. Clifford says:

    Ok, I see what you are saying, but I’m going to have to differ with you on that one. I don’t think that understanding and capturing the three dimensionality of a subject on paper on canvas makes you more of a sculptor or less of a painter or whatever, than someone who is perhaps focusing on two dimensional aspects for its own sake. I just think they are different modes of expression that are being explored, and the world of painting includes both fully, without need for reference to sculpture. This is seen to be especially true, in my opinion, once one considers just how vast the world of sculptured forms can be (just like in painting), such that the mere capturing of three dimensional forms there becomes only a component of the whole enterprise, just as in painting.


  6. Ele Munjeli says:

    Agreed. There’s a classical analysis of painters I’m using here. They are divided as spectrally or spatially dominant; meaning the eye of the artist prefers color or form. The latter is considered more rare since painting hemorrhages artists with strong spatial skills to sculpture.

  7. Clifford says:


    -cvj 🙂

  8. Plato says:

    All the Best in the New Year Clifford,

    I enjoyed your conversation with Ele Munjeli and point of views about artistic expression. I mean, in relation to perspectives coming from a scientist as abstractedness in possible geometrical conceived spaces, versus representation in nature.

    I’ll give an example here.

    During the later half of the 1950’s, Maurits Cornelius Escher received a letter from Lionel and Roger Penrose. This letter consisted of a report by the father and son team that focused on impossible figures. By this time, Escher had begun exploring impossible worlds. He had recently produced the lithograph Belvedere based on the “rib-cube,” an impossible cuboid named by Escher (Teuber 161). However, the letter by the Penroses, which would later appear in the British Journal of Psychology, enlightened Escher to two new impossible objects; the Penrose triangle and the Penrose stairs. With these figures, Escher went on to create further impossible worlds that break the laws of three-dimensional space, mystify one’s mind, and give a window to the artist heart.

    Expired link

    From scientist perspective how would you go about proper constructing of those abstract spaces and limits Penrose help Escher visit?


  9. Clifford says:


    Happy New Year!

    I don’t really know what you are asking me. Are you saying Escher would not have constructed the figures “properly” because he is not a scientist? Hardly likely. I don’t think that either scientists or artists have a monopoly on the “proper” depiction of any sort of figure, real or imagined. This might be partly because I expect that the applicability of the word “proper” is in the eye of the beholder.



  10. Pingback: Black Lines at Asymptotia

  11. Plato says:

    Thanks Clifford,

    No Clifford in regards to,”Are you saying Escher would not have constructed the figures “properly” because he is not a scientist?

    I believe that structurally” given what I believe about how you are able to see according to the experience you have as a scientist, in describing the world in different ways, likewise this allowed Penrose to help Escher push the boundaries of his artistic excursions into geometrical form.

    I was trying to think of a example here and what I came up with, was your latex sandbox, and Carl’s attempt to construct a box, while also thinking about the designing in contrast with the Christmas tree ornament.

    While these figures are rudimentary in their design, the experiences you have in building in those spaces, allows you to choose from the tools of your mathematics to create spaces that the normal person is not capable of ever making “unless” they can follow you in “those spaces.” Escher was capable of translating the language of what Penrose’s experiences even though he was not a scientist, but an artist.

    In that respect I agree scientist do not have a monopoly as you say.

    If one was to go back over how one is able to see as a scientist did it happen “all at once” or, was the abstractness “a gift” in the eye of the beholder? You must still construct with your mathematics?

    As if, exploring new realms in nature, where will that mathematics take you? During the constructing phases, how would you build a space but by enunciating dimensional descriptions of nature, would also equally influence the direction and construction of the way in which you would approach design?

    Yes this is “from the eye” of this beholder. Looking forward to the creative process.


  12. Pingback: Paints at Asymptotia