It has been a while since I shared a snippet of the book project with you, so here’s an update:
Yesterday I completed a short burst of activity in which I re-did two pages in a story that were just horrible to behold. This is a panel form one of the pages. I’m pleased Continue reading ‘Ok, Here Goes’
You might recall that last year I gave a talk at TED Youth, in their second year of short TED talks aimed at younger audiences. You’ll recall (see e.g. here and here) I made a special set of slides for it, composed from hundreds of my drawings to make it all in graphic novel style, and somehow trying to do (in 7 minutes!!) what the TED people wanted. They wanted an explanation of string theory, but when I learned that I was the only person in the event talking about physics, I kind of insisted that (in a year when we’d discovered the Higgs boson especially!) I talk more broadly about the broader quest to understand what the world is made of, leaving a brief mention of string theory at the end as one of the possible next steps being worked on. Well, they’ve now edited it all together and made it into one of the lessons on the TED Ed site, and so you can look at it. Show it to friends, young and old, and remember that it is ok if you don’t get everything that is said… it is meant to invite you to find out more on your own. Also, as you see fit, use the pause button, scroll back, etc… to get the most out of the narrative.
I’m reasonably pleased with the outcome, except for one thing. WHY am I rocking Continue reading ‘TED Youth Talk – Hidden Structures of the Universe’
Well, since some of you are curious about how the page might look in final form, given the (nicer than normal) rough I showed you a little while ago, I thought I’d show you. (For those of you not following, this is part of the graphic science book project I’m slowly working on. More here.)
I got carried away and decided to properly pencil out the whole page and ink it fully, and then I painted the same panel as before. Now you can see more carefully rendered faces according to the design I chose for these characters, and you can also see the backgrounds of the setting a bit more. It is another real location, a very well known place in Europe. (Actually, I spent some days doing research online to try to reconstruct the details of the interior from tourist photographs, and reconstructed Continue reading ‘How is that Supposed to Work, Exactly? (Part II)’
It’s that time again. I finish a notebook and start a new one. A new book is begun with writing my name and contact information in the front part, in case it gets lost, and an old one is ended with mixed feelings, and that ending is often a bit drawn out. Notebooks go around with me nearly everywhere, and have pieces of me in them in one shape or another, and so it is hard to stop carrying one and start a new one. I’ve got bits of computations, shopping lists, partial thoughts about projects, design sketches, doodles, snippets of silent conversations between me and another person at a concert or talk (writing it down is often less distracting to neighbours than a whisper), scribbled phone numbers, film, book or cd reminders, and of course lots of practice sketches and doodles on trains, planes, and in automobiles, done almost on a daily basis, sketches done in (and sometimes of) an event, or of a interesting place or structure. (You’ve seen some of them here on the blog.) Almost everything has a date written on the page, or on a page nearby, which is hugely valuable.
It’s a combination of notebook, journal, playground for ideas, and more. It is a joy to just open it up and flip through it and see so much of the last few months of my life and thought spread out in ink and pencil (and sometimes watercolour). Sometimes I hit on a particularly successful or interesting (or both) drawing that I love to open up and look at from time to time. You can search the blog under “sketches” for things that were in previous books. For example, a few of my favourites from this book are: Sketch of C. Tyler during her talk, sketch during a committee meeting, airline sketch of a national treasure, other airline sketches, a nice grab of a face from the subway, another airline sketch.
All of that now gets put on a shelf, since the pages have run out. It is bitter-sweet, as I also like the analogue, finite nature of the whole business. It has a lot of life written Continue reading ‘Changeover Time’
Well, yes, I’ve been a bit busy and so posting has been slow over the last week. But I am still alive, and here I am with a sample of one of the several things I was doing. It is some work on the graphic book project. (You’ll be happy that I am sparing you details of tedious committees, faculty meetings, confusing snippets of physics, incomplete musings and computations, etc…)
As mentioned recently, I’ve been doing thumbnails and rough page layouts on one of the stories, and that has been useful for editing and rewriting. I went further and improved an earlier story that I’d written that had mostly been drawn already, and so that encouraged me to do slightly tighter page layouts so as to fit them more closely to the story as it was already drawn, for a smoother final read. I’ll need to find Continue reading ‘How is that Supposed to Work, Exactly?’
Well, I am coming to the end of the week of hiding away in this undisclosed coastal town, and I can report that it was very good for me. I managed to get enough immersion to work hard on one of the stories for The Project, and this morning I read it through (I actually broke it into two stories) and turned out to be not too bad so far. Hurrah! Reading it next to the completed rough visuals really helps. I wish I’d had time to work on more stories, but that’s for another time. I’m just thankful to have had the time to have a good focus on one.
Wednesday I went back to that studio I visited on Monday as they were having another drop in and draw session and I felt it would be a nice end-of-long-work-day relaxation to go again. The model was actually rather excellent, and I wish my speed was a bit better to catch some of her faster 2 minute poses since she had a great Continue reading ‘Outcomes’
Productive day yesterday, more or less. Yesterday’s lunch break (in my undisclosed coastal town) saw me take a pack lunch over to the beach, for a bit of reading while I sat in a change of scenery. I’d brought the bike, and so it was nice to be able to pack up some things I might need, like a beach towel, a portable seat (just in case…. I did not use it in the end…), my notebooks, and some reading materials on the ipad (I was reading a bit of Paradise Lost, in fact), and carry it in the bike basket. (Actually I did use the portable seat… but not for sitting. I used it as a stand for the camera that took the shot above right.)
What am I doing on The Project? I’m mapping out and editing one of the stories. It has turned into quite a long one with lots of complexity, relatively, speaking. This means that I need to be careful about designing the layout on the page, and actually try to get a good sense of how everything fits so that I pace things properly, and page things out in the right way. So I am thumbnailing carefully, going beyond simple thumbnails and doing a first pass rough of the page. It slows the writing down, but will save a lot of time later on. Also, when I turn myself back into the penciller/inker and come to draw all the pages carefully, my job will be much easier, and quicker, as I’ll have the directions in the written script and the page layout sketch to guide me. I’ll be able to focus more on being the artist and less the writer at that stage. See the right for a laid out page.
Actually, using the brushes application on the ipad has been very valuable for this. I’ve not used it much in recent times, and so it was fun to rediscover it. I’ve been using Continue reading ‘Lunch and Work’
Probably not really the appropriate use to mean “on retreat”, but it makes for an interesting title. Anyway, I’m on retreat for a week. As you may know, I am in the habit of disappearing for Spring Break, and I try to get away from it all (or most) and have some time to myself, and maybe also work on a project. You will recall that Death Valley is often a destination, but for what I wanted to do this Spring Break, my old haunt won’t work. So instead I am in a small town somewhere on the California coast. I’ve set up shop in a little condo I’ve rented, and I’m trying to get some writing done on The Project. I need to do a lot on the computer, putting together a lot of the material and scripting it out properly, which also involves planning and thumbnailing the pages. This is a slow process that needs lots of immersion, and I’ve not been able to do that this semester much… so this is why I’ve devoted the Spring Break to it. My routine so far has been to go for a short run on the beach first thing in the morning (not for long….I am not a runner really, and only like running on surfaces like grass, and sand that don’t hammer back too much, but it is exhilarating to do a short run in the morning and get all the juices flowing…) and then sit down to work over breakfast. But since this is really day 2, it is not clear if this is really a pattern or not.
This afternoon I sought out the local “drop in and draw” session to do a bit of life drawing from a model. Just as I’ve mentioned before (see two posts ago for example) you can often find such things in your local town, and it is not too hard in areas such as coastal California towns since there are lots of artists living in such places, and they seem to like and appreciate the value of life drawing practice. So I showed up, paid my money, and went into the studio and drew. The people were welcoming, did not pry too much into my business, and it was quite Continue reading ‘Retreating’
Well, yes, I’ve been very busy with several things. After clearing away a lot of them, I decided last night that it had been long enough since I’d visited a “drop in and draw” studio to practice figure drawing, and so I went along. (I’ve written about this on previous occasions…you drop in, pay a fee towards the model’s salary, and then you draw. You can find such studios in your own city if you wish. There’s nothing like live figure drawing for practicing observation, hand-eye coordination, and a host of other skills that need regular maintenance.)
Anyway, I dropped in, said hi, started up some Kate Bush (“The Sensual World”) on the ipod (followed by Mayte Martin – “Al Cantar a Manuel”) and I drew. A great and Continue reading ‘Rusty’
Continuing my recent series of short trips around the country for various reasons means that I continue my series of that fun pastime and practice routine of flicking through the airline magazine and finding interesting people to draw (some recent ones are here and here). I did three this time, and here are a couple.
The first one was a quick warmup (I cleaned out some lines since it was on top of another drawing), and it turned out nicely although it looked not a lot like the actual Continue reading ‘Air Lines’
Last night I went to a nice event as part of the Visions and Voices series. It was an interview of (perhaps conversation with is a better way to describe it) writer and artist Carol Tyler by Henry Jenkins, who is a professor here at USC in the Annenberg School of Communication (check out his excellent blog here). C. Tyler is well known for her work in the comics and graphic novel world (or graphic book, if you prefer) particularly in the underground comics movement. She is one of the most well known memoirists in this medium, telling the story of her family life, and in particular a great deal of her father’s retelling of experiences in war, and its effects on him, her, and her family. It was good to go along and listen to her talk about her journey in producing the three books that came out of that project (“You’ll Never Know”), other projects, and a little bit of her personal history as a writer and artist. (See Henry Jenkins’ post about her here, and her own website here. Many of her books are published by Fantagraphics.)
I met and spoke with her
last year (update/correction: two years ago) very briefly (she certainly won’t remember), since a few of us (including her) were waiting in the lobby of the LA Times building for the LA Times Book Prizes ceremony to start. She was a nominee in the graphic novel category. We talked for a few minutes and then went in. I remember being struck by Continue reading ‘C. Tyler’s Visit to USC’
So, after a bit of time away from the process, this weekend saw me make some progress on The Project. I realized that I had too many things fragmented, scattered in several places, both physically and in my mind. This means that when I come to pick up where I left off (and breaks from it – sometimes long ones – are necessary since I have my Physics Professor gig which is first and foremost, you understand…) it can take all the available time to get back into the saddle since I am pulling the fragments back into foreground. So I’ve decided to sharpen up the process a bit and try harder to send clear notes and assignments to myself in the future. For example, as writer, I need to prepare things so that they are in a good final state with clear conventions in a full script, so that when I come to it later as penciller, I’ve got all I need to get stuck in and move things along, sending messages along to future me at the next step, and so on. It means I’ve got to do less of the business of leaving things un-fleshed out because I think I’ll do that bit at a later stage – That later stage might be months down the line, and by then I’d have forgotten the core of the idea that I was going to build in at that point… You get the idea.
So my task for the next several sessions is to turn all the stories I’ve written so far into full scripts, and finish the bits that are unfinished in each one. What do I mean by full script? Well, over the last two years I’ve done a lot of it in notebooks and in Continue reading ‘Thumbs and Scripts’
Another dude you may or may not recognize. This is for those of you who wondered who I’d find next to do a sketch of, and is another of those sketches done in the cramped conditions of my airline seat after browsing through a magazine to find an interesting face. See the previous post on this practice. There’s this series of print commercials for a watch or something similar that has served me well with well-lit faces, and so when I thumbed through this month’s Hemispheres, I was quite pleased.
I did this one with a mechanical HB pencil, and it is quite incomplete… there’s a bit of tinkering I could do with the modelling of the cheeks and around the Continue reading ‘More Scribbling’
[Update: replaced sketch with the painted version.] I managed to get a sketch done of some of my colleagues present at the meeting I’m part of here in San Antonio, TX. They’re across from the table from me, and as far as I can tell, not aware that I’m sketching. Was a fun experiment with quick layout. I’d have painted it, but I seem to have forgotten Continue reading ‘Meeting Room’
While I was apparently catching that horrible flu virus early last week during the travelling I was doing, I was killing time with a few sketching games I tend to do while travelling. I was grabbing faces. A moderately careful face grab is to look through whatever magazines I have to hand (such as the in-flight magazine) and see if there are interesting faces… then I might do a quick or longer drawing of one or two that I find. Sometimes they are familiar people, as is perhaps the case with the one I show to the left. This was not intended to be super-careful, and was rather quickly done, but it turned out to be nicer than I expected.
I was simply drawing with a pen and not trying to be very accurate, and just capture expression and structure of the face, but my eye was in and so… (I’d have used pencil if I was planning to go for accuracy…) I liked it enough to finish it up when I got home and throw some watercolour (pencils and then water brush) on to it. (I took a quick snap of the magazine photo before I left to allow me to recall some features for finishing.)
I’ll spare you the other ones I did in that mode. Not for public consumption! Continue reading ‘Travelling Activity’
Sort of stuck this morning. I was up at 6:30am (more or less my usual time these days) with good intentions to get back to do a nice stretch of work on The Project for the first time in a while. But it is almost 10:30am and I’ve done nothing (not counting procrastinating, making fruit compote for pancake breakfast, sending a bunch of emails, and so forth).
It is difficult sometimes to reboot back onto task on a project when one is suddenly done with one of the major things pulling you away from it. Classes are over, you see, and so I am transitioning into a different mode, and not super-efficiently.
I think maybe before I have to leave to run errands out in the world (after lunch), I must get something done toward Continue reading ‘Slow’
Penultimate lecture today in the graduate electromagnetism class. These last four lectures are a lightning tour through some important concepts – showing how many of the things we’ve been doing all semester fit with Special Relativity. (For example, amusingly, showing that the Lorenz gauge condition is in fact Lorentz invariant…) It is fun to show a powerful example of how an important guiding principle (such as writing equations in a Lorentz-covariant way) can end up making several features of the theory seem much more natural, while also leading to new physics. This is fun to do, although it does mean that I end up writing whole new notes for this since I am not a fan of the way some of these electromagnetism books (Jackson included) decide to treat time in an odd way, such as treating it as imaginary (which must be so confusing to some students) just so as to write Lorentz transformations like a rotation, or using mostly negative signatures for spacetime, and so forth. And, inexplicably, using different units of measurement from the choices made in the rest of the book… Anyway, so the last two lecture-writing sessions have mostly been one of fiddling with minus signs and factors of c, 4 Pi, minus one, and so forth. Joy. Well, the group seems excited since they’re beginning to see things that they’d seen in other classes and it is all making some sort of sense now (Klein-Gordon equation, duality, etc., etc…) I think the last class will show how many of these things flow from variational principles. Maybe I’ll find a little time to do the Born-Infeld model? I’m excited too, although I’ll be sad to end the class and stop working with this fun group of students.
Today I managed to grab a few sketches on the train. This afternoon coming home on the Expo line these two snoozing gentlemen were kind enough to sit still for a few minutes each for me to get down a few impressions of their features. This was all helped a bit by the train sitting still for a while as we waited for a truck to get off the line. Apparently it was parked or stuck there.
Perhaps not helpful was this young guy who watched me drawing and then decided Continue reading ‘Covariant’
Here’s the first slide of my TEDYouth talk from Saturday. It was time consuming but fun to draw all those hands and tiny items of various sorts. The whole talk was about what I call “hidden structures”, which in a sense is what my field (high energy physics, particle physics, cosmology, string theory, etc.,) is all about. To help motivate it all, I started by talking about opening up your smart phone and figuring out how it works by taking it apart and discovering the components inside, and using the rules of how to put them together to deduce the structure of other things (see that second stage of the slide being delivered on stage*).
Since I’m hugely into getting people to learn by really getting stuck into things Continue reading ‘Components’
After arriving back home from New York on Sunday night (late) my next tasks were to sleep and wake up super-early to write some lecture notes on various approaches to treating diffraction (vectorized Kirchhoff integrals and so forth) for my class, and to grade several weeks of homework assignments…. all before the day’s guest (Howie Haber from UC Santa Cruz) arrived to visit and give us a departmental colloquium entitled “The Higgs Boson Unleashed”. It was great, and included discussion of new results from the LHC announced just last week. Then there was dinner in one of the excellent new downtown restaurants where I seem to have become a regular (nice to be remembered by the wait staff sometimes).
Today I must think about what I’m going to say in a colloquium I must give at Cal State Long Beach on Monday… But before then I think I need to have a slow day as I’ve really not stopped being in extreme headlong motion on various projects and deadlines for over three weeks now.
Of course, I do try to create moments of quiet whenever I can. It is important to me. Sketching practice helps. I’d taken my watercolour pencils and little portable fillable Continue reading ‘Q Train Guy’
Well, it is great to be back in New York. Multiple times this year – hurrah! I’ve just got back from the Times Center where all the speakers have been running through their talks to smooth out kinks of various kinds (technical glitches, run time, etc). The senior TED people are here sitting in the auditorium and one by one we come up and go through things to give us a chance to get familiar with the stage, and to hear any thoughts or comments. (See tiny picture on the left.) People have done really good jobs preparing, and so most comments are simply ones of congratulations, with some small suggestions here and there with regards points of confusion, or sound levels, or run time. We’ve got six minutes. You heard me right – I must explain all of particle physics and research in string theory in six minutes. I like my challenges… Well, I spent a lot of time designing the content of the talk Continue reading ‘So Good They Named It Twice’
…Progress? I hope so. I lost about 7 hours yesterday. Hours that I’d planned for working on the slides for TEDYouth and (mostly) finishing them. There was a weird problem on the computer I use that seemed to seep into Illustrsator as well. Somehow dragging a file to copy or move it somewhere else would not work, and this meant that in Illustrator if you tried to drag an object to a new position, it would fail to complete the operation, generating a copy in the place you moved it to but not erasing the original… It would then freeze. I tested this out in so many different ways to see that it was not damaged objects or files… then eventually decided to reinstall the entire operating system (Lion). Of course, this is no Continue reading ‘Slow but steady…’
Back home in the office/studio working on slides for the TEDYouth talk. Spent altogether too much time on telescopes today. Way too much. I estimate that this Continue reading ‘Telescopes’
I find myself on the East Coast for the first of two trips over here in two weeks. Next week I return to be in New York for the TEDYouth event (which I am still making slides for when I find some time here and there between the tasks I’m doing for this trip). This week’s trip means I’m missing two of my electromagnetism graduate classes, which I feel bad about because it is such an enjoyable group to teach*.
I must say that it is nice to get to wear serious outerwear for the first time in a while. I know – this is a particularly unoriginal thing you hear from a lot of us softies from the SouthWestern part of the US, and I apologize for saying it, but it is true! It is sometimes sad to see a nice heavy coat sit unused in a closet for a year or more, and there’s also a nice grounded feeling Continue reading ‘Travels’
Somewhere in there, somehow, I am keeping my head above water…just. But then I decide on something equivalent to tying extra weight to my ankles. Last week, while deciding on what I would talk about in the short time I have, I decided to do the whole TEDYouth talk graphic novel style of course… Which means hundreds of drawings… Why do I do this to myself? (I can recycle some of this for The Project, I suppose…) So I sat in the sun on Saturday afternoon Continue reading ‘Magnify!’
But I sort of like them like that. It is a busy time, but I thought I needed to do something different and so last night I popped into a studio I visit to do a “drop in and draw” session. I’ve told you about these before. There were not too many other sketchers there, which is nice, and it was also nice to have a model that was not the usual (often tedious to draw) thin sort, but who had lots of interesting forms that played well with the light. This makes drawing interesting. (Click for larger view.)
I was rusty, not having done this in a bit, but rusty in an interesting way – I was seeing forms and getting balance fairly well (with some obvious proportion issues Continue reading ‘Incomplete…’
In the heart of Downtown Los Angeles yesterday evening, there was the grand opening of the Grand Park, a project that links City Hall to the music Center with three blocks of park space. They had music, food, speeches, lots of people (yay!), and acrobatics down the side of the landmark City Hall building.
Unfortunately, the looooong wait between the speeches by various officials and the actual startup of the acrobatics (during which I was able to start and finish the sketch of purple-lit City Hall you see to the left -I painted it later, although I did have my watercolour pencils and brush with me, but had to go off to a party) meant that by time they came on I was hungry and almost entirely Continue reading ‘Topless in Grand Park’
As you know from reading here, I think that careful thought is important. I like it in conversation, among other places, so I like it when people take the time to stop and think about something before talking.
I prefer conversations with such space over those interactions where everyone is trying to somehow “win” it by filling all available space with chatter, contentful or not. (In fact, over the years, I think I’ve gone out of my way to avoid the latter as much as possible, including the people who tend to need to engage that way…) So not surprisingly, when writing conversations, for example for The Project, you’ll find that I have places where time Continue reading ‘Look Before You Leap’
It was the annual Dead Poets’ slam organized by Christine Louise Berry of SmartGals again. It was a bit later in the year than usual, but again at Skylight books this year.
Pictured is the audience and some of the performers and judges (I was not a judge Continue reading ‘Dead Poets Society’
Another redo of a page complete. Hurrah! Basically, I’m able to capitalize on the work I did on The Project while in Aspen, inking a lot of pencil work that was done there and then putting it rapidly into play. I’ve about two more pages to work on and then I think I can get back to the story/chapter that I was working on before I decided to stop and re-work to a better standard.
Let’s see if I can get one done this weekend.
This week sees the beginning of the new semester here at USC. I’ve been easing into my new class, which is a graduate level electromagnetism course. It is fun material to teach, and so I expect to enjoy it. I taught it back in 2009, and you can find some posts I did on some of the material if you dig into the archives.
It is going to be a hugely busy semester, and in fact has started out that way already. I’m on far too many committees, boards, and working groups, both within the university and beyond, and have been invited to be on a number more that I’m thinking about, some of which probably I should say yes to. This is all in Continue reading ‘New Things…’
Back in Los Angeles, where I can start the process of working colour under the inks and building the images into the pages where they belong. Here’s a panel from mid-conversation.
I’ve been quiet here for the last five days for a variety of reasons. One of them is that I got a bit of a nice routine on some work going (finally), and so wanted to milk that… and another is that I got a bit ill, and needed time to recover.
I’ve lots to tell, but might not get to much of it due to getting on with doing several things. There’s one interesting series of events (amusing mishap, Continue reading ‘Well, Can the Physicists?’
Part of the process of redoing some of the work I did in the prototype story for The Project. This is an inked treatment of one of a trio of panels in the story entitled “The Arena”. (Warning: Some of the cross hatching has become a little muddied in this reproduction, and the paper has come out somewhat dark. This is because I took a snap with my camera… A proper scanner will resolve all that when I get back to my office.)
While redrawing, I noticed that one of the things that was unsatisfactory about the old version is that the entire light model was wrong. The bright window in the setting, from where the natural light comes, is to her left, not her right. I must have changed the characters’ relative sitting positions at some point in the story but forgot to adjust the light… I’ve noticed it on more than a couple of pages…
It might not seem like much, but you the reader are more aware of Continue reading ‘New Inks’
On Saturday we had another series of celebration events for the 50th Anniversary of the Aspen Center for Physics. It began at 2:00pm with a discussion in Paepke auditorium entitled “The Future of Physics”, and it was introduced by Michael Turner, and moderated by Lisa Randall, with three Nobel Prize winners forming the panel: David Gross, Bob Laughlin, and Adam Riess. (I decided to do a short sketch during some of it, and then quickly splashed on some colour later in the evening*. The result is above. The sketches are meant to give a sense of the stage and people on it, not be representative likenesses, so I refer you to pictures of them for actual portraits…)
There was an excellent turnout, and audience members were treated to a good and wide-ranging discussion. It was a difficult subject to grapple with, and Lisa started out in a good place, by getting each panelist to take turns to describe their way into physics, then around again to talk about the areas they got their Nobel Prizes in. She supplemented their contributions with some of her reflections on her own experiences and points of view, and tried to unpack some of the concepts brought up here and there when she thought it might help the audience.
From there, things became a bit tricky, since there were several directions in which to go and it was not clear what the best structure to follow was, given the time allotted and that they needed to stop and get members of the audience involved. Like I said, it was a difficult assignment for all of them. What emerged was a loosely structured series of interesting reflections from each of them at various points, some healthy disagreements there and here (I think it was good for the public to see that we’re not all cut of the same cloth) – for example between David and Lisa on the meaning of Continue reading ‘The Future of Physics’
Yesterday I suddenly decided that I was going to teach myself a new technique, which will be useful for The Project. I wanted to do some sketching in 3D – modelling if you prefer – but with my actual hands on the material. I love thinking about how faces and bodies are put together, and try to bring that out in my sketches on paper, but how about doing it in 3D, to further explore and appreciate things? This would ultimately be also extremely useful in future character design, global consistency when pencilling pages, and so forth. Messing around with plasticine (or its variants) is something I’ve not done since my teens, and I don’t think I ever did much in the way of faces back then, so this would be a fun new challenge.
I went into town and found a place that has some art supplies, and eventually found Continue reading ‘Sketching in 3D’
It turns out that a really great way of passing the time when listening to someone give a talk is to do some sketch practice. [... wait, what? The post title? Oh! No, no, don't be silly. Ok., let me continue ...] If the subject matter is right, it’s a good thing to do while you focus on what’s being said. This last couple of days I’ve been in Aspen, Colorado, and I’m starting out my visit here with a three day conference entitled “Becoming Engaged: Initiatives That Can Change Science Education”. You can see more about it on a dedicated website hosted by ICAM. One of the people behind it is David Pines, and we’ve had many conversations about science outreach and science education over the years, and so he invited me to participate. I’m supposed to be here at Aspen for my visit to the Aspen Center for Physics, and so I’m only partially attending, opting to to listen to some talks, and take part in some discussions… then going back over to the center to hear some LHC and Higgs chatter on the LHC workshop that is starting up this week.
There are a lot of interesting people talking about science education, and science outreach, many describing their various approaches and projects in short talks and presentations. (I will tell you about some of them in future posts.) It is great to meet several people who are passionate about outreach too, and see what others are up to and share ideas… so this is a valuable time. Hopefully, some action ideas will come of this meeting that Continue reading ‘Becoming Engaged…’
The workshop has been fantastic, overall. In between discussions, the talks, and some thinking about my own projects, I’ve had some time to wander a bit, and look around. Yesterday after lunch I wandered a bit and then found myself settling down and doing a sketch of a bridge at a junction with lots to see. The Amstel is joined by Prinsengracht canal here, and it was fun to sit a while and put down some pencil lines, followed by firmer ink lines. I pulled the result into the iPad and splashed on some colour for good measure.
Having finished the paper last week, it has been fun to field questions about it from various people, as well as think at a more leisurely pace about the next Continue reading ‘The Bridge’
The last several sessions on The Project have been an exercise in revisiting some older pages. In fact, in the sample you can see to the left the subject is the very first page that I started experimenting with seriously for developing and learning production techniques.
Back then I was doing my inking digitally, and I ended up with work that I did not like the look of. I hate the clean straight lines that resulted. Also it was too slow on the computer to control the brush with the fidelity I wanted…various other things bothered me as well, which I won’t trouble Continue reading ‘Before and After’
I got a little sketch practice here and there where I could during the trip. On the return journey for example, I found a nice opportunity as we were preparing to land after the short flight from Aspen to Denver.
Bob Melisso, my co-Producer/Director was reading a magazine, and so was still for long(ish) moments at a time – enough for me to do a quick sketch of him in profile. It was reasonably successful. It was his birthday recently, so this made a sort of present. He seemed to like it…
One of the key things I keep trying to maintain and improve by drawing regularly is speed. I’ve shown you drawings of various sorts here, but maybe not enough of the experiments I try to do relatively quickly. When things are working well and my eye is in, so to speak, shapes and lines jump out at me and beg to be put on to the paper, and a convincing form appears, giving a sense of the pose that was being done at the time. This can be someone on the train, or it can be a model in a studio I’ve dropped in to draw for a while.
I sort of love incomplete drawings that are a mixture of schematic structures, implied flow, more finished forms, and so forth. The results can be quite fun to look at. Above is a bunch I did last week. Click for a much larger view. (I apologize for the copyright watermark in everything, but I’m tired of the business people have on the Continue reading ‘Speed and Flow’
On the Red Line on Saturday (on my way to test out the Expo line – see earlier post) there was an unusual spectacle in one of the carriages. This woman had some headphones halfway on, and was singing Beatles songs at the top of her voice! She was at the start of “All My Loving” when I got on (I’ve written some of the lyrics down to remind me of the moment). After their initial surprise, people were doing that typical “I don’t see anything unusual” look, trying not to notice her by looking everywhere but in her direction.
I imagine they thought she was crazy. Perhaps she was, or perhaps she was just having an odd day, but for sure she was also just enjoying herself immensely, not Continue reading ‘All My Loving…’