Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shadin' it up!

What have I been up to?  Well, I ate too many tater tots.  Ugh.  But in addition to that I've been practicing using my new tablet every day.  I got a whole lot better at drawing while looking at the screen instead of the surface I'm working on.  Not perfect, but better.  I was struggling with it one night, and the next morning it just seemed to click.  Maybe it sank in while I slept?

I've been working on shading.  I've never done digital shading before and it sometimes feels cumbersome compared to pencil shading, but it makes up for it with being able Undo, Undo, Undo!  I've been doing the line art I posted previously.  Right now I have a hand cramp.  But I've finished up my very first computer drawin' experiment/practice.  I feel pretty good about it, all things considered.  Here's what I got.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fireflies! And more art.

Saw the year's first firefly, or lightning bug if you prefer.  They make me happy.  Also found a flying squirrel hanging out in a tree in my front yard.  Cute little fuzzy thing.  Skittish, though.

So the tablet I mentioned in the previous entry finally arrived a few days ago.  A Wacom Intuous 5, medium style.  It's cool and black and smelled really funny at first, but that's mostly worn off.  I've been trying to figure out how to use.  I knew there would be a learning curve, but wow!  You really do have to relearn how to draw; looking at the screen instead of the surface you're drawing on is a huge disconnect.  At the very start I was like a toddler with a crayon trying desperately to stay in the lines but, nope, they go all over the place.  But I know it's do-able, other people have somehow managed it.  I've been practicing and very slowly improving.

Compounding the confusion is the drawing software.  I've never owned Photoshop or anything really complicated like it (I still don't, but it came with a PS Elements).  Those softwares are too expensive.  I do have Gimp, which is free, but it doesn't work very well with the tablet.  So I'm having to learn all that as I go along... different tools and their bajillion settings, layers and masks and adjustment layers and clipping masks and multiplies and I don't know what all.  I've been looking at dozens and dozens of tutorials and things, which so often skip over simple but crucial steps.  But... I'll get there eventually.

Attempting to teach my muscles and mind to draw with a tablet, I've been doing a lot of tracing.  It's really been helping to learn how to control the lines, how to move my hand to get what I want.  Well... more or less.  Still having to Undo lines umpteen times to get one that's mostly right.  But hey!  Here's what I've managed to do so far.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jim: Heavy Metal!

The weather turned cooler.  That must mean it's time for...!

Evil Dolly's Featured Fetish Artist of the Day:  Jim

I haven't been able to find out much about Jim (1918 - 1964) other than he was born in Switzerland and had a number of bondage serials published by Klaw in the 50s, which reappeared in the Bizarre Comix reprints in the 80s.  Much of his art was quite similar to that of the previous featured artist Stanton, but although they worked for the same guy I don't believe they ever met.  Klaw was known to have kept the artists who worked for him from meeting, for whatever reason.  Perhaps he worried his artists would get together and strike out on their own to form some rival company or some such.

New uses for old innertubes! Very Martha Stewart.
Lookit... helpful drone slaves.

As for Jim's style, his women can usually be recognized by their long legs, small waists, large derrieres, and tiny, tiny hands.  Hands are a problem for most artists, but since his are consistently small perhaps he just liked them that way.  He sometimes played fast and loose with anatomy, contorting people in improbable ways, but why not?  It looks pretty.  But what particularly stands out about a lot of Jim's art, and what I particularly enjoy, is the stringency of some of the bondage in the form of metal restraints...

Steel clothing! It takes up a lot of closet space.
When welding on metal stockings, always use eye protection!

I think there was a whole chapter in my driver's ed book on safe slave-steering.

Would also work for excessive texting.
Jim must have loved the idea of metal bondage and clothing, as often as he used it and illustrated it in intricate detail.  Formfitting steel clothing, heavy shackles bolted to the walls, metal bands, rivets and locks.  It's utter overkill in terms of restraint... and it's why he's one of my favorites.  It's hot!  Okay, not so practical in real life, unless maybe you have a full team of fabricators and machinists.  But it makes for a nice visual.
Three! No, two! No.. oh, I'm terrible with quick decisions.

Ruffles add that feminine touch to any riveted dress.
Heel training starts at home.
The perfect exposure therapy cure for claustrophobia! What? You don't have claustrophobia? Well, you will soon. 

You'll find that almost all of the Klaw-published artists' work looked very similar in appearance, to the point that it's difficult to tell some of them apart at first glance.  That is, Stanton, Jim, Eneg, Mory, Anders, etc.  I don't know whether that was simply the prevailing drawing style of the time or if they were heavily influenced by seeing each other's work.  Not that I'm complaining.  I like it.

Honestly never seen someone suspended by the seat of her metal panties. Kudos!

"They all laughed at me when I said I'd invent an automatic mummifying machine! Well, who's laughing now?"
Wonder if she learned those metal-working skills in a war factory. Hmm.
Actually, it does make me wonder.  Jim did live through WWII... did he perhaps work on an assembly line or machine shop of some sort?  Surrounded by metal and tools, might have he started fantasizing of women being bound by those same materials?  While shaping metal plates into the hull of a battleship, might have he been dreaming of shaping those plates around a woman's curves?  Well, it's all pure conjecture, we know next to nothing about the man.  But it does make me wonder.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My coolness! Nooooo! Plus, art.

Been an expensive week, it has.  My heating/air unit died for the last time.  It's been costing about a grand a year just to keep it repaired for the past four or five years.  A couple years ago the heater died on Xmas Eve and of course no one could fix it over that weekend, so by the time it got fixed it was down to 40 degrees inside.  Brr!  It's kinda surreal to be sitting there watching tv while your breath is visible.  Anyhow, the thing died again last week (coils cracked and leaked out all the coolant and burned out the circuit board all in one go) and that was the last straw.  Spent a horrible amount on a brand new unit.  Sigh.  At least I won't have to worry about it again for a number of years. 

I also went and ordered one o them Wacom drawing tablets.  An Intuos.  I've never used one before, but I've wanted to try it for years.  If it works and encourages me to draw more, it'll be a worth it.  Thing is, I don't have a very visual imagination.  I have ideas, and I have the technical skill (if a bit rusty), but there's a blockage in there somewhere that doesn't allow a proper translation.  I can't form a good solid image in my mind to draw from (and faces are also very fuzzy in my memory).  When I visualize something it's very unstable and abstract.  It lacks detail and is more a set of concepts rather than pictures.  A blur of trunks and green are a forest.  I need to view something in front of me to draw it well.  It's why I express myself much better with writing than drawing. 

It's not that rare, people have a wide range of visualization acuity and even good artists can have very little.  They either make it work for them or they find a workaround.  It does affect the drawing process, though.  When I want to draw realistically without a reference it starts out as a lot of rough overlapping sketches, honing in more and more as the vague concept starts to look more natural.  The problem with that is it takes a lot of trial-and-error and a whole lot of erasing.  Paper just doesn't last long against all the erasing I have to do... gets those fuzzy spots.  It's the same reason I disliked painting -- you can't erase!  But with digital drawing and tablets, I can erase and redo all I need to without any trouble.  That's the theory, anyway.  Here's hoping!

Oh, and I've counted six turtles in my yard, a chipmunk, and one three-legged squirrel.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Doom of Plants

First thing I did this morning was this:

What?  I'm just a little guy!
The next thing I did was visit a plant nursery with half a mind to look at holly bushes.  They didn't have any.  But I did wander through the rows of flowering plants with envy.  See, I can't keep plants alive.  Not many of them, anyway.  I can't even keep cacti alive, and I love cacti.  Back during the few years I lived in CA, I lived a block away from a cactus nursery featuring amazing succulents of all kinds flourishing in profusion.  But it was hopeless.  I couldn't even keep a cactus alive in the desert.

Compounding the problem is my yard, which apparently resents having holes dug into it to the point of killing anything I attempt to plant.  Oh it's not unfriendly to everything, sure... oak trees like it here, azalea bushes do fine, there's some wild jasmine, a rose bush I planted last year is alive, and I have a splendid Japanese maple that is almost exactly old as me.  And the yard is green, I can't fault it there -- there's a little grass and plenty of weedy things that, when mown short, give it the illusion of having a lawn.  But just about anything I try to plant in it... is doomed.

Part of the problem is the shade what with all the oak trees around.  There aren't many spots that get a good full sun.  But shady plants haven't done well, either.  I tried fancy moss.  It didn't take in the sun or the shade.  Regrettable.  I like moss.  The bigger problem is the soil, this hard dirt clay stuff that stunts growth.  Few bulbs flower, things grow slowly.  I'm sure its chemically all wrong.  But even a deep layer of nice rich loam-in-a-bag doesn't seem to help much.  Oh, greeny things!  Why must you be so fickle!

So, among all the plants at the nursery, I left with nothing but a teeny tiny chick and hen plant in a pot barely wider than a quarter.