Confessions of a researchaholic

September 30, 2018

After van Goth

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:51 am

I bought these sketch books before 2006, did not start to practice until 2015, stopped around 2016 to pursue my own path, and resumed reading today.

Copying from a master can be quite fun and help me appreciate their greatness.

September 29, 2018

Practice drawing a smiling child

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:29 pm

Slight deviations of proportions can dramatically change the facial identity. In this case, I drew the eyes slightly too large and too high above the nose. The kid looks even more exciting than I could capture. I can denser the hairs further but decided not to bother with extra manual labor.

September 28, 2018

Loose drawing

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:39 am

Some people draw better when their brains are in a looser state; for me, it still requires great focus, no less than coding or writing research papers.

I was quite sleepy so I did this one freestyle without much structuring; the effect is completely unrealistic but yet kind of fun.

September 27, 2018

How filter recruiters

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:01 am
Tags: ,

It is usually much more effective to talk directly with the hiring managers for job opportunities. Recruiters, either internally to the companies or externally in agencies, are usually less effective, even though I have encountered a few very good ones and enjoyed the processes.

If you are receiving more recruiter contacts than your bandwidth can handle, one strategy is as follows. Tell the recruiter that you are very happy with your current job (true for me, but pretend to be so even if you are not) and are not thinking about switching now. However, you are interested to know more about the opportunity, and might be able to recommend other suitable candidates.

A run-of-the-mill recruiter, looking for a quick score, will usually pass by after reading this message.
A smart recruiter, on the other hand, knows the importance of building relationships and expanding networks, and top candidates usually have good jobs; they will be more likely to get back to you.

September 25, 2018

Uncanny valley

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:24 pm

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

If you are drawing through the uncanny valley, keep practicing.

September 23, 2018

Drawing faces from photos

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:28 am

With enhanced perceptual sensitivity through human evolution, faces are not usually suitable for beginner sketching. Nevertheless, I seldom follow learning rules, so I just went ahead without knowing proper manual shading.

For plausible deniability, just omit the identities of the drawing subjects.

In general, the more features a face has, the easier it is to sketch with contours. Eventually I will need shading (which implies shapes and volumes) to convey smooth surfaces.

September 20, 2018


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:47 am
Tags: ,

While trying to draw a child, I realized that it would require shape and shading, which I have yet to master, in addition to contours, which I have been focusing on so far.
So I switched to a movie still that I liked a lot and is easier to draw from – a half covered face with plenty contours.


September 18, 2018

If you are willing to fail interestingly, you tend to succeed interestingly. – Edward Albee

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:27 am

This quote describes me quite well, at least the first part. 🙂

September 16, 2018

Stanford men’s toilet building

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:25 pm
Tags: ,

Adjacent to the Stanford memorial church sits a single floor building, a grand hall of men’s restroom.
At late Saturday afternoon nobody was inside; I can stand right at the entrance to draw the entire scene. But that might be weird even by Stanford standard, so I took a photo and drew from it later.

My focus is the glow at the ceiling light, applying (high dynamic) range compression, or tone mapping, so that I can keep both the glow and the walls in the same blank color.

I started with global guidelines, but after finishing the drawing noticed a glaring omission.
See if you can spot from the drawing and comparing it with the photo, before my answer below.

I did not place the horizontal guidelines connecting the left and right stall rows, and thus the left row appears shorter than the right row.

Next Page »

Theme: Rubric. Get a free blog at