Confessions of a researchaholic

November 26, 2018

Portrait practice from a magazine ad photo

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:12 pm
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Art works, including 3D sculptures and 2D advertisements, are already abstracted and serving as excellent sources to practice drawing.

Unique faces, beautiful or ugly, are easier to draw, because they already have distinctive features. It is the mundane and ordinary that take will more efforts to read, see, extract, and depict.

I ensured correct proportion of the base layer/structure before proceeding to the details. This saved time, taking me about one hour to finish this one. Previously, I sometimes noticed mistakes on the base layer which thought I could fix or hide with upper detailed layers, but that just took me a lot of time with little benefits.

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Portrait practice from a magazine ad photo

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Layers of a previous drawing

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November 25, 2018

Portrait practice from a magazine advertisement

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:20 pm
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Both the face and the water surface are challenging to draw.

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Portrait practice from a magazine advertisement

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November 24, 2018

Objective perception of subjective reality

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:24 am
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A core skill, in art, science, or even life, is the ability and willingness to objectively perceive subjective reality.

Notice the swap of the two adjectives. Supposedly, perception is subjective and reality is objective. However, that is a fixed given condition. Our bodies and brains act like filters, so reality is always subjective. What we can strive for is objective perception and depiction of the (given) subjective reality.

For example, in drawing, one has to perceive what is really out there, which can vary depending on the individual subjectivity, in the physical world, in the memory, or in the imagination.

In deriving a math proof or following a scientific argument, one has to rely on what is assumed to be true (axioms, theorems, conjectures) which are subjective by nature.

Shifting competition

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:12 am
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When I was a kid I skipped most art classes to focus more on competing against my peers (e.g. math).

Now, no longer feeling such needs, I shift the focus to compete against myself. To beat the past version of me, my best chance is to develop soft powers, such as artistic and personal skills. I could pick these up so far even lying dormant inside me for all these years.

November 23, 2018

Portrait practice in front of a mirror

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:49 pm
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Spatial-temporal trade-off for live portrait: the longer the session, the more precise and detailed the drawing can be, but the subject will also wear a more neutral expression.

Solution: practice drawing from memory.

More (layer-based) experiments are planned to come.
🙂

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Portrait practice

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November 22, 2018

Portrait exercise from a magazine photo

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:20 pm
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The face can be shortened a bit to better depict his intelligence.

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Portrait practice from a magazine photo

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November 21, 2018

Comparing deadlines of various conferences I have submitted to

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:34 pm
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SIGGRAPH deadline: you are completely dead!

CHI/UIST deadline: you are really dead!

CVPR deadline: you are half dead and can continue to submit supplementary materials like a zombie.

November 20, 2018

Portrait exercise from a news photo

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:23 pm
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I read the news on a morning train and decided to draw this interesting face.

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Portrait practice from a news photo

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November 19, 2018

Color portrait experiment from a magazine advertisement

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:59 pm
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I saw this advertisement on The Economist of a little girl peeking out of a train window. The entire picture has a brownish tone. I slightly elongated the face, accidentally turning the kid into an adolescent.

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Portrait experiment from a magazine advertisement

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November 18, 2018

Portrait exercise from a magazine photo

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:46 pm
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Accidental cartoon effects; drawing from a photo in the San Francisco magazine.

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Portrait exercise from a magazine photo

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Quick drawings during a museum trip

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:44 pm
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Sculptures are static, often already abstracted or stylized to facilitate drawing, and non-human subjects allow more deviations in proportions.

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Quick sketch of a horse sculpture by Johannes Brus

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Human subjects, in contrast, are dynamic, complex, and require precise proportions for recognition.

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Quick sketch of a restaurant patron

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November 14, 2018

Digital drawing over a scanned portrait sketch

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:13 pm
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I refined the eyes, hair, and neck regions of a portrait sketched by my father of my grandfather, making him look slightly younger as I remembered him during my childhood.

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Digital drawing over a scanned portrait sketch

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November 11, 2018

Quick sketches during a concert performance

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:12 pm
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Drawing can still divert my attention away from the music, so I should focus on the concert next time.
Dvorak never bores.

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Quick sketches during a concert performance

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Layers composition exercise

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:44 pm
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I used the lower layers for blocking and layout, higher layers for details, and different layers for different objects (Gollum, human, pillow). Later, I can reuse some of the layers for different compositions.

I drew from two photos, replacing the kid on the left, who was grimacing anyway, with Gollum, per request by the guy on the right.

Somehow I made the mistake of setting a low image resolution at the beginning, but fortunately that does not seem to reduce the image quality too much.

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Practice layers

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https://www.behance.net/gallery/72467801/gollum

November 9, 2018

Digital painting experiment

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:33 pm
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Sighting a photo displayed on a Kindle Fire, I experimented this drawing via Sketchbook on an iPad Pro with Apple pencil.
Digital painting provides more flexibility in physics and interaction (e.g. undo, zoom-in) but lacks the tactile feedback of canvas papers.

Erasing fine details on the current drawing can be difficult. A potential enhancement is to consider workflows for smart eraser.

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Sketchbook experiment on iPad Pro with Apple pencil

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https://www.behance.net/gallery/72430737/toddler

15-min sketch practice

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:28 pm
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We started at around 1:10 pm and finished at 1:25 pm to accommodate our meeting schedules.

Self-reminder: start with coarse shapes and volumes before fine contours and shading.

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15-min sketch practice

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November 7, 2018

Coarse portrait shading practice

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:48 pm
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It is deceptively challenging to depict portrait intricacies with coarse shading. I captured the eyes after a while, but not yet the mouth.
After seeing the original photo instead of the low res black-white one I drew as the source, I realized that the head tilt is off, contributing to the weird mouth composition.

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Charlie Chaplin, after a photo by Hartsook

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November 5, 2018

A bipolar city

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:43 am
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In a fancy restaurant, two guys in their early twenties were boasting about the funding of (their?) biotech startups, faces red with excitement boosted from their blood alcohol levels and profanity-filled conversations which, even without biotech background, I can detect nonsense from their tones, facial expressions, and body languages.

Meanwhile, on the streets scattered a few guys gathering manhole cover heat, and on a BART train, a guy was telling random strangers about his difficulty of finding jobs.

November 4, 2018

Quick sketches

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:23 pm
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I am still learning how to draw with correct proportions in slow speed, but quick sketches can still be a good practice and a way to capture serendipitous life events: a guy sitting across me on the north-bound BART train, people I spotted in a restaurant, and a guy sleeping on the south-bound BART train.

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Quick sketches on BART and Kokkari restaurant

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Portrait practice

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:43 pm
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The eyes are a bit too far apart and the mouth a bit too wide on the far side, the latter of which I corrected a bit.

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Portrait practice

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Minor correction of an earlier portrait

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November 3, 2018

The devil is in the detail

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:31 am
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$ git push
Counting objects: 6, done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (6/6), done.
Writing objects: 100% (6/6), 666 bytes | 0 bytes/s, done.

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