Confessions of a researchaholic

March 31, 2019

Receptive

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:48 pm
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I was in a meeting with a colleague and an immigration lawyer a few days ago. I was prepared to argue for a difficult case, but found the lawyer surprisingly receptive. She spoke tersely and stopped frequently to ask for any questions or feedbacks.

EQ gradually outweighs IQ in determining career success when one becomes more senior. Maybe that explains why that lawyer is a partner already, and behaved quite differently from a more junior lawyer previously handling the same case.

Drawing a garden rose

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:26 pm
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Anything that is not a human face excuses more perceptual deviations.
This is probably the most colorful digital drawing I have done so far.

After finishing the drawing, I noticed it looks too flat. Shading volumes for colorful objects is harder than for white sculptures, which I plan to revisit.

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Drawing a garden rose

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Drawing a garden rose

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March 29, 2019

Quick sketches during meal times

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 2:32 pm
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Eat the food as usual, do not rush or stop.
Meanwhile, carefully survey the surroundings to spot potential drawing subjects.
Find someone who looks interesting (to you) and is likely to remain stationary for a sufficiently long period of time.
After finishing the food, adjust your position so that you can observe the subject in a good angle while reducing the chance of being noticed.
Draw freely without worrying about mistakes.

Lunch time guests tend to be more normal and stay shorter.

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Quick sketch of a cafe cashier

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Quick sketch of a cafe cashier

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Quick sketch of a luncher

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Quick sketch of a luncher

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Quick sketch of a luncher

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Quick sketch of a luncher

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Dinner time guests tend to be more diverse, especially later into the night, and some might hang on for a while working or reading.

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Quick sketch of a cafe patron

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Quick sketch of a cafe patron

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Quick sketch of a cafe patron

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Quick sketch of a cafe patron

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March 28, 2019

Quick portrait sketch from an unusual angle

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:45 pm

I noticed this passenger sitting on an upper deck from a lower deck.
The unusual angel, combined with the shaking train and changing subject posture, made the drawing challenging and yet fun.

March 27, 2019

Quick sketches

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:24 pm
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Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

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Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

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Quick sketch of a cafe staff

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Quick sketch of a cafe staff

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March 26, 2019

Portrait sketches

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:03 pm
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There was a lively boy in the lunch cafeteria but he moved too much for me to draw, so I settled with this guy with unique facial hairs.
He was relatively stationary, but took off while I was halfway through, so I finished the drawing from memory.

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Quick sketch of a guy at lunch

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Quick sketch of a guy at lunch

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This lady was excited to attend a Giants’ game.
My shading strokes around her chin look like beard, an area for future improvement.

March 25, 2019

Social network peer pressure

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:34 pm
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Most people use social networks for venting, boasting, and scheming.
I use it mainly for fun and motivation, such as my progress in drawing.

So much intrigue to sight, so little time to draw.

I spotted this passenger on the upper deck while sitting on the lower deck.

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Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

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Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

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I had to draw this one partially from memory as the subject kept on changing postures.

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Quick sketch of a cafe patron

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Quick sketch of a cafe patron

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March 24, 2019

Subjective depiction of objective reality

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:30 pm
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A drawing subject has expressed concerns about the lack of similarity between her self-perception and my depiction. I told her that since my drawings are a long way towards professional maturity, she should be concerned about her appearance much less than I about my drawing skill.

This applies to other discrepancies between what others depict us and what we think of ourselves. The former can provide opportunities for improvement, but should not cause disturbances if we truly understand and believe in ourselves.

When I was a kid, my grandfather once told me that only fools care about what other inferior people think of us.

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Profile sketch of a laptop user

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Profile sketch of a laptop user

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Sketching a language learner

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Sketching a language learner

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March 22, 2019

Portrait sketches

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:52 pm
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The sandwich place inside the company is a good place to watch people.
During my lunch there today, I noticed a chunky visitor with flesh squeezing out all over his face and body, an employee with long mustache, and a visitor who looks like Tuppence Middleton from the side.
I had only about 15 minutes to draw so I picked the last one as the subject, even though she left before I could even finish the outline.

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Quick sketch of a lunch guest from memory

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Quick sketch of a lunch guest from memory

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It took me a while to find this interesting subject on the evening train. He disembarked at the Mountain View when I just started the outline, so I finished the drawing mostly from visual memory.

This girl sat at the same seat of the bearded guy. I failed to capture her essence before getting off at Menlo Park.

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Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

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Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

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I drew this inside a cafe; the lighting eventually turned dark and thus challenging for hatching.

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Live portrait sketch of a reader

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Live portrait sketch of a reader

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March 21, 2019

How to draw human subjects on trains

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:40 pm
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Pick a schedule that the train is neither too crowded nor too under attended. It is very difficult to draw in an overcrowded or a completely empty train.

Pick a train (or a specific car) with open views so that you can easily see other passengers, preferably frontal faces.

The above two require some experiences but would not be hard to figure out after a few weeks.

Walk through all cars once the train departs to identify the best subject and your location.

Like research, the most important stage for art is picking the right subject. The rest is just execution.
The subject should have enough visual interest (at least to you) and yet in a stable enough state to draw (e.g. sleeping or focusing on a book or device).
Sit at a right angle and distance from your subject. You need to be able to see his or her face with sufficient clarify, while avoiding being noticed. (People might not behave naturally if they sense being watched.)

Time your drawing with the train stops.
Ideally you want to have enough time and physical stability to draw, so place the most important strokes (e.g. the outline and key features) during the longest segment (so that the subject is most likely to remain there).
Also consider how shaky the train can be; place the coarser strokes (e.g. initial base layer) during bumpier movements, and the finer strokes (e.g. detailed eye structures) during slower movements.

I usually have about 20 to 30 minutes for a trip during which I try to complete the drawing as much as possible. Sometimes I perform fine touches afterwards, but only if my visual memory is still fresh.

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Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

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Quick sketch of an evening train passenger

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