Confessions of a researchaholic

February 28, 2021

Cookies bag

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:00 pm
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I drew the empty bag after eating the last cookie.

February 22, 2021

Standing cabinet

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:15 pm
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I saw this standing cabinet on the roadside a few days back, and it was gone today when I walked past the same spot.

February 21, 2021

Free lemons

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:01 pm
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I took one, and it has a tinge of wood in the taste and smell.

February 20, 2021

Empty milk carton

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:38 pm
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Careful observation can reveal hidden intrigues of mundane objects.

February 19, 2021

Baggy dress

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:17 am
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I draw what I (want you to) see, no more, no less.

February 18, 2021

Wrapped chocolate truffle

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:11 am
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Folds and wraps can form intriguing patterns and shapes.
This chocolate truffle is wrapped in a specular BRDF making it hard to see the underlying contours.

February 17, 2021

Fungible memory

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:59 pm
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I drew the initial version of the lower-right mushroom from memory, which I realized to be too regular upon looking at the photograph while attempting to upload. I then modified the shape to be less regular and more natural/interesting.
The other two were drawn entirely from memory as I did not capture any photo reference.

February 15, 2021

Fruits rest

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:06 pm
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I lost track of time drawing these two apples snugging on the bananas, and did not realize it was past my usual bed time.

February 14, 2021

Broken tires

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:48 pm
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A pile of broken tires around a construction site caught my eye on January 3 2021, especially the lower-left one in a twisted fold. But it was moved towards the fence before I got a chance to draw it.

February 11, 2021

Ugly apple

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:57 am
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This apple has unhandled extraordinary vertices for its subdivision rules.

February 8, 2021

Vacant lot corner

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:48 am
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Drawing is one of the few activities that can soothe me into a zone/flow, like hours before a SIGGRAPH deadline (before year 2011, the start of my diminishing marginal return).

February 6, 2021

Hand-rest profile

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 8:24 am
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I drew this from referencing a magazine photo.
I did not know what I exactly wanted to do in the beginning and simply let the iterative process guide me.

February 5, 2021


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:31 pm
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Mushroom drawn outside
the yard in a warm sunny
winter afternoon.

February 3, 2021

Bright cloud

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:45 pm
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After experimenting with various brush types (oil, watercolor, charcoal, etc.), I realized that the best way to depict the fluffy cloud texture is smudge over the (black and white) strokes placed by whatever brush types.

January 31, 2021


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:30 pm
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A neighborhood cat
sneaking to a gopher hole
and waiting, I saw.

January 27, 2021

Muscular pears

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:54 pm
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I was intrigued by the muscular appearance of these two pears (half already eaten), and decided to depict this impression with broad oil brushes, which felt satisfying but also reminded me to try physical oil painting.

January 21, 2021

Dream on 4:30 am January 21 2021

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:33 am
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Sometimes, a dream is a continuation, expansion, or exaggeration of events in real life.

January 20, 2021

Ugly lemon

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:43 am
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I found this one on the ground, which seemed to be saying:
I might look different from my cousins in food markets, but I am still a lemon.

January 11, 2021

Fallen apples

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:11 pm
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Recently there were a lot of fallen apples around my back yard, some of which became my breakfasts.

January 7, 2021

Water bottle

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:29 pm
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I just wanted to quickly draw something simple and smooth.

December 31, 2020

Fire hydrants

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:49 pm
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The fire hydrants can have various sizes and shapes even in a nearby neighborhood:
flat head
large head
sharp head

December 21, 2020

Winter solstice

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:06 pm
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Portrait sketch from a reference photo, third attempt, which finally started to look satisfying.

December 19, 2020

Memory of a tree pod

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:29 pm
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I saw this tree growing pods among tiny leaves and drew one pod from memory afterwards.

December 16, 2020

Profile of a deer group

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:28 pm
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I unintentionally captured an intriguing profile view of a deer group and drew from the video reference afterwards.

December 14, 2020

Home desk worker

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:05 pm
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Avoid continuing the day work into the night.

December 12, 2020

A glass of diluted juice on the kitchen counter

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:12 pm
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The refraction and caustics of the drink on the checkered counter top made a perfect scene for drawing.

December 10, 2020

Mondrian cake dream

Filed under: Imaginary — liyiwei @ 10:30 pm
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Mondrian-themed cake,
in an early morning dream,
cut but not eaten.

December 9, 2020

Broken bowl

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:24 am
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Never waste a disaster.

December 4, 2020

Fortune cookie

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:35 pm
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A fortune cookie has an intriguing exterior shape and interior content.

November 26, 2020

Rock debris load

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:32 pm
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I guess I just wanted something to do while bathing under outdoor sunlight.

November 24, 2020

Takeout box

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:53 pm
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I drew this common and yet intriguing object as a memoir of a short conversation with the restaurant owner during my pickup.

November 22, 2020

Coffee pouch

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:19 pm
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I meant to draw this used coffee pouch a while back until I recalled its existence after dinner.

November 21, 2020

Lotus root peeler

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:16 pm
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I stood around drawing her peeling the lotus root to cook with jujube, longan, and sticky rice.

November 15, 2020

Edgecliff and Far creek

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:22 pm
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Neighborhood drawing
Outside a sunny winter
Sunday afternoon

November 11, 2020

Neck scarf

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:12 pm
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A head wrapped in a scarf can look very good; drawn from a stationary subject.

November 8, 2020

Wrapped on a sofa in a cold rainy day

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:29 pm
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Another drawing practice of a relatively stationary subject.

November 1, 2020

Fuyu persimmon

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:30 pm
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This is an exercise with different mediums (pencil, charcoal, oil, watercolor) and tools (Fresco and Expresii).

October 31, 2020

Spider crab head thing

Filed under: Imaginary — liyiwei @ 8:31 pm
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I just felt like drawing something like this.

October 28, 2020

Prison cell visit dream

Filed under: Imaginary — liyiwei @ 10:15 pm
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I visited a man in a prison cell
The man sat on a chair
With a noose hung next to him
I was supposed to talk to him
But instead started to draw him

October 26, 2020

Crow with acorns

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:05 pm
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I used to think the acorns were dropped on the roof by the squirrels, until this afternoon when I spotted these crows, which I didn’t manage to photograph on spot but drew one later based on visual memory and online photos.

October 25, 2020

Sofa portraits

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:30 pm
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Practice quick sketches of reasonably captive subjects.

October 23, 2020

Lemons on a tree

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:02 pm
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I didn’t notice, until today, this lemon tree near where I have lived for almost 20 years.

October 18, 2020

Little painter

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 8:06 pm
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I drew this fun exercise with reference photo(s).

I found FB an excellent venue for virtual drawing archive: unlimited storage, albums for organization, “memories” for reminding/checking progress, social sharing (or peer pressure, depending on how you look at it) for motivation, and no known privacy issue (how to target ads based on drawings, aside from generic Adobe CC subscription?).

October 16, 2020


Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 8:18 pm
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These are experiments with the charcoal brushes in Fresco.

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Pineapple – charcoal #adobefresco

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Pineapple head – charcoal #adobefresco

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October 14, 2020

Tree remains

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:22 pm
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I saw a newly chopped-down tree on Monday evening, came back this evening only to see its remains already cleaned away, and drew from visual memory/impression.
Interestingly, I can draw this one faster and better from memory than onsite, probably due to the mental abstraction already took place.

October 10, 2020

American nightmare

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:17 pm
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In nightmares, Jorge Luis Borges mentioned about the mesmerizing painting by Henry Fuseli, which inspired me to paint over my variation to reflect the current political atmosphere.

The reference image sources: incubus, statue of liberty, elephant.

October 9, 2020

Phone movie watcher

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:29 pm
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This is a practice for quick sketch of intriguing human poses.

October 7, 2020

Zaris Mech

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:33 pm
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Portrait requires high precision to look right.
The lockdown has reduced my chance to draw people on-site, so I switch to photo references meanwhile.

October 2, 2020


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:46 pm
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September 30, 2020

Jefferson and Fallen Leaf

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:52 pm
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I noticed the intriguing configuration of utility poles around this street corner due to the down ramp on the other side.

September 28, 2020

Books-round-over-table-corner dream

Filed under: Imaginary — liyiwei @ 10:43 pm
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Around 6 am September 26 I recalled this dream about a bunch of books circling over the edge of the kitchen table without falling over.

September 26, 2020

A day of several drawings

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 9:29 pm
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I remembered 3 weird dreams earlier at around 4:30 am and 6:00 am this morning, and decided to draw them out.

Before that, during an eye break, I spotted a rooftop worker.

This is the first dream, about an eel tank.

This painting is inspired by the name of a prior intern who is still collaborating with me.

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橙一藍 orange one blue #adobefresco

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September 21, 2020

Resting excavator

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:05 pm
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After focusing on the claws in the previous sketch, I felt more comfortable drawing the entire excavator.

I misplaced a rod in my first pencil-and-pen sketch, which I fixed, and then proceeded to produce a color version.
I ran out of patience after oil-painting the yellow components and thus water-colored the rest gray, and completed oil-painting the body two days later.

September 19, 2020

Excavator claws

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:20 pm
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Initially I was trying to draw the entire excavator but found particular interests in the two claws.

September 12, 2020

Quick sketch of a cat on a fence

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:04 pm
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The cat allowed me only a quick glimpse before jumping away.

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Quick sketch of a cat on a fence #adobefresco

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September 8, 2020

How to deal with shit in life

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:06 pm
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Remove it before it can further pollute the mind and the environment.

September 4, 2020

Digital charcoal drawing of physical colored pencils

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:31 pm
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Late at night spotting
colored pencils for charcoal
digital drawing

September 2, 2020

Vertigo ceiling

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:07 pm
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During vertigo, the eyes can spin around following the incorrect signals sent from a faulty vestibular system.
The effect can be reduced by VR: track the eye movements, classify whether they are caused by vertigo, and adjust the display accordingly (e.g., move the visual field with the spinning eye gaze).

August 28, 2020

Side wing of a Buddhist church

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:27 pm
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There are many interesting architectural and religious constructs inside and outside this Buddhist temple converted from a Christian church.
I was attempting to capture its entire front side, but soon realized that it won’t fit well into a square canvas.
So I ended up drawing only one side, and plan for other outside and inside views in the future.

August 24, 2020

Farm Hill

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:09 pm
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This intriguing hill-corner-top view is part of my routine walks around the neighborhood.

August 21, 2020


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:12 pm
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I drew this plate of strawberries after dinner.

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Strawberries – oil paint with #adobefresco

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August 18, 2020

Wild fire

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 9:37 pm
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Given our performance so far against the covid-19 pandemic, how would you rationally expect we can deal with environment damage and climate change?
With the current trajectory, humanity may not last beyond 100 or even 50 years.

August 16, 2020

Flower day lapse

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:31 am
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I was planning to draw this bud every day until it completely dies off but something unexpected forced me to stop on Friday August 14 2020.

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Flower day lapse

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August 8, 2020

Bud pair

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:08 pm
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This is a very quick oil painting. I plan to draw a time lapse of the flower life cycle.

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Bud pair – quick oil paint with #adobefresco

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August 4, 2020

Morning energy

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:55 pm
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Bananas probably have one of the highest benefit-to-cost ratios among all food: nutritional, healthy, easy to consume, and low cost, despite their lack of genetic diversity and (like other fresh produce) perishable for storage and transportation.

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Morning energy – oil paint with #adobefresco

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July 31, 2020


Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 8:48 pm
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The disintegration of a dead body is its reintegration back to the nature, and inspires me to decompose my sketching.

July 29, 2020

Library outdoor pickup

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:30 pm
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I walked up to the wait area, told the librarian my name, and received the book in a shopping bag.

July 28, 2020

Gift from the cat

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:02 am
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The neighborhood black cat seemed to express his affinity by occasionally laying dead rats around the house.
I spotted this one in the backyard earlier this morning, but it disappeared when I tried to draw it in the evening; fortunately I have a reference photo taken earlier for backup.

July 26, 2020

Memory of a silverfish 衣魚

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:55 pm
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I spotted a silverfish in the morning, which reminded me of those I constantly saw in my grandfather’s numerous ancient Chinese texts, which he refused to throw away any despite repeated demands from my grandmother. (Is this house for people or books to live in? 這房子是給人還是給書住的?)

He started to teach me classical Chinese when I was in kindergarten, and told me several important and unconventional lessons, such as: do not trust everything in the history books, better to beat others with my brain instead of my fists, and never let others control my thoughts and actions.

July 25, 2020

Breakfast memory

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 8:40 pm
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I drew from visual memory a cut avocado that has been a regular part of my breakfasts.

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Breakfast memory – oil paint with #adobefresco

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July 22, 2020

Lonely excavator claw

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:22 pm
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I saw this excavator claw sitting alone on the road side a few days ago, and walked back to sketch it.
The road is meandering and thus the car traffic can be a bit dangerous for pedestrians.
Fortunately, I can stand on the down-wind side of the claw, under the protection of its size and weight.

July 20, 2020

Road roller

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:08 pm
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I saw this road roller parked at the corner of a nearby fire station, which has a nice low wide stone wall for me to sit comfortably while sketching.
The connectors between the wheel/drum axes and the body seemed obstructive while on site, so I skipped them but found them pivotal for the structure and composition after the first drawing.
I came back to add the connectors the next evening.

July 18, 2020


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:13 pm
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I was trying to draw a temple building but lacked enough time before the evening closure, so I switched to another nearby scene.

July 15, 2020

Dragon fruit peel

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:30 pm
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After eating the dragon fruit, I drew its peel to memorize it.

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Dragon fruit peel – oil paint via #adobefresco

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July 13, 2020

Pencil and pen sketch of an unlit corner after sunset

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:18 pm
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I went out after 8 pm to this interesting and yet unlit corner of my neighborhood, to force myself to either draw quickly before it was too dark and/or finish the rest from visual memory back home.

July 10, 2020

Hand exercise pine cone

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:28 pm
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When I picked up this pine cone it was still oozing sap, and has remained on my desk as an aroma source and hand exercise instrument.

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✋ exercise pinecone #adobefresco

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July 6, 2020

Sitting across from the black cat opposite a glass panel

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:00 pm
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The neighborhood black cat often came to visit.
The sketch is a composition based on two photographs.

July 4, 2020

Drawing a composition of evening sun and moon

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 6:54 pm
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This composition is astronomically implausible (unless there are multiple suns above the horizon) but I felt like doing it after seeing the evening sun and moon at opposite ends of the sky.

July 3, 2020

Sketching after a photo of a sketching scene

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:55 pm
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My father shared some photographs of this drawing scenes, which I could draw from and connect to his works and travels.

July 1, 2020

A spider on a flower

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 9:47 am
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A spider, resting on a lamp shade, scurried away after being gently poked by me to see if it was still alive.

This exercise aimed to reproduce my impression of its movement, but over a flower as captured by an earlier photograph of another spider instead of the lamp shade.

I drew the flower and the spider in multiple layers via Fresco, exported the pdf file to Illustrator to animate the spider via puppet warp, and assembled the final video from the individual spider layers/frames along with the flower.

Even with puppet warp, the authoring process still involved tedious manual repetitions, which can be alleviated by autocomplete.

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Painting a spider on a flower #adobefresco

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ffmpeg -framerate 32 -start_number 0 -i frame_%02d.jpg -c:v libx264 -pix_fmt yuv420p -vf scale=1024×1024 SpiderOnFlower32fps.mp4

June 26, 2020

Sketch a towel-wrapped head in multiple views

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:55 pm
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I have been wanting to draw this for a while and finally managed to do it.
Picking a familiar subject could force me to spend more efforts in resemblance which might not be the key point or intention of the drawing.

June 23, 2020

Anniversary dinner

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:58 pm
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The appetizers (corn mezzaluna, Spanish mackerel) and entrees (striped bass, duck breast) were pretty light until the chocolate souffle, which was much more fulfilling than the size would suggest and continued to roll in my stomach until deep into the night.

Drawing helped me to not only remember the experience (than, say, photography) but (counter-intuitively) also better engage in conversation.

This is my last celebratory meal before I manage to regenerate a losing body part considered to be irreversible by all doctors I have consulted so far.

June 20, 2020

Charcoal sketch of a neighborhood cat

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:41 pm
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The black neighborhood cat visited again, which I watched through the front door glass for a bit while and drew the impression with the new charcoal brush in Fresco.

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Charcoal experiment with #adobefresco

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June 18, 2020

Hong Kong weather skyline

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:32 pm
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I drew this 3×1 watercolor inspired by Yilan Chen’s Instagram photos.

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Before a thunderstorm. #weather

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After raining. #weather

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June 14, 2020

Drawing my favorite view of the bay

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:18 am
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This is my first drawing of the view from this spot which I often come to relax my mind and body.

June 13, 2020

Quick ink-pen sketch of a dead mosquito

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:29 pm
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I noticed this little black spot on the white carpet.
The (iPad) camera can capture the details better than my naked eyes.
I removed the dead mosquito afterwards.

June 10, 2020

Onsite drawing of a back building view

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:55 pm
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Thanks to a not-yet-ready for pick-up dinner order, I finally got a chance/excuse to draw this back-building view that I found intriguing during my morning train station waits but without enough time to draw.

It was a serene drawing process, accompanied by sounds from train horns and chats of nearby street folks.

June 7, 2020

End of consumer toilet paper shortage?

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 11:10 pm
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Just a few weeks ago the US was suffering from a shortage of consumer toilet papers, so I was a bit surprised to see a pack of unopened toilet papers marked as free on top of a garbage pile while walking in the neighborhood on Sunday evening.
I wonder if that is a sign that the toilet paper production has finally ramped up?

June 5, 2020

Quick onsite sketch of a bench in a temple garden

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:08 pm
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The spot around this bench offers good views from several angles.

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Quick onsite sketch of a bench #adobefresco

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May 27, 2020

Drawing a deck view in a heat wave

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:58 pm
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I took a reference photo of this view which caught my eye on Tue May 26 early morning at the start of a heat wave.

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Deck view in a heat wave

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I came back for on-spot drawing at Wed May 27 evening when the weather cooled down a bit, and finished the drawing indoor with the reference photo after night fall.

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Drawing a deck view in a heat wave #adobefresco

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May 26, 2020

Sketching multiple variations of the head relief on a CAD quarter coin

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:58 pm
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Human perception is very sensitive to human faces, and thus small variations in a portrait sketch can cause large perceived differences.

May 23, 2020

Add a groundhog to a previous drawing

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:05 pm
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I once saw a groundhog poking its head out of its mound in a nearby county park.
This one was drawn via a reference photo.

May 22, 2020

Export control

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:04 pm
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This package of face masks took about 40 days to reach me from my parents in Taipei.

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Oil paint a package of face masks #adobefresco

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May 20, 2020

Adding flora to a previous drawing

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 9:56 pm
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During an evening walk I noticed a lone red flower sitting in the middle of a grass land, which inspired me to draw this variation.

May 18, 2020

Self pencil portrait of a profile view after failed attempts to cut my own hair

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:58 pm
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Experimental results indicated that it is very tricky to cut my own hair for desirable outcomes, even though it is worth trying as I need to know for sure whether I could pull it off.

For the first time, I had this magic experience that a self-portrait is a dialog with oneself.

May 17, 2020

Adding body parts to a previous drawing

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 9:40 pm
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I added body parts from my previous drawings over the shovel-and-wheel-barrel scene I drew earlier.

Base drawing

Rodin’s hand

Caltrain passenger’s leg

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Sketching a morning train passenger #adobefresco

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May 16, 2020

Oil paint construction workers with a shovel and a wheel barrel

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:04 am
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This is a starting point for further variations to come.

May 10, 2020

Redirected drawing

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:51 pm
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I was planning to draw something else but somehow redirected my attention to these nearby construction signs.

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Drawing some construction signs #adobefresco

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May 8, 2020

Drawing a fox pack

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 10:04 pm
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A pack of foxes were videographed in my neighborhood a few days ago. The captue was quite blurry, so I decided to create a new composition.

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Drawing a fox pack #adobefresco

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