drawing the effect of detail

drawing the effect of detail

Stephen Travers Art has a wonderful collection of drawing tutorials.

When drawing highly detailed things (fields of flowers, trees, and complex cityscapes) there is a tremendous amount of detail. As it turns out, far, FAR too much detail to actually draw. So how do you draw highly complex detail – without drawing the detail? You draw the effect of detail.

  1. Draw some of the key, close items clearly. You need to have some clearly recognizable individual elements of the subject. Draw them of sufficient size and shape to be easily recognizable without any confusion around them – by not crowding them too close together and enhancing their edges with silhouettes.
  2. Enhance the silhouettes of the key flowers with shadow/darkness. Fill the elements around some of the key items with shadow to highlight the shape of the individual blooms/elements.
  3. As you move back to the background – you keep establishing the key elements (blooms, petals, buds, stalks)
  4. Use the direction of scribbles of the darkness to point the eye towards the key elements (blooms/petals/buds).
  5. Dark tones come forward, lighter elements are pushed towards the back. So use more shadow in closer elements and lighter elements in the background. To get lighter strokes, use less pressure or use a thinner pencil.
  6. Don’t fill all the gaps – move around randomly and leave gaps. You must leave gaps and randomness . Stop every moment or two and see how the wandering of the shadow is going. Is there too much of a grey tangle of lines (too many) – add more dark shadow. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll fill everything in evenly and the giveaway is that it will all be the same overall tone of grey. You want some areas very dark, some light, and some grey.

Architectural drawings

  1. Architecture often has repeated patterns. Capturing the repeating-ness is more important the actual pattern that is repeating.
  2. Closer repeated patterns should be drawn with more detail than the same repeated pattern far away. Follow the same basic design of the close repeated pattern but make it simpler in the far away repeated pattern – your eye will naturally bring the nearer detail to those elements in the background.
  3. If there is a repeated element, draw them all with the same stroke strength and style. This means it’s usually best to do all the repeated elements one after the other to make sure the technique is consistent (pressure, line width, size, etc). This helps you keep them all as symmetrical as possible.
  4. For repeated elements that move away from your camera, draw the closest one with much more detail first, then less and less as you repeat the elements further and further away from the camera. Again, drawing the more detailed ones first helps you ‘summarize’ or make a smaller repeated one match easier.
  5. Another key element to know that capturing the symmetry of the scene is more important than the details of the elements/decorations. Like before, capturing the flow and pattern of the architectural lines is more important than the actual path it takes.
  6. You can also use tone to emphasize form much faster than just using lines

Give his techniques a watch:

Jidai Matsuri

Jidai Matsuri

I was lucky enough to catch one of the top three festivals in all of Kyoto, the Heian Shrine’s Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages). Held on October 22nd at noon each year, the festival is primarily composed of a two kilometer, five hour long procession of countless volunteers dressed in historical garb representing Japanese cultural history from the Meiji era all the way back to the Enryaku era in the 780’s.

Everything is painstakingly recreated and researched, going so far as to even make and dye the fabric using the same techniques as they used a thousand years ago. The procession is more like watching a living history museum march by. Not only do famous historical figures and princesses make appearance, but warriors, priests, politicians, merchants, and commoners are all represented.

I wonder how cool this would be if other cultures did a kind of living parade of their heritages as well.

The Corner office – is an elevator

The Corner office – is an elevator

This is a cool building. Besides all the most modern conveniences, far ahead of the technology of 1939, it has the usual boss’s corner office. What makes that office unique is that the entire room is an elevator. Complete with two working telephones and a working hot and cold sink!

Meet the Baťa Skyscraper in Zlín, Czechia. The office belonged to Jan Antonín Baťa and the room was built by Otis elevator company. Sadly, he never actually got to use the elevator office – but that’s a story for another time. Bonus points for the office still having paternoster elevators.

30 doing 30

30 doing 30

A shocking number of recent Forbes 30 under 30 list are under indictment or in prison for high-profile crimes. These weren’t just little offenses or mistakes, they amounted to fraud that totals in the $18.5 billion dollar range.

  • Elizabeth Holmes – convicted of fraud linked to her blood testing company
  • Trevor Milton – convicted of fraud for his zero-emission truck
  • Caroline Ellison – pled guilty to 7 criminal charges (max sentence of 110 years)
  • Sam Bankman-Fried – charged with bribery, money laundering, unlawful political contributions, and other charges surrounding crypto-currency FTX.
  • Charlie Javice – her company Frank acquired by JP Morgan, who made her a managing director, found guilty of fraud.

A lot of this fraud surprises me because anyone with any amount of due-diligence should have seen how fraudulent, and almost impossible, most of their claims were. I’m guessing that a decent number of investors knew this but also knew these claims were probably bunk, but investing in a rising star (even if false) and exiting at the right time can still be a heck of a cash cow. A good investor can make money even on a dead horse if they know how to work the system by getting in early to ride the hype and exit before the inevitable collapse.

Fraud and lying to make money or gain power is nothing new; but maybe this will help quell the rising voices that have claimed the younger generation and creators/disruptors are immune from this kind of behavior. This cohort of 30 under 30 seems to be the worst in history.

It turns out that the market behavior and basic science are still the same as they ever were – despite all the hype and claims we want to make.

In my opinion, it seems like there is a little bit of a common thread between all these scandals. A number of them seem to be partially or wholly delusional about their own products and abilities. Many got themselves clearly out of their depth – but became hype machines for ‘disruption’ that turned out to be same old basic fraud, market manipulation, and Ponzi schemes with new labels. Maybe that’s why we’re seeing movies like Glass Onion that have painted a less than rosy picture of influencer and streamer culture. But just like Valery Legasov said the in the wonderful Chernobyl miniseries:

When the truth offends, we lie and lie until we can no longer remember it is even there, but it is, still there. Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid

Check yourself: The Media Bias Chart

Check yourself: The Media Bias Chart

Just like eating different kinds of foods, you should know what you’re eating so you know if your diet is balanced, healthy, or downright garbage. Media, and social media (which has the added benefit of being largely unhealthy to boot), is the same way.

I’ve written about this before, but the Media Bias Chart continues to improve. Go check out your favorite sources, or better yet, find better ones to start reading. It’s interesting how things have shifted, and continue to shift over time – so be sure to check up on your news sources every year or so.

This is not just a chart, but something that gives us some data to infer from and can be used as a tool. I find it interesting that the more left OR right the source, that the media source pretty universally drops in quality to near garbage. This reveals a lot about how left/right partisan takes on any issue results in very poor analysis or thought about a topic.

I also find this a useful tool for those that claim to be unbiased, open minded, or whatever. Where do you think YOUR opinions fall on this chart? Now, go read something on the chart that aligns with it and see how good of a news source it really is (how far down on the y axis is your opinion)? Now, go read something that is on the OTHER side of the line. Nothing far from center. Check in the ‘skews left’ or ‘skews right’ area and read it. If you find yourself calling a largely good news source with a moderate leaning a bunch of pinko Commies or a bool-licking Nazis, then I think you might have a very distorted view of the world. It might be worthwhile to check yourself.

It’s also a good time to go watch some news broadcasts from the 1950’s-1980’s to see how journalism was done years ago. I remember being taught that a good reporter answered the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, hoW, and Why) by just reporting the facts. It’s impossible to be unbiased; but that was at least the goal. I’m not sure if that’s even the basic premise of journalism these days.

Today I find that any news item I was actually involved in (local news to more broad industry reporting on something I knew internally to the company/etc) breaks into 2 parts. The factual part is usually pretty accurate (the person hid on the roof of this garage from police, or this guy stole a $2000 bike, or that some information X was leaked from an internal company mistake). The commentary by experts and average readers is pretty bad. I find the news source usually finds an ‘expert’ that aligns with however they’d like to spin the news item based on the particular bias of the news source.

Even worse, the comment and speculation sections in the bottom of the news articles are the absolute worst. It’s full of horribly simplistic/incorrect analysis, wildly incorrect data, inflammatory posturing/language, and often conspiracy-theory laden stuff. Which is probably why any of the better news sources do not allow commenting on news articles (hint hint). I now don’t usually go to news sources that have comment sections – or I skip those sections all together. I only have so much of my life; and I’m not wasting it sifting through hours of anonymous incorrect opinions or bad or inflammatory thought/language just to get one nugget of truth.

Which makes you wonder the value of social media like reddit in which the content IS anonymous internet opinion

More true today than ever before

More true today than ever before

Birdie Jay: Like Miles said, I’m a truth-teller. Some people can’t handle it.

Benoit Blanc: It’s a dangerous thing to mistake speaking without thought for speaking the truth.

It’s not the first time this has been noticed.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

Charles Bukowski

And definitely something Oregon has seen played out in countless activist and activism groups that have proposed, and driven through, dramatic, major policy change – which has turned out to be as disastrous as many experts predicted.

Darmok and Jalad… at Tanagra

Darmok and Jalad… at Tanagra

Darmok is a pretty famous Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. In the episode, Picard is captured then trapped on a planet with an alien captain who speaks a metaphorical language. They must learn to communicate with each other before a deadly beast overwhelms them.

This isn’t quite as strange as you might think. There are records from civilizations that didn’t have a formal written language. Darius the Great (500 BC) was once given a strange box with several objects by the Scythian army encamped against him. They had no formal writing language; so they had to interpret the message.