AUTOCREATE: Visual Diary, Creative Writing, Thoughts

46 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Originally I started another journal here for creative purposes which I never ended up using, but only for autowriting. I decided to start another one to put my visual arts roughs/ creative writing and autowriting here, mainly for my own motivation and curation purposes. Also, to externalize a certain aspect of my creative process, which I have returned to again and again. Knowing that someone could and might be interested in reading what I'm writing motivates me highly, apparently.


1) Daily or semi-regular autowriting pieces or excerpts, or other pieces. It's probably not stuff I would publish, but I think is interesting enough to share for whatever reason and at least deserves to see the light of day. Prose, excerpts, poetry, etc.

2) Daily sketch and art stuff that would probably never see the light of day otherwise as well. Honestly, I probably will put little or minimal effort into editing it digitally, because of the time factor. I don't bother posting on Instagram anymore because I would actually like more writing to accompany it, and generally speaking, there is a massive amount of art on Instagram. I don't really enjoy it as a creative medium, but maybe that will change. Everyone is competing for attention there, and mostly everyone's 'haha, this is SUCH a rough sketch' is pretty polished. Like I'm usually done with something in a half an hour, hour, a couple hours maybe. Why would I spend the same amount of time digitally editing as I did creating it unless it's really worth the effort? Not all ideas are worth polishing, preserving, and displaying, but some ideas are worth displaying in certain contexts, and this is a sort of long-form done in progressive increments. Again, it's just stuff sitting in a stack on my shelf otherwise. Generally speaking, I'm more interested

2) Thought processes and insights concerning the creative process here, and processing certain frameworks and ideas in a public space. Inspirations, frustrations, unresolved issues. (And then, externalizing this perpetual question I am asking myself: why bother to create at all? Most of the time I don't bother asking until I run out of motivation or desire.) Probably there will be some level of metacommenting/self-reflective process on whatever it is that I post as a creative work or excerpt. My art praxis is a sort of work in process. I need one. Generally, my need to create pretty stuff for attention is pretty low. Also, I'm more interested in ideas and substance first than 'pretty' (and note, pretty is very much relative to the medium, how it's received and likely to be received, and overall levels of polished. Not interested in polishing a turd. Or "pretty" without substance. According to my own standards, obviously. Etc.) Anyways "pretty" is mostly secondary to "substance"/ "well-executed" (by whatever standard I'm using) in this case, like a byproduct rather than the primary focus.

Personally, I always loved reading and learning from other creatives and their processes, like when artists post their unfinished sketches or progress pictures. Or talk about their personal process of coming up with ideas, what inspires or moves them, and anything that shows how they think, feel, and approach it. Conceptualizing art or creation as a work in progress or action/ doing, as opposed to just witnessing the end result/ the finished product.


Edited by modmyth
I refused to identify as a creative for many years, even while creating prolifically and semi-prolifically on the DL. I just want to make the worthwhile stuff, not have the baggage and pretension that comes with having an identity, mostly. "Pretentious".

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

TAKE 1: So, I had a post which apparently got erased. These are some life drawings which I done a little while back, and before that, maybe once or twice before that. But it was classical life drawing, not life drawing with ropes. A few notes.

1) THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS: I like to draw with pen because it really forces me to focus on what I'm doing with my hands and with my mind; whatever mark you put down, you have to live with it. And especially with life drawing, there is always that risk that if the movement is not timed, that I never know if my next drawing is going to be a POS because you don't know when the model is going to shift or move, and with shibari there also is that additional risk (for the artist), that you never know when the model needs to be unroped because of general pain, discomfort, and tension. It very much forces you to be hyperpresent and focused in the moment. And personally, the prospect of failing is kind of thrilling, like not knowing if I'm going to go, 'wow, that's pretty good', or 'WTH is that?!".

2) It's a good test of your anatomical chops (or lack thereof :D) in real time. 1,2,5 minutes and some paper. Maybe 10. Go. Also, it took at least a session to get a hold of the weight distribution of body parts, to get an instinctive and analytical feel for it, because that is not natural weight distribution at all, and was probably the most awkward aspect. This in conjunction with the tension and pressure of the ropes against the body. A little more effort and focus to get something like linear 'flow' and a relatively pleasuring visual comp. when it comes to the arrangement of body parts.

3) It's good proof that you can, like, "really draw" in the classical sense, for people who might not understand your style or purpose otherwise. For what it's worth, life drawing is very very different than drawing from a picture, but is a classical test and measure of raw visual skill (at least, in your ability to depict/ interpret visual info). Maybe more on that later.

Image (13).jpg

Image (12).jpg

Image (11).jpg

Edited by modmyth

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

SEMI-ANATOMICAL REALISM: That this is drawn on cheap-ass, ultra-thin and flimsy MUJI paper is painfully obvious! This is an example of something which really isn't worth the effort for me to edit, but I still think it is worth showing.

Generally speaking, artists tend to be pretty divided when it comes to anatomical study. There are those who do it dutifully, and kind of hate it, really hate it, or are pretty ambivalent towards it. Like, you're a traditional portrait or figure artist maybe, or maybe a concept artist, and you need your people to look realistic and not like shit. And then there are those who enjoy it for its own sake as a discipline, and som have a weird, almost fetishistic obsession with anatomy in general. :D

I'm thinking of Ray Bustos, and once I watched a video of his about artistic anatomy (hint, it's basically medical anatomy but with a less in-depth awareness of what the muscle, tendons, and bone structures do, but the knowledge is still there, albeit far more rudimentary), and how his face lit up when he was like, "I like to take my students to the morgue to dissect cadavers!!" "Can't wait to do that again!"


If you're in the latter camp .......

Yea, I'm not really quite there. I don't have quite that much love.

NOTE: Dissecting cadavers used to be what medical students (and to a lesser extent, students of art) had to do back in the day in order to learn how bodies worked from direct experienced. I read in a book, I think it was "The Resurrectionist"(?), that graverobbing became a real issue for this reason, especially in the 19th century in European countries.

Image (14).jpg

Image (15).jpg

Image (23).jpg

Edited by modmyth
You do you!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

ANATOMIC REALISM SAMPLE: Flipping through old sketchbooks, yea, there's definitely some stuff here. This is less of the "creative" and imaginative stuff (which tends to me more of a matter of taste, in some ways) and more of the "studying" stuff. The human figures were referenced using 3d human models. (I turned up the contrast so you don't need to use a bit more of your imagination to figure out what you're looking at. xD)

I can sense the irritation with some of the drawings in this book, particularly when it comes to the juxtaposition of male muscles. It's probably the hardest thing to make it look right.... not a fan. Also, I'm more detail orientated than I remember being, heh. Anatomical studies proper, when it comes to the structural aspects, tend to be less fluid in form, like the images below.


Taken on my potato of a phone.

Edited by modmyth
Sorry if this like, breaks, any forum rules. ***Canadian apology*** Not sure about here, but this is borderline will get you Instabanned.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

SHIBARI INFLUENCE// Weird stuff tied up, ok?

I went through a very short phase where I was started writing quite a bit, but art was not such a big focus at that time period, at the end of last October. But I was drawing shibari from life often about once a week. It didn't last super long, and it seemed to be influencing everything that was coming out at time. Inspiration and influence grows stale for me pretty quickly; and at the time, other than having a number of personal issues as I had written about in Confessionals, I had been feeling stale for a while. At first it was like this:

Image (30).jpg

Image (27).jpg

And then it was just ropes drawn just because, sometimes in unsuspecting places. xD

Also, I started just drawing everything in pen because I hate the smudginess of pencil, even a little bit of it, which is what happens unless you use a hard pencil (HB or harder, which is H, 2H, etc. This makes a clean line, but is also very hard and the mark is very light. Usually I prefered to use a 2B for allpurpose use.) The smudginess happens unless you use a fixative which smells like chemical death, and also the quality of it tends to degrade over time as well. I hate it.

Edited by modmyth
Also drawn on shitty MUJI paper while coming home from work.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)


I went through 2018, especially, trying to search. One of the predominant influences at the time was a sort of conceptual architectural and geometric stuff. The following me trying to reconcile these forms with landscape elements, and the human body especially. There are some ideas here that I could definitely reuse and reappropriate. I'm not in the habit of looking back on my own work at all, and there are some ideas which have only been used very sporadically, and a number of forms that could be repurposed.

I guess this is a good example of what I mean that my sketches are me working shit out visually, visually thinking through issues. I myself, especially at the time, thought of myself a sort of visual thinker or conceptualist more than anything else. It's not an artist sketchbook full of cleaned up shit that you present to people when you want to show them your work. That's called a portfolio. I think it was Sheldon Borenstein, who worked as an animator for a time, who said, there's your "sketchbook" which you show to people (a portfolio basically), and then your actual sketchbook where you work shit out. This is me working shit out.

In fact, I'm a bit of an addict when it comes to the hunt for novel ideas, interesting ideas. There has perpetually been this "substance" over "flash"/"polish" issue. Now, which idea is really worth my time? Why spend hours and hours polishing one idea when I could be on to the next? So then this thing only exists to entertain me, to give my own life meaning and purpose.

I have heard this idea, a work of art is never done, not really. There's relative degrees of undoneness. And I am so fucking lazy, and probably so are a number of artists who are the same way. How much of art is just an artful laissez-faire and unfinishedness: well, this intention has exhausted itself. Spontaneous or maybe strategic. There's not much else to do or learn here. This is why I have such a high turnover, at times. I have done many many starts and only rendered it enough to be communicable to myself in the future. But... I never ended up looking back, until now, for the most part.

I am now looking for something worth taking away from all of this in retrospect. Maybe my clue for what to do next, if anything, will be in some way influenced by what strikes me as worthwhile in retrospect.


Image (33).jpg

Image (36).jpg







Edited by modmyth
Yep, my scanner is not large enough for my sketchbook. Oh well.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

HUMANOIDS/ ARCHICTURALS: There was a time where I was processing ideas like this pretty much everyday, I would do at least one sketchbook page like this. I miss this, honestly. Even if it impresses absolutely no one but myself.

FUN FACT: I learned almost all of my art skills as an adult, although I did draw recreationally for fun sometimes growing up. Like if you wanted to learn art skills, but if you don't think of yourself as an art person because you weren't naturally gifted or preoccupied with drawing at a young age, I could probably help you. I didn't start drawing or painting much at all until I was 22-23, although it's true I am a fast learn, and it's also been an on and off relationship with me because I'm constantly working on other stuff. My brother hoarded the lion's share of the art skills in my family; I was SO jealous of his skills as a technical drawer growing up. :D He was actually the art person, not me.  He's also very good at thinking in an architectural way, and works in a related field. I just mine architectural books for cool ideas. 





Edited by modmyth
Once in a while, even if for a tiny bit, we all feel like hacks and wonder WTH we're doing.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


*TRADITIONAL VS DIGITAL: I was sorting through some of my old sketchbooks yesterday. Some of this stuff is old. 2015 or maybe 2016 latest, and technique-wise some of this is quite good and holds up well enough. No wonder I think I'm a shit digital painter by comparison. I've always much been better as a mixed media artist (watercolour, acrylic ink, acrylic, pen and ink, etc.). It's intuitive for me, using traditional media. Most of my digital paintings I had done on a cheap Wacom tablet; at the time, I was mainly doing master studies. Keeping track of layers gave me a headache for a while back then. It's like I didn't have the mental bandwidth to manage it at the time; I felt like I still think like a traditional artist who happens to do a little digital. And it shows too, and not in a good way.

*OK, MAYBE A LITTLE EDITING: These sketches are from... sometime 2015, I think (I didn't date them). Media is acrylic ink with a little watercolour and pen. Duly noting the way that auto contrast in Krita makes the second version way more closer and true to life than the original version, which looks good enough, but is really washed out compared to the original. Maybe I should have done it with the sketches before.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

VISUAL DIARIES SAMPLER (2017, 2015): mixed media (mainly watercolour, with a little 005 micron pen, sakura jellyroll (white; most of the sharp white accents are that). All done from life, as I usually kept  one of those moleskine watercolour notebooks, a flat palette of paints, and a couple pens and a pencil in my bag as a sort of minimalistic plein air set up that was with me all the time.

MEDIA NOTE: watercolour has a reputation for being an old person's media (like old fashioned), or something you use mainly when. Well, the latter is at least half true, I'm really impatient. Watercolour is like drawing in pen; it is its own training implement and discipline.

A SERIES OF FUCKUPS: When doing wet-on-wet, it just goes wherever the fuck it wants to go sometimes and you just have to deal with by learning more about how it behaves organically, and praying it does something that. With putting watercolour on dry paper, the results it's more rigid, but it can still be unpredictable. After a certain point, you will mess up the existing multiple layers by trying to add more paint onto it, and most definitely by rewetting it (also called overworking a painting, specifically in the context of watercolour). That's when you just have to deal with whatever it is that you've made. Eventually, you develop an intuition for when enough is enough, and just to leave it alone; this is the best this is going to get.

The only solution is to make you do a decent job 1) picking the right colour from the outset, or close enough. 2) you lay down your strokes in the right place, generally 3) you stop at a good time and leave it the fuck alone!

Kind of an abusive and difficult medium, really. ....I like this, apparently it forces me to focus, and to be absolutely paying attention to whatever it is that I'm doing in that moment.

Like with some of these, I would have prefered to have given them a little more depth, but it's not happening with the paper/ paint situation. Dealing with it!

MIXED TRADITIONAL/ DIGITAL: I might actually go back and enhance some of them in digital specifically to give it more depth, to sharpen up some of the edges (another area where it's not happening because you can't rework it excessively), and to enhance some of the colours a little more.

Bottom left: New West Quayside.


Top ones: drawn from the schoolyard across from my house.


Top left: Metrotown. Bottom right: New West Quayside


Bottom left: the ubiquitious colour scheme of Tim Hortons, bottom right: New West Quayside/ "the docks"


Back when I started this practice, originally, in 2015 or so: drawn from the school that is across from my house, except the bottom right.


A portable, drawn in the schoolyard across from my house.



Edited by modmyth

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're really good at this. The last few ones are especially good with the asian-people comic-book thing.

Look inside your soul, maybe you'll find gold there and get rich.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)


*I have some artistic identity issues that I might want to try work out; I'm not sure if it's going to be very productive though. This is... largely why I stopped anyway, or slowed down significantly, not to mention that I have other stuff to focus on. First of all, I have almost no formal training, although the closest thing I have to formal training is with anatomy; if you mean like, the books and youtube school of education.

*ANATOMY: Anatomic knowledge is the hardest thing to “just wing it”, or even to learn just by painting and drawing from life, because the knowledge of what makes a human realistic looking is much more than skin deep, quite literally. It's the bones, the muscles, fat vs. muscle composition, the effects of posing and gravity. It's developing a working or instinctive knowledge of all of these things, and the better you can do this, the more you can technically contruct a realistic person from imagination. There is a reason why this stuff generally takes years to learn, and years of aggressive practice and observation, and is generally considered the hardest artistic discipline.

*There are light years between being able to draw a realistic person from imagination and being able to copy a photograph for reference,. (By the way, I'm not suggesting that it's "bad" to do that, just that it has its limitations visually speaking. Experts in this field pretty much unanimously agree on this one. There is a reason why both students and seasoned professionals are expected to both learn and continue the practice of life drawing, especially if their work involves drawing realistic or semirealistic people. I think it is something like this: you lose touch with the physical and visual realities of the human body otherwise. This is including artists who primarily draw in a way that is not considered "realistic"; animators have this practice as well. As an example, pretty much all of the animators for Disney, in those traditional Disney films (e.g. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Pinnochio, etc.), have a solid background in anatomic training. You want to make your characters move in some kind of logical way and semi-natural way? You want to change the proportions of the human body in a way that looks professional and consistent (even if it no longer looks realistic)? Then you have to understand the construction of the human body and from that, how it moves.)

Life drawing can really put you in your place, no matter who you are. Even if you're very "skilled".

*SHOWBOATING: In AUTOCREATE, some of the posts near the beginning are a demonstration of raw skill and knowledge, as unhewn as they are, but mainly and especially to other artists more than anyone else, particularly under the kind of constraints I described. To the point that it is like, extremely suspicious to working artists that I'm not a pro. No one is that good at anatomy and posing by accident. But I have this whole issue with, why am I even an artist anyway? At the time I was doing a lot of what I posted in that blog, I didn't even consciously identify as an artist. It carries too much baggage for me.

*Things that don't impress practicing artists, but impresses pedestrians: the ability to draw extremely well and realistically, where you're basically copying photographs, especially if you're using a grid, which is mostly always what is happening when the copy is super accurate. Guess what, you're a human photocopier. No imagination and no other knowledge needed otherwise. This means if this is how you process visually, then if you, say, try to draw realistically from imagination, then you won't be able to do shit. You're copying stuff from one flat surface to another flat surface. It is actually one of the easier skills to master. Which I guess is fine if you're looking for that hand drawn effect to hang on your wall or to show off to your pedestrian friends and family, but otherwise, photographs were invented for a reason?

Grid drawing, in a nutshell:


*MASTER STUDIES: This is a related skill, but it is harder than black and white rendering... is copying paintings ("doing master studies") and sometimes photographs, because that involves developing colour awareness as opposed to just value awareness (value = relative darkness vs. lightness). Also, painting is more complicated and usually involves multiple layers; at least one base layer. The proper way to do a master study, so that you actually learn from it visually, is to not use a grid. It's much much harder to develop compositional awareness this way. You have to use your brain more when you don't use a grid to copy. It's a hell of a lot harder, and the result usually technically looks shittier, but hey, you're actually learning more. 

*I kind of feel like I'm snobby and I have a bad attitude about the whole thing, but in the worst possible way. Like it makes me antagonistic towards other people at times (when someone is impressed by something SO realistic; like bitch: I could do that years ago, my own creative practice is much harder whether it impresses anyone or not, or has any redeeming value to me or not). And this is a huge chunk of why I have kept my whole private practice, especially the more personal and actually creative it actually is. As in, from imagination, as opposed to visual studies (which does involve a layer of creativity as well, insofar that it is an INTERPRETIVE act, not an act of copying). I just don't want to involve other people in my process of development, in terms of 'core creative' identity, like I don't want to be influenced by people's judging eyes. Think of it as a sort of creative purity being maintained. I don't want other people's opinions of what is or is not good art involved in this process AT ALL. It is very delicate, in a way.

*ARTIST TROPES: And anyway, art is a language (of ideas). If you're not communicating properly as so to create an impression, that's on you. If you're actually out of time in terms of people getting your ideas and what you're trying to communicate, that's on you. I mean, what else are you going to do? I hate the NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME THING as a sort of trope, even if the art in question might have much greater value in the future, can be said to have great intrinsic creative value. But still...

*in general, I have this issue with the visual arts (and have had this issue with art in general), which is fine if you're mostly doing it for your private own pleasure and satisfaction. And you're happy with what comes out, which is why bother even making art for deeper reasons? Like when is the last time that visual arts has really changed the world? And what does this mean, even? In what way?

*Do you make art to impress other people and to satisfy, or to impress other people (like, pedestrians)? (Oh wow, so nice, so pretty, so skilled.)

Edited by modmyth
Massive respect for animators and the study of human movement; I can't do that worth a shit.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

MASTER STUDIES, 2016// SPEED PAINT EDITION: This brushwork style works for me because I am lazy as fuck. So probably I'm going to tune these ones up and it won't take too long, I think. Posting these will motivate me to do that.

Speed paint means you're not going to spend a lot time diddling with the edges, but if your brushwork is good, it minimizes the amount of time you need doing that. This is why people study painters like John Singer Sargent, who is known for his brushwork especially amongst concept artists, where you can actually see the strokes.

So I am not the most patient person when it comes to realism, but there are things you learn from practicing realism that applies well to less realistic styles. I will post more serious attempts at realism. It's not that complicated, at least theoretically. :D (I'm kind of annoyed right now becaue I've spent too long painting this stupid fucking ham, which I guess I will post.)

NOTE TO SELF 2: I'm banning myself from using any kind of blending brush unless I'm toward the end of the painting, or there is a very good reason to use it. It is NOT a tool to make up for shitty brushwork or like.. a poor planned underdrawing if there is one. Fixing shitty brushwork is basically like doing a paint over, at this point. I was looking at what I had done with some of my studies, and it looks really amateurish.

In general, a point of focus right now is on my edge work, in general. It is particularly important with what I'm doing right now.  Also, figure out how to use the layers system in an intelligent way, which is where I last left off. I paint almost everyone on 1, 2 or maybe 3 layers, and after that I have a serious trouble keeping track of what's on what layer, even if I label all of the layers. In general, as a traditional artist, I find it takes up way too much bandwidth.

(Benjamin Bjorkland)

Benjamin Bjorkland - rabbit 2.jpg

Benjamin Bjorkland 3.jpg

(Ed Mell)

Ed Mell 2.jpg

NOTE TO SELF 2: This last one is a good example of using the blending function too much; and there's no good reason for it. I should have just picked a better colour or did laid down better brushwork IMO. The blending here works well for the clouds, but not for the ground. Consider the solidity of the ground vs the ground. Solid brush strokes for the ground, and be more judicious with the blending if I'm using it.

Edited by modmyth
Figuring out these stupid brushes + the layers + the colour vs. opacity issue.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

THIS STUPID FUCKING HAM: Usually with master studies, people give up once they're "close enough", which is a pretty relative point. Like if I'm going to critique realism (as being nonimaginative or whatever, which is), it's always helpful to be able to actually do the thing you're critiquing. That's not why I'm doing it though (see above).

Johannes Hendrik Eversen - A Still Life with Ham, Eggs and a Pewter Tankard-2.jpegJohannes Hendrik Eversen - A Still Life with Ham, Eggs and a Pewter Tankard.jpgmaster study 1.jpg

This is where I'm at so far. I could happily never look at this painting ever, again. The bottom layer was painted way too blurily. Which made things a pain in the ass after. I basically have to repaint it. So that note about laying off the blending brush is in relation to that.

***I wish I had a better grasp on making straight lines on the tablet. Round lines, straight lines. It's still awkward. I use an application called "Lazy Nezumi" to help with the issues of making lines on a tablet (I forgot what the technical term for this is), but I don't know how to make use of it that well. I kind of just do whatever works... Note to self: learn what stuff does.  Also about 70% of the way through for making that above version, I remembered there was the "dynamic brush tool" which helps a lot with the jankiness of the lines. It helps a lot with making straight lines that are far more organic than using any kind of straight line tool.  The latter doesn't necessarily work well for anything that looks painterly, but works fine for the grid/ planning portion, as a sort of general guideline (see step 1 of the progress pics above).


Edited by modmyth

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

"SKILLS REFRESHER": artistic/ technical skills: this is just a list of things to do for self-study, just generally. In no particular order.

*Anatomy: human anatomy (I myself you could use a skills refresher), although you could always use a refresher. It's pretty much impossible to do life drawing right now because of covid, and at this point I prefer to study from life whenever possible. I did the drawing photographed models in a very timed and repetitious way for a while some years back. I'm over it. Maybe brush up on reading/ watching videos about anatomy?. Animal anatomy. I have read maybe 1-2 books on the subject, plus I also studied semiregularly in person at the Beatty Biodiversity Museum, which is near where I used to work. It's a great place to go if you're interested in skeletons, and taxidermied animals; things like that. They also have sea creatures preserved in jars. Some of their earliest samples are from the Victorian era.

*going back to doing master studies for a bit, because I've pretty much done almost nothing on my current tablet, which I've had for a couple of years (and honestly haven't done that much). A lot of what I had done originally was on a super cheap Wacom Bamboo tablet, which took a while to learn because you're drawing on an opaque surface and that roughly corresponds to somewhere on your monitor.


So I've had a tablet that you can draw on for years, but I've barely made use of it. I had gotten used to drawing on that tablet above, and oddly found the transition to drawing directly on-screen kind of awkward because it's not exactly quite like drawing from life. Among many issues, there is an ever so slight lag that kept throwing me off. It's not a Wacom Cintiq, but it's something similar.

*Landscape: more colour rendering practices. More studies. Plein air (landscape painting from life) proper, if I can find a little time.

*colour/ palette articulation + the language of colour: at some point, I might want to make more of conscious choice about what colours and combination of colours. Really a very complex topic in and of itself, generally I just approach in a purely instinctive and intuitive way (Other than reading Gurney, who I posted below.) Reread Colour and Light; I always learn and am reminded about something new.

I believe this is still the definitive book on the subject. Even if you're not a realist painter like you're a painter doing another type of art or a photographer; anywhere where the language of colour and light matters, you would probably benefit and learn a lot by reading this book.  Even if you're a person who is just curious about visual perception. It doesn't tell you how to paint per se, but it focuses more on the science of optics and the psychological aspect of colour perception. 


You will realize, among many things, that the colours that you think you are seeing (if you were to pick in on a colour wheel), can be seriously way off. For example, this short post explains how deceiving our interpretation of value can be (relative lightness vs. darkness), which is something you absolutely must know if you do any kind of realism painting, either intuitively or having someone point it out to you.

For example, from this post:

Also, although I have not read through his blog in a long time, it is generally a good source of technical information about painting.


Edited by modmyth

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)


So, a couple years back, starting mainly in 2017 and 2018, I started thinking to myself, what exactly do I want to depict if focusing primarily on the creative/ imaginative/ generative aspect of making art? So it's been a mix of different things. I often made lists (Ray Bradbury style) of things that came to mind, in hopes of ideas that would stand out. Some of these ideas would be very abstract and pretty much impossible to draw, but I would use for something else (say, actually creative writing) And then, I would use that for my freedrawing sessions. I think I have mostly exhausted this method. So the question is, what to draw and what to paint, and why? Painting and rendering, in particular, takes a lot of time. I could perhaps be using my brainpower, intellect, and creativity elsewhere.

So say, continuing to do this, how will I change the way that I think and process visually, particularly at the most base way possible, when it comes to visual concepts and ideas? This is where a sort of change or innovation actually tends to come from.

BOREDOM AND CURIOSITY: In particular, I spent the last few years in a bubble, as if waiting for something specific to happen to kickstart my life, for the person or the event(s) that would really make sense. At a certain point, it was totally clear. This IS it; there is all there is. Make it happen yourself, biotch. I think I exhausted myself after this point artistically, but I would have needed a change anyway. This is how a restless creative mind tends to work. Do you really want to be making the same kind of shit for the rest of your life? It's kind of like learning the alphabet and then just repeating it over and over again.

CREATIVE EXISTENTIAL ANXIETY: So, I still haven't figured it out. Maybe in the end, there IS nothing specific and it's just because. For no particular reason at all. But I was asking myself, was this all for fun and for shits in the end? Which is fine if it is, but then there's no need to take it too seriously either. Like great, you painted a very realistic >insert here<, or made something that's very cool looking and creative. So now what. What does it mean in the grand scheme of anything? If there is a creative vehicle for change with ideas and understanding, probably it's in creative writing and in speculative story telling. We are, after all, in the beginning of an era, and there are many new possibilities that are germinating right now. But I haven't felt super motivated in that way, even though it was originally THE skill I was known for growing up, for whatever it's worth, was my way with words and stories, and also my skill at learning languages. I am a storyteller (and sometimes a poet). Curiously, out of all of my skills, my visual arts skills were probably the weakest. Maybe I'm exhausted already at the prospect of taking something seriously, after a life which in many ways, had left me emotionally exhausted. But it's also like, why else am I really here (at least on the public front, when it comes to creative production)? I cannot help but asking these questions (and alternatively, to stop myself from asking these questions), but at the end of the day, it's still like: write, paint, produce, study. I am pretty productive. But I have always been thinking of these things, since I was a child. I miss having no frame of reference and just creating impulsively, which is very much the "for fun and self exploration" aspect.

PAST INSPIRATIONS (in no particular order, and not totally conclusive):
*Ernst Hackel's (and related artists) biological drawings of sea creatures, back when this was used to primarily to explain biological discoveries (Hackel was a contemporary of Darwin).
*mathematical topology when it comes to form: related to this are architectural drawings, and modern architecture just generally.
*Takato Yamamoto and his arrangement of questionable and sometimes random objects and body parts.
*Beksinski, particularly for his colour palettes where every other colour exist strongly in relation to every other colour around it (which means that colours are not how they appear, in the absolute sense) I find these complex relative colour arrangements are also the case with a number of Eastern European artists and animators; totally fascinating.
*Noir aesthetics in any medium, including photography, games, comics (I've never been much of a comics, manga, or visual novel reader, although I have read a handful of them. I like the pure noir approach with just a splash of bold colour (like Frank Miller), or  saym if you take a noir approach with a lot of black blocking, and then fill in other parts in a painterly way.
*Yoshitaka Amano's use of black ink, including where black and dark colours aren't necessarily dominating the colour schema, but the use of black ink is very dynamic and voluminous, which contrasts sharply with most of his other artwork where things are drawn in a flat style (Sort of art nouveau-ish mixed with traditional Japanese illustration, and presumably a number of other influences, his own unique style, etc.)

***NOTE TO SELF/ A Modern Disease: R.E.L.A.X. about this stuff, open up, focus, but let this work itself out. Don't overload the conscious mind, don't bother getting too strung out about it. Very little gets solved properly this way, and/ or it's really not sustainale now, is it?

Edited by modmyth

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

DIGITAL REPAINT FROM LAST YEAR: So I found this thing I did last year, I gave it a quick repaint just now. I have been for some time, but not in a very dedicated way, trying to create a style that is a mix between traditional and digital mediums (and the latter might be the case at least partially because I'm really not a digital native when it comes to digital painting). But in terms of aesthetics, there's a specific range of results that I'm aiming for.

I was going for a Machinarium-esque inspired influence (with its influence of various Eastern European animators, mostly Czech, before the fall of the Berlin Wall), plus my own stuff.

Where is the original sketch with the watercolour base layer? I have no idea, but I purposely wanted to leave the first version not too edited and not too saturated with colours, but I did blend out some of the guidelines lightly in a kind of sloppy way. Except once you blend it like that, it gives it a highly digital effect. I blend it at partial opacity because I don't want that effect to be total, but still, it draws attention to itself, so that effect better be done well and on purpose, because itself is a sort of aesthetic that needs to integrate well with the surrounding visual elements.

V1: I like the look of leaving in light sketch lines on purpose. It gives it a kind of skeletal translucence. It looks better when your guidelines are nice, but whatever.

planets .jpg

V2: I just did this quick edit now via Krita (which is a free photoshop type program).


Why does that planet at the bottom look like blurry shit. Also, needs a little rendering. Will fix it. Probably.

******I also did a version where I decided that the original version needed more saturation. It really doesn't, saturating it and giving it more colour intensity makes it look terrible IMO. I think that's the second time I tried to do that, and it didn't work that time either. I'll post it here for reference, why not (even though it's ugly). In general, a rookie mistake is oversaturating your colours because you think more colour everywhere gives more impact. No. Using colour strategically gives more impact. What you're often perceiving as a bright colour, especially with realistic elements, is actually a lot less bold than you might think. You can make whole paintings with these relatively drab tones and it looks sophisticated, and then these midtones read as a pop of strong, vivid colour. This is relative colour, which means that it reads as vivid relative to everything else around it, and then your brain translates it as being vivid in an absolute sense.

planets 2.jpeg

Edited by modmyth
Yes, I'm aware of high saturation and 16 bit palettes and animation colour schemes and what not. But here I'm talking about painting.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

DIGITAL COLOUR EXPERIMENTS/ GRADIENTS: So I want to see how I feel about this while scrolling through this a day from now, a week from now, or maybe even a month from now. Because right now I don't have much of a feeling or preference about any of it. Any one of these colour schemas (value wise) could work. The question though, is to what end or effect (if any)? Why any one of these over another?

1) So this is the base layer, done with watercolour pen and ink on this cheap, thin Muji paper, and I blended out some of the guidelines and also the crinkling. Also, the illustration on the right doesn't change in any of them. I'm honestly not sure if it's a useful frame of reference or a distraction. A lot of these shades are close to midtone.


2) Another layer. So basically all of these colour adjustments are done with the dodge/ multiply/ colour overlay brushes. trees2.jpeg

3) Darker. trees2-c.jpeg

4) Brightened it closer to midtone.trees2-d.jpeg

5) Slightly brightened.


6)  Starting with the aggressive use of the dodge brush now, pretty much everywhere. trees2-f.jpeg

7)  Holy contrast batman.  So artsy. Wow.trees2-e.jpeg

8) So at this point, this is basically some kind of angel/ ghost tree which has transcended the 3rd dimension. trees2-g.jpeg


Edited by modmyth
Note to self: sometimes I need to resist the urge to paint with those brushes entirely (as in, from start to finish) It's too much like using airbrush excessively.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

VISUAL EXPERIMENTS// NOTE TO SELF: Keep posting in here. I've kept sketching almost daily, but I find it hard to stay on the wagon of posting here, as that involves at least a little editing. (In this case, I edited the white background a bit so it's more uniform, but as you can see, the bottom left is blurry because that's where the corner of the sketchbook is. I find editing boring and I try to do as little of it as possible. Maybe that's why I stopped posting art every day on Instagram; there is that compulsion to give daily sketches (which may or may not involve quick colouring/inking/ painting like below) a polish which takes as long to finish as the actual sketch. No thanks. Everyone else's work is so polished though, except for people who probably only do art very casually.

It feels like a race to the top (or the bottom). No matter how much time I spend doing art, there's a certain feeling that never goes away; it's always on to the next thing.

MEDIA: DANIEL SMITH Walnut Ink (this is a natural ink made from actual walnut husks), Liquitex acrylic ink in Cerulean blue. Black pens: Pilot Hi-tecpoint V5 (0.5mm) & BIC Cristal.

BLACK PENS: I probably own at least 15 types of black pens, and I never go anywhere without at least 3-5 black pens in my purse or back at any given time. I'm very much obsessed with finding the perfect black pen, or the next one that is the new perfect, and when I find an amazing one, I get really excited, haha. There are also there just stashed around my house, wherever I happen to draw or write regularly.

ACRYLIC INK: Compared to traditional inks (e.g. India ink, sumi-e), acrylic ink is thicker and seems to mix better with other media such as watercolour, or on top or under other media (like markers, watercolour, pen and other inks, etc.). It being "acrylic" just means that the product has an ink-like consistency, but is mixed with an acrylic polymer binder like acrylic paints. If you go to art store for professionals, often you can buy the polymer binder alone, so you could mix your own paints as long as you have the crushed pigment powder. Anyway, there is just less of the binder in the product, I assume. It's one of my favourite mediums; ink in general is.

Fun fact: Liquitex was the first brand that made acrylic paints that were sold commercially, circa the mid-1950s, although formulas were developed up to 2 decades before that. Artists like Warhol adopted the medium shortly afterward.

Most of my sketchbook stuff is artfully uncolored or unfinished in some way (or not, haha). Basically, once I'm done with an idea or experiment, I'm done. I have no motivation to continue.


Walnut ink and acrylic ink play together quite nicely if you mix them directly, but india ink and watercolour doesn't IMO.

I forgot to contrast it a bit, so the colours look washed out. The original looks more like this, but the black lining isn't quite so black. Can't have everything, I guess.


Edited by modmyth

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

DAILY SKETCH EDITION: FAUX BOTANY + STUFF WHICH DOESN'T WORK: Sometimes I create fictional plants (people, animals, objects, worlds, etc.), which are made from bits and pieces of real things plus my imagination. Some of the paper warping I haven't edited out, but I'm not going to bother because that's not the point of posting in here consistently. So with this editing stuff, realistically how I expect it to go is that the more I post, the quicker I will eventually get at editing, while doing it much better with less effort. The issue with resolve itself. Also, I'm really not feeling the autocontrast or excessive digital shading that I had tried quickly on these (which I did not post).

Maybe I should stop sketching everything in pen so I'm not editing these stupid guide lines out (either with airbrush, blending, or contrasting certain parts)? It takes way too long; I'm forced to use the blend/ airbrush in an idiosyncratic way (and not in a good way). (It's more habit than anything right now.) Note: I can't use the erase function because it's its own base layer. I mean, I guess I could put another layer under the existing one, but it seems pointless; there's no special reason to do that. 

Digital is such a pain in the ass sometimes simply because I'm not that used to it, I'm sure. I still need to figure out a bunch of stuff with Corel Paint, so for the moment, I'm mostly using Krita still.

fictional plants 1.jpg

fictional plants 2-2.jpg

^That's some speed blending work right there. Fuck it.

TRADITIONAL MEDIA USAGE: So I thought that introducing greyscale markers with the use of watercolour would be a great idea. I don't know, looking at the before and after for the above pictures, it kind of seemed like a waste of time. These cheap greyscale markers are hard to control properly, and when it's not controlled, it doesn't necessarily end up looking very good IMO. Like watercolour, you can make mistakes with it or it can have a mind of its own, and there is a chance that at least it will look "artful". I'm not feeling it.

Also, I gave up on the plant on the 2 pic, bottom right. I added marker to it; it did not do what I wanted it to do! There is always that risk with mixed media experiments. There is no more I can do for it without destroying the paper. I find myself wondering if a set of 100+ dollar greyscale copic markers is worth it or a waste of money. Something that will blend decently; that is one of the issues with cheaper markers (my brother used copics for school; I have no idea if he uses them professionally). The idea with markers + watercolour is to have a colouring system (watercolour) and shading system (markers) that works really efficiently and quickly, quicker than using just one means, as a means of daily(or regular) colouring for the purpose of recording ideas. Not for effect, necessarily, although it does its own unique and particular effect.  But this daily drawing practice is a means of visual recording ideas, and I need a really fast turnover that communicates effectively rather than spending too much time on making it look pretty. (It's on to the next thing already).

I'm pretty fast as a watercolourist, if I'm not doing 20 layers. This is what makes looking at watercolour spectacular in person, by the way. It's the effect of light (especially sunlight) shining through all of those layers that gives it a luminescence and depth which is poorly communicated through scanning, which flattens the images. Digital editing and painting overtop of this really can be used to enhance it greatly, whether it's 1 or a few layers, or possibly more. My  mixed digital/ traditional experiments started with attempting to resolve this issue above here.

However, I did try the markers to better effect on other sketches. Probably because I did the greyscale first. Note to self: scan the greyscale and post it here, and then post it with the watercolor over it after.

If I didn't write about this and record this, I would have such a hard time keeping track of all these little details.

Also: I am not a very patient person when it comes to (what feels like) aimless detail work. Sometimes, that's a flaw.



Edited by modmyth

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

PLEIN AIR KIT: This is what I take with me in my purse or bag if I'm planning on painting, or if there might be a chance to paint. For reference, scroll up about 5 posts or so!

Pencil case: I use and really like this one by  LIHIT LAB (The Japanese are way, way ahead of the rest of us when it comes to their stationary game.)


Portable watercolor palette, which I really just use all the time. I like this one, I've had it for ages and I am super attached to it. Even though it's all cracked and shit now. Sigh.


Waterbrushes: I mainly use these pentel ones. This is so you don't have to take water with you, or worry about finding a water source in order to paint. Just squeeze a little water out of the barrel, dip the brush in the palette., and mix your paints.


WATERCOLOURS: I think most of the watercolour paint that I own at this point is Daniel Smith brand, but there is some Winsor & Newton and M. Graham. Note: using professional brand watercolour paints is a big deal, I learned that very early on from a professional watercolour artist that you should never cheap out of the paint, but you can afford to cheap out on the brushes. (As in, some cheap watercolour brushes perform excellently, running out and buying expensive sable hair brushes needn't be your top priority.) More on this later, maybe. Daniel Smith is the only mass-market brand that makes paints using actual gemstones as the pigment, like amethyst, tiger's eye, etc.


GOUACHE: This is basically opaque watercolour, while the watercolour above is standard watercolour (either translucent or transparent). You can mix these separately, mix it with watercolour, or do different layers of both. It depends what kind of effects you wish to create.



A high quality mechanical pencil; I use this one.


A fadeproof, archival ink pen that is compatible with watermedia usage. Usually I have the 005 and the 05 or 03. These numbers refer to the thickness of the lines in milimetres. E.g. 005 = 0.05mm, 03 = 0.3


Ink Pencils: like watercolour pencils, but way less washed out. It's really helpful to have certain colours, like the magenta and the "granny smith apple" green, as you can't mix that from a limited set of watercolor paints. You have to buy that exactly colour usually.


Gelly Roll white pen, for white accents. It kind of sucks for drawing over mixed media, but it's all I have right now.  (If you're thinking about using white gouache for white accents, just... don't! Especially if you water it down even a bit; you're just going to grey everything out, and destroy the luminescent qualities of what's underneath if you're using regular watercolour. If you're going to use white goache or acrylic for white accents, you have to use it at full strength. Also, don't use white ink or regular white watercolour (China white is one of the few opaque watercolor paints anyway, it's just less thick than white gouache).



WATER POT: If I'm not using the waterbrushes I'll bring this to put water in:


A few other essentials, like a stick eraser (very useful for detail work and working on a small scale), a kneadable eraser or regular plastic eraser, extra lead for the pencil, etc. Usually, I have extra black pens, because I always have extra black pens. :D


BRUSHES, maybe: I'll only use 2-3 brushes at most. Usually, I can do everything with 1 small round brush plus an even smaller round for details. If you look at the paint sketches above, most of them are done on the smallest sized watercolour Moleskines, which is this size:

I'm used to working on a very small scale. It saves some time too, and works well for quick paints and studies.

I just purchased and received the next size up though.


Edited by modmyth

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now