Wednesday, March 9, 2011


“In order to break the rules, you should know them beforehand. If you don’t know them, it just does NOT count”.

You can say that I’m breaking into comics, or into the world of art, or into college, or even that I’m breaking into the city of New York, but most of all, right now I’m a breaker because I am in SPRING BREAK. I have a whole week’s vacation and as I’m writing these words I’m currently in Miami, resting, procrastinating, and recovering my strength in order to go back to New York for more. I’m pretty sure that some hardcore professor of yore had calculated the exact date for a student to get worn out and decided he or she needed a whole week’s off to regain his or her energy. KUDOS for him! Should have won a noble prize for this.

I’m so happy for not having to ride the subway for one week. Don’t get me wrong, I really love the fact of getting into a train and go anywhere in the city without the need of a car. I’m depending only on my own two legs and the best reason is that I don’t have to park my car!!! But you even need a break from good things, right? What never ceases to amaze me is that sometimes the driver just doesn’t know how to drive the train. I’m not sure if he’s in a rush or if he is not familiar with the pressure sensitivity of the accelerator, what I do know is that if I don’t get into the right position, I may end up in the floor. The worst thing of that, of course, is that you look like a damn tourist! For the next blog I will draw a sketch of this position, the way pros do it, with NO hands! ☺

I want to talk about hostility in the Big Apple. I know this city is well known for it, but it is amazing where you can find it. To help make my point, just figure myself walking down in a very crowded street. I was having a “profound” conversation with a classmate of mine when I slightly touched a blind woman while passing by. Of course I said "I’m sorry"… but she started yelling at me, insulting me. I repeated my sincere apology for invading her personal space (which is an issue I will have to get into in a future blog) but she just didn’t care and even made the assumption that I was distracted because I was talking with my cell phone, which I was clearly not! I had to stop paying attention to her and keep walking while she was still yelling at me. For crying out loud, I did NOT need that aggravation, and I don’t want to be insensitive, but I guess that walking in New York by yourself is not the best idea for a blind person. Still, if they have to do it, that deserves respect, but keep in mind that there is the slightest possibility that someone could bump into you. Well, you have to get used to the yelling and the insulting and it will surprise you who is willing to do it to you. Like one song says: “Live in New York once, but leave before it makes you hard”. I think I’m hard enough so I’ll blend in ;)

I’m still doing this project in my Drawing class where I have to draw 100 figures. I guess they won’t be a hundred at the end, but they will still be a lot. This time I’m including six more sketches all with different papers and different materials. What I wanted to emphasize is the noticeable difference between a pencil drawing and an inked drawing. Yes, I’m talking about Han Solo, and for the sci-fi (and probably pop culture) illiterates, he is a character from Star Wars and not a “cowboy” as some people has referred to my drawing! Next blog I’ll show you the finishing product by coloring it digitally. As you can see, pencil is softer than ink (although it was drawn with a 2H pencil, which is a hard pencil). With ink you have to compromise some value, which can make the figure flat. There are some techniques to give more volume and contour, but in this case this was as good as it got. Notice that I didn’t use any washed ink to layer some form like I did with the big man in my last entry.



Also, I'm inserting two more drawing I did in class. I don't really like them for many reasons, but maybe the most important are the evident outline of the figure and the wrong portraying of the hands and feet. I will try to fix these issues for my next entry.

Let's get into painting. I have a confession to make; I don't enjoy much painting, at least not in the conventional way. I think is messy, and I have probably said this before, but I thought then that I didn't like coloring and now I know that is not the case since I fell in love with digital painting. Still, I think I'm learning a lot, but I can clearly see that my drawing skills are far more advanced than my painting skills. A good friend of mine at first could not grasp the idea that some of my drawings were very illusionistic, very real, but my paintings seemed a bit cartoonish and nothing like a renaissance painting would look like (This is really REALLY hard to achieve). It's all about the process and, in my case, I'm very familiar with the use of pencils and values of grey. In painting there are an infinite amount of colors that either work or don't work together. The visually satisfying effect of combining similar, related elements (like adjacent colors on the color wheel) is called HARMONY. Ladies and gentlemen... the well-known COLOR WHEEL!


Ok, moving on! The next painting is the main work of the half semester. We've been working in this piece for hours and hours. I think at the third session I was already bored with the subject matter. We did have a model dressed up as a pimp, as you can notice. Well, I may as well show it to you in order to get some feedback, but for the record, I don't like it that much. 


I'm also inserting an assignment I had to make using different types of materials. In this case I used a clayboard for surface and I made the attempt to use color washed ink, which was a terrible idea. I got so frustrated that I ended up covering everything with acrylics. It took me around seven hours to finish this painting. I was really nervous about the outcome since this is a portrait of a good friend of mine, who's always very enthusiastic in noticing the mistakes in my pieces. He means well and he's building up my character because in this business you should be able to accept criticism. He really liked it (or so he says! :)) so I guess it was a complete success for a homework assignment.

For my storytelling class we had to make a NON-FICTION comic. Among the most popular types of non-fiction are: documentary, history, biography, and instructional. I chose to do an instructional comic since I have always enjoyed teaching. I had a blast making this two-page comic because I mixed three things I feel very passionate about: comics, running, and teaching. Also because a lot of friends in Ecuador are always asking me for help to run a marathon, and now I can just send this comic, so in the end it was a very good investment ;). I hope you enjoy it!!! And yes, that guy is supposed to be me :)



For anyone who is interested in the process of making comics I suggest this webpage, which I think covers maybe everything about it. It is also very fun and instructive. 

In my Visual computing class we're learning about Photoshop. I love this software because you can manipulate every image in every way. It seems harder than it is, but then again, it is far more complex that I know. I really enjoy digital coloring, but using all the effects are also fun. I'm posting two assignments. One was an in-class assignment in which we had to recreate a recent dream we had using other elements in other photos. I end up with a giant octopus attacking some city... and what is André the Giant doing there?, who knows!?! The only thing we DO know is the fact that I'm more screwed up than I look! (Do NOT think about André the Giant, do NOT think about André the Giant!!! - Ghostbusters reference). Also, I did a Van Gogh painting using my Wacom tablet. A tablet is a device you use for drawing in Photoshop or any other painting software. You use a sensitive pen, in order to draw, paint, or select, onto a surface that is connected via USB to the computer. Because I'm so clever I had my computer connected to my 40 inch TV so now I can draw while in bed watching that huge screen. It's the best gadget I've gotten recently and the best part is that I don't have to use that tedious mouse for drawing anymore. 



I'm not going to talk about art history at all. I enjoy it but there's not much to talk about, so I'd rather show you a picture I took at the Metropolitan Museum. I don't know why but I found this scene truly fascinating and inspiring. I wish I could get to that age and be able to draw with that enthusiasm :)

Enough about me, let's talk about you!... Wait a minute; there is no FREAKING way to know about you if you don't post a comment, so I encourage you to do so! :).

Well, I guess I finished writing this entry. I'm really tired and I have to get back to the pool to get some sun and drink a beer while reading my book. 


José Luis