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a frog the size of texas

October 14th, 2009

08:03 am

Dream last night: I was on Project Runway and had made it to the final show, where you make a collection and show it at Fashion Week. For some reason we were allowed an assistant/collaborator, and in my case it was [info - personal] rachelmanija. We chose "Third Culture Kids" (TCK) as our theme and started in brainstorming outfits appropriating inspired by various traditional costumes around the world. I only remember writing down the sari and the salwar kameez, and then starting to think about the embroidery on traditional Mexican clothing. And as I woke up, I was realizing that this collection needed to have a thread of continuity other than just the traditional clothing styles, so I decided to base it on secondary colors - purple, orange, and green.

It wasn't quite in chronological order, though, and at one point I was standing on stage introducing the collection, explaining how I grew up in Texas and Tanzania*, and I had friends who grew up in California and Taiwan, and California and India, and how this collection was inspired by those and similar experiences.

I have no idea what the clothes looked like, but I think the collection was doomed to failure because as the models started walking down the runway, I ran the other way down the catwalk holding a large model of an airplane, making vroom-vroom noises.


* IRL I didn't spend enough time there to become a true TCK.

Crossposted to my Dreamwidth account at http://telophase.dreamwidth.org/1617808.html. You can comment here or there.
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09:40 am

The other day I discovered that fat arms and an eye-level oven don't mix, especially if the door is not all the way down, and burned the back of my upper arm when reaching in to get a pizza out.

Ow. Ow ow ow ow ow. Second-degree with a little bit of blistering and a spectacular red splotch. Fairly inconvenient too, as short-sleeved shirts fall RIGHT THERE. I've got some large Band-Aid patches to cover it at time, and I leave them off for a while to let it breathe, but either way it's irritated by the fabric of my shirts or the skin around it is irritated by the bandage.

Crossposted to my Dreamwidth account at http://telophase.dreamwidth.org/1617923.html. You can comment here or there.

04:35 pm - QUick Art Tip...

...or, Why Relying On Photo Ref Is Not Always A Good Idea. (subtitled: Why We Can Often Tell You're Tracing By The Mistakes You Make.)

In today's Big Picture, check out picture #5, captioned "Jonathan Horton of the U.S. performs his routine on the vault during the qualifying round of the World Gymnastic Championships in London, England on October 13, 2009."

Take a look at his hands. Do they seem strange to you?

If not , read this: the human hand is usually approximately the length of the face from chin to hairline, or about 2/3 of the length of the forearm. And thanks to the laws of perspective, when an object is in front of another object, the object in front looks bigger than the one behind it.

Now look at his hands again. Yup, they seem smaller than they should be. This is partly due to the angle at which they are in respect to the camera, but it's mostly because the photographer is shooting from a very long way away with a long lens, which compresses elements together and screws up perspective. Not in an extremely noticeable way, because our brain knows what hands on the end of outstretched arms held front of a person's face should look like and compensates for it.

But once you abstract that one step farther by, say, drawing a picture of it, your brain stops compensating so much and starts registering something as wrong. So if you're relying on the photograph and not your experience in drawing humans in a live setting, you might not realize exactly *what* is wrong, just that something is wrong.

This is where people who trace can mess up. Tracing is an awesome way to learn stuff that you just can't pick up by observation alone - I've used it to work out what an artist's style is and to instill a bit of it in my fingers, and occasionally I'll give a quick trace to elements in a picture I can't get right (relying only on photos I own the copyright to or have permission for, in this case), but I'll go back and fix any errors in perspective or distortion that the camera's lens has given to it, and that's something you can't learn how to do quickly, and it's hard to learn without live models.

If you see some art that looks remarkably good in some respects, but which contains perspective errors like that, chances are the artist is relying too closely on a photo for the picture. Unless they're going for a specific effect, as in this video realism tutorial where the artist is specifically keeping the distortion you get from being close to the lens because he wants that uncanny look in his final piece. I've got the full video where he explains it. But you can usually tell these sorts of people because the rest of the painting it *too* good for it to be an error, if that makes sense, or their other artwork shows they understand perspective and proportion.


ETA: It's VERY obvious in photo #34 - Kyoko Oshima is extremely distorted by the lens.

Crossposted to my Dreamwidth account at http://telophase.dreamwidth.org/1618339.html. You can comment here or there.
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