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I think the last time I drew a picture that had nothing to do with a bank’s hold-time was probably 15 years ago. My dad says I was pretty good at it for a 13 year old. Today, the internet is full of 13 year olds who’ve figured out how to do freaky mind-blowing things with art. So it’s kind of hard to remember being good at it. Nevertheless, well done illustration is something I appreciate when I see it, and in some deep dark places, it’s a skill I envy.

So, last week I started watching some tutorials on digital painting. Once I got a sense of the blending techniques, I decided it was worth giving it a go myself. Working with the 3D modeling in Cinema 4D has helped me to develop a drive and persistence to continue working on a piece even when it takes a very long time to stop looking exceptionally stupid. Assuming the same would be true of digital painting, I committed several hours yesterday to my first attempt in a very long time. Here are the ham-fisted results.

Not bad for a 13 year old.

Not bad for a 13 year old.

This was entirely free hand, except for a couple of Photoshop’s on screen rulers to help keep the lines straight. Although I still managed to defy them. It’s based on the lamp and light switch that sits just to the right of my desk. I used the real life thing for reference, not a photo, since that’s what one of the tutorials said I should do.


I left out the power cord… for shame.

I didn’t do any of that with a mouse though. I used an old Wacom tablet, which is basically a surface that uses a special pen to sense pressure and speed and the angle. Using a Wacom tablet makes creating digital illustrations a more natural feel. So, more like actually working with a pen, or a brush. Photoshop makes the blending of colors fairly natural as well.

It took some finesse and getting used to. It turns out that I had completely forgotten how to draw vertical lines. I crush some horizontal lines though, na’ mean?

I eventually started getting the hang of it, which kind of looked like this:



Considering this is the first drawing I’ve done in years and my first time attempting to color an image from any kind of real-life reference material, I’d say I’m really happy with the results. It’s sort of like a proof of concept in my constant mental argument about whether or not it’s worth doing hard things.

I believe I will try again soon, and I’ll probably share the results. I’ve also been wondering how I might be able to blend freehand art skills with the 3D work I’ve been experimenting with.

That’s it for this time. I leave you with the following nonsense which, in a mysterious way, is related to this image:

Edward Kelly is a drifter, and a grifter. He knocks on your door and invites you in. He sleeps on your bed, you sleep on his floor. Mystery on herbalist parchment; Alien words on a soothsayers tongue.

Listen, history’s bells are ringing. You can’t be the one.

Edward Kelley rides alone. With everyone else doing it on their own. Fated missteps, obvious assets, heavy forceps. Reset!

What did he say?

Edward Kelley is a genius, and a gem! Freehand wisdom, treestand crimson; heavy hands, clumsy feet, John Kelley’s the man trusted up and down your street. Not that it matters, the facts should be clear. Nothing hides under that man’s stature…

Stop. The future is laughing. There is no one.

What a crock of shit? That’s what you’d say. While Edward Kelley sits there in your mind rooting his vines supporting his lines concealing his crimes.

Ah, just in time. Meet this friend of mine.