Drawing + 2d + 1d revisited

I try to go to a free life drawing session every week. This week I tried something different and brought my laptop, my Wacom tablet and Photoshop. Here are the results. I find that my drawings aren't quite as good yet, and seem to have many of the same issues. I think I will continue to work with it as it might really open up a lot of possibilities if I could get really good. I might also try doing 3d models at a life drawing session, see if I can work fast enough.

And with all of this thought about drawing, it dawned on me today what all this drawing practice is about. When we practice drawing we are trying to break the 2d + 1d mental handicap. I see when my teacher draw, amazing things seem to go on in his head and come out on the paper. I still don't believe that my teacher, or any one, can ever truly break free from our 2d brains and function in 3d, but I think with enough practice in drawing, or other mediums, the outcome is practically indistinguishable.


2 dimensions + 1 dimensions

As an artist, I am always trying to make things that people understand. And a fundamental factor in figuring out what people understand is knowing how the human brain can think. And the specific aspect I want to explore in this post is how we think about space.

I think the common conception of human understanding of space is that we can fundamentally understand 3d space. I think this is not the case, and if it is used in any way as a basis for design, the outcome will be marred by it.

Just to clarify, when I say "understand" 3d space, I roughly mean the ability to grasp an objects design in its totality at once in 3d. The ability to make decisions and answer questions about the object.

Now, on to what I think is the how the human brain can work.

We have the ability to comprehend 2d + 1d, in which the 1 dimension is of a greatly reduced precision, and can't be easily related to the other 2 dimensions.

A simple example of this is when you are looking at any regular scene. You can easily see how all the objects are composed in the planar 2 dimensional surface that is your vision. You can see how things line up. You can compare sizes. You can easily track movement with accuracy. You can count lots of object. You can tell an awful lot about what is going on in 2 dimensions. But then there is the third dimension. Even without 2 eyes, or when looking at a picture you can discern depth, yet this information is only accessible because your brain is taking the 2d information and giving you the depth information back with much less precision.

Yet, this can't be true, as I'm sure many people are sure they can imagine 3d objects in their mind. I would argue that this is actually a matter of joining together two or more 2d+1d conceptions. They fit together so nicely that you never notice that it isn't actually 3d.

Where did I start thinking about this? Halo. As a player you can only ever see a 2d view of the game on the screen, yet you need a 3d conception of the space. So in terms of aiming and shooting at other players, that is easily achieved with the 2d space of the screen, and a little bit of 1d knowledge when you throw things like grenade which are distance related(grenades are really tricky because you need to rely on a 1d rough estimate). As for the map knowledge, I always felt it was stored in my brain as 2d top down views with 1d knowledge serving simply as gross differences such as different levels of a building.

So why is this so important? Well for one thing it explains why 2d games are so successful. We can actually easily understand them. 3d games are just a complicated addition that make the process of understand much more difficult, it is not really a natural leap that our brains can make.

It is also important in making art. As depth is very rough, it can be exaggerate or wrong and nobody can really tell. It also means that 3d movies probably aren't the future. They add a little bit of value to the film, but it is an incremental change, nothing that will change the industry.


Time Design

I recently realized how great the design of the clock and the watch is. Twelves numbers evenly spaced around the perimeter with three hands which spin around according to the correct ratio.

I see way to much meaning in it now.

First, as a circle it has no end. Time has no end.

Yet in the same circle, it shows there is a cycle to life, a rythm.

It shows different tempos of life. One that moves every second and cycles every minute. One that moves on the hour and one for the day. It shows how long amounts of time are built out of small bits of time.

The second hand never stops moving. Time never stops. Yet you never notice the other hands moving.

The rotation of the hands mirrors the rotation of the earth.

The fact that a day is split into two 12 hour sections shows how there is an equality between day and night (even though this isn't true every day, it is when things are averaged out).

The way that clocks and watchs are built into glass covered cases suggest that they contain time. That they are uninfluence by the outside world. That there is some sort of magic inside.

The ticking noise of a clock is the heart beat of a tiny beast. It's like a living thing.

I don't think I would ever buy a digital watch again.



When I moved into res, I actually didn't move into res. For the first week our hallway was put up in a hotel across the street because our rooms hadn't been finished. For that week I had a temporary roommate, his name was Stuart. We got off to a bad start when I pulled out my MacBook Pro and he pegged me for a typical art student.

I attempted to prove that I wasn't by answering his choice of computer relate question. I think it was something about L4 cache. I got it right. We could be friends.

We went on a residence organize trip to La Ronde amusement park. And one of the first things we discussed that day (we discussed many things as we mostly stood in lines for roller coasters) was Meyers-Briggs personality typing. He had been trying to peg down what type I was based on the very few things he had known about me.

He guessed INFP based on the fact that I had put my luggage near the edge of the room, the fact I wear converse shoes and somethings I can't remember. He was fairly close, but he was off.

I am actually an INTJ. Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Jugding. It is a binary system in which each of the four options has 2 options. You can however score more strongly, such as being strongly introverted, or weakly extroverted. I've taken online tests twice with the same results, but I think the most telling sign was simply reading the descriptions I have found online.

It always seems eerily accurate when I read it.

At first I felt resistant to this whole type of system. But as I have been living with it, I'm starting to feel how it is useful information to know. It makes discussing things related to other people easier and somethings just seem to make a startling amount of sense.

Well after that week in the hotel, Stuart and I are now good friends. We often play chess and Smash Brothers. He is an INTP and the difference always seems rather clear ( perception VS judgment).

Here is the test if you are interested. I don't really feel a need to explain all of this as it is much better explained on the links I have given.


Long Format

Many weeks ago I started a post. I had a plan to add one word a day for a year. The second day I decided it was a stupid idea and deleted it. At the time I knew I was on to something but I couldn't tell what it was exactly. It was an idea about how the length of time it took to present something, the more impactful it would be.

And I was right. There is truth to the idea.

I just finished reading the comic book collection "Watchmen". This series is going to come out on film this summer. The internet is abuzz. Supposedly this comic book is part of the 100 best pieces of Fiction list.

Yet I was sorely disappointed by the ending. There were some pretty good bits, but in general, nothing that deserved all the hype I was hearing. And something I already knew about struck home.

The difference between me reading it, and those who first read it was the time span over which we had read it. I had read it in about two weeks. I was allowed to read issue after issue the very same day. Those who had first read it, had to wait weeks between each issue. They got to live with every issue for a month.

I'm going to call this type of experience a "long format" experience.

And now that I have really figure out what it is, I see it everywhere.

The "Halo" universe has been a long format experience for me. A trilogy spread out over many year, thousands of games played, a few books read. The games might be eight hours long, but it was presented over years. There were ads on the internet and tiny bits of news from the company every week.

In highschool I walked a few specific ways through downtown everyday. After three years of those walks, they became long format. There was more susbstance to them after that.

I read the newspaper comics religiously for about five years. Alot of those comics aren't good anymore, but there was something of substance in them. Or at least it felt like there was.

One of the greatest long format experiences I have is this very blog. It's been almost five years, I can feel substance in this. None of it is very good, even for the amount of time spent on it. But because it has been such a long process in my life it is long format, it is more important.

Now the question is how can we use long format in art. Gallery shows I see at an art gallery generally only last twenty minutes. Most televisions shows far out weigh there impact simply because they last a few months. Making things of substance really matters to me. It is "the" fundamental piece of being successful at what I would like to do.


Goodish life drawing

Life drawing from class and some free drawing sessions. More drawings if you click through to the album.

I'm actually at a point where I am just about confident in my life drawing.



Why is it that the impossible seems to exist?

It is a simple matter of it's impossibility that compels us to make it. There is no better motivator than the simple thought of "can't".

Sure, masses can be moved and swayed by fully positive messages of "Yes We Can", but always remember that is simply an answer to a message of "No. You Can't".

I think I'm writing this because I've been looking in the wrong places for motivation.



Something very peculiar happened on the street today.

Someone in a car who had decided to be a hooligan today threw an egg at me.

Now that in itself is very peculiar and distressing.

Yet I could only think of one thing afterward.

The miraculousness of the fact that the egg did not break when it hit me.