Saturday, April 21, 2007

Almost time to dump that cable subscription...

... and pick up a Slingbox to feed your TV from your computer. The new ABC Media Player is a pretty amazing compliment to the Itunes downloads they already offer... you can watch all of their major shows on demand in very good quality, with less commercials. Check it out!

Now if only they could broadcast the Mavs-Warriors series live this way...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gesture Drawing (Madam Mim)

Instead of drawing the model this week, I drew Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone using the model's poses only for inspiration. I practiced for about an hour the night before class, getting a feel for the character ahead of time so I wouldn't have to turn to reference much. I think the archery pose was my favorite from this batch, but if I drew Madam Mim again I would definitely loosen up on the dress... Any way you look at it, this was a fun experiment!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Power of Green

The New York Times Magazine is running an excellent article this weekend over how today's very divided and internationally rocky America is ripe for a galvanizing, cross-party Green Revolution... even given the economic realities of the challenge. This makes a lot of sense to me: former U.S. Military leaders, Democratic candidates, and even the leading Republican candidate, Rudy Giuliani, agree that energy independence (and clean energy) is absolutely crucial to national security, but none of the candidates seem to volunteer a real plan. If we really wanted to "support our troops" and promote democracy, why wouldn't we work to reduce our involvement in an oil trade that will almost surely grow more tense, authoritarian and destructive over time? Sure there's a lot of money and existing economic and political structure in the way of change, but democracy tends to work pretty well when people are captivated, pay attention, and make demands.

Some quotes from the article:

"A redefined, broader and more muscular green ideology is not meant to trump the traditional Republican and Democratic agendas but rather to bridge them when it comes to addressing the three major issues facing every American today: jobs, temperature and terrorism."

"You can illustrate the First Law of Petropolitics with a simple graph. On one line chart the price of oil from 1979 to the present; on another line chart the Freedom House or Fraser Institute freedom indexes for Russia, Nigeria, Iran and Venezuela for the same years. When you put these two lines on the same graph you see something striking: the price of oil and the pace of freedom are inversely correlated. As oil prices went down in the early 1990s, competition, transparency, political participation and accountability of those in office all tended to go up in these countries — as measured by free elections held, newspapers opened, reformers elected, economic reform projects started and companies privatized. That’s because their petroauthoritarian regimes had to open themselves to foreign investment and educate and empower their people more in order to earn income. But as oil prices went up around 2000, free speech, free press, fair elections and freedom to form political parties and NGOs all eroded in these countries."

"Up to now, said Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, we as a society “have been behaving just like Enron the company at the height of its folly.” We rack up stunning profits and G.D.P. numbers every year, and they look great on paper “because we’ve been hiding some of the costs off the books.” If we don’t put a price on the CO2 we’re building up or on our addiction to oil, we’ll never nurture the innovation we need."

"President Bush claims he’s protecting American companies by not imposing tough mileage, conservation or clean power standards, but he’s actually helping them lose the race for the next great global industry. Japan has some of the world’s highest gasoline taxes and stringent energy efficiency standards for vehicles — and it has the world’s most profitable and innovative car company, Toyota. That’s no accident."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Gesture Drawing

Tried to push character a little today, though it needs to go farther! Included is an example of a train wreck salvaged by our instructor, Tom... the lesson being that we can be pretty liberal when interpreting a gesture to emphasize an action.

Today's Walt Stanchfield notes included some great pointers on how to overcome learning plateaus by breaking down problems into smaller, more easily overcome elements. A sense of progress would be very welcome right now, so I'll try to keep the sketchbook rolling...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Dave Chappelle @ Cobb's

Friday morning held a surprise twist when Jason sent out word of tickets going on sale for an unannounced Chappelle stand-up show in San Francisco the same night. Evidently his word branched out so quickly that it reached about 30 people we knew before the club sold out, leading to a somewhat awkward waiting line-packing scene which I still feel a bit guilty over. Fortunately, everything kind of worked itself out and we all got great seats.

Chappelle put on a pretty good show; it didn't really compare to the DVD release from the Fillmore a few years back, but the guy was on stage for over two hours! A lanky, gawkish sort of dude in person, he went through about 45 minutes worth of hatin' material to start, shared a phone call from some rapper named Qui-gon (or something like that ;), and then let the audience shout out topics for comment until the coffee and cigarettes could no longer keep him going. There was still a lot of vocalized bitterness towards Comedy Central, but as long as Chappelle can keep filling comedy clubs at $50/person, he doesn't seem inclined to do much else.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Gesture Drawing

So today wasn't the day to take up the goal from the last post (cartooning a character) since this model didn't have props, but she did bring some fun poses. I tried to emphasize her hips with varying success... Tom also had some great advice on dedicating focused time to address specific problems in a sketchbook at home, and using old disney model sheets to interpret poses into an existing character... on that latter point, guess we'll see how brave I'm feeling in the next class :)