Sunday, May 18, 2008

Polaroid Archive


Indian Summer


Autumn Beguiles the Fatalist

Winter Zazzle

The Ice King

Recherche de le temps perdu

La Bicyclette

On February 8, 2008, Poloraid announced it would discontinue production of all instant film by August, 2009.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Trees Series: #4

Drawing With Imagination

I find it a challenge to draw from imagination, though I want to develop that ability. Illustrations and graphic novels are very appealing to me, and I would like to write and illustrate a graphic novel some day. I've perused countless drawing and creativity books. Most of them look interesting on the surface, but either present daunting schedules and exercises or long philosophical diatribes about "how to be creative" that leave me feeling more inept and unmotivated that before. Ironic that books about creative motivation should have that result. Most of the "how-to" books don't appeal to me either -- the technical approaches are often illustrated by the highly stylized artwork of one author and/or are technically dazzling but emotionally sterile.

Last year, however, I stumbled across a marvelous book called Keys to Drawing with Imagination, "strategies and exercises for gaining confidence and enhancing your creativity" by Bert Dodson. I found out about it from the lines and colors blog, my favorite art blog, which is filled with intriguing entries on fine art, drawing, illustration and more.

Keys to Drawing with Imagination is beautifully designed with a hard-cover wrapped around a spiral bending, so you can keep easily keep it open for reference. Best of all, though it contains delightful observations and insights, it isn't drowning in advice, but is mainly focused on fun, free-ranging exercises that plunge you straight into a world of creative experimentation. Besides featuring Dodson's lively illustrations , it also features examples by other artists (Steven Guarnaccia, Michael Mitchell, Zelme Loseke, R. Crumb and others) so you dont get stuck in one particular vision.

I've been working on "Doodling Algorithms," part of the "Doodling and Noodling" chapter. Though they sound silly, for me these are very liberating and instructive exercises.

Speaking of alogirthms, math is other thing I'm fascinated by but not very good at. An algorithm is basically a list of well-defined instructions that yields a result. Sounds simple. But they can be very complex. Also known as "calculation method," the term comes from a mis-translation of the name of the Persian astronomer and mathematician Al-Khwarizmi. What's even better is that no formal definition of an algorithm even exists! Algorithms are closely related to computer programming, flow charts and mechanical automation. Generative Art is a genre referring to art constructed by automated or programmed computer algorithms.

Dodson's algorithmic exercises utilize structured patterns, constructed in simple steps, such as waves, ropes, geometrics and shape clusters.

Another of his approaches, "building blocks," is reminiscent of fractals, patterns created through fragemented shapes composed of miniature repetitions of the whole. Naturally occuring fractal-like forms include lightning bolts, snowflakes, clouds and ferns.

Soon I'll be taking a class on creating picture books for children and adults, which covers everything from pocket art books to graphic novels, where I hope to put some of the ideas garnered from Dodson's excellent book into practice.


Genevieve Levin ( made this beautiful henna design at Space Gallery's flea market event Friday night. She put glitter on top for the paste; the actual henna tattoo will stay on for a few weeks!