Edited November 6th, 2017, to link up the art supplies.
This was actually drawn on the 24th of last month. I sat down to draw with a purpose in mind: To make a suitable graphic for my next post on Medium. I ended up drawing an octopus, which, frankly, happens more often than it should.
I’ll probably never post about octopuses on Medium. I can’t swim, I’ve never owned a salt water aquarium, and Gumball at the Aquarium of the Pacific is in hiding every time I visit—so all I know about octopuses I’ve learned from reading what someone else already knew.
I divided the art board roughly in half—both horizontally and vertically—with a t-square, traced the inside and outside of a triangle from a few positions at every innermost corner, and made circles with a compass at random intervals.
This was my first time using a Derwent Graphic Pencil, and possibly my first time using a 2H. I’m not a big fan of graphite, but I liked the feel of this pencil, and I’m hoping to give the 8B that came with the set a run once Slowvember runs out. (I also had to check out Wikipedia’s information on pencil grading, because—again—not a big fan of graphite.)
Once I was done playing with the drafting tools, I began inking the lines that I was sure I wanted to keep and use. The obvious shapes were a flat, jagged, mountainous form and a 331⁄3 RPM vinyl record, the latter of which could easily be mistaken for a sunrise or sunset.
The challenge, then, is to take those conspicuous shapes, use them, and find a way to make them become more than what they obviously are.
One objective I want to accomplish with this project is to make a piece that will be simple to mat and frame. I have not just a tendency, but a compulsion to work to the edges, so, on the rare occasion that one of my pieces gets framed, there’s a professional framer involved.
This was my primary motivation for using manga board: The guides around the board’s perimeter necessarily constrain me, forcing me to be conscious of, and work within, the established layout.
I inked over those rules and numbers with my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, taking the black to the edges. And, since frames were a part of my thought process, I inked the outermost section with old, dried-up, gold ink from Winsor & Newton. It was thick and clumpy, and provided great coverage when applied with angled synthetic brushes.
I still haven’t landed on an actual concept for the project, but I know what my next step is, what tools are involved, and that it will be important to this piece’s discovery process.
I’m so tickled! I entered a giveaway to win a set of orange-handled Kyocera knives through Facebook. I didn’t expect to win. In fact, I was suspicious when I got an email telling me that I had won and asking for my home address. And I was still surprised when UPS delivered the knives, but look! There they are, in all their orange and white glory, on the table on the high veranda!
The set would be a perfect gift for my wife, since she loves Kyocera knives, and orange is her favorite color. Alas, I was brought up with the superstition that giving knives as a gift would cut the relationship between the giver and the recipient.
I love my wife more than I love either gift-giving, knives, or orange, so this set will have to settle for being mine, and for simply being perfect.
Thank you bunches, Kyocera! Both for the knives and for inspiring the awful pun up top!
And, since documenting the process is a part of the Slowvember spirit, I thought I would start at the start. Inktense pencils seem like a great way to begin a month-long art project which will probably end with more traditional inks and maybe even some Derwent Graphik Line Painters.
Are you participating in this year’s Slowvember? Feel free to comment below.
I grew up in small towns, brought up with the notion that people in cities don’t know their neighbors. I believed that notion. I thought it reasonable that city folk, having come from other places and having myriad options for work and entertainment, might have neither the time nor inclination to get to know the people around them.
Good lord, was I wrong.
I now live in Anaheim, California. People may argue that Anaheim—even all of Orange County—is just a suburb of Los Angeles. But Anaheim boasts a population of over 300,000 people. If St. Louis is a city, then Anaheim is, too. And in Anaheim, I know my neighbors.
I know the military couple who rent the condo next to ours and whose Pomeranian owns more outfits than some children I’ve met. I know the athlete who lives alone, the Porsche mechanic whose wife lives in another country, the mechanic’s roommate and the mechanic’s cat, and the young couple at the end of the hall with their year-old daughter.
I know the people who live on the floor beneath ours, and the people whose units face the street.
In short, I know everyone who lives in our building.
My wife, Linda, and I know most of the people in the buildings immediately to the north and south of ours, as well as the building directly to the west. The further a building is from ours, the less likely we are to know its occupants.
We don’t know all the people on our block. That I’ll admit. But we might know all the dogs.
We know Winston, Brooklyn, and Jack (RIP), Bella and Bert. We know Rocco, Kona, Loki, Bodie, and Penny (who moved away). We know Charlie, Peyton and Kennedy. We know the American Eskimo dogs whose names we can’t pronounce. We know Sasha. We know Elway. We know well-dressed Bella. We know Miles who, like Penny, has moved away. We know Roxie, Lilo, Dumpster, Alphie, and Fiona.
We know our neighbors for two reasons. The first of these is interest.
Linda took interest in providing a platform for communication between neighbors, so she set up a private group on Nextdoor for people—homeowners and renters, alike—who live in our development. She then took on the task of getting everyone to join.
She’s done well. A high percentage of our neighbors have joined the group, and it’s more active than I expected, with people using the platform to find lost packages, announce HOA meetings and maintenance projects, discuss problems, and organize to find solutions.
The second reason is that we have a dog. Some of our neighbors interact with us because of our—admittedly ridiculously cute—dog. Even before adopting Nena, we knew our dog-owning neighbors, collectively, better than those without dogs. People who own dogs tend to walk them. They wander outside more often than people without dogs, and that makes them more available for social interaction.
As does the dog, itself.
It’s acceptable to want to greet another person’s dog, to want to pet that dog, to ask their name and their sex and their age, and to talk baby talk to them upon introduction.
Try that behavior with your adult, human neighbor. I dare ya. Unabashed delight is reserved for pets and small children.
In the last small town I lived in, for roughly twenty years, I knew my immediate neighbors, but not much beyond that. I didn’t know my neighbors there any better than I know my neighbors here.
In fact, the reverse is true.
Want to know your neighbors?
Live where you want.
Take interest in the people around you. Sometimes, their concerns are—or should be—your concerns.
Then get yourself a dog.
Edited November 3rd and 4th, 2017, to add links to a few of my favorite “neighborly” posts based on the prompt:
I’m currently using relative URLs (the version which doesn’t include the domain) because the code won’t need to be updated even if it’s served from a different address, and for consistency between my primary domain and my WordPress.com subdomain.
You can see how this works by clicking here: Workaround
This workaround isn’t quite as simple as adding a tag on a post, but the method will work for both sites and pages, and it’s not at all difficult to implement.