Monday, November 24, 2008

Yue Opera + Clover Leaves.

It was my first time watching a Chinese opera performance live at our campus' mini-theater last Friday. There were five skits; I couldn't understand every word, but at least I knew what was going on. : )

Skit 1: a scene from the Butterfly Lovers.

Skit 2: a scene from The Peony Pavilion.

This actress is a first-level opera performer and opera professor / researcher. *A*

Skit 3. I don't know the title of this play. In this scene, a poor but honest farmer brings an unwilling bride, who he bought with his savings, to his home. The problem is, the bride has no idea of the sale, and thought that the man has kidnapped her. They settle the misunderstanding and decide to live as husband and wife.

My relatives often mention during reunions how my mom used to play the role of the woman in this play. My mom, she was quite pretty when she was young. ; O

Skit 4. I loved this skit -- it was comedy. <333 It's about this merchant looking for a third bride, and this humble vendor's clever daughter is just what he's looking for. Their dialogue was very interesting!

Skit 5. It was about this scholar who just topped the national exams, but could not win back the heart of his love, even with a beautiful crown as a gift. His mother played matchmaker, and advised him to just admit his mistake and apologize. It was a happy ending.

The cast. It's interesting how most of the roles -- even those of male characters -- are performed by actresses, while in the past, men used to run the show.

Yujiao brought me some four-leaf clovers -- 'for happiness'! -- when she came over last weekend. <333

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sketching Class: Week 2 + Doodles.

Sketching: week 2. For this week, we had to draw four bust portraits of two middle-aged models from different angles: mug shots, and bird's worm's eye view.

PSP. I now see why a lot of my classmates are always bored while sketching, cos I now more or less share their sentiments. XD

Zhang Xiaolong is amazing at this.

Liu Hao, too.

Bird's eye view.

After the monitors cleaned up. : )

Not going to say much about how I've been doing, except that I don't really like what I've drawn so far... which is why I'm not posting mine here. Not to be emo, but I'd really just prefer not to immortalize it on my blog. =D=

For one thing, I find the size at which they normally draw head busts -- almost life-size -- overwhelming. I prefer to draw smaller, because I'm used to drawing manga. I strain to draw smaller heads, to fit more into each panel, to fit more panels into each page, not the other way around.

Another thing. My pencil sketches always come out gray and toneless, because in drawing manga, I'm used to sketching out each page carelessly and using the same pen pressure all throughout, cos pencils are erased after inking. It's not the same case with life sketching, where pencil technique and contant change in pen pressure matter.

I have to break these habits in order to get better!

I dislike doing something I'm not good at, so I tried to be good at sketching, but I just ended up tiring myself out again and again. So now, before I get neurosis, I'm putting all my sketching books back into the cabinet and taking a break from realism. I'll go back to work on my weekly sketches when it's close to grading time in early January, and post them up here when I'm done. Hopefully I can be less uptight about realism then. ^A^;

Here's a study I did on my own, of someone you'd think I'd like to draw...

Sakurai-san, I have failed you! OTL

Needless to say, this isn't halfway done. OTL I guess I just really have a short attention span, no matter how pretty the model! XD I didn't even get to the hair, and that's normally my favorite part, LOL. I'll redeem myself some other time.

This actually reminds me of when I first tried drawing manga, back when I was twelve. At that time, it was so frustrating, that after a few pages, I gave up and decided that I won't be a manga-ka when I grow up afterall.

Four years later, the art director of Otaku Mangazine contacted me for a manga gig. I declined, saying that it wasn't for me, but then he said, "Have you even tried it?" to which I thought, well, it's been a while, so maybe I will give it a shot. And, before I knew it, I was drawing manga! What's more, I no longer found it difficult, but fun and gratifying.

Anyway, here's to hoping that it will be the same for realism -- that the reason why I keep on running and getting nowhere, is cos of this masochistic overachieving attitude. >___>;

Here are Liu Man and Lu Chen doodling while taking a break from realism during class. Doodling or "fast drafting" is actually a part of our class, and they're actually doing homework. We have 20 pages due tomorrow.

Lu Chen asked me to pose for a doodle / caricature. Hehe, it's just 5 degrees and I'm already dressed very very warmly.

Yang Xuemeng, Cai Lu, and Mr. Skeleton.

Here are some shots of doodles that I took from the pages of two of my male classmates' sketchbooks. Everyone here is a varied artist! Absolutely amazing.


Self-portrait. Way cool!

Yang Yujiao, a PE classmate, came over to my room yesterday. She doodled me while I was sketching... realism. TTvTT; I made spaghetti for us last night, haha.

Zhang Xiaolong drew me in his anime-style. It doesn't look like me at all, except for the blank stare, haha! Too pretty.

For the first time in a handful of weeks, I tried to draw in anime-style yesterday. I found it shocking that my pencil wasn't as confident as it used to be! Before, when I want to draw a character, all I had to do was know that which character I wanted to draw, and that's exactly who would come out on the paper. The pencil strokes come out almost automatically.

But, this time, after deciding that I wanted to draw Hongfei, I put my pencil to paper as I normally would... but, while sketching, I was surprised to find myself worrying about technical things, such as camera angle, head structure and proportion, lighting... so much so that in paying attention to following these rules, and at the same time, trying to hold back cos I was not drawing realism afterall, Hongfei was starting not to look and feel like Hongfei!

And, let me tell you it was kind of horrifying, cos for a moment, I thought I somehow unlearned how to draw manga... O___O;

But, yeah, it turned out pretty okay afterall... Hongfei still looks like himself, but even Yujiao said that he appears to be more 'dimensional' here, not to mention more "man," LOL! I dunno, that was actually was traumatized me at first -- that he came out manlier than usual, haha. Not quite sure if the mediocre image quality captures that feel, though. ; ))

Our realism sessions are over and done with, but I still have to learn doodling techniques, and I still have a an obligatory contest entry, plus 12/20 pages of doodles due tomorrow! I miss my charas, and I miss drawing anime-style, but, I gotta learn how to deal, srsly.

Belated congratulations on bagging that student exchange program to Japan, Tif! <333

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sketching Class: Week 1 (Pt. 2) + Homework.

Sketch class: Days 3-5. I've never seen so much fog...

Gu laoshi looking over Liu Man's drawing.

... Leftovers. XD

The drawing at the very front is a sketch demo by Gu laoshi. She always tells us -- my classmates, mostly -- to try to make our portraits look like 'real people' by using softer shades.

As for how I've been doing with this class, well... I have two words to describe everything so far: BRAIN DRAIN. My teacher and classmates have been more than appreciative and encouraging, however, so this is all probably just me angsting around in my head.

I really didn't think it'd be this torturous mentally... that is, when you know theoretically what you need to do, but not how to pull it off, so you do trial and error, but then you keep phailing and phailing... and phailing. I do know that I shouldn't try to learn so much in such a short time, and maybe I'm trying too hard... Guh, I've been having so many 'Lan moments' lately, ahaha... ha...

Anyway, without further ado, here's my Week 1 sketch, version 1... aka. IS THAT A HUMAN BEING...


It's gone, by the way! I tossed it to one side and a classmate asked if she could use the flip side for charcoal practice. At least the paper didn't go to waste -- yay!

Here's version 2, which I started on day 3. I fixed the proportions slightly, but the shading is still weird.

... and, it got weirder and weirder the longer I worked on it. OTL Gu laoshi said, albeit very nicely, that the face looked 'dirty.'

... so I erased and redid the shading on day 5. This time, I paid attention to the below-the-skin anatomy, and used some reference books. The outcome looked pretty okay, but still too gray...

I actually worked more on this in our classroom over the weekend, and even erased the whole face to fix the proportions... but in the end, I still threw it out. Because I'm not happy with it one bit, and I can't sit with that... ! TT___TT;;;;;

As for my resolution, I'm redoing it, for the third and last time, but! I'm doing some studies first, so I have something to refer to and not be so uptight when I'm doing the real thing.

I've tried to draw this guy in this angle so many times that I've almost memorized it -- it's just tragic! BUTTHISTIMEI'MGOINGTOMAKEHISFACEnotLOOKCONTORTED. Wish me luck!

Fun fact: I actually spend most of the free time, including weekends, in our classroom now, just trying desperately to get my sketches to look right. Of course, some my classmates like to do overtime as well. It's really quite intimidating cos they draw so efficiently already. For example, Zhang Xiaolong here is polishing his week 1 sketch.

Liu Fengyuan doing some studies for his anatomy homework with charcoal. He's long done with his week 1 sketch. I'm still in awe with how my classmates wield a range of mediums so confidently and effortlessly...

Of course, we aren't just art nerds... we're also music nerds. Here's Zhang Yuxi playing her erhu while procrastinating, hahaha. Liu Man was just yelling for her to stop playing the whole time, but it was okay, I guess. XD Hey, it's hard to learn an instrument!

We also had sketching homework over the weekend. For week 1, we had to draw twenty pages of this head structure shit. This is going to sound absurd, but I swear, I never felt so utterly miserable in my whole life. I think I was about to vomit blood while trying to draw in this style...

But, you know what... I actually realized how much these made sense while sketching just this morning. O___O So much so, that I think I couldn't have gone for long without this 'shit.' Absurd!

Here's last week's anatomy homework.

These actually took me like six hours, even with a direct sketch reference. Liu Fengyuan's charcoal sketches on the left of the bottom photo, on the other hand, took no time at all.

Anyway, sorry for putting you guys through this emo shit. I've been really tired and rather cofused lately, I don't know how I can let all this get to me so much... I miss drawing in manga style, but, yeah, I do believe this is all for the best... *nod nod*