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  • Deference to article author , some good entropy. “If you don’t leap, you’ll never know what it’s like to fly.” by Guy Finley.

    • Isn’t putting pencil marks into the shape of a person pretty much the opposite of entropy? I don’t really understand your comment, but thanks for checking out the blog.

  • I would never have become an artist if I hadn’t learned to grid. It’s a tool like any other and if it helps get the proportions right, why not use it? The viewer looks at the finished work, not how you get there โ˜บ๏ธ

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  • I can’t believe I misspelled San Francisco almost everywhere in this article. Way to go, Amdall! The question is…do I want to reimport and reinsert all of the pivot tables? The answer…is nope (sorry San Francisco).

  • As a follow up to all this, I should point out again…DO NOT STORE CURRENCY IN EXCHANGES! I’m reading lots of articles lately about North Korea’s efforts to obtain Bitcoin and Ethereum through hacking; these hacking activities target exchanges (where you swap currencies). You should always store cryptocurrencies on a separate wallet with private keys owned by you. These exchanges will let you store your balances in the site/service’s wallet, but the exchange almost always maintains those keys. Since the keys are stored in bulk with the exchange, the currency exchanges themselves become appealing hacking targets.

    • Also, I’m considering another follow up article, because cryptocurrency values have crashed over the last week or so! It’s interesting to see which have tanked; the big ones (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin) have dropped, and several altcoins have fallen as well. But, a few are still holding relatively strong, like Syscoin, Verge, Vertcoin, and Pinkcoin. Overall though, my investment has dropped from a 52% increase down to 18.7% increase.

  • This is good stuff, very interesting, I love technique type process photos and stories, and glimpses into the thought process. Thank you for documenting, and getting back into Art. I hope you STAY in!

  • What an interesting idea for an art show!! I love drawing and painting ATCs… much smaller than 5×5 (x5). I think drawing BIG is important for learning… but drawing small definitely teaches you things, too… what lines are REALLY important, that art can be created fairly quickly, etc. definitely go for it… maybe cut several 3 inch pieces or paper and just go for it next week. Choose the one you love the best!

    • You speak the truth on that for sure; this has been a crash course in which lines would accurately represent a person. Like, which precise mark will make my little ones actually look like themselves?

      Thanks for the encouragement! By the way, this might be a dumb question, but what does ATC stand for? (ex. “painting ATCs”)

      • “Artist Trading Cards”… I belong to a group of women (and men, but really… it’s just women) who are very creative and love to make, trade, or just give these tiny pieces of art. The only rule really is that is HAS to be 2 1/2×3 1/2 inches. And can’t be sold (then it is an ACEO, Art Card Original and Edition) but can be traded or used almost like a business card. It can be drawn, painted, collaged, doodled, whatever. ๐Ÿ™‚ It makes painting on a 4×5 page feel luxuriously large haha!

      • Wow, that is really cool. So, where do you trade them? Just whenever you meet other artists at exhibits, or are there trade shows or something for different disciplines?

        I think I mentioned in another comment, but I seriously had no idea such a unique thing existed in the art world. It’s fascinating!

  • You’re good. Go with the first sketch. Keep it loose. Gestural. While there’s a lot of things I like about the second one… the expression you’ve captured on the little’s ones face, I really dig the simple contours of the first one just as well. Good Luck!

    • Much appreciated! Thatโ€™s good advice, keeping it loose. I was definitely struggling to do just that with the small size.

    • What Jake says – that’s exactly what I was thinking, too. You have a sensitive touch with the figures, and even though it’s contour only, the lines speak clearly. (if you do go with the first “rough draft” you might consider varying the line weights for interest. I’ve entered small works shows and they’re fun. Good luck.

      • Thanks for that – I’d like try a few drawings where I don’t bother with the detail, and just flow with some basic contours. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing some of the other tiny art in this show!

      • I happened upon an interesting article on the illustrations of Arthur Rackham. When I looked at his B&W sketches I immediately thought of you. You may enjoy looking at it and maybe you’ll observe something from the great artist.

      • Wow those are great, I had never seen them before. That’s kind of you to say there’s any similarity between those and my sketches, but I’m definitely nowhere near that guy’s level. You are sure right about him being a great artist, thanks for linking that. I really like them, especially that one with the Cheshire Cat in the tree. Very cool.

  • My drawing skills leave a lot to be desired. You have inspired me to head back to the drawing board (literally!)

    • Ha ha, well played

      Honestly though, based on the fantastic paintings Iโ€™ve seen on your site, that would really surprise me. Something tells me if you dive into it, youโ€™re better than you realize

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  • I climbed back on this horse back in about 2009 – Jon and I have to say, with technical skills and drawing, it’s all about practice, practice, practice….nice work and welcome back to your art journey! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Coming from someone with the skills you have, I appreciate the encouragement! Thanks Hilda

      • Aw, thanks Jon, it’s all about showing up regularly and putting in the hours…. If you love doing something, you carve out the time for it as often as you can and, after a while, you look back at where you started and you realize… actually DID make progress! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I think drawing figures on a small scale is really, really challenging – I have tried doing them on ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards – 4″x2 1/2″ – Basically tiny works of art that are traded in various ways between artists, or sometimes sold – called ACEO’S) But, to me they are not the best subject for that! If you are needing to achieve a likeness, I think the best way to go is to go big, not small, because it’s so much easier to be accurate about the features…if you go small, every dot and line is important and significant in suggesting the reality of that person. But that’s just my 10 cents!

    • Ahhhhh, so THAT’s what ATC stands for! Very interesting, I had no idea that even existed. I think I’ve got a lot to learn about the art world, thank you for that insight.

      I certainly agree with you though – I prefer larger workspace

      • Don’t feel bad, I only discovered their existence earlier this year when an online art forum I belong to decided to do an atc exchange. I had no idea about them before then, google the subject, there are whole huge websites devoted to the trading of ATC’s! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Nice Jon! and best of luck with this! Make sure to get your kids to pose for you a lot whilst they are young, because, they are only small and cute for so long, and then, they become sour faced teenages who would sooner eat their own arm than pose for an artistic parent!! at least, THAT is my experience! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • They will treasure this. I love it. You really capture their essence here. I know what you mean. Even a ‘finished’ piece will call to me to add a touch here or there if I don’t lock it behind glass or give it away! ๐Ÿ˜‰Keep sketching.

  • Very nice work! I’m convinced drawing from live models is the ultimate artist. I hope to do this when I grow up!โ˜บ๏ธ

    • Thank you! Yeah I have to admit I did cheat a bit and look at photos…these girls don’t care what their dad says, they don’t want to stand still for more than like 5 seconds

  • Keep it up, Jon. Glad to see youโ€™re having fun.

  • Lovely drawing, definitely need to do one of your grandmother too.

  • Thank you both – I think Granny is going to get a portrait soon.

  • That’s a great question and a helpful way of looking at the answer.

  • Have you any comments regarding the paper by Shane, Lawton, and Swenson in the Journal of Criminal Justice using the same database?

    • I wasn’t able to retrieve an article from your link for some reason, but I think this is what you’re talking about:

      If that’s the right article, I certainly agree with the conclusion section; that sort of data should be tracked nationally, and research should focus on situational context. However, I don’t agree with the lead sentence under the results section; it says “patterns are not consistent with national rhetoric that police are killing black people because of their race…”. First, the national rhetoric is quite divided on the topic; there isn’t one specific theme being pushed (two completely different ones at least). The topic is divisive because there are multiple narratives clashing.

      Secondly, the Washington Post data simply doesn’t address motivation, only raw numbers. The conclusion as to whether police are or are not killing anyone because of any reason cannot be made with this data. It does show black people are killed disproportionately relative to their population, though (which can only be concluded by supplementing data) I only read the abstract, so maybe there’s more detail in the full research, but I’m not sure how the authors arrived at that very specific conclusion from the Washington Posts database alone.

  • Thanks for your response. I’m hoping the second link will work for you. My knowledge of statistics is rusty. I’m seeking to understand the calculations used to produce the “mean fatality base rate” column in Table 3, and of course any comment you may have. (It appears they may have used a different set of state census figures than you did.)

    • Thanks for posting! That link did work, and it was the same article. I think when they say “mean fatality base rate,” they’re referring to the average fatalities per 100,000 people.

      I pulled my state population numbers directly from, but my data was their 2015 population estimates, and it looks like the article you linked uses 2016 estimates. So it makes sense they’re a bit different; hopefully they aren’t too radically different though.

      I’ll have to take some time to go over the article in a bit more detail, but a cursory review left me with the same conclusions I indicated above. In my opinion, you can’t derive any conclusion one way or another about police intent or motivation from the Washington Post’s database. 8% of those killed were unarmed (a significant potential threat indicator), and I see how they jumped from that to intent/motivation; I just think that jump involves some big assumptions. I don’t see a data point in the Post’s database that would let someone extrapolate that specific conclusion (although much of the paper does seems accurate). And, as I mentioned, their comments on “national rhetoric” seem misleading to me, because their are two significantly different messages bouncing off of each other in the media.

  • Shane and co-authors paraphrase what they term to be the popular rhetoric
    as “portrayals that Blacks are killed by police in epidemic proportions
    compared to other racial groups, or that young, unarmed males are killed
    because of their race and without justification” in the introduction, and
    give six cites. But I grant you that this characterization is not universal.

    However, I see them making no claims as to motivation or intent. They say the
    data doesn’t support claims of bias, but neither do they assert finding lack
    of bias. Inconclusive, in my view. (Typical of researchers, they recommend
    further study and, undoubtedly, more funding.)

    Be that as it may, my main concern is trying to figure out what’s going on
    with Table 3. I’d also thought, at first glance, that the “mean fatality base
    rate” was fatalities per 100,000 population. But it cannot be so. On Table 3,
    for example, 82 female deaths divided by 0.766 and multiplied by 100,000 gives
    us a female population of an absurd 10.7 million. Table 1 gives accurate state
    population when fatalities are divided by Base Rate (M) and multiplied by 100,000.
    But the numbers on Table 3 don’t work the same way at all! So I’m thinking there
    must be some difference between “Base Rate” and “Base Mean Fatality Rate.”

    I am really stumped by this! I’ve searched the internet high and low for rebuttal
    or commentary on this paper, but can find nothing. One would think it would’ve
    made more of a splash, being authored by Ph.Ds and published in a peer-
    reviewed scholarly journal.

    • When I say motivation/intent, I’m talking about the phrase from the abstract where they say, “…more than others because of their race.” You can see that shootings occurred often because of a threat, but that doesn’t necessary exclude race as a factor (it also doesn’t mean it was a factor necessarily). That “because” (the why of shootings) seems like the authors’ opinion more than something the Post data supports. That’s just my view of it, anyway.

      Wow, that’s strange about Table 3…I wonder if they made some sort of mistake that somehow didn’t get caught in the peer review process? This may be inappropriate, but do you think the authors would be open to someone randomly contacting them to ask for an explanation? If they’re affiliated with a university, you might be able to find an email or something. You never know; they might be excited someone is looking at their work!

      • I had thought of writing them and the email, I think, is right there in the article. That might be my next move, if I can edit to state the question succinctly. Thanks, and Iโ€™ll take another look at that phrasing.

      • If you hear anything from them and you have a chance, I’d love to hear what they say

  • Please excuse my pedantry, but…

    That blacks are being killed “more than others because of their race” isn’t the authors’ opinion. It’s the charge made explicitly by Black Lives Matter (see paragraph three of the introduction) and with which the data is inconsistent. Shane et al., like you and I, are agnostic on this matter.

  • And of course I will let you know if anything comes of it!

  • In the wake of this horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, just thought I’d update this with a couple direct links I neglected to include in the original article. Here is the Mother Jones data: And here is the gunviolencearchive (GVA) mass shooting data: The Washington Post also has an excellent write-up on the topic, including some informative graphics and a discussion of different available datasets:

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  • I should note, there are actually two mass shooting events that were in Mother Jones data a few months ago, but are for some reason not currently listed. One was the shooting in Washington, DC targeting GOP Members of Congress playing softball. I’m not sure why they were removed, but because the two events fit the definition of a mass shooting, I left them in my spreadsheet.

  • This is very well put together, the pie-charts, especially, do a good job illustrating whoโ€™s actually doing the shooting. I agree with you points on registration, too. I donโ€™t think guns need to be completely taken off the market (thatโ€™ll just give gun-runners and drug-lords more money) but simply tightening the qualifications to own a gun should help screen out people who are unfit to own them. Gun ownership should be a privilege, not a given.

    • Thanks Bluebeard, I agree with you. The Bill of Rights is part of the DNA of this country; although case law has provided some exceptions* for certain amendments, I’m against wholesale tossing entire amendments of the Bill of Rights out (such as the 2nd). People in this debate seem to often characterize it as all or nothing; either no guns period, or totally unrestricted firearms. There are reasonable steps that can be taken that don’t involve hyperbole!

      (* Like the 1st’s unprotected speech exceptions incitement/defamation/obscenity/fighting words, the 4th’s “right of the people” not applying to criminals, minors, non-USPERs, etc.)

  • Congratulations Armdizzle!

    • Thank you, my friend.

      I have another article coming tomorrow you may be interested in, if you have an undying love for Excel like most people do. Most normal people, anyway.

  • Beautiful work! Congrats on getting back into art ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Iโ€™m taking a few of my first hard labs this semester and have had to become literate in excel very quickly, so these kinda of tutorials are very helpful. A lot of excel tutorials are overly technical but you break it down in a very matter of fact way.

    Also the Pavlovian reference made me laugh!

    • Excellent! I’m glad this helped someone a bit. That’s exactly what I was aiming for too; approachable text with less jargon/confusion.

      If want to bounce any spreadsheet ideas off someone as you progress through your semester, feel free to pop back in. If it wasn’t painfully obvious already, I love Excel shop talk.

  • Looks awesome so far! Iโ€™m excited to see the evolution here. Your commentary on drawing from life/pics versus imagination was interesting, because Iโ€™m the opposite. I have a much easier time drawing from imagination than real life, always been that way. Never did well with still lives or art class for that reason.

    • Thanks! I definitely admire people who can put what they see in their brains to paper. A great example is that blood hound painting you posted to your site yesterday – it’s incredible!

      I’m not sure if you’ve read the Dark Tower, but in terms of drawing, I think I’m sort of like Roland. Not especially creative, but capable of being technically proficient.

      • Thanks! I always say the same thing about people who can draw what they see and interpret it on the paper. My trick is to think of a concept then study images that may fit into that concept and then try to combine them. So for fox, roadkill would be applicable, as gross as that is.

        I’m a huge King fan, but I have yet to read Dark Tower. I’m currently about 3/4ths of the way through It and near finished with The Shining.

        As to the creativity vs proficiency vs technicality, they all culminate into a finished and unique product. I think they aren’t static, either, so you can always work towards improving different aspects of your work. My biggest weakness in terms of drawing is definitely my technical line-work and perspective placement. I’ve gotten good at hiding mistakes with my (heavy) shading.

  • Drawing celeb faces is a great way to improve technical skills – John – This one is really nice! Maybe you’ll be inspired to do more…I have a book that I planned to do 100 faces of famous people in – so far I am at about 84 or so (I keep being distracted by other ideas and projects!) but, the really interesting thing is how much my technique has improved from page to page ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Much appreciated, Hilda! Have you posted any of the 100 Famous Faces series to your site? I’d enjoy seeing those. Any particular favorites?

      • Great idea, Jon, thanks! I should do a post on this! My faves are some of the characters from The Lord of the Rings movie and also a series of 3 I did of Tom Baker (Dr Who, 4th Dr) aged 20, 40 and 80…fascinating doing the same face at different ages ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I’ll definitely be looking forward to that post, it sounds awesome. I will keep an eye out!

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  • Beautiful sketch. Keep sketching!!

  • You know, looking at the final picture more and more…I really think I messed up when drawing the background city. As that hill rises towards Eddie on the left, the city buildings slant as if they’re ON the hill, when they are supposed to be behind it.

    We’ll see if my OCD allows that to stand as is. Something tells me eventually I’ll have to grab an eraser and tilt those buildings vertically, because I won’t be able to look at it without noticing.

  • Hi Jon, I liked the phrase โ€œthe pencil went where it wanted to goโ€ฆโ€ Iโ€™ve often had the same feeling and sometimes Iโ€™m pleased with the result โ€“ Did I do that?
    I didnโ€™t notice the buildings slightly on the slant before until you mentioned it, but I think it enhances it, not detracts โ€“ leave it as it is I say. By lifting up the left hand side of the picture then things do subconsciously roll down towards the right. In this case this increases the impression of the 3 people on the left looking towards Roland on the right. These happy accidents in art I think make it so much better than merely taking photos. Go ahead and enjoy it for what it is.

    • I am actually pleased with how the characters themselves turned out (where the pencil decided to go) overall! As I mentioned, two of them arenโ€™t how I imagined while reading, but I wonder if this drawing will slightly change how I visualize the characters moving forward? It’s possible this interpretation will shape my imagination a bit for the rest of the series. Old Eddie Dean, say hello to new Eddie Dean.

      Thatโ€™s a good point about eye flow and happy accidents, I never thought of it that way. Thank you for pointing that out! Definitely great to see other perspectives, and happy accidents do make art enjoyable.

  • Iโ€™m not familiar with the books or story, but the drawing is interesting on its own to me. The subjects appear happy at that moment despite some hardships (missing body parts…needing to camp just outside a city in ruins). From the arrangement, the younger two are being cared for by the people at the far left and right. The person on the right (tending the fire) has a major role as protector.

    • Thanks Eduardo! I have to say, that’s very insightful of you – the fact that you aren’t familiar with the Dark Tower, yet essentially pieced together the exact situation and relationships is impressive.

      I probably should have drawn the lady (Susannah) to look a bit older though I think, because she’s supposed to be older than the guy on the left (Eddie) in the books. That aside, Roland on the right is definitely their leader, and they all look to him for guidance. And in that scene, I was going for a similar vibe to a time when they were telling each other riddles by the campfire. Major trials in the middle of a journey, but some time for comradery.

  • Nice drawing! I also have two little ones (boys), so I know what you mean about being able to dedicate time to something!

  • Great work. โค The Dark Tower

  • After thinking a bit more about Edgar and Sabin from Final Fantasy III (VI), I realized I made a mistake…I may leave the post as-is, but I’ll correct myself with some details here. I initially said, “Figaro is destroyed by the main villain” because I was remembering Edgar leaving and the castle on fire. Actually though, the castle survived! It was technologically sophisticated, and the entire thing tunneled underground into the desert. So, Edgar did escape at that time, but he later went back. Because the castle was underground, I believe it even survived the cataclysm towards the end of the game.

    Also, something I forgot about Edgar and Sabin is that they were supposed to rule Figaro together, but Sabin didn’t like everyone’s fixation with who would be king. He wanted to leave, so Edgar proposed a coin flip to decide who would leave. Edgar rigged it with a double-headed coin to ensure Sabin would be able to leave freely.

    More details can be found here: It just goes to show the detailed and compelling story in these games, which was sort of unusual in the early 90s.

  • Lovely family portrait – you’ve really captured the expressions and mood!

  • Hello,
    You are a lovely family.
    About the grid, I understand the concept and how it helps with accuracy but I find them so boring that I much prefer the loose sketch.
    Yours is very dynamic for a static pause. Bravo.

    • That’s kind of you to say! I wasn’t sure how it would work out – using a grid has been a bit of a crutch for me. But I think I’ll try more like this

  • You’re doing great! It’s not easy to let things be loose, but this is a wonderful sketch. Keep on watching and listening to the advice of a few artists you admire and you’ll find your style. Btw, you have a nice family!

  • This is so cool! I love all the emotion, you did an awesome job capturing it. I love your blog as a whole!

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  • I got the dad smirk! Nice job of capturing expression and gesture.

    • Ha ha, thanks for saying so

      Sometimes, slight smiles are tough for me. I want to make it apparent there’s a smile, but if I push it too much it makes them look insane! Like the joker or something

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  • Congratulations on taking the risk. And one accepted into the show, that’s fantastic!

    • Thanks! It was really fun going through it, definitely a new experience for me. There were some really amazing pieces in the show, I still can’t believe the detail they were able to get into some really tiny spaces.

  • I just love all your dad stories and drawings.

  • Great! I like the way your eldest is looking back at your Granny in her sunglasses, brings a unity to the picture. A really nice grouping. It doesn’t matter I don’t think that your sister is partly obscured. Again she is looking back at the others and is a nice “side-wall” on the right hand side. (She probably won’t like me calling her that – sorry!) – Andy

    • Thanks man, I think the arrangement turned out better than I expected. The only thing I’m not wild about is granny’s hand; I couldn’t quite get it right, and I didn’t want to mess the whole thing up by erasing too much

  • Lovely.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Really, really good. I am a total novice at drawing and Iโ€™m amazed at your portrait!

    • Thank you for saying so, I was glad to get that group on paper finally

      Actually, looking at the drawings on your site, you seem skilled to me! Your animal sketches have a really unique style – lots of personality and diverse, natural poses/movement. Novice or no, I’ve enjoyed your sketches!

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  • I don’t think drawing from photos is ‘cheating’, Jon! Necessity is the mother of invention and you are right, small kids don’t hold still for more than a few seconds. Take lots of photos and learn what makes a great photo to work from – candid shots in awesome light are THE BEST!! ~ BUT (and it has taken me a long time to even really notice this, us modern people are very oblivious to the limitations of our camera phones, for sure!) do be aware of photographic distortion and the fact that the range of colors is more limeted than in real life….and how do you do that? become aware of these things – draw from life as much as you can, it’s hard, really hard, but the benefits are HUGE…..go into your childs room and draw them sleeping, if you have too!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Keep up the good work! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Looking good. Group portraits are tough. Achieving a decent likeness is hard enough and here you have to do it 7 times!

  • Still reads as a great sketch – you’ve got the expressions and body language!

  • This sketch conveys the simplicity of the humans happiness โ€“ to have a big family ๐Ÿ™‚ . I really like it

  • Wow, liking the lines. Full of life ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Iโ€™ve been flying a lot this year and I can vouch that soon only the legless will be able to fit in the seats.

  • Great proportions! The eye is extra solid. The faces shading is subtle and looks molded, which creates a nice texture. What did you use to blend that?

    • Thanks for that, Bluebeard

      I used my finger for the shading; unfortunately my techniques aren’t too sophisticated. What do you use when you work in pencil? I’ve read that some people use shading or blending things (sticks?), But I haven’t explored that yet

      • I’ve tried blending sticks with mixed results. Sometimes it looks great, sometimes it gets muddy. Personally, I’ve found that they work a little better with high b pencils used lightly. The graphite is looser and blends more evenly, but if you use like a 6b too harshly it’ll stain or wreck the papers tooth (the reason I always use watercolor paper lol).

        To be honest, what you did there actually worked really well. The only downside to using fingers is that the oils can interact with some types of paper or paints (watercolors or gouaches can coagulate where you did it).

        The only real pencil shading trick I know is that you can layer ink or a heavy b (6+) behind a 2h or hb for deeper shadows. I’ve struggled a lot with highlights and shadows in pencil work. Putting the lighter pencil shading in up front can make the drawing reflect a little more, that depends on the paper too, though.

      • Wow, you’ve got some great insight and knowledge on the craft of creating art. Is this a hobby, or are you a full-time professional artist? The quality of the stuff on your site certainly seems at the Pro-Level, and you’ve referenced commissions on there.

        Either way, I appreciate the info. I’ve mentioned in other comments, this is one of my favorite things about WordPress; the fact that highly skilled artists are actually willing to give me advice! I have no clue of any other venue where I could have come across that.

      • I really appreciate you saying that, and I love discussing various techniques and ideas surrounding traditional mediums. Talking about art is sometimes even more enjoyable (and far less stressful) than creating, in my opinion.

        I’m actually a chemistry BA (senior this year) undergrad at the University of Iowa, but I’ve always had a major passion for drawing and writing. I’ve only recently been commissioned, and only by two people. My hope is that I can have a career that supports my hobbies (writing and drawing) so I can continue to develop them and maybe one day they could be full time things.

      • I was actually a Biology major myself, so thumbs up for science!

        I think that’s an excellent goal, to build a career that supports a hobby, then let the hobby take over if things line up that way. You’ve certainly got the raw talent in making art, in my opinion

  • Congratulations! Sounds like an all round positive experience. Would be great if we could see the work you submitted!

  • Thank you, it was definitely enjoyable!

    Actually, you bring up a great point – I should have linked the original post about it. I included a progression drawing in there, that would have been helpful to see. I’ll try to update the post, but in the meantime, here’s the actual sketch I entered:

  • Ah, now I see the art that was shown in the competition. Nice! You are clearly able to capture peoples expressions well.

  • You’re being way too hard on yourself. This is amazing!

  • Good for you Jon. I liked the piece and the concept appeal to me. Tiny art for tiny houses, perfect.

    • There you go! Although tiny art was fun to try, I don’t think I’m going to make it a habit. Much like tiny houses, I think tiny art is mostly out of my comfort zone. Like the old George Carlin bit goes, I’m worried about a “Place for My Stuff”

  • Why do you think that such a point of view was formed in the society (in the market, in the company, in forums, on the Internet)?

  • Looking back at this, there are a couple things I’d like to add. First, I want to give a special shout-out to a couple functions with extremely high utility; I’m talking VLOOKUP and IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH.

    VLOOKUP will let you build out a table of data, then search and reference other tabs, tables, or pieces of data you’re interested in. VLOOKUP is a tool I find myself reaching for very often; it’s like that trusty screwdriver that’s just the right size for most jobs. If you learn how to leverage VLOOKUP, you open up a world of possibilities in Excel.

    Next, this nested IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH function. It’s deceptively great, and I wish I could credit who turned me on to this…unfortunately I can’t remember. So, if you’ve got something like this: IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH(โ€œDocumentโ€,V2)),T2,V2), this bad boy will search cell V2 for the word “document”, and then will return what’s in T2 or V2 depending on whether that text is found. This is so great, because it allows you to merge columns from a data set automatically. Like I said, deceptively great and so useful to have access to.

    Also, honorable mention to the LEFT and RIGHT text reference functions. See the above article for the nitty-gritty, but I go back to it often. If you want to split a city from “city, state”, or you want to break up “last name, first name,” and so many other situations. Very handy!

  • You’ve captured the movement really well – that’s key in a scene like this!

    • Thanks!

      Itโ€™s too bad I didnโ€™t really capture Dak Prescottโ€™s face very well. For some reason, he looks like Warren Moon to me in this drawing. Strange, right?

      • I wouldn’t know Dak from Warren – lol. I guess since I don’t watch football, it’s the kinetic representation that I like and the faces are secondary. Must have been really hard to draw behind a helmet – I don’t know how I’d go about it, but I might try slightly exaggerating some features in Dak’s face- almost like making a caricature, but not quite. It’s a tricky one!

      • Ahhh, that’s an excellent idea! I wish I’d thought of that. I was trying to be subtle, and ended up losing the thread in terms of features that make Dak look like Dak. You’re right, I’ll bet some feature exaggeration would have helped – I’m going to file that one away for later

  • Hey wow, looks like the post about my favorite band was my 50th! Sweet

  • I haven’t done too many surveys/polls, but this one is clearly the most popular I’ve ever been responsible for! 23 replies for favorite captain, and 18 for favorite TNG character. Clearly Picard is objectively the best captain (nevermind the small sample size)! It’s interesting that Data is running away with favorite character though, I thought Picard would also be closer in that race.

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  • Just to add a little commentary to this, it seems like we’re due for a dip. Not a crash, not a “bubble burst,” but for some coins to level out or drop somewhat. As exciting as all of this growth is, it just wouldn’t make sense for it to continue nonstop. But, as I’ve said in previous articles on this, my goal with this experiment is a long term hold. So I will definitely ride out any dips, dives, crashes, etc.

    • Hey Jon. You’ve done well with your spread so far and have some nice returns with Einsteinium and Monacoin. What made you choose certain coins over others? Picking a half dozen coins and sticking to a couple of high market cap coins like ETH or DASH is probably the best way to diversify, but thats no fun! And I see that you plan to hold long term, so your smaller market cap projects will eventually catch up once they’e good projects. I did a similar experiment with a trivial amount of cash to start with. Even though the fiat value of my portfolio is up 130%, holding bitcoin instead would have seen my return closer to 240% over last 5 months.

      • Hey there Cathal – yes, there have definitely been some nice returns on a few of these previously lower market cap coins! And you’re right, that’s where the real fun is, I think. Buying coins that have already become huge probably gets you something more reliable, but it’s fun seeing some random altcoin come from nowhere. I have to admit though, some of these small cap coins that I’ve bought have done pretty much nothing, like LBRY Credits, Gulden, and a few others.

        As for how I picked them, that has changed over time. At first (in August), I was picking coins mostly based on whether they were available in Coinomi and were cheap. As the experiment progressed though, I focused more on finding altcoins receiving lots of positive buzz on forums; primarily on, several large subreddits, and NeoGAF (before it imploded…after, some on ResetERA). That has been a MUCH more effective method! I wish I’d done the forum research from the start.

      • Jon, the limitations of choosing only from coinomi or your chosen exchange, is one I can relate to.

        LBRY is still a very promising coin. Stick with it long term.

        Twitter and Reddit are super quick to feed crypto news and market events (I’ve never heard of NeoGAF but will look into it more)

        I will be tracking your progress and wish you every success.

        Do you have an exit strategy ready to go? My sentiment is that this bubble will burst soon.

        Then again, they’ve been saying that for years!

      • Ha ha, yes they sure have been saying the bubble will burst “any day now” for quite a while. I guess I’m bullish on crypto overall, so I don’t really think it’s necessarily a bubble in the conventional sense. Since currency has no intrinsic value (like a home or a company does), it’s hard to nail down when it’s really overvalued. Should a Bitcoin be worth $20,000? Should it be worth $.005? Who really knows! I honestly didn’t think Bitcoin had staying power a couple years ago, but it’s still picking up steam. Of course, I thought the iPad was a stupid idea too, so it shows what I know.

        I appreciate all your comments! Good to see an active blog like yours that’s writing meaningful articles about this trend. Your content is great, which I can’t say for some other Bitcoin/altcoin focused blogs out there that seem to just regurgitate news articles.

        Oh, and probably no need to check out NeoGAF at this point. The site is basically a ghost town now; mostly I think because the owner had some assault or harassment allegations against him. The majority of their active user base migrated to another site called ResetERA. It’s not as active as old NeoGAF, but it’s a decent forum for a wide variety of topics.

    • Just replying to my original comment up top…and here is the large drop! This is why it’s best not to look too much at long term holds, because corrections can be scary. Literally hundreds of dollars in value wiped over two days. On the flip side, of anyone wanted to start with cryptocurrency, now is probably the time, as prices have fallen for almost all coins

  • Angel Dust was my first Faith No More album, too. I do remember watching the videos for Epic and Falling to Pieces on MTV prior to ever picking up on of their albums. Definitely one of the most musically versatile bands ever! You picked some great examples from their catalog. All four of the tunes are in my list of favorite FNM songs.

    • Ahhh yes, those long gone days of MTV actually playing music videos. Is VH1 still a channel too?

      Man, it was pretty hard to pick just one song per album, and I didn’t even cover the new one (I don’t have it ripped, I guess I’m lazy). Just too many great ones to choose from, and how can just one best define the entire album? It might have made sense to pick the most commercially successful song on each, but I honestly couldn’t remember which was the biggest hit from King for a Day or Angel Dust. Was it Digging the Grave? And maybe Midlife Crisis?

  • Very interesting. I’ve been hearing a lot about bitcoin recently. I do agree with your additional comment. Wishing you success and an enjoyable ride.

    • Thanks Linda, I’m glad you found it interesting. Bitcoin is certainly popular; I believe I read somewhere it was the 2nd most searched term on Google in 2017.

      My biggest rule of thumb on all this cryptocurrency stuff is, don’t invest anything you aren’t willing to completely lose. It’s so volatile, you just never know what’s going to happen with it. Some of these coins have increased by 1000% or more just this year, which is completely insane!

  • Very interesting read Jon and an even more interesting experiment that you are running!

    I hope it continues to go well for you, best of luck with it ๐Ÿ‘Œ

  • Thanks for the tool recommendation. Iโ€™m definitely going to give it a try!

  • Thanks for this link – I think we might try it with our Twitter account at work – it will be interesting to see how our work jargon gets assessed in tweets by sentiment!

    • Sure thing! I think the more activity you have, and interactions from other users (likes, retweets, etc), the more interesting the data is. My accounts don’t have much activity, but I had fun running some more popular users like politicians, celebrities, etc.

      I think for a work Twitter account, it might actually have some real utility beyond just being interesting. You could really get a feel for how the business’s messaging is reaching audiences, which tweets are most effective, etc.

  • Jon, I really like how you visually represent the % change in coin value.

  • Jon,

    The coin stats app is worth checking out, as an alternative to Blockfolio.

    It’s a portfolio tracking tool that I really enjoy using.

  • I think VH1 is still a thing, but I have no idea if they play music videos anymore. Yeah, I would image it’s difficult to find one song from each album that best represents what that particular album was all about. Edge of the World and From out of Nowhere off of The Real Thing are pretty far from one another on the spectrum. I think you’re spot-on about Digging the Grave and Midlife Crisis being the most commercially successful songs from their respective albums.

    I’ve always wanted to make a mix tape introduction to FNM, but I have the worst time trying to figure out which songs would be best for it. Also the number of songs to include… I guess 20 songs might be a little much for a mix tape, ha ha. I would probably have to make several different mix tapes for someone to fully explore their greatness.

    • Hmmm, yeah picking just 20 songs would be really tough. Just songs from albums, or can we include rare stuff and covers? I think I’d go with these:

      As the Worm Turns (Patton Version)
      Chinese Arithmetic (Patton Version)
      Introduce Yourself (Patton Version)
      The Real Thing
      Woodpecker from Mars
      Midlife Crisis
      A Small Victory
      Everything’s Ruined
      The Perfect Crime
      Das Schutzenfest
      The Cowboy Song
      Highway Star
      The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
      Star A.D.
      Take This Bottle
      I Started a Joke
      Last Cup of Sorrow
      Mouth to Mouth

      Wait, is that 20 already? Doh! I didn’t even address the newest album. Honestly, I could probably include every song from Angel Dust and King for a Day as “favorites,” probably the same for Album of the Year.

      • I would say anything FNM performed would be acceptable. That’s an excellent list of songs, sir. It’s funny… looking at your list of songs reminds me how long it has been since I’ve revisited the FNM catalog. I love some of the deep cuts, many of which you listed above. If I had to choose 20 FNM songs, I would go with these:

        Anne’s Song (I love the Chuck Mosley version for some reason, ha ha. RIP Chuck Mosley)
        From Out of Nowhere
        Zombie Eaters
        The Real Thing
        Falling to Pieces
        I Started a Joke
        A Small Victory
        Midlife Crisis
        The Last to Know
        Just a Man
        Last Cup of Sorrow
        MotherEffer (trying to be family friendly)
        This Guy’s In Love With You
        Ashes to Ashes

        Yeah, it’s hard to pick just 20 songs. I’m glad you made this post, Jon. Its sparked a renewed interest in one of my all-time favorite bands. Sadly, I only have a few of their songs on my ipod at the moment and its been that way for some time now. However, I’ve been sitting here listening to the songs I just listed and will add most (if not all) to it. Hell, I’ll probably add every album I own and purchase the few I’ve managed to lose over the years, ha ha.

        All hail Patton!

      • Dude, I can’t believe I forgot Easy and This Guy’s in Love with You! Is it okay to do a “best of” list that’s like 100 songs long?

  • Reblogged this on Crypto Millionaire Mindset.

  • Great portrait and LOVE the dancing!

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  • Regarding my speculation about Roland having taken 19 trips to the Tower…I just realized that idea probably doesn’t hold water. I think the “Keystone World” (our world) is associated with the number 19. Ka’s numbering system, or something like that. So, 19 appearing everywhere probably had more to do with that.

    • Okay, so I updated the post a bit. I guess you could consider this comment a change log. I added a note about the above 19 Trips vs. World 19 business, and made a few other minor text edits to make my thoughts more clear. I also did a little re-sketching of the Roland drawing, because his pants were too big. Roland looked sort of like he was wearing MC Hammer pants, so I had to clean that up.

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  • As always, great analysis Jon! I hope you and your family have great New Years!

  • cool sketch, great poat and definitely a fantastic band!

    • Much appreciated! I was also a big fan of that Patton sketch you did last month, it was great.

      Always fun to see Patton pop up in random places. I’m still amazed he and FNM both are not more well-known, as incredible as they are. After all, I would put the FNM catalogue up against any more famous band.

  • Hi Jon, thanks for following my blog! May the new year bring you blessings and peace.

  • This has a good sense of balance and movement, nice!

  • Well done, Jon – taking on color is a BIG leap and you have done well with your first attempt. Colored pencils sound like a good choice, for you, coming from graphite – who knows, they could be a bridge to either watercolor (via watercolor colored pencils) or other dry media (pastel pencils, conte, nupastel, etc?) It’s really fun seeing how different artists evolve their media over time! If you do end up feeling overwhelmed with so many color choices, might I recommend that you limit your palette for a while to cut down on that effect? (I actually found it really helpful to use only red, black and white on a mid toned brown paper, for portraits, when I was starting out in color and it really cut out some frustration and improved the enjoyment level, for me :-)) Best wishes on this new phase of your art journey! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Hilda! I hope I stick with it, and that does lead to watercolor. Paint has such a cool look, but I think it’s going to be hard to learn.

      That’s a good idea about limiting the palette too. I think it might help me focus on learning techniques rather than worrying about which of the 30 blues I need to use

      Thanks for the advice! Always good to hear

      • You are most welcome! I don’t know about you, but if I get too overwhelmed when I start something new, I know it can easily lead to me giving up on it….wouldn’t want you to end up shoving that lovely, huge set of colored pencils in a drawer somewhere!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • That’s definitely true for me as well. Fortunately, I was able to push through that initial feeling of “whoa what did I get myself into.” Actually, I even moved forward with another sketch using the colored pencils! I wanted to use what I learned from this one, while it was fresh in my mind. I’ll post it pretty soon, but I think it does look a little more natural

  • Your previous commentor has given you lots of excellent advice. Just to add to it, itโ€™s exciting that you want color in your art at this stage! What you might enjoy is an art instructorโ€™s demo of the various color options for drawing. I found each one quite different in what it delivered. And realize, wanting color is really a rather different itch to scratch from wanting to draw well in monochrome. Be patient with yourself. Get some useful instruction. Go for it!

    • Much appreciated Carol! Yeah, I think I could stand to watch some more artists to learn from experience. I’m glad we’re in such a time where I can just hop onto YouTube and choose from thousands of videos

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  • Really great shading – such a leap from the first colour attempt! I love your daughter’s default photo expression – priceless:-).

    • Thank you! I actually managed to avoid making us look like extremely tired zombies in this one, unlike that first attempt.

      I really can’t figure out why she doesn’t smile for photos – we really have to trick her to get that to happen. Either she’s just fascinated by phones, or she’s defiant! Her sister was pretty defiant at that age too, so maybe it’s a bit of both

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  • You can get watersoluble pencils which enable you spread their marks with a brush, leading you further down the path to paint.

    • That sounds pretty awesome. I think Iโ€™d read about something like that, or maybe seen it on someone elseโ€™s blog, but I donโ€™t know much about it. Is it challenging to work with? Does does the end result look pretty similar to watercolor paint?

      That might be a good thing to try next!

  • Two months later status report: this Pixel 2 (the smaller one) is the best phone I’ve ever owned. The camera is insanely good, especially in low light. Everything in the OS is so smooth. The fingerprint unlock is instant and almost never fails. There are quite a few little things I never considered, too. For example, if you downswipe on the fingerprint sensor while the phone is unlocked, it pulls down the notification tray…it’s so awesome. A small thing, but I use it constantly.

    My original concern was the lost screen real estate compared to the Galaxy S7 (due to missing capacitive buttons), but after the last two months, I’ve completely forgotten about it. It’s become a total non-issue. I do have two issues now though, but they are more software related than specific to this phone (I think). One is Google Now; they changed the style/interface and moved appointment/travel stuff to a sub-menu, which is truly awful. There’s a ton of wasted real estate, too…definitely changes for the worse. The second thing is that I never get Google Opinion Rewards surveys anymore, and I have no clue why. My wife still gets them all the time.

  • It’s great to work with. Some watercolourists use it for markmaking, and extend their range of textures but you can blend colours by running in water with a brush. You can also shave or grate the leads and add to wet paper to get other textures. I use it to augment my watercolours but some people use them as simply sources of colour, like watercolour pans. Another trick I do is to wet the leads and get them soft which again gives different marks, which can again be different depending if you work them on wet or dry paper. You can then get a soft damp brush and mix up further.
    If you are uncertain about painting it could be a way to go and if you take the full plunge with watercolour you can still use them in your painting at a later date. I just buy odd colours that I need, one or two at a time. Hope that is of use.

    • This is really great advice, thanks for passing it along. That’s definitely at use, because I am uncertain about painting. I really love the way it looks, but it’s so foreign to me and I’m not sure how it would go. And it sounds like there are so many techniques to master that are unique to the medium.

      When I see other art blogs like yours though, it gets me fired up thinking maybe I should try it. Water soluble pencils sound like an excellent bridge, if I get brave enough!

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  • Best of luck – at the end of the day it’s just a piece of paper.

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  • this is amazing โค

  • Love the little animation. Nice job of creating plausible imaginary characters!

    • Thanks Diana – it’s definitely harder than drawing my kids, but it’s pretty fun too

      Ha ha, maybe someday soon my Dark Tower fixation will end and I’ll draw some different stuff. But for now, I might as well rename this website “Dark Tower Gallery”

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  • The expression on your daughter’s face is the best!

  • Thanks for this write up i have a nexus 6 and havenโ€™t decided which phone to upgrade to, until this article. The nexus is huge at 6 inch screen size but still a powerful phone thats everything but 64 bit. And the low light camera is terrible. I want a smaller phone and better camera so I believe the pixel 2 has my name all over it.

    • Excellent! I’m glad you found the post helpful

      I’ve been using the Pixel 2 for a couple months now, and I absolutely love it. If you want a good low light camera, this thing has you covered

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  • Nice blog right here! Also your website loads up very fast! What web host are you the use of? Can I get your affiliate link for your host? I want my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

    • It’s all hosted through WordPress. I’ve been pretty impressed with them.

      I’ve considered moving things over and getting my own hosting (I think they recommend Bluehost), but this is just so convenient and functional. I’m not sure if it’s useful, since this was so long ago…but years past I had a site hosted through GoDaddy, and it was solid.

  • I’m now not positive where you are getting your info, however great topic. I needs to spend a while studying more or working out more. Thank you for fantastic info I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission.

    • It’s all from the Dark Tower series of books by Stephen King. If you like fiction, you should check it out – it’s become one of my all-time favorites

  • Wow, awesome weblog format! How lengthy have you been blogging for? you make blogging glance easy. The entire glance of your web site is excellent, let alone the content material!

    • Hey thanks Alex. I haven’t been doing this for very long. I actually started this site in 2011, but just sort of messed around and then abandoned it. I picked it back up in August 2017, and have been really into it since then

  • So, finally. Did you find any useful widget for local guide.? I am also looking for one.

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    Originally from

  • Nice…I just realized I forgot to fill in color on that Fitbit and bracelet. Oops

  • whoah this blog is fantastic i love reading your articles. Stay up the good work! You understand, lots of people are hunting round for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  • Priscilla Kennedy

    It’s actually a cool and useful piece of information. I am glad that you just shared this useful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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    Originally from

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    Originally from

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  • Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you really recognise what you are speaking about! Bookmarked. Please also seek advice from my site =). We could have a link trade agreement between us!

    • Sure thing Elma. I tried clicking your user name, but it doesn’t seem to be linked to Gravatar, WordPress, or anything else. Do you have a site through WordPress, or some other platform? I’m not sure what a link trade agreement is, but it’s a possibility

  • There are some beauties here! I can already see your style in these early sketches :-).

    • Much appreciated!

      You know, I’ve always been sort of an impatient sketcher, and I can see that even back then. There’s so many that I didn’t even finish, even if they were coming along fine!

      • It’s interesting what our old work tells us (I’m working on slowing down when I draw too)!

      • That’s very true, it seems like it can tell you a lot about who you were and how you’ve changed. And how you haven’t changed, too

        You’d think after all this time, I would have gained some patience! I wonder if a lot of people struggle to slow things down?

  • These are lovely and some very touching ones too, a nice soft style. Waiting for the next posts….

  • Wow! What an Aladdinโ€™s cave you have. I like these.

  • The more I look at this sketch, the less I think that actually looks like my wife. I mean, there’s a resemblance…but it’s just not quite right. Something is off, maybe the mouth and teeth?

    Actually, our girls don’t look quite right either. Not true to life, anyway. I might have to chalk this one up as only a decent drawing. I may need to try a different one of these three.

  • these are great!

  • These are really cool and very impressive! Finding and basking through old drawings is always fun ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • This is interesting! I think i might do some research and photo/anatomy studies myself. i think its allways fun and really beneficial to try new things and try to learn.

  • These are really great, Jon! Your ability to capture expression is so good (also like the dog and cat – when a picture makes you smile, that’s a good thing)!

    • That’s always good to hear, that a sketch brought out a smile

      I’ve always said my main goal with this site is accomplished if even a couple people find a graph interesting or enjoy seeing a sketch. That, and the $2 per month I make from the ads! Ha ha

  • Nice work, Jon! I too have a gap of 10 or 15 years when I didn’t do much art – but I know I did ‘some’ during that time, or else I was doing other creative pursuits – did you really never even do a tiny bit of art in all that time?? What made you decide to get back to it?:-)

    • Weird right? After about age 21 or so, I really didn’t. I can think of only two exceptions. I drew a picture of my wife and I as a gift back when we were dating, and then later I drew a picture of her as part of my proposal (sketched her holding out her hand with a ring on her finger, asked her what she thought, then popped the question). But I believe that’s it! Two in 15 years, crazily enough.

      I used to work for a software company where I designed user interfaces/forms, so in a sense that was sort of creative. But I think my “right brain” has been neglected for a long time!

    • Oh yeah, I forgot – what made me get back to it. I’m honestly not 100% sure. Part of it may have come from wanting something my kids can see when they grow up, a chronicle of sketches many of which feature them. It might be a cool thing for them to look back on. Sort of a “hey here’s us 10 years ago” or “wow, Dad sure loved pizza back then; nothing’s changed.” Or maybe it won’t be interesting at all to them! But, just in case, there will be a bunch of sketches of them with me and their mom, and all these blog posts with my various thoughts on things.

      I also created gmail accounts for them, and I’ve been throwing every photo I ever take in there too. When they are old enough, I’ll turn that all over to them, and they’ll have a lifetime of photos already. They may not care about that either, who knows? I mean really, maybe Google won’t exist by then and it won’t even matter! But, maybe these will be cool surprises in another decade or two.

      • ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe you’ll inspire them to become artists! ….and that’s a nice idea about the gmail accounts – the modern world version of a photo album!

      • Wouldn’t that be something? I do wonder what sort of hobbies they’ll enjoy. Our oldest already likes to sit with me and draw, although I’m not sure if it’s because she like drawing or just because she wants to do what Dad is doing.

        Actually, I sort of misspoke; I really meant google accounts. The photo collections for the kiddos are in “Google Photos,” which if you’ve never used it, is really incredible. Google has a handful of apps/products that I consider indispensable, and Photos is one of them (along with Gmail, Keep, Maps, and Drive). Photos lets me back up my images from everywhere (phone, computer, etc), then share to the girls’ accounts and easily download to their libraries. It’s pretty smooth…I just hope it continues to exist for a couple decades!

  • Canโ€™t you try charcoal or pastels for the black? They blend in nicely. Unless you want to stick only to coloured pencils.

    • Oh no, I’m definitely not a “only this way” kind of sketcher. I’m just pretty inexperienced, and haven’t been working with color very long. Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about mixing in other things!

      Are pastels difficult to work with?

      • They’re very fun to work with. Soft pastels are like chalk, you just blend the colours with your fingers, directly on paper. You can get some nice gradients that way.

      • Sounds pretty cool, thanks for the advice. I definitely want to branch out more, try some new things. Hopefully it wonโ€™t take me as long to try paint or pastels as it did going from plain graphite pencils to colored pencils! (It was only 15 years, give or takeโ€ฆha ha)

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  • Those are some fine, detailed, and very expressive drawings you have here ๐Ÿ™‚ Drawing humans must be one of the hardest thing to do, I think. Nice ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Alunaria! I guess it’s different for everyone, but the hardest thing for me is drawing backgrounds and scenery. The vast majority of my sketches have either minimal or no background around the subjects, mostly because I’m just not that good at it. I should probably work at that, to be honest. Practice might help!

      Me and scenery are sort of a chicken and egg thing, I think. Do I avoid backgrounds because I’m not good at them, or am I not good at backgrounds because I never practice at them?

      • Oooh, ok. I did not think of backgrounds as “missing” in your drawings at all, quite the opposite.

        Well maybe a few lines here and there would bring more depth to the whole thing, but they can also distract our eye from the focus, if one can say that.

        Maybe one time one could start on a few background, and keep at it, without adding anything else in the foreground ๐Ÿ™‚ That way, you won’t risk anything and it might be easier, since you wouldn’t have to “tailor” the background to the motive in question, if that makes sense. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Ahhhh, you mean work out some background sketches without any specific human subject, that way I could get some practice? That’s a pretty good idea! Maybe I could get more comfortable through repetition, since I have such sparse experience with it


      • Hmmmm…it looks like I have an unfinished thought here. I started a new paragraph with “I”…but I have no idea what I was intending on saying. I hope it wasn’t important!

  • Super gorgeous lines! Love the first one in particular, with that effect from the lantern, what a clever way to highlight it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Much appreciated!

      I actually took a risk with that first one. I was going to have him holding something, mostly likely a lantern…but I hadn’t planned to try the actual light effects. I’d never done something like that before, so it was very experimental. I was a bit surprised, it turned out better than I expected. I really thought I was going to wreck the thing!

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  • Gah! Your rendition of Kain gave me chills. Great job on the helmet! Rydia is also really well done, the proportions are excellent.

    I played four forever ago on GBA as my first FF, so I’m partial to four’s cast. Also really fond of ten, twelve, nine, and seven (even though I have yet to beat it lol).

    • Thanks man! I tried to make sure Kain looked especially grim, what with all his backstabbing and betrayals. Definitely have to give credit to Amano though for his original concept art. All of these are based on his ideas for these characters. The guy was a genius when it comes to interesting designs.

      You pretty much listed most of my favorite Final Fantasy games, too. I actually just started playing that new remake of Final Fantasy XII on Steam; it’s fantastic. I had forgotten how good that one was. Have you played Final Fantasy VI? If not, I highly recommend it! It’s one of my favorites of all time, right at the top with Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana.

      You’re right about FF IV’s cast though, they are really memorable. That was the first game that I remember having an epic, movie-like story

      • I have six, but haven’t got around to really giving it a fair go yet. I really want to, especially since Kefka’s supposed to be one of the best villain’s of all time.

        But yeah, that game got me into RPG’s as a kid. The characters are amazing and the world is so engaging.

      • Oh yeah, Kefka is a classic. He’s such an unhinged villain. I can’t recall another so psychopathic in the SNES era

  • Don’t know if you’ve ever gotten into the Fire Emblem series, but I feel like you’d like those games based upon your commentary here and in the final fantasy sketch post. The art, music, and tactical rpg elements in FE rival FF and CT in my opinion despite the major game-play differences.

    • I have actually played one Fire Emblem game, but I can’t remember which one. It was quite a long time ago, but I do remember enjoying it. I want to say it was a male protagonist, maybe an orphan or something? I think I recall it being pretty difficult, but having a well-done system for battles.

      Man, there’s just something about these classic RPGs and their music and art, I just love it. My wife things I’m crazy, but it’s so great.

      • Hard to say from that, I’ve played twelve of them XD. Might have been one of the remakes of the first one or sacred stones. They are definitely hard games though.

      • Ha ha, yeah I guess that’s kind of a generic description. Especially unhelpful if there are 12 of them! I didn’t realize there were so many

  • Hi Jon, Just picked up that youโ€™ve liked my drawing on my blog. Thought Iโ€™d drop by and see what you do. Of course, now Iโ€™m daunted as your drawings of the band are stunning. I need to be more daring!

  • There’s always a learning curve when we change subjects. Hope the time recharging (and exploring the new version) is fun!

  • It’s been a few days since this post, and the bottom is still falling out of the crypto market! As I type this, my portfolio is edging closer and closer to the initial investment amount, tracking back to August 2017. That’s quite a reset. I’m wondering now though; is this just a normal annual dip? Or are we looking at something more serious, where significant value is permanently lost? Every time I think we’ve reached the bottom, I open Blockfolio and see how wrong I was.

    Regardless, it should be an interesting next couple of months. Fortunately, I have stuck to my cardinal rule for this experiment: Don’t put in more than I’m willing to completely lose. Really, this is starting to feel like taking X dollars to a casino, expecting to lose it all, and being pleasantly surprised if I come away with anything. Cryptocurrency definitely feels more like a trip to Vegas than passing money into a 401K.

  • Nice ๐Ÿ˜Š wish you all the best for learning new medium ๐Ÿ‘

  • I wonder if we’ll start to see a return to normalcy in the PC components market. It’s weird seeing video cards skyrocket in price and stores continually out of stock. I’ve seen photos of some of the massive cryptomining operations and it’s mind-blowing.

    • You know Jason, I’ve said before I wish I’d invested in Bitcoin years ago. Maybe I should be saying instead I wish I’d invested in AMD and Nvidia! Three years ago, Nvidia was less than $20 on NASDAQ, and now it’s almost $230.

      Unfortunately/fortunately (depending on your perspective), it looks like crypto prices are starting to edge back up again. I feel like these manufacturers need to do something to protect gamers, because I don’t think this issue is going to go away completely on its own. I don’t really know what the answer is, but if they’re committed to actually selling to people who care about…you know…GRAPHICS from their graphics cards, they need to brainstorm.

      Maybe they could do a price discount/subsidy program, where you agree to periodically share what games you’ve played? Or some technical solution? I guess the problem with automatic checking (or whatever smart thing they figure out) is that it’s invasive, and people don’t like software bogging stuff down in the background. Or, maybe there’s a way they could just make graphics cards not work well for blockchain crunching. I guess another approach, they could just freaking make a ton of cards that are specifically optimized for crypto mining!

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  • These are great! I love the bold colour! (like the disclaimer too:-))

    • Thanks! That first draft was hilariously weird…when I re-read it, I thought, “what in the world did I just write?”

      I really think I’m getting more comfortable with color, though. When I first started, I was hesitant to press hard and really mix it up. Now that I know how a lot of these colors behave, it’s a bit easier.

  • Really good drawings, and a great idea to sketch from ads. The finished drawings donโ€™t even look very commercial- how ironic!

    • Much appreciated!

      Isn’t that something? Make a post that sounds like I let the Gap corporate office write it, then somehow escape looking commercial in the drawings. Just call me colored pencil Houdini!

  • You are the colored pencil Houdini! Itโ€™s what I aspire to be, that and the watercolor Houdini.:) I love that shade of yellow.

  • I recently made the transition to color as well, also with Prismacolors. On the one hand Iโ€™m glad I started with the set of 72 because yes, it was slightly less overwhelming. But on the other, Iโ€™m jealous of all those colors you have! I am definitely beginning to feel limited by the smaller selection. Youโ€™re doing well with it so far, keep it up! Also, consider checking out the book Colored Pencil Painting Bible by Alyona Nickelsen, which is about colored pencil drawing that looks like painting. Itโ€™s pretty cool, and Iโ€™ve been happy with my results when working with her advice.

  • Jon โ€“ Iโ€™ve been reading countless reviews, going back and forth between these 3 phones. Your review with the side by side pics is awesome. Iโ€™ve not seen that done before โ€“ weโ€™ll done! It helped me rule out the xl due to my small hands and fear of dropping! Had an S7 before, now using IPhone 8. I miss Android, so probably heading back to the S7. Thanks!

    • Hey Bob, it’s good to hear that it helped! I actually spent quite a bit of time with the Pixel XL; I held onto it until the refund period was almost over. It’s a great phone, but I just couldn’t make it work ergonomically. The Pixel 2 phones actually have a cool feature where you can swipe down on the fingerprint sensor to bring down the notification tray, which could have helped me deal with the increased size. But, I actually didn’t learn about that until I had returned the XL and gone with the regular Pixel!

      The S7 is a great phone too, but I really couldn’t handle the Samsung bloatware. If you don’t mind the Samsung additions, you might consider the Galaxy S9 which is coming out in about a month I think. The S8 made a ton of improvements over the S7, but had a really terrible fingerprint sensor placement (right next to the camera lens for some reason). The S9 takes all that great hardware, and adjusts the fingerprint sensor to a better location, close to where the Pixel 2’s sensor is. And the same awesome edge-to-edge screen from the S8 is coming to the S8, which gives you a small phone size with maximum screen real estate.

  • Thanks for the book recommendation – it’s always good to see some real experts in action, and to read advice from them. Some of these folks do truly amazing things with colored pencils. It’s almost unbelievable the realism they can coax from these things.

    If you’re interested in diving into a bigger Prismacolor set, the 132 pencil pack is $50 on Amazon right now! It’s crazy seeing how inexpensive they can be in bulk like that, when places like Hobby Lobby sell them for $2-3 per pencil.

  • Just leaving an update here. I have made some text modifications recently to this article, to include more concrete ideas on how to address this issue. Basically some gun control measures that I think, when taken together, would help overall.

    My motivation for this clarification was the mass shooting at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida on February 14th. 17 people were killed, and it seems to have initiated more conversation about gun control than most mass shootings do. I think because the kids have been so vocal. I really hope something comes of it.

    I haven’t updated the data for more recent shooting victim numbers. I only added a couple graphs, and the section with ideas for gun control.

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  • Thanks for reminding me of that great movie! I am going to show my daughter Willow tonight! I love your drawing of Val. How did your youngest respond to her portrait in chalk ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks! Such great characters in that movie. I’m actually surprised it never got a sequel, particularly after Lord of the Rings showed that fantasy genre movies can bring in the cash. Maybe they could set one up with an old Willow and Madmartigan, adventuring with a now grown-up princess what’s-her-name. (I’m choosing to ignore that there was an apparently terrible sequel book that opened by killing off all the characters from the movie).

      As for the chalk thing, I’m pretty sure it just made her more grumpy! I don’t think she wanted to be outside…too much nature, not enough cartoons.

  • War-chief Sylvanas! <3

    • Does she look about right to you? I really was going for something scarier and more serious, but the sketch turned out looking sort of like a cartoon villain.

      I think I’m just not very good at depicting “scary.” I had the same issues when I was trying to draw the antagonists from the Dark Tower series.

      • I think your assessment is correct. Overall I like the drawing and her proportions make her look exactly like Sylvanas. But if you’re going for a more thematic and scary depiction, the color pallete is too bright. The skulls look menacing for sure. I wouldn’t say cartoonish, though. If you want it to be more menacing or scary, going in with some darker shadows is probably necessary. Grittier styles usually shift the balance of highlight and shadow towards the shadow side. Scratchy markmaking and textures also accomplish a grittier effect.

        A dark background with a forward facing light source is a good template when thinking about an imposing figure, like this dark thing coming from the darkness and infecting the light if that makes sense. Darkening the purple from royal to a more muted tone would help a lot. Same goes for the skin and brown leather portions of the armor. Rendering over the pencil in some ink on the skulls and feathers would also give a more menacing impression because it accentuates the spookier parts of the armor.

        Kind of rambling, hope some of that made sense or was helpful lol.

      • Yeah you’re right on point there, I think. Shadows, scratchiness/texture, and less vibrant colors are probably the ticket to getting that to be more menacing. That lighter purple I used was too bright for the mood I was going for. In hindsight, it was really a Barney the Dinosaur purple, which is scary in a different way than I was going for

        Great feedback, as always! Thanks Bluebeard

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  • I realized the “per state raw victim” totals from GVA data were not correct. In my Excel sheet, I had that Pivot Table set to “count” instead of “sum.” I removed that chart from this post. If you want the updated numbers for that, see the most recent post here:

    The adjusted/per capita numbers were fine, so I’ve left them as is.

  • Really informative – thank you!

    • Absolutely, I’m glad someone found it useful!

      My goal originally with this was to share what I found, where I found it, and how those resources differ on this topic. But after doing a few posts on it, I realized I was just complaining about a problem and offering nothing else. I had a boss many years ago who talked about being “solution oriented,” and I kept hearing his voice as I thought about this. So, hopefully adding ideas to fix the problem won’t turn away people who otherwise might be affected by/interested in this data

      • Yes, the solutions were good to read. The subject came up at work and some colleagues asked to read your post so I sent them the link (they’re not on WP).

      • Does it seem to you like the national dialogue is a bit different following this shooting? The tone seems a bit more urgent, or like more people are ready to take some action to address the issue. I hope that’s true, and it’s not just me being overly-optimistic

  • These posts are always so well organized and do a great job of breaking down the trends. They also hit me kinda hard. Really sad stuff.
    Personally I find the argument that eighteen year olds are too young to talk about gun violence to be ludicrous, since they can legally obtain an AR-15 in two days. Hopefully congress will stop playing games sometime in the foreseeable future.

    All the solutions you listed are reasonable and would be effective. I don’t understand why everyone is making reform so hard.

    • I agree, it can be really hard to think about this stuff, especially when it’s a school. I just can’t fathom being so against even minor inconveniences like a waiting period. Even if it means one less shooting, it’s worth it. Obviously what we’re currently doing isn’t working, so why not swing the pendulum back to some regulation?

      And you’re right, 18 year olds are definitely not too young to talk about it. In fact, they might be the perfect people to do it. They aren’t yet numbed by politicians’ slogans and TV talking points, and can speak from painful first-hand experience. I’ve been impressed with those kids from the Parkland high school, I’m glad they’re speaking up.

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  • I’m really enjoying your work!

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  • Faces are super hard to draw (especially when you’re trying to capture a specific person), and I’m impressed by the realism of your sketches AND the way you infuse character and expression into each face. Also, the .gif is a super cool idea! First time I’ve seen it used in this way.

    • I appreciate that, Anna! I think I’m okay at sketching people mostly because it’s always what I’ve focused on. Unfortunately, any mild skill I have doesn’t translate at all to landscapes, buildings, inanimate objects…actually, anything other than people. Ha ha, really a one-trick-pony.

      The .gif thing is kind of fun, if I can remember to take photos throughout the process. I often forget though, even when I mean to from the start. If you want to try it, I usually use Google Photos (Create -> Animation) for a basic one, or EZGif ( if I want more robust options.

  • Excellent presentation of the statistics. I agree the response to the problem of mass shootings in the USA must be multifaceted. Since pharmaceutical prescriptions to teens for the treatment of depression and ADHD have consistently increased over the past 2 decades, we should also be examining possible links between drugs and violence. Thanks for taking the time to provide this information in an easily-digestible format.

    • Thanks Henry, I appreciate that.

      There are so many possible contributing factors, it’s hard to nail down. I hate to admit this, since I’m a consumer of it as much as anyone, but it’s also possible that the proliferation of violent media over the last couple of decades weighs in. If an angry, emotionally disturbed person has access to guns and has become desensitized to violence, that’s a recipe for disaster. It’s certainly only a piece, and I disagree with using it as a lone scapegoat (and as a way to deflect from gun control). Research doesn’t show a direct link between violent media and gun violence, but I believe they have shown a correlation with increased aggressive behavior.

      I still think the incredible proliferation of firearms in this country is the chief cause, though, even if there are other contributors. I’ve mentioned in other posts that I’m a firearm owner myself, so I’m not anti-gun. But, this idea of making it your identity, and becoming obsessed over weapons, doesn’t seem healthy to me.

      Anywho, I’m rambling at this point. Thanks for the comment, and I hope the CDC is unleashed to look at all possible factors, including those you mentioned.

      • Just to clarify my above comment a bit; there is no demonstrated causation between violent media/games and shootings. Playing video games doesn’t make people into mass shooters. But there is a fantasy element involved for people who commit these atrocities, and for emotionally/mental disturbed people, games or movies may help fuel them. We can’t look at this problem in terms of isolated factors; it’s complicated. It requires us to step back and examine what sort of societal incubator we’ve built that is so conducive to creating people like this.

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  • I know I mentioned the colored pencil painting technique as a possible option for you (because you had expressed interest in painting but were more comfortable with drawing) but I just want to say I really like the way you are using the pencils. The way you lay down the lines seems loose and free to me yet results in precision/accuracy in the final piece. Rather than treating the sketch like a coloring book, you seem to be applying color as an extension of your drawing style, and I think that is a really great approach.

    • Wow, thank you Anna I appreciate you saying that. I guess your style follows you everywhere, even to other mediums!

      Also, I really like that colored pencil painting, but I question whether I have the patience/ability to lay color down like that. I checked out Alyona Nickelsen’s website, and her art really blew me away. It’s so incredible that she can create images like that using pencils.

      I do still want to try painting someday, but I’d also like to try layering pencil for that paint effect. That butterfly example you did certainly got my wheels turning. I just have to try to nudge myself out of my comfort zone – I’m really quick to settle into a mode, even though I know it’s good to branch out

  • Hey Jon – As far as what you are saying about how hard it is to get a likeness of those we love and know the best – I think THAT would be dependent on who you ask the question to about if you are getting a good likeness of your wife. From MY standpoint, not knowing your wife at all, I would say that you MUST be getting a fair likeness of her simply because, looking back over your work I can totally pick her out in each one she is in! You, on the other hand, know her so well that if even one thing is slightly off, it will make you feel as if she is not recognizable (this is also a problem when doing a portrait of someone as they themselves have a very intimate and detailed idea of what they should look like!) I think the best judges of such things are probably those who know the person well, but not really intimately and those who are quite good at recognizing people. Anyway, that’s just me pontificating because the subject interests me – this is nice, keep up the good work! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hey Hilda, you know that’s a pretty great point! Now that you say it like that, even the one that I was most critical of is actually recognizable as her. I think you’re right about the best person to judge, too. Her mom might not think it looks exactly right, but maybe someone she worked with a couple years ago would have different feedback.

      Have you run into this too? Where you’ve done a series of a bunch of art featuring one person you know well, and you just don’t like one of them? You can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, but it just doesn’t look right?

  • I agree, that gif is super cool, gives a great insight into the process ๐Ÿ™‚ Well mastered, too. Still, the drawing furthest to the left makes me smile instantly. Captured so well.

  • You really mastered the coloring well there ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks again, although I’m not sure about mastering coloring. I do think I’m getting better though! Especially compared to my first attempt. My best lesson learned? Using purplish colors to shade around the eyes makes people look like zombies

      • Ah, I see a lot of progress at least, especially comparead to the other drawings in the past I saw ๐Ÿ™‚

        Hah, one should do a “best lessons learned” post and have things as that purple shade around eyes equals zombies included!

      • Ha ha, yes that sounds like a fun post. It could be “do’s and don’ts”

        Do: Paint your family
        Don’t: Paint your family to look like they’re extras in a George Romero movie

      • Exactly ๐Ÿ™‚ Good fun!

  • setting it up and getting it running is no small feat… thanks. I am going to try to participate (when I am not just trying to get my own sites up and running).

    • Sounds good! I’d love to see you pop in if you have something to share.

      Although my expectations are low for the forums, the best case scenario I imagine is that some of the amazing artists and site-builders I’ve come across through the WordPress ecosystem feel comfortable enough to occasionally post there. It would be really cool to see people bouncing website ideas off each other, art techniques/preferences/tools, etc.

      I love the art on your site by the way. I’d actually seen your paintings in the Reader before, and thought I was already following you. That mistake has been corrected!

  • Most of the comments I’ve read (mostly from angry gamers) are highly critical of manufacturers for not producing graphics cards specifically geared toward mining. I imagine by now crypto prices have regained even more ground. Of course, I suppose retail outlets could flex their capitalist muscle a little less so that gamers stop taking it in the shorts.

    • You know, I think everyone except for the original consumers are happy. Stores sell out of all their graphics cards, manufacturers can’t make enough, while people who like PC gaming having to sit around playing Mario Kart on their old SNES.

  • Fascinating! Perhaps you are right about number 3 being the most satisfactory, but unless you carry on working on it you donโ€™t know where it will lead. Where to stop I find is a really difficult decision. Well done.

    • Yeah you’re sure right about that Andy. If I stop, how will I know if it’ll be better or worse? This time it turned out okay, but I really though it was a disaster at one point! Thanks, man

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  • Well done, sir. Those are a couple of wild and crazy guys you’ve drawn! I bet the one on the right is Scottish.

    • Thanks man!

      Interestingly enough, that guy on the right is the current King of Scotland. You can’t see it, but he’s actually wearing a kilt

  • I don’t have trouble with the height thing, because the guy on the left is leaning (it seems)…and if that is the kind he should be the tallest (haha).

    • Uh oh, that’s a good point…now I can’t figure out who’s tallest – maybe it all evens out? I have to admit, perspective wrapped me in circles on this one

  • Very nice leaning there too ๐Ÿ™‚ A lot of life in it!

    • Much appreciated!

      You know, now that I’m thinking about the leaning though, I really should have drawn a table there or something. I mean, what in the world is he leaning on?

      • Hey, that’s up to the viewer, I guess! A table, a rollercoaster, or a merry-go-round! The sky is the limit! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • I think you might be on to something there! If only there was enough room for him to be leaning up against a bear or something

  • This is so strange, but part of me is actually starting to root against my own investment here. The crypto market is still relatively low; slightly above where it was when I started the experiment, but waaaaay down from those crazy December 2017 levels. I’d kind of like to be able to nostalgically say, “hey remember how crazy Bitcoin was for a while, and how it exploded the graphic card market?”

    The problem is, cryptocurrencies are still high enough to keep cards at very expensive price levels. I don’t currently need a graphics card, but will I later this year? Or next year? The chances are decent…and I don’t want to be forced to spend a $1000 just to play current PC games when that time does come.

    Rather than have my portfolio rise a bit, fall, rise, fall, etc for all of 2018, I’d almost rather just see it fizzle out. See crypto as a novelty again, and get back to a world where a decent graphics card can be had for $300-400. As I’m fond of saying in these articles, “we’ll see what happens.” It’s still fun to watch, but I’m going to think it’s less fun if I find myself graphics card shopping any time soon.

    • Another update – my collection of coins just passed my initial investment amount. For the first time since I started in August, the collective value is below what I started with…I’m down about $20 right now. I think this particular decrease is because Google just announced it would be blocking all ads that feature cryptocurrency.

      Well, will we keep going down?

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  • You did a good job with expressions, particularly your own!

    • Much appreciated! I was trying to go for excited and happy, but also sort of nervous. With a touch of tired (I worked night shift in those days)

      • The expression I see is ‘beaming’, which is apt and really lovely considering that it’s your wife off page who you’re looking at.

      • It’s great to hear that’s what comes across! Ha – that makes me wish even more that I had planned it better, and managed to get her within the page too. I guess it’s corny, but it was an extremely grin-filled day

  • I always find that it’s so hard to get the black part of the smile that surrounds the teeth. If you don’t do it correctly, they turn out like jack o’lanterns. Your drawing reminds me of the pics of ladies laughing while eating salads. The guy on the left seems the most genuine bc his eyes are squinty.

    • Definitely agree, Kerbey! It’s tough to get that black part around the smile, towards the edges of the mouth. It requires such precision, and even small variations can have a huge impact on how the entire expression is interpreted. I also sometimes have difficulty figuring out if I need to blend in some pink for the tongue, or how much of the gums I should show.

      I’d say that entire mouth package (teeth, gums, tongue, deep shadows) is one of two areas I find myself really having to focus for – the other being the eyes, if it’s a close sketch.

  • If you’re interested in the latest information I’ve put together on this topic, check out the most recent post:

    Whereas these early posts on the topic of mass shootings were primarily explanations of data, in the two more recent, I’ve also provided recommendations and possible solutions. Naturally, this drifts into politics and my personal opinion on the matter, but I felt it was necessary. I’m a firearm owner, but still believe violent felon/mental health purchase restrictions, loophole closures, and universal background checks are common sense solutions that should have been implemented yesterday.

  • If you’re interested in the latest information I’ve put together on this topic, check out the most recent post:

    Whereas these early posts on the topic of mass shootings were primarily explanations of data, in the two more recent, I’ve also provided recommendations and possible solutions. Naturally, this drifts into politics and my personal opinion on the matter, but I felt it was necessary. I’m a firearm owner, but still believe violent felon/mental health purchase restrictions, loophole closures, and universal background checks are common sense solutions that should have been implemented yesterday.

  • Reading this reminds me of me when I look back parts of drawings that didn’t go well. I think I said something like “Simply spending two minutes with a compass would have saved hours of corrective work to fix the two-point perspective, but I was lazy and free-handed it”.

    Looking back realizing what could have made something easier or work better is an important part of improving. It can feel harsh but that feedback loop is valuable. You’ve definitely improved. Your contour was always expressive and strong, but your rendering in color now which is a whole different beast. Colored pencils are not easy or simple tools. They require subtlety and predictive blending. I’m not good at either so I stick to watercolor in traditional drawings XD.

    One thing I noticed, and I’m not sure what you’re using to blend, is that in the video she uses a rolled blending stick. Those are very good for high tooth papers and larger drawings. If you’re on a non-heavy stock paper, a light synthetic or watercolor brush can actually be better for blending without damaging the papers tooth (a definite worry for layered shading like you’ve been developing).

    Anyway I’m super excited to see how you develop and where you take it. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks man! It’s funny, I literally have a ruler sitting right next to my art supplies. All I would need to do is bend down and grab it, and I could whip up a million straight lines. But do I ever? Naahhhhh

      I know exactly what you mean by predictive blending. Sometimes it’s really hard to figure out what’s going to happen when I try to combine to different colors to achieve a shade. And I’ve even got this huge selection of over a hundred pencils. I’m really amazed by people like the woman who’s video I linked; she made that brilliant artwork with only 12 pencils! Mind-blowing to me.

      I’m actually not sure about roll blending sticks, I don’t think I’ve ever used one. I’ve got a couple of these colorless soft core pencils, which I read somewhere were good for blending dark colors. Maybe I should check the rolled sticks out too, because my paper is medium surface. I don’t want to damage anything

      • Right? I don’t know. Maybe it’s that sometimes the ruler takes the fun or character out of the line. Sometimes smooth and quickly drawn lines end up carrying more weight. But there are definitely times where I just need to use drafting tools and I don’t.

        But yeah, I’m not sure entirely what you mean about soft core pencils, but even simple blending stumps:

        Like those can really smooth out pencil shading. She’s using one of those (except unrolled which you can do to prolong the lifespan or create different blending surfaces) after mixing a lot of colors to create a very complex complexion in the face, which isn’t an easy thing to do. It is definitely easy to go overboard with blending stumps, and I used to use them like a crutch to avoid texture work (they can drown out fine details by making things too smooth).

        The other main downside, like I mentioned before is they can tear the tooth out of paper. Using a heavy stock will make that irrelevant, but that kind of paper is like x5 as expensive (like eight bucks for a 12 page notebook of really good watercolor or heavy stock). It’s definitely worth upgrading if you wanna get really into layer shading, though. Also stick to untextured heavy stock if possible for colored pencils and powdery mediums (charcoal/graphite/pastel/colored pencils/etc).

        But yeah, another thing about colored pencils is that you can mix the colors and they will combine to make different shades. Not as efficiently as like acryllic or oil paints, but they can if you blend them.

        Anyway, end rant. I get really into talking about how to create effects and combining different stuff lol. Hopefully some of that is helpful/constructive XD


      • Eight bucks for a 12 page notebook?! Whew…that’s a little higher than I’m used to. Do you find that there’s a big difference in terms of how art turns out with that heavy stock? Versus medium weight, less expensive stuff (like a Strathmore pad)

        As always, your detailed feedback is very welcome! I love hearing from skillful artists on how they do things. I’m very much a novice, so one of my favorite things about WordPress has been hearing from what I consider to be pros.

  • Your faces are very expressive and it looks like you got the likeness down (something I struggle with, I tend to make people look perfect or more attractive by accident which is a bad habit). Focusing the shading on the faces works well in this case given the complicated figure dynamics, it would be easy to spend a lot of time on their bodies when that isn’t the focus of the drawing, sometimes less is more, so good job!

    • I really appreciate that Blu. I’ve got a big pile of weaknesses as an artist, but I like to think that faces and expressions are things I’ve done a decent job with. I should practice on the things I’m not as skilled with though; I’d like to keep improving if possible, and practice seems to be the the right path. But in this case, I think you’re right! Less was more here, and these corny ad people worked out

  • Nice work here, Jon! It does not surprise me how much progress you are making in a short time – you’re pretty productive as an artist and the more practice you get the better your process and the more you learn! Haha, I had to laugh about what you said about that lady with her 12 coloured pencils….I’m NOT surprised that she can achieve awe inspiring results with that kind of limeted palette (mind you, if she was a painter, she’d probably do it with only 6!!!!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Hey there Hilda, thank you!

      I am continually amazed by the skill level of some of the folks I’ve come across since I kick-started my sketching again. Luisina Juliete to me is like MacGyver with her dozen pencil arsenal. And I include you and Bluebeard (who also commented above) as some of those expert-level talents. It’s really great interacting with you all, partially because I get to encounter so much fascinating art through your sites. But, also because so many pros are willing to give advice and feedback. It’s very cool! Quite an unexpected bonus

      • Jon, it’s what I really love about the blogging community, The giving and taking of advice and feedback! You’re right, it IS really cool and it’s very lovely of you to say I am an expert – It makes me feel that I must have actually learned SOMETHING in my journey of self taught art. I am always glad to share whatever I learn to anyone who will listen and it is very awesome to think that some of it is useful to others such as your good self. I also really love how we can all individually tailor our art learning to exactly what we want to know, using the internet…wow, how did we ever manage without it!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • That’s a good point – how DID artists easily share feedback, tips, and form little communities (like WordPress, various forums, etc) before the internet? I mean, I guess they probably interacted at art shows or some sort of club? But this is so convenient, and we can touch base with people from different states and countries without a second thought. It must have been orders of magnitude harder getting your stuff out into the world

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  • Actually, now that I’ve spent some more time looking at this drawing, I do have one major criticism. I think I went a bit overkill on the erasing to simulate light reflection on their faces. There was some significant indoor lighting that caused almost a white color, and I might have been better served by keeping it almost white to begin with, rather than erasing. It just looks a bit strange.

    Interestingly, it seems less noticeable in real life. But once I snapped a photo and uploaded it, the erasing seemed much more noticeable.

  • Yes, images online can look pretty different than the hard copy. It’s funny, I didn’t notice the highlights until I watched the progressive shots and then they stood out. Really great portraits!

    • Thank you!

      You know, I’d really like to figure out a way to get the best fidelity between real life and photos. How do you upload your artwork on your site? I just use my smartphone camera, but I’ve read some people actually use a scanner.

      • I use my phone or a little point and shoot camera too. If I were doing something for print, I’d definitely scan, but right now I don’t feel it’s worth buying a scanner for posting low-res images online. (Never say never though – I think scanners are getting better and more compact!)

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  • Nice work, I love to see the process other artists take to get the end product!

    • Much appreciated, Planet Metal Head – I’ve always enjoyed seeing that on other blogs too. Artists have such different processes, it’s fun to see how others approach things. Especially when it comes to different mediums that I don’t have experience with!

  • A good place to start with innovation and coming up with new ways to frame things are backgrounds and lighting. Some of my favorite tricks that I like universally apply to drawings have come from making a weird mark or texture in a background. Who knows, it might give you some ideas, even starting with light shade backgrounds. You can do some cool light source or reverse shading stuff with a really dark background too.

    Anyway, I can definitely see the improvement. The draping on the clothes is very well done here. That’s something I really struggle with (clothes in general but also how they fall on the body). So keep it up! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Is that technique how some of your work starts? I’m always curious about your process – you come up with such imaginative things, it’s fascinating how it starts and progresses. I’ve got a lot of respect for people who can naturally create art just from their brains. As I’ve said often, that’s really hard for me to do. It’s probably good practice though, like lifting weights for the right side of your brain!

      • This might not really apply, but in digital drawings specifically I always mess around with the background until something pops into my head and I’m like “yeah…that would be cool” and then I roll with it.

        Other times I already have an idea (like a scene from my writing or some of the recent cover art I did for hard-copies of the books) and I start with the subject, then draw the background to complement it.

        I guess the main thing backgrounds really help you internalize is lighting. When I say lighting it’s kind of an extension of shading, but more referring to the overall balance of shading. The highlights draw the eye while the shadows convey depth. A darker background, for instance, can make the mid tones and highlights look really dramatic.

        As for projects in general, I tend to try to keep it fluid. Focusing too much on one aspect for me has thrown things off balance. I’m sure it’s not this way for everyone, but I generally need to do things like horizontally flip my drawings to make sure my proportions look the way I think they do (a helpful trick for assessing how something looks without bias).

        And yeah, I wouldn’t ever say it’s “easy” to make art or compositions. I feel like most of my progression has come from simply getting better at visualization rather than mechanical skills. It is like a muscle, the more you do it the better it gets. I wouldn’t ever say easier, though. I still struggle with a lot of things, but I’m glad I do because it keeps it interesting. The challenge is half the fun.

      • “Highlights draw the eye, while shadows convey depth.” Well said, that’s something to file away. I may use that one some day to make myself sound like I know what I’m doing!

        I’m actually going to make a Google Keep entry to collect some of these pieces of advice, because you’ve dropped several very useful ones just in this comment. It’s good to hear that so much of your progression came from visualization improvements rather than mechanical skills. I feel like more practice can still improve my visualizations, but my hands are stubborn.

        Also, that’s funny you say that about horizontally flipping sketches! That’s sort of what I do sometimes – I like to check them out in a mirror, see if the entire thing holds up in mirror image. I have no idea if it makes sense to do that, but it is a fresh perspective

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  • Wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You really nailed the complexions and the light refracting off the foreheads in this one. Children are hard to draw because they have muted features, so good stuff!

    For what it’s worth:

    From my perspective, your drawings are mechanically well done. Group scenes are hard and a lot of things can go wrong. Sure there is a sketchy sort of quality (lines in the hair or random things) but that’s not really a bad thing, more of a style. You’re also good at likenesses (I can’t draw people, I have a way of making them look pretty or more attractive then they are because of the way I learned to draw) which is a valuable skill.

    In terms of submitting to various sites, you’re right. I don’t really share much of what I do in many places aside from my portfolio and a few pieces on my blog. I have a couple things on deviant art, but I don’t have time or the ability to keep up with the social aspects of that platform. For me, an introvert who stutters around people she isn’t comfortable with, it’s nerve wracking.

    I think a good place to start, and where I kinda started, is to just approach places like dick blik (they regularly shuffle around artist submissions in their shops) or coffee shops and see if they would be willing to sell anything or even just hang it. Less stressful than cold-calling, would be to simply submit things for various galleries in you area. They tend to draw a different sort of crowd, one that’s a little better for critiquing and figuring out how to improve. And I believe a lot of galleries or events would take a lot of the stuff you’ve been posting. I can’t say for sure and it’s subjective to theme and event or the gallery in general, but I’ve seen things in galleries a lot less advanced than your sketches and portraits.

    When you do get featured in a gallery, a funny trick it to pretend you aren’t an artist and are just there to look. Stand around your stuff and you’ll get pretty honest opinions.

    • I appreciate that! Kids are definitely a challenge sometimes. I’ve only ever drawn my kids, which I think is probably the easiest child to draw since I’m so familiar with their defining features. Without that, I have a feeling it would be a struggle to capture traits that make them recognizable

      I have to say though, I beg to differ when you say you can’t draw people. The art featuring people I’ve seen on your site is extremely detailed and life-like. Just my opinion, but you’ve made some very fantastical and abstract backgrounds/scenes feature people that somehow seem quite realistic. That being said, I consider it a big compliment when someone with skills like yours says my drawings are mechanically sound. I don’t always think that, so it’s really appreciated to hear in your comment!

      As for forum sharing, I think I’m a bit reluctant because early on when I started drawing again (around August-Sept last year), I posted something to some sub-Reddit for feedback. They absolutely tore it to pieces! To be fair, I did ask for feedback…but they were merciless, and it was so brutal I actually deleted the thread. Ha ha, I’m still not sure if I’m ready for a lion’s den like that, even though the idea of an entire thread full of people requesting portraits is sort of enticing.

      I like that idea about pretending you aren’t an artist at your own gallery. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people do that!

      • Well I can draw people…just not real people, if that makes sense? Like I’ve tried drawing friends and family and then it ends up looking like I gave them a makeover lol. My sister does the family portraits, needless to say XD
        Thank you though ๐Ÿ™‚

        I’m better at shading and processing images than necessarily creating contour and having good proportions. I focus a lot on texture and lighting which is equally important to the contour and line-work. That’s why I do a lot of portraits or closeups where I can focus on smaller details.

        But I totally understand. That was honestly brave (or one of the many variants of brave ๐Ÿ˜› ) of you to submit to a sub-Reddit, those fellers are especially vicious. I have trouble even putting things on the blog. The more I like a piece the harder it becomes to share, it seems. Don’t know why.

      • I think that’s pretty natural though. If you’re really invested in something you’ve made (through time, energy, or you just really like it), that’s pretty normal to be more reluctant to share it. Some critiques are tough to take, but a few have really made me laugh. I remember one of these Reddit guys who was especially bombastic said something along the lines of, “you need to learn that lines are an illusion, and until you can draw without lines, you will be an amateur.” I mean, I AM an amateur…but, am I sketching stuff, or are we training to be the Dalai Lama?!

  • Looking good! I think what you do with the white in the skin tones is working really well. And honestly, I like the look of the “laziness.” I think it looks unique and gives a little bit of an illustration style, while the rest of the piece still looks super realistic. I know what you mean about the pupils–I have always had so much trouble getting eyes to look at something specific (for me usually in animal drawings). I think you’d do great at portrait commissions, and yeah getting criticized sucks, but sometimes you can take it with a grain of salt and other times it’s actually useful. Enter at your own risk ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I think I need to be careful not to overdo it with the whitening; I want to simulate light, but I don’t want to make their faces too shiny. The one I did a few posts ago went a bit too far, and one of the guys almost looks like his face is made of peach-colored metal! But I do like the effect, I think it’s adding a nice touch to these recent ones.

      Also, thank you for saying portrait commissions would be in the realm of possibilities – that would be pretty fun! Really though, at this point I’d probably do some portraits for free rather than expecting a commission. I think it’d be great practice, and I feel like I’m always short of ideas.

  • Nice work, Jon! Those skin tones are coming along amazingly! Or actually I think it is the combination of tones and graduated blending…there is a really strong sense of convincing rounded masses, now, on all your figures! Yes, I do think you have to be very aware of the centrality of the pupils – if the eyes are even a fraction off it distracts from the whole figure – the pupil MUST be central to the iris, always!! Sometimes it helps to pencil in the complete circle of the iris and put the pupil in that,dead center and erase the parts that belong under the lids….get it in the right place, in pencil, and then add the colour (don’t do someone’s portrait with their eyes even a little squiffy, they’ll probably be really upset about it!! – even though they might not be able to put their finger on what’s bothering them! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

    • Very cool, Hilda! That’s exactly what I’d hoped, adding a sense of shape that wasn’t quite there before. Those little touches sometimes have such a powerful effect, don’t they?

      That’s a really good pointer (semi-accidental pencil pun) on iris placement. And you’re definitely right about getting it exactly in the correct spot. I’ve had a couple of sketches where it’s even slightly off, and it bothers me to no end! I’ve even had to go back multiple times, and then eventually just let it go, for fear of destroying the paper from erasing too much. And if it bothers ME that much, I can imagine it would drive the subject crazy.

      • I have only done portraits for family members (as gifts, based mainly on my own photographic references) so I can’t comment on any experience with commissioned portraits via an internet source and a stranger…. I will be interested to hear about your own experiences though ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Ha ha, well we’ll see if I actually step up to that challenge or not. I will definitely write about it though, if I do!

  • Wow! Comparing this with some of your earlier work you’ve made some serious improvement. I think you were already good at capturing the likenesses of people but the much improved blending really makes a difference.

    • I appreciate you saying that! I wasn’t really sure if practice would make much of a difference, but I really think it has. I’m still fairly slopping at drawing, but the colored pencils have gotten easier to use.

  • Interesting post and great portrait – yes, the foreshortening and arms/hands are good! I’m wondering if you’d enjoy using another medium to colour larger areas like clothes. I sometimes use pan pastels with a small sponge to add colour – it goes on fast and smooth – then I just shade in the creases/folds with a pencil.

    • Thank you! You know, I really should try that sometime. When I get into adding color to something dark like a shirt, I think it takes away from the drawing a bit. Plus, shirts are huge and they eat up a ton of pencil! I would probably really like something smoother and easier to apply. So, pastels are your medium of choice when you’re going for large areas? Do you find the look is pretty compatible with the rest of your pieces?

      • The pastel sticks aren’t really compatible, but the pans might be. I’ve been finding they’re pretty subtle and versatile. (I just bought a single colour about a year ago and have been experimenting with using it to colour backgrounds):

      • Just so I can get a feel for how it looks, have you used either the sticks or pans in any of the recent art on your site? The post “The Parts I Like” says it has some, but I have an untrained eye for mediums other than pencil. Does “Impolite Society” use pastels on the clothing?

      • For some reason, I can’t find the end of this thread so hope this reply finds its way to the right place! So as far as using pan pastels – yes, I used them for the backgrounds in some of the “Parts I like” paintings (then added paint and drew over or shaded the images with pencil and charcoal… probably too mixed media to be helpful as an example …since I can’t send attachments, I just did a quick pencil/pan pastel sketch and posted it to my blog so you see what I mean (keeping in mind that my technique is pretty basic – I just dab in the pastel pot and wipe on). I also erased part of the pan pastel for highlights … just fyi.

      • Yep, it landed in the right place!

        Wow, I’m always really impressed when people can successfully mix mediums like that. Paint + Pastel + Pencil + Charcoal, that’s a ton of different nuances to account for, but it worked out well. I saw the demo you posted – thank you for that! I replied to it on your site.

  • That was interesting, I’m not really familiar with Art Bell although I’ve heard him mentioned from time to time. I listened to the excerpts you uploaded and I can see why he was popular. Anyway, nice sketch – I like your idea of animating your progress.

    • It’s definitely an interesting show! And I get the feeling that Art Bell had many types of listeners. I’m sure that a lot were true believers in the paranormal, supernatural, and conspiracy theories. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were quite a few listeners who tuned in for entertainment purposes like I did. The same reasons people watched the X-Files back in the day; to imagine “what if” for a couple hours, be a little spooked by strange stories, and be entertained by something wild that you don’t normally hear about.

      If you’re ever interested in listening to full shows, I know they’re all over YouTube and various fan sites. Since Art was on the air for like 15 years, there’s also a wide range of topics to choose from. Even some from mainstream people! George Carlin was on once, and he’s had legit scientists like Michio Kaku and Neil Degrasse Tyson.

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  • Oh, my. Very nice and alive sketch there ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I wonder if it’s flattering to celebrities when people draw/paint portraits of them. I’ve tried to imagine if I were famous, would I think it’s neat, or would I find it sort of creepy? I suppose it would depend somewhat on whether the portrait was any good. I copied them on the auto-post to Twitter, which they probably won’t see…but I can just imagine Adam Carolla saying, “hey Drew, did you see that weird picture someone did of us?”

  • Thanks for the response, it reminded me to check back here ๐Ÿ™‚ I had the chance to look up the cover you mentioned. He should have bought this drawing of yours instead ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess I missed out on alot, not being an American, living in Denmark under my own little rock! Thank you for widening the horison a tad ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I’m glad you found it interesting! Do you have any similar shows in Denmark? I’ve come across a couple aside from Art Bell here, but none as entertaining as his.

      Also, thank you for saying so about the cover – I mean, mine isn’t amazing, but that cover with him standing outside, wearing a suit, and smoking? I do think I’ve got that one beat

      • I don’t think we have. Then again, I have not been following the scene for a few years on that. Some are far too, is the English word, monotone? I need a little passion to get hooked on listening. It’s contagious ๐Ÿ™‚

        I think the expression in yours is amazing, and could easily be on a cover.

      • Oops, sorry about that Alunaria – I thought I already responded to this one. It sure doesn’t look like I did!

        Yes, that’s true about some radio shows. They get a little bit monotonous, and it can probably lose people’s attention. I guess that’s why radio as a whole isn’t exactly a booming business nowadays? Sadly, even the good shows like the two I used to enjoy aren’t even on anymore.

  • First of all congrats for reaching such a number of subscribers. As you say it might not be massive compared to other websites but it is a good amount of people listening to what you have to say!

    Also, this post is a great idea to express how thankfull you are to all of them. Subscribers are equally important to the content of our blogs itself…without anyone listening i dont think there is much scope talking anyway!

    I am looking forward to the next couple of posts which will complete this very kind act of acknowledgement of your followers’ importance! I am really interested in how you will organise your giveaway and see your stats.

    Finally thanks for mentioning these artists and their beautiful work. I already follow some of them and i will definitelycheck the others!

    Have a great day!!


    • Thanks Jasonas! I really wanted to figure out some way to show my appreciation, not just for being subscribers and checking it out, but also for the comments and interactions. There’s been so much valuable advice that’s come through, it’s hard to really return the favor effectively since I’m not a professional artist. Saying thank you is good, but I thought a small giveaway might also be nice! I’ve never done one before though…so hopefully it goes smoothly

  • I don’t think we have. Then again, I have not been following the scene for a few years on that. Some are far too, is the English word, monotone? I need a little passion to get hooked on listening. It’s contagious ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think the expression in yours is amazing, and could easily be on a cover.

  • Oops, sorry. Posted from phone resulted in double!

  • Congratulations ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s never about the quantity. That’s where I like the blogging community; I think very few follow “just for the sake of it”. They are genuinely interested.

    I really cherish the WordPress Reader – and especially the suggestion field – that’s where I first saw a post from you. I started blogging about World of Warcraft and followed others who do the same, but now I follow so many others unrelated to that – it’s so neat.

    Gosh, color portrait by you – no doubt! Get ready to sketch a Night Elf… ๐Ÿ˜›

    Thank you for the recommendations on the other blogs – it must have taken quite a while to put together ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Much appreciated Alunaria! I absolutely love the WordPress Reader, it’s such an underrated bonus with this blogging ecosystem. I’m the same as you; I follow so many sites that are interesting, and a lot have nothing to do with art. It’s great how you can just randomly come across something fascinating. It’s really become one of my go to goofing-around-on-the-internet tools

      I think I mentioned somewhere, either this post or one of the drafts, you probably have a good chance of winning once I post the giveaway. I’ll bet it gets a dozen or so entries, so that Night Elf portrait might be coming soon!

      • Yes, exactly. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do try to follow a few outside of WordPress, but having it all together in the Reader just makes it so convenient – together with the suggestion field.

        Oooh, my, /gets excited and starts to think about certain poses that’d be suitable, hah ๐Ÿ˜€ You never know ๐Ÿ™‚

  • AW, Thank You, Jon! It is an honour to be mentioned here on your blog – you are very kind! I am really glad to have YOU in my blogging community – your boundless enthusiasm and willingness to learn will take you far, I think! Not to mention the support and enthusiasm you have for other artists and their work! Awesome, job, sir!! So many in the art community feel kind of yucked out by the social media side of things, and we all need people such as your good self who work so hard at their art BUT also at COMMUNICATING about it! I might just have to plug YOU a little on my own blog…….Oh and btw, Thanks, too, for the mentions of the other artists….I will be sure to investigate those who I do not already ‘follow’ ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Absolutely, Hilda! After all the feedback and supportive words you’ve passed along over the last few months, I was very glad to do it. As I’ve said before, that’s been one of the pleasant surprises from coming back to this site. I had no idea there was a loose interconnection of artists floating around on WordPress sites that helped novices like me learn, and gave advice from their experiences. It’s really awesome, and I just wanted to do something to “pay it forward” in some way.

  • Congrats on your expanding following! The timing of this post is coincidental in that I happen to be linking your blog in tomorrowโ€™s post, which is a pencil sketch of me and my husband. Fingers crossed that it comes out even one third as good as the ones you do! Thanks for the mention; it feels great to know that I may have played some tiny part in inspiring the way you go about using color.

    • Thanks for that Anna! That sounds like a great subject (obviously I’m partial to family sketches), I can’t wait to see how it turned out!

      I tried to mention artists who had some sort of impact on what I was doing, whether that be technique or inspiration. Early in my colored pencil learning process, I realized the results were way too light. I can’t remember exactly when, but I think some time in January I came across your blog. I saw how you were laying down colored pencil much thicker, and I liked that much better! As you described it in that post later on, “colored pencil painting” looks very cool in my opinion.

  • Yes, congratulations on your following! And thanks for including me on this list (which has some of my own favourites, like Outside Authority)! It was a treat to look through them all!

    • Thank you, and of course I had to include the site that encourages me to eat cake! I love your story-based pieces, where you have these expressive subjects with short scene descriptions. They’re so interesting and unique – I’ve definitely enjoyed getting to see them. I’m also excited to check out more portraits, if you decide to do some.

      Isn’t it funny how people come across the same sites in their browsing? It seems like some of these great artists would appear on lots of favorite lists. I’m glad you got a kick out of this list!

      • Thanks so much for the comments, Jon – much appreciated! Yes, I’m starting to notice connections in this corner of the blogging world. I really like being part of this community – find it really inspiring and am learning a lot!

  • I’m blown away by your generous post! It’s lovely to hear how inspirational and informative you find blogging. I sometimes question the time it takes up, but you’ve reminded me just how much inspiration it gives that can’t be replicated elsewhere. On a very grey day here, you have truly brightened my day! I love your description too. It’s interesting to read someone else’s thoughts on what is basically a pile of paper in my loft! There are one or two sites that are new to me that I will hasten to have a look at. Thank you Jon. Have a good day and keep posting.

    • Thanks for saying so – I’m glad that brightened a few days, certainly you folks deserve attention pointed towards your blogs. I know many of you have tons of subscribers already, but if even a few more people can get enjoyment from great art sites, then I’m satisfied. As I’ve said, I have gotten something from many artists even in this short time, and who knows? Maybe someone else will come across an artist that’s new to them and teaches them something! Inspiration can sure come from unexpected places sometimes

  • Aw thanks for the shout-out John!
    You made my day ๐Ÿ™‚

    And three-hundred seems like a big number to me, so feel good about that!

    • Also thanks for compiling all these other art-blogs, I love looking through them and getting art-related updates but haven’t found that many on my own, so this is really helpful.

    • Absolutely! You’re definitely one of those people who’s given me so much feedback and so many tips, I had to give a shout-out. Plus, you’re a fantastic artist, and that’s another good thing to share.

      I’m really glad this post seemed to have worked out. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be completely coherent, or accurately pass along my appreciation. It could have been a rambling jumble of nonsense paragraphs! But yeah – much respect to all of you folks

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  • Thank you for your kind words Jon! ๐Ÿ˜Š I appreciate your encouragement.

  • Wow, that must have taken very long to analyze. I admire your dedication. I find it fascinating! I didn’t even know WordPress provided all those statistics – it might be fun to look into for my own site too ๐Ÿ™‚

    Peculiar how it varies, depending on Art of Analysis.:)

    I do the same; it’s always nice to get a response if you make a comment.

    Where did your Poll link go? I voted, but can’t find it now – wanted to take a peek at what others wanted, heh. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hm, can one even see at which time/date one gets the most “trafic” on their site? Sometimes it seems as if timing matters a great deal.

    Maybe you’ll reach 300 while making these posts ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I absolutely love doing stuff like that – I feel like I owe whoever invented the spreadsheet a debt of gratitude!

      I’m not 100% sure about the poll, but on my end, under the vote button you can click where it says “view results” if you’ve already voted. Although, I’m not sure if that’s there just because I created the poll…but, I can tell you right now we’ve got 80% (4 votes) who would want a portrait/drawing, and 20% (one vote) who would want art supplies.

      As for when you get the most traffic, with the basic WordPress plans you can see dates you get the most traffic. Just click “My Sites” and click “Stats.” The Traffic button should show your daily views and visitors, which you can change to daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly views. You can also click Insights, which will show you an all-time view graphic. If you are upgraded to the Business plan, you can associate your WordPress site with Google Analytics, which will show you hourly data!

      • I understand – I wish I had the brain to do it!

        Aha, I see, thank you for the insight ๐Ÿ™‚

        Oh, you can? I should look into the whole WordPress behind the scenes- thing. Sounds as if there is a lot of info to be gained there. Thank you for the explanation ๐Ÿ™‚

      • You are quite welcome – I’m always glad to discuss data and stats!

  • These are so good! I enjoy your use of color!

  • Sad to see that Art Bell passed away yesterday (Friday the 13th, strangely enough). Rest in peace Art, and condolences to his family. The radio world certainly lost one of the greats.

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  • My dad and I watched that movie at least fifty times over the years. It’s so good.

    • It’s such a classic. I’ve got a handful of movies I watch pretty much any time I come across them, like Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Caddyshack, the original Batman…Princess Bride is definitely one of those. It’s really one of the most quotable movies of all time, too.

  • In the great words of Fezzik (a la Andre the Giant), “My way”s not very sportsmanlike.

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  • Never knew of that ๐Ÿ™‚

    “decently” is an understandment, I think, it turned out really well. Those progression photos are such a help for those who are just starting out. I know nothing of the effect of shadows etc. for example.

    Haha, don’t panic – I think it added some dimension to it, that little background ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That’s kind of you to say, thanks! And I’m glad some people like the progression photos. Sometimes stuff I think is cool isn’t all that interesting to everyone.

      • Sorry for the late response, family emergency, so I won’t be online for some time. ๐Ÿ™ But yes, it’s an inspiration with those progression photos, it makes it a lot easier to see how it all comes together ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Uh oh, I’m sorry to hear that Alunaria – I hope everything is okay

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  • Pingback: Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway | Amdall Gallery

  • I did some browsing in the WordPress Reader for keywords like “giveaway” and “contest,” and it looks like most people (at least in WordPress) have been using Rafflecopter for stuff like this. Oops. Hopefully, that doesn’t make this too high of a barrier for people. It does seem pretty easy to enter this Gleam contest (type a name and email), but you never know. The more clicks something takes, the less likely people will do something.

    Well, I did know this was a learning experience going into it. Glad to see some activity so far, though!

  • We just watched that movie with my oldest for the first time this past weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with the previous poster; I love progressions.

    • Thanks Jennifer, I’m glad you enjoyed the progression thing. So, how did your kiddo like the movie?

      Mine are still toddlers, so they aren’t quite ready for that yet. But I’m excited to start sharing movies I love with them, when they’re ready to move on from Peppa Pig.

  • Hello

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  • Pingback: Almost a Sketch Request, Sam Carrying Frodo | Amdall Gallery

  • Hi! I would love to win a portrait/drawing!

  • Deborah Wellenstein

    Hello, and thank you for the giveaway.