Random Selections

30 randomly selected articles from Amdall Gallery’s archives. Enjoy!

Subscriber Giveaway Winner (5/22/2018) - In April, I did a series of posts expressing my appreciation for visitors, readers, and subscribers to Amdall Gallery, and opened up a giveaway as small gesture of thanks. The prize was small (essentially $20 or custom artwork), but there were far more entries than I expected! I was thinking maybe a dozen or so people would stumble across it and roll the dice, but there were 238 total entries from 79 distinct people! The contest ended today at 12:01am, and I went into the Gleam portal this afternoon to click the "select winner" button. Gleam picked one entry at random (here's Read More
Mass Shooting Research Part 1; Mother Jones Data (8/7/2017) - This is part one of a four post series. The most recent post includes an after-Vegas data update, summary of all graphs, and possible solutions to the issue. I get made fun of quite a bit for this, but one of my favorite things is crunching data using Pivot Tables and Charts in Excel. Doesn't that sound fun? Sadly, I do enjoy it; exploring a massive set of data and making sense of it through Excel's fantastic built in tools...good times. This is even more fulfilling when you can come up with unanswered questions about a noteworthy topic, then actually Read More
More Video Game Characters – Secret of Mana, Original SNES and Remake (2/4/2018) - I mentioned in a post last week that video games sometimes inspire my sketches. I'm not great at drawing from my imagination, but if I get a spark to do so, it often comes from video games (books play their part too). Previously, I've done sketches inspired by Final Fantasy and Warcraft, but another favorite is an old Super NES game called Secret of Mana. There's a remake of this game coming out in a couple of weeks, so I've been thinking about the game quite a bit lately. The original Secret of Mana came out in 1993 in the Read More
Tribute to Some Good Folks (9/23/2017) - This week, my grandmother on my mother's side (we all call her Granny) had heart surgery. Fortunately, everything seems to have gone very well. She's recovering nicely, and has physically improved quite a bit even after only five days. She's my only grandparent, and my two little ones' only great-grandparent. Granny is a really kind person, and much loved by all of us. This week has naturally led me to think of her husband, my grandfather, who we all called "Paw Paw." He passed away about nine years ago, and was also a greatly loved person who we all miss. Read More
Sneezing Lady (or Maybe Crying? Yawning?) (5/6/2018) - As I was browsing around a few days ago, I came across this article about how to approach handshakes at work when someone (client, business associate, etc.) is sick. Sometimes when I come across random articles like this, I'll just read a couple lines and skip to something else. But this is something most people come across occasionally, myself included, so I gave the entire thing a read. The advice is pretty decent I think, and overlaps mostly (but not completely) with what I'd do. If it's me who is sick, I will immediately nullify the obligation from others by Read More
Current Shading Process, Portrait Flow (3/24/2018) - As I scroll through Amdall Gallery's main page, I can't help but notice how my drawings have changed. Not everyone may agree, but I believe there has been an improvement over time. From August 2017 until now, after about seven months of practice, these sketches seem more confident to me. Especially when it comes to color; skin tones seem more realistic than they did early on, and I'm laying down color in thicker/more complete layers. There's still tons of critiques I have (weak ability to draw straight lines, laziness on backgrounds, unimaginative creation, etc.), but I'm glad to see progress. Read More
Rock and Roll Beethoven, Historical Photo Account Part 2 (4/22/2018) - Continuing on with the second post in a two part series, the subject of this one is guitar legend Jimi Hendrix. In the first post, I talked about a very cool Twitter account called "History Lovers Club" (@historylvrsclub) that shares somewhat rare photos. They mostly post less common images of famous actors or musicians, but some are interesting scenes featuring regular people. It's a fun account, and over the weekend I decided to sketch a couple of subjects from images they've shared. I'll bet most people know about Jimi Hendrix, or at least are aware of him at a basic Read More
Subscriber Thanks, Some Artist Site Favorites (4/5/2018) - To my continued surprise, this website has gained more subscribers than I ever would have expected. When I resurrected Amdall Gallery from the ancient blog burial grounds last August, I assumed I would mostly get traffic from friends and family. As it turns out though, Wordpress has a large and supportive community of artists, painters, poets, and authors who interact through the Wordpress Reader and subscription features. I admit, (almost) 300 subscribers is not a huge number, especially compared to other sites that count their subscribers in the thousands. But, as I said, it's vastly more than I expected. In Read More
Back to the Dark Tower – Susannah, Jake, and Oy Drawing (1/13/2018) - It's been a couple weeks since I finished the Dark Tower series, and I still find myself thinking about it. I suppose that's a good indicator of a fantastic story; that your mind wanders back to it even after you've put it aside. Although I'm sure I'll read the series again some day, for now at least, the books are in the review mirror. I've already written some post-series thoughts about the finale, along with sketches of Roland and Oy. Since I think it's a fun outlet for these Dark Tower thoughts to put them to paper, I decided to try Read More
Totinos Pizza and Chili (1/3/2018) - I'm a grown adult, rapidly approaching 40 years old. I've got children, a mortgage, probably a bunch of other stuff that might suggest a mature individual with grown-up tastes. Well, I think most people who know me might laugh at the "grown-up tastes" portion of that statement. I can find no more definitive evidence of that than my life-long love of Totinos Pizza, especially when it's topped with homemade chili. If you're not familiar with Totinos, it's a bargain-priced square pizza that is recognizable by it's bright red box (or more recently red plastic wrap) and $1-ish price. You may Read More
Quiz time! (7/14/2011) - I just figured out another fun thing I can do (potentially), so let's see if it works. I created a very important quiz, housed in a Google Documents form. In theory, I can actually include this quiz in this blog, and the answers will still be stored properly! Well, let's see if this works. Edit:  It worked! Very cool. Now, fill it out! 7-years-later Edit: Well, they changed Google Forms a bit, but apparently this still works. Very nice. If you're curious about the results, they should show up after you fill the survey out. Or you can just go Read More
Federal Budget Graphics (Old Data) (8/13/2017) - I was going through some of my older spreadsheets and data sets, and came across some materials I put together based on a CNN online article. Unfortunately, this is from way back in the ancient times (2012), so I'm not sure it's still as interesting. On the other hand, we were in the age of large federal budgets then, and still are, so it might still be relevant. I'll try to find some more recent federal budget numbers and post an update. I think the most important take-away, at least for me, is that discretionary spending is a very small Read More
Sketches from Final Fantasy, Inspired by Amano’s “The Sky” (10/28/2017) - A few weeks ago, Amazon had a really great deal going; sign up for an Audible (audio book) trial, and get a free hardcover book. After browsing a bit, I found this book called The Sky by Yoshitaka Amano. This is a re-release of a limited edition set, containing three hardcover art books with concept art, character designs, and other illustrations by Amano. For fans of classic video games, he's pretty influential even if you don't know him by name. Amano worked for Square (now known as Square Enix), and was the main character, image, and graphic designer for the Final Read More
Messing Up a Guardians of the Galaxy Drawing (4/29/2018) - I'm sure I've said this in many other posts...but sometimes drawings work out, and sometimes they just don't happen the way you want. Unfortunately, I ran face first into the latter scenario this weekend! After a fairly successful Star Trek drawing, I decided to take a crack at the Guardians of the Galaxy crew. I've been trying to get myself caught up on the Marvel movies for Avengers Infinity War, so I watched the second movie a couple days ago. Much like the first Guardians, I really loved this one. I thought it would be cool to capture these great Read More
More Art from Ads (3/21/2018) - Back in February, I did a couple sketches based on clothing ads I saw online. A couple weeks ago, I was flipping through my daily pile of junk mail and came across a small postcard ad for some local dentist's office. I took a glance and thought, "wow, those might be the happiest people I've ever seen." I guess that's the best way to advertise for a dentist; happy people showing their teeth. Something tells me a group of closed-mouth frowners wouldn't really drive customers in that profession! Anyway, after that brief brain-drift about the happy dental patients, I immediately Read More
Back to Basics, Paper Sketch of the Kiddos (6/3/2018) - This weekend, I made my first clumsy attempt at digital art. And over the last couple months, I've been almost exclusively drawing fictional characters from movies, athletes, and performers. That's been a significant change from earlier in the artwork timeline on this site, when I pretty much always sketched my family. I mentioned months ago I needed to diversify my subjects, and I think I've done well to get a variety of people featured. I will continue to mix things up, but I thought this was a good time to get back to the basics (well, my basics anyway). This feels Read More
Back in Time Part 3 – Last Batch Before the Long Break (1/24/2018) - Welcome back for part three of the "old sketches from Jon" series. Previously, we looked at my high school drawings and some study aids I used in college. This is the last "old sketch" phase, covering the time after high school until age 20 or 21. Around then, life started giving me more stuff to do and seemingly less time to do it in. I got serious about college (relatively speaking), and became more involved in the usual extracurricular activities of 20-somethings. Eventually, other things like long term relationships, grad school, and career concerns kept me rolling along. Suddenly, I found Read More
Hometown Series, Distinguished Gentlemen Chatting (3/4/2018) - Continuing on with my "hometown series" of sketches, here's part two. In the first drawing, I included a few of the guys I used to play football with. It feels like it wasn't very long ago, but we are closer to measuring that as a decade ago than just a handful of years! Part two features a couple of buddies from the hometown chatting about something sophisticated, if their clothes are any indication. As with the other posts, I won't include actual names, but the guy on the left also lives elsewhere in the country nowadays. You may recognize the Read More
Sports Salaries Part 2, Positions & Players (9/4/2017) - Author's Note: This article was originally published with a major data error, skewing salaries in favor of NBA positions. It has been corrected, and should now accurately reflect position comparisons across these leagues. In December 2017, when checking this site's stats, I saw I was getting hits from a podcast website (District Trivia). After listening to the episode, reading this article again, and checking the data, I realized there was a significant mistake in these graphs. NBA positions appeared to be the highest yearly salaries, but some of the lower salaried players did not have a position listed! Many lower salaried Read More
Mr. Miyagi and Daniel from the Karate Kid (5/19/2018) - I've been home sick for a few days, and felt a bit like drawing...unfortunately, I couldn't think of anything, so I just lounged around instead. Last night I finally had an idea, inspired by my previous sketch of Fezzik and Inigo from the Princess Bride. The Princess Bride is one of those all-time favorites that I watch pretty much any time I see it on TV. There are a ton of movies that I really love, but there is a special group that has that category of "instant watch." I can't think of all of them now, but here's what Read More
Shortcode Test (8/1/2011) - Well, I'm still trying to figure out how to display quiz or survey results from a Google Document form.  In trying to figure this out, I've been looking into this Wordpress "shortcode."  Apparently, shortcode allows you to pop in some simple code to provide some commonly-sought-after functionality that would otherwise be complicated.  Maybe Wordpress veterans know all about this, but it's new to me. Shortcode! So in other words... Here's a "follow me on Twitter" thing: [twitter-follow screen_name='jonamdall'] It actually works!  You can click on that thing and really follow me on Twitter.  Thanks to this shortcode, I just did Read More
Database Fun – Art Collection (8/20/2017) - I've posted quite a bit regarding my love for Excel and Pivot Tables, but I haven't actually mentioned my other source for data-crunching fun - Microsoft Access. Occasionally, I'll come across some data structure or method of viewing that can't be accomplished using Excel (or can't be accomplished well). That's when I'll jump into database design. One example of this has to do with art archiving and searching. I wanted to see if there was a better way to make my drawings easier to browse and index, with image previews and other information. Here's the end result: The primary search Read More
Gift Sketch of Nana and the Grandkids (7/5/2018) - This post will be a delayed publication; most likely you're reading it in July, but everything here is actually from June. Not that it matters, but that is unusual for me since I can't stand to sit on finished art. It's by necessity though, because these drawings are actually birthday presents, and I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise. When I asked my mom what she wanted for her birthday, she said she wanted a drawing. That's something I am always happy to do - and she left the subject up to me, so off I went into planning/sketch mode. I've Read More
Back in Time Part 1 – High School Sketches (1/23/2018) - I was doing a little website housecleaning, and saw I had uploaded a bunch of old sketches but never made posts about them. They mostly consisted of sketches from when I was in high school and my late teens, before I took a 15 year break (wow, sounds bad when I say it like that) from drawing. The photo image quality on these old sketches was terrible; these were mostly taken ages ago, probably with an ancient iPhone of some sort. I decided to salvage what I could through sharpening and lighting edits, and re-shoot anything that needed it. Then Read More
Mass Shooting Data Update, Ideas to Reverse the Trend (2/21/2018) - This is going to be somewhat of a duplication of my post from October on mass shooting data, but with more recent numbers. After the Las Vegas mass shooting, I felt the need to write sort of a capstone article summarizing material from the three previous posts. I also dedicated some space to venting my frustrations at politicians for doing absolutely nothing to help. After another tragedy, this time at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I started doing piecemeal updates to that October post. I finally realized it make much more sense to just update all the data Read More
Serious-Minded Baby Achieving Maximum Cheesiness (11/17/2017) - I've said this before - I have difficulty drawing small babies. This may not be surprising, but I have a long-winded theory as to why. I think most babies look very similar, but parents have some sort of innate biological drive to recognize their infants even with the slightest differences. As a parent, even when my kids were newborns, they seemed very unique looking to me. But, probably to most people, they looked essentially like generic crying infants. Trying to draw an infant busts through all that; you really have to nail the nuanced facial features that make a certain Read More
The Greatness of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (6/11/2018) - One of my favorite shows as a kid was Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). If you're not familiar with it, MST3K was basically a show about people making fun of terrible movies. There was a rudimentary plot about a janitor (Joel Hodgson and later Mike Nelson) being banished to a space station, then forced by a made scientist to watch the worst movies ever made. To keep their sanity, Joel and Mike were joined by a couple robot pals named Crow and Tom Servo. MST3K ran these bad movies in their entirety, with the crews' silhouettes at the bottom. Their Read More
Custom Portrait Giveaway (5/23/2018) - In this poll asking if anyone would be interested in a giveaway if it only involved a custom portrait, four respondents (100%) said yes! So, in a contest that doesn't involve any cash prize, at least four people might enter - that works for me. That being said, let me welcome you to the second giveaway ever hosted by Amdall Gallery, with a prize of one custom/by-request drawing. I'll provide details below the entry, but here are some basics. As with last time, this will be done via Gleam. I liked the way it worked in our first giveaway, so Read More
June Portrait Giveaway, the Resulting Artwork (7/15/2018) - At the end of last month, we wrapped up a custom portrait giveaway with some pretty solid participation. The winner sent me a photo she liked, which seemed to be a good candidate for a portrait scene. I started the outlines of the sketch as I normally do, but ended up having to travel for work for a bit. In my normal routine, I probably would have wrapped this portrait up the weekend after the contest ended. As I couldn't really do much without my full set up and supplies, this took a bit longer than I thought it would. Read More
Working on More Realism in Family Portraits (2/23/2018) - I have drawn four total sketches of my wife. From what I can see looking at these previous drawings, I don't think I've ever quite captured her accurately. Years ago, I did one of me and her together, and it wasn't bad. I also did a rough sketch I used for my proposal, which looked like her but was no Rembrandt in terms of realism. Then, much more recently, I made one of our family with all four of us. Although it was probably the closest to being accurate of any, I ended up basically ruining it by trying to Read More