Random Selections

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

Planning for a Dark Tower Drawing (10/8/2017) - Lately, I've been really into the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I've always been a big Stephen King fan, and I enjoy fantasy novels, so it's actually really strange that it's taken me so long to start the series. I'm currently on book 4, Wizard and Glass; so I'm right at the half-way point (please, no later-book spoilers in the comments). Actually, speaking of spoilers, there may be some light spoilers in this post from books 1-4; if you haven't read up to Wizard and Glass, and want to be completely spoiler free, you may want to stop reading. Read More
A Tribute to Faith No More, the Greatest Band of All Time (12/16/2017) - Around 1999, as I was finishing high school, some guys I started hanging around with (who would become lifelong friends) introduced me to Faith No More. I had heard the band before; most people are familiar with the song Epic, and at the time a couple singles from their 1997 album were getting radio play. But these guys were major league fans of the band, so I was exposed to the full catalog. This was a breakthrough discovery for me, because I fell into a new world of incredible, genre-bending music that, when viewed as an entire body of work, Read More
Big Kid and Her Apple (10/20/2018) - Wow, has it really been another entire month since I've drawn anything? Sort of a surprising realization, because it feels like I was just writing about how I hadn't drawn much lately. But that wasn't last week...it was last month! Once that thought hit me that October was headed towards its Halloween conclusion, it was enough to push me into action. In my last post, I mentioned my intention to continue drawing occasionally to keep myself in the habit. Essentially, I don't want to drift into another long period without art. So, why not keep myself rolling with one of Read More
Survey Results…Revisited (8/6/2017) - Since I recently found out that Google Forms had a large update, I went back to my old Survey on this site to see if everything still worked. For the most part, it did! I was also hoping for some improvements to the Results html/embed process, but unfortunately it's still pretty similar to the old method. While you can directly embed the form to a website (awesome!), you can't do the same with results (bad times). You have to export to a Google Sheets spreadsheet, then "publish to the web." It's workable, but not perfect. Now those are some sweet Read More
Reflections on the Dark Tower Series (Spoilers Everywhere) (12/29/2017) - I finished the last mainline book in the Dark Tower series yesterday, and my head is swimming with thoughts and feelings about it. If you haven't read the series and plan to, I recommend abandoning ship on this post! I'm going to talk spoilers from the last book and throughout the series, and some thoughts about the finale. I also did a couple of sketches last night, which I've popped in here as well. The drawings are pretty rough, but I actually like them a bit better than my original Dark Tower drawing a couple months ago. Full discussion, including Read More
Cryptocurrency Exploration (8/10/2017) - Prior to this week, I honestly didn't know too much about cryptocurrency. I knew the basics, mostly hearing or reading about Bitcoin. I knew there were other types, but had no clue how many. I've even got a "if only I would have" story about it; I considered buying some for fun around 2010-2011, but didn't care enough about it to actually figure out how. Bitcoin was worth around $0.008...if I'd bought $20 worth, at the current price of $3,241.40, that'd be over $8 million now. So, over the past week, I started looking at how this system works, and Read More
New Discussion Forums (2/26/2018) - This website is a hobby, and one of the main motivations behind it is that I enjoy making tweaks and trying new features. In fact, I love trying new themes and widgets so much, I've even made dummy sites that have already been mothballed. On Amdall Gallery, I recently got to a point where there wasn't much more I could change without a major upgrade. I finally decided to make the leap, and jumped into the world of Wordpress plugins. It actually made me sort of nervous; when you add a plugin to a Wordpress site, the entire thing switches Read More
Drawing Two Scenes at Once, First Sketch of Grandma (3/28/2018) - I'm in an unusual place with this sketching hobby right now. I can see improvement in the results to some degree, and it's making me excited to draw more. But, I'm still not that imaginative in terms of subject matter, and I am sort of running out of ideas. A natural place my brainstorming goes is, "which people/family member combinations have I not drawn yet?" I've featured my immediately family (wife and kiddos) in many, and I've sketched my sister, mom, and granny...but I haven't yet drawn my dad, or most of my wife's family.  Very surprisingly, I also haven't Read More
Cool Ladies at the Coffee Shop (1/20/2018) - As I continue with these sketches, I'm trying to make sure I've got most of the configurations of family portraits covered. Even if some of them were newer and in color versus older black and whites. I've got the full family, me and my wife, our two girls together, me and each girl, me and both girls...one glaring omission is there isn't one of my wife with the two girls! So, that was an easy decision about the next sketch to tackle. I decided to model this one after scenes from a coffee shop visit from a couple weeks ago. 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
Almost a Sketch Request, Sam Carrying Frodo (4/20/2018) - In the comments of an Instagram post I made on my last sketch (Fezzik and Inigo from the Princess Bride), one of my longtime friends responded with "Sam and Frodo." This comment was pretty exciting, because I thought it was a request for another sketch! As it turns out, he was joking (which should have been obvious in hindsight), but I already had in my mind to move forward with it. I responded by saying that I would do a sketch featuring the true hero of Lord of the Rings, Samwise, carrying that lazy hobbit Frodo up a volcano. And Read More
Art from Odd Internet Memes (11/5/2018) - The Millennial generation is known for many things, including craft beer, skinny jeans, and "destroying" seemingly every industry (if you believe cynical clickbait articles). As someone who straddles that zone between Generation X and Millennial (i.e. "Xennial", "Oregon Trail Generation"), I have traits of both. I really enjoy one development from the first "digital native" generation in particular: Memes. If you aren't very familiar with the concept, the term was originally used by Richard Dawkins to describe the way cultural information spreads. Internet memes have over-taken his original definition, and now "meme" usually just refers to captioned images, obscure sub-culture 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
Is it Worth it to Wait? Analysis of Home Prices in Booming Markets (9/26/2017) - My wife and I have recently been exploring moving from Louisiana back to where we both grew up; Dallas, Texas. It's home sweet home for us, but we haven't lived there in quite a few years. Since we left, housing prices have apparently been booming...which is causing us some worry. There was some housing price parity between Alexandria, Louisiana and Dallas about 3-4 years ago, but since then Dallas has zoomed ahead with what I've read is around 7-8% annual home price growth. For a data nerd like me, this had my head spinning with questions that I knew Excel Read More
Dark Tower Drawing – Campfire Outside the City of Lud (10/8/2017) - In my last post, I discussed an idea for a drawing related to Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I wanted to sketch Roland and his crew outside of Lud, probably by a campfire. In the first article, I talked about some of the challenges I anticipated based on my limitations as an artist. My strength, I think, is drawing people from live subjects or photos. My biggest weaknesses are drawing scenery and drawing from imagination. Once I get outside of the main subjects, I think the quality of my sketches degrades. And coming up with a scene that only exists Read More
Tiny Art Show Opening at the River Oaks Arts Center (11/18/2017) - Way back in September, someone told me about an art show in Alexandria, Louisiana that featured only "tiny art." All entries for this show had to had to by 5" x 5" x 5" or smaller. It sounded interesting, and I had just gotten back into drawing; I figured I may as well enter something. Tiny art is definitely a unique challenge, and I discussed my experience drawing and going through the "call for entry" process in previous write-ups. Fast forward a bit, and I ended up getting one of my entries accepted for the show! Friday evening was the opening Read More
Cryptocurrency Experiment, 3 Month Status Update (11/16/2017) - In early August, I wrote about my experiences learning about cryptocurrency, and my first dive in to purchase a few coins. Stemming from my disappointment on missing the boat with Bitcoin's tremendous growth over the last few years, I wanted to buy some other coins and see what happens with them. I purchased 21 different coins, totaling $57 ($65 before fees...I wasn't very efficient with my purchases and transfers). Original article, August 2017: https://jonamdall.com/2017/08/10/cryptocurrency-exploration/ Three week follow up, September 2017: https://jonamdall.com/2017/09/01/cryptocurrency-revisited-3-weeks-later/  It's now been over three months since that purchase, and I thought it would be interesting to check in 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
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
Radio Favorites – Loveline with Adam and Dr. Drew (4/1/2018) - A couple days ago, I posted part one in a two part series on my favorite radio shows. I often listen to these old shows while I'm drawing, particularly after my family has gone to bed. In part one, I discussed my paranormal fix in the form of old Art Bell shows. In part two, I'm going to talk about Loveline; specifically the iteration of the show featuring Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky as hosts. "Hey it's Loveline, I'm Adam Carolla and he is Drew Drew, board certified physician and addiction medicine specialist. Phone number 1-800-LOVE-191, our guest tonight..." 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
Excel Basics – Building Data, Using Pivot Tables (10/6/2017) - My family and I recently went to dinner with some friends, and the topic of Excel came up (I know how to party right?). A couple of people mentioned they wish they knew more about Excel; this got me pumped up! Since we don't live in the same city, in lieu of actually helping them in person, I'm going to write about some basics here. I also documented my master list of functions, which I'll link below. Previous Article, Jon's Cheat Sheet/Master List of Excel Functions: https://jonamdall.com/2017/10/04/ms-excel-function-cheat-sheet-jons-personal-archivereference-page/ So, naturally the first step is to begin entering data. Before you get 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
Sketch of the Entire Family, No Planning (11/4/2017) - Last night, after putting the kids to bed, I was smacked with an urge to try to draw my entire family. I've drawn my wife and I together, and I've drawn our girls a couple of times, but I haven't done a sketch with all four of us as a group. Usually for something like this, I'd draw a grid to help me with proportions, but this time I wanted to dive right in. I really wasn't sure how that would work out, because it's outside my normal process. As I started, I thought about all the great advice I've Read More
Another Sketch with my Oldest, Alternate Title “Tired Dad” (11/15/2017) - Well, I'm sure it seems like the prevailing theme for all these drawings, but here's another a did of me with my oldest kiddo. I actually started this one in the same session as the last one I did (her dancing, me flailing about), and I finally finished it yesterday. I think I finished the dancing sketch first because I was more satisfied with how it was going. This one didn't turn out exactly how I intended. Here's the final product: So, I was aiming for this big kid to look like she's stifling a laugh, probably laughing at me. Read More
Access and VBA Cheat Sheet (8/19/2018) - As I've mentioned many times on this site, I am a huge fan of Microsoft's data-crunching solutions. I've gained a reputation for it too; when I am about to offer a solution to something at work, co-workers usually say something like, "let me guess, it's a pivot table." Actually, usually it does involve pivot tables...but when I'm not preaching about a spreadsheet, the solution might be an Access database. Last year, I shared my master list compilation of Excel functions. Although it's less extensive, I also have a small repository of Access VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code that I Read More
Portrait from the August Giveaway (9/29/2018) - I haven't been drawing much lately, which is pretty apparent looking at the site's front page. It's kind of an odd coincidence, but right around the one year anniversary of getting back into this website, my inspiration to draw started fading. I'm really not sure why...did I burn myself out? Do I need a new challenge, like trying a new medium? Whatever the reason, that spark to put pencil to paper has faded from when I was churning out several sketches a month. I've been wondering if the big issue is that I'm simply out of ideas. Thinking of subjects Read More
Portrait Giveaway, Round Three (8/14/2018) - Welcome to the third Amdall Gallery custom portrait giveaway! Well, I suppose it's the third...the first giveaway included a choice of $20 or a portrait, so this will actually be the second that is only for a portrait. Anyway, this time the raffle is for a custom portrait (or other artwork) of the winner's choice. I think the last custom portrait giveaway went well and had solid participation - as usual, I've got the motivation to draw but few subject ideas. So it seems like a good time to do another. Everything for the most part is going to proceed Read More
Milestone Statistics, Unnecessarily Detailed Data (4/8/2018) - Welcome to part two of three in a series of posts thanking readers, and taking a step back to review Amdall Gallery's status as we approach a subscriber milestone. In the first, I dropped a poll asking what sort of giveaway subscribers might be interested in, and shared a few cool artists I've come across through working on this website. In this post, we're going to focus on data and statistics! Then, for the final entry to the series, we'll have a giveaway/contest. As part of this thought process related to subscribers, I also wanted to get a better idea Read More
A 2018 Liebster Award for Amdall Gallery (7/21/2018) - As you can see from the title, this site was nominated for a Liebster Award, which is  given to blogs by other bloggers. So, right from the top, thank you to Christine Mallaband-Brown for the nomination! Christine is a talented artist, so that's really cool to be nominated by someone like her. The Liebster Award - What is this Thing?  When I first came across these and tried to figure out what they were, I thought it might be some online version of a chain letter. Someone sends you one, then you send it to six more people, then they each Read More