Random Selections

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

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
Mass Shooting Research Part 3; State Comparisons, GVA Data (8/15/2017) - I mentioned in a previous article on this topic that I also wanted to explore the state-by-state numbers, but needed to finish processing data from Census.gov. Well, that is now done, so I'm going to explore what I found. I think this will be my last post on mass shooting data analysis, unless something new surfaces. Previous articles: Part 1, Mother Jones Data: https://jonamdall.com/2017/08/07/mass-shooting-research/ Part 2, gunviolencearchives.org Data and Rampages: https://jonamdall.com/2017/08/09/mass-shooting-research-part-2-rampage-events/ For background, let's sum up some of what we've talked about previously. First, we should establish the definition of a mass shooting event; that is, "four or more shot Read More
Round 2 with Color, Dad and Youngest Daughter (1/7/2018) - Now that I've gotten my first attempt using colored pencils down, I decided to jump right back into the fire and try again. I think I learned a couple of things from the first attempt, so I figured it would be good get right back into it while the lessons are fresh. For round 2, I wanted to start with a completely fresh sketch and keep the graphite pencil portion very basic. The plan was to keep it to no more than the most basic outline, and the rest would be done using color. In my first color attempt, I had Read More
Mass Shooting Post-Vegas Data Update, Frustration with Politicians, and Some Ideas (10/3/2017) - Once again, we have to face another horrifying mass shooting event. This time, it was the worst mass shooting event in U.S. history. It's frustrating to see this happen again with the understanding that our country is unlikely to anything to do anything but repeat the same slogans, with politicians offering "thoughts and prayers" but no action. I try to stick to data analysis and art on this site, without making things too political, but my frustration has the better of me on this topic. These large scale homicides have become routine, and there is zero political will to take 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
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
Dak Prescott and Jason Witten Sketch (12/9/2017) - Despite the fact that the Dallas Cowboys have consistently rewarded fan loyalty over the past two decades with a hefty serving of mediocrity, I am a lifelong fan. I grew up watching the Cowboys, and because they were winning Super Bowls when I was young, I sort of thought that would keep happening. Well, I was clearly wrong about that...but maybe my children (grandchildren?) will get to see a Cowboys team win it all. Provided the NFL lasts that long, anyway (see: concussion statistics, over-saturated schedule, political battles, uneven/illogical discipline, and so on). Somewhat surprisingly, I've actually never drawn a 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
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
Diet Coke and Mentos, Round 1 (8/16/2011) - So, the sidewalk egg-frying experiment made me think about some of our previous science experiments after work.  The first one was an attempt at the classic Diet Coke and Mentos explosion.  If you're not familiar with it, hop on over to YouTube.  It's a fairly popular Bill Nye the Science Guy-style trick.  Essentially, adding Mentos candy to Diet Coke causes an extremely quick and foamy reaction. I don't know the chemical steps, but the basic science amounts to the small pores in the Mentos hard coating catalyzing the fast release of CO2 gas from the soda.  Apparently, this experiment doesn't Read More
Preferred Medium, Process, and Frequently Used Colors (5/30/2018) - A few days ago on my Gary Oldman post, there was a comment asking what medium I use. This is a simple question, but a really great one - especially considering I never talk about that! I think from time to time, I may mention the types of pencils I use or answer a question in comments about paper. But, I don't think I've ever discussed preferred mediums and supplies in detail. Time to correct that! Now, many artists have the smarts to include that information in each post, whether that means just mentioning it, or even including photos of Read More
Getting Back into Art (9/2/2017) - Even though I have always enjoyed it, it's been years since I've actually sat down, got focused, and drawn anything. I've sketched friends, family, self-portraits, and my wife, but never my two little ones. Is it a coincidence that I have a toddler and infant and somehow haven't been able to dedicate a few hours to drawing? Yes, I'm sure it is totally unrelated. Anywho, now that they are getting a little older (relatively speaking), it's getting a little easier to do things other than just laying around. Our toddler enjoys just hanging out with me by the computer desk, 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
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
Family Portrait, Thanksgiving Scene (This One Needs Work) (11/27/2017) - This one seemed simple enough, since I've been doing so many family sketches. I set out to draw a scene from a Thanksgiving dinner out with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, wife, and our two little ones. Unfortunately, not all art is destined to actually work...and this one I think falls into that category of "not this time, Jon." Here's what I have at this point: I started confidently enough, drawing very rough basic outlines from what I viewed as prominent shadows or similar color. It was still going fine as I went from left to right, filling in detail on 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
Contest Drawing – Tiny Art (9/8/2017) - A co-worker told me recently about an interesting art show coming up; it's called the 2nd Annual 5x5x5 Show Miniature Works at the River Oaks Square Arts Center in Alexandria, Louisiana. This guy makes custom fishing lures, and entered some in last year's show. Even though I've never in my life entered anything into an art show, I suddenly had this wild idea to go for it. I've still got this itch to draw, so why not give it a shot? More information on the River Oaks 5x5x5 Show, check out the Call for Entry: https://www.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=4449 River Oaks is inviting 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
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
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
Another Featuring Dirk Nowitzki (2/8/2018) - Last year, I did a sketch tribute to my favorite basketball player of all time, the king of the one-legged jumper, Dirk Nowitzki. That first drawing was from one of my favorite moments in NBA history, when Dirk led the Dallas Mavericks back on the road to tie the 2011 Finals series against the Miami Heat. The Mavs were down by 15 with like seven minutes to go, and Dirk had an incredible drive to the bucket to win the game. After hitting on some decent video game sketches last week, immediately followed by a couple that weren't very good, Read More
Matching Men’s Coat and Pants (8/13/2017) - Alright, I admit that this is probably embarrassing and sad...I have difficulty making good fashionable choices. Especially when we start talking about branching out to different colors, matching clothes, and all that. Honestly, if I could get away with it, I'd just wear khaki shorts and a black t-shirt every day at home, and gray slacks with a light blue shirt everyday at work. No variation, just easy clothes selection! That's probably not a good idea for anyone, so occasionally I have to brush up on what I can actually wear. At one point, I was trying to figure out Read More
Cryptocurrency Experiment, Thanksgiving Update (11/26/2017) - Although I just wrote an update on my cryptocurrency experiment about a week ago, I felt the need to write another. Over Thanksgiving weekend, prices started jumping for some reason. I really have no idea why a few have surged so rapidly, but I wanted to show which coins are now the high-risers. 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/  Three month update, November 2017: https://jonamdall.com/2017/11/16/cryptocurrency-experiment-3-month-status-update/ For background, I originally purchased 21 different coins, totaling $57 ($65 before fees due to inefficient purchasing). In the post last week, the investment had almost doubled. Well, about a Read More
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
Tribute to Dragon’s Dogma, My Favorite Game (5/27/2018) - There will be some spoilers, so be warned. If you're just here for art, scroll to the end. This is a game mostly about the "ever-turning wheel," and how a hero and a dragon keep the wheel moving. The question at the core of the plot is, what do you want your hero to be? Will you accept the cycle and your place in it? Will you become a cowardly king, a lonely god, a monster, or a memory held by the next hero? It's a deceptively deep story; on its surface it appears simple, but unwinds into something quite 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
First Attempt at Art with Color (1/6/2018) - This may be a little surprising, but I've never really worked with color. Well, back when I was a kid in school I'm sure I painted something. But, in terms of art as a hobby, I haven't branched out at all from my basic graphite pencil. Exploring other websites via the Wordpress Reader has really opened my mind to it though, because I've seen so many amazing artists sharing paintings, sketches, and other mediums that exist beyond black and white. I really like what I've seen from watercolor artists, but having zero experience with paint, that seemed like a huge Read More
Dirk Nowitzki, Basketball Legend (10/12/2017) - To me, no player exemplifies Dallas sports like Dirk Nowitzki. Texas is obviously wild about football, and the Cowboys are the lead dog in terms of area sports teams (despite their amazing run of mediocrity over the last two decades). You could certainly also make an argument that most Dallas-area sports fans gravitate towards baseball and the Texas Rangers a bit quicker than the Dallas Mavericks. But in terms of iconic, legendary DFW athletes, in my mind Dirk is first. If you were presented silhouettes of various sports stars of the past and present, it would be difficult to accurately Read More
Inspiration from Twitter, Historical Photo Account Part 1 (4/22/2018) - It seems I'm always on the search for art subjects lately. And since I can be somewhat creatively limited when it comes to drawing, the best resources have been people I actually know and famous people (athletes, musicians, etc). I can't help it; I can draw a portrait of a real person, but ask me to create a character out of thin air? It's probably not going to be that great. Anyway, I recently came across a cool Twitter account called "History Lovers Club" (@historylvrsclub). This account basically posts various photos from recent history, many of which seem to be 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