My dads sketchbook from 1967

David Toal 1945-1978. This wasn’t the photo I was looking for when I decided to post something for fathers day. Of course that was this time last year, and this post has been sitting in ‘draft’ form since then so here goes.

David Toal 1967
David Toal 1967

The picture I intended to share was a *classic* of my dad smiling in a somewhat festive spirit, in the kitchen of our small Armstrong house, stubby empties and ashtrays strewn about.  He was holding a hand written sign, not unlike Bob Dylans’ Subterranean Homesick Blues video from 1967, which was both whimsical and poetic. At least it seemed so to me.  The text on the sign read, “Reality is a crutch“.

He wasn’t an artist, but this (now missing) picture is etched into the list of very few memories I have about the guy.

Few memories, and fewer artifacts. Among the collection of items that comprise my inheritance are; a bobcat skin rug from the animal he hunted, a burl from a tree he felled, and a couple of vinyl bins for the records he spun. In addition, and more appropriate considering this weeks upcoming sketching symposium, I hold his only known sketchbook, also from 1967 when he would have been 22. In recent years, I have been trying to declutter my life, and stop carrying many of these so-called treasures unless they filled a very specific need. The drawings are difficult to part with though because they take up so little space and I hoard paper and art enough as it is. That said, I felt that by scanning and sharing them here, I could part with yet another item from my past. I can’t say that my father inspired me to become an artist, but I do look on these fondly as a glimpse into his perception of life as a young man.

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Drawtober… or whatever. Day 1,2,3

OK truth be told I was not fully aware about “inktober” when I declared my goal of doing a drawing a day for the month of october. I mean I’d heard about it, but didnt realize it was in the month of October, or maybe I didn’t realize I was *in* the month October. Regardless, I’m not trying to start my own thing with the #drawtober hashtag with so much going on this month in terms of my practice I needed an outlet to capture it all. There is also the Opus Practice Challenge event going on right now, which offers yet another daily prompt and tag. All this to say you can look forward to me over hashtagging this month and I apologize in advance for it! ###

OK so my round up for Day 1 and 2 #DRAWTOBER was astounding.

DAY 1

First I dove head first into a full day, city wide drawing event, The Big Draw (Vancouver edition) and got my first weeks of drawings done at once! (I’ll still do the daily though.)

First up was the amazing Kat Thorsen who uses drawing and creativity to create a “culture of care”, among many many other things. She showed us how to draw owls (the instructions for which I recorded for future reference.) and was MUCH more helpful than the tongue in cheek MEME I included at the top of this post.

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It was not the last time I would see this face today, I loved it! but was really going for the wheatpasting demo which did not happen due to…. rules! Digging through Kats blog and extensive projects in the community she deploys her street art with equal force. Looking forward to more of this!

Next up was the Contemporary Art Gallery which challenged us to the joys of the blind contour exercise, with the added twist of drawing the portrait of the person drawing you! We got to leave a thought along with our drawing for the gallery, a nice personal touch. =)

A line connects them. #drawtober

Finally I hit the Vancouver Art Gallery for the Mechanical Marks workshop, which as I supposed was exactly like the Doodle bots I worked with this summer! I have SO much more to post about Doodle bots to be honest, but the highlight of these bots was the “makelangelo” bot from Dan Royer at Marginally Clever. Besides the fact that this guy foresees his bots building habitation on the moon autonomously, (and wants to teach your kids how to do it) it also made this perfect image just before I left for the day.  Mind blown.

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DAY 2

Couldn’t ask for a better 2nd day but will have to write these ones quick so I have time to do my daily drawing today. Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas was closing out his exhibition “The Seriousness of Play” at the Bill Reid gallery which I was grateful to catch.  He had set up a collaborative mural for us all to draw on throughout the afternoon and I can’t tell how nice it was to color with a room full of people. Very nice.  I’ve seen his TedX talk and am very intrigued with how he is doing art collaborations.

And FINALLY, if you can believe I coudl top of a weekend like this.  Well the only thing that could do it would be The fine folks at Dr. Sketchy.  Firstly at my favorite venue for this type of thing, The Emerald in the golden beating heart of China town district. Maybe it was the fact that there were THREE models or that was ending the biggest drawing weekends I can remember but things did start to get a little blurry.

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DAY 3

Is today, and I have yet to do my drawing but know exactly what I intend to do.  I will not post to this blog daily, but will try to write recaps here as needed.  You  may catch me on my flickr account, instagram, or tumblr, I’m not sure I will be consistent.

OK Lets draw!

 

Story shapes, grids and gestures: Visual activity at play

The visual assignments for GVIII were fun to consider, and gave us a chance to incorporate activities directed at storytelling. I chose to capitalize on the buzz around the Grids and Gestures activity from Nick Sousanis, because of the encouraging no drawing skills being required component, and the consideration for using narrative to define a 2D space. To get warmed up I asked participants to watch the Kurt Vonnegut video on the shape of stories and consider the associated infographics. I wasn’t intentionally trying to combine two activities into one when I did this, but presenting them this way did exactly that.

Both of these examples require the designer to represent a concept occurring over time (a story, narrative or conversation), within a 2D space. I became fascinated by this idea and following up on Nicks’ suggested warm up thought experiment (paraphrased), “to observe the ceiling tiles in the room you are in and imagine different tiles triggering sounds“, and leapt off on a tangent in many ways unrelated to drawing, that of music.

A visual soundboard: The idea of representing a flow, in a 2D space struck an immediate chord in that these are exactly what synthesizer Graphical User Interfaces (GUI’s) are designed to do for music. In the most simple terms, a synthesizer can take a pre-programmed set of instructions (the grid) and generate a loops, patterns and guide emotional responses dependant on users selections.

Activity: Try interacting with the music grid below by clicking on the individual squares. Turning a square “on” will trigger a sound based on the position of that square in the grid. By turning on and off more squares, increasingly complex soundscapes will quickly emerge.

Audio synth grid: < from network effects >

Blog posts on Grids and Gestures – Here are some notable blog posts on the GnG activity. I’m still processing these so have not been able to pull out quotes, but they will be my reference looking back. I have no conclusion for this post.

From Alan @cogdog

[Almost] A Week Gridding and Gesturing

#gridsgestures with Nick Sousanis and #ds106 Daily Create

From Amy @amyburvall http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/thinking-through-comics-with-nick-sousaniss-grids-gestures/62027
#gridsgestures with Nick Sousanis and #ds106 Daily Create

From Jenny Mackness
http://linkis.com/wordpress.com/zorS0

From ProfHacker Anastasia Salter @AnaSalter
http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/thinking-through-comics-with-nick-sousaniss-grids-gestures/62027