Sketches, Eve Young, and the Library of Congress

I'm nocturnal. My family, being made of normal people, are all... uh... day-turnal. They like sunlight. My body wakes up at the same time their bodies do, but my brain isn't fully functioning until around lunchtime. My best time of day is when the sun goes down. Suddenly I'm a monument of productivity. Suddenly I want to paint and sketch. Suddenly there are no people around for me to paint and sketch because they are in bed. I can draw in bed, but my husband says it's weird and I need to knock it off because he can't sleep with that light pointed at him.

Dangit.

So I do a lot of drawings when the sun is up and I'm only partially conscious, and also a lot of drawings from photos when it's dark and there are less people. I really prefer to draw living, breathing people. You'd think it would be easier to draw a photo, it doesn't move. And in some ways, that's true. But my better drawings are all done from life. I can't explain it.

So I won't.

You can't make me.

Anyway. What I sat down to tell you has nothing to do with my sleeping habits, I was going to tell you that the Library of Congress has a mighty fine Flickr stream. It is a treasure trove of reference photos to sketch when you're wanting to sketch and yet no one is awake and they unscrewed and hid all the lightbulbs in their bedrooms, also it's hard to aim a flashlight and draw at the same time.

When that happens, you can head over to the LOC Flickr stream and pick a photo of a person, a boat, a horse or whatever it is you want to draw and draw it. The Library of Congress does not complain. It does not throw pillows at you. It is the perfect model.

Eve Young, taken January of 1947 by William Gottlieb who wrote "Chanced upon Eve Young & Jack Pleis breaking bagels at midcity restaurant day after they lost their canvas because of Benny Goodman tentfolding." on the back of the photo. I don't know what canvas they lost, or why Benny Goodman's tentfolding cost them the lost canvas, but she seems happy about it, so I'm ok with that.

Awesome Sketchbook Pro is Clean, Simple and Awesome.

Q. Who likes getting out all of her drawing supplies to practice sketching!?

A. Not me! Not me! YAY!

I have a confession. I'm not exactly an organized person. When I'm not using something, I put it where it belongs... on my desk. There are a lot of supplies I'm not using at the moment.

It's a good thing I have a big desk.

The problem is that when I want to use something, I have to pull it out (from underneath the pile of things I'm not using) and then I have to find space to use it, and then I have to put it away.

Hoosh. I'll clean my desk later.

Actually, there are some things that I love about drawing on physical paper with actual pencils. The texture of the paper especially. I love the way it feels and looks... I love holding it at different angles and under different light.

But for everyday practice, for quick sketches to keep my brain sharp, sometimes I'm just not in the mood to fill up space in my sketchbook or use up my pastel paper on drawings of a chair or copies of an old sketch by Durer or Rockwell. (I pick my artists randomly. Somewhat.) Nor do I relish wading through the mounds of things on my desk.

It's why I love sketching with my Wacom tablet so much. And since Christmas, it's why I'm totally in love with Sketchbook Pro 2011. Check it out:

I just found this video on Youtube. And trust me, it only touches on what you can do with the program. I especially love how easy it is to make your own brushes... genius!

In the past I've used the GIMP for drawing. And I will continue to use it for photo manips and maybe graphic design work and whatnot. There are some things sketchbook pro doesn't have, like layer masks.

But it doesn't really need that.

Trust me.

This is strictly a drawing program. It has brushes, pens, and pencils... WITH! Pen pressure sensitivity! AND it has unlimited layers, a few effects (like multiply and screen), and it does all of this really, really well.

Imagine going to a hamburger joint. It's famous for it's gourmet burgers and toppings. People from all over the world go to this joint because they do one thing really well- burgers.

You wouldn't go to a place like that and ask for a broiled salmon... that would be stupid. It would taste marginal at best, and their hamburgers wouldn't taste as heavenly because the top chef would be wasting his time making fish for shmucks like you who go to a hamburger joint and ask for salmon. Fortunately, you're smart and you order a burger. One with roasted garlic and chipotle sauce. Mmm.

Now the chef can concentrate on being a master burger builder and we all love him for it.

Sketchbook Pro is like that. It's brilliant. It's simple. It does one thing.

It makes burgers.

Ha! Not really. It makes sketches. Well, no, YOU make the sketches, it helps you make them awesome.

Actually, I've discovered that a lot of the work I do with Sketchbook Pro ends up being some of my favorite stuff. I've even found a print company for making my digi drawings into physical copies.

The only thing I don't like about it is that I can't pick it up and take it with me to the park or the museum. I tried, once. But my desktop likes being tethered to the wall. And I couldn't get the wall to budge.

Walls are stubborn like that.

It's not really the software's fault that walls are stubborn... matter of fact, if you aren't like me and you have an iPad or some other tablet, then you can get this. Nice.

{By the way, I don't work for the Sketchbook Pro peeps, they haven't a clue who I am. Which is probably lucky for them, cause I'd be all over them asking for freebies. BUT! If you click on that Amazon link up there and end up buying Sketchbook Pro from Amazon, Amazon will give me a tip for the buy. It doesn't cost you any more or less to buy it through the link, so thank you very much if you do.

Hey, I could use the cash. I've recently learned that I need an iPad.}

My Mom. Isn't she a dish?

I've had something of a "secret" project going on for a while now. It's not really a secret as I've been asking all of my family members to send me their favorite photos of each other, would they be willing to pose for me, etc. Not exactly subtle stuff. I'm sure they've all figured out what I'm up to.

I've been drawing and/ or painting everyone I know. It's been a fun, hard, enlightening, frustrating and a fattening experience. I really need to get out of this chair.

Not many photos of my mother as a young woman exist... actually- strike that. Only compared to the rest of my family there aren't very many. See, at one time or another, my sister, my Mom and I have all worked as pro-photographers. I'm pretty sure that if you don't count the Obamas, we're probably the most photographed family in history. So the fact that I can only find a half dozen or so photos of my Mom is really frustrating to me. Am I spoiled? You betcha.

Anyway, J 2/4 found this super jazzy photo of my parents taken in the late 70s, early 80s. And my mom's expression? This face is a classic MOM face. I don't know what that means either. Except that out of everyone in our family, I think she has the most striking eyes. They're so dark, they're almost black. When she looks at you it can be really startling, especially if you aren't used to that gaze.

So that settled it, THIS was what I was going to draw.

The thing is, I didn't think Dad would like his pose in the photo.. I actually kind of like it, he's sleeping in her lap. Dad's a legend in our family for being able to fall asleep on any couch, anywhere, with anybody in the room. Also, Mom is comfy to cuddle with.

But I was afraid he would find it too casual, so I compromised. I drew Mom without Dad, knowing I could add him later if he liked. (he's since declined my offer. ;) )

Of course, removing an entire person and drawing something that isn't there is hard as heck. (I said "heck".) I ended up throwing on a teeshirt and leaning over in front of a mirror to get the wrinkles in her clothes plus her left arm right.

Hopefully I fooled everyone and no one looks at this and is all like "I recognize that arm! That's JD's arm, not her Mom's! Fake!" So don't tell my secret, k?

Dino Trubs (I want you to have it.)

Oh dear. Someone is in trouble. Or if the Dino-Mumsie is anything like my Mom, maybe not. Maybe the bebbeh here is going to be encouraged to draw on the walls of her bedroom if she wants to. My Mom was awesome, that's all I'm saying.

(I have to interrupt this post here to tell you that my son wants you to know he doesn't think this is a dinosaur. He thinks it's a Dino-dragon. Maybe a Dragosaur? We'll go with Dragosaur.)

(That is all.)

Anyway... if it looks familiar, that's because Dino Trubs Dragosaur Trubs was originally an Odosketch drawing way back when. And here's the thing... I want you to have it! I mean, if you want it. Don't take it if you don't want it. It's kind of big and really, no one wants to have something they don't want. Duh.

BUT! If you'd like to have this drawing, you can. You can print it out and put it on your walls or make it into a mug or a dartboard or whatever you like. It's my gift to you. Cause I love ya like a sister. (did anyone else sign all their notes in highschool LYLAS? DUDE. Flashbacks.)

To get your free picture just click here to download it. Beware, though. It's huge-mongous. 7.4 MB. I did try to zip it up to make it smaller for you, but that just made it 7.39 MB. Oh well.

The only thing I ask is that you don't try to sell it (cause it's my gift to you. Why would someone want to pay for a gift?) and please don't pretend you made it. That is all. ^_^