The Intellectual Wilderness There is nothing more useless than doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

2015.11.30 22:56

Bad Art: Ahh! Beer! (Self Portrait)

Filed under: Bad Art — Tags: , , , , , — zxq9 @ 22:56

This is the only self-portrait I’ve ever done. It is from a nice memory I have of taking a trip to Hokkaido with my then-girlfriend (now wife) between contract jobs. If you’ve never been, I strongly recommend Hokkaido in late summer — beautiful people, delicious food, lovely driving.

As with other images, these progress from raw images of the pencil sketch to some image work in gimp to blend lines, smudge things up, etc.


Raw sketch image.

After some chunky background removal…


Sketch after some chunky cropping.

After some closer line cropping…


Sketch after some more detail removal.

Touch up the outline just a bit more…


Sketch after some closer outline work.

Now to start on the line removal and smudging…

Sketch after some initial smudge work.

Sketch after some initial smudge work.

Forgot the darn letters. Working around written text is not easy sometimes.

Sketch after some more detail work on the letters.

Sketch after some more detail work on the letters.

Now to brighten things up a bit.


Sketch after brightening.

And done!

This one came out better than some other attempts I’ve made — hence the only self-portrait that survives. I’ve never tried a real portrait-style sketch of myself. Its not like the world is missing out on anything.

Below are a bunch of in-progress screenshots of this image as I edited it. Nothing magical, its more a testament to the amount of time I had on my hands when I did this — I didn’t have a Wacom tablet or anything. Actually, I don’t think I ever had a mouse. If I remember correctly I did all this editing using a touchpad.

If I did have a Wacom tablet I would probably still draw some. But meh, the world is just chock full of supremely gifted and properly trained artists. I only did these because they were fun.

Screenshot-5 Screenshot-6 Screenshot-7 Screenshot-8 Screenshot-9 Screenshot-10 Screenshot-11 Screenshot-12

Bad Art: The Natsumi

Filed under: Bad Art — Tags: , , , — zxq9 @ 22:30

I did a sketch and cleanup of a larger view of Natsumi. Hopefully she won’t get mad if she sees this (I’m married to her now!).

As in other images I touched up, I’ve put the intermediate stages here, beginning with the raw photo of the sketch, moving through stages of touch-up in gimp.


Raw sketch image.

Make it look like the outline of an 8-bit game character…

Sketch with big chunks of the background removed.

Sketch with big chunks of the background removed.

A bit more detailed outline work…


Sketch after detailed outline removal.

After getting a bit of the easy smudge work out of the way…


Sketch after some early smudge work.

Now a bit more detail work…


Sketch after some detail smudge work.

And some brightness/contrast work…


The sketch after some brightening.

It appears I stopped here. I never did refine the hard pencil outlines. Meh.

Bad Art: Natsumi’s Facial Lines

Filed under: Bad Art — Tags: , , , , — zxq9 @ 22:10

I wanted to take a shot at drawing facial lines, and since my girlfriend’s face had nice lines, it was a perfect subject. I never got good at this style, but I really like the effect it has. Not nearly as cartoony or 漫画っぽい as the way I usually do stuff.

I don’t have any touched up versions of these, these are the only images I have. (I wonder if there are sketch books just sitting in my old kit bags somewhere…?)

Natumi's face, direct view.

Natumi’s face, direct view.

Comparing both of these now, I think I like the second one more — but that’s probably just because of the expression.

Natsumi's face, slightly oblique.

Natsumi’s face, slightly oblique.

Bad Art: The Tia — Less Hair

Filed under: Bad Art — Tags: , , , — zxq9 @ 22:02

I took a picture of a friend of mine after she shaved her head close, and decided to sketch it to see if I could. The sketch is a bit of a disaster, but the image is still funny to me. This is my only photo of it.

The Tia, after a haircut and demonstrating her typical concern for the impression she makes on others.

The Tia, after a haircut and demonstrating her typical concern for the impression she makes on others.

Bad Art: The Tia

Filed under: Bad Art — Tags: , , , — zxq9 @ 21:59

Special circumstances tend to attract special company, at least that’s the way my weird life tends to work out. I met a phenomenal person in Iraq who had a striking profile. I decided to sketch her a few times. Here is the result of one attempt.

The images progress from raw photos of the sketch to a more processed look.

Raw photo of The Tia sketch.

Raw photo of The Tia sketch.

After a little outline removal and cutout work…

Sketch image after from outline removal.

Sketch image after from outline removal.

After a little more gimp work to selectively blend and smudge the paper-lines away (I didn’t have anything other than Iraqi college-ruled paper available)…

The sketch after some smudging and shading work.

The sketch after some smudging and shading work.

The final product still shows the effect of the lines on the paper near the bottom right of the image — but I either didn’t notice or didn’t care. Meh. I enjoyed this anyway.

Here are some screenshots I apparently took while doing the processing work…

Screenshot Screenshot-1 Screenshot-2 Screenshot-3

That was actually pretty enjoyable, almost monk-like work.

Bad Art: Welcome Back From Leave

Filed under: Bad Art — Tags: , , , — zxq9 @ 21:47

I made a few sketches a few years ago while bored out of my mind in Iraq. This is one of them. First is the raw image version, the second is after I cleaned it up with gimp. I seem to have either never finished the cleanup, or just lost the finished version. But whatever.

Convoy receiving a welcome-back present.

Raw sketch image

Slightly processed version.

Slightly processed version.

The are signed using my nickname because I was still connected with the military at that time and there was a lot of fuss over whether or not exposing identities was a big bad thing or not. I chose to avoid the issue by never producing anything under my legal name for quite a while, and mostly put stuff on other sites (like this deviantart account to prevent finger pointing).

If I remember correctly, I was drawing this off of an AAR video of an incident that happened just as I started my second contract out there — bad luck. The reason I chose to draw this, though, was I wanted to try to draw an explosion in pencil, and had seen some really awesome explosion sketches on some sketch art sites. I think the explosion turned out OK, but the rest of the sketch isn’t particularly interesting. Meh. I’m pretty bad at drawing fences and trees (at least as background).

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