My First Portrait

Scotia's Eyes (drawing)

Scotia’s Eyes (drawing)
Originally uploaded by Ken Dyck.

This is my first attempt at drawing a portrait in its entirety (eyes, nose, lips, hair, etc).

It’s based on one of Intrepid Lady’s excellent photos (thanks for permission to draw it and post the result).

For a first attempt, I’m relatively pleased with how it turned out. I need some more practice with hair. And I didn’t quite capture the mouth the way I see it in the photo. The shading around the nose took forever. Of all things, I’m surprised at how well the shirt turned out.

But, like I said, for a first attempt, I’m happy.

How to siphon without sucking

Here’s a technique for siphoning water out of a container with a garden hose without having to suck on the hose to prime it, because let’s face it, who wants to 1. put the end of a dirty garden hose in your mouth, or 2. risk drinking what’s coming through it? I used this technique to drain a small pond in our back yard.
Along with a garden hose, you will need a working tap and a nozzle that can be closed . Most typical hand-nozzles should work just fine.

  1. Attach the hose to the tap and the nozzle to the hose.
  2. Run some water through the hose to fill it with water.
  3. Close the nozzle. Close the tap.
  4. Remove the hose from the tap, holding the open end up to prevent any water from spilling out. Your hose is now primed for use.
  5. Carry both ends of the hose to the place where you’d like the water to drain to. Be careful not to spill water from the hose. Leave the nozzled end there.
  6. Place the open end of the hose in the container you’d like to drain.
  7. Return to the nozzled end and remove the nozzle.
  8. Watch as the container drains. Smile because you didn’t have to taste any of it.

Congratulations Team Smartass

On Friday, the Google Research blog that Team Smartass, a group of Google employees, had won the ICFP Programming Contest, an annual 3-day event usually held over the Labour Day weekend. No big surprise there. We all know that Google only hires the brightest programmers on the planet.

I was happy to see that among the members of the winning team was one Chris Hendrie. Chris was a coworker of mine back when I worked at Texas Instruments; a great guy, and one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. He was definitely in another league from the rest of us slogs.

Anyways, I’m glad to see that he’s accomplished something that he talked about even back then. I always knew he was capable of it. He just needed at more capable team. It seems he’s found it.

Congratulations Chris and Team Smartass!

Learning to draw

My sister, The Mighty Sally, is a fantastic artist. She does these amazing illustrations for a weekly art contest called Illustration Friday.

Here’s an example. She did this one for the topic “farm”:

Farm, by The Mighty Sally

Inspired by her illustrations, I’ve decided to take up pencil drawing.

I’m learning from Lee Hammond’s, Big Book of Drawing, which I’ve found very helpful so far.

Here are some of my first attempts at drawing various facial features.

Facial features, practice

Yeah, I know the nose on the top left looks cartoonish. It’s supposed to. It was just an exercise to learn how the shapes fit together.
More to come. Stay tuned.

I’m back

It was a pleasant break, but now I’m back.
Things around here are going to be different than they were before. Hope you enjoy it.