Tag Archives: drawing

Making a shop background has been difficult for me. First of all, I lack the drawing skills. Given an hour or so, I can do a decent job at realistic sketches, but comic-style drawing is what matters for games. After many, many false starts, I got a mediocre shop sketch done. I put a (hopefully) greedy-looking pig merchant in the front, a bookcase with blocks in the back and various low-tech shop stuff in the background. After taking a picture of my drawing with a digital camera and uploading it to my computer I went to Aviary, a web-based art-suite. It's not as powerful as Photoshop, but it's no slouch and it doesn't cost hundreds of dollars, either. I used the vector app to create polygon-based shapes on top of my sketch. Here's what it looked like part way through:

After finishing, then I saved the file as a png, and opened it with Paint.net to do the coloring and the details that had to be drawn. This process took me forever. Part of the problem is that I was using a mouse instead of a tablet, but I think most of it was just various rookie errors. Never resize stuff before using the paintbucket tool. The shapes will leak! Also, There were some serious perspective errors. Erasing and re-drawing huge chunks of picture really sucked. Next time, I'll try a lot harder to get it right with the vector based shapes at the beginning. I'm not completely proud of the final project, but I think it's better for my learning to just finish it and then be able to work on the next project sooner.

I didn't get much programming done in November or December. I did pick up a copy of The Land of Lisp, which was awesome. I'm not quite sure it was ideal for a beginner such as myself, seeing as I used nothing but the REPL for two weeks not knowing I had other options and found myself bogged down about 40% of the way through. The author's enthusiasm and ability to make interesting exercises out of so many otherwise dry activities was great. I may return to the book later.

One reason I didn't do so much coding was the fact that all of my acquaintances here in the Beijing hostels seem to have social lives that revolve around drinking at bars. Some of them are great people... but you really don't have much to show for a late night at a bar the next day, except maybe some good memories. For that reason I think it's much better as an occasional event than a regular way of life. Tons of my buddies in Taiwan loved to drink, but the two groups I regularly met up with were centered around either strategy board gaming or outdoor endurance sports. Surprisingly both groups included a lot of computer people and some artistic people as well. Beijing is a big city, though, and I'm sure those people have to be around, with the possible exception of the distance runners.

Another thing that slowed me down is that my Chinese classes got way tougher than they had been before. Our teacher is great, and she's willing to regularly correct our essays, but that means we regularly have to write essays. Even now, I've got all kinds of non-standard Taiwanese phrases and the occasional traditional character popping up in my writing. I guess it's a good thing to have a teacher tell me though. I must have said 綁鞋帶 a five or six times since getting to the mainland instead of 系鞋带, but nobody pointed it out to me since they could all understand me... and that's just one of hundreds if not thousands of phrases I've got a little bit off.

One area in which I made a great deal of progress was drawing. Somehow, and I don't even understand how myself, I went from barely being able to do anything realistic to being able to draw a decent portrait given enough time, or a potted plant in 15 minutes or so. The aspect of this that surprises me most is that absolutely nobody helped me at all with it. I literally just got on google, searched "learn to draw" and took it from there.

Right now, I'm feeling energized. I've had time off from exercising the coding part of my brain and now I've got the desire to go at it again. I'm going to start working on that game like Tetris with a shop.