### Value Sphere Drawing II

The everyone first exercise could be value sphere, some maybe value scale. My post of first value sphere drawing published in October had shared about the material used and the mistakes that gave an fake-looking, flat and abnormal sphere.

 first value sphere drawing
3 points I must take note from the mistakes:
- Ellipse of terminator
- Highlight shouldn't touching the edge of sphere
- The pole of terminator should always cut the sphere exactly into half

I found an interesting video posted by Vitruvian Studio in Youtube: Drawing Basics that explain the position of highlight in convincing scientific way. Alternatively, you can buy a sphere shape cast or any low-cost sphere model from craft store, either clay or wooden. It's for light concept study. Place the sphere in a box with all sides closed and front-side opened to a light source from an angle; then, observed the terminator, cast shadow, reflection, highlight and the transition from highlight to terminator.

 second value sphere drawing
My second sphere drawing is a more successful drawing compare to first one; where I had overcame those mistakes I made in my first sphere. My online instructor, Sadie, complimented my nice terminator ellipse and the overall give the sphere a 3D effect. 3D?!! Her compliments made me fly.

Nevertheless, I still made a mistake. My light area of the sphere is too dark, which looks more like a gray sphere than a white sphere. The transition from terminator to highlight need to be faster. For this part, my first sphere has better highlight-terminator transition.

My second sphere is my passed ticket to move forward to painting value sphere. Oh, my hands are itching for touching the brushes and paints. I have not painting for months because of artist block in August to September. In October, I started home atelier training where all the exercises are pencil drawings only. So can you understand how my hands craving for the paints and brushes, especially I was painting all the time before August.

Before ending the post, I would like to share my study of value sphere outlines and ellipse drawing exercises. These two exercises are very good for me to understand the light concept as well as draw a better shape of terminator.

### Nov 2014 Milestones

As promised in last post, my assignments to be completed in November. The most challenging is the Bargue drawing. I still wondering if I could finish that much in a month. Let's see in the end of Nov.

### Daily Routine

Peoples misunderstood the life of creative peoples, included myself. I thought the creative peoples always unorganized, spontaneous, and never stick on the same routine everyday. Nevertheless, the truth is completely opposite to what we always think. If you had heard about or you had read a book named "Daily Rituals: How Artist Work" written by Mason Currey, who also the blog owner of Daily Routines, you will learnt that: the renowned creative peoples always working to  their repetitive daily schedule. Since I'm not blogging about the book or  the routine of creative peoples, you can search more in the internet if you would like to have further understanding.

I know my weaknesses. I'm lack of self-discipline if my schedule is over-flexible. I will delay and delay my plan if there is no priority or specific time frame set to accomplish the plan. Fortunately, I learnt about the old masters and today's creative peoples always have a predictable daily routine, which giving them triggers as a reminder for them to start and stop working. This is exactly what I need the most, the trigger to stop my inadvertence. Without wasting any minutes, I made a new daily routine as below.

Nonetheless, daily routine is just a helping hand to stay creative and complete a mission. It's not enough without a milestone, the only way that you keep track on your accomplishment. Therefore, I designed my own curriculum for my home training, from yearly missions downsized to trimester curriculum then monthly milestones. I don't want my milestones to be too challenging which I may not able to complete within that month. My purpose of setting milestones is to complete them within a month.

In addition, I will be posting my milestones in this blog in the first week of the month, and, review back in the end of the month. This is a force that pushing me keep up with the plan. Within that month, I will blog about each completed task, as a proof for me to review my monthly milestone at the end of the month.

The yearly missions, monthly milestones and daily routine forming a closed loop, giving me a beginning line, pushing me on the running track and allowing me to check back at the finishing line. Any incomplete task without a good reason will be a reflection of my inefficiency schedule or my self-discipline problem. In my next post, I will be sharing my November milestones. I'm very excited with the new method and new plans. If I can always stay on track, my dream will not be too far from me.

### Value Sphere Drawing

After several hours of drawing thin line with small stroke, my first value sphere has done! This technique was testing my patient and I'm impressed with my performance (for patient only). After photographing my drawing with my new camera, which i purchased for scanning my artworks, I immediately sent it to my online instructor, Sadie Valeri. I was just too excited with the drawing as well as the online atelier. After years of graduation, it's feel really good to be a student again, even though this is just a group-based online art class.

Drawing on a straight easel, parallel with my face, allow me to see my whole paper and easier to notice the errors.

I drew the outline of the sphere and it's cast shadow with a 2H pencil.

After drawing the outline, I started the blocking by shading the bottom hemisphere and cast shadow with H pencil. Then, I used 2H, H and HB pencils to enhance light and shadow transition with small light strokes on the whole drawing, including the background. This process was repeated several time to adjust the shadow and the smoothing the shading to avoid obvious pencil strokes.

This is the final stage of my value sphere drawing that I submitted. The pencil strokes aren't smooth enough for the background. I think the cast shadow looks great but my sphere looks a little strange. I knew I had overdone the core shadow of the sphere but I can't really find out where's go wrong until Sadie pointed out the problems.

Firstly, the ellipse of my core shadow is a little too curved. Both poles of the the core shadow is too high as well. Ideally, if we connecting the poles of core shadow, it will form a straight line that cut the sphere exactly into half. The poles of my core shadow have shifted toward the upper part. They should be shift downward a little bit more. The other error is my highlight which is touching the edge of upper hemisphere. That edge is where the highlight turn away; therefore, it should be slightly darker than the highlight.

Overall, I need to have a better understanding on the concept of light for drawing a better value sphere. Sadie complimented my technique of shading and the transition of shadow to highlight, which made my time consumption in shading worthwhile. I am thinking of coming back to this exercise after I finished the next two exercises.

### Pencil Sharpening

Before starting any drawing, the first topic of Sadie Valeri Online Atelier is "Pencil Sharpening" with a knife. It's the essential step for drawing. You can't draw if your pencils are not sharpened, right? I usually sharpened my pencils with a sharpener. It's easiest and cleaner. However, I learnt that some artists don't use pencil sharpener; instead, they prefer the classical way by using a knife and sand paper. I barely remember there is one artist said you won't go back to sharpener when you used a knife-sharpened pencil. I was quite curious yet I never try it until today.

To sharp a pencil with a knife, you need these two things - a utility knife and sandpaper.

The typical pencil sharpener give a short arrow-head shape pencil point. The expose pointy lead is wide and short, which will dull after short while of drawing. You don't want to sharpen your pencils again and again while you are focusing on drawing.

Referring to Sadie's hangout, a perfectly sharpened pencil should have a long, thin and sharp exposed lead, just like a needle.

With the guide of video, I cut off the wooden part to expose the lead for about an inch. After that, I sanded the lead with my sandpaper block. You can use any form of sandpaper; however, sandpaper block is easier to use. It will took awhile in sanding until the lead is thin and sharp. The harder grade the pencil is, the longer it take to sand.

When cutting or sanding the soft grade pencil ( hardness B onwards), you need to do it softly and lightly. Soft leads easier to break if you put too much pressure.

The thin and long exposed lead has higher risk to break. Hence,  my experience taught me that I should only hold the pencil when I am drawing. Otherwise, put aside the pencil if I need to grab my cup or other things. It's to avoid the lead hit it on any hard surface, like table corner or drop on the floor.

Since the pencil point is sharp like a needle, I think that we must be careful when using it. Treat it like a needle. Keep away from the reach of children if you have any. Just a precaution.

So, what's my review with the knife-sharpened pencil? It's awesome. I can draw with the same pencil for whole night without sharpening again. I just sand the lead if I need it pointy for thin line. It's great for drawing; but, I feel that we better stick back to old method if it's for writing.

### Prologue

This is my own believing. Peoples, who are not genius in painting, drawing, sculpting or other form of fine art, are able to create by learning through the works of their favorite artist; most of the times, the result can be very good. However, without proper foundation of drawing and painting fundamental, they might not be able to build their own style and create from own imagination. In such condition, I refer it as "Soulless Artist". And, I am one of them.

 "Waiting for True Love" 2010, Watercolor & Digital Touch-up by Lavennz Ooi
I had discovered my interest in art since my first drawing. My parents did not send me to art class even though they were quite supportive, encouraging me to practice drawing at home. When I grew older, I found my other interest in songwriting; thus, slightly pushing drawing to one side. At the age of deciding my future, I had neither taking songwriting nor drawing as my future career, but I was enrolled into engineering degree. Then here come to the turning point of my life, I picked up my brushes again when I was doing my second year degree. Thereafter, I have never let go my brushes.

 "Swan Queen" 2011, Acrylic & Color Pencil on Paper by Lavennz Ooi
I learnt through observing and imitating works of my favorite artists and illustrators. I painted based on photos, was believing I can draw and paint with my own way, neglecting the fundamentals and theories. I fractionating my subject and reference into small sections, working fraction by fraction rather than looking them as a whole. As a result, all of my works may look good, but they are soulless. Neither me nor my families and friends sensed any connection with my paintings. They couldn't receive the message through my works. The figure in my painting looks like a mannequin  instead of a person. Such constantly disappointment suppressing my passion, pulling me away from creating. I started to doubt on my passion and talents, afraid of finishing any paintings. If you walk into my home studio, you will find a lot of half-done paintings.

 "Breakthrough" 2012, Acrylic Mixed Media on Paper by Lavennz Ooi
I did not continue painting for 5 weeks. And all of sudden, I woke up from this miserable nightmare. I told myself that I can't let go of my brushes. I must bring back my passion for continuing my dream. My younger brother once told me that I am lucky to found my dream, because there are a lot of peoples who haven't found what they want to be. Hence, if I give up my dream, how can I encourage my brother and others in finding and pursuing their dreams?

 "Gift" 2013, Graphite Mixed Media on Paper by Lavennz Ooi
I began to realize my lack of knowledge in fundamental, the golden rules of lines, colors, perspective, light and shadow. All these years, I experimented various different mediums and techniques, but I had neglected the basic. Therefore, I gathered some information of art classes, workshops, even BFA and MFA. Then, 'Atelier' came to my eyes, a classical art academic that teaching their apprentice by using the old masters' traditional techniques. As my financial condition and location don't allow me to travel or enroll in any full time art class or atelier, I changed my plan to "Home Atelier", which I define it as "Homeschooling of Art", self-training and self-directing based on books, free online lessons, free materials from the internet and the guidelines of old and living masters.

 "Contentedness" 2014, Graphite Mixed Media by Lavennz Ooi
Recently, I signed up an inexpensive online atelier, teaching by an international recognized still live oil painter, Sadie Valeri. This class is more like a forum than the actual atelier, where the instructor posting the hangouts, materials and demo videos on a private group, the students are self-motivating to complete the exercise and the instructor will comment and advise the work. I am going to take this class as the basic guideline and syllabus in rebuilding my skills and enriching my knowledge. It's very exciting to start from the very beginning and hoping to have a great development in both of my skills and my artistic spirit. In conjunction with my new artistic life, I rescheduled my daily routines, pushing myself to have more practice in each week; and, this blog will be the report of my "Home Atelier" progress and my presentation platfoam.

Thanks for reading this long post of introduction. I had tried my best to write it but you may find it's dull, choppy narrative, bad grammar and poor in vocabulary. Afterall, I am not a good writer in English; nonetheless, I hope my future posts about my practice and arts will gained your interests.