March 3, 2012 in Graphics
Welcome to the 6th graphics blog! Some of the goodies inside today:
* SOTW results.
* Art vs Design; A contextual realism?
* Latest forum news and works.
* Art from around the web.
* Musings, tutorials, and more!
Come join me on a new graphical journey!
It has been quite some time since my last blog, and perhaps a quick update about what I have been doing should be given before we proceed. Coursework, football, poker, beer, music, friends, fun, and I must say it was time well spent. With most of my free time occupied, I haven’t been focusing a whole lot on graphics lately, but I have still been keeping an eye on the happenings of the forum and graphics world. So, let’s begin!
We have a few saved up from the past couple of weeks, so from first to most recent:
SOTW 33: My Little Pony.
SOTW 34: Video Games.
SOTW 35: Heaven or hell.
- Hidden Disaster.
- Infected Soul.
SOTW 36: Set Stock.
SOTW 37: Emotions.
SOTW 38: Collabs.
- King Sean04
-Philpster and Hidden Disaster
-Yurtles and Undead Billy Mays
So there you have it, and a lot of very nice works in the mix. Remember you can always keep track of what is happening with SOTW and other events at the Graphics Forum.
Art Vs Design; A contextual realism?
I wanted to touch base on an issue that has been roaming around our forum for as-long as I can remember (which admittedly is not that long, I struggle with what I ate for breakfast). Art vs Design, primarily regarding signature work, and which avenue should be taken in regards to this. To begin, we must establish in what context we are looking at “forum signatures”. Are they artwork or design? Whilst on the one hand they are generally seen as expressions relating to the username or personality of the poster, any of the “professional” signatures will have a constant stream of traits primarily associated with design and advertisement, not to mention more often than not the set criteria involved.
The definition depends on, in a sense, the context. Having a set criteria for a “piece” certainly goes against the typical understanding of “art” (which would be expression of self or opinion) though having a direction to work in does not necessarily mean that it becomes “design”. Or does it? Design projects are notorious for the criteria and set-mandate, having freedom as a designer is quite rare; in regards to the over-all concept and direction (though it does happen from time to time). Forum signatures as “requested” certainly come with a set-mandate and idealistic outcomes, the restriction of freedom would suggest support for a design concept, though if an artist receives a “custom” request for a painting concept, would it make it a design project? At what point is the line drawn?
As to why this is important or relevant, the differences between art and design have been remarked upon by many. My own personal stance is fairly generic; art is expression, design is advertisement. I have struggled many times when making signatures (or other graphics work) to decide on what avenue to take, in the signature and small-scale graphics world, details and technique are critical points to success. Yet, these techniques are more often than not design techniques, such as image placement, colours that are eye-catching, a quickly registered image and message, most of which are design concepts primarily found in advertisement when you want people to be able to take in the entire message from a glance.
The part that I cannot decide on, is the original motivations. Back-tracking from the making of the signature to the decision to make one; Why? The motivations range widely from a personal sense of completion, to direct advertisement of a link or some such, to an attempt to impact the viewers opinion of the poster. More often than not, the reason for wanting a forum signature or other related graphics work is to influence others opinions in some way (from a core perspective) as opposed to expressing their own. This also would tie in with design concepts.
There is a lot of support in my mind as to regarding signatures as design work, however there is something that still holds an important argument; taste. It could be said that design concepts and techniques are of primary use in signature making, however when you rewind through the previous events such as SOTW’s, BOTG’s, and so forth, quite often the winner hasn’t been the best designed piece at all, but the most artistic. Perhaps it is nothing more than context? The way in which we perceive the event or situation taking place, directly affecting the way in which our “taste” motions towards. Skill, of course plays it part as-well, all of this is based on the hypothetical musings of two “pieces” made with the same level of skill and knowledge, one artistic in nature and the other a “design” piece. Perhaps signature making in itself has become it’s own platform? Drawing on both art and design techniques, if anything the main purpose would be to convey a design concept in an artistic form, or vice-versa.
It is not an easy thing to balance however. Art and design are two sides of a delicate see-saw, design is primarily a set of rules regarding human behaviour and thought processing. Art is primarily breaking rules regarding human behaviour and thought processing. To combine the two? You would have to be a mad graphical-scientist to do such an abomination! Yet… It has already been done. In-fact we see it on our forums daily if you look closely enough. It doesn’t always work and there are flaws, yet to perfect artistic design… There is a goal I plan to chase. Isn’t that the reality of it all? Perhaps context does not play a large enough role in our graphics work. Perhaps instead of perfecting effects and tool-usage, we should stop for a moment to analyze in exactly what concept are we making these images and graphics works? Without context, we lack direction. Even art needs to have a direction, the difference is that the direction is up to you. We follow our rules, when there are new members we give them advice regarding how to follow our rules, yet… For a “piece” without direction, does it not then lean towards art? Could that be simply interpreted within the context of direction, the artistic freedom? How could you then give design advice to an artistic piece?
This is all based upon the theory that art and design can mix. I do not believe the two must be separate, however not all aspects can be thrown into the mix together. If you were to take a design concept about focal placement within the image, and then throw in an artistic concept about stretching the vision, that would simply never work. You could however, use a focal placement concept with an artistic colour plan, the design concept is always to keep things simple whilst artistic is generally considered “the wilder the better”. If using a typical two or three-tone design template, it might be entirely possible to disrupt the flow whilst still including a focal. Flow is a key aspect in design, an ease-of-access in a sense to the eye, flowing from one path to another. If you were to thrown in an artistic “broken-flow” pattern, yet keep the simple-tone and focal (with a decent concept and skillful execution) it may just be possible. There are in-fact many possibilities and at some point in the future I would like to run an Art Vs Design competition. Not to see Art Vs Design, but to see who can successfully incorporate techniques, traits and patterns from both into a “piece” and make it work. I am very interested to hear others thoughts on the subject, so feel free to drop a comment below or visit my thread here: Blog Thread and make a post. What are your opinions on the Art Vs Design topic?
Latest Forum News.
There are a few things going on right now. First and foremost would be the upcoming Battle of the Graphics (BOTG). We have had this previously and it was very entertaining. A knock-out tournament in which members battle head-to-head in a public opinion vote, to see who will be crowned the winner. There are set themes, sizes, rules and topics, as-well as the occasional “surprise” thrown in for good measure. You can see the details in the thread found here: Battle of the Graphics There will be a BOTG2 in the future I’m sure, so if you have missed entry to this one, it is a good opportunity to see how it all works in preparation for the next one. Anyone may enter, and everyone is encouraged to vote when the polls are up for their favourite works. It’s always good fun to see the face-offs so make sure to keep an eye out for the round times, the first round should be starting very soon (within the next few days).
We have also had the opening of a few new shops of late. This is a great chance to get a nice signature and/or forum avatar (because we all like looking pretty). The shops currently open are:
Burning’s Graphics shop
New Request Shop
Graphics Request Shop
. Rob .
Please be respectful of the requesting rules which can be found in the first post of the threads, and as a courtesy please do not request in multiple shops at once (it creates a lot of work for everyone as opposed to spreading the love).
For those who have an interest in starting out with graphics or are a beginner, you can always come to our forum to say hi and get started, we are all willing to help you however we can and always happy to have new members as part of our community. We have skype chats, critique threads, competitions, you may make your own showroom to showcase your works, lots of cool stuff. The forum can be found here: Graphics Forum or you can click “forum” from the main tribal wars site, then click on the “graphics” section.
We have had a few new postings of late, and I would like to showcase a few of my personal favourites I have enjoyed.
- King Sean04
- King Sean04
I liked these typography pieces by King Sean04. Typography can be a very difficult theme to work with, the results are usually either brilliant or terrible. When executed well, typography can be a very eye-catching and appealing form or art, and I think these two pieces were very well executed. There were a couple of flaws, however over-all I was quite impressed and I think there is a lot of potential in the maker for some inspiring typography pieces in the future. Keep it up!
This was a poster I particularly liked. The three-tone colour usage is eye-catching and the gradients aren’t overdone yet still effective in creating a smooth background. I also liked the artwork in poster form, we see plenty of signatures and such on our forum, but not that many posters or other forms of art/design. I liked the creativity, and am looking forward to seeing what comes next.
- infected soul
Creativity is always appealing to me. I found this to be quite well done, something that a lot of works posted (I am guilty of this as-well) lack is a theme. Even the most impressive, well crafted graphical piece feels empty without an over-all theme or a “scene”. The “best” (Judging purely by popularity) digital artworks will have a scene, or in an “action” moment. It’s not always action moments of-course, but a scene, theme, anything to give the artwork direction. To give you an example:
This is a good example to me of how scene, action, theme and environment play such pivotal roles. It is not just execution and ability to use the tools, it’s about the creativity and the concept behind it. You can even have simple creations that are far more powerful than brilliantly crafted “basic” images. Something to think about perhaps before you start your next piece; “What is the scene here?”. Having a theme and a concept always helps. In regards to infected soul’s creation, I believe it had the same creativity, with a concept, and that makes a big impact.
Art from around the web.
The world is big,
The world is wide,
It cannot be seen,
Through just your eyes.
My awesome poetry skills in action. Given that, let’s look beyond our own works and at some of the other great works that have been posted around the web.
This is one of my favourite artists, and I encourage you to check out other works of hers. She has an amazing ability to pour her own emotion into her artwork, not only her incredible talents as an artist. This was created after she lost her horse, Dobrinia, and you can see the pain and emotion in this artwork. This to me is what art is all about, expression of emotions and transferring feelings that cannot be explained through words. I think it is sadly beautiful, in its own way.
There’s always something great about the more traditional avenues of art. Something… Pure. I have a lot of respect for traditional artists, I am slightly envious perhaps, to be able to so perfectly capture something like a highly defined photograph using only inks, colours and basics tools. I loved the detail in this artwork, everything from the head shape to the colours is done brilliantly, this could easily pass for a photograph. Brilliant, what else can be said.
Beautiful. That’s the only way I can describe this. I find it simply wondrous when you get a smooth, highly detailed shot of water in motion. I could spend hours watching the movements and motions of water. I’m trying to come up with words to describe exactly what it is this photograph makes me feel, but I cannot find anything close to expressing it clearly. You make up your own mind on this, but it is amazing to me. Simple, yet powerful.
I would like to showcase a signature tutorial by our very own Zenron.
It’s slightly more advanced, but it gives a good idea as to the process of creating a more detailed signature. Click on the image on DeviantArt to enlarge it.
I would like to share a short story I wrote (as it is ultimately a blog… Ie, writing). Feel free to skip, it’s irrelevant to graphics, perhaps the only relevance it holds is the artistic expression and images painted with only the mind (if I was good enough to construct such visually engaging writing). Who am I kidding, it’s a story I wrote for my girlfriend, she enjoyed it so someone else might too. With that, I wrap up this weeks blog and at the end of the post I thought it might be interesting to include stats from all my blogs, so word count, image count, etc. (By etc, I mean… That’s it.)
I hope you enjoyed it, thank you for reading.
The quiet ambiance of an open platform; awaiting only the passing vibrations of the train to power onwards without a second glance. Movements, motions, currents, energy traveling out of sight and out of mind, irreconcilable direction. He felt the large force moving at incredible speed, the sheer power it represented. Creativity and ingenuity, beautiful triumphs and its own deadly defeat. There is no life without death, and no safety without danger. He knows this all too well. The energy force has moved on; fading like a glimmer of light in his mind before it all becomes black once more. The ambiance has returned, yet it carries with it a distant energy. It radiates of beauty, making him pause in his own musings. He leans back on the bench, lifting his nose to their air to identify this new energy. Suddenly, his senses overload. Sound; a voice. Smell; intense. Contact; a hand. Energy; changing dramatically, becoming frantic and chaotic. He calms himself, piecing together his senses and the energy to recreate what it was that just happened. First; a voice. Soft, female, gentle yet strained. Second; Smell. Illuminating, calming, a hint of strawberry. Perfume. Third; a hand. Direct energy colliding with his shoulder. The shoulder won, so therefore it become the support. Support, he was supporting her hand. A strained voice, a new smell, a leaning hand. He pieced it together; she had fallen into him.
There was silence. He figured she was taking it all in herself, though in very different terms. Her analysis of the situation would not be the same as his, not many people would analyze it in such a way. He sighed, she had of course quickly let go, as was customary with accidental human contact. Something about this womans energy felt different to him. The same gently voice stammered apologies and the usual lines that come with such an event. He was unconcerned; long ago were the days of social customs for him. He smiled a dry, humorless smile. He could sense that she was uneasy, and it wasn’t hard to guess why. Once upon a time he had loathed his condition that brought about such reactions from people, but as time went on he grew accustomed to it. He could feel nothing but eyes on him when he went for a walk, or did the shopping. The occasional person would offer help in some manner of self gratification, then retreat, offended at the refusal. As if pitying such a man as he was to be embraced or enjoyed.
“What is your name?” He asked her.
“Maria.” She replied. She didn’t ask in return for his, nor did he offer it. He did not want to know her name, he only wanted to hear her speak. Words have never mattered to him, only the meaning and energy behind them. He could see the energy her words carried and he did not like it in any way. She pitied him; the soft-spoken klutz who couldn’t walk straight over flat ground pitied him. He made a non-committal noise, and turned to face away. He could feel her still standing behind him, and the smell of her perfume lingered in the air. He began to grow angry, even he didn’t know why, but he was angry at this woman. He was angry at the feelings he had. He was angry at himself.
“Well? Are you just going to stand there gawking?” He snapped at her, with his back still turned to her. She made a slightly started noise, and he imagined she looked like a deer caught in headlights. She walked away, as you might expect. He was alone once more.
The announcement came blaring through the speakers announcing (as announcements tend to do) the arrival of the train to the platform in 5 minutes. He felt the energy approaching down the tracks. The train arrived, full of people. The amount of hustle and bustle from the crowd bothered him, it was difficult to sense anything going on around you in a crowd such as that. He knew it was coming, but he didn’t know from where. Sure enough, as he attempted to board he received a solid force of energy into his shoulder from the side, unbalancing him in which he lost his footing, tumbling to the ground in a very ungraceful movement. There were a few gasps around and a female voice offering apologies and trying to help him up. Female voice? It couldn’t be…?
“The klutz!” He said out loud in recognition. He scrambled quickly to his feet, ignoring her aid. To have fallen in such an ungraceful manner in-front of this woman again, why was she always involved in the act of unbalancing?
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there!” She said apologetically. He laughed. He laughed loud, he laughed without humor. “I could say the same”, he replied. She didn’t respond to that.
He boarded the train without another word and found a seat. It was a busy afternoon, but he thought it wouldn’t be hard for him to find a seat. It was one act of pity he wouldn’t turn down, when someone offered him a seat. Upon boarding however, he realized that it would be unlikely even for him, the crowd stood shoulder to shoulder. Perhaps there was some sporting event or political rally he was unaware of. He didn’t follow the happenings of the world, he was content to sit back and ignore it as it destroys itself. He resigned himself to standing, however he was in the middle of the train and had nothing he could grab a hold of. He realized that far too late, as the train lurched forward, sending him the other way. Once again, for the second time in the last 10 minutes he had found himself in a very undignified position. His fall had been broken by someone he fell into, however he was now using that person as his own personal chair, it would appear. This chair smelt good though, kind of like strawberry. Wait. What? What?? He panicked, leaping to his feet, hoping that this wasn’t another one of the universe’s sick jokes. He heard a chuckling coming from the person he was half-sitting on. Why wasn’t she angry? She was laughing, and it was sweet.
“Life does have its own ways of teaching it would seem,” she finally spoke, “are you sure you don’t need a hand?”
His chest tightened at her words. She was right, he needed help, it would only take one more stop for him to be the ground again without anything to hold onto. Even so, he did not want to accept help, especially from a klutz like her! “Even though I’m actually worse.” He thought to himself, before coming down hard on his subconscious squashing the thought. Still, he didn’t reply, he would not taste defeat in such a manner. He was painfully aware that he hadn’t refused her, though he hoped she hadn’t picked up on this fact. Alarm bells started ringing however when he felt something small and warm slide into his palm. Oh, it was her hand. Her hand?
“Hold on.” She said.
The rest of the train ride was uneventful. People slowly trickled out and he found a seat, though ironically he sat down just before his stop. He wondered where Maria was going, she hadn’t gotten off yet but he was still slightly resentful towards her, and was more than content to travel in silence. He could feel eyes upon him, he had felt her eyes on him the entire trip and bitter thoughts and feelings kept creeping into his mind. Perhaps she was mocking him in her mind, or worse perhaps she felt “sorry” for him. The thoughts kept on moving, like a train within his own mind. Finally he heard the announcement for his stop, he was almost home. He began to get to his feet, expecting her to come over and try to help him up or some such insult. He even had a retort prepared, ready, but she didn’t. It surprised him, and he was even more surprised when she brushed past him near the door and got off the train. He stepped onto the platform, he didn’t need to look, he knew exactly where the platform ledge was. He tried to focus, there were so many people and so much noise around him that it was difficult for him to center himself. He grew concerned, did she really take off just like that? Why the sudden change of attitude? “Perhaps I was right all along” he grumbled to himself as he made his way towards the exit of the station. Suddenly something snagged his hand from behind, forcing him to stop. It was her, she had grabbed his hand. His heart lifted, even though he tried to deny to himself that he was happy she was still here. Such hopes and emotions are pointless and only lead to sadness after all. Try as he might however, he couldn’t stop his heart from beating slightly faster or his breathing from quickening slightly. He scolded himself, this woman was only helping him out of pity, after all.
“Do you have plans?” She asked him in almost a shout, to be heard over the hustle and bustle of the station.
“Why?” He asked suspiciously.
“There’s a cafe over there, we didn’t talk much on the train and… I would like to know more about you.” She sounded slightly nervous, like a shy child. He was confused, was she hitting on him? He must be misinterpreting, there must be something she wants from him, no woman had ever taken an interest in him since the “accident”. Still… He had nothing but free time these days, and if she was planning anything bad there was ample opportunity before this. “Besides,” he thought, “I wouldn’t even care if she was.”
He nodded and made a somewhat approving grunting noise. She helped him through the station and across the street, though he was loathe to receive such help it did make the trip a lot faster and more efficient. They entered the little cafe and found it was mostly quiet, only a few scattered people talking softly or not at all. They sat down at a table near the window and ordered some sandwiches and coffee. Then, they talked. About everything and about nothing. Weather (it was a fairly cloudy day, looking like rain), jobs (he discovered she was a music teacher), the food (she was vegetarian). Time passed as they made idle conversation, and he found himself relaxing more and more around her. She was a very warm, friendly person it seemed. She was intelligent, when he turned the topics to business and politics she was very quick and appeared to enjoy a good topical debate. She loved books and reading, music, art, “things that will speak from the heart, not from the head” as she said.
Before he knew it they had been talking for over an hour, and he still hadn’t brought up the topic he wanted to discuss the most. He just couldn’t bring himself to do it, she was so animated, lively, happy, that it made him happy. How could he bring up such a depressing topic? Did it need to be brought up? He sat lost in thought as she continued to chat away about some of her music students and their progress of late. He decided it had to be discussed.
“… And Tim, he’s shown a lot of development in his rhythm lately, he-”
“Why are you here?” He cut over the top of her. She paused.
“Why am I here?”
“Why are you here with me? Why did you want to talk to me? You know about my condition. Doesn’t it bother you?”
She was silent for a moment, before she replied; “It doesn’t. Does it bother you?” It was his turn to be silent. It was then that he realized something. She was right, it didn’t bother him at all. They had been talking for quite some time and he had greatly enjoyed it, his condition made no impact on that.
“I think you are an interesting person, you have a lot of opinions on many topics, you are intelligent and a good conversationalist when you get going. Do I need a greater reason?” She asked him. He felt the honesty radiating from her, and it threatened to break everything that he had ever learned, every wall and defense he had, every belief that he clung to. “I had hoped we could just talk as two people, without your condition coming into effect at all.” She continued without waiting for his answer.
“Shouldn’t I be the one saying that?” He asked sardonically.
“Yes, you should.” She replied flatly. He laughed softly, perhaps he was indeed the hypocrite here. He smiled at her, the first real smile that had touched his face in over two years. The smile that comes from having an engaging conversation with an intelligent, young woman in a cozy cafe. The smile that comes naturally to human beings. The ironic smile that comes from the realization that you were wrong about everything.
“What do you see when you look at me?” He asked her.
“I see a man who needs help, but doesn’t want to admit it. I see a strong man who believes he has been brought low by an outside influence when it is only his mind that has weakened him. I see someone I can help, and someone who is not a bad person, only an unfortunate one. What do you see when you look at me?”
He thought for a moment, before replying; “I see hope.” He wondered how she would reply to such an airy response. In a way, it was a test of his own. How would she respond to him saying what he truly thought, for once in his life.
“There aren’t many people who can see that,” She replied, “You know… Your coffee has probably gone cold. Do you fancy another? I wouldn’t mind trying the truffle since we are here. When I was on holidays last year I came across a place that made the best truffle, it was a kind of…” She continued on to tell a story about some ludicrously fantastic truffle at some holiday hotel. He sat and quietly listened as she talked, chuckling slightly at her apparent passion for deserts. He smiled inwardly, thinking about her previous words. She was right, there were not many people who could see what he saw now. Perhaps the accident wasn’t the curse he thought it to be, all his life he had been bitter and isolated, even before that happened. She continued to talk through a whole variety of topics, as he contemplated. He felt a tightness in his chest, and he let out a deep breath as it came washing down over him. He wasn’t angry anymore. He wasn’t angry at what happened, he wasn’t angry at her and he wasn’t angry at himself anymore. He felt at peace, sitting here in the warm cafe talking about normal topics, with a normal person, living a normal life. He began to think that maybe this wasn’t the end, maybe this was just the beginning, perhaps there is even more out there waiting for him in life. Maybe his life wasn’t over, perhaps it had been dead previously without realizing it, and only now does he have a chance to see what it means to live and to appreciate it.
He sprang to his feet, decided. She was startled, and quickly asked him what was wrong.
“Truffle!” He said exuberantly.
“Yes! Let’s try the truffle, and then let’s go down the road and try someone else’s truffle! I haven’t had truffle in years, I want to try every truffle in this city!” He was aware that he was making a scene by jumping up and half-shouting about truffle, but he didn’t care. Part of him was afraid, but he had decided, this is how he was going to break out of his shell. “You said you had a fantastic truffle at that holiday resort right? Well if it made such an impression on you that it was worth mentioning a year later, I have to try it! Where was it? I’ll book a ticket now, the airport is only a few hours from here!” He figured she probably thought he had snapped and gone crazy, but part of him hoped that she did, it would make it easier to explain his random decision. Perhaps he had in-fact snapped and gone crazy, but there was no time to contemplate that.
She made a strange sound, like a gasp. He paused, was she choking on something? Had his outbreak caused her to inhale food or choke on a drink? She made it again, and then again, and a few more times. It built up, and it was a sound that washed away all of his doubts and fears. She was laughing, an honest, pure laugh. It was heavenly to him.
“Okay! Why not, let’s do it!” She said, still laughing, “Though perhaps let’s just start with the truffle on this street first, and then maybe one day we’ll see about running around the world truffle-tasting” she chuckled. He felt a little foolish for shouting such a thing, but he was still happy about making her laugh, even if it was primarily at him. Hearing her laugh cemented in the belief in his decision.
Though his sight may be lost forever, there will always be… Truffle. He smiled, “I was wrong all along,” he thought to himself, “it is the little things that matter the most”. He then aided Maria in the fingernail-biting decision of which truffle they would try first, and where they would go from there. He had lost sight of the previous world he had known, but he had gained sight into a new world he never existed. He knew that he was going to explore every inch of it, and love every moment of it. For… What is life, if you don’t enjoy the little things? He was not blinded by the accident, he was blinded by himself. It was only when he lost it that he realized what it was to truly see the world around him, and he decided would live blindly no more.
I’m not the best novelist (well, short story-writer) but I must say it’s great fun. The statistics for those still reading:
Which makes a total of: 20,453 words and 93 images posted. I hope you have enjoyed my blogs thus far, and will continue to enjoy them into the future!