Day 15 – Friday, September 21, 2012

Yo interbutts! This day didn’t start too smooth, I overslept some 40-ish minutes. Fortunately, that was only the very start of the day, the rest of it has been pretty productive and fun so far!

Instead of doing the ordinary process plan-routine, I decided to dedicate this Friday to experimenting a bit with a program called Alchemy. My verdict after using it for some three hours today is; it’s fantastic! I couldn’t possibly explain in depth what Alchemy is or what it can do. It’s a very experimental drawing program and thus it will be what you make of it. Here’s the official explanation from the website, though;

Alchemy is an open drawing project aimed at exploring how we can sketch, draw, and create on computers in new ways. Alchemy isn’t software for creating finished artwork, but rather a sketching environment that focuses on the absolute initial stage of the creation process. Experimental in nature, Alchemy lets you brainstorm visually to explore an expanded range of ideas and possibilities in a serendipitous way. – Official Alchemy website.

So, during the day, I experimented with the program, getting to know its features and how I can work with it to my advantage. It’s very useful for abstractly sketching things. More often that not, I found that simple experimentation would yield interesting and sometimes even useful results. I grew fond of one of my experiments in particular and decided that it deserved to be turned into a more refined sketch. After all, I could use some practice and experimentation in regular sketching as well!

This is the original ‘sketch’ from Alchemy, which I used as a base for the final sketch. (Click to enlarge.)

This is the finished Photoshop sketch. This has, by far, been the most effective process I’ve tried yet, as it only took some 3-3½ hours in total, which includes learning Alchemy from the ground up. (Click to enlarge.)

I can definitely say that this spontaneous experimentation session has been one of the most useful things I’ve done during this block so far. As mentioned, the method was very effective but it was also very creative. The way that Alchemy works pretty much fosters spontaneity and creative experimentation, which I found yielded more attachment to the concept itself, which in turn made the whole process a lot of fun to work with. I’m definitely going to look into using this method more and documenting it so that I can refer to it in my documentation of the assignments.

Last but not least, weekly reflection time! In the form of a list, of course. So, what have I learned this week?

  • I’ve learned that having a plan for my work and its process made it a lot easier to get started. It also made it a lot easier to work, as soon as I came up with a theme/assignment for the day.
  • I also learned that the method of sketching is just as important as the idea itself. Finding a method that you’re comfortable with helps making the process more fun. Having more fun means more motivation and all of that helps creativity.
  • Through good ol’ “learning-by-doing”, I’ve gotten a tiny bit better at shading, having tried a few different methods, approaches and brushes.
  • I learned that Alchemy is awesome. Seriously!

That pretty much sums it up. Have a good weekend, y’all! I’m gonna play Borderlands 2 for most of it, heck yeah!

Marcus out.