It’s about time!

It is a bit chilly tonight here in Texas as I sit with my homemade mocha; I have finally gotten around to learning to use the espresso machine that I bought nearly a year ago. To both the chill in the air and the fact that I can finally make my own coffee, I say, “It’s about time”.

There’s something else that is long overdue, and that is my blog post about my first moley spread. Now that I’ve found my new corporial method of writing entries, I’ve gotten around to it.

As I have posted before, my theme was a blending of Persian artwork and the idea from Clive Barker’s Weaveworld that there is a magical place that can be woven into the threads of a carpet. One modern day Persian artist that paints the most beautiful paintings is Mahmoud Farshchian. I love the intricate detail and the brilliant colors that he uses to paint the traditional Persian motif.

Going back further in time, Persia has a rich and beautiful artistic tradition. The simple yet intricate brushwork of the miniatures and the dedication of weaving geometric designs in silk and wool into carpets for months and years at a time. it is truly amazing.

I wanted to incorporate this along with some traditional subjects into the few pages that I had to work with. First, there were the inside cover and facing page to fill, then the first three pages of the fold out accordian of the Japanese style moley.

Here you see the inside cover of my moley with the facing page.

On the inside of the front cover I needed to include information about the route the moley would take, my contact info and the title of the moley. I started by drawing a girl remiscient of the style of Mahmoud Farshchian. Then I filled in the facing page with my contact info at the top and under it a map of the route the moley is to take. I decorated the map with a carpet-like border and wound around a fabric / paper banner to hold it all together.

After inking the page and coloring it with Prismacolor Markers, I discovered two things. The first was that while the non-waterproof Noodler’s cactus fruit colored ink I had previously used to ink was not affected by the alchohol based markers, the Noodler’s bulletproof and water resistant black ink that I used on part of the drawing smeared when it came in contact with the marker, muddying the color and softening the lines. Definately, not good.

Secondly, I realized that while the accordian style binding negated the effect of bleed through for nearly allof the pages of the moley, the page facing the inside cover had marker bleed through onto the first of the next three pages that I needed to work on luckily the bleed was confined to only a few areas, but it was something I needed to consider when working on the other side.

I decided that for the next page on the flip side of my completed work I would only use the cactus fruit ink that did not bleed with Prismacolor Pencils. When sketching out the design in pencil I started with a carpet like border that I initially thought that I would continue along the entire edge. Later, when drawing it, I decided to fade it out instead.

These are the first three accordion pages of my moley leaving the rest to be filled in by other artists

I went with a sprawling hillside landscape like you might see in a hunting or polo motif, In fact I put a couple horseback riders playing polo on the first page. I liked the girl that I had put in the previous pages so much that I put another here as well. In the lower right a rokh sweeps onto the page and covers most of the bleed through that I was worried about from the previous page. A rokh is a huge predatory bird from Persian mythology known to pick up horses and even elephants in it’s talons and carry them off. Interestingly, this work came to be the word “rook” in English which of course is the castle-like chess piece.

For the rest od the spread I layered in a number of better known Middle Eastern stories and myths. There is a guy opening a cave of treasures in the cliff a la Ali Baba and another rubbing a magic lamp to extract a genie like Alladin. A djinn peeks over the tops of the hills and a large city with the iconic bulb topped towers looms in the distance.

It was safe to use marker again on the last two pages, so I did and learned to do some decent blending to make the grassy hillsides look correct. Overall, I am happy with it and am looking forward to seeing what other artists will add on the following pages. i think I did a decent job of incorporating Persian motifs though Alladin and Ali Baba aren’t really all that authentic.

Are there any myths or characters you would have included or would like to see in the future? Please let me know in the comments below.

Kicking it Old School

I love computers. I got my hands on one for the first time as a child and was amazed by what I could do with it. That affection for computers and technology is something that has never worn off.

Pen and ink on paper.

Good old fashioned writing, smeared, smudged, spattered and perfect.

Still, there are some things that computers aren’t really good at. Rather, there are some things that I am not good at using computers for. take drawing for instance. Some people use drawing tablets and make incredible art digitally. I never got the hang of that. Sure, I can scribble away, but I can’t make anything that I would call art.

I also have a Droid X phone that I love. I can take it places and do all kinds of fun and useful things with it; even make phone calls. But when it comes to typing on it, I get frustrated. I can’t type nearly as fast on it as I can on a keyboard. Don’t even get me started on swype’s misinterpretations of my keystrokes.

Even with a physical keyboard there is something about writing that is difficult, that is being creative. It is again, probably just me, but as useful as computers are, they exist and work because of a complex set of rules. I can type neatly ordered rows of perfectly formed letters with ease, but that is not condusive to beaing creative or writing, it is too rigid.

Now a paper and pen are fluid. I can make all sorts of crazy lines that don’t even mean anything at all with them. It is more open, more freeing, more creative. So I am going to try writing my blog posts with paper and pen and see how it turns out. Interestingly enough it is completely portable too, I can write just as well at my own home as I can anywhere else.

So it is time to go back to ancient times, before the internet and video games and word processors and see what I can write with a simple pen and paper.

Penmanship and Specerian Script

One thing that I have given thought to recently is how ugly my handwriting is.  Sure, I write much less than I used to and type far more than I ever did in school, but that doesn’t mean that my handwriting has to look so horrible. 

I saw somewhere the other day that people who start using fountain pens will discover that they want to improve their penmanship.  This may be the case with me as I recall trying out a new own or ink, nothing too expensive as I am on a budget, but still an elegant writing tool nonetheless, and I write text with it that looks sloppy and rushed. Definitely not appealing to the eye.  It makes me want to do better, to improve, which is an impulse that I try not to ignore. 

In school, I learned to print and then I learned cursive.  my cursive was correct but never very good and I would find myself frequently starting a paper in cursive and reverting to print along the way, much to my teachers’ displeasure.  Once I was allowed to, I dispenced with cursive all together in favor of printing.   In high school, I took two years of drafting and found that I liked the clean look of the printed pure upper case lettering there.  That became the way that I wrote.  Through the years, I found the desire to write faster and faster, and my writing became sloppier and sloppier.  I never saw much of a reason to work on improving it, until now.

I came across a sample of Spencerian Script, a popular style of writing from the 1800′s that looks very appealing.  The question now is, am I willing to devote the time and effort to learn it?