Doodling in Central Park as a boy and his dog stopped to take a load off under a shady tree.
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About the only artistic thing I’ve done this week, besides a really colorful spreadsheet for work, was a class improv show at the Magnet Theater training center on Friday night. I’m just now getting a look at some iPhone video of it. It’s probably the first time I’ve seen myself onstage since my 6th grade play. It’s…not as weird as I thought it would be.
Of course, this will come as no surprise to my family, who know me as the kid who put on puppet shows for his cousins and entertained his sister by making up entire “lost” episodes of the Brady Bunch on the spot. It’s using the exact same muscle, but once you run out of kids to entertain and grow into a self-conscious adult, it gets increasingly harder to find the right opportunity to exercise it.
So what’s the point? Well, I think as adults we all have trouble living in the moment. We worry about the future, we obsess about the past, and even our most mundane interactions can be tinged with low-level anxiety about how other people are going to respond. So to take a few hours out of a Sunday and have real interactions inside a made-up, consequence-free world is an awesome recipe for living in the now. And it’s rewarding when you realize that this state of mind has enabled you to come up with a crazy character or a pitch-perfect zinger that would probably never emerge in a real-world situation.
I just need to extend that to my other endeavors. My improv brain could do great things, I tell ya. I mean, not feeding starving children great, but at least a web comic with a cult following (of probably my sister and cousins) great.
PSA for New Yorkers: If it’s lightly drizzling outside, it’s probably overkill to bust out your giant sidewalk-clogging umbrella and act as if twirling a tent on a stick entitles you to an automatic personal space upgrade. Guess what, everybody, you’re waterproof! If it’s not raining hard enough to drip into your eyes, it’s not raining hard enough to seek moon-capsule-sized mobile shelter. And even then, there’s this thing called a poncho. Try it–you might find that you actually enjoy walking down the sidewalk at a reasonable pace and not poking anybody’s eye out.
To shed some light on how I colorize old photos, I made a quick video to explain how I handle skin tones. Unfortunately, it won’t be of much use to someone who’s never opened Photoshop, but it should be useful for any regular Photoshop users who need to be pointed in the right direction. For all I know there are better methods, but this is my current go-to.
As for the colors besides skin tones, it’s usually just a matter of guesswork and experimenting with blending modes.
Just in case you’re wondering what I’m up to besides sketching: I’ve been teaching myself Final Cut Pro X, because our editing department will be switching to it this Summer. To get up to speed quickly, I’m piecing together the footage from my 2011 trip to Hong Kong.
First thing to hit the cutting room floor: my awkward on-camera appearances!