Category Archives: Sports

Evolution of a Drawing

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“What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing.” – David Hockney

Earlier this summer, my friend asked me if I would do a drawing for an auction to raise funds for her neighborhood swim team.  This was technically my first “commission”, so I was nervous that I would not meet her expectations. But since Stacie and I have a strong connection to that pool (we used to belong to that club, and we have a lot of friends who still do), I agreed to give it a shot.

I don’t normally take pictures of a drawing as I am working on it, but I wanted my friend to understand what I was creating, so I sent her these updates as I worked through the drawing.  And since I saved the photos, I figured I would share them here, as some of you may be interested in the steps I took to create this drawing.

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To make sure I had the basic building blocks and the correct proportions, I started with an outline using a 2H pencil.  So far, so good.

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Then I drew over the pencil with a Pigma Micron 005 black ink pen.  At this point, I was feeling confident that the drawing was on the right track.

image-2Okay, the ink is largely complete.  Do I really need to add color? This is looking pretty good as a black and white.  What if I screw up the color now?  Alright, fine – time for color.

image-3The sky – never easy to capture the sky, but since it’s mostly blue and cloudless during the summer at the pool, that’s the impression I went for.

image-4Now for the water – Tombow markers with a wash.  There was major potential for mistakes, but I like how the wash made the water look like water.  Do I really need to paint the trees?  Aaaah, the color green – Nature’s delight, but an artist’s burden.

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I played around with some different shades of green, stole some techniques from Pete Scully, and finished the trees.  I wanted to keep the drawing airy and light, but at this stage, the drawing still looks flat.

image-7So, I added some black ink to the palm trees to give them more contrast.  And to complete the drawing, I drew Kermit and the Woodlands flag on the shed.  Done.

A big thanks to my friend, Angie, for asking me to do this drawing, and for taking all of the source photos.  It was a team effort.  Go Woodlands!

P.S. Since I haven’t yet convinced Stacie that we desperately need an artist’s drafting table in our back room, I sometimes take over our dining room table.  This is what my creative process really looks like.
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P.P.S. This is my 100th post.  I was feeling rather proud that I was about to write my 100th post until I remembered that Seth Godin recently published his 5,000th post.  I could say that quality trumps quantity, but Seth Godin’s stuff is really good (albeit unrelated to sketching or art).  Nevertheless, thank you for visiting The Hipping Post, particularly to those of you who have stayed tuned through two years of my evolving experiment.  There’s more to come – so please stick around.

The Greatest

Ali

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
– Muhammad Ali

The other night I was tired, and I didn’t feel like sketching.  But creating good art is more about consistency and hard work, than it is about inspiration.  So I decided to sketch someone who came to mind when I thought of hard work and inspiration.

For these sketches I used only Tombow brush markers without first sketching in pencil.  This technique forces me to focus on capturing values and basic shapes, and to not worry about picking up every detail.  These sketches may not be perfect representations of Muhammad Ali, but I like how they turned out.

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Here are some more Muhammad Ali quotes:

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

“I’m the greatest, I’m a bad man, and I’m pretty!”

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be.  I’m free to be what I want.”

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain.  It’s not something you learn in school.  But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.  Impossible is not a fact.  It’s an opinion.  Impossible is not a declaration.  It’s a dare.  Impossible is potential.  Impossible is temporary.  Impossible is nothing.”

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

“Together, We’re Giant!”

Congratulations San Francisco Giants on winning your second World Series in three years!

2012 was a memorable year for the Giants.  Not only did the Giants win the World Series, but Matt Cain also threw a perfect game, Buster Posey won the NL Batting Title and the Hank Aaron Award (he better win the NL MVP!), and Pablo Sandoval elevated himself to rarefied air when he hit three home runs in Game 1 of the World Series.

September 3, 2012, was a memorable date for the Bodels – it was our first trip to AT&T Park to watch the Giants play.  Unbeknownst to us, it was Star Wars Day at the park, so not only did the boys get to see Buster Posey hit a double in the first inning, they also got to see Boba Fett and Darth Vader.  A kind fan even gave Andrew a commemorative Death Star baseball.

The day was scorching hot, and I was impressed that the boys made it to the end of the eighth inning before we had to leave.  Unfortunately, we missed Buster Posey’s second double in the ninth.  And just like they did in the NLDS and the NLCS, the Giants came from behind, and won in extra innings.

After their first Giants game, our boys were excited about postseason play, and together, we watched a bunch of the games on TV.  But tonight, I watched the final game of the World Series from an Embassy Suites bar in Minneapolis.  I would love to have been with my loved ones when Romo caught Cabrera looking, but I still have great memories of the 2012 season.

And tonight, whether you were in a hotel bar, were sound asleep in your bed, were watching the final out with your mom, or were spraying your teammates with champagne in the locker room, you will always remember that, “together, we were Giant!”

Deep Waters

“Be formless, shapeless like water.  Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee

When Bruce Lee said the above quote, he was talking about the martial arts as a metaphor for life.  To be successful in life, like in the martial arts, you cannot be rigid or dogmatic.  You have to be flexible, adapt to change, and be open to learning.  The rock in the river is steadfast, but the water detects its presence and flows smoothly around it – over time, the water grinds the rock to sand.

As it pertains to the martial arts, no style embraces this philosophy quite like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Unlike “striking styles,” like karate or kickboxing, BJJ does not use kicking or punching.  Instead, BJJ is a “grappling” martial art, and a player uses an opponent’s weight and momentum to his or her advantage.  Practically, BJJ’s premise is that most fights eventually end up on the ground and to properly defend yourself, you have to know how to submit an opponent on the ground using a variety of techniques, including choke holds and joint manipulation.  BJJ also recognizes that a smaller person can defeat a larger opponent, and that by employing the basic physics of leverage, a smaller person can eliminate, what might otherwise be, a larger opponent’s natural advantage.

A friend of mine who studies BJJ says that it’s hard to get it out of his head.  It constantly invades his thoughts and he can’t help but think about how he can improve.  I have read articles about BJJ players who similarly testify that with jiu jitsu, there is always room to grow.  BJJ does not offer a static set of techniques – it evolves, and even the best practitioners are always learning.

If you have never seen BJJ, please go to www.jitsplayer.com, and check out some of their photos and videos.  Or as Sam Sheridan, the author of The Fighter’s Mind, suggests, go to YouTube and type in “Marcelo Garcia.”  The speed and ease at which Marcelo Garcia submits his opponents is mind blowing.  You may not like fight sports, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the skills of top BJJ players.

I haven’t studied karate in over seven years, but I still love the martial arts.  After talking to my friend about his passion for BJJ, and after watching some of the videos I reference above, I thought it would be a fun challenge to sketch BJJ players in action.  The sketches in this post are for practice, and the images I used are from www.jitsplayer.com.  But once I capture some of my own images, I look forward to completing a series of BJJ sketches and paintings.

I once read that rolling on the mats with a BJJ black belt is like jumping into deep waters and not knowing how to swim.  I am told that as you progress in BJJ, you learn that the waters are much deeper than you originally thought.  To study BJJ, you have to be physically fit and mentally committed.  But what impresses me is not that BJJ players are great fighters – it’s that they chose to swim in deep waters.  We all learn more about ourselves in the deep, than we do in the shallows, and it is the lessons learned in deep waters that are most useful on and off the mats.

Why We’re Fans

Becoming a fan of a sports team isn’t a conscious decision.  It just happens.  You become a fan for many reasons – you were born in a certain city, you attended a particular college, or growing up, your parents rooted for a specific team.  Whatever the reason, you don’t choose a team.  A team chooses you.

Stacie had no choice.  Both of her parents grew up in Kentucky, and her Dad red-shirted for the Wildcats in his freshman year.  Their passion runs deep.  On the day of her grandfather’s funeral, Stacie and her Dad drove over 200 miles to Lexington, KY to watch the Wildcats win the SEC tournament.  Her grandfather grew up on a farm in Kentucky, and he couldn’t have scripted a more appropriate send off.

I went to university in Canada, so when it comes to college basketball, my alma mater is irrelevant.  When Stacie chose to spend the rest of her life with me, so did the Wildcats.  I’m now a happy member of the Big Blue nation.

The girl in this article also had no choice.  She grew up in a Kansas State household, and the extent of her allegiance is impressive, if not a little scary.

Even when you grow up in an area with two professional sports teams, you naturally migrate to one over the other.  My sons were born in San Francisco, I’m a Giants fan, and in 2010, my boys watched the Giants win The World Series.  I assumed they would all be Giants fans, but instead, one of my sons likes the Oakland A’s.

I didn’t understand why he liked the A’s, and any pleading on my part for him to cheer for the Giants only furthered his resolve.  I finally stopped trying to convince him to switch teams and accepted that he was an A’s fan.

My son has not read Moneyball, and I figured he didn’t know that the A’s have won more World Series than the Giants since the Giants moved to San Francisco, so I was curious why the A’s had chosen him.  I asked him, and although he was reluctant to tell me, eventually he said, “Because they are not very good, and I want them to get better.”

It’s a good thing the Giants and A’s play in different Leagues, because now, I’m an A’s fan too.

PS.  Last week, our twins had their first ever little league practice.  In their league, each team wears the uniform of a major league team.  My son was ecstatic when he found out that he and his brother would be playing for the A’s.  Now the whole family cheers for the A’s.