Make, Show, Learn Issue 3

Three years from now if I looked back and thought about what I learned over the last three years, is this what I want to be doing? — Me, naval gazing

Welcome to week three! I’ll continue with these dispatches. Blogging about blogging. My lesson from week one was twelve topics was too many. Even with five, the post got way too long. No idea is good enough to save for some better day. If my writing and drawing improve to a point that I’d be able to tell a shockingly improved story with the same raw material, well, I’ll just re-tell it.

Right now I’m still working a little haphazardly. I have notes in, Notability, Procreate, Google Docs, probably strips of post its.

The final form is a WordPress post. But the bulk of writing and editing is in Google Docs. Editing in WordPress is mostly fixing typos.

This week’s big takeaway: It starts with words.

Last week, I mentioned that I bought three DC Comics Guide to… books. This week I’ve been reading through them. I don’t plans to make a comic, but the deepest stories told through images and text are probably in comics. Each of the DC Comics Guides has some reminder that that comics start with words. Art is based on the script.

I finished reading The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics. A lot of it details using Photoshop to create comics. I enjoyed this image of some wireframing of text.


I also enjoyed some of the career advice in The DC Comics Guide to Pencilling Comics:

You may be multitalented, but it’s important to keep your portfolio simple and direct. If you feel that you want to be a penciller, inker, and colorist, you may certainly present a portfolio that showcases all of those skills.

I’m trying a lot of different things on this blog. And I’m at the opposite end where I’m multi-not-good-at-this-yet. Eventually I’ll pick a style to focus on. I’ve still got a years-long road of learning fundamentals.

Speaking of…

This week I learned

I’ve continued reading through Keys to Drawing to keep learning. The main lesson from this week has been measuring midpoints and estimating sizes. Dodson describes drawing a small thing in the middle of a giant page or drawing a person and cutting their shins in half to fit the feet on the page.With practice, this is preventable. To start with, you can measure things by holding your pencil (or

Pencil) out in front of you. The midpoint acts as a great reference for drawing other parts of whatever you’re drawing. I’ve been trying it. This is one of those things you can just always keep improving.

Evaluating your own work: Until I have an audience giving feedback (it might be a while), I’ll just need to get better at evaluating my own work. This early on it’s easy to critique fundamentals. Sizes are pretty objective. Especially if I make sure to take pictures of things or share the reference photos. Here’s a venti iced coconut milk latte. It’s borderline for max number of syllables I like to order.


The straw is way huger than I estimated. You’d think I drew this before the lesson because everything is so off.


This guy in lotus position is better measured.


I have that Dr. Strange drawing (that my brother said looks like Khal Goro) and have drawn it a couple times. It struck me that I’m just copying. Which is fine for learning. Eventually I want to draw things from my imagination. I’ll storyboard this and hopefully be able to have the camera rotate around him over a couple panels and then have him stand up. It might be good to draw this sequence once a month to track my progress. Here’s my first go at it.


A few thoughts on audiobooks

This year I’ve been trying to read one book each week. I don’t count audiobooks, but I do listen to them. They digest differently. It never feels like I’ve quite read the book. Listening can be a passive activity. The first listen is never quite as satisfying as the first read.

Podcasts are great for this because they’re so rough. A lot of them are free flowing conversations. People don’t make their points quickly. Usually this is bad, but if you’re not paying full attention then it’s fine to miss some things and just listen to the rest.

Audiobooks are books first. Authors have taken time to revise and edit over and over. They think about economy of words. If you zone out for a minute or two, you may have missed key information.In fiction, given enough time, I didn’t know what was going on at all. I tried listening to fiction audiobooks and that’s when I realized my attention goes in and out. It might be better suited for a driving commute. Not walking.

I stick to nonfiction. Sometimes I rewind chapters, but often I just let it run. The key is knowing I’ll listen to an audiobook way more times than I would re-read a book. In the end, multiple listens might be better for retaining information than reading deeply through it once.

A couple books I’m listening to

The two audiobooks currently in rotation have depictions of brains on the cover. One is made by very long computer cables. The other is made of broccoli.


The books are Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions and Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life. I’ll be sure to write up some notes for each. After a few more listens, of course.

Some miscellaneous drawings

I also just drew a lot in Starbucks this week. And on planes because I was traveling. I’m going to save it for next week. This week’s motto will be There’s always next week. No need to press right now.