Random story: Coffeeshop scene – What was it like in the old days?

I’m sitting at a neighbourhood coffeeshop. There are about ten people. All above middle-age. Mostly male. Sitting around the mostly empty seats. The lunch time crowd has yet to break out of their offices and homes.

Two tables away, a man in polo shirt and Bermudas reads his papers with a cigarette in hand. Another table away, three men are engaged in conversation, sporadically staring out at the main road from their seat. Hi-Fi speakers suspended at the corner of a pillar blare out modern Chinese songs, alternating between Sentimental and Techno-Pop.

A coffeeshop lady, uniformed in an orange T-shirt, asks what I wanted for a drink.

“Teh-C,” I say.

My noodles is served. I pay the man $3. A consistent breeze wafts across where I sit. The steady noise from the busy main road serves as background noise.

The coffeeshop lady switches on the 26″ Toshiba flatscreen TV. I notice the screen size as being much bigger than what I have at home. The LCD screen comes to life with a Taiwanese soapbox. The coffeeshop lady adjusts the TV volume down. The Hi-Fi continues to blare the Chinese Techo-Pop. The cornucopia of sounds becomes a mishmash of noise that is surprisingly not unpleasant.

My Teh-C has long since been drunk. The cup and empty noodle bowl efficiently cleared by the coffeeshop’s hired cleaners. If not for the warm pleasant contents in my stomach, I would’ve thought I’d not eaten.

Subtly, the whole place seems to wake a notch. The noise increases slightly as more customers arrive.

And as I sit here listening and observing, I wonder how anyone would describe a coffeeshop scene 50 years from now.

Would there still be a coffee shop? What did a coffeeshop scene looked like 50 years ago?

I switch on my handphone and connect to wireless@SG (it is a no-brainer that they didn’t have WIFI at coffeeshops 50 years ago). Tried to Google for some archival images but the connection is too slow. Ah well… things may improve 50 years from now.


People in coffee shop” originally uploaded by Mr. Dew. Image licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0.

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Art Practice: Mike Mignola’s Hellboy (Part 3)

From Part 2:

009 Photoshop image layered for painting & fills
009 Photoshop image layered for painting & fills

010 Paint Whitespace
010 Paint Whitespace

011 Paint Background
011 Paint Background

012 Paint Uniform colour
012 Paint Uniform colour

013 Adjusted brightness level
013 Adjusted brightness level

014 Selection Brush Tool to copy signature & caption
014 Selection Brush Tool to copy signature & caption

015 Add border – Over-paint w Dry Media Brush on Transparency settings
015 Add border - Over-paint w Dry Media Brush on Transparency settings

016 Practice 1 Completed
016 Practice 1 Completed

Quite happy with this practice session. I’d say it’s a pretty decent replica of the original:
001 Original

Check out Hellboy, vol1: Seeds of Destruction.
cover

Art Practice: Mike Mignola’s Hellboy (Part 2)

From Part 1:

Layering Practice1
Layering Practice1

Layering Practice2
Layering Practice2

Layering Practice3
Layering Practice3

Photoshop Colouring Practice 1 – Fill w 20% Transparency
Photoshop Colouring Practice 1 - Fill w 20% Transparency

Photoshop Colouring Practice 2 – Overlay 2nd colour 85%Transparency
Photoshop Colouring Practice 2 - Overlay 2nd colour 85%Transparency

Photoshop Colouring Practice 3 – Add whiteBackgd Layer for actual colour tone
Photoshop Colouring Practice 3 - Add whiteBackgd Layer for actual colour tone

Photoshop Colouring Practice 4 – Recalling colours
Photoshop Colouring Practice 4 - Recalling colours

Photoshop Colouring Practice 5 – Create own Colour Palette
Photoshop Colouring Practice 5 - Create own Colour Palette

Photoshop Colouring Practice 6 – Colour Palette w Whitebackground
Photoshop Colouring Practice 6 - Colour Palette w Whitebackgd

Next: Part 3.

Art Practice: Mike Mignola’s Hellboy (Part 1)

Back in 2007 (or was it 2006?), I picked up a copy of the Hellboy “Seed of Destruction” comic at Central Lending Public Library. And I was hooked. The illustrations and storylines simply blew me away. I was an instant fan.
cover

There’s heavy use of shadows and contrast in Hellboy (lots of black).

At one page, I saw this particular panel and decided to use it as art practice. I took a digital photo for reference (From “Hell Boy: Seeds of Destruction” by Mike Mignola & John Byrne):
001 Original

Sketched it on watercolour paper (not traced). It was a practice in observational skills:
002 Pencil Sketch

When I was happy with the sketch, I proceeded to ink the outlines (alternating between Indian Ink applied with calligraphy pen, and a marker — in the end, I was happier with the Indian Ink as was more vibrant):
003 Outline

Here’s a shot of how I referred to the digital image (on a laptop) and inking on paper:
004 Outline - referencing scanned image

This is a scanned image of the completed outline in ink:
005 Outline completed

Then I filled in the spaces with more black:
006 Inking

Inking completed:
007 Inking completed

At this point, I wanted to apply watercolours, but I suddenly felt like doing the painting digitally. So I scanned in the image and retouched it in Photoshop by filling in with black and white (this definitely improved the picture in terms of smoothing out the uneven tones in the hand-coloured picture, and the black and white areas more defined):
008 Inked image enhanced with Photoshop

Next: Part 2.

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Candy on the Train Floor

Candy on the Train Floor
——————–
Chupa Chup
Half-sucked
Stuck
on the train floor

24 Jun 2006
(My wife & I co-wrote this when we saw this half-eaten candy in the train carriage. It’s not great poetry. Not even passable, I think. But it’s something my wife and I did together. That’s something!)

Song: To Be Free (2009)

A rock anthem that I composed and arranged over the week.
Playing my bass guitar

TO BE FREE (2009)
Download at www.archive.org. If you’re into remixing, stems can be downloaded at ccmixter.org.
Composed, performed (electric lead and bass guitars), arranged, mixed and sound engineered by Ivan Chew. Please credit to MyRightBrain.wordpress.com
Creative Commons LicenseTo Be Free (2009) by Ivan Chew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at ramblinglibrarian [at] gmail.com.

I had lots of fun creating this song. Quite happy with the guitar sound effects. I typically combine a few layers of amp effects, to get a fuller sound.

To Be Free 2009

This is the setting for my custom “Brit-Wah” amp effect:
To Be Free 2009

Settings for my custom “TubeScream” amp effect:
To Be Free 2009

Rock guitar instrumentals isn’t eveyone’s cup of tea. Well, I hope it’s enjoyable to some.

Song: The Mangrove Tree v2

An original song by my band buddy and myself (Adrian laid the foundation for this one; I merely moved the furniture around and tied the ribbon). Details at Starfish Stories :: The Band.

THE MANGROVE TREE v2
Listen/ Download the higher quality track at www.archive.org.

Creative Commons LicenseThe Mangrove Tree v2 by Adrian Loo & Ivan Chew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at starfishstories [at] gmail.com.