“Grandfather Dragon” (#27: Project 365 Sketches)

“Grandfather Dragon” (#27: Project 365 Sketches)
"Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches)
Sketch Club app; iPad | Hi-Res image (1536 x 2048).

2013, Sun 27 Jan. This started, earlier in the month, as an accidental doodle and discovering the mirroring feature in the app. The doodle looked like a dragon’s face and I expanded on that. It took me about a week and several tried to compose a satisfactory pose. #365sketches

How it was done
1. This was done with the Sketchy tool, set to mirror. I started with the eyes and worked outwards to make the head.
Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches)

2. On a separate layer, I did a quick sketch of a pose. Getting a satisfactory pose was the hardest part for me. Various versions as follows.
Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches) Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches)

3. These were too snake-like.
Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches) Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches)

4. This looked more promising and at that point, I thought this would be the final version.
Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches)

5. I did a quick paint layer, to get a feel of the possible colour scheme to adopt.
Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches)

6. When I revisited the sketch, I decided the earlier pose wasn’t quite it. I managed to find a reference on Google images and adapted the pose.
Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches)

7. After painting in the body area, I discovered a happy unintended accident: setting a Fill layer to an Overlay setting created an interesting and somewhat glowing outline effect. I decided that would make a nice deep blue-black dragon. I used an Eraser tool to ‘paint’ the outline. Then utilised a Brush setting and ‘erased’ out the body highlights.
Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches) Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches) Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches)

8. I shifted and downsized the head slightly, then brushed in the head colouring.
Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches) Tutorial: "Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches)

9. Then it was more detailing, painting in the wispy clouds (Particles setting) etc.
"Grandfather Dragon" (#27: Project 365 Sketches)

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“Seah’s Cat” (#13: Project 365 Sketches)

“Seah’s Cat” (#13: Project 365 Sketches)
"Seah's Cat" (#13: Project 365 Sketches)
Sketch Club app; iPhone

2013, Sun 13 Jan. Not Schrödinger’s but my tea drinking friend’s. Sketched this by referencing his photo of his cat. Loaded the image on the app, traced the outline, and painted in the details. Experimented with the Fur brush effect. Was really impressed with the brush! At the appropriate opacity and brush size, the fur looked real. #365sketches

How it was done

1. This was the original photo, which I saved to my phone. Photo credit: Kw Seah.
Tutorial - "Seah's Cat" (#13: Project 365 Sketches)

2. Thanks to technology, I could import the image directly into the app, then traced the rough outline of the cat (on a second layer, and setting the image layer to a lower opacity). I could have done it the old-school way, i.e. flipped between the image and sketched the outline from eye referencing alone. Well, my objective was not in practicing the accuracy of my outline work in this case.
Tutorial - "Seah's Cat" (#13: Project 365 Sketches)

3. I used the Fur brush, adjusted the opacity and brush size, and proceeded on a rough paint-over. The direct photo reference helped a lot.
Tutorial - "Seah's Cat" (#13: Project 365 Sketches)

4. I took note of the shaded areas, as well as the white/ highlight areas around the eyes and mouth. When I finally hid the image layer, I was quite surprised how accurately I’d captured the outline and overall shape and shading.
Tutorial - "Seah's Cat" (#13: Project 365 Sketches)

5. Before continuing with the detailed work, I applied two Fill layers (red and sienna tones) and set it to Overlay mode. I liked the slightly coloured tone better than monotones.
Tutorial - "Seah's Cat" (#13: Project 365 Sketches)

6. The remaining detailed work was on the whiskers, accentuating the eyes, applying a thin but opaque line above the eye to make the eyes stand out more, filling in the furs in its ears with individual line brush strokes. I also decided to move the sketch lower and towards the centre (learning point was to adjust the image layer first, before tracing the outline).
Tutorial - "Seah's Cat" (#13: Project 365 Sketches)

7. The final touch ups was mainly on the body and head (used a scattered brush and lightly dabbed white on key spots, which created a more realistic fur effect), added more prominent highlights on the whiskers, and the background.
"Seah's Cat" (#13: Project 365 Sketches)

My Right Foot (#6: Project 365 Sketches)

“My Right Foot” (#6: Project 365 Sketches)
"My Right Foot" (#6: Project 365 Sketches)

2013, Sun 6 Jan. Sooner or later I would have to sketch body parts (don’t worry it’ll all be rated G) Was wondering what to draw today. Looked down and the foot was there. #365sketches

How It’s Done
Sketch Club app; iPhone

1. Outlined using a Pen setting, with the layer opacity set lower. Then I created another layer, at full opacity, to define the earlier outline.
Tutorial - "My Right Foot" (#6: Project 365 Sketches)

2. Added shading using a brush setting.
Tutorial - "My Right Foot" (#6: Project 365 Sketches)

3. For this sketch I experimented with overlaying colours. This was the outcome of a (1) dark grey and (2) skin tone colour layers, with different opacity settings. And yes, added a bit of leg hairs — not the most attractive thing to add but without them it didn’t appear to me the leg was mine 🙂
Tutorial - "My Right Foot" (#6: Project 365 Sketches)

4. Painted the floor in, using two separate layers, same colour with different opacity settings. Used a line tool at a broad size. Had to merge down earlier layers, as the Sketch Club app allowed up to 10 layers.
Tutorial - "My Right Foot" (#6: Project 365 Sketches)

Curled Up (#5: Project 365 Sketches)

“Curled Up” (#5: Project 365 Sketches)
"Curled Up" (#5: Project 365 Sketches)

2013, Sat 5 Jan. Woke up and saw my dog curled up in his usual sleeping posture.
#365sketches

How it’s done
Sketch Club app; iPhone.

1. I used the Sketchy tool/ freehand and drew rough shapes. If you’ve used the app, you will be more impressed with the app than my drawing abilities 🙂 The app’s brushes automatically creates smooth professional looking lines.
Tutorial: “Curled Up” (#5: Project 365 Sketches)

2. Next, I cleaned up overlapping lines with the Eraser tool. The Sketchy tool creates something called the “fallout” effect, so you get the shading.
Tutorial: “Curled Up” (#5: Project 365 Sketches)

3. Finally I added lines to show the mat, which my dog was lying on, and the horizon line to give a sense of space/ depth. I experimented with a heavier shading but it seemed too messy. The final version is this cleaner line drawing.
Tutorial: “Curled Up” (#5: Project 365 Sketches)

Man in the train (#4: Project 365 Sketches)

Man in the train (#4: Project 365 Sketches)
Man in the train (#4: Project 365 Sketches)

2013, Fri 4 Jan. My first ever “in the MRT” train sketch. This guy was clutching his backpack, his left hand scrolling away on his phone. I happened to be standing right in front of him. Thought I might as well sketch him.

His right hand too much oversized for my liking. I suppose it conveys the sense that he’s a pretty stout bloke. #365sketches

How it’s done
SketchClub App, iPhone.

1. Outlined using a Pen setting (had to use my thumb to draw). I concentrated on the lines, of the actual live subject, that caught my eye.
Tutorial: Man in the train (#4: Project 365 Sketches)

2. I continued refining the sketch after the train ride. The major outlines was already captured, so I relied on memory. The main thing was not to maintain the clean lines rather than complicating things. Adjusted the opacity settings to give the illusion of depth. Further refinements were more at a “micro” level. I zoomed into individual lines, used the Eraser tool too clean things up.
Tutorial: Man in the train (#4: Project 365 Sketches)

4. Final review stage. The head appeare dented. Erased the portion.
Tutorial: Man in the train (#4: Project 365 Sketches)

5. Used a Smooth line tool (or maybe it was a Brush tool), made several attempts to create a smooth seamless line for the erased portion (basically Undo and try again). Also added a ring on his finger (i remembered the man wore one).
Tutorial: Man in the train (#4: Project 365 Sketches)

First Work Day (#2: Project 365 Sketches)

First Work Day (#2: Project 365 Sketches)
First Work Day (#2: Project 365 Sketches)

2013, Wed 2 Jan. Today is the first work day for most people. It was back to the familiar scene of packed trains in the morning. On the bright side, the queues was orderly, which is always nice. I thought it would be a nice scene to capture as sketch #2.

I worked on this sketch during today’s train journey (mostly the ride home; morning was just too packed), a little bit during lunch break, and largely after dinner at home.

Sketched and painted this on my iPhone, with bare fingers. So details aren’t too fine.

#365sketches

How its done:
Created with the SketchClub App on an iPhone.

1. Outlined with straight lines, circles and rectangles.
Untitled

2. Roughly filled up the body shapes as a separate layer.
Untitled

3. Added the yellow lines as a separate layer.
Untitled

4. Used a Brush setting to shade the background, again as a separate layer.
Untitled

5. Almost done with the colouring. Decided this silhouette looked too lumpy. Painted over the edges with a colour that matched the background.
Untitled

6. And then this looked too lumpy! Finished it off using the same approach as above.
Tutorial: First Work Day (#2: Project 365 Sketches)

Repairing my Fender Strat

About a year ago, I bought my second-hand Fender Stratocaster. It’s one of my favourite guitar now.

But a few days ago, the volume knob became loose. I could feel the entire volume control unit (beneath the pick guard; that’s the large white plate you see on the guitar body) move. Not good. And then the sounds was intermittent. Definitely not good.

I loosened the pick guard screws to access the inner workings. Several problems were apparent.

The volume control unit: After some time examining how it was bolted on (at first I thought it was glued to the pick guard from beneath), I discovered a hex nut held it in place. To access the hex nut, I pried off the plastic volume knob with a small flathead screwdriver. Then tightened the nut.

OK, one problem solved.

The other problems was less straight-forward (although to a guitar tech, they are simple problems).

Basically, the wiring and connections was broken and/ or loose. Needed to be re-soldered.

There was a soldering iron at home but I needed soldering tin. Bought some the next day. Then got to work.

Removed all the guitar strings. Loosened the pick guard screws.
DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

Flipped the pick guard over and this was what I saw:
DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

Took the chance to examine the pickup wirings.
DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

The problem areas:
DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

  • Spot #1: The picture shows the volume control unit. There’s a hard wire that’s soldered to the other two tone controls. The connection was broken. Must have been due to the loose nut.
  • Spot #2: Frayed and loose wirings.
  • Spot #3: Loose connection to one of the soldered points of the pickup selector switch.

DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

Here’s a closeup of the pick up selector switch:
DIY guitar repair - Fender Stratocaster

Right after I took those pictures, I went to work. I don’t have a lot of practical experience or skill in soldering. Steady hands required, for sure. In the end, I managed to muddle through and not burn up anything.

Re-strung the guitar. Works well now.