Starting February 2014 this blog will be out of action.

But DO NOT DESPAIR. We've just moved, and you can still find the same riveting and informative posts that you have come to expect on our new blog:

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Map of the Mountain: Watercolor

"It may have been secret once," said Thorin, "But how do we know that it is secret any longer? Old Smaug has lived there long enough now to find out anything there is to know about those caves."

Aside from the Hobbit series being awesome and such a great story to work on, I also wanted to do this project as a means to improve my technique. I've been wanting to get back into watercolors for some time now. I have never really had the patience for watercolors and I need to practice and find a method by which I can slow down and patiently, methodically finish a complete, full-size illustration in watercolor. The Hobbit story seems to lend itself to being rendered in a classic medium.
My parents are wonderful people who did their best to make sure that my sisters and I recieved excellent educations. I am forever grateful to them for their efforts. Sadly, I ignored the eductional systems they perscribed for the most part and was instead raised by video games. Video games promised me superior hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills and quick reflexes. And (like television,) they also promised me vicarious adventures where I could pilot military aircraft and journey to space without ever having to worry about getting shot or losing limbs. School promised me hours of boredom, tedium and an occasional snow day.

So I chose video games, and among many other character deficits, it has left me with an inability to cope with the tedious drying times and baffling mixing qualities of watercolor. (I also blame video games for that car wreck I had 2 years ago, but that is another story.)
Nobody establishes to children WHY they are at school. Children are intellegent, they see through the smokescreens. They may play along, but their minds are sharp and they are seeing through the falacies and unless there is substance there they aren't REALLY going to buy in. For instance, had I been informed that if I excelled in english and literature at school, that years later I would be able to construct my thoughts in a way that would impress girls, that might have had currency. Had I been told that if I stayed dedicated to solving the problems in algebra, even though they were stubborn, obsitanant and went against all the fundamental logic of the universe, that I would later be better able to master classic mediums, I might have bought in. As it was, I was told that I needed to finish school so that I could go to more school later on. Like algebra, this type of logic didn't make any sense to me.

So now, in the uphill treck to correct at least some of my bad habits and life errors, I hope to improve my watercolor technique through practice with this great story.


  1. Dude. I believe that 90.627% of college students don't even have a clue what they want to do with their lives or even what they want to do while they are in college. However, 43.123% of all statistics are false... I also believe that there is a study out there, somewhere floating in cyberspace, that students only retain 10% of all information taken in after school is over. However, students experiencing practical application of their given study retain 90% of all learned material. Miles Davis was once asked why he dropped out of Julliard, "I could earn a Ph.D is music in one set at Minton's (Harlem jazz club)" I don't mean to downplay an education, I love learning and I'm almost finished with my undergraduate degree. However much you spent your college education playing video games (I remember skipping several days of school once when Halo 1 came out ;p), it is absolutely apparent where your skills and gifts are. I don't know what you studied specifically while in college, but you can probably attest that you have learned a TON about art through hands on experience; through failing and failing and then finally and GLORIOUSLY succeeding 40 erasers later.

    Your skills are awesome bro, your hands bring to life the words of an awesome story (the Hobbit). keep it up.

  2. Very effective contrast in size and personality between the dwarves and Bilbo.

  3. Oh yeah, great blog, as well. I'm going to add it to my list of watched blogs!