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3rd-Apr-2010 12:31 am - Art: manly mermen having fun
miri polar bear
It drew! And something that is not pixel dragons either.

Started in March 2009 - should tell you something about where I am artistically, that it took me so long to finish this.

NSFW (though nothing much more explicit than a kiss - unless you have imagination :D)
Coloured pencil on pastel paper, 24 x 32 cm

Sinking in OblivionCollapse )
27th-Dec-2009 05:19 pm - Cherry-Walnut cake
miri polar bear
We recently got a delicious recipe for a cherry cake and it would be criminal not to share it.

You need

For the dough:
1 cup flour (1 cup = 200ml)
5 table spoons powdered sugar
100 g soft butter

For the filling:
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar (or 3/4c)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tea spoon baking powder
2 tea spoons vanilla essence (Vanillinzucker/ or just take real vanilla)
ca 350g pitted sour cherries (ours are sugared)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 180° Celcius.
Mix dough ingredients in a bowl - use a fork or your hands, not a mixer.
Press the dough into a baking dish, we use a 26cm (=10 1/4'') metal springform pan. It should cover the floor of the pan with a thin layer.
Bake for ca 15 minutes until gold-brown.

While it's baking, you can make the filling:
Beat eggs (not separated) with sugar until soft and creamy. Add flour, baking powder and vanilla, mix well.
Once the pastry is done baking, pour half of the eggs over it, lay out with cherries, pour the rest over the cherries. Then top everything with a layer of the chopped walnuts. Make sure no big chunks stick out or they'll burn.
Bake at 180°C for at least 30 minutes. The topping should be baked through, but be careful not to burn the nuts.

Let it cool, then serve with hot drink of choice ;)

Unfortunately I can't take a picture as the camera is on its way to France right now, but believe me it's scrumptious.
21st-Nov-2009 02:04 am - Sprite art dump!
miri polar bear
I haven't really posted my finished sprites here, but just to have some actual content, here they are:

Clay Dragon (red=male, blue=female)
Breed detailsCollapse )

Wallowing Dragon (left=female, right=male)
Breed detailsCollapse )

Quilltail (left= male, right=female)
Breed detailsCollapse )

Nocturne (tan: day, blue: night); Concept and prelim. sketches by Hypnotic
Breed detailsCollapse )

Loch Ness; Collab with one Floari

And here are some WIPs: Read more...Collapse )

All said, I'm not sure if I should consider this serious work or a magnificent waste of time, but it's fun. And will ruin my eyes.
7th-Apr-2009 12:16 am - There be salad.
miri polar bear
I just remembered about a salad that's currently a great favourite in our family and I wanted to share for a while. It's absolutely delicious.

You need:

- 500g of green beans, boiled (unless you get them ready-to-eat or something)
- several potatoes, boiled in skin - depends on how much salad you want and how much of it you want to be the beans.
- 500 g canned tuna in brine or olive oil.
- one fresh onion
- pesto to taste (we're cheap and use the stuff from the bottle, but fresh is probably miles better)
- capers (to taste, we use at least one tablespoon)*
- salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice (or vinegar) for seasoning

Cut the onion and marinate in oil & lemon juice until you're done with the rest. Peel and cut the potatoes in cubes, cut the beans in slices, dump potatoes, beans, tuna and onion into a bowl , mix well, add capers and pesto, mix, taste, try not to eat it all up, season to taste. Put into fridge and let it cool down a bit. I like it best when it's somewhat below room temperature, but not freezing.

This serves as a main meal for 3-4 people, depending on how much potato you use. Very tasty indeed. I usually eat much more of it than is good for me ;)

* in a pinch you could substitute capers with very sour pickled cucumber, but it won't be the same.
15th-Mar-2009 05:55 pm - Orange cake
miri polar bear
I made a lovely orange cake today, from this recipe. It's delicious, even though I didn't use enough flour and butter (who the hell measures something that comes in chunks in a volume measuring unit?) because I had problems translating the measurements, and I would probably use more lemon and less orange juice next time since it's a bit too sweet for my taste, but others in the house like it. What's more important, it's not as dry as orange or lemon cakes usually are...yum.
9th-Mar-2009 11:14 pm - Moar illustrations.
miri polar bear
This time it's from a lovely edition of Pushkin's Ruslan_and_Lyudmila - check Wikipedia for the story, as I'm too lazy to tell it, not that I remember it entirely myself.

The paintings are done in the Palekh style by the artists B. Parilov and V. Dudorov, book published in 1964.

I never much liked this style myself, though the colours are very pretty! (A bit over contrasted on my monitor, however, you might have to turn the contrast down on yours so as not to be blinded.)

This really isn't dial-up friendly AT ALL.Collapse )

What I like best, apart from the colours on some of these, are the illuminations (in the style of the title page, though with less colours) of the first pages of each chapter. If there's interest, I'll scan those, too.

And in case you liked these, here are some more, from a different artist (A. Kurkin) illustrating different fairy tales by the same author: here and here and here.
9th-Mar-2009 03:36 pm - Cool illustrations.
miri polar bear
Scanned in parts of a book with some more art that had such a huge impact on me as a child, I'll probably never forget it.

It's from a book of tales and myths by Ghazaros Aghayan, an Armenian writer, the illustrations are by V. Mandakuni (sp?), the book is from 1989.

They are more.. I don't know, maybe not quite illustrations for children. Some badly scared me, though I suppose that might have had more to do with the stories.

Read more...Collapse )
8th-Mar-2009 04:55 pm - X-posted from storybookland.
miri polar bear
I'm trying to find out where these pictures here came from - I always thought they were from a book, but the only place I found them online says it's a film. I've no idea myself, but you know how there are images that burn yourself into your mind and you remember them, even after you've long forgotten what they were about or where they originally came from? It was the case for me with these pictures here. I was reminded of them today and decided to finally find out what book they came from and who the artist was, but only found them on one website that says they're from a film. The film is apparently pretty old (40s) and in b&w - the images however, are exactly as I remember them (okay, maybe a bit less spectacular...) and in colour. I hope I find out where they really came from.

moreCollapse )

5th-Mar-2009 02:35 pm - More about coloured pencils.
miri polar bear
First of all, I finally got my nerve up to go to a wholesale artist supplies store - generally meant for commercial buyers or professional artists or art students with the appropriate licenses, I heard many times that you need to get a customer card and hope they accept your claim of being a free-lance artist without much questioning. Well... the store in Cologne doesn't require such a customer card and you can basically come in and shop like in a normal store. At wholesale prices, which while not being a huge saving (after the tax is added) are still better than shopping at retail stores, so yay! Unfortunately there's not as much choice in brands of CP as one could wish (too many watercolour pencils instead :P), but the range of papers is decent.

I also received my Koh-I-Noor Polycolor and Bruynzeel Design pencils and while Bruynzeel is definitely not what I'm looking for in pencils (hard, pale colours - student level at best) I'm very happy with Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth Polycolor.
They are about the same hardness as Pablos, but lay down colour slightly more smoothly and feel a bit more waxy (depends a bit on the colours however - some are a bit dryer than others) and at €40 for 72 pencils they are a great deal! I wish they came in a wider range, say 120 - I'd get the whole lot immediately, but as it is the colours that are there a bright and rich in pigment.[Edit, about colours: on closer inspection I'm a bit disappointed with the range: some of the colours, especially the reds and oranges - of which there are a bit too many - are almost identical, which is rather a pity.]

Um... Basically I'm happy with them and would recommend them if you're looking for something above chidrens' cp in quality, but can't afford the more expensive brands (though of course I can't say if they are as inexpensive elsewhere as they are here.)

I got a large pad of smooth watercolour paper (I think it's called cold press in English) that is great for CP and makes the dryness of Derwent less of an issue than smooth drawing paper.
2nd-Mar-2009 04:44 pm - Art - Ink this time
miri polar bear
When you see me drawing a lot, it's a sure sign that I'm procrastinating and avoiding doing things that need to be done (like writing term papers...).

This is an illustration for a poem book that the amazing cluegirl is putting together - there will be original poems and songs by Cluegirl and art by several artists and I'm honoured to be able to contribute a little. Keep an eye out, it promises to be a lovely book! This drawing is based on Jack in Irons.

Ink pens, 10x14 inches. I haven't touched my ink pens since... um... it's been a long time. I'm glad I haven't forgotten everything - yet. Hope you like it, I sure enjoyed drawing it!

Jack the JesterCollapse )
miri polar bear
Recently I started comparing more different brands of coloured pencils, partly because I just want to have tried them all and partly because I need to find a replacement for the prismacolors that currently form my largest stock of different colours. I figured I should better write down what I thought of them, to see if my opinion changes. Will add to the list and individual pencils as I learn more about them later on.

The pencils I tried so far:

Polychromos by Faber-Castell (German) - the lead is pretty much indestructible, I don't know how often some of them have fallen down, but not even the oldest stubs have any breakage inside. No crumbling to speak of and they can hold a needle-fine point. The colours are vibrant and are supposedly some of the best in terms of light-fastness, though I can't attest to that. I They lay down colour very smoothly - too smoothly in fact. I found that they easily fill up the grain of the paper if pressed only slightly too hard, which makes layering a bit difficult. They are more suitable for 'drawing' rather than painting techniques, and they are great for details. Their biggest drawback is their price.

Pablo by Caran d'Ache (Swiss) - only slightly more prone to breaking and crumbling than Polychromos, they can hold a fine point almost as well. I'd say they are about as hard as Faber's, but I find it easier to layer them, because they don't fill up the paper so easily, which makes them suitable for both, drawing and painting with cp. They have a gorgeous range of greens and browns and some very lovely muted colours. They also come a bit cheaper than Polychromos here in Germany, though I heard this is not the case everywhere. Personally, I refer them to Polychromos, in handling

Prismacolor by Sanford (USAmerican)- best known cp in the USA, I think. They are very soft and creamy, which is their biggest advantage and also their greatest drawback. They are really prone to breaking and crumble easily. I heard that some people have less issues with that - I suppose it depends a bit on where you get them (by the time they arrive in Europe, chances are they'll be already partly broken inside) and just simple luck. Also, the leads are sometimes not quite centred, making sharpening a nuisance. Being so soft and crumbly, they can't really hold a point at all and I find them completely unsuitable for detail work. For layering and mixing colours they are perfect, though. And they do have a stunning range of strong, vibrant colours. I heard lightfastness is an issue with some, definitely more than with Faber and Caran D'ache. They are hard to come by here in Germany and they end up being extremely expensive.

Derwent Artists (English) - somewhat softer than Pablo, though not by much. They seem to sharpen well and don't crumble in big chunks like Prismacolors, but raise a fine dust. I haven't had them long enough to know about lead strength. What bothers me most is that they feel very dry on paper and make that awful sound of charcoal. The lightfastness chart, which is rather abysmal in parts, is also worrying. I'm probably not going to buy the big box, but stock up on some lovely shades (colour range is 120) that seem to be unique to this brand when I'm in Scotland.

Derwent Studio (English) - apparently the same lead as Artists, only a bit thinner. The colour range is smaller. I only have one single pencil, but I found it to be slightly less dry and creamier. Might be the colour itself, though.

Derwent Coloursoft (English) - The colours are somewhat richer than Artists. They are also a bit softer than Artists, but the hair-raising dry feeling is almost worse. Very dusty, too, though no crumbling so far. There are some interesting bright shades in the range of 72 colours, but nothing outstanding.

Derwent Graphitint (English) - okay, admittedly, these aren't coloured pencils, but I love them anyway. I just got them today and I'm already regretting having bought the box with 12 colours and not the one with all 24. They are graphite pencils (I'd say around 3B-4B, though rougher than normal pencils) with a hint of colour. Very muted and dark, but the red and green tinted ones are amazing. I heard of the method of doing a graphite underpainting for coloured pencils, to establish light values more easily, but I never used it because I couldn't get the colours I wanted on top of the grey graphite. I think with these I might just get the effect I want. Also, I imagine that normal pencils drawings will seem just that bit more awesome, with the slight colouring. And they are also water-soluble, the colours becoming brighter and richer when treated with water. Not sure I'll use this aspect of them by itself, but I imagine it would work wonders for underpaintings. I'd be almost in love... if they didn't share the problem of the other Derwent pencils and were also rather dry and dusty.

Rembrandt Polycolor by Lyra (German) - thinner than artists grade pencils normally are, but they are also rather cheaper (€1,20, compared to 1,45 for Pablo and 1,65 for Polychromos.) Unfortunately they are rarely found in open stock in Germany, I imagine they are almost non-existent everywhere else. They are on the harder side, but very sleek and smooth on paper, similar to Polychromos (both are oil-based, most if not all other brands are wax-based). In fact they do seem to be almost oily in application. Sharpening doesn't seem to be an issue, though the finest points do crumble a little bit. No idea about lead strength, yet. Unfortunately the range of colours is a bit limited - only 72 + greys (I suppose to non cp people 72 sounds a lot, but if you consider that among those 72 are many of the standard bright garish primaries that are hardly ever used... the bigger the range, the easier it is to find more varied shades that suit your own taste.) I had hoped they would be creamy, but no such luck. Will see how they layer and mix with the others and if they do well, I'll probably get the full range.


And that's all I have so far.

I've also ordered a full set of Koh-i-Noor (Czech, I think, and the least expensive of all - only about €40 for the whole set of 72 colours! I just hope the price is because of their origin and not their quality) and some by Bruynzeel-Sakura (Dutch, apparently they have discontinued the artist grade pencils and the currently available are more student grade, but that information is some years old, so I figured I'd try them anyway.)

So far I failed to find anything that compares to Prismacolor is softness, which is a bummer, because I really dislike their quality of construction and lead stability. Coloursoft were supposed to fill that spot, and soft they might be, but not creamy and thick in application. If you know of any other artist-grade coloured pencils I haven't listed here, let me know - I'd love to try them!
25th-Feb-2009 08:25 pm - It's *drumroll* art!
miri polar bear
*gasp* No really, it is!

Originally started as a drawing for a friend, I'm relatively sure this isn't going to be to her taste after all. Ah well.
I really like the original, despite the kitsch and the heavy-handed symbolism.

The scan of course, doesn't translate at all, especially because the paper is very grainy. I'm most of all disappointed with how the faces came out - the guy's face is not so dirty and there's very subtle shading (and a fully defined right eye) on the girl's face, but they aren't visible. Ah well.

Hope you enjoy it anyway!


contains artistic nudity and huge image, sorry dial-upsCollapse )
24th-Feb-2009 11:32 am - I hate my neighbours.
miri polar bear
Ever since our new neighbours moved in (two guys, one of them maybe late teens/early twenties) I have to listen to really crap pop music (the ooh, baby, baby love me, fuck me, ooooouuuuhaaaaah baby kind) every single morning, with the bass turned up in a way that makes my floor vibrate (never mind my head). And the worst of it? I can't even drown it out with my own music, at least not without getting a headache and annoying my mum. If I just turn my own music up to an acceptable degree, I still hear and feel our neighbour's stuff. Argh! And anyway, my music doesn't really like being turned up to an ear-splitting volume. It relies heavily on melody and singing voice and ability and less on the thump thump of electric whatever and howling.
18th-Feb-2009 09:00 pm - Completely hypothetical question.
miri polar bear
What would you do if you made a cheap chance discovery in some book discounter and then went home and looked it up online and found that it was listed at 300-400 ($, €, £...) on Amazon Marketplace and for about the same on Abebooks?
miri polar bear
Paid a visit to the Place of Evil today in the search of a new armchair and, quite by accident, discovered this ingenious little thing here - Bräda - meant as laptop support, but can just as well be used as a lap-table for drawing or writing or reading, which I intend to do. I mean, the idea is simple - whenever I want to draw anything in the armchair or in my bed (practically always, unless the paper is simply too large) I end up placing the drawing pad on some hard surface (cork placemat, book...) which lies on a cushion on my knees. Which is basically what Bräda is - a cushion with a hard plastic surface pinned securely on top of it. The nice thing is, it's pretty wide and it's curved, so it can support not only the drawing pad or the book, but also my elbows, if necessary. It's so ridiculously simple, I wonder why I never thought of putting together something like this myself. But I suppose, this is exactly what Ikea is for.
16th-Feb-2009 11:35 pm - More spam.
miri polar bear
I'm doing "research" for a drawing, which basically means I'm procrastinating, and during this I reread half of an excellent German/English website about period clothing - there's a lot of information on several periods there, the main part being the 18th century as far as I can see. Anyway, there's a corner with some rather bad costume examples from movies or tv productions here (unfortunately it's not translated into English.) If you scroll down a bit, the third image from top on the left side is a back view of a man in what is supposed to be knee breeches, supposed to be, because they are so ridiculously wrong it just hurts. The author of the homepage proceeds to make a point that there are no contemporary illustrations of how a backside would have looked like in breeches, because a gentleman wouldn't have taken off his coat in public anyway. While I agree with the second statement, the first is patently false, as evidenced by this drawing:

Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein: Goethe by the window. (Goethe/Tischbein, anyone?)

Now I have this ridiculous urge to find every original 18th century painting and drawing of arses in breeches, but without coats or waistcoats. Ones that aren't caricatures, too.

Yep, I know how to procrastinate - do you?
16th-Feb-2009 06:39 pm - *drools only a little bit*
miri polar bear
I want this book so much, it almost drives me insane.

Obviously I cannot shell out over $100 for it... though it is available here, too. $65 without shipping doesn't make it any better of course... and they don't ship internationally. But just in case... might somebody be willing to order it for me and then send it to me? Sometime in March maybe...
4th-Feb-2009 01:09 pm - Books of 2009, part I
miri polar bear
Sounds more impressive than it is :P All I've read so far this year are three short novels (if you want to call it that) and a few short stories. Read more...Collapse )

This does bring me to the actual purpose of this posts, and that is to beg book recs of you once again. We've had fantasy and we've had historical fiction, all of which were goldmines. Now, I'm looking for two things (not connected, though they can be) and those are: crime fiction for one, maybe mystery. Anything that goes in that direction. Present-day real world is the obvious choice, but if you know any good history or fantasy novels with that theme, I'd be interested, too.

And the other one... well, I've found that I'm missing my slash. I've absolutely no interest in any fandom writings atm, though I think I might make an exception for rexluscus's new PotC story. This means I have to find some (good, I'm pampered by fandom) original homoerotic fiction. I'd prefer something that is printed, even if self-published, because reading on the computer gives me a headache these days, but if online is the only place your favourite is available, point me to it anyway. kennahijja's recent search already has some interesting books, but I want more ;)
30th-Jan-2009 05:07 pm - Mini rant about cliches in art.
miri polar bear
Why is that that people (men and women) always draw their long-haired female (male, too, of course) characters with their hair down? I mean... a female pirate with waistlong hair, fluttering in the wind is a pretty picture (if you like that kind of thing, I don't), but a female pirate working the sails with waistlong hair fluttering in the wind and getting caught everywhere... is a very painful picture. Or take warriors. Granted, I know nothing of sword-fighting, but I do know that long hair tends to get into your face, obscuring your sight at the most inopportune moments, never mind being a lovely handle to get a fool-proof grip on your head and to immobilise you. It just goes to show that hardly anyone these days has (truly) long hair and knows anything at all about how it behaves and what is possible to do with it and what not.

Please. At least give your heroine a braid. A well wrapped, tightly secured bun, maybe with a scarf wrapped around it, for extra protection, would be even better. Or a braided crown. The possibilities are endless. If you have long hair down to your waist or longer, it's ridiculously impractical to wear it down while working - especially while working out in wind and weather.
29th-Jan-2009 03:08 pm - Brits, look away.
miri polar bear
So, I figured the pound isn't going to get any cheaper in comparison to the euro, so I exchanged some money for my trip to Scotland today. And I'm sorry to say, and maybe it's strictly the fault of the bank, but the bundle of pounds I got now... stinks. Like. Seriously. Of old cigarette butts, all smoky and damp. And some of those banknotes look pretty new. The euro smells better, really it does.

Now, I wish I had a bundle of fresh dollars, to compare, but the only one I've got is a measly half-torn one dollar bill and it's been in my wallet for so long, it smells of nothing now.
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