D is for Drawing…

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(insert joke about giving you the d here)

One of the fundamentals of visual art is the ability to perceive correctly, and properly convey the message you are trying to send. If you’re a beginner or picking art back up again, it is beneficial to narrow your focus down to the essentials in the beginning. It’s also helpful to draw the world/objects around you and study light, relationships, honestly neglected a lot of this and it’s uh….don’t do that. :p Now I’m like 30 and I can draw faces, trees, non-terrible figure drawings (sometimes) , and abstract melty stripey shapes, and that’s about it.

Don’t neglect the fundamentals. :p

I’m going to focus more on pencil drawing here than anything else. It’s pretty inexpensive to start with, and by working in black and white, you really end up focusing on shading and composition more. Less stuff to worry about, really, it’s more important to practice consistantly rather than have the right stuff.

There’s both printed guides, and lessons on youtube. Generally there’s community resources, might be a good idea to drop in.

basic supplies:

A basic set of graphite drawing pencils, a kneaded eraser, and a drawing pad aren’t too much of an investment, really. If you’re just starting, there’s no need to be super-picky.

pencils: stadtler is good, prismacolor is generally good…

kneaded eraser: both fun to play with, and better at erasing than your standard pink square.

tortillions: for smoothing and blending

paper: here’s a guide on sketchbooks by medium.


Here’s a link to the ten best books for beginners

Drawing on the right side of the brain: This is somewhat of a classic, the theory with this one is that it teaches you to use the more spatial part of your brain, allowing you to see shading and relationships versus what the left brain tells you – moving you out of default shapes and cartoon-y type style.

Andrew Loomis guides: Older drawing guides, mostly based on figure drawing. They’re online!

SchaeferArt has a playlist for learning to draw…


C is for Crumb…

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R. Crumb’s work is a delicious blend of high and low art. Hell, the man started out doing greeting cards for Hallmart, ranged into intense political commentary and personal revelations, and ended up creating an animated version of the book of Genesis. He gets a lot of flak for misogyny and racism, but (my interpretation) of the general level of satire in his work, it is more a commentary on culture and weird personal preferences…

Outside of his work as a cartoonist, he has done a tremendous amount of work in preserving old american & international music, and played banjo in a group called the cheap suit serenaders for a while…a couple compilations from his collection are tagged on the end of this…

Dunno if anybody would remember this, but at some point in the early 90’s, he did some kind of “sell-out” move and produced devil girl chocolates and mints, remember they were in my dad’s friend’s comic book shop…I was already “devil girl” at like, sevenish, I think this was, haha…








So, he went from this:


to this:


finally, to this:


ps: he drew women shoving donald trump’s head in a toilet. he is the hero america needs.


the man

Born in Philadelphia in ’43, in a somewhat demented Catholic family, Crumb withdrew early, honed his art and developed interests in the golden age of cartooning (max fleisher, etc), and weird ol’ 78 jazz records. He left home at 18, worked for Hallmark, moved to Europe, dropped acid, and started collaborating on Zap! comix – if you want a good selection of weird 70s shit, here’s your in, did Weirdo in the 80’s, moved to France in the 90s…Think he married Arlene Kaminsky-Crumb in the 80’s, perhaps…they did “Drawn Together” and some other work together, it’s pretty awesome.

He’s probably most well known from the Crumb documentary, here’s a few choice moments:

the art

Essentially this man has been extremely active toward the seventies, for the sake of sanity-maintanence for myself, I’m listing a few books. Also going to mention there’s some pretty completist torrents out there….


weirdo1 (2).jpg

here it is online.

more of a short piece, probably one of the first things I fell in love with as a teen – honestly totally went through my dad’s comics at a younger age, but not quite at the “comprehend this kind of shit” age, haha.

The Sweeter Side of R. Crumb is good if you’re frightened…

Drawn Together is done with his wife….

“My Troubles with Women” is a classic…

Crumb has also profiled some interesting folk like Bukowski and Kafka…

PS: Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me is a collection of letters from his younger years, worth the read.

the music

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A is for Art…

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German expressionist art, that is. This period had a wide range of styles, from portraits, to abstract, but all of it was distorted to convey emotional experiences through distorted perception, and was highly focused on the individual experience of reality/existence.

Art from this period ranges from music,paintings, art, film, and architecture.

This movement began in the early 1900s, but continued into/past the 40s, and shows the deep growing pains in Germany at the time. Around the era of the 1920s, Germany was transitioning from a left-wing republic which was beginning to destroy itself with in-fighting to the authoritarian rule of Hitler.

Weimar Germany was astonishingly liberal for it’s time and what followed, after. Here’s a tune off of “Berlin Cabaret Songs” by Ute Lemper, “Chuck out the Men” – this album really gives you a good glimpse into the emotional/intellectual life of pre-war Berlin.

The battle for emancipation’s been raging since history began
Yes, feminists of every nation want to chuck off the chains made by man
Hula girls and housemaids and wives in Maribou
hear all our voices thunder in protest
Anything that men do women can do too
and more that that we women do it best

So, there we go – early feminism. Just on this album, you find acceptance of open sexuality, anti-war songs, subtle winks and nods and all kinds of issues that are still relevant in the world today.

“Songs of the Lodz Ghetto” – Brave Old World

Although not quite German expressionist art, these songs are done in of klezmer, which is an old Jewish style (currently being revived! Yay humanity, sometimes.) is a blend of middle eastern instruments, sung in Yiddish (you can find english translations online) and cover what is was like to be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany, specifically the Jewish ghetto in Lodz, Poland.

As for paintings, here’s a quick over-view of some paintings:

“Carnival”, Max Beckmann


Max Oppenheimer – Moderne Galerie Theatiner-Maffeistr


“Strumtruppe Geht Unter Gas” – Otto Dix




The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari




Interesting sidenote: Some art from this movement was shown in a “Degenerate Art” exhibition by Hitler, banned, and many pieces were destroyed or lost.