Growing pixels: the perseverance sketchbook
#1
Hello to all Daggers!! :o)

After a lot of trials and errors, I've decided to get serious about art in hope to pursue it professionally. I'm currently studying Linguistics and have a background in graphic design, so art is not something entirely new to me, although art with a purpose and direction surely is.

My main goal is to get back in touch with my imagination and bridge the gap I currently have in terms of fundamentals.
So, fundamentals come first, and this is the beginning of my journey, full of studying and learning. :o)


Feel free to comment/critique, it's always nice to get some harsh truths to trigger improvement! I will definitely return the favor. :o)



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First attempt at (giant) thumbnailing after watching Eytan Zana's tutorial.


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Finally started studying from life - some steps.


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Constructive drawing sessions from life.


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Photo-study for the SpeedpaintStudies group on DA.


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2014 was a year of a lot of "firsts". Self-portraits was one of them. This was for the International Self Portrait Day - first rough lay-in
which looks nothing like the final one.. lack of likeness, anatomy mistakes.. everything is in there. This is what came out of it in the
end for the sake of meeting the deadline and whatnot. :3


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Try to keep a small sketchbook with me on the train every day, and keep scribbling stuff. Did a few thumbs which probably only I can decipher. Perspective and visual library are the two major things I have to work on this year.


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Some fast photo-ref'ed sketches.

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B&W (giant) thumbs take 2 - gotta simplify more and learn which brush to use for what instead of drowning in a pool of nonsensical texture.


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Not sure if it was the right time to get into color, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway. Done from juicy references I found on Pinterest.


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Have already stopped posting these on Conceptart, but still trying to reach 20. Next ones I think I'll start applying Anthony Jone's approach and see if the learning process makes more sense that way. Also, I'll try with 3 values only solely for composition learning since in all these studies so far, the frustration with brush settings and general suffering workflow doesn't feel that great.


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And a first try at animation screen-cap studies. Watching LevelUP sessions on the train to uni and back home every day is just so inspiring. Definitely helps to get more focused on what to study and and how not to be discouraged.


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That's it for now - will post more of January stuff before the month ends.

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#2
Time to update. :) Made a little challenge for myself this month, 10 days - 10 still life studies from observation, and this is the result. Went a bit more in-depth about this on DA so I'll refrain from copy-pasting here. Learned a lot by doing these, first time I gave this a go, and there's tons more to learn and apply.


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Would love to hear any suggestions or crits - they're more than welcome! :)

By the way is 900 px wide ok or too big? Since everyone has different screen res. it is probably quite dependent on that, but they seem a bit tooo big perhaps? 0_o

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#3
hey bro your stuff is great i hope to reach your level one day. . . but why don't u try to draw something from your mind ??? i can see that u have patience, thats good so use it and give a chance to your imagination . . .

oh . . . im just realised that the " bro " i was talking to actually is sis . . . im sorry :)
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#4
Ooh, lovely traditional work you've got going on here, reminds me a lot of Giovanni Civardi's stuff.

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#5
@Michael vii: No worries ;) Thanks a lot btw, I peeked at your sketchbook and you're got some pretty cool stuff there. Working from the imagination is one of my goals for this year. I haven't done anything worth posting, because I still feel like I don't have the means to express it. In the few value thumbs I did last year, it all gets repetitive and boring. That's why I chose to focus on fundamentals first, and built a strong(er) visual library to draw from. :)


@StardustLarva: Thanks a lot, I'm glad you liked them! Yup, before I went on that value-study journey I studied the relevant parts on light from Civardi's book - it really helped a lot to take notes on the side :o)

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#6
Hey Minsky! Looks like you've gotten your fundamentals down! Looking forward to checking out what that mindbof yours will conjure!

I know that getting your ideas onto paper/canvas is super hard, but really, it is the best way to learn. Plus its fun :D

Do what you love and keep going :)

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#7
(01-29-2015, 09:40 PM)smrr Wrote: Hey Minsky! Looks like you've gotten your fundamentals down! Looking forward to checking out what that mindbof yours will conjure!

I know that getting your ideas onto paper/canvas is super hard, but really, it is the best way to learn. Plus its fun :D

Do what you love and keep going :)


Thank you for the encouragement smrr! It really means a lot! I have to start doing stuff of my own, I know it. Or else I will never get anywhere. Just got to overcome this overwhelming feeling that gets me and just get on with it. Failure brings progress - that's how muscles are built, right? ;) Mind-muscles included!

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#8
Indeed, you said it perfectly-you have to fail a few times before you can succeed. Perhaps you should really try and fight back that doubt and get on with it-you won't regret it!

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#9
(01-30-2015, 03:26 AM)StardustLarva Wrote: Indeed, you said it perfectly-you have to fail a few times before you can succeed. Perhaps you should really try and fight back that doubt and get on with it-you won't regret it!


After browsing some of the sketchbooks in here (and still got a looong way to go ^__^; ) it seems that's the only way. Thank you, I better get at it then! :)

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#10
Wow, great studies, I really like those still life studies. I'll think I will try that challenge myself some time. Seems that you have improved quite a bit and your values looks nice! The perspective is a little bit of on some of the studies tough, but you have already mentioned that yourself :) And as you have also already mentioned, you should do some stuff from imagination, I think you will do great! Keep it up!

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#11
Interesting studies, especially the traditional ones :) Looking forward for your next updates
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#12
(02-07-2015, 05:03 AM)-echo- Wrote: Wow, great studies, I really like those still life studies. I'll think I will try that challenge myself some time. Seems that you have improved quite a bit and your values looks nice! The perspective is a little bit of on some of the studies tough, but you have already mentioned that yourself :) And as you have also already mentioned, you should do some stuff from imagination, I think you will do great! Keep it up!

Thank you very much echo! :) Definitely recommend it, it helps to stay focused and produce stuff. I'm struggling with the imagination part immensely at the moment, but I'll push myself to get something out.


(02-07-2015, 05:49 AM)Mariyan-Hristov Wrote: Interesting studies, especially the traditional ones :) Looking forward for your next updates

Thanks Mariyan :) Glad you like them!



Long time no update. A bunch of new things happening these days. I started the new term at uni, so my challenges are a bit hard to keep up, but I try nonetheless. Joined the really warm Magic Box community at Chris Oatley Academy, so I look forward to diving into some cool studies and pushing myself harder. I also try to participate in the Permanoobs 6-week Bootcamp but I still need to finish the first week stuff before moving on to week 2 - I decided to re-do the cube assignment, since I did it on paper and I wasn't happy with it. Also, doing it digitally helps get used to working perspective out on-screen. Or so I like to tell myself anyway. And on top of that, I try to keep my own challenges going. Too much stuff, too little time. But let's get to it:

This is for my second 10-day challenge: Landscapes. Trying to get better at color evaluation, analyzing the composition.. and learn how to do these rice paddies and that waterfall, so I can fix an oil painting I did last summer. Didn't make it for any imaginative stuff based on these refs. But I did get some stuff flowing in my brain - so maybe that's not too bad. But not good enough.






Next up, the bootcamp stuff. You can read all about the assignment on the link I just mentioned. This is assignment one and the initial cube assignments. I started over with the cubes, but I will probably post it later on this week so I can finish it off first. I don't know if I should show any face scribbles I do in my sketchbook - I know the anatomy is off by heaps, so it's only demoralizing.

At the same time, everyone so far encourages me to do stuff from imagination, so, not sure if I should keep working before showing the flaws of my limited visual memory first. I feel that some things can only be learned by studying them, so if you keep doing stuff with mistakes, and keep repeating the process, maybe the mistakes eventually become too hard to get rid off?

Ok, I started rambling again - on to the perspective stuff.

This one was about lenses (wide vs telephoto) - never sketched airplanes before. So that was something new. Next time I do this, I want to do some Scott Robertson bounding boxes though. Freehand just isn't cutting it for me, feel that dissecting and sculpting your form is much easier to wrap your head around when it comes to perspective.












And, here comes the part I don't like. I tried doing some thumbs with Noah Bradley's brush tools he gave out recently. The first four (left and mid column) I did in one sitting - lots of muddy stuff, unclear values, unclear idea, unclear everything. And no perspective, depth or.. you get the point. The last two I did tonight, just because I needed to relax a bit from today's pressure. Don't know if it's better in any respect, but I tried thinking "3 values" and "no details". Vague imagery. That's exactly why I feel like I need to get better at fundamentals first.. and keep doing these on the side. I hope I'm thinking about this right.




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#13
Your studies are massively inspiring me.

I think you are doing really quite well with perspective. But I noticed some of your boxes are distorted (I've highlighted them in yellow):




The reason this is happening, is that you are drawing outside of the cone of vision. Basically, you can fix this in one of two ways. You could keep your vanishing points the same, and move the box up into the cone of vision as I have shown (the blue circle represents the cone of vision--roughly, I wasn't being precise, just wanted to give you an idea of how limited it is). Or, you could widen the distance between the vanishing points. Often your vanishing points will need to be waaaaaay off of the paper :P

To explain the cone of vision further, here is a page with diagrams I found through Google:
http://www.lateralscience.co.uk/perspective/cone.html "The limit of the eye's view" = cone of vision. In Fig. 26, the drawing is distorted outside of the cone of vision, which is represented by the circle.

As far as your concern about hardwiring mistakes, unless you are doing nothing but copying highly stylized and simplified artwork (like manga or something), I don't think you have too much to worry about. :P At least, I was listening to a video the other day (by Anthony Jones, I think) who said that, so I'm repeating it haha. Personally, I figure I'm going to be making lots of mistakes in observation, but every time I make a breakthrough in understanding what I am drawing from observation, I am able to apply that to my imagination drawing.

If you did want to, instead of starting with something more complicated like a character, maybe start with an exercise like this: http://www.ctrlpaint.com/videos/real-obj...ry-details

Anyhoo, your work ethic is clearly awesome, and I look forward to seeing you continue to improve. :)
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#14
I think youre definately doing the right thing with all this studying. And yeah just be mindful that youre studying and not copying and then apply what you learn.

Keep rocking!

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#15
(02-10-2015, 06:57 PM)auroraborealis Wrote: Your studies are massively inspiring me.

I think you are doing really quite well with perspective. But I noticed some of your boxes are distorted (I've highlighted them in yellow):



The reason this is happening, is that you are drawing outside of the cone of vision. Basically, you can fix this in one of two ways. You could keep your vanishing points the same, and move the box up into the cone of vision as I have shown (the blue circle represents the cone of vision--roughly, I wasn't being precise, just wanted to give you an idea of how limited it is). Or, you could widen the distance between the vanishing points. Often your vanishing points will need to be waaaaaay off of the paper :P

To explain the cone of vision further, here is a page with diagrams I found through Google:
http://www.lateralscience.co.uk/perspective/cone.html "The limit of the eye's view" = cone of vision. In Fig. 26, the drawing is distorted outside of the cone of vision, which is represented by the circle.

As far as your concern about hardwiring mistakes, unless you are doing nothing but copying highly stylized and simplified artwork (like manga or something), I don't think you have too much to worry about. :P At least, I was listening to a video the other day (by Anthony Jones, I think) who said that, so I'm repeating it haha. Personally, I figure I'm going to be making lots of mistakes in observation, but every time I make a breakthrough in understanding what I am drawing from observation, I am able to apply that to my imagination drawing.

If you did want to, instead of starting with something more complicated like a character, maybe start with an exercise like this: http://www.ctrlpaint.com/videos/real-obj...ry-details

Anyhoo, your work ethic is clearly awesome, and I look forward to seeing you continue to improve. :)


Thank you so much for the encouragement and the suggestions. Sorry for the late response, but I've been swamped with non-art stuff for uni and it took me a while to check in.

I really appreciate the distortion explanation and the ctrl paint vid - that's something I will definitely want to be doing with my next studies. I remember watching this a couple of years back, but I guess I had totally forgotten I even watched this. Thanks for the reminder!

Reg. the distortion, I made some of the boxes like that because the assignment required to play around with the vps and distortion. But the fig 26 drawing shows when this happens in context, which I think makes a lot more sense to me to "put things into perspective" - literally. :)

Thanks a lot auroraborealis for the great tips - I should be more patient and do more studying and then hopefully everything else will get better. What you mentioned about your own process and mistakes, brings to mind Proko's new video. I watched it yesterday, and combined with what you said, it just makes perfect sense.




And thank you Agerkvist! Will definitely keep it up! :)

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#16
Been a while since my last update - time to fix this.

I re-did the cube assignments for the Permanoobs Week 1 Bootcamp. Not sure if it's better than the first attempt, but it's all digital for the sake of practicing that stuff. The ellipses are bugging me as ever. I need to restrain myself from going over each more than one time - and enhancing the mistakes even more this way. The rotation I feel like is not good enough. I try to imagine the box being tipped off at one corner, and how the plane would shift, but I still end up with marking the same (or similar) position for each attempt. What I wanted to get to is more like this. I realize that in such rotation the cuboids are more into 3P perspective, which is why I tried to apply that somehow in that sheet.

Anyway, I still have to finish the rest of the assignments eventually - the others are probably all on week 3 by now if I stick at it maybe by the end of summer I *might* get it all done. Thinking Either way I think the mileage with these is crazy good to miss. So, got to buckle up and just do my baby-steps pixel by pixel.

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Now about my own 10-day challenge endeavor: the third one was an epic fail. The theme was perspective, but since I had literally no time, I did the perspective drills for the Bootcamp assignments and made that count. So there will be a round 2 on that for sure, with some back-to-basics-Scott-Robertson-action.


The fourth challenge was a smaller fail, but a fail nonetheless. I had planned to do a lot more studies, and finish off with some imaginative stuff (as I try with each) but again, made it through only 1/4 of the whole plan. This time the theme was "Industrial" (perhaps hard-surface would be more fitting) - since I have never actually done anything of this sort, it was about time I started.

So here are 5 studies of form (a mix between rough line-work and paint-blobs) and applying to imagination. That was the plan at least for the second part. I doubt how much the form studies actually influenced my imagination thumbs, because clearly I end up with something not that closely related to the reference.

I eventually realized that I repeated one thumb - the values are almost identical and the same motif is repeated with the white mountain-like form in the background. I would probably attribute this to my limited visual library - or lack of muscle memory, hence the repetition. What I did try to do though was not get back to all the mud-like values and make the contrasting shapes more readable. Not sure how that worked out, but comparing to the previous "imaginative" thumbs, it may be slightly better.


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I really liked this theme, there's a lot of great shapes in these refs, and I will come back to it after a few challenge sessions. All refs are from morguefile.com, in case anyone is interested.


Today I'm starting a new 10-day challenge focusing on values, since there's always room for improvement there. Let's see how that turns out. :)

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#17
Time for an update. :)

I am still working on these self-assigned 10 day challenges, although I went through a mini-crisis the other day, and felt totally lost as to what I should focus on during the next one. And for the first time, I actually had this really big urge to do something from my imagination. That was a first, and I know it's only natural for most of you guys, but given my uncertainty and the weaknesses I know I should work on, it was quite refreshing. Sun

So these are the next additions to my improvement quest:


10 day-challenge theme: Values

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10 day-challenge theme: Perspective

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I also completed Noah Bradley's 21 days to be a better artist challenge. It felt sooo good doing something every single day, even if I pushed through the next day with only 4 hours of sleep. I think this whole period helped me a lot to just begin and get back to doing some master studies, since the taste I had from all those I had previously made was sort of.. unsatisfying and felt kind of forced. By the end of the challenge though, I have the feeling that I got a little bit better in measuring and eyeballing distances and relationships between shapes, although I'm far from where I want to be. What I struggled mostly was skintones. Never had done that in color, and in every master study I did for this challenge, I went for way too desaturated color choices than they actually were.

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And so I went back to complete this master study by Bouveret, which I had started in late December last year. It was so off that I had to re-do almost all of the block-in, so that was definitely encouraging in a way, to see that I am judging all these relationships between the different elements a little bit better. Still 5 more to finish and call these 20 b&w master studies done though. I'll try to learn as much as I can from the last five and do it on my own terms, without stressing over the comparison or the many mistakes I will probably make.

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10 day-challenge theme: Surface anatomy - (mostly) Vanderpoel studies

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Has anyone tried out the 21 days challenge btw? :)

Hopefully the next update won't take so long. Until then!

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#18
Nice discipline mate! I would give you critique, but i will not. i'ts dangerous stuff to play with if the other person has to get influenced by it in incorrect way. It's similar to a book where two persons get different understanding from the same reading. Instead critique, i will give you recommendation to keep doing studies continuosly, it's what makes you better and will for the rest of your life. Studying continuosly makes you become more analytical, you'll start to ask questions and look for answers, once you know the answer, you've learned something new and you can apply the knowledge whenever you need to. The main idea is becoming very analytical, it's one of the crucial skills in order to becoming better. About painting i cant say much, for the last tree years i was primarely only drawing and focusing on fundamentals with traditional media. From the drawing point i can recommend focus mainly on the form. Form is everywhere, everything you see is a form, made out of a box,cylinder,cone,sphere or combination of those called complex form. With form comes perspective, without understanding perspective you'll never be able to draw form well. Knowing how to draw a box in perspective, rotate it and so on.. will unlock this skill. Right after that you can draw things from your imagination, what's even better.. you can draw correctly the mighty "cross-contour" over form and you can shade things with much bigger accuracy thanks to the cross-contour. Cross-contour will be your guide to show you how the form turns in what dirrections and so you will know, how much it goes away from the light source and how fast it turns away. In my case, the form is overpowered tool for the artist and it's zone where the third eye is slowly opening :P in short, light strikes rays and rays hits the form, from the form the rays bounce and hits your eye and the brain renders a "image(2D) or true reality(3D)" you see right now and all happens in perspective. If this stuff is a bit crazy, dont get discouraged and jump over it, come back different time and read through again. Myself can read the same book 30th times and i will always find a new puzzle.. Above all, have fun and love what you do, that's the most important, it's your drive for the rest.

Btw look at my stuff here: https://www.facebook.com/michal.macko.56...084&type=3 it covers the fundamentals of the light>form>perspective principles..
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#19
I've forget to say also that the eggs with highest contrast look epic mate, keep it up! ;)
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#20
(04-08-2015, 07:23 PM)nymph0 Wrote: I've forget to say also that the eggs with highest contrast look epic mate, keep it up! ;)

Thanks a lot for the comments nymph0! :) Basically everything you mentioned in your first comment, is what I'm aware of I still lack. Perspective and form are the two things that I strive to get better at, understand and use, in order to communicate my own ideas eventually. Like someone said on of my replies to the subject of drawing from the imagination, it's all solid advice that artists tend to give, but it's just a matter for that to become more and more relevant in time, with improvement and dedicated study.

Cross-contour and rotating objects in perspective are the two things I know I need to master. I love all the amazing work that some of Peter Han's students of his Dynamic Sketching class on CGMA have posted on their blogs, and just looking at those makes me realize how much mileage I need to accumulate. So, definitely - I am a work in progress. :) Thanks a lot for sharing your studies, too! They look really cool and a great way to learn these things! I also like that you use a pen rather than a pencil for most of these - lately I've come to appreciate a lot more these sweet constraints you can set for yourself. :)


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Okay back to updating then. Not much time again since the juggling-too-many-things-at-the-same-time routine kicked in again. Summer, where art thou? o_0

I struggled a bit to define what I should be doing for the last 10 days' challenge, so probably 1/3 of it went to just coming up with ideas and figuring it out. In the end I decided to dive into something that I will be working based on a more unified theme for a little longer than these 10-day periods, but still preserving the time-frame mostly for practical reasons - and because my schedule is quite tight and I can't afford to leave any unused windows of opportunity. Lots of words. Back on track then:

So since we're already in the second quarter of the year already, I thought I'd see how much I've learned during the past three months, and apply some mindful studying, extract knowledge and apply it to something of my own. For now these are the preliminary steps which I went through and will go through until this project is completed:
  • Define subject (done)
  • Establish the major focus areas (done)
  • Find reference for each (probably done)
  • Do lots of studies (on-going)
  • Ideation sketches (some uneducated guesses on pre-study phase = NOT done)
  • Final sketch selection
  • Work on it until complete

I have to work on my annotations a bit more, since at the moment I don't do any of that, but it might be quite helpful to do on-screen, too. Or just in my own sketchbook at least.

I focused on some paintings by Franz (or Frantisek) Dvorak, and also one photo-reference, where my color evaluation was quite off and just had to note it down for comparison. In general I have noticed I like the approach of first sketching something down and then going over it with color a lot more than going straight in with color blobs. I know Marta Dahlig approaches her portraits with that latter technique, as well as many other artists, but I think that the lack of structure-mileage on my part doesn't go well with that at the moment. This is also something I thought about regarding the master studies I did last year, and the tons of mis-measurements and overall mistakes that they have. Those are still present even in these sketches, but, at least it's a start I can live with and keep pushing towards an improvement.

I don't know if I should keep pushing with this the way I've planned out to, but it definitely feels I should since I've started something, and seeing it through will definitely give all sorts of boosts of improvement, be it big or small. Also, with every study I do for this little project, I kind of combine a lot of the other themes I have worked on, so it feels like it's a good way to summarize and push myself - and finally do something from my own imagination.

Rant over. Here's preliminary studies part uno:


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