February 27, 2014

How to improve your SEO (and blog in general) without going in too deep?

You work on keywords, titles and image names. As simple is that.

You see, I am horrible at SEO. I've read - and still do - tons of articles and I even took a course, because this subjects really fascinates me. But it was almost worthless. I am too lazy to do the keyword search and really but really don't have the will to do Google campaigns. All I want are some simple methods to make a difference, even the tiniest one. So I kept on reading.

Some time ago I've read this article about the importance of the post titles and then I've noticed something. I've been using Feedly for quite some time now and first what you see is a blog post list with it's titles. Naturally what I do is I skip through and read only what seems interesting. And then I though, jee, this is the thirst thing that I read before I read the thing itself. So from that day I stared to pay attention to my titles. I don't know if there's a difference in ranking or visiting rate but for sure makes me a better blogger.

Another thing is my image titling. I used to title them "img" and "img-1" for the purpose of post editing, so I know what image to put in what section of the post. Today I give them a proper title, like Sunny Beach, or Sleeping Cat etc. At this point this 2 seconds task already became a hobby. Again, no idea how will it effect the blog, but it costs absolutely nothing, so why not do it?

And, obviously, the keyword research, but I won't get into that, it's all has been said before.

What about you? How do you work on your blog's SEO without getting too deep onto it? Or with all the changes Google does it's just irrelevant anymore?

February 25, 2014

Drawspace lesson N07: Drawing a hairy boy

It seems that lessons start to repeat themselves. I know, I know, it's an additional practice, but come on!!! The only thing that comforts me is that each time there's a different method presented. And, hopefully, it takes me less time to draw. The drawing of this boy appeared first in Lesson H12, although the task was slightly different. So I guess, it will be partly the same and I should stop wining.

It was pretty easy this time. The shading map was simple and clear. All I had to do is to create a smooth transition from soft pencil to a hard one. And to keep my soft pencils sharpened all the time.

It seems though that the tissue I put under my hand does not "work well" in sketches like this. The sketch is smudgy as if I blended it on purpose. I guess I'll have to learn a new way for holding my hand while shading.

The nice thing is that this lesson made me want to draw more hair, in particularly braided hairdo's so I might do something about it in the future.

February 23, 2014

Drawspace lesson N06: Drawing a cartoon snake

Its the second time that a snake is the subject of the lesson. First one was Cuddle and now Bill the Corny Rattle. I guess the curves of the sanke do the trick.

This is my unfinished snake.

I hated shading it, it seemed too narrow, So I decided to leave it as is and do some additional sketches of snakes.

But then I started the search and saw all these creepy Anaconda images, those with non-digested prey inside it, and it was so creepy that I narrowed my search to Cobras. But since it was still creepy, I gave up. No snakes. Snakes creep me out.

February 21, 2014

Drawspace lesson N05: How to draw a cartoon frog

This is lesson N05 of a Drawspace art program. I am half way through the program. It has come to my attention that I should stop working on a printing paper and move on to something thicker. So from now on I'll be doing most of these sketches on 125gr paper. Just so you know.

An now to the lesson itself. It is about drawing a cartoon frog, front view. It is cute and the lesson was pretty easy.

I, for some reason, decided to share it here in its different stages.
This is the first outline.

This is the shading part.

This is the blended version.

I had such a great time doing this one. Of course, since one drawing is not enough, I decided to challenge myself with this Peacock tree frog.

So frst I made a rough sketch of the frog. Just some basic lines and forms.

Here I made a final outline and mapped basic highlights.

To do the shading I photoshopped the image and turned it into black and white. Then I began shading.

It was nice, I really enjoyed drawing this frog. It is sweet and powerful at the same time. Obviously, it took some time, but in all, I didn't have any difficulties with it.

P.S. While drawing I read a bit about frogs and found out that they shed  their skin every 5-6 weeks. A short Youtube search revealed that there's no proper video memorizing the moment. Pity, I really wanted to see how they do it.

February 19, 2014

Drawspace lesson N04: How to draw a head of an Emu.

When I looked at the drawing suggested in the lesson I started to laugh. You know why? I realised that the skills I "required" when drawing a Shih Tzuy dog will be very useful here. Remember how I comlpained that I cant get a dog's fur right? I guess here I wuill be very successful creating a crazy looking bird.

This is the Emu.

I guess I was right, it does look cool and funny. I had a great time sketching it so I decided to draw another one from this Emu reference.

P.S. It does get more and more difficult.

February 17, 2014

How to Shade and not feel the pain in your arm?

I get to ask this question a lot recently. Some time ago I shaded a tennis ball using Squircles,

and after just a few seconds I felt some pain in my arm. I believe that one of the reasons was me not holding my pencils right, but there might be others.

Do you have any ideas? How can one shade and not feel any pain in one's arm?

February 15, 2014

Drawspace lesson N03: How to draw a cartoon cylinder

Lets get silly!!!! Because the subject in Lesson N03 is a Silly cartoon Cylinder!
It's actually came right on time because previous section was very difficult. So doing stuff like this is a real treat.

After completing it I decided to make it a monthly exercise - to draw withing a geometric shape. I already do circles on a monthly basis, now I should thing of another shape. And it might as well be a Cylinder.

Here's one example.

As you can see, I made some notes about the outcome. The Cylinder is confused about it's emotioins, it's both scared and angry. It's both scared and angry. Not sure it's good. So I think I'll have to add it tio the list and work on it. 

February 13, 2014

Drawspace lesson N02: How to draw a Penguin

Wow, pinguins!!! Don't you just love them? I know I do!!! One of my favorite cartoons is Happy Feet, and if you haven't watched it yet, you should, and soon!!! It's a musical about singing and dancing penguins. The movie is amazing, wonderfully done, the cast, wich performs all the musical numbers, is amazing. Highly reccomended!

And now, to the sketch.

This is Tux, the penguin.

The outline was quick, the form is simply layed out on the lesson itself. As always with fur, it as such a long draw!!! I took a break workinh on the shading/fur - feather making. So frusturating!!!

But, nevertheless, I decided to draw another penguin. This one based on my own picture, taken last year in Jerusalem Biblical zoo.

If you compare the sketch to the original photograph, you will see I made a mistake while shading, and decided not to go on with it. After all, drawing fur is not the point here.

P.S. I've noticed just now that the highlighted text in the Draspace lesson usually refers to te instruction itself, and the regular text is general knowledge and tips. It helps me skip throught the text without reading things I see on the picture.

February 11, 2014

Drawspace lesson N01: How to draw a cartoon kid.

We're drawing Misha. Again. I think this is the second lesson this drawing appears in (First: lesson and sketch). I don't know how to react on that - either to be happy that I get to repeat and practice the same thing several times or to be upset for the same reason. Anywas, a task is a task and I should do that drawing.

This is it.

I have nothing more to say, actually. It was done without any feeling or excitement. It wasn't neither easy nor difficult. Just another drawing.

The one thing I do know - it is way better looking than the first one I did. And for that reason only it was worth doing.

February 09, 2014

Drawspace lesson M08: How to draw a Shih Tzu dog

I love dogs. Especially big ones. So drawing a dog at this pong will be really fun. I have no idea how I'm going to pull out the fur, but it's worth trying. I won't be drawing inside squares as suggested in Lesson M08, but I will be working with some helping lines, as always.

This is the given dog.

The outcome is far from being perfect. I mean, you can tell its an animal, but not the one it's ment to be. I only now might start to realize how to create a close to realistic fur, but I'm not there yet. That's why I decided to draw another Shih Tzu (ref image).

The first thing I noticed was that that specific Shih Tzu has a mustage :)
But it took me forever to draw what I've drown. And I don't think I want to do more at this point.
Maybe long fur is just not my thing, why knows?

I like the nose and the eyes, though...

February 07, 2014

How do I plan and write posts? - I thought you might be interested :)

Today we will be discussing a method of posts writing and publishing. But first, you should know that I didn't make any research on the subject before I decided to publish this post, so I really don't know what other bloggers have to say.

Several years ago when I decided to start blogging I had only one thing in my mind: to share knowledge. I was a 3d Max newbie and I starved for knowledge. Endless tutorials and tons of info were floating through my head and at times I found myself without a needed tut. My thought was - if others write tutorials, why can't I? So I began writing some tuts and by the end of 2007 I found myself with only 2 posts (October to December). Since there was no proper agenda, I didn't mind. Years 2008-2011 were a little more productive but not great (9, 12, 23, 23 posts). 2011 was the year I've decided to take my blog to the next level. I decided on a theme related to drawing and started to work methodically. And by the end of 2012 I've published 84 posts. But the real change came in 2013 when I started scheduling and planning my posts. As the months passed by I had more and more ideas for new post. It was (and still is) a free mind flow. I guess that in my case it is a bit easier since I have a very strong base for the post in general - at this point most of it revolves around the Drawspace art program. This is what gives me more ideas on what to write. For me there is always a need to share the knowledge, tips and experience as I gain it. I draw, I learn things and I add of my own. This free flow of ideas is the reason why some of my non Drawspace articles will be published two or even three years after they were first drafted. If they're still relevant.

When I draw and an idea comes to my head I immediately leave my sketch and write a very rough draft on what the future post could be. Sometimes it's just a title. Sometimes it a single paragraphs. Sometimes these are some pointers. The idea is to write something down before I forget about it. And then I get back to my sketches. After that I tend write in bits. A sentence here and a paragraph there. This way I don't get stuck on an idea but let it grow and evolve.

I tend to ask questions and utilize my working process. This brings me to research and discovery and these brings me to post writing.

This way I get a long list of my future possible articles so I wouldn't have this so called "writing block" that many talk about. I believe that if I didn't participate in the Drawspace program life would be more difficult. But the way it is now - it's just pure fun of a free flow. Sometimes I write several articles simultaneously. Why? Because it's a free flow brainstorming. Ideas come as you work. Many years ago I've read somewhere that in order to become a successful writer one must write as much as possible. I guess this regards to anything one wants to do well.

So to conclude the above, what will contribute to your post writing?
1. Ideas come as you create. So create!
2. Write an idea down the moment you have it.
3. Schedule your posts.
4. Ask question, look for answers and share your findings.
5. If you see that the post is better in two parts - divide it. That way you'll have another post in your list. :)

And how do you do that? Do you have any tips for post writing?

February 05, 2014

Drawspace lesson M07: How to draw a swan

There's one thing I have to say about swans: they are weird creatures!!! When gliding the waters, they are amazingly graceful, but when on earth, I mean, come on! How clumsy can one bird get!!!

But in general, I love then. I like watching them gliding the waters. I love it when the half open their wings and appear almost royal or like a huge feathery cloud. If you ever get to visit Bruges, Belgium, you'll find plenty of them swimming the canal waters, under the bridges, near the monasteries. Such a beautiful sight. So that's what I'm going to think about while drawing this swan.

This drawing is based on the drawing from Lesson M07.

This swan was not an easy draw for me. After just few lines through I decided to give up but then I thought, a lesson is a lesson so I should do it even if the outcome is really bad.

Bu in fact, I don't think it's as bad as it could be but it's not great either. The feathers are all wrong and the head is too small, even after I redrawn it several times. And I'm not even going to start about the background which is supposed to be water.

But that "failure" made me want to draw another swan, so here it is. (Reference images 1, 2, 3, 4)

I intentionally didn't do the shading/feathers but the form only. Just so you know.

February 03, 2014

Drawspace lesson M06: How to draw a cat - 2

This is the second lesson in this section where we draw a cat. Lesson M06 suggests drawing a different, more realistic cat. I actually got lost in all the dark stains of the fur while value mapping, so I guess it won't be identical to the one in the lesson.

It was a long session.
And as you can see, I wasn't patience enough to finish it. But it looks like a cat to me. I am really in to capturing the form and shading and not fur drawing. Although, it seems that fur is a kind of shading.

But it's not important. It's a cat. And I'm happy.

February 01, 2014

Developing creativity: Drawing objects upside down.

Hi all,

The idea was taken from lesson H14 of a Drawspace art project Also, Natalie Ratkovski's mentioned it in her book, "Let yourself create" (in Russian). The excersise is about taking a familiar objects and draw it upside down The purpose is to:
  1. Practice drawing something familiar in the unfamiliar way.
  2. Make your right brain work.
  3. Draw lines and not objects. When you draw a mug - you know it's a mug. But when you draw n upside-down mug, you still know it's a mug but you see it differently.
  4. Take a familiar object out of its regular concept and work with it.
So I took a plastic bowl and started working. I must tell in advance that my intention is not to practice realistic drawing but to practice creativity. Although there's always room for both on my paper sheets. 

I first decided to make a sketch of the bowl itself, as is. 

And then I turned it upside down, made several outlines of the bowl and tried to do as many different sketches as possible.

These two are A5 size.

Others I made a bit smaller.

When I did the cake I've suddenly realized that these sketches should be a "based on" style. I've realized that I even don't have to keep the original form; I could alter it, erase and add just as much as I want to.

So here are some more. This time I allowed myself to go crazy and not accurate at all. 

I love the mashed hat and the upper left form. No idea what it is but it's nice.

This exercise is also to become a part of a monthly routine.