SketchUp from first principles

house tutorial

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could get through all your errands then, when you have a blank day, feel fresh and thoroughly inspired?

It doesn’t work like that for me. There’s plenty that I could do but nothing pressing so to celebrate the launch of a new version of SketchUp, the first in eighteen months, I’m dipping back into the program again. Mine isn’t the latest Pro version but the free version has plenty of possibilities.

Breathing Space

gable end

I could argue that as illustration involves depicting three-dimensional objects in two dimensions it makes sense to explore all the possibilities. Playful experiment can feed into my regular illustrations in surprising ways.

old chairIt’s probably much more to do with my fascination for making models and creating imaginary worlds. I feel that we should all be allowed to do some things just because we enjoy them.

hall tableI’ve been through these tutorials before but it’s several years ago, so it’s been worth going back to first principles.

In the fourth and final part of the SketchUp basics video tutorials in which you get to construct a hall table, you get to grapple with such subtleties as tapering the legs, mirror imaging two of them to create the other pair and, the final touch, getting the drawer handles spot in the middle of the drawer front. There’s a trick to it.

Link; SketchUp

A Series of Unfortunate Events

events iMac We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks dealing with series of unfortunate events, running around to get repairs to a wall, a ceiling, a 1930s jug handle and the dented rear end of our car.

So it’s wonderful to get back to my desk and – as a complete indulgence – to re-familiarise myself with my computer, I’ve been going through some of the obscurer workings of my web design program, Dreamweaver.

Absolute Positioning

Dreamweaver book For instance what on earth is AP Div? Absolute Positioning, which is what the AP stands for, sounds really useful, but a short tutorial from Teach Yourself Visually Dreamweaver convinces me that it would be best avoided.

I played around with the possibilities by scanning three sketches of objects on my desktop then dropped the scanned images into AP Div boxes in Dreamweaver and moved them about so that they overlapped, then changed the stacking order.

It worked but, looking at the uploaded web page, I soon realised that when I maximised the size of my browser window they got totally out of sync with the rest of the page. AP divs Not recommended!

Link; my experiments with on AP Divs

Spring in my Step

wheel-barrowIn my determination to draw a page a day, which I’ve kept up since before Christmas, I’ve had to resort to working a lot from photographs taken on walks to fill in the gaps for particular days. What a refreshing change to have the time to get into the back garden for an hour or so to draw from life.

I feel as if I’ve got so much more freedom working from the real thing; freedom to be less literal with colour and detail. Because I’ve got a better understanding of what’s in front of my eyes I can be more playful in the way I draw it.

Whenever I go to a movie if there’s a 3D version that’s the performance that I’ll go for and it’s the same with drawing. I can relax and let the drawing flow more freely because in real life – HD, HDR and 3D as it is – I’ve got a better understanding of how things are arranged in space – for instance woodland seen through a hedge. That kind of thing can give you cause to stop and ponder when you’re working from a photograph, which breaks the flow a bit.

I’m convinced that I’ll be getting out more often as we move into spring.

My drawing might not be as resolved as the subject deserves. Perhaps if I’d had two hours I’d have gone for something more ambitious but any drawing is better than none. I look forward to having the time to go over the top with a drawing.

Misleading Cases

red case

‘We don’t need colour!’ says Barbara, as I hurry to complete my thumbnail sketches.

‘We need to remember which is which.’ I suggest but really it’s just the pleasure of slapping on colour that makes me go a little over the top with my scribbled notes.

blue case

We’ve got a trip coming up and we’re determined to travel light but, you know how it is, you get to the store and, out of context, in different surroundings, sizes can look different. On one occasion we spotted a rucksack that looked just the right in-between size we’d always been looking for and came back to discover that it was exactly the same size, in litres capacity, as the one we had at home.

I’ve been drawing exclusively natural history recently and putting a lot of effort into completing a page a day, so these quick sketches are a rare example of offhand note-taking.

Result; we went for two ‘cabin size’ 1.56 kg cases. Should be easier to carry, or pull along behind us (they have wheels) than one large case and they’re designed to suit the hand luggage requirements of all airlines, even the budget ones that we’re most likely to use, although these can change so you’d always have to check before travelling.

When we were travelling to France a couple of years ago, my sister-in-law Michelle inadvertently exceeded the limit when she popped in a blockbuster novel in the front pocket of her bag at the last minute! Luckily Barbara had some spare capacity.