Currently browsing Posts Published January 2016

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Drawing Pretty Girls Day 5

Posted by Sam Kressin in Drawing and Illustration, Drawing Pretty Girls, Pencil Drawings, Uncategorized

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Read  Day 1 Here, Day 2 Here, Day 3 Here, Day 4 Here

Today we learn about the “Four essential parts to a sexy girl” according to the Famous Artist Cartoon Course Lesson 7. Below is the drawing I did from this lesson. It is a free hand recreation of the illustration by Joe King. Each one the four circles in the drawing are suppose to be one of the “four essential parts.” They are listed in the course as 1. The Face 2. The Breasts 3. The Hips and 4. The Legs.

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Ready Player One: Book Review

Posted by Sam Kressin in Book Reviews, Opinion

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I just finished reading (listening to) Ready Player One: A Novel This was an interesting book.

Here’s the basic premise of the book. The story takes place in the future and it’s pretty dismal. A guy named Halliday created a virtual world that sounds like something similar to “2nd Life” called the Oasis. This virtual world works by putting on a pair of special classes that project the images directly onto your retina and this world is suppose to be so amazing the real world looks like a fog compared to it.  Everyone on planet Earth is addicted to this thing. After Halliday (the creator of the Oasis) died he left a message to the world about a final easter egg he has hidden inside this virtual world. Whoever discovers this egg is the heir to Halliday’s entire estate. Halliday, a scholar of 1980s pop culture, has left several clues leading to the final easter egg all these clues pertain to Video Games, RPGS, Comic Books, Television Shows and Movies from the 1980s.  

The book shines in it’s meticulously researched references to so many obscure facets of 1980s culture. The book even mentions the RPG Game Champion’s, The made for T.V. Special Ewoks and The Battle For Endor, D&D’s creators Gygax & Arneson, Atari’s Joust and a large amount of late 1970s and 1980s trivia I never even knew about. As far as the story goes the book starts out really slow and it was a struggle to get through the first quarter of it after that the story takes off and I couldn’t put it down till I got to the end of it.

Now here’s some of the stuff in the book I didn’t like or I felt just didn’t make much sense.

  1. Everything in this virtual world costs money. You can’t even go to another planet without paying a teleportation fee. If that’s the case why would it be so awesome?
  1. The book claims the entire virtual world is free and open source. If that’s the case anyone would be able to build their own version of the game independently of the original. In fact it would make more sense for the IOI the evil corporation competing to find Halliday’s easter egg. To pool all their money into building their own version of the Oasis since it’s all open source then marketing more effectively that the original.
  1. The Hero of the story Wade is broke in real life and he’s broke in the Oasis he can’t go any place cool inside the game. Yet he still spends all his time playing it. Then when Wade needs money to accomplish the rest of his objectives in the game the book conveniently hands him all the money he needs.
  1. If this virtual world is so amazing why are so many of the characters going inside it just to watch old 80s films such as War Games? Why would anyone bother looking at stuff like that rather than the beauty of this virtual world. In other words the characters in the story are leaving the real world to go inside this virtual world only to ignore the virtual world and view things from the real world.
  1. The audiobook version is read by Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame. In his reading of the book Wheaton successfully makes the main character Wade sound like the most pretentious douchebag of all time.

Overall it was a good book and while I couldn’t put it down I will admit by the end I was ready for it to be over. I had heard more obscure 1980s trivia than I ever wanted to know.

Drawing Pretty Girls Day 4

Posted by Sam Kressin in Drawing and Illustration, Drawing Pretty Girls, Pencil Drawings, Personal Journal, Sketch Book

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Read  Day 1 HereDay 2 HereDay 3 HereDay 4 Here

Today is “The Cartoon Girl Based On Life.”

Todays lesson comes from Famous Artists Courses Lesson 7. This is to teach the artist the difference between drawing the “cartoon girl” and a “real girl.” In the first illustration I was suppose to draw a layin of the figure with the black area’s indicating the figure of the actualy model. It is an exercise in where to change your drawing from life to make an appealing cartoon girl. The second drawing is a fully finished cartoon girl based on the same pose. Both drawings I did are free had recreations of the drawing in the course by Joe King.

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Drawing Pretty Girls Day 3

Posted by Sam Kressin in Drawing and Illustration, Drawing Pretty Girls, Pencil Drawings, Personal Journal, Sketch Book

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Read Drawing Pretty Girls Day 1 Here, Day 2 Here

To improve in my ability to draw women I am working through lesson 10 of the Famous Artist Cartoon Course circa the late 1940s “Drawing Pretty Girls.”

Still working through the second page of the lesson. There is a black and white photograph of a Nude Woman. For todays exericse I did a free hand pencils study of the of the photograph as close to the actual photo as I could.

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Drawing Pretty Girls Day 2

Posted by Sam Kressin in Drawing and Illustration, Drawing Pretty Girls, Pencil Drawings, Sketch Book

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Read Drawing Pretty Girls Day 1 HereDay 2 HereDay 3 HereDay 4 Here

Moving onto to the next page of the course there are a total of 3 illustrations to make a study of in addition to about 1/4 a page of written text. Today I will do the first illustration.

The female figure, as the cartoonist draws it is a stylized figure based on the popular American ideal.

This is also more of a challenge as the idealized female figure for me doesn’t exactly meld with the American ideal. It is also difficult as I now have to draw the full figure.

Below is my second attempt at recreating the first figure drawing on this page of the lesson. Look and comparing the two illustrations (mine and Joe King’s) I made mine quite a bit thicker than Joe’s even though I was striving for the super slender figure and his over all pose looks a lot more dynamic than mine.Pretty_Girl_Day_2

Drawing Pretty Girls Day 1

Posted by Sam Kressin in Drawing and Illustration, Drawing Pretty Girls, Pencil Drawings, Personal Journal

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One of my biggest weakness in Illustration is in drawing Women. There’s a lot of reasons for this. One major issue being when I was younger I was too embarrassed to draw women. I thought if I drew the female figure people would judge me as being a pervert. Today however as an adult I am not embarrassed and don’t care if people judge me. I have therefore decided to make a serious study to improve my abilities in this area. The famous saying goes; An artist that can draw beautiful women never goes hungry.

To get started on this endeavor I have decided to work through the classic Famous Artist Cartoon Course Lesson 7 Pretty Girls by commercial Cartoonist Joe King. The original famous artists correspondence courses were founded in the late 1940s by Norman Rockwell and  Albert Dorn. I believe the original course consisted of 10 lessons with an addtional 14 lessons add at a later time. Each lesson was then to be completed by the student and sent in for critique by a professional. Today the courses are still under copy right by Cortina Learning International and available for purchase at the famous artist school website here.

The first page of the course begins with a half page type written introduction to drawing “the pretty girl.”

Here are some of the funnier quotes;

The pretty girl, the dame, the frail, the tomato, the cookie, the cutie is always welcome in a cartoon no matter how grotesque the rest of the characters may be.

In drawing a pretty girl, don’t be too skimpy with the bust or the thigh line. These can be accentuated without giving the drawing any suggestion of vulgarity.

Probably the best piece of advice given in this first part of the lesson is;

One well-known cartoonist who always said he couldn’t draw sexy or pretty girls became on of the top girl artist in the business simply by drawing one complete figure from pencil to ink each day for one year.

Here is my drawing from this first page. It is a free hand pencil drawing recreation I did of the original inked illustration by Joe King.

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Darth Bane Path of Destruction: Book Review

Posted by Sam Kressin in Book Reviews, Star Wars

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Path-of-destructionThis is the best Star Wars book I have ever read. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. Darth Bane is now my favorite Sith Lord. If you don’t know about Darth Bane I’ll give you a basic rundown. He lived 1,000 years before the Battle of Yavin (when the rebel alliance blew up the first Death Star). During the years of Bane’s Training into the Sith Order. The Sith numbered in legions and preached a doctrine of equality amongst the Sith Lords. Darth Bane a student of the ancient and archival Sith Texts believed the ways of the Sith to have strayed in the wrong direction. Bane then reinstated the Rule of Two wiping out most of the Sith Legions.

In theory the Rule of two would insure that each subsequent Sith Master is more powerful than the predecessor. The only way to become the master is to kill the master. It is also more congruent with Sith doctrines however it does have an inherent flaw (not mentioned in this book). And that is with only two Sith there would be a shortage of people to practice lightsaber sparring with. Meanwhile the Jedi have hundreds of sparring partners. Darth Bane himself had legions of Sith to spar with on a daily basis while his predecessor and the one often considered the book end of the Darth Bane Linage Darth Sidious would have only had his master Darth Plagueis to spar with. Therefore I’d have a really hard time believing Sidious would ever be able to beat Bane in lightsaber combat despite the fact that other writers have tried to make the claim that each Sith Master since the time of Darth Bane became more powerful than the next culminating with Darth Sidious as the ultimate manifestation of the Dark Side of the force.

Here are some of my favorite Quotes from the book;

Working to make everybody equal didn’t leave much chance for anyone to achieve greatness.

Equality is a lie. A myth to appease the masses. There are those with power, those with the strength and will to lead. And there are those meant to follow—those incapable of anything but servitude and a meager, worthless existence.  Equality is a perversion of the natural order!

I will learn from your wisdom. I will discover your secrets, unlocking them one by one until everything you know—all your knowledge and all your power—is mine. And once you are no longer of use to me, I will destroy you.

Honor is a fool’s prize. Glory is of no use to the dead.

The dark side is about survival. It’s about unleashing your inner power. It glorifies the strength of the individual.

Take what makes you weak and turn it into something that makes you strong.

Two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody the power, the other to cravit it.

Peace is a lie. There is only passion. Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory, my chains are broken. The Code of the Sith

Team Kraken Interview Part II

Posted by Sam Kressin in Catch Wrestling, Martial Arts

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Kraken_Fight_TeamLast year I had the pleasure of having Brandon McCleese, Jay Grooms and Joey Thornsberry of the Kraken Fight Team based out of Kentucky in town for a week to train at the inaugural 2015 Scientific Wrestling Camp with Wade Schalles here in San Diego. While the guys were here I took some time to sit down and chat with them about their Journey into Catch Wrestling, training with the late Billy Robinson and more. I published the first half of the interveiw here. This is part two of that same interview almost a year late it’s still just as relevant now as it was then. READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

Star Wars The Force Awakens: Book Review

Posted by Sam Kressin in Book Reviews, Star Wars

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Starwars_The_Force_AwakensI recently completed listening to the entire audio book version of Star Wars The Force Awakens. My opinion of the film which I have seen twice didn’t really change much with the listening of this audio book. There are several details in the book that fill in some of the information missing in the film but nothing really changing the fact this first film can’t stand on it’s own as a complete story. For example the book explains why Han Solo had been collecting Rathtars. Basically there’s some wealthy collectors that want them. There’s an entire scene not in the film explaining how Po survived the Tie fighter crash and got off Jakku. There is also some longer dialogues between Kylo Ren and Snoke. One in which Snoke makes the claim he has been around long enough to see the rise and fall of the Empire. There’s a much longer discussion about the thermal oscillator on Starkiller Base which still makes little to any sense at all. As a hardcore nerd I enjoy getting these extra tidbits of information however none of it was enough to really change my opinion of the film or the story. Which if you want to know that you can watch my video about it here.

Tang Soo Do

Posted by Sam Kressin in Uncategorized

While Tang Soo Do and many other traditional martial arts have been discarded by several fractions of the martial arts community as being outdated and ineffective in combat. In recent years there have been a number of very successful professional mixed martial arts fighters with backgrounds steeped in traditional styles of of Karate in it’s various forms. Here’s a quick list of some of these martial artists. Read Full Article here…

Source: Tang Soo Do

Book Review: Azure Bonds

Posted by Sam Kressin in D&D

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Azure_BondsAzure Bonds, the first book in the Finder’s Stone Trilogy, is a Forgotten Realms novel published in 1988 (the 2nd year the Forgotten Realms Books were introduced) by Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak. I give this book four out of five stars. I thought it was great! The book captures the essence of a really good Dungeons and Dragons Campaign it even starts in a Tavern. It’s loaded with mystery and action. My only reason for holding off the fifth star is because the final ending of the story is a little bit weird and drags on longer than it needs other wise the entire book is a really fun read.

Here’s a quick spoiler free summary. Alias is a female sword for hire. She wakes up with a weird magical tattoo and a mute lizard man sidekick. She has no memory or recollection of where they came from. She then sets out a on a quest to discover the origin of the strange markings on her arm. This leads us through an awesome adventure where she teams up with a Halfling Bard and a Mage she has to battle dragons and take on all kinds of other challenges. I highly recommend this book.

Play Vs Work

Posted by Sam Kressin in Martial Arts, Opinion, Personal Journal

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“Play not work is the end of life. To participate in the rites of play is to dwell in the Kingdom of Ends. To participate in work, career and the making of history is to labor in the Kingdom of Means. The modern age, the age of history, nourishes illusions. Work is serious, important, adult. It’s essential insignificance is overlooked. Work of course must be done. But we should be wise enough to distinguish necessity from reality. Play is reality work is diversion and escape.” – Michael Novak The Joy of Sports