Hello, birds on the wing….


I decided I should probably actually *draw* something for once — it’s been a while since I just sat down and made a proper ink drawing. Of course, scribbling things out on-the-fly never results in actual animals. The best you can hope for is some sort of semi-realistic lion-antelope, and that’s basically what I wound up with this time. Heavy on the antelope, though, to the point where you could almost mistake it for an actual animal (albeit one with pretty disappointing shoulders, now that I look it over).

Problem is, I don’t tend to draw large-scale. In fact, I tend to draw itty-bitty miniature things en masse when given the choice. This drawing was done in ink (a Tonka Equipment Company promotional pen, to be specific — I’m going to go ahead and give them that much free publicity, assuming they still exist, because it’s kind of awesome that there is an actual grown-up company called Tonka) on a piece of paper whose longest dimension is under 5 inches. That’s all well and good if you want to squint at it in person, but when I’m drawing actual things-to-sell they typically need to take up just a bit more space than that.

Sometimes I’m just out of luck — I slap it on a postcard or magnet and call it a day. But if it’s all one color or shades of gray, sometimes I dare to set aside a day to try and wrangle it into a vector file with Inkscape. It’s not that Inkscape is particularly complicated to use (though it has the inevitable freeware glitches once in a while), but it’s not a big fan of tracing complicated drawings. If you try to rush things, more often than not you end up with a perfect, sleek-edged, fully scalable blob of mashed-together smaller blobs. And just don’t even try orange. It doesn’t like orange.

Drawing in Inkscape is one story; you can make some impressively detailed images working entirely from the vector side (if you’re dedicated, which I’m mostly not). But in translation, well, something is inevitably lost. So after waiting countless minutes for my final amateur attempt at vectorizing to appear, I was pleasantly surprised to discover it actually looked pretty close to my actual drawing. So pleasantly surprised that I thought, “oh, this is easy, maybe I should try some other modifications while I’m here!”

Well, it’s the next day, and I’ve decided it looks juuuust fine the way it is. Moral: If something’s going well, don’t push it. You may end up wasting a lot of time waiting for unresponsive programs to shut down.


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