Sunday, January 10, 2016

Drawing a Mandala: First Attempt

There were so many firsts with this video. First time drawing a Mandala, first time recording the process, and first time editing a video on an iPad Mini.

As I mentioned in a previous post, following one subject on youtube can bring you into a black hole that contained so many connected subjects. Next thing you know, hours have passed, your eyes have sensory overload and your brain is filled with so much information that you want to try and do yourself. Some how, in my video journey of Journals and watercolor, which lead to sketching and doodling, I ended up on videos about drawing mandalas.

Mandala (correctly pronounced 'mahn-dul', but you will hear everyone saying 'mahn-da-la') is a Sanskrit word that generally means "circle".  The modern version of a mandala is different from the traditional version, but it is basically repetitive intricate designs in a growing circle. It's one of those things that you probably did in the back of your notebook in high school, not even knowing it had a name or a deeper meaning. So I starting drawing these and it was daunting at first because I didn't know how to start and I'm very conscious as to wether the design looks good or not, but then I decided to let go and I do it to relax and ease my mind. I don't care so much if the design looks good or not anymore, because if I don't keep at it, post it, and look back at my progress, I will never get better.

I used Autodesk Sketchbook to draw and record this mandala and I also used the stylus Pencil by 53. The app has a recording feature that records anytime you start drawing. Unfortunately if you leave the app, it stops and saves the movie instead of pausing it, so this video was saved in about 4 different clips. Even though the clips are stop motion and sped up, I sped them up even more to get the whole video down to under 8 minutes.

This drawing took a very long time because I didn't know where to start and because I kept thinking about how it looked compared to others drawings I saw. When I first started, I wanted the drawing to look organic, but when I draw on a computer, I have less control over my hand and movements (along with the programming and sensitivity of the computer and software). So my mistakes are magnified. Half way through, I decided to start using the line and shape tools. When I was done and cleaning up, I didn't fix up everything. I still wanted to keep a semi-organic look. However, in the future, I will leverage the line and shape tools to make the process faster and neater.

The Sketchbook app has some issues with detecting gestures. In order to zoom in or zoom out, you have to pinch the screen. If you'll notice in the video, several times black marks appeared on the drawing or eraser mark appeared that needed to be cleaned up later. This happened when I trying to zoom in, zoom out, or pan the canvas. There is a feature to ignore certain hand gestures while a pen stylus is being used, but this obviously needs more work.

The final image

I edited this video on my iPad Mini using the Pinnacle Studio Pro app. Back in Sept/Oct when my laptop died. I decided I was done with laptops and I wanted to see if I could try and do as much as I could on my mobile devices. I've used iMovie on my iPod before, but there are a few features missing that I learned the Pinnacle app had. So this project was also a way for me to test out video editing with this app. The app works brilliantly! It is so advanced for a mobile app. There were a few times where I shorten the length of a clip and the whole line jumped further than I wanted it to. I could not make the clip longer to fix it (you can do this in iMovie). I had to use undo to fix it and there were times were it didn't look fixed. I had to undo several times back to a point where I could see it wasn't messed up and start over from there. The jury is still out, but so far I might like it better than the iMovie mobile app.

I also draw mandalas with pencil and makers too. I use the medium I have available at the time to do the things I need and get the art out of my head.

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