Below are some of my pencil drawings from the PLC course. They were all based on real life observation, meaning that sculptures of Tweedles and clock parts were set up into position and drawn. These drawings were all made with artist pencils ranging from HB to 8B.
Before the course, my Tweedle drawings were from imagination, but having created observation based drawings during it, I now have a better understanding of the way things should look. The way light and shadow fall play a big part in making objects look more realistic.
By adding the reflections of metal objects and focusing on the creases and folds in cloth I can make my Tweedle characters much more believable.
I hope you enjoy this week’s drawings and thanks for reading!
For the next few posts, I’ll will be showing you some of my portfolio work from my PLC course. I thought I’d start with my paintings. The first two are currently on display at the ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ exhibition at Colaiste Stiofan Naofa (Tramore Road, Cork City, Co. Cork) and the other two were my other finished paintings that I made during the year.
I think I must be obsessed with my Tweedles now as they seem to be a common theme in my PLC artwork! They’ve become a lot more defined and real since the one I first dream up in my drawing over a year ago.
Please click on the images below to get a better view and I hope you like them!
As I promised last week, here’s the next series of Tweedles. These ones were a bit more experimental; some are missing their face cloth, while some have much larger eyes than those of the previous generation. They were all created by making a basic wire skeleton, and twisting the outer layer of wire around the skeleton. As always, each tweedle is completely unique and has their own characteristics and personality.
Since college I’ve been taking a bit of a break from my usual art. As you may know from my last post I’ve been working on my book. As for the tweedles, I’m one tweedle away from completing another generation of them. Since there were eight in the last generation, I’ll stick to that number for this one.
Anyhow, today I wanted to post something completely different. Recently to pass the time, I’ve been converting a straw hat into my own personalized top hat. It’s not quite finished yet but here’s what I have so far:
Next week I’ll be posting the photos of my new tweedles, but after that I think I can safely post photos of my portfolio because the assessment is complete and I’ve received my results now, which I’ve posted below.
It’s much more difficult to get back into blogging for me than I thought. I’ve been so caught up with the end of the PLC course, making things and writing my story that I’ve completely forgotten to add anything on here for a while!! So, today I thought I’d add some more of my story to this blog.
The story only exists in my head at the moment, and I’ve only got 38 pages written so far. I’ve realized that I am a fairly slow writer so it may take a long time for me to entirely finish writing and editing. My artwork is both the inspiration for my story and is also inspired by my story, so the creative process for both writing and art is cyclical.
Anyhow, here’s an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, ‘Skycry’. It is still a work-in-progress and may change as I edit and rewrite, but I’d love to see what you think of it so far. All comments and criticism are very welcome here.
. . .
A Tweedle scampered as best it could along the damp gutters, dragging a bag of cogs and clockwork behind it. Passers by unknowingly splashed the Tweedle repeatedly. This wouldn’t have been much of a problem if it wasn’t for the presence of a nearby policeman, who caught the streetlights’ reflection on the wet metal Tweedle.
The policeman immediately reached down to grab the Tweedle, but his hand missed as the creature ran, spilling its cogs as it sprinted. The policeman ran after the creature, pushing his way through the crowd. Reaching again, he grasped its arm.
Fortunately, the wet weather was causing its arms to rust, and just when the policeman was about to crush the Tweedle, its arm snapped off. The Tweedle fell onto the pavement and jumped down a gutter chute that led to the lower levels of the city.
As the Tweedle tumbled downwards it banged against the many miniature waterwheels that lined the chutes. It finally landed, three-storeys above the ground level.
Battered and broken, the Tweedle got up and limped towards a wastebin. With its remaining hand, it cut a little hole in the bottom of the bin so that some waste poured out. Among old food wrappers, cardboard and smashed glass, the Tweedle found a few components of a scrap kettle. Using its foot to help grip some of the pieces, it started to construct a new arm for itself. Wires, plastic and parts of a heating element where crafted into basic pistons and a crude claw. It wrapped the new arm into position with some remaining wire.
Now that the Tweedle had repaired itself, it just sat there, stuck in thought.
Renfred and his revolutionaries built Tweedles to be their servants; the brain cells that were connected to the computer components of the ravens made Tweedles intelligent, but it also meant that Tweedles experienced an unintended side effect: they could feel emotions.
As a result, Tweedles are emotionally attached to their masters. When a Tweedle fails the mission assigned to it by its masters, they become full of guilt, shame and despair. Its life feels meaningless to it. They have failed at the very thing they were built for and they don’t want to disappoint their masters. Unable to fully deal with the emotions provided by their artificially grown brain cells, Tweedles then become unstable.
This Tweedle was no exception. It was broken and alone. It could not reach its master in time. It had no function anymore. At this point most Tweedles would have just shut down or dismantled themselves, but this particular Tweedle didn’t know what to do.
It broke free of its thoughtful trance and realised that it was no longer useful to its master.
Not quite sure what to do with this newfound freedom, the Tweedle just wandered down the quiet street. Dozens of bridges above blocked off most of the natural light, so the street was illuminated only by a series of green lights that ran along the walls either side.
As the Tweedle proceeded down the street, it heard a muffled noise through one of the walls. A door opened and with it came the clatter of cutlery and crockery, and a cacophony of conversations. Two creatures walked out of the door; one was human and the other was humanoid, but its arms and legs were disproportionately longer than the rest of its scaly body. Both of them held teacups, which they left on a boarded up windowsill before skipping joyfully down the street. With wonder and curiosity, the Tweedle rushed through the door before it closed.
The room was large. Feet moved all around. Tables were surrounded by all kinds of people and creatures. A shouting bartender competed to be heard against the upbeat music that blasted from some loudspeakers. “Special Teas Are Our Specialty! We’ve got Chai tea! Oooolong tea! Ginseng tea! Mint Tea! Red tea! Black tea, Brown tea, Green-tea-blue-tea-yellow-tea-new-tea-old-tea…!” The bartender’s words were now like to those of a hyperactive auctioneer. Eager queues of people were fighting for the next cup of tea, waving teacups at the bartender as he filled them for them.
A man on the other side of the room rested against the wall with his arms folded. The brim of the hat he was wearing cast a shadow that concealed his eyes as they pierced through the bustling crowd, watching the confused Tweedle carefully.
The man pushed himself off the wall and took five steps forward, and then three back to avoid a customer who was rushing to get more tea. He awkwardly moved through the crowd, side-stepping and hopping in what appeared to be more a dance than ordinary walking. He stopped in front of the Tweedle and looked down at it.
He lifted his hat to reveal a face that looked no older than twenty five, yet his eyes were slightly foggy, as if they were older than he was.
He knelt and opened his palm. “Come with me.” The Tweedle backed away. “Don’t be shy! I’m not going to hurt you.” he smiled. It hesitated and then jumped onto his hand. He carefully carried it, with his hands cupped, through the crowd and into his office. He opened his hands and let it jump out onto a shelf.
The man gestured towards a small crack in the wall just above the shelf, and then he sat at the office desk in a revolving seat. He flicked a switch under his desk, a panel in the desk opened containing a cup of tea which he sipped. “Walk through the hole. You’ll find some friends in there.”
The Tweedle peered through the hole. The space in the wall was lit up by very weak lights and it was crammed with small furniture. If the space had been given walls and a roof, it could easily be mistaken for a dollhouse.
Staring back at the Tweedle were other Tweedles, also with injuries of their own; shattered legs, damaged arms and a few with their faces removed to reveal the insides of their heads. These strange Tweedles wore hooded robes, made from thin pieces of cloth. The group hummed at the Tweedle and threw a piece of red fabric in front of it. The Tweedle picked up the fabric and returned out of the hole, puzzled, waving it at the man in the hat.
“I’m guessing you’re new to the whole freedom thing. I think you’re supposed to wear the cloth. It’s yours to keep or modify or… do whatever you want with. You’re one of them now. You’re not some slave anymore. You can own things now. You can be whatever you want to be, even if you haven’t a clue what that is yet.”
©Daniel Forrest Smith, 2014
The exhibition starts at 6:30pm, Thursday, May 22nd, and it runs until September 30th, 2014. It’s located at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, Tramore Road, Cork City, Co. Cork.
Feel free to take a look if you’re in the area. I’ve taken a few photos of my displayed works, so here’s a sneak preview of what I’ll be showing:
My photography skills are better than they used to be, but aren’t that good yet! After the exhibition I’ll probably post better photographs of the works, but for now, these will give you an idea of what’s on display.
I hope you enjoy my artwork and I would love to hear your feedback!
Before you read this article, you must first understand that some of it isn’t going to make much sense without some explanation. So, for any of this to make any sense, may I invite you a few thousand years into the future, to a strange new world.
- Where the past has been forgotten and replaced by a collection of Lewis Carroll’s books, which are the basis of a theocratic city.
- Where ecosystems were artificially crafted centuries ago through bio-engineering out of necessity.
- Where technology has radically changed and clockwork and circuitry are married into an efficient hybrid that runs everything from kettles to computers.
- Where robotic ravens are hunted for parts that power flying craft that navigate above the skyscrapers.
- Let me invite your imagination into this city. A city called Wonderland.
* * *
In previous posts, I’ve explained very briefly what my Tweedles are, but in the next few posts, I would like to go into much more detail. I want to clarify what they are. They’re origins. How they think. What they’re made of. In this post, I will discuss how Tweedles are made, where they come from and why.
So where to begin?
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
In the beginning, there was a pile of scrap electronics and clockwork on someone’s desk. This someone wanted to create something to assist him with his plans. This someone hired a mechanic to build this something, and this something was the first Tweedle. How is a Tweedle made? Scrap materials are turned into small pistons, hinges and other moving parts controlled by thin wires that wrap most of these parts and conceal them. Fluid-wires (a technology found in various household appliances in Wonderland) are added to create the hands and parts of arms and legs, that are too small for pistons to fit. Small sensor parts are used for the eyes. Not every part of a Tweedle is easily made… Advanced robots, in the guise of ravens, fly around everywhere. No-one knows where they came from or what they do. These ‘ravens’ are hunted for various reasons by various people. Some people use the levitation devices that keep these robots afloat are used to build flying ships, and some people use it’s parts to make Tweedles. When building a Tweedle, there are two parts you would want to take from a raven:
- Small, powerful batteries are scavenged because they provide an almost infinite supply of power.
- Fragments of a microscale supercomputer that are used to help made the Tweedle’s brain.
How do you build it’s brain? Their brain is actually made up of living brain cells that are integrated into the microscopic supercomputer parts. The brain cells are home grown with what is left of the bioengineering technologies created a few centuries ago. The supercomputer parts contain vast quantities of information and knowledge, and the brain cells allow the Tweedle to feel some degree of emotion. This combination of living tissue and artifical processing power provides the Tweedle with a form of artificial intelligence. Finally, Tweedles need something to keep all the brain/computer parts safe. This is done by wrapping the parts in a piece of cloth, with holes for the eyes to stick out through. A smile is stitched on to help hold the fabric in place. And voila… you end up with a Tweedle!
Where do they come from?
Tweedles are built by mechanics working for revolutionaries in workshops, hidden across the city. They are released into the streets to perform tasks for these revolutionaries.
Why build a Tweedle in the first place?
The man who ordered the construction of Tweedles is the leader of a revolutionary group who want to expose the secrets that Wonderland’s government have been hiding and freeing the people of their influence. They plan on doing this by sabotaging and deconstructing important machines that the military and police are dependent on, and assassinating the leaders, then broadcasting the truth for all to hear. The problem is, a revolutionary group consisting only of a few hundred people isn’t capable of taking on the military. They would need a expendable army of their own. And that’s what the Tweedles are. Tweedles can sneak undetected into armouries and dismantle guns. They can bring the pieces back to their masters to build more Tweedles. At a later stage, when Tweedles became more intelligent, they could build and control their own large exosuits and act as soldiers.
* * *
So now you know about the origins of Tweedles.
I think I’ll discuss the Tweedles’ development as they learn and become more aware, and the culture they start to form among themselves in a later post. Thanks for reading!
My portfolio work took me a lot longer than I thought it would. I haven’t posted anything in ages. I haven’t really looked at WordPress either. Yes, I could have scheduled posts, but I’ve had trouble with them appearing beforehand on other blogs. Anyhow, I finally have all my coursework done, so now I can get back to blogging!
I’ll have to get used to typing on this site again! I’ve written a bit more on my story, but story writing and typing a blog are strangely similar yet different things.
Because my portfolio is currently under assessment, I can’t post any images of the works online until later in the year, so I’ll be showing you my other works. However, if you’re in the locality, a few of my portfolio works will be displayed in the ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ exhibition at Colaiste Stiofan Naofa, Cork.
Anyhow, at the moment I’ve been trying to imitate the style my art was before I did the PLC course. Like a lot of my artwork at the moment, the drawing below is related to the city of Wonderland depicted in my story.
I hope you enjoy it and I’d like to say a big hello to all my followers and visitors! It’s good to be back! :-)
With only a few weeks to go until my portfolio interview, I don’t and won’t have much time to post. Since I can’t post pictures of my actual portfolio work until the interview is done, I’ve decided to create a experimental, 15 minute piece of art for today.
Below is a digitally made composite of two of my previous pictures, created on a photoshop program. Enjoy!
* * * * * * * UPDATE * * * * * * *
To keep focused on mounting and working on my portfolio, I am not going to post on my blog for the next few weeks. I might stop by on other blogs when I have the time, but I will resume posting sometime around the 13th of April.
I apologize in advanced for any inconvenience caused by my absence on this blog. I simply feel that I must prioritize other things over my blog-keeping.
Thank you for understanding.