With any new electronic it takes me awhile before I feel the need to buy it. I'm not an early adopter and on the 5 segment of Technology Adoption I am a Late majority. I'll observe people who have the item and wait for major improvements and updates. Like the year I bought my Ps3 I predicted E3 that year the slim model was going to be released. And sure it was. That being said this upcoming year I am going to buy the Ps4 because of Uncharted 4. 


When U4 was announced it was a total shock because Naughty Dog had a history of just making trilogy. At first with the initial announcement part of me was like it won't be the same because the Creative Director Amy Hennig left the company earlier that year. But after seeing trailers ND wants to maintain the standard and set the bar even higher story-wise, gameplay and technical aspects. 

The motion capture and animation is just too fluid.


When people ask me what one of my favorite games is Uncharted 2.  I've played that game over 5 times and did not skip any of the cut scenes. Platted the game and got all of the trophies. And I've have made it known I don't have any video game, anime or cartoon crushes since I've grown except for Nathan Drake. If he was real I'd have no problem leaving whoever I'm with for him. But he isn't real. ;{



Nathan is old in the upcoming sequel so I don't know how I feel about that. But then again it was better than U3. That game was not as good as it was hyped. The multiplayer was fun. And my online customized drake has his face covered with a bandanna. 






So on March 18 I was planning on going to GDC 2016 I decided instead probably 2017 would be better. Or if could I would go this upcoming year. But I need a monster computer instead. So on March 18th *cough don't mind me calling in sick. Don't look for me. I haven't been this excited for a game for awhile and ND doesn't disappoint hopefully. Of what they are saying is the supposed final tale.

After watching this E3 this year I was like I'm so getting this on release day!
 I never buy games when they first come out. And Watch Dogs is the only other game I got the collector's edition for too.

Random Concept art from the entire series 

























Creative Uncut has been my source for years on looking at a vast variety of concept art. Take a look.

One key to enable you to draw properly and fluidly is sharpening your medium correctly. At times a pencil sharpener wont do so you have to sharpen your mediums by hand.




My charcoal box was a mess after moving. So I reorganized it to what it is supposed to be. This is what I take with me to drawing groups or practiced studio time at home. It is a lot of stuff but the cleanup and portability is not overbearing. 


My board holds a 18x24 smooth newspaper 



My first figure drawing class was online correspondence. I was never home schooled but I figured for the most part must feel the same way. One skill you need to know to draw most importantly besides holding your medium properly is sharpening your medium to be sharp and smooth. Without proper guidance it effected my strokes in my drawings.  At the summer program they showed how to do it in diagrams but the descriptions and directions could be more clear.Or when I did my basics at the community college nobody really supervised and explained I was learning terrible technique.

It wasn't until I attended my first drawing group when I was 19 after a month or so someone noticed my tools to be rather dull and lumpy. They showed me what I was doing wrong and pointed me to the right direction of how to do it properly. Ironically the person who corrected of my bad habit was this creepy guy. Who for some reason in my community everyone puts him at high regard and respects him. And I'm like nobody sees his creeper status? The way he be creepin'? One weird coincidence and strange story was I ran into him at the bar. That was one of the most awkward moments of my life after avoiding him for a long time refusing to spend time with him.





What you generally need

Your desired dull medium
Utility Knife
Smooth grain sandpaper with a block
Trash can, bag or large piece of paper.



Optional: Gloves in a bottle
Charcoal can be one of those mediums that can dry your hands and is not easy to get off your hands if you use it all the time.


I found this product in my freshman year of artschool when I started AAU. My hands were always dirty and were dry and raw because I would wash them frequently and have leftover charcoal on my hands. This protects your hands, and makes an invisible breathable layer between your hands and the glove lotion. It makes it easy to wash off your hands.

Before 
After
 washed with regular soap and it wasnt
my usual lava soap to make a point



1) Hold the charcoal with your non-dominant hand


 Hold the knife gently like this. I did it like that so you can see 
what I am doing because it is blinded in the proper position. 

2) Now with your dominant hand grip the utility knife with all your fingers except your thumb.


 3) Use your available dominant thumb to pare the wood or charcoal try to slice thin layers each time you pull down your thumb. Have it graze the wood or charcoal. If you go in chunks you risk cutting too much of into your desired medium. Or losing control of the knife and cutting yourself. Do this slowly so that it does slip you are not harmed as much. Use your index finger on your other hand to support the charcoal while doing this.

 So get it to this point.



This is to show what I am doing.

I use my finger as a support for the charcoal when smoothing the edge
4)Now with the wood removed on a charcoal pencil. Half an inch is ideal. Use the smooth grain sandpaper to smooth the end and sides to a point /\  The main point I was missing was rotate your
                                                                             /   \
hand and medium  as you rub the charcoal on the sandpaper so when it is grinded down it does it in a equal fashion. Make sure it is a fine grain of sandpaper if it is lumpy with really gritty sand then it will produce the same results on your medium.


A good point and a broken one that broke in the process.


And now you get this cool tool!




With the paper I mentioned in the beginning it makes it for an easier cleanup after the damage has been done. Just fold the paper over and toss it.


With charcoal blocks shave off the sharp corners like this.
And then smooth it out with the sandpaper.


 It wont look perfect after shaving the corners. 
It will look jagged until it is smoothed out with the sand paper.

This is one of my favorites. With the wider compressed charcoal. I didn't have any new ones to demonstrate on. But I like the rounded smooth sides and multiple points.




*Another Note
Be very vary that the quality of charcoal and graphite can be determined in how after being manufactured the shipping and handling has a major impact in whether you have a good batch or not.

At times you may get a bad batch where the wood can be too coarse or too much clay in the charcoal mixture or if there is breakage inside the pencil when it was handled. You don't know until you try to sharpen or use them. I personally buy them in bulk so there isn't any issues so there is a higher probability that you will get something good even if it is from a bad batch.

*Tip Depending on how often and how much you have in your collection and what you used in your last session.. Sharpening time may vary at times I try to watch a movie, show or even a podcast to get through this chore.One time I had company over and since they like to talk alot I was like it is just weird for me to just sit and talk and not do anything so is it cool that I sharpen charcoal?

It takes time and practice and patience to nail it. I mean there are times I sharpen a few and it always breaks and I don't get any use from it.