Thursday, June 30, 2022

Drawing Perspective

Drawing Perspective: How to See It and How to Apply ItDrawing Perspective: How to See It and How to Apply It by Matthew Brehm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I mentioned in some reviews for art supplies on Amazon lately, I've been trying to get back into drawing and cartooning after not doing much other than doodling during meetings for the past twenty years. I've taken art classes in the past but most of them were either time wasters or a learn by doing affair. I remember exactly one class period about perspective. Anyway, this book was highly recommended. Like writing, art is a "figure out what works for you and do that" kind of endeavor but there are still guidelines you should follow.

Instructional books are usually dry as hell. This book peps up what could be a yawn inducing subject. It's still a little on the dry side but that can't be avoided when you're talking about converging lines and such.

I found the book to be fairly engaging and the various kinds of perspective were explained in a way that easily made sense. Some of it took a little longer to wrap my head around than others but, conceptually, I think I had a grip on things by the end. Applying the knowledge will be a different matter. Luckily, there's a workbook section at the end if you want to practice. I plan on busting out one of my sketchbooks and experimenting when I finally get enough free time to do so.

Curvilinear perspective is some trippy ass shit, by the way. Since I primarily draw cartoony stuff, I doubt I'll use it, but the sections on one, two, and multiple vanishing points will be helpful. I like how the author acknowledges that the guidelines he lays out are just guidelines. While I was reading the book, I had to think that Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were winging things 90% of the time.

I found Drawing Perspective to be a very useful resource for how to incorporate perspective into drawings. I look forward to referring back to it in the future. Four out of five stars.

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Friday, June 3, 2022

Dynamite & Davey

Dynamite and Davey: The Explosive Lives of the British BulldogsDynamite and Davey: The Explosive Lives of the British Bulldogs by Steven Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dynamite and Davey chronicles the rise and fall of The Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith, the British Bulldogs.

I've watched wrestling on and off for my entire life and the first tag team that ever caught my eye was the British Bulldogs. When this ARC fell into my lap, I took it like a superplex.

Steven Bell put in the work on this. The book has a more scholarly tone than most wrestling books. While I was reading it, I suspected he did a ridiculous amount of research. The sources cited in the back proved me right. Dynamite and Davey contains more verified facts than a lot of wrestling books.

I've read and/or watched a lot of what transpired in the book but it was still like watching two trains getting closer and closer to a junction on the same track and seeing debris fly in all directions. Tom Billington's early life is chronicled from his early days in England to training to ending up in Calgary, wrestling for the Hart family. Davey, Tom's cousin, gets the same treatment as Tom and also winds up in Calgary. They don't team together for a while but when they do...

It seems like Tom's career had already peaked when The British Bulldogs formed and Davey's still hadn't hit its apex yet. Already, drugs were a huge part of both men's lives. Like I said, I knew what was coming but the WWF run and the sad decline of the Dynamite Kid were still painful to read at times. People say the ambush by Jacques Rougeau was the beginning of the end for Dynamite but he was already sliding downhill before then.

Not surprising, Davey's story is also sad, sometimes sadder because Davey seems like he was a nice guy, not the hateful shithead the Dynamite Kid seemed to be a lot of the time. Drugs, injuries, drugs, injuries, and drugs did him in. He got to share the ring with his son, at least.

I really like that Bell ended the book with an account of Dynamite's sons trying to follow in his footsteps as the Billington Bulldogs. Always send the crowd home happy, as one huckster is wont to say.

I've read or heard the stories before but Steven Bell tells them well and sieves out a lot of the bullshit. Five out of five stars.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Call of Poothulhu

The Call of PoothulhuThe Call of Poothulhu by Neil Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Call of Poothulhu is a collection of ten dark Winnie the Pooh tales.

Since my son was born, I haven't taken on many ARCs. When Edward Erdelac mentioned this one on Facebook, I knew I had to message the publisher.

Reviewing a collection is tough but here we go. All the tales are well crafted. The first, The Celery at the Threshold, is even written in A.A. Milne's voice. The tales are of varying strengths of Lovecraftian flavor but most of them are pretty dark. A couple have little to no Lovecraftian elements. Some link the 100 Acre Wood to HPL's Dreamlands. Sometimes Eeyore is the one with knowledge of the Mythos, sometimes Owl, sometimes Piglet. Some feature Christopher Robin grown up. One even reminded me of Cabin in the Woods.

If I had to pick favorites, I'd probably go with The Celery at the Threshold by John Linwood Grant and The Very Black Goat by Christine Morgan. In a lot of ways, The Call of Poothulhu is the spiritual successor to Scream for Jeeves. Four out of five Small Elder Things.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Locklands

Locklands (The Founders Trilogy, #3)Locklands by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

8 years have passed since Shorefall Night. The world has changed in horrific ways, but it has changed in tremendous ones as well. Tevanne has enslaved much of humanity by conquering cities and taking over the minds of countless victims. However humanity still lives. Sancia, Berenice, and Clef have saved many people and become the founders of the nation Giva. Crasedes Magnus also resists Tevanne's advances through the strength of his permissions over the world. The time has come that running and hiding are no longer options. Tevanne intends to reset existence entirely and appears to have the means to do so. Sancia, Berenice, and Clef must venture into the heart of Tevanne's territory to save their nation and humanity itself.

Locklands is a fascinating tragedy. I wasn't sure how the book would go after the vastly different first and second books. Foundryside felt tangible with a touch of incredible magic with scrivings, while Shorefall felt as though scrivings had the power to do anything at all. Locklands merges the two styles for a heart wrenching conclusion.

I really appreciated the character work done in the book. The power Valeria granted Sancia has been slowly stealing her life away, but she won't quit. She's strong and capable even in the face of insanity. Berenice is much the same while having to watch her wife waste away. Clef and Crasedes however stole the show. It was clear there was more to the talking key and his monstrous son, but I never imagined how much more there could be.

I was glad to see scriving continue to evolve even though the descriptions of scrivings in action grew tedious. Watching Giva's growth with scrivings made Crasedes and Tevanne feel more grounded. It wasn't as hard to imagine how the two beings could gain such strength. I wish we could have witnessed more of that in Shorefall because at the time Crasedes and Valeria felt completely unbelievable.

Locklands was a solid conclusion to the trilogy and I'm glad to have read it.

3.5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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