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The importance of visual data base to a miniature carver


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Dear members:


I´m not so familiarized with the use of buttons and the best way to do things but I need to try Ok, sorry If I comet certain technical mistakes.

My topic is related to the importance to collect a proper visual data base as a miniature carver. On my humble opinion a miniature carver waste too much time and shows mistakes when don´t use a proper visual source to create the work itself…in the case of nature subjects the way to create a data base is simple but requires searching time of course. My advice it´s that the carver must do two different researches: first on books and second on Internet. Internet is a very good source to find many pictures of the subjects we want, except if you are trying to find a very rare animal or plant species, but illustrated old and new books are truly useful to us because in photography’s many times we found certain details but illustrated books offer most of the time a better approach to the subject details. As carvers we must draw first the subjects and illustrations are perfect to guide us into the lines and texture details, also photography suggest the textures with color tones, light and shadows, but in my personal experience illustrations of specialized books are great (ironically I´m a nature photographer).

Another important matter it´s to try as a carver to read as much as you can about the ecology, etology or behaviour, and endemic values of the animal or plant you are trying to carve, ¿Why? Because is a terrible mistake when you carve an animal that live or rocks in a tree or soil, it doesn´t mean that the animal don´t use that substratum’s but it´s very important reflect the true environment…as artists we can do wherever we want Ok, it´s our artistic escape to our mistakes many times as I saw, but animalistic and floristic art it means an approach to the subjects knowledge, and miniature art is a very difficult branch in the art world and people demands from us much more than another sculptors believe me.

You can´t carve a smoking pipe, a seashell cameo, or a Netsuke for example without knowledge of the different styles and certain rules, we must understand that visual information and knowledge are our weapons If we want to defend our work.

I spent just few months to obtain by Internet an amazing Flora and Fauna database to carve subjects for many years to come, but we spend much more time trying to seek the proper illustration books to photocopy the images we want in public friends libraries, ¡and the XIX-early XX Centuries books are truly fantastic fellows!. Also is much easier now by Internet collect thousands of amazing Fantastic Art images (Boris Vallejo, Ciruelo Cabral, Brom, Brian Froud, Chris Achileos, Darrell Sweet, Frank Frazetta, H. R. Giger, Howard David Johnson, Jim Warren, Jonathan Browser, Joseph Linsner, Julie Bell, Keith Parkinson, Ken Kelly, Larry Elmore, Luis Royo, Michael Parkes, Olivia de Berardinis, Roger Dean, Roger Garland, Sorayama Hajime, Steve Perrin, Ted Nasmith, Tim Hildebrandt, etc.). So the main line of this topic will be sharing the skills to obtain such images to help the members without the luck to had a proper visual data base.

As nature photographer I´m specialized on land snails and I like to point that If the carver wants and find the tools and subjects by itself he can afford a short project before the carving to shot the images details he need, an amazing sculptor friend of mine take like 40 different angles pictures of the subject and print in black and white the images putting all surround him in the walls of his workshop, he is surrounded by the subject…he is inside his own creation as a bubble, certainly weird but effective.


Please I need someone help me receiving my low resolution pictures to my posts and replies via personal mail because I spent too much time uploadin one single low resolution image!!! I hope to find someone could do that...thanks anyway...I tried to put here just one picture of mine and it takes too much time. I need to travel far today to cut a Cassis madagascariensis and Strombus galeatus seshells for my new cameos and I don´t have too much time to upload pictures. Let my try again with one picture...


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Dear fellows:


Here you have two examples of a true enviromment shot even If you make the photo out of the collecting site and another picture showing me studying the better angles for a Liguus fasciatus achatinus interesting morph shot thinking as carver and not as malacologist. The land prosobranch is an endemic and weird landsnail knowed as Priotrochatella constellata and his natural enviroment are the Karstic rocks in marble of northern Isle of Pines on western Cuba, so I must took the rocks from the site to recreate in the macro the true enviroment. WE MUST RESPECT THE ANIMAL CHARACTERISTICS AND SUBSTRATUM WHEN WE CARVE A PIECE!!! That´s my first advice when you take the shot of an animal that you want to carve later in your workshop...fantasy carvings can support indeed anything from the imagination but in realistic carvings you must be careful Ok. The other future introduction from me in this topic will be focus on photographic composition as an important tool for carving.


It drives me crazy this way to upload pictures, I´m still waiting and there are just to pictures on very low resolution...both as Janel told me in 640x480 pixels and just one of them has less than 90 Kilobytes...very low resolution pictures size. The pictures download bar is freeze in the middle!!!...


(minutes after)


Finally I resize again the picture to the minimun accepted by me to post it here...we should see what´s happen.


(minutes after again)


Sorry I can wait more wasting my time...I need someone help me in this matter definitely. Sorry I only could put one of the pictures.


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Hello Adrián,


When you sent the photos to my email, did you use the same internet connection that you used for uploading the photo to this forum? Sometimes I have noticed a very long uploading time to the forum from my home land line internet connection, and considered that it was the slow land line being busy and my data was going through a very busy connection. I do not have a real explanation for it. When I am at a high speed connection, there is no problem noticed. I am sorry that this is a problem. I wonder if the length of the title matters, or if the title has spaces in it would that matter?



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Well my dear fellows I think maybe my connection is slow, in Ecuador I mean it´s not satellital or something like that, or maybe as Janel saids the title length can slow the uploading. Anyhow Thanks for your concern about it and I hope some members will be interested in this topic related to the importance of a propper database and knowledge of the subjects as a carver. I like to met Magnus finally and I hope we will be in touch in many topics of this wonderful place-forum. Sincerely yours, your new friend....ADRIÁN...a bad news: my photography practival workshop was cancelled because the Botanical Garden in Quito expected more than 20 persons for it, they removed the workshop for october but I don´t think I will be able to teach it for another personal reasons. It´s a shame but I´m happy cause I have time now for my miniature works...we must transform something bad in somethinggood I think.


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  • 2 months later...

Hi Adrian and all other artists,


Adrian, you did an excellent job of explaining how to apply photography to sculpture: photos provide the artist with anatomical and ecological information. The next step is to combine images from the three sources (i.e. books, websites and digital photos) onto one or two sheets of paper that can be used in the studio or work shop along with drawings and a maquette for a carving.


Here is my approach to producing a reference sheet. I would like to hear about other approaches to producing reference sheets.


Books and Scanners:

I use the scanner on top of my printer to copy images from books and magazines into the computer. The scan program enables me to select an image from a page to be scanned rather than the whole page. This process saves ware on books that I used to take to the studio. It also reduces the number magazines that I save.


Google Images:

Google has Google Image Search that produces a series of thumb nail images rather than a list of websites. I select and click on the image that is useful to me and I transported to the website with that image. This is a real time saver.


Folders and Subsets:

I keep my Carving Folder on the "computer desktop" so that it is always handy. Within the Carving folder are major subject folders: animals, aquatic, floral, Native American, folk, etc. If I am collecting images for a specific project I will spend a little extra time to rename them with a common title followed by a sequence number (e.g. dog01, dog02, dog03...). That way they will be in the same section of the folder. This also simplifies combining them on a sheet.


Producing a Reference Sheet:

When I had a PC, I sued a program call Paint that came with the computer. With Paint I could copy images from one file to another ( this process is easy to learn; however, a little long to explain here). With my MAC I use the MAC word processor ( called Pages) and simply click and drag images onto the page. Then I print the sheet and head to the studio for some carving.


Have fun carving,


E George

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You´re indeed right George...and you maybe won´t believe this but I couldn´t participate more in this place Forums because since like two month ago I started to rewrite my four book related to smoking pipes, even I could´n wrote to friends as Janel, Phil White or to Dante again...today I hope to finnish the bibliographic references, one of the worst parts to work in any book, and then it will come a time when I only need to draw images, take pictures, make several maps and revise the design process. By the way at this moments in Chicago a friend started also to translate and find the way to publish my last book related to cuban landsnails entitled ¨Polymita the most beautiful landsnail of the World¨...I encourage everyone who wants to see my animals and landscape pictures to arise as friend into my Facebook named adriangonzalezguillen and overthere watch some albums Ok. Thanks to the new researches I managed last two months now I had a lot of new images to Scan, most of them related to ancestral cultures of America like the olmecs, chavins, moches, etc., so a new visual data area is taking form into my personal database and I feel very happy. New books camed from a US friend one month ago finally, about Art Nouveau jewellry, history of jewellry, old orchids illustrations and parrots...as a miniature carver I´m trying always to create a good digital and physical references in my concise library, that´sthe way it is. Anyhow as I said a long time ago when I will be ready I will start again my carvings to show them here, because I get lost suddenly for this book some people maybe won´t believe in my words...in like three months more or less we can be ready to move ourselves to another suite with a propper room for my workshop....this times are times to collect tools, books and ideas (and to write also some books and scientific articles), so I don´t really care what can think some about me...I´m ere in the carving Path for certain special people that offer sincere and tender love to me...and I don´t disspoint that people I care. A good news it´s that for the first time a jeweller owner fron Galapagos wants my animals commercial works and will pay a fair price for the carvings, tha´s a good start to january I guess. I expect to find bone, horn and hard precious woods in this months because I want to carve again in these materials, even two famous smoking pipes carvers wants to see my pipes carvings in wood, but I need to find the way to obtain good blocks of the european Erica arborea to that briars they want to see. I hope this message will reach some friends I had around here and they apologize my silence this past months when I was deep involve in my smiking pipes texts writings. Thanks for wake me up with your comment Geoge!!! I really apreciatte your participation on this topic, a very important tool to understand and that regrettfuly many carvers doesn´t want to realize about it. Janel, Natasha, Phil, Tom Sterling and many others more here are carvers that really knows the importance of visual data...but others think that their skills offer enough confidence at the time to start the carving and failed at the end showing weird solutions. I understand as an artists we can use the imagination and certain details in our pieces are product of that fertile imagination, but in my life I saw many times that people explain the defects through concepts of art, and one of the reasons they commet mistakes are because they won´t realize the high importance of visual data and knowledge of some things. The excited discussions about Science Fiction as a literature resource is one of the best examples to explain myself on this topic but I don´t had too much time now. Somehow I´M BACK HERE, A PLACE I CONSIDER THE HOUSE OF ALL OF US, THE MINIATURE CARVERS, so to my friends around here and for all of you a warmest hug and good luck to you guys!!! Sorry for my bad english and I hope you don´t misunderstood my previous words in this topic. Sincerely yours,...ADRIÁN

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