Casino Royale

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casino royale

Casino Royale (the first James Bond novel) was written by Ian Fleming, largely from his own experiences and imagination; he also devised the artwork for the original cover.

I’m currently reading Casino Royale — one of the first things I liked was the fast pace and simple but eloquent language. There’s also a lot of dry wit and Ian Fleming’s attention to detail is astounding! I think a lot of these details were lost in the movie version starring Daniel Craig (not because of Craig’s acting, but because of radical story and character changes).

“You must forgive me,” he said. “I take ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink. It comes partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details. It’s very pernickety and old maidish really, but then when I’m working I generally have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more interesting when one takes trouble.”
~ Casino Royale, Ian Fleming

Here’s a core difference between book-Bond and movie-Bond. And it’s one of perception. It’s just assumed that Bond is a snob about clothes, food, drink…everything. Actually, he’s a planner and works things out to the finest detail, in his work and private life.

My copy of Casino Royale shows a James Bond silhouette on a simple navy blue background with red and yellow text. The above is the book cover of the first edition.

I think wise sayings DO hold true, so I actually do subscribe to the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover.” A long-lasting type of satisfaction can be derived from valuing substance > image + quick money + popularity.

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john ruskin

The Elements of Drawing, by John Ruskin

“And I’m giving them dreadful elementary exercises at Oxford which they mew and howl over, and are forced to do, nevertheless…”
~ John Ruskin

I first started drawing around age 16 (late) — I remember going through several drawing books (the “how to draw/paint” types). I also remember a distinct sense of frustration — there was just something about the books that I felt I was “failing” to “get,” understand, and/or truly learn.

The only drawing book that was a lifechanger was John Ruskin’s Elements of Drawing. It’s a tough book to read. Ruskin makes the reader/student do some truly tedious exercises (such as very light and very fine cross-hatches that could drive even a patient person insane), and I think I took about 5 years (off and on) to actually read the book cover to cover.

I haven’t drawn much this year (too busy with writing), though I’ve lately had some time/energy/interest to fiddle around with drawing again.

I’ve concentrated on pens/pencils for some time. At the start, I used to get very confused with shading and lighting. I think I’m finally beginning to make some progress in that department, so I’ll continue to practice drawing diligently. I like to draw birds and people the most, though I occasionally switch to landscape/scenery/architecture because those are nice too.

I think the difference in Ruskin’s book is that he doesn’t really teach you “how” to draw (in terms of a step-by-step “technique” or method). He trains you to use your eyes and be observant and appreciative of nature. He also trains you to “dirty the paper delicately” (Ruskin said that “all art is but dirtying the paper delicately” in The Elements of Drawing).

savannah tree

turret

The above two drawings were done in pencil (my personal preference is mechanical pencil for the details). I’ll try some nudes soon.

I post some drawings on my deviantART account — I’ve always liked drawing because I find it calms the mind ^^.

I think I’ll stay a perpetual student when it comes to art/writing/drawing/etc. I think one learns more that way.

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[And A Quick Update Writing-Wise…]

Book02 in the Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy is going OK — I’m about halfway through the first draft.

Nowadays I’m mostly quite relaxed (I certainly wasn’t, during my late teens!). I guess I’m just more focused now on what I’m doing. I minimize wasting my time on petty or negative things/people (and/or being a petty, negative person myself). I’m happier channeling my (positive or negative) energy into doing something that has substance (i.e. a positive endeavour/outcome).

I’m pretty clear now about a balance between art and commerce (I’d swing between the two extremes in the past). Personally I don’t like to compromise with most things that I do (oh my, spoken just like a Venus Scorpio…).

I don’t want to be a starving artist (I can see the appeal in being 100% committed to art — it’s just not the right path for me, LOL!).

But neither do I want to make wild profits from shallow/superficial/self-indulgent art.

After all, what you reap = what you sow :)

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