Drawing a potato chip bag


Why doesn’t he just take a photo of a potato chip bag and use the time he spent drawing a potato chip bag to draw something else?

an odd sense of humor?

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Well, it looks like an interesting challenge to draw - it’s very shiny and colorful, with a very particular behavior (and pattern, in the torn parts).

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Because that wouldn’t be a really impressive display of artistic skill that entertained over eight hundred thousand people?

this. my snarky earlier post aside, having studied drawing in school, I can confirm the “interesting challenge” part, although I see @carlosdanger’s point, too. If you’re learning to draw, this type of drawing is like a final boss. you really have to draw what you see, there’s no way to fake your way through it. My instructors used to crumple huge sheets of kraft paper; or krinkle, fold, bend and tape to itself; all types of stuff. then they’d put it on the dias in the center of a room, light it dramatically, and we’d draw it for three hours from whatever perspective our desks happened to land on. once you can draw those, you can draw anything. in terms of a tutorial or an exposition (which is what the video is) it can’t be beat.

but I see carlos’s point. as subject matter, it sucks. it’s like in studying music, there are “etudes” designed to force the student into playing all the most difficult fingering of their instrument, and to play them is a huge accomplishment. But they’re not designed for listening pleasure, particularly for a general audience. However, like the drawing, it’s OK to enjoy etudes if they appeal to you.


Photography is a skill - sometimes an impressive skill.

I guess this artist falls into the category of artists who construct miniatures of famous buildings or who create 1/100th-scale models of volcanos out of bacon in their basements. 99% technique and 1% breath-taking spiritual content. I equate this kind of thing to whittling on one’s front porch with a toothpick in one’s mouth.

That guy understands light better than I ever will, and it makes me jealous.

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What I’d like to know, and what he only kinda addresses on his site is his theory of materials, what he uses for what purpose. It’s a combo of watercolor, pen, pencil, ink, and paint in this drawing. What forms his decisions after years of trial and error?

I was expecting him to pick up the bag and eat some chips in the end…!

Photography is a skill - sometimes an impressive skill.

Yes, and if you took the time to set up a professional studio shoot to get the photo of the potato chip bag just right, with all the reflections and shadows how you want them to be … well then you might almost as well draw it and use the time you spent setting up the shoot to photograph something else.


I just gave up drawing.

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I really hate how people assume that someone with a lot of technical skill is somehow shallow or otherwise inartistic, as if technique and creativity are two mutually exclusive things. All you know about this guy is that he posted a video on youtube in which he draws something that was picked precisely because it’s extremely difficult to capture properly.

If you know anything about drawing, it’s an impressive display of skill. And that’s why he didn’t just take a photograph. The whole point was to do something technically difficult, and he did it absolutely flawlessly. He’s not presenting it as great art. He’s showing off his skills. And based on that, you’re assuming he has nothing else. Well, let me tell you – that says a lot, and none of it flattering.

I can only assume you sniff at the stunts of circus acrobats for lacking “breathtaking spiritual content” as well.

As for whittling, perhaps you should give it a try before dismissing it. Pontificating on things you know nothing about is a great way to look foolish, particularly when you get all classist about it.

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