I draw, I snap, I shop. Images of things go in here.

RenFest 2012

The Georgia Renaissance Festival is pretty much the same every year. The bird show might have different birds, and the Tortuga Twins may have a few new jokes, and the various merchants may be selling a few new trinkets, but really it’s the same every year.

If you know me, then you know why I enjoy the fair so much despite the fact that little changes in the event itself, it’s because the crowd is always in flux. I love watching people, and places such as the RenFest are fantastic for seeing a wide variety of people. Better still, unlike going to some place like a mall or a concert, you are catching most of these people out of their usual element. The crowd ranges from people flaunting their particular, sometimes peculiar, interests to those first encountering the former.

The MMORPG Track went down to the Georgia RenFest yesterday, and as always I wish I’d taken more pictures. In fact, the only ones I snapped were the ones I took just outside the gate.

However, this is something I can rectify, because I’m fairly certain we’ll be going back in a couple or three weeks.

Another advantage to going more than once is that on your first trip down, you can browse without the intention to buy. And while you might potentially risk losing out on a particular unique items by holding off buying, you also give yourself the opportunity to stew on the purchase and decide if you really want it.

One thing I did notice this year is that there appeared to be a few more artisans at the festival. A couple of the people who just had racks of things for sale have been replaced with people who have racks of things for sale and also can demonstrate their art while they sell. Obviously, things such as paintings and tapestry don’t lend themselves to this, but it’s nice to see the potter at the wheel crafting another item than to just see the potter behind the counter collecting money. I like this trend, and hope it continues.

All in all, it was a good seven hours spent at the Renaissance Festival, and I look forward to going again, this year and in the years to come. Huzzah!

Draw Something

So, the game Draw Something from OMGPOP has made a splash. Not only for being a game people seem to enjoy playing, but for being the reason that Zynga bought OMGPOP for $180 million.

If you haven’t played it, the game goes like this: You challenge another player and are given three words worth 1, 2 and 3 coins with the idea that these words are easy, medium and hard respectively. You select a word and then try to draw it. Your turn ends when you submit your drawing. Your opponent then begins by getting to see your drawing as you drew it – this is key because you can make crude animation this way, but they also get to see your mistakes – and at the bottom they have a number of spaces (if you drew a five letter word, there will be five spaces) and a rack of 12 random letters. They have to guess the word you tried to draw. Then they get a turn to draw a word, and the whole thing goes back and forth like that forever.

The coins you earn can be used to buy more colors, because you start with a limited number – you don’t realize how important a color is until you can’t use it. The free game comes with a selection of words and ads. The paid version loses the ads and gives you 2,000 more words.

Draw Something - TitanicI really enjoyed the game at first, running through enough games to buy three extra color packs, but as time went on, I had to fight with myself to keep playing. I’d look at the icon on my phone and the only reason I’d end up playing is because I’m holding up someone else. I suppose I would play more if I was awesome at drawing, or if the people I played with were. But none of my games have had masterpieces like the ones in this CNN story.

I suppose if I keep playing Draw Something I can switch to spending hours on a drawing instead of just under a minute – but then it just feels silly since people guess the word quickly, the animation skips to the end and then rolls the picture away. At the very least, this game needs a way to stop and admire a drawing, and a built-in method for taking screenshots or otherwise saving drawings would be awesome.

The ultimate failure of Draw Something is the limited vocabulary. Running a dozen or more games, I quickly exhausted the recognizable words and must resort to either going to look up words I don’t know or drawing the same things over and over again. But what makes the limited vocabulary even more of a flaw is that, by and large, people draw similar things to picture the same words. So when someone starts drawing the state of Florida, which has a distinctive shape, I can look at the length of the word and the letters available and guess “Miami” long before they even finish. If they start drawing the entire United States? Chances are the answer is “Timezone”. And so on, and so on. The more you play, the less the game becomes about guessing than it is recognizing and remembering. “Oh, that looks similar to the picture someone else drew for ‘Dresser’ and I’m looking for a seven letter word and have all those letters, so it’s ‘Dresser’.” Of course, you can stop that yourself by simply trying to think of the least common way to draw your word. Like if your word is “Paris” instead of drawing the Eiffel Tower or other well-known images, you could draw Lieutenant Tom Paris from Star Trek: Voyager.

Maybe new owners Zynga will fix that, though, knowing Zynga, I expect new word packs to cost money, and the game just isn’t fun enough for me to sink any more cash into. Not when there are games like Drawception out there that are much more freeform, and thus has unlimited possibilities. Speaking of… this is my profile over at Drawception, so you can check out my games and drawings.

The Only Constant Is Change

So, I just started doing this Drawing of the Day thing where I was doing a drawing based on the word of the day as posted by either reference.com or Webster’s. I did four of them and stopped. I haven’t given up, but I had a thought.

First off, doing something daily is a bit hard and actually detracts from my ability to do other things. Also, some of the words of the day are just odd to think of alone. It’s just a word with a definition, no direction, and what I wanted was actually a bit more of a directed exercise.

You see, I can always sit down and just make shit up. My problem has always been that when I return later to the work from the “make shit up” session, I find it hard to continue the work. So, what I’m really looking for is more like the writing prompts you can find all over the place where they give you a subject and a direction and you are supposed to write on it. But with drawing.

To that end, I’m changing the project from Drawing of the Day to something like A Picture is Worth a Week of Words. Instead of using just a single word, I’m going to take seven words, still using the reference.com and Webster’s sources (I’ll choose all 7 from one source, and either I’ll do one, the other or both), and I’m going to do a drawing. I may also do some writing to go with it. They’ll go up on Sundays and use the words from the previous week (Sunday to Saturday).

I’m excited. I was excited before but quickly became drained. This less intensive version should be exciting without the exhaustion.

Doodlers, unite!

It’s been a while since I posted a TED video, but then I haven’t seen one lately that really spoke to me.  Until this.

 And to go with it, here is what I doodled while watching the TED talk on doodling.

A crowd of things.
A big guy, a weird chicken guy, and a robot.