July 30, 2013

Sketch of a figure sitting

One of the things that I struggle with most  in my art making practice is value and tone. My eyes are opening to seeing the variations and nuances of light and shadow. My work tends to be flat and graphical but I have always wanted to have the traditional skill set of the old masters, to do this takes dedication, patience and some gentle massaging with the pencil.
 This sketch was done entirely with a 0.07 HB mechanical pencil. I really tried to push it to get as much of a range of light and dark from the single lead type. It would definitely have been easier to use some other tools, but the task I set myself up to do was a great challenge and learning opportunity.
I threw down some copic cool grey (C3) which happened to be the value behind the model in reality. It took me quite a while to decide on that marker and then I quickly filled in the background just in time for the critique. I think this is one of my most successful drawing from like sketches ever. Onward and upward.
That's Mike in the yellow shirt behind my sketch.
He liked the drawing so much I gave it to him.  = :D

July 28, 2013

Figure in a few hours

The culmination of the figure in the week drawing class was a day long pose in paint. I brought my oils and a canvas I had previously prepped, but I honestly didn't know how far I would be able to get with the piece in such a short session. Plus I had to put the wet painting in my car and bring it home so I had to think out my plan of attack so I wouldn't get wet oil paint everywhere.
I began with the most important part to get right. The drawing. If it's outta whack, you probably cant fix it later, so put in the time planning and things should go much more smoothly. I borrowed a really nice piece of charcoal and got the drawing down with all the right proportions.
I rubbed in a thinned Yellow Ochre to ground out the canvas to begin the painting process. I used a fast drying oil here since I needed at least this to be dry by the end of the session.
I planned out my palette and took a good amount of time mixing the variations of colour so that I'm ready and efficient when it comes to putting down the colour.
I put down the main flesh tones and shadows and mixed up some yellow ochre and black with a hint of green and dropped in a little background.
I needed to lighten up the overall value of the background with some lead white. I quickly put down the fabric and the box holding up her arm with a few simple variations in colour. Quick and dirty and very effective.
I have the basics blocked in but haven't paid much attention to the face or hair. The hair stripes look like a hat and I need to find the planes of the face, but already the wet oil is getting muddy if I work into it too much more. You've got to know when not to overwork it and take a step away or you will just get frustrated beyond belief.
I worked in some deeper darks and some of the reflected light. Then I carved out some more details in the form paying most of my attention to the lower body followed by a bit of work in the face and arms.
Time was quickly running out so I dropped in some blue and used odorless mineral spirits to scrub along the edge of the piece, I then let it drip and got a lot of positive feedback from the class for this finishing touch.
Here is Instructor David Aldrich during the final critique and some of the work done by the other students in the class. I had no idea I would be able to pull off a work of this size and caliber in oil in the short period of time we had to complete the work. I am still planning to revisting this work in the studio rather than abandoning it. The model "Karen" was very kind in allowing me to take a reference photo to work from.
I feel my skills and understanding of the figure greatly increased and really felt a good sense achievement. I made a few friends along the way. It was a great experience. I highly recommend taking any class you can by David Aldrich in the future, the next one will be next May 2014 and if I'm available I'll probably be signed up. We traded info and I plan on finishing this piece and sending him an image of the completed oil painting.

July 25, 2013

take a little moment to figure out.......

I'd like to take this rare opportunity to sit, breathe and update my blog.  It has been nearly two very full weeks of teaching in the days and a few nights of the week. My hand and brain are nearly fatigued from all the art doing, teaching and making. And I'd like to share part of this weeks journey into drawing the figure. All the work you see here is from just two classes (Mon and Tue) Yes. All of them!

 We started in with some 30 second gestural drawings. I was feeling super Rusty. The last time I did any drawing from life was back when I last posted about it here on this blog.

We did some blind contour. Drawing without looking at the paper to help work with line.

I'm definitely feeling Rusty!  I had poor planning in capturing the essence of the figure in the short period of time we had to capture her.

Then began working with the placement of the joints and outlining the skeletal structure.

I like some of the dynamic poses I was able to capture in these quick sketches.

 Here are a few drawings where I had a bit more time to begin outlining the body. I used black and brown conte for the first time.

 Here I am beginning to refine the accuracy of my line work, but still it is highly flawed, I wont go into details, but I'm not afraid of sharing my failures either.

I blocked in the skull taking note of the mandible and then working down the cylindrical forms of the limbs. I added some fire just to break up the monotony and my frustration.

The model did not have a gimp leg, the artist tried to fix it along the way.

There is that gimp leg again, I'm not quite getting the gravity on these angles.
Some of the masses are all wrong, the head is too small, the angles and muscles are wonky and the front foot is off.

 The cob webs are beginning to clear and I include detail of the stool and fabric.

 This one I braved ink to allow my mistakes to really stand out. It helped quite a bit.
It is said that we leave out the things that we have trouble with. Usually the head hands and feet.

I put more time into the head this one, it looks good, but it is too big for the body. It is difficult to see how it connects.  The hand is too small, as well.
I go back to conte again to loosen up and work with the weight of my line.

 Now I'm getting there. I think this time the head is too small, it is because instead of adding hair on top of the skull I cut it in and it caused me to make the features too little too.
 This angle had terrific foreshortening, and I put more time into the fabric to create a cohesive environment for the body.

This one I did earlier but I like how I used the color of the models hair as a backdrop in conte. The perspective on the chair is off kilter but the image as a whole is working out.

Any questions or constructive comments are greatly appreciated, thanks for checking this out =:D

July 18, 2013

Sniffing markers is part of the job!

I've been teaching my Cartooning class to teens all this week at ACAD. They are a good little group quietly drawing their assignments as I write this post. I have also been teaching evening classes which has me swamped, but its the good kind,  art day and night.

Here are some examples of the notes I write up on ye ol' whiteboard. I do hate using these pens. But it helps to accompany my hand outs. All in a days work!
 Here are some character design and how to flesh out the character from the skeleton. Also some angry birds just for fun.
We start every class with some drawing exercises I listed off some objects from them to draw from their imaginations we also do a little blind contour.

 From the perspective drawing classes. Above is one point perspective examples, landscape and a room interrior.
 I drew graphical boxes from a single vanishing point and a gun in 1 point perspective.
 We moved into two point perspective practice. Here are 9 cubes floating in 2 point perspective space, above and below the horizon.
 My white board is really starting to get mucky. We drew a bunch of bird houses in 2 point perspective as well, seen here in blue dry erase marker.
 We also did a room interior applying the rules of 2 point perspective.
 We moved onto 3 point perspective and did many examples of worms eye view and birds eye view, then tried the bird house again. I did an example using a basic stair case sketch covering all the methods we covered: isometric drawing, i point, 2 point and three point perspective.
 I explained foreshortening and ellipses and how to draw ellipses properly using a nifty geometry trick. We turned our elliptical shapes into useful drawings and drew soda bottles with liquid in them at varying angles.
I covered layout design, word bubbles, onomatopoeia, timing and text on this white board panel. Then the students got to work on their assignments, leaving me with an opportunity to update this blog.
I hope you enjoy. Don't forget to check out the Vanageddon show this Friday and Saturday only!!

FB info and event page is here.

July 11, 2013

Sagan Wagon on the roll

I continued my work on my ode to Carl.
I took some adds from the recycling and used them as a paper mask to protect the image in order to apply a background.
Peek a boo.
Here is the head on the hood completely covered and protected.
I cut out some shapes out of scrap paper to create galaxy patterns.
Here is the make shift studio set up. There are both positive and negative painting shields made out of scrap paper. I flick the paint at the surface and create a spacey pattern for the background.
I taped the negative shapes in order to protect some areas from receiving more paint.
In this close up, you can see the gold galaxies I added for reflectivity and this nebula stencil I made.
Here more layers of work late into the night.
After I peeled off all the paper I painted in some sparkles on the stars.
Here is an angled shot which shows a bit of the purple metal flake I added to the background space while clear coating.
You can see the sparkles even better from this angle as the clear coat dries in the hot sun. A quick signature is added and now I have to battle with figuring out how to hang and display this large and heavy "canvas". 

Please come out to the Vanegeddon show at House Gallery. July 19th and 20th. Info below.