Posts Tagged ‘ pencil on paper ’

Cultivating the Sketching Habit: Figure V2.0

Our new model Kyo did a great job tonight. He wants to see images of his modeling, so get them to him if you can:

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Adding the images from our previous session. We meet and sketch and drink again, this October 24th.

Enjoy.

 

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Study, female figure, graphite on paper. (The note, right is a reminder for me to recreate this image in a series of works done in wet gesso and acrylic paint)

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Study, back, male, graphite on paper

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Study, female figure, Prismacolor marker

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two studies, female figure with lap-harp, right, study of arm and clasped hands.

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Dancing, interactive pose, graphite on paper

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Back, female, graphite on paper

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interactive pose, graphite on paper

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graphite on paper

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Interactive pose, Casein paint, on paper

Thanks to everyone who attended, and special thanks to the models. Let me know if/how you would like your attribution to appear here). It was a great night for me and a great first night for the event.

Also, I came away with a lot of useful studies and sketches which might serve as jumping off points for other works down the line.

Enjoy the sketches, and keep reading below.

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figure studies, female and male, standing graphite on paper

 

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Female standing, male seated, figure study, graphite on paper

 

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Figure studies, female and male, standing, back view, graphite on paper

 

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Male, standing, study with figure aids (was explaining a concept to a class attendee) pencil on paper.

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Study, female figure, kneeling, graphite and casein paint on paper

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Male figure,seated, graphite and Casein paint

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Male figure, standing, graphite and Casein paint on paper

 

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Interactive pose, figure study, graphite and Casein paint on paper.

[continued below]

As many of my readers know, I am getting geared up to start a sketch and sip event at a local club. Since I am the host, it’s not like I can let my sketching game get slack. Nope. It’s time to get to work and pick up some graphite and brushes.

I booked a room at the Albany Barn, and scheduled a session with model, J, who is going to be one of our figure models for the event.

Before I scheduled the session, I talked with my model and I wanted to have a theme or an idea to build the session around so I might then have some images to work into a later piece. I decided on a post apocalyptic theme, and borrowed a Kukri (a type of machete) from a friend.

One of the things that is challenging at first, to learn about drawing figure is you simply do not have time to work in great detail. The key here is make each image a study of gesture, –the shapes you see in the body, light and the pose of the body. The images here are presented out of the order in which I did them. I began with a few short (5 minute) poses in graphite, the sketches done in Molotow acrylic paint markers were slightly longer poses (10 minutes) and the poses in which I used a mixture of graphite and Casein paint were 15-20munte poses.

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Pose 1, graphite on paper, model -J

 

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Pose 2, graphite on paper, model -J

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Pose 3, Molotow acrylic marker (sadly, the marker, which is metallic and reflective, does not show up well in photographs)

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Pose 4, graphite on paper

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Pose 5, graphite on paper.

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Pose 6, Molotow Acrylic paint marker

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Pose 8, graphite and Casein paint

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Pose 9, graphite and Casein paint.

 

Quick Lessons: Get Some Perspective!!!

One of my current students has expressed an interest in architectural drawing. I am probably going to be bringing several source images to class for architectural studies. One thing I have not been shy about in my career as an art teacher, is directly addressing where I find gaps or a weakness in my own knowledge of my craft. I am primarily a figure/portrait and color guy, so this morning I busied myself finding, and then doing, a basic study in perspective. While my result today is by no means flawless, I did find the work relatively natural, and I remember more than I think I do. It’s been years since I’ve done many exercises in perspective, even if in my work it gets applied frequently.

The simplest exercise is multiple-point perspective is a cube. I found this image on a web-forum for game design, and you can see the image I used here.

I find it helpful with these studies to give yourself space to work. The largest paper I have readily at the moment is 11″ x 14,” so to create my horizon line, I worked with two pieces of paper taped together.

The original image is here (on the forum, scroll down) is here:   http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=16420.0

My study is here:

Study, cubes, exercise in perspective

Study, cubes, exercise in perspective

Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to add to this in coming days. If you do your own study, you can share your results in the comments. As this page gets rolling we’ll be taking on perspective studies of more complex architectural drawing and buildings. If you line a series of cubes up, larger and smaller, all meeting at 2 points relatively close on the horizon, you start to get what looks like a city street, that may be one of the places I choose to go in the coming class. Space them at far ends of the horizon, like in the cube exercise, that’s the basis for blue-printing a structure. Try it, see how yours comes out.

Wednesdays and Thursday afternoons I usually take my son to one of Albany’s public libraries. Today, I took off the shelf a book quite familiar to me (I’m sure I have checked it out multiple times by now) “Albany: The and Now” by local historian and author Don Rittner.

I have something of a fondness for art deco commercial buildings and design. The image I am using here was formerly the 1928 facade of the South East Corner of State Street and Pearl Street –then a restaurant and jewelry store. There currently sits in that corner a high-rise tower which is presently occupied by an M&T Bank on the ground floor.

Here is a 2-point perspective rendering of the 1928 building:

architectural study, Pearl Street and State Street Albany, from the book, Albany, by Don Rittner, used with permission.

architectural study, Pearl Street and State Street Albany, reproduced from the book, Albany, by Don Rittner, used with permission.

I have alternatively heard small-scale art-deco commercial buildings of similar style called “Moderne,” so that term may be more appropriate, but there does seem to be areas of overlap within the two design schools. This structure also is much larger than most examples I have heard described that way apparently without a great deal of the the decorative chrome heavily associated with the style. (An example is the former White Tower building on Central Avenue I have described in the commissions blog).

In coming days I will hopefully be adding a few more examples of particular buildings, and perhaps moving into street scenes.
Happy sketching.

Cultivating the Sketching Habit (IV): Figure Studies & Loosening up

Not everybody has access to a subject for figure study. Figure study is one of those bedrock artistic practices you should always revisit. You simply are never too experienced. You’ll always need to keep the skill sharp –with practice.

I managed –somehow– to not only land a musical collaborator living with me. But also an experienced alternative and plus-size model. (Contact and other info: http://www.modelmayhem.com/325517). Of course I jumped at the chance when she agreed to a few poses for me to use in sketching. She’s always a lovely subject.

This morning I pulled up the photo files I had taken, and began sketching. (Common wisdom is that you shouldn’t draw from photos, I’ve always done so. I take a lot of photos with a couple cameras I own, so it keeps me in subject matter that interests me. I have had many people tell me it’s not the same, but photos from a good camera are convenient and can be available whenever you get the urge to practice).

The first sketch was in pencil. It feels less than perfect, but adequate…

The first image:

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Muse, figure study, pencil on paper

Muse’s pose (she was posed lying on the bed, gazing up at the camera) is really lovely, and there’s a lot of challenges in her poses –foreshortening the legs and abdomen. The harder part was capturing her really quizzical facial expression. I felt I pulled it off in this little sketch.

However, the next sketch I botched. I was starting to get frustrated and getting ready to put pencils down until another day. One thing that helps when a subject is challenging me for whatever reason is to loosen up.

I frequently warned my students about the dangers of becoming to tight and getting stuck just getting details right. When I find myself doing this I back off and do simpler line and gesture drawings. I don’t need to focus heavily on details, and turn my attention to proportion, gesture, and the pose. Get the pose right first, and do it over and over. So, that’s precisely what I did.

Some of the sketches were rather abstracted, others are slightly more detailed. All of them were done in a few minutes a piece, the way one would do in a 5 minute life drawing pose. There’s something I like in pretty much all of them.

Changing my focused work. I turned my attention to some problem areas, and worked them over and over:

working on problem areas, charcoal on paper

working on problem areas, charcoal on paper

In the end, I made several more simplified sketches I was happy with. More sketches to come as I work on them.

figure study, Muse, charcoal on paper

figure study, Muse, charcoal on paper

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Muse, figure studies, charcoal on paper.

It took a while to loosen up my sketching until I was seeing results I was happy with, but it got there. So, snatching a small victory out of an earlier attitude that was pretty defeated.

[update, 9/13]

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female figure, study, upper body

I secured a commission with a client that has requested life drawing/portraiture, in charcoal on paper. So, pretty fortuitous I published this blog less than a month ago. Not to beat a dead horse, but when I spoke in the original post about bed-rock artistic practices, and keeping your skills sharp, I was very serious. The opportunity to do this commission came at a good time, as my teaching of the class is on hold at the moment.

The following images include both male and female figures, in charcoal on paper.

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Male figure, charcoal on paper

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female figure, charcoal on paper

At one point I focused on a a face (my partners).

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study, face.

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figure study, charcoal

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Male figure, charcoal on paper

Mini-lesson: The Ten Minute Sketch

It wasn’t that long ago I was teaching in a classroom 40 hours a week in a subject matter that was unrelated to fine art. The simple reality for a lot of creative people is that a great deal of our days are spent doing things other than create art to pay our bills. So, with that in mind, the single greatest block on an artist’s creativity can be the simplest of stumbling blocks: “Do I have time for this?”

With this in mind I thought about ways that creative non-professionals and even professional artists can kick-start their process. I’m calling this example the “ten minute sketch.” It involves sectioning a piece of standard 8 x 11 1/2 sketch paper in your sketch book into four sections (the sections will be roughly the size of 4 x 6 note cards I was taught in high school to use to take notes for research papers).

Generally, I have encouraged my past students to “scale up” (ie: increase the size of their drawings and art) and to use a full sheet of paper for each piece. However, –this time around and in the interest of time– the idea is to create a smaller image that can be done more quickly as it will require less detail. Since this is meant for a sketch book exercise, it’s ideal for pencil or charcoal. Those who wish to may choose to work in color, but if you want to keep to the time limit (a suggestion, not a hard and fast rule by any means) you will simplify your drawing by working in one color, or with a limited palette.

Here is my example from last evening:

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My partner, Muse. Pencil on paper, 3” by 5”, from my sketch book.

Bare in mind, this is an exercise designed to help get the blood flowing. You need not agonize about small works not intended for sale. With the small size you will want to keep your details simplified.

I choose portraiture for the topic of this sketch. The planes of the face are generally simple enough to sketch in this small a size. Subjects that are more intricate and have a great deal of detail might take a great deal more time.

Whether or not you work in areas unrelated to your art, the most important key to being happy creatively is good time management. Set time aside each day to be creative. Whether your ten minute sketch is done in ten minutes or not is not important. The important piece of doing this exercise is getting over the notion of being “too busy” or, “not having time” to be creative. This is a mental trick more than anything else.

Get out there, have fun and create!

More recent works

Here is some of the recent work I have been doing:

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Not the best image, admittedly from the camera, but I liked this one. One of the other assistants in the class I teach brought in the subject for this still life from her day job –which is for a company that installs sprinkler systems, or something of the sort. Occasionally, they have to replace rubber tubing that is overgrown by tree roots, which is what this is.

I like that people tell me it looks like a heart that is pierced by something, or a dead animal or skull of some sort. It was a pretty challenging subject for painting. It’s acrylic on paper.

Recently, I began working on the sketch for another idea. At Trinity Institution where I teach the weekly class, there is a series of photos of the Steven and Harriet Meyers residence. The Meyers house was once an Albany stop on the underground railroad, owned by a prominent abolitionist. The house is currently being restored to be used as a historic site. The photos of the house under restoration are all compelling, but I decided to do a pencil treatment of the following picture as a warm up to a possible larger, complete work or treatment of the subject.

Here is my (unfinished) pencil sketch so far:

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The photograph was one that I found compelling because it shows the basement staircase –the basement being place that logically would hide the presence of people not wanting to be found. The photo was compelling as well because the area of greatest light is beyond the door-frame, and the walls beyond them darken into near total darkness at the bottom of the page. It was a very well-shot photograph (when I think to I will update this with the photographer’s name).

I apologize the photograph is not very clear, it seems the next thing I may need to buy is a compact digital camera to replace my trusty Kodak Easyshare. It seems to be on its way out.

A couple weeks ago, The art class I am a part of hosted an art contest held as part of the launch of a community walking path in the Arbor Hill neighborhood. I spent most of the day handing out pencils and paper to young kids in the neighborhood, and encouraging their efforts in the contest. As I was set up, I did a quick line drawing of a tree on the property.

Ultimately, I took the rough drawing home, and finished it in pencil. Still not happy with the result, I layered the painting with thin layers of water color paint. So the piece is mixed media, on a rather large sheet of paper.

Here it is before the water color: 111_2988

And here is the finished (essentially, there is one problem I may want to correct before sale) piece:

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Arbor Hill Tree, pencil and watercolor on paper. Inquire about sale and dimensions.

And a couple recent sketches:

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