Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Illustration Friday: Theater

In this play, drawn for the Illustration Friday theme of the week "Theater", each actor has only one line. Get it? I have used one continuous line for each character and one continuous line for each component of this pen drawing. Sorta like Etch a Sketch. Got any Etch a Sketch artists out there?

This was a fun exercise, and I wanted to do it again to try to improve on it but ran out of time.

I will be traveling for several days, so won't be able to post. I expect Blog Withdrawal. But I plan to draw and maybe even paint. See you next month!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

From Inspiration to Toilet Paper

This week I was inspired to paint a house. This is because of the beautiful watercolor paintings of houses by Nina Johansson that she posted on her blog. I would love to learn to paint like her.

I almost didn't post this painting because I am not particularly pleased with it. But then again, why should I be? Watercolors are new to me. Still I promised when I started this blog to share my progress, and there is no progress to be seen if I do not post "the beginning", is there? So here it is, more of an illustration than a painting, I think.

Watercolors are interesting. I have always worked from mid-tones or darks to lights. It seems that watercolor is the opposite, and you must patiently build layer after layer. I finally understand this. This knowledge in hand, I gave it a try. I think I was doing okay for a while, and then my true impatient (or impetuous) nature took hold. Acrylics/oils is more my temperament I am sure, but I feel challenged. Besides, watercolor is easiest when out and about, so I think it is valuable to master. There is also a certain discipline that the other mediums do not have.

Speaking of "out and about", here is another life drawing from Einstein Bagels - only he was next door in Starbucks and I could see him through the door. Perfect subterfuge! He moved, though, before I could sketch the body.This morning I drew a particularly poor sketch of a gentleman engaged in conversation at Panera's. Later, at home, I drew from the sketch onto a special paper I found, well, hanging around. The pen marks spread, creating a neat effect. And the final drawing was not as "crappy" as the first sketch. In fact, I rather like it. My wife thinks he looks spooky though. Go figure.

Pilot Varsity on toilet paper.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too Tired..

What do you do at the end of a long day when you are too tired to do anything but crawl into bed but you want desperately to sketch? You draw the ironing board, of course!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Failure is Fleeting

Last week, the Illustration Friday topic was "Fleeting". I picked up my watercolor pencils and in spare moments I worked on a picture with two figures - one, a female, walking and looking forward at a 3/4 view and the other, the male, looking back at the first. The idea was that of a young couple and the tenuous beginning of a new relationship.

I searched websites for photos to use as guides and so as to create an original work, not derived from any one photo, I chose parts of many photos. This was easier said than done. There were the size relationships of the various parts of the drawing - each figure to the other - and parts of each figure (from separate photos), one to another. Hands, for instance - I must have drawn a hundred hands to get the right size and angles. I used lead for the more challenging parts, and made liberal use of my kneaded eraser before applying color.

Then, the two figures done, I started brushing on the water. The girl's face, which had been very carefuly drawn, started to melt like something out of a Stephen King movie. Lips were falling, etc. I managed to give her a facelift with corrections and moved on. In the end, the picture didn't look so hot. I then began applying more color, scribbling all over the drawing in a misguided effort to fix things - to make it more "arty". When it was done, drawings I had done in 10 minutes looked better than this one.

After a few days I cut the drawing into pieces, excising the parts that were passable. I like it better now, and feel I've had my revenge. I'm thinking I'll try a collage, and if it comes out any good, you will see it. I will not be defeated!

Failure is fleeting. And from this one I learned many things. I was able to practice figures, hands, hands, and hands, and composition; I think I learned that using composites of different photos for figures doesn't work so well, although I may not be ready to give up on on that one; and I learned a little about the watercolor pencils. So this was not a waste. Everything is an experiment at this stage. I do think I need some formal training in some medium, but at this point do not have the time. Everything I am doing here is in snatches of time.

Anyway, this next week's Illustration Friday topic is "Impossibility". From my perspective, I already did that topic.

These watercolor pencils are funny things. So I have included two quick drawings that I like much better than this last week's experiment. The first, of the girl reading, was done by wetting the pencils themselves. The second was done by applying water on a brush to a dry watercolor pencil drawing.

It's a new week. Thanks for joining me on the ups and downs of my journey.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I'm fascinated with faces, as you probably know. If you've followed my blog you've seen some of my sketches from life in pencil, and some of my pen drawings. I've also done a few drawings from photographs with Conte' pencil. The mark on the page feels completely different than lead or ink. It is heavier. It has, (clearing the throat), gravitas. When I pick up a conte' pencil, the drawing feels like it should be serious. With the conte' pencil, I mostly ignore the line, and concentrate instead on value. This is an example.

Hmmm, he looks disgusted, doesn't he? Critics, everywhere..

P.S.-I will gladly supplement this post by crediting the photograph that this drawing is derived from but I have lost track, and do not know the name of the photographer. It's a great photo though. I drew only part of the face and liked the way it almost seemed to emerge from the page, so after debating myself (I won, incidentally), I left it incomplete.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Life and Advertising

Today he was waiting and I was waiting. 'Twas the perfect opportunity for a sketch in my Moleskine. And he hardly moved. Since I had a lot of time, this sketch is a lot more detailed than virtually all of my sketches from life.

Here is a page from my large sketchbook. I wanted to concentrate on hands, but hands alone are boring so I found myself drawing more than just hands. My source for these sketches were advertisements in a magazine, a good source.

Ahhh. So much to draw - so little time. Don't you agree?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hi Janey

In my first post, I thanked Janey of Janey's Journey for her inspiration and the kind words that motivated me to start this blog. Now she has not only linked to this blog's humble beginning, but dedicate a post to me and my blog. I had a feeling I would meet wonderful people in blogland - I believe I have begun with the nicest one of all. Thank you Janey!

Some time ago, I was inspired by Janey at her blog to draw a house from the neighborhood that inspired the folk song "Little Boxes". The blog with Janey's drawing of one of the houses is here. The photographs of the neighborhood are here. My effort is below. This was interesting for me because I painted loosely first in watercolor, and then applied soft pastel over it which created a gentle effect.

Janey likes that I draw people in public, so here is a small gift for her (and for you). I noticed that my new blog looked rather dull in black and white and revived a bit with some color. (As every canvas should!) Janey's blog is always full of color and is full of life. So today at lunch I drew my unknowing subject with watercolor pencils, just to see if I could draw that way in the field. Watercolor pencils can be used a few ways. I used the pencils just as I would any color pencil. The idea was to use a brush later this evening to carefully transform the pencil strokes into paint. Of course instead I managed to get the drawing wet with the condensation from the outside of my Diet Coke (the elixir of life). So I began wetting and stroking the drawing - with my finger. A bit imprecise, I'll admit. So any future work with a brush ought to be better, don't you think? So here is my first effort, for her and for you.

Whether you were invited to my blog by Janey, or came to see my first IF entry, or visited because you already know me, welcome! Some of you have left comments - this has been very exciting for me. Thank you. I appreciate your input more than I can say.

And thank you, Janey, once again.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Illustration Friday: Talisman

This week's theme for Illustration Friday is "talisman". My submission was done in pastel, with some details in color pencil.

Last week's Illustration Friday topic was "poise". I did not finish that one in time. I had drawn only the outline of an Olympic athlete in a floor-exercise pose. This week, though, I had an ace in the hole. Change the outfit, grow the hair, add the talisman and the forest and voila! It is I that have performed magic!