Monday, September 3, 2012

At First Glance #1



5" x 7" ink and watercolor on Fabriano Artistico rough paper

Well, I had the idea for a series of small drawings of people - perhaps grouped together in a larger square and single frame.

I am intrigued by how much is shown (or assumed) about an individual at first glance.   
 
The challenge to myself would be to draw freehand in pen without doing it in pencil first, just as I would a sketch in the field.  Then it might have the raw quality that I value in field sketching.  I would have no background, letting each figure show the character of the person.  At the same time, I would try to give the drawing a more formal quality than a sketch might offer.

My reference photo is from random shots I took at a public event a year to two ago.  I snapped pictures with my phone in various directions.  People were everywhere.  The magic of digital shots is that I can enlarge and crop the image I want, put it on the computer screen, and then sketch at my desk as though I were there.  I have more time, but I try not to use too much.  I don't worry at all about a likeness - it is the effect I am after.

This was my first attempt, and it was successful.  I have done two.  The second took two tries.  It was a bit harder, because I had to match the size and the style of the first.  The third became too lose, so I added a background and it became something else altogether - not suitable for the series, but interesting.

But my new series faces cancellation.

For these first two drawings I used the fabled SKB SB-1000 pen, my favorite sketching pen.  I have extolled its virtues before.  It has a fine line that I love and it is waterproof so does not smear with watercolor.  It is essentially a ball point pen.  But there is no information on the pen - anywhere.  Is the ink archival?  Is that question something I should concern myself with anyway if the watercolor would be under UV protected glass?  I don't know.  What do you think?

So I have taken a failed drawing on the same paper, and stuck it in the Florida sun.  Let's see what that does.

Well, I've done two drawings - doing maybe seven more for a grouping of nine would be great fun, a personal challenge, and I've already ripped the paper to size, so why not?  We will see.  And then maybe I can follow up with 6 foot acrylic paintings of the same subjects.  Alert the museums.

OK, that was my formal and snooty side.

"Ta."

("Ta," is what formal and snooty people say.)

And this is the comic I did for Pamo's zine:





51 comments:

  1. Hello Dan,
    Well this is exactly what I tried to do the other day. Guess how I did---> :-(
    If you want to see it, it's in the bin.
    So, it's back to the drawing board :-)
    How your drawing came out is just what I had hoped mine would be...oh well.
    Yours is just right.
    Let us all know just how archival that ink is. I use Platinum Pigment Ink Sepia and I may never find out if it fades...I would need a keeper first :-)
    Stew.
    stewcrowther.wordpress.com _________________________

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    1. I am always at the drawing board, always at the bin. Surprised I haven't bumped into you there! As for my concerns about the archival quality of the ink - delusions of grandeur, it keeps me going. A couple failed pictures have solved that - hah!

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  2. I am notoriously bad at first impressions. Which is an asset as it gives both me and the subject a second chance.

    As for your painting - this one really works for me; it captures the movement, poise and the character of the woman.

    As for ink:
    My wife was going to be passing the art shop and so I asked her to buy me a bottle of ink.
    "What size?"
    "Um ... large I think"
    I have been using the bottle of ink ever since. The bottle is now three-quarters full. The problem is she bought it in 1964. There's big and then there's BIG.

    The question for me then is, am I archival? Will I survive the bottle of ink - given that there is no Florida sun here, and we have had the wettest summer for 100 years?

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    1. Great story!! Everything was made better in 1964, so you're good. I can't imagine how big that bottle is - I've seen your drawings and you use a lot of ink! None of us is archival, I'm afraid, though I personally think there should be an exception for artists. Thanks for liking #1 - I like your description of it.

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  3. Love it, Dan, and the comic for the zine,

    xoxo

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  4. Wonderful. Both.

    I don't think you should be too worried about the archival quality of the ink. Even ink that fades badly is still quite beautiful. Nonetheless, interested in the results of your sun test.

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    1. Thanks. Well, so far the sun test has gone badly. Overcast days, sun not shining into the designated window, wife moving it so the pest control man can spray, etc..finally I've put it outside in the sun in a baggie. The baggie is probably uv protected. Then there's the yard man to worry about..

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  5. Awesome! I love her attitude and style! :) And also your zine submission (you know I'm bonkers for comics, I guess ;D ) - can't wait to see the whole zine!

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    1. Thanks! Well I am told that Pamo is putting our joint strip in the zine, and that is a whole lot better than this one. Wish I could have a do-over on this one, frankly. Aw well. It will be neat to see the zine.

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  6. I like the top painting and I think its because you left the background totally and only focused on her walking (and its a great pose) and that you did it freehand... She has a brilliant quality about her (like she's in a different world than where she's walking). The comic, too funny!!!!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and yes things are good (but still working on the head ache issues)tomorrow kids go back to school (yeahhhh)... And I hope all is well over there too!!!

    Great work as always Dan!!

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    1. Thank you Mari! It took me a while to post the woman because I tortured myself over it. Aside from the ridiculous "archival" question, I was thinking that perhaps I shouldn't have left a white background. So I'm glad you like it. I'm going to stick with the program.

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  7. The woman is really well done and I like your technique.

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    1. Thank you Beth, I really appreciate it.

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  8. Setting guidelines for our art is great fun. If nothing else it gives you rules to break. Cute comic.

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    1. I usually set no guidelines (except those that I try to fight that seem to keep automatically creeping in so that originality can seep out), so this is new for me. Thanks.

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  9. Great skills and feelings. I love also your comic strip!
    Cheers!

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  10. That is one nice looking lady. The zine is so cute!

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    1. Well I'm thinking not every lady will be so nice looking, and there may be guys too. We will see. Glad you like the comic.

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  11. Dan,
    I haven't been here in a while and I have to say your drawings have changed... in a great way.
    nice lady drawing.

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    1. Wil - Welcome back!!! Thank you so much. I've actually popped into see you every now and then, and you have made great progress in painting too. I'll see you there.

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  12. wow...what a great drawing of the woman. I love everything about it....the subtle flesh color is especially lovely! She is stylish...and accurate. Very well done. I hope you find your pen is ok. I like the attitude of oil painter Ken Auster. He paints on top of white house paint. His followers are very worried about Auster's paintings being archival. He says, "if "they" care enough about my art to conserve it after I am gone..."they'll" find a way to make that happen". Hahaha on your Pamo zine entry. These two drawings show your two sides! I'm looking forward to your people series (and more toons too).

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    1. These two drawings show two of my many sides! Hah! I am either multifaceted or schizophrenic. I am hoping one day to settle into something. Anyway, thank you so much. Ken Auster must have no ego whatsoever! And he is good, very good. So I will try for less ego and more good. Thank you!

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  13. Hi Dan.
    No pens here only good old erasable pencil, or 95% of my work would be at the bin - that's how good I'm! Well, my excuse is that am still an inexperienced autodidact, but I'm getting there. The last few weeks I dared myself on doing sketches and not using the erasers (I had to close them in a drawer so to not get tempted), but that's as far as I got for now.
    I love the drawing and of course the comic!
    Warm regards.

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    1. Bravo!! Excellent to ignore the erasers. It is such an excellent way to improve or to have those happy accidents that you then have to deal with. Thanks.

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  14. Hi Dan! i love so much this woman.. good job!! :) hugs

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    1. And hugs to you too. My wife (who actually speaks Spanish) said my Google Translate Spanish at your blog actually said I love you instead of your work. Well, Mari, that's not true. But I do love your work, and I do send you hugs. :)

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  15. Terrific drawing/painting of this lady Dan! But wowee, that cityscape is fantastic! And I look forward to seeing all the figures as you create them!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! I was so shocked at the response to the cityscape! I had no idea so many folks would like it. Glad you like the lady, thanks.

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  16. I really like your new series! I look forward to seeing it progress.
    I think it's good to work in a series... a viewpoint that has changed for me over the years.
    Keep going!

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    1. I like the idea of this series too, we will see.. Today I tried to surreptitiously snap pictures of folks getting off a bus. Didn't work, though. But I have a few pictures to work from yet.

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  17. You've got great movement in this - good luck with the rest of the series.

    Love your cartoon for Pamo's zine!

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    1. Thanks so much Sue! I'm finding out I will need your luck, so I'll take it!

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  18. Hi, Dan,
    The drwaing is lovely. The cartoon is nice. Your colour use is very beautiful.
    Your attempt is very interesting. Me, too, at a first sight, something moves me and I get on sketching on spot. I really do not know how to depict what I feel in language. So, I use drawing, my languageʚ(ˆ◡ˆ)ɞ.
    Cheers, Sadami

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    1. Thank you Sadami - you are the master at sketching people, so I truly appreciate it. The other day I sketched the pharmacist while I was standing in line, and brought it home and my wife and in-laws all recognized him! That was fun!! :)

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  19. Dan, this is a wonderful drawing and I like the cartoon.

    I read this entry Monday. I had recently read something about a problem with using ball point pens under paint. I searched through blogs I follow and looked through all the emails I get from arty places--magazines, newsletters, etc. I didn't find it. Then I forgot to return and leave a comment. I look forward to your series.

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    1. Thanks for looking. Very interesting. Ball point pens under paint, since I've used that SKB SB for virtually all of my sketches, will mean just about my whole output for the last year. That's okay. I'm moving on!! Thanks for coming back!

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  20. I LOVE the lady in flip flops, I don't think UV resistant and archival is the same thing, one has to do with fading due to exposure to light, the other a chemical reaction that causes fading even if the writing is in a book, closed and not exposed to light. So even if your pen survives the brutal Florida sun test, it still may not be 'acid-free'... sorry to rain on the parade... however, with so many archival inks on the market picking one, shouldn't be that hard. I love Micron pens.. if you haven't tried them I think you'll like them super fine to quite thick brush pens.
    Great cartoon, can't wait to see Pamo's zine... it is going to be a good one I know.

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    1. Now that is interesting. What do I know? I am having trouble enjoying even my Micron pens anymore - there is something about this pen I just really, really like about how it draws. I bought a new set of Microns the other day. We will see. And my beloved Lamy - lost..I need to buy another. Or another fountain pen. But even the Lamy was too thick a line for me. I will be in searching mode for some time, I think. Thanks for the info - and I'm glad you like the drawing!

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  22. Shirley said: Really like the "person" drawing. The movement, including her dress, looks very natural.

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    1. (Yes, it's like I'm replying to myself). Thanks Shirley - the trick will be to make the rest look as natural. We shall see.

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  23. I think it's a great idea for a series. Good body language on this one.
    Happy Painting.

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  24. your drawing of the woman is great, you've really captured what is really a subtle walking motion (dont know if that makes sense). I think you should keep going with your series, maybe give yourself a breather then come back to it.

    Sometimes I do find if I do a few drawings in a row my style changes as I progress. I guess you kind of "warm up" and your arm/hand gets a lot looser as you go on.

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  25. Go Dan! Bravo for taking on the challenge of drawing people. I keep hesitating! It's an interesting challenge you set for yourself. I look forward to seeing the results! And, of course, your 'toon for PAMO is most satisfactory and FESTIVE! Coolness!

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  26. You are very funny (i.e creative with your words):-) I really like your art as well!

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  27. I think it sounds like a great project and worth the follow through to see where it takes you! Who knows, maybe it will inspire the next project? These are both terrific! It seems you could do either: be a fine artist, or be a comic artist! (or, are they one in the same?)

    Sorry to get here so late...I had thought I would make it back sometime last week or was it the week before? Time is disappearing on me!

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  28. I think the woman is extremely good...and how you applied the colors is wicked smart....

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