Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dreamer 2

Water color and colored pencil on paper

Hiya 2

Ah better


This painting is a departure from my regular style, normally I don't have so my texture.  However, I think it work for this composition.

It was fun making this painting except for the fact that I have a terrible sore throat.  It happens every year after the third week of teaching.  My tonsils are the size of golf balls!

Acrylic on paper

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Today I spent all morning trying to get one stupid composition to work on one of my long term projects.  After a while I had to just get out of the house.  So I skateboarded to the closest coffee shop to zone out.  While watching the traffic whiz by I sketched this picture of a woman sleeping.  If only my own life could be so peaceful.  More and more I go to my sketchbook as an escape from the toils of everyday life.  If only I could make all my dreams come true with a brush stroke.
pencil and watercolor in my watercolor paper moleskine sketchbook

Dreams in Digital

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

Is it still Summer?  I'm not sure when Summer officially ends, but it sure doesn't feel like Summer anymore.  School has started, it's getting darker sooner, and instead of barbecue I spend my evenings thinking about what lesson plan I'm going to give tomorrow.

Yet, not everyone is glum.  My boy Levi is still as happy and carefree as ever.  He doesn't seem to mind that Summer is gone as long as he has his doggy toys, and some perfectly good lawn to dig holes in.  Perhaps there are lessons to learn from a Beagle.

Now if he would just hold still while I draw him.  Acrylic ink on 300lb WC paper. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

What Happened?

Today I have been fiddling around in photoshop.  First I scanned in a charcoal drawing of this dude smoking a cigarette.  I used charcoal opposed to pencil because charcoal can be scanned as black and white, yet unlike ink you still get that pencil "feel."  Then I found some colored paper and scanned that in too.  In shop, I cut out the shapes from the scanned paper, and layered them below the charcoal drawing.  It's a pretty cool technique because you get some great textures from the scanned paper.  Next time I should try fabrics.

The benefit of this technique is it's a nice break from using the default colors in photoshop, which are boring.  

I was going for sixties cool, but the colors I chose ended up looking pretty 80s.  I'll have to experiment more.

Below is a test I did earlier to see how well charcoal scans. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Some Real Characters

Last night I couldn't sleep, so I watched some old gangster flicks from the 50s.  It was a nice distraction for me to get lost in a black and white caper story, seems like I got a million things on my mind lately.  What I love about those old movies is the mindless determination the characters have.  Modern movies always have reasons for everything, and no one is really bad,  the world made them that way.  But in the old movies; bad guys are bad guys, and good guys are good guys.  Everyone has their side and they are going to shoot it out to the end.

Yet, as an artist I find these movies particularly entertaining because the actors are so interesting looking.  It think back in the day they made an extra effort to find great looking character actors, especially in gangster films.  Or maybe its the old style paramount lighting of the 40-50s.  It seems like directors back then deliberately celebrated the three-dimensionality of their actor's features with dramatic lighting.  Now days everything is flat, and everyone is good looking, even when they are supposed to be ugly.

While watching the movie I would hit pause and try to draw some of the characters.

      This was the first one I made, I thought it was good but I knew I could do better.

I hit pause again and made this sketch.  The guy had interesting features but I didn't manage to capture them the way I wanted, sometimes when drawing your second effort is a step backwards.

I started to warm up and was able to get some great expression.  Notice the great undulations of the contour line on the left, lots of curves.  Now I'm starting to get somewhere.

This guy was great, his head is like a pile of rubble with slicked back hair on top.  Lots of strange curves and dramatic contour lines, the kind of stuff that makes for great caricature drawings.

Ah, finally I got a good one.  I really started to push the exaggeration in this one.  Lots of undulations, these guys have faces that go on forever.  Fun to draw and great for getting my mind off of a stressful week.  I have a long way to go before I become a great caricature artist, because a great caricature artist could make a caricature out of anyone.  These guys already were caricatures.  So what I am doing is making a caricature out of a caricature. 

Whatever, it's fun to practice anyway.   
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