Days of Doubt

I’ve just finished a 30 day challenge of drawing at least one portrait per day and now that the emails are no longer arriving, I’m feeling a bit lost. Additionally, I’ve had one or many bad head colds the last 4 weeks.

Whatever, I’d started to doubt myself the last 24 hours, asking whether I actually know where I’m going with this and if there is any progress I have achieved (“What?” Yeah, that’s doubt for you).

Anyhow, I was on a business trip yesterday, spent hours at airports and in planes and in retrospect, the time seemingly flashed by  in minutes because I was sketching people most of the time. Just sketching, nothing rendered in great detail. And I find myself asking myself where all that time had gone (I was on a 15 hour trip). And, “was it used sensibly?” I can’t find a simple answer to that question yet.

I’m quite sure I should be doing more to increase my skill set, because it seems like I’m using  a lot of my precious time, just sketching and not drawing or painting. I still haven’t sat down to practice any anatomy, although I have started collecting female body builder pictures on pinterest, because that’s something I picked up somewhere on the net, I think while reading up how to study with George Bridgman’s study notes. Which is also something I never considered looking into. I just found the link again, after searching for “bridgman alcoholic stick” (would you believe it?). You could also try “Studying Bridgman properly”.

There is a three step study recommendation:

  1. understand the text as well as possible
  2. make a tonal study of Bridgman’s sketch
  3. find a photo reference covering the studied area of the body and copy from the reference using your newly learnt knowledge (the recommendation is to use female body builders because they are lean and the muscles stand out)

Just need to do it …

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contour lines, paint, then crosshatching
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crosshatching then paint
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Flight home
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30 second gestures

I Love to Draw

I hope you can tell that I love to draw.

Nevertheless, somethings haven’t been going well lately. The gesture practice is feeling like a chore. I’ve been experiencing a lot of laggardness, something has been dragging me down. But I haven’t given in completely to this wintery feeling.

I’ve added bananas and scratched alcohol from my diet (I wonder how long that will last). Things are looking rosy again … and so we come to the main object of this post …

Just returned from Life Drawing Evening Class. It’s so nice to go out of the house with an absolute minimum of tools on you, giving yourself the exercise to just “do with what you have on you”. Tonight those were:

  • my white Lamy Safari (F nib) fully loaded with black deAtramentis ink
  • an A5 Sillman&Birn Epsilon Series sketchbook (still not full)
  • a Tombow Fundenosuke twin tip pen (black tip empty)
  • a pink Faber Castell Polychromos

We had some lovely 5, 10 and 15 minute poses and I enjoyed myself thoroughly, getting lost in that drawing zone I cherish so much.

I tried that out last night too (i.e. finding the zone) (unsuccessfully, I must admit) and re-installed the sktchy app on my phone for the umpteenth time. This time, I concentrated on some of my favourite artists’ portraits and sketched on anything I could find, ranging from paper plates to paper bags.

(Before I leave you with the pictures of the last two nights, please note that you can leave a comment in this wordpress theme (Sketch) if you click the title of the post you’d like to comment on and scroll to the bottom of that post. You probably don’t want to, but just in case. Perhaps you have a tip or a question.)

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Coping with Copics

Just returned from Life Drawing.

Tonight, I took along the few Copics I have. I am sometimes ready to accept the challenge of a new medium. I have two pink, one black and a grey Copic. These are alcohol based Japanese Manga pens with a dual chisel and brush tip. They are probably best on a nice smooth surface — of which I have none. There weren’t many poses tonight, we got a lengthy lecture on portrait drawing and it was freezing cold, so the poses were pretty short (10 minutes) and the breaks long. I was surprised to see how the Copics mix and smudge and my fellow Life Drawing students were quite intrigued about the effect and the pens as such. I think I’m going to give them another try when I go out drawing tomorrow night.

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Been doing a lot of inking lately …

Before I start, first things first … a warm welcome to you, my treasured follower!

I started this blog 2 years ago and uploaded every single picture, sketch, watercolour and gesture drawing I made. There weren’t many, I wasn’t drawing every day and I wasn’t drawing up to 4 hours a day back then. Nowadays, I try not to draw for 4 hours a day, but I must admit, this Sunday is coming close to 4. Although, I can strongly recommend putting in that much time if you are really serious about improving your skill set, you still must be warned that it should not all be practice. The practice needs to be counter-balanced with project, fun and study work.

I’m saying this because I’ve been on a downer lately and I believe it to be because I have not been balancing out my practice with some nice and easy fun assignments. I think I may have managed to maneuver my way out of it, but there still seems to be one ingredient missing … project work.

So, what have I been doing for practice? Basically, gesture drawing (here is something I wrote about it: https://wordslye.com/2016/07/18/gesture-drawing-and-opinion/)

I am adding a picture or two for each “stream”, down below.

What have I been doing for fun? I’ve been out on Wednesday evenings with a group of like-minded sketchers, visiting museums and I’ve been to see Roman art on Sundays, sometimes on my own, sometimes accompanied by a sketcher or two.

What’s been study work? Well, I’ve been reading up on things (Walt Stanchfield’s “Drawn to Life, vol.1” and Robert Beverly Hale’s “Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters”). I must admit, I could be doing more there. And, of course I go to Life Drawing evenings every Tuesday, I guess I classify that as fun, but it “should” be study.

The missing ingredient project is actually possibly about to take off, because I’ve got interested in the competition that quickposes[dot]com is staging. It means, I will have to make up a nice scene from childhood with figures, story, action and whatnot. I’ve got a number of thumbnails on the go.

In summary, don’t just practice, and likewise don’t just try to have fun, find a good balance between fun, practice, study and project work (perhaps even take your sister up on that request to draw her dog or cat).

To finish off, here a selection of my Oktober[sic.] inks.

Fun:

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Project?

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Study:

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Practice:

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Pink about it

Not many drawings to show from tonight’s Life Drawing session.

Arriving at the drawing session, I had on me my Kuretake No.8 brush, 2 Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and a pre-painted spread of a A5 sketchbook.

I’d decided to switch tools to give me that little nudge to move from the comfort zone again. Still, I allowed myself access to the coloured pencils which I am very comfortable with … so comfortable that I need to consider leaving them at home in future.

We had a few 10 minute poses, a “draw from memory pose” and ended with a “please exaggerate a part of the model” (let’s see if you can tell which one goes with that last pose call).

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Not a very exciting result tonight, but very relaxing and not in the least disappointing, if I say so myself.

Vindictive and Very Vaccinated (VVV)

Well, … do I have to say it? Figure Drawing Night! I got there just in time, after nearly being run over by a car and having had my cholera, hepatitis A and rabies jabs for a business trip I may be going on.

So, with stiff shoulder(s) and mind whirling around what I would liked to have done to said motorist, I unpacked my prep-ed sketch book and with a few quotes and ideas in mind, I set to work.

“Eliminate cast shadows. […] You want to feel that you have touched the entire figure.” – Kimon Nicolaides

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You may be able to see something under the first coat of paint, it is a page from one of my wife’s mail order stores, covered with a diluted mix of acrylic paint and watercolour. I skated over it all with my nearly empty blue Tombow Calligraphy pen (it’s a lovely tool!) and then hacked away at layering shades of Faber Castell polychromos on the (far too smooth) surface.

I went home, quite cool and calm, knowing I had eliminated those blasted cast shadows and touched the entire figure.

Nude-less Nude Night (NlNN)

Just got back from … (you should know the rest by now) … Life Drawing Evening Class!

And … oh wonder of wonders … the model didn’t show up.
I mean … why go to Nude Classes and have no nude there?
I seriously considered taking my shirt off, but didn’t bother mentioning it.
(Thank the maker! I was embarassing enough tonight, without acting like the narcistic d**khead I obviously am.)

Still – even w/o me baring my chest – we had a very enjoyable evening drawing our mentor … who of course couldn’t come round and watch his fledglings’ attempts at sketching the human figure.

Three students were brave enough to climb the stage and stand their 15 minutes.

I had chosen the following weapons for tonight:

  • Lamy Safari “F” nib with Royal Blue ink
  • Seawhite of Brighton, A5 sketchbook (my “show-off” book)
  • preselection of Polychromos colour pencils (grey, 2 blues, red, magenta, green, flesh, pink)

And then the following pictures appeared one after another … any likeness with real living people is just coincidence.

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I had fun and I’m looking forward to this happening again soon … no nudes …

Loads of Life (LOL)

Well, just returned from Life Drawing Class. The semester has begun and new students have arrived … still, we are a bunch of oldies and outnumber the “noobs” 5 to 1.

I arrived back from Malaga (Southern Spain/Andalusia) last Tuesday and skipped Life Drawing … which was very painful for me, believe me. Because, this is the real deal, this act of drawing the nude figure in real life is just amazing. I’ve been making some really strange compositional life drawing attempts in the last few months and I’d like to share three of them here. (Tonight’s is last.)

If there’s anything I’d like to draw well, then it’s people and it feels like a task that will take a life time to master, if ever. May the path be full of plateaus and tedious hard work, but I must remind myself to stay on that path and be true to my intentions and passion.

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Freakin’ out with Frank

Just back from Figure Drawing (now, how often have I started a blog post like that in the past years?).

Some models will only have 2 or 3 poses available and on the surface an evening with such a model can only promise to be boring at most. However! … if you can trick yourself into making the evening exciting yourself or even get help from the “pose caller” … then you can have a really lovely, relaxing and entertaining evening.

The “pose caller” actually had some very classic ideas tonight:

  • the model poses for 2 minutes w/o you drawing, then draw him from memory for 10 minutes (sound very “Kimon Nicoleides”)
  • the model poses for 2 minutes w/o you drawing, then draw another model you know, in this previously seen pose
  • additionally, get the model to lie down, if he usually sits or stands … that’s increased the number of poses of this model to 3 now!

Anyhow, I have a number of sketchbooks to fill, so I took along my Strathmore A5 500 Series Mixed Media. And with the help of my Micron pens (0.2, 0.4, 0.05(!)), my Koi water brush and Winsor&Newton Colman’s traveler kit, I came up with a really lovely last double spread to the sketchbook.

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And something I really wanted to say here is … whether the model only has one, two or three poses for use … it doesn’t matter … there is a living breathing human being infront of you … 1 or 2 metres from you and nobody can tell me they have already mastered figure drawing so well that there is nothing to gain from those few thrilling minutes of study …

biros biros biros

Week 5, SketchBookSkool, Andrea Joseph, … biros and sketchbooks.
What do you need to make art?

  • paper
  • biro
  • something to draw

Did I miss something? … probably not …

So this is what I’ve been up to with a biro since Easter Friday.

  1. something blue (jeans)
  2. something new (Lamy Safari)
  3. something sweet (hedgehog … practice for a birthday present)
  4. a remote control
  5. my first 5D pic (my studio)
  6. my second 5D pic (watching an Ukrainian film on telly with wife)
  7. Life Drawing Class with a biro! (the text says: Lighthouse1917)

And this is only half of what I’ve been up to …