Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I've hardly drawn anything for the last month, but here's what I got...


Decided to add a face to this drawing from last post. I couldn't find the original picture, so I used a different one of the same person and modified it to work. She was facing the other way and I had to invent lighting from a different angle, which was fun and actually not too hard when working from a picture. I could have flipped the image and copied it pretty much exactly, but instead I just imagined what it would look like flipped and painted that. I think it resulted in a much better piece -- rather than patching on a head at the wrong angle I was able to creatively merge it all together. I like working this way, I think I'll do it some more.

I should add, I got myself a new Intuos tablet and that's how I did the face. Man, it's so nice actually being able to access the control panel and adjust things like pressure sensitivity and line taper. I lost the ability to do that with my old tablet after upgrading the computer a few years back, but as long as I remembered to never update the driver, I could at least still paint using the last settings I had put on it. Then one day I forgot and decided I was going to check for new drivers... that's what killed the old tablet. As soon as I got that new driver installed it went completely haywire and spazzed out! Couldn't make a coherent mark with it anymore!! It's because it was a pretty old tablet and the newer Mac operating system no longer supported the Wacom drivers for it. So I just had to shell out and get myself a new one. Now I'm up and rolling again, and it feels good!! Complete control once again... AAAHHH!!!





Friday, August 10, 2018

Only 2 to upload this time


Really pushing the shading above. Maybe I cranked it a bit too much in photoshop.


The Business. Now I'm seeing some problems like that arm that needs to be pulled out from the torso a bit. Might see if I can fix it. Really it was just a torso sketch though, working as usual lately on the serratus muscles and the abs especially.

About the lines - I drew these with some scribbling, but cleaned them up carefully. I think that's acceptable, though I'll continue to work toward always drawing cleaner to begin with. It's still true though -- when I'm unsure about what I'm drawing I scrub a bit.


Worked it over a bit in photoshop - pulled out the arm and re-drew the hips using a mouse.  Much better now. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Bad Lines Gotta Go!


I did a big detailed writeup on ConceptArt last night for these drawings where I basically defended my crappy linework - not gonna repeat it here. Especially since this morning I finally saw how terrible my linework really looks in most of my stuff, and I've decided I need to fix it. If anybody wants to read it (or the later post where I retracted my defense of bad linework) the link that says ConceptArt above will take you there. So just gonna drop these in here then.








Saturday, July 28, 2018

Sycra, Sparekiss, and Ordering Principles (new name for Levels of Complexity?)







Picked up some inspiration from a few Sycra videos and the Sparekiss sketchbook on CA. The circle of forms below, as terribly as it's drawn, was based on something I remember seeing in Sparekiss' sketchbook like a year ago - he did a lot of these assemblages of basic and more advanced forms. Then yesterday (right after drawing this one) I decided to look up his sketchbook and page through it.


I thought the stuff I had been doing with random forms floating in the air was similar to his, but looking at his work was a real smack in the face. He doesn't just randomly place things, he arranges them in ways that make sense, that actually organize and activate the space around and between them. It's stepping up to a new level of complexity in a way - it activates the negative space and the whole composition.

Semi-related note - looking at Sparekiss' sketchbook made me aware of another level of complexity (it strikes me that Ordering Principles might be a better term): Personality. His characters all have it in spades, and it lifts his work to a different level entirely than my own bland generic faces and figures. Need to start working toward that one.


I didn't get it right on this one - I was still just drawing individual forms scattered around the page, except for the little groupings in the lower left corner, so I decided to follow up in a more concerted way.


Here I'm starting to get it right. Or moving in the right direction anyway. I've noticed that over the last few entries my placement of things on the page is starting to become more compositional - more thought-through or arranged to make the entire page look better. I suppose all of this is me starting to think at a more compositional level. At some point I need to go beyond that to the  level of suggesting story. Oh, and the little comic figure in the box was based on some things I saw in a Sycra video - in his 'secret sketchbook' he started drawing heads in these little boxes so each one became a composition with a simple background, even if just some tone or texture, and some had full scenes behind them.


His figure drawings kicked my ass too, and I wanted to try to move toward that as well. A long way from it, but this looks better than my rigidly drawn comic heads and figures just because I drew with the pencil on its side giving it a more fluid looseness and somewhat of a fine art feel. Actually I drew most of the head my old way, but just toward the end I turned the pencil on its side and did  little shading that way. Then I did the entire figure holding the pencil that way.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Ok, to hell with Pastel

That's what Conte pencils and sticks are - pastel. I had forgotten how much I hate it - I've used it in many forms before and it ruined a bunch of my drawings. I used to have a big portfolio with some of my larger art in it, including a few pastel pieces and some done in vine charcoal. Pretty stupid to keep them in a portfolio, but where can you keep them where they won't spread their cancer and destroy everything they come near? I opened the portfolio one day to pull out the art and it was all covered with pastel dust and vine charcoal. I threw it all out in disgust - there's no cleaning that stuff up.

I did find my Conte pencils and a bunch of sets of the thin little sticks - got excited about it and started drawing, to immediately encounter the problems. It's not at all like compressed charcoal, which I like and have no problems with, but more like vine charcoal, which makes massive dust that doesn't stick to the paper and falls off to get all over everything. So the only Conte pencil I like now is the 1710, the compressed charcoal pencil that's used and recommended so strongly by Jeff Watts.

I absolutely couldn't control this crap at all, it spread all over everything and - ah screw it! anything else I say would just be a rant - I guess it already is. I'm done. No more dry pastels for me!!

I should add - I have no problem at all with the Russian academic techniques from the video (previous post) - but I'll be drawing with pencil or charcoal pencil rather than Conte Sanguine or Sepia.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Introducing Iliya Mirochnik - Russian Academic Drawing Demo @ New Masters Academy


Really love this video - the guy is an amazing artist. He discusses the Russian academic approach to figure drawing and portraiture (which he learned at the Repin academy) and does a beautiful portrait live from the model. He is going to be doing a drawing course on New Masters Academy. Makes me want to get some Conte sanguine pencils and sticks and start drawing like this. Lol - I searched the basement - I know somewhere I do have a few sanguine pencils, but couldn't turn them up. I did find a few sticks though - I could do drawings just with them.

Friday, July 20, 2018


Working on modifying, combining and arranging the basic forms on my warmup sheets,


And for the figures I'm trying to develop my own way to do the little gesture thumbnails, so I'm not copying the way somebody else draws.



Now that I pushed a leg back on these figures the word balloon no longer makes sense. Tried putting a sack over the man's head suggesting an impending execution, but it looked more like a girl's hair, so I went with that. I like the way these figures all seem to stand on the same ground plane and even to be in the same image, though I drew them separately. Maybe my mind is starting to think in terms of whole compositions. I suppose that's a step up in the levels of complexity. And because the second figure is an echo of the first, with the same basic arm positioning and torso angle, they seem to be standing together, as if looking at the goat-demon or whatever it is.




Dave Finch said the key to being a comic book artist is to really learn the basic figures - the little comic gestures I've been drawing so much. That's where the magic really happens, not learning to draw muscles or faces in excruciating detail. All that surface stuff comes later - you need to be able to draw the figure dynamically and make it look right first. Any position, any viewing angle, any lighting. The outline/silhouette suggests most of the anatomy - very little need for any detail inside. And when you can do the outline right, everything else falls into place.

And I know - I'm doing Heroic Fantasy art, not comic books. But they're pretty similar - comics are just a lot more exaggerated.


And hey, ya gotta do the anatomy studies too...