Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cowboy Mike

These NuPastels are fun to work with. They are considerably less tenacious than Condé crayons, but really allow much more buffing and erasing techniques. I picked up a handful of colors along with a Strathmore assorted colors pastel pad, and played around a little in Saturday's figure drawing session. Naked Mike dressed as a cowboy for our 20 minute sitting, so that gave me lots of edges and textures to play with. It took me a while to get the tooling right on the NuPastel sticks but after that it was smooth sailing.


This week I decided to experiment with NuPastels. I really dislike pastels. Oil pastels are to oily and soft pastels are too chalky. I don't much care for pigment that is prone to move around after it set in place. Having to do a finished piece in pastels is the stuff of nightmares. But, that same quality that inspires hatred in the finished illustration inspires spontaneity in gesture drawing.

Oh yeah, breathing pastel dust can cause severe lung injury or death. Not exactly what I want to sign up for. NuPastels promised to be less chalky and airborne than soft pastels.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tablet sketching

This thing is so quickly becoming a weapon of choice. It really makes me wish I had a natural medium with 100% opacity and instantaneous drying times. The Tablet PC will never replace the ambiance and texture of natural medium and paper, but it seems like the best place to generate sketches.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Color block

I'm just about finished blocking in the large areas of color and I'm very satisfied with the overall color feel of the painting. Now I am heading in for some secondary colors and balancing the contrast. This consists primarily of beefing up the shadows with a darker values of warm colors. I'm also setting up a depth structure with color. The shadows of items in the foreground reflect more blue, but the shadows become more and more purple and then violent as they recede into the background.


The aforementioned red.

Move into color

I'm finished with the gray and now I'm moving into color. I'm giving everything in the background a slightly greenish tent to set off the reds in Spiderman costume.

On board

I've transferred the finish drawing to watercolor board via the opaque projector. I want to go rich and dark with this one, so I'm giving myself a foundation of payens gray.

The tighten-up

I don't always do this, but I decided to go for a tighter drawing on Vellum. It's a little easier to work out the background details here before committing them to watercolor board. Watercolor board doesn't stand up to erasing, so if I'm unsure of the finished drawing I'll work it out separately.

Watercolor in 20

This is a 20 minute watercolor sketch from our Saturday session. I try to give myself a challenge with every session, and this session’s challenge was using watercolor in primary colors. This was a great session. The model is one of my favorites, and she's built the way I naturally draw women. Her elegance is a wonderful thing to chase. She decided to dress as a ballerina for the long poses, and it was a great complement to her form. She aimed this back to pose in my direction and I immediately both cursed and thanked myself for using watercolors.

Conté in 15

The poses in our figure drawing sessions range from quick one minute gestures to 30 minute long poses. This is a 15 minute drawing done in Conté crayon. I find Conté to feel more consistent than charcoal so it's often a medium of choice.

Figure it out

Gaijin does a weekly figure drawing session, actually it's twice a week with one session on Tuesdays and another on Saturdays, and I've been meaning to post some sketches from these sessions. As a working professional it's easy to get locked into paying work and forget about drawing for fun or educational foundation. These sessions have been both relaxing and exhilarating. It's a real eye opener to step out of the comfort zone and just sling stuff and paper.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Reilly’s Spiderman

Robert asked me to do a painting based on one of his all-time favorite comic book scenes. The scene is from The Amazing Spider-man #33. It is a Steve Ditko /Murphy Anderson masterwork of art and storytelling. Those guys wore giant boots, and my feet seem so tiny by comparison. What makes their scene so powerful is the multipage buildup that Stan Lee sculpted. I need to try to capture both the struggle and the triumph in one shot. I finally settled on this shot because it was very evocative of Ditko without simply reproducing his work. I'm also planning on going a little chiaroscuro with the lighting. I'm hoping that this ominous lighting will convey a sense of gloom even though the pose appears victorious.

BGWW dismount

I finally finished it. This was a great exercise in color, composition, and technique. I wanted to achieve a bunch of things with this, and I'm happy I accomplished most of them. This took a considerably long time because I had to divide up my time between painting and wiring the studio phones. It makes me nervous to walk away from a painting while in progress. It makes me feel like somehow I might lose my direction or momentum.

I have a love-hate relationship with multiple character paintings. I'm reluctant to start, and I will procrastinate without end, but once started I enjoy the process. I refuse to seek out the problems but man do I enjoy solving them.