Friday, December 03, 2010

Back at it

We began our skeleton drawings in earnest this week. The size of the drawing and amount of detail are really intimidating to me. I have had to slow my drawing process down a lot from the quick gestural mark making that I am so use to and really think, look, and intelligently place marks on the paper. Starting out my drawing I tried to draw the skeleton without measure but found that I wanted to blow up parts of the body and the resulting drawing would be much bigger then the paper size that I currently have. In the end I erased everything, took the end of my pencil, and layed out my skeleton in eight blocks to be able to easily measure where I should put the body parts. The distance to the skeleton is definitely challenging cause there is so much tiny detail that should be drawn but you have to walk up to it to see what you should be drawing. In many ways it is teeth grindingly frustrating for me, the amount of detail that is required in a drawing like this to be minimally competent. My measuring skills are becoming better though and slowly but surely I am able to see angles without having to measure them. Still though I am persistent at trying to measure everything as at times size and angles are deceiving. Right now I am on the rib portion of the skeleton. I like how they morph in and out of the body, at times very thick and and in other places thin. Connecting them to the spinal column is tricky as I still have to define this within the space of my paper better. Right now i am just defining the spinal column as a general block in space with somewhat of a T 3d shape. The view I am drawing the skeleton from has an interesting hip slant and very noticeable shoulder attitude.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving thanks for a break

We where given a break for thanksgiving so unfortunately we did not have class on Thursday.  I went west to some family in Spring Valley.  We played the traditional "Turkey Bowl" touch football game in the snow and weather sporting the very cold teens.  Starting off with four on one team and five on another everyone began to warm up as runs where made in an attempt at a goal.  Soon though a cousin showed up with seven Chinese exchange students and the teams had more flesh and bone to better even out the work.  My face was steadily freezing from the moisture my breath created and a scarf saved the day.  Our team had some intense runs and where able to pull out in the lead to win the game by one touch down.  After the game everyone chowed down on an amazing Thanksgiving meal.  Some relatives I hadn’t seen in years so it was a bit strange to be all-together again.  One of my cousins had a two year old daughter that was adorable and met for the first time.  As the evening progressed I became the usual post thanksgiving tired overfed zombie and was thankful to get out of the house into a snowy evening for a brisk walk to wake up.

We did have class on Tuesday though and where able to cut down 10 ft sheets of dry wall to a more manageable 6ft to place our large sheets of paper on for a skeleton project.  This project will take up the last weeks of the semester till we are finished with classes.  A whole skeleton is to be drawn in a simulated three-dimensional way on the whole sheet of paper.  By the time we are done it must detail all of the bone in our body that our view of the skeleton provides as the class surrounds one available skeleton on all sides.  It gets a bit claustrophobic with everyone's 6 ft drawing board creating a simulated cubicle space in which they observe the skeleton and work on puzzling it out on paper.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sighs of relief

This Tuesday we finished up our three week project of portraiture work. 

Everyone hung up their portraits on the wall and was struck right away with the quality of work that everyone produced.  Going left to right around the room we started with Paul's drawings of Megan, Evan, and Evan.  His style really reminded me of Greek or Roman busts.  They where somewhat stiff, formal, and oozing a sort of benevolent confidence.  My favorite drawing of his was of Evan (other Evan) which he seemed to dislike a lot.  We went on to Josh next with his very detailed clean drawings.  I like how alive his drawings seemed to be and his amazing line weight variations which helped them to pop out at you.  Out of all the drawings Jordan's where by far my favorite because of their insane size (he chose a paper size that was a least twice what everyone else decided to draw on) and the style he drew with.  They where worlds different from when I last saw them in class.  He added detailed hair and shading to all of them.  In many ways I was disappointed he did this as the one with Josh was insane just the way it was without hair detail or shading.  The careful lines and correct anatomy shouted perfection by themselves.

I was really happy with the way that my drawings turned out.  Going to the open drawing session on Tuesday nights really helped me in this project to keep my eye trained and muscle memory lean and mean.  The first drawing I did of Megan was obviously the first one done in the series as it is so different from the style I settled into on the second and third of Paul and Evan.  The drawing of Paul was surprisingly easy and fun to do.  I liked how the neck and eyes turned out on this drawing.  Evan was very hard to draw looking down at him but I think it turned out looking like him.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The meat of things

On Thursday we went back over our drawings to prepare for next Tuesday's critique.  I needed to improve my portrait of Megan and thankfully she was able to pose for 20 minutes.  I cranked out different hair and more accurate face.  The first time she posed in class for us she was wearing a pony tail which arched up in back of her head but this time it was down framing her head.  Unfortunately I decided to take down the pony tail and work with the current hair style in my drawing.  I should have left it, as the new hair didn't work in my drawing and ended up being too voluminous.  I was able to improve her mouth which was too dark and highlighted around the edges.  Working with her eyes I saw that they where not lined up right and tried to conceal them with hair so I wouldn't have to go into the hassle of doing more detailed work.  Realizing that the hair really wasn't working I took my eraser and tried to sculpt it to create more space around her head and to create some highlights.  The neck was too elongated so I shortened it and pushed her hair around it to create a more relaxed look.

Paul, Evan, and Megan needed to work from me so I posed for the next forty minutes.

We drew the difficult angle portrait of Evan sitting on the floor working on his laptop (lucky him) on Tuesday.  I started out with a quick warm up sketch on my newsprint pad to get an idea how the angles looked.  More often then not the angles are a lot more severe then I originally put down on paper so I tried to measure this time to get a more accurate framework.  I was happy with the quick sketch so began on the final version with arches paper.  Working with 2b graphite I quickly layed out the angles and important areas of the face again though I struggled with where I should build the foundation to which other structural parts of the face would follow.  The eye brow for some reason took precedence over everything else because it was the closest thing to me.  After this I built on the bridge, eyes and nose.  His head was extremely difficult to get the correct idea of its roundness from looking at it on top.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Puzzling out Portraiture

Beginning my street portrait artist career on Monday, my group drew Megan.  I started out in wide general fast sweeps of my arm to position her head on the page.  Hair is the most interesting part of a portrait for me but I had to fight of the urge to darken and enhance it right away as I still needed to get the sizing correct first.  Saul Leiter's description of Joanna's hair is phenomenal.

 SAUL LEITER | Joanna | 1947

I underestimated the angle her head was resting so I had to go back in and realign her nose and mouth.  Her eyes where not working at all the way I tried to describe them.  The first problem was that I was trying to outline them!  I don't know what was in my mind to draw them like this but this is what I attempted to do over and over to get the outline shape right.  This exasperated the already flat problem I was having in this area of the face.  Amy came over and helped me to more accurately describe the nose and showed me what I was doing wrong with the mouth.  At the end of class I was somewhat satisfied with what I accomplished in my first portrait session but new I had a long way to go.

Wednesday we drew Paul.  For some reason this drawing came naturally for me as I didn't have to deal with the mouth and very minimally with the nose.  Unfortunately this drawing filled up a lot more paper then my first one of Megan but I liked this about it.  I just squeezed in the top of his head from the edge of the paper.  With Paul, Amy pointed out how ridiculously small I drew his ear.  Strangely I didn't see this until she pointed it out.  Usually I have a really hard time with the eye but with this new view of  looking at the back of his head I could see the structure of the eye a lot more clearly and it seemed to come out naturally in my drawing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Open drawing

I went to an open drawing session tonight and as I need as much scheduled drawing time as I can get.