Friday, March 17, 2017

When You Feel Like Throwing In The Towel

Its  been a little while since I last posted on this blog. In that short time I started and left unfinished a number of paintings, continued to sketch in my pen and ink sketchbook and finished two illustrations, but it seems I'm not happy with most of what I've done.

There are times where it is hard to do any work because I am so disgusted with where I am at. I tell myself, " jeez, you really haven't improved much at all and at 53 why don't you just hang it up?"

Then I know I really can't, I like it to much to quit, but it is easy to get distracted when I feel this way. It is hard to be inspired to do work when you feel like you suck at it. The only thing that I can do is rely on discipline and work my way out of this rut.

So I continued to draw, even halfheartedly relying on the fact that after some time I will feel better about what I'm doing and try to do better work.

The drawings that I post here I felt were bright spots in my sketchbook.  The sketch of the older man in the cap was just a little sketch in my book on a page that had two other sketches but it was the thing that got me started. I approached it a little differently and I said to myself let me try doing it that way again and all of a sudden the act of doing it became more interesting. More fun.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pen and Ink Sketchbook

It's been a very busy month, hence the lack of post's. Still I've managed a bit of painting this month, one illustration assignment and I continued with my pen and ink lunch time sketchbook.

Here I post some of the drawings done this month (some of them took more than one lunch hour).

Friday, February 10, 2017

Combining Gouache And Casein Paint

A long time ago (when I was a teenager), I purchased a book called Studio. In it were the works of four comic book artist who decided to put aside comics and create work to sell as prints and posters. Jeff Jones, Barry Windsor Smith, Mike Kaluta and Bernie Wrightson. Loved the book and still have my well loved and worn copy Somewhere in my closet). It was in those pages that I heard of the medium gouache for the first time. I purchased some tubes of the paint and began to use them on and off.

A short time after, while I was attending the High School of Art and Design in New York City I saw a teacher, Mr Doktor use the medium in an early morning paint group I used to attend. It was the first time I saw someone actually painting with gouache.

Although I worked more often with transparent watercolor and also oils, I would paint in gouache every now and then. I used it more often when my children were born because I was concerned about them, gouache was easier to put away and there were no solvents used. For many years I continued to use both gouache and transparent watercolor. Although I wanted to return to oils ( and I did every now and then) It was always easier to use the gouache.

Brief history of what I learned about using the medium
There were not many instructional booklets written about gouache at the time so I had to learn about the medium where I can. I learned how a lot of illustrators used gouache and one of the tricks they employed was to use it in combination with casein white. I think I read that about the illustrator Harry Anderson but it was something that was done by a lot of the old illustrators. I tried different papers and currently enjoy using Arches watercolor cold pressed art board (which is a sheet of arches watercolor paper mounted on an archival illustration board). After using Windsor and Newton Designer colors for years I switched to Turner gouache because that brand of paint covers better. I have also began using casein with gouache. I start out a painting in casein and finish it in gouache. This seems to help with some of the gouache colors looking too high key making the values jump. The casein under painting seems to mute the colors making the values easier to control. This was a recent change so I'm not entirely sure if this is what the casein is doing, but it looks promising.

Pretty recently the artist James Gurney started making instructional videos on watercolor, gouache and casein. These videos are very good as well as inexpensive. He also has a YouTube channel with some short segments from his videos. Artist Jeff Watts has online classes on painting in gouache at Watts Atelier as well as some excellent tutorials on his YouTube channel.

James Gurney videos here
Watts Atelier here

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Pen And Ink Sketchbook

Currently I am dedicating a sketchbook to just pen and ink sketches. The goal of this book is to 1) fill at least one page a day of random drawings, and  2) to feel free to try as many different styles as I want.

I make these sketches from imagination or I use reference photos. So far I am enjoying working in this sketchbook to the point where I can not go to sleep till I fill out a page. The only draw back is that I didn't pick out a a sketchbook with heavier weight paper that would allow for wash drawings but the paper is decent for straight pen and ink drawings. Next pen and ink sketchbook will be a heavier weight paper.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Making Better Drawings

So far in this new year I have made a commitment to do at least one ink drawing a day in a sketchbook set aside specifically for pen and ink work. I enter drawings in this sketchbook in addition to whatever else I may be working on.

What I've given myself the liberty to do is to try as many styles as I want to try. Usually there is a combination of influences or things that I've seen that I want to try. As a result the drawings may not seem like they are all done by the same artist (me of course). But this is my sketchbook, its not about doing something finished and polished (although that doesn't mean I let myself do a bad drawing) it's about practice or trying new things and just having fun.

We've always been told that drawing daily is a way of improving ones drawing skills. Part of that is being able to look at the drawings and realize ones weakness. For me I see that I need to focus more on correcting the drawing and less about the rendering.  I see mistakes like the incorrect placement of the features. One eye maybe slightly lower than the other or the nose or mouth may be a bit off the axis of the head. Repeatedly noticing these things helps me to be more conscious of it as I draw. In your sketchbook you're allowed to make a bad drawing but the next one has to be better.

Monday, December 19, 2016

My Sketchbook Habit

What do I try to accomplish in my sketchbook besides trying to make better drawings? I try different styles, different marks. I flesh out characters from a story I will illustrate or a story I am reading or have read.

The sketchbook is a place to think, to play, to resolve fundamental things about putting a picture together or about drawing in general. Its for resolving how to draw an ear, how to construct a head from life, photos or imagination.

It is a place, a real place where I go to everyday.

 These sketches from my sketchbook are my daily sketches done on my lunch hour at work and time spent at the end of the day before I turn in for bed, Sometimes they are made early in the morning before taking off for work.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Book- Sketches, Drawings and Paintings 2016

Collection of my work from 2016 (and some earlier stuff) Includes InkTober 2016, Watercolors and Gouache as well as digital work.