Friday, October 13, 2017

Starting A Painting

The start of a painting is probably the most important part of executing it. Everything that happens after fails or succeeds based upon the strength of the structure underneath.

All the thought and care that's put into the start will make the rest of the work a lot easier. More often than not I fall into the trap of thinking ahead to the finish before I consider all the work
that needs to be done in the beginning.

It's impossible to overstate how important the start is. Not that changes aren't made as one goes along to the finish but there is a great deal of assessment made from the very start.

Below is a video of a painting that I started in Autodesk Sketchbook as well as a list of books about different artist and their approaches to painting.

James Gurney....
Burt Silverman...
Harvey Dinnerstein...
Richard Schmid...

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fun Exercise Using Photo Reference

As artist we should never fall victim to the trap of just going in to copy machine mode when using reference photos. We should always keep in mind that what we are trying to translate is what makes the material (whether a photo or from life) interesting to us and in that lies ones unique interpretation of the source.

I took a reference photo I found on line and did a four different drawings based on the same photo as an exercise in being faithful to the source material without slavishly copying it.

A video posted here from my YouTube channel demonstrates two of the drawings being drawn on Mischief (digital software). 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Why The 100 Drawing Challenge Might Not Work

A popular challenge is that students or aspiring artist draw 100 drawings (when I was in high school I remember the number being higher) and at the end, by their 101 drawing they would see vast improvement. While I do agree that its a great challenge I do see that artist are taking that challenge in the wrong way. Instead of struggling through each drawing they hurriedly speed through the drawings filling up sketchbooks with bad drawings. You can't learn anything without struggle. Natural gifts and talent give you a boost but at some point everyone hits a wall that they will have to go beyond in order to get to the next level.

Below is a video from my YouTube channel in which I talk about this and about a commitment to strive against mediocrity.

As promised in the video I also include here a few of the quotes that I mentioned.

 “From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the the age of 70 is not worth bothering with. At 75 I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am 80 you will see real progress. At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At 100, I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing.”
 Hokusai Katsushika

"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful".

"One good drawing is worth one hundred bad ones".
Irwin (Greeny) Greenberg

"Remember Rembrandt wasn't perfect. He had to fight mediocrity"
Irwin (Greeny) Greenberg

Friday, September 22, 2017

Different Aproaches to Drawing the Head from Memory and Imagination

Always useful to be able to reach into your memory and imagination and be able to draw from it. Drawing from life adds to the library of information in the mind to draw from.

I love to sketch heads from imagination. To come up with different characters.

Here are some examples of heads drawn from imagination done in my sketchbook and on my computer tablet.

Below is a video demonstrating drawing the head and here are some links for books mentioned in the video,
Andrew Loomis:
Drawing the Head and Hands
Fun With A Pencil

Friday, September 15, 2017

On Being Self Critical

In my new Friday YouTube video I discuss the importance of being self critical.

I do this as I work on a drawing in the Mischief application.

The video is below. If you like the video consider subscribing to my YouTube channel where you can view many more and can expect a new video every Friday.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Some Preliminary Work For An Illustration

I loved reading Tolkien's stories of Middle Earth. As a teen I saw that world come to life in the animated Lord of the Rings movie by Bakshi. Although looking back there was much lacking in that film to my teenage eyes it was nothing short of incredible.

After watching that movie I read all the Tolkien material I could find and to this day I remain a fan.

A little while a go I decided I wanted to illustrate a scene as a promotional illustration. I chose the scene when Merry and Pippin meet Tree Beard in Fangorn Forrest.

It remains a work in progress and hopefully I can get back to it soon. Here are some of the sketches I've made in preparation for the illustration.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Forget About Style Worry About Improving Your Drawing Instead

My youngest son loves to draw but like all young (and old) artist he's frustrated with his efforts. He's not as good as he wants to be and he's hungrily searching for a distinctive style.

I made and posted this video on my YouTube channel sharing the discussion I had with him regarding this. Hopefully he will take it to heart.

After watching the video feel free to leave comments regarding your views on this. Would love to hear what artists are thinking.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday YouTube Video Digital Watercolor In Rebelle 2

My latest video was just posted on my YouTube channel showing how I painted the digital watercolor on the left. I used a software called Rebelle 2 that simulates watercolor brushes very accurately.

Just below the Rebelle watercolor is the same figure in a slightly different pose that I had done earlier using traditional watercolors.

The YouTube video is at the bottom. You can also link here to my channel where you can view other videos and subscribe.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Video ArtRage Self Portrait Using Pastel Brush

Recently I decided that I was going to post a new video every Friday on my YouTube channel.

This self portrait done in the digital painting application ArtRage is the subject of my latest video.

On my YouTube channel I like to explore different digital painting software. Mostly ones that are either low cost or free but all of good quality. I have subscriptions to higher end software but exploring the options that these other software shows that there are also cheaper yet powerful alternatives that you don't have to spend a lot of money on. They are also a good jumping in point for those who use traditional media and want to explore digital media.

At some point when I can afford some good recording equipment I will also introduce videos using traditional media.

Below is the video from my YouTube channel. You can also access my channel here and view more videos or subscribe to my channel if you have a YouTube account.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Watercolor Wash Drawings

Some wash drawings I completed on my lunch hour. I drew as careful a pencil drawing as I could for the one on the left and applied the wash on my lunch hour the next day.

In the next drawing I drew the figure on my way to work. He was a fellow train passenger sitting across from me who kept dozing off so I started drawing him. on my lunch hour I did the quick wash drawing based on the pencil sketch. 

The very bottom wash drawing was of my son who fell asleep across from me on a train ride headed back home from Brooklyn where we were visiting relatives. I took a snap shot of him on my phone and used that for reference.

I love doing these wash drawings because they are a very quick way of completing a sketch. Helpful when I don't have a lot of time.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

ArtRage Pastel Brush Painting and Video Demo

Decided to try the pastel brush in the ArtRage application. I really enjoyed it and am going to use this brush again.

Below is a video I posted on my YouTube channel of the painting in progress.

 For those that want to follow me on my YouTube channel where I will post a new video every Friday please click here and subscribe to my channel.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


All through my school years I remember drawing in the margins of my notebooks or on some scrap paper I had hidden under my notebook. I would cover the paper up with the back cover of my loose leaf notebook when the teacher was looking. As soon as the teacher turned to write on the black board I would pull up the cover and continue to work on my drawing.

It was always a doodle of some favorite comic book character or a character from some story I was reading.

This habit of doodling stuff continues today on my job. Every free chance I get I would grab a sheet of paper and doodle at my desk. Sometimes trying to be careful not to get caught, sometimes not caring. Most of these doodles wind up in the trash. Others are thumbnail sketches for something I intend to paint or draw later. Others are just a bunch of fun doodles like what I am posting here and I can't decide whether to keep them or just throw them out. So I hold on to them for a while and some get filed away while others do eventually wind up in the trash.

Anyway these are saved from the trash for now.
All of these are done just for the fun of it and to pass the time at work.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Oil Portrait In ArtRage

I've purchased a few different digital painting software over the years and have not fully exploited them all. I keep returning to Sketchbook Pro because it is easy to use but there are others that while they may not be as easy to use offer a lot in the way of mimicking traditional media. Two favorites that come to mind are ArtRage and Rebelle.

Before I write anymore let may say that two major considerations for me are cost (both of these programs are under $100.) as well as being able to use the software without getting to technical. I want to be able to pick a brush and not have to play around with the presets too much. I not only want the look to be like traditional media, I want the experience as well.

 This painting was done in ArtRage. On the close up at right you can see how much like oil the final image looks.

Below is a YouTube video I posted on my channel showing this image being painted,

Monday, August 7, 2017

Watercolor Wash Drawings

These are some of the sketches I've been making on my lunch break at work. Working with a watercolor wash I can make a quicker statement and use as much or as little detail as needed to carry the image. Because I'm just making decisions about value and not color I can work a little faster and get more done in that hour.

It's more like drawing with a brush.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Recent Watercolor

It's been some time since I've used transparent watercolor for something more than a quick sketch.

 I did do a couple of sketches of this woman in a watercolor wash using only black. I had posted them earlier and am re-posting here for comparison.

I think I lost some of the freshness of the sketch in the face though her clothing looks loosely painted. Sometimes I have to put away the painting for a little while and look at it again to determine how I feel about it.

Often I have one of two feelings. Either I am  disappointed with the finish or I am satisfied that it is the best that I can do at the time.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Watercolor Wash Sketches

One lunch hour is not a lot of time to do more than a quick sketch or a bunch of doodles. But when I take my lunch one hour is all I have and of course I need to subtract some time for the hastily gobbled up sandwich or what ever I'm having that day. If I want to take my time and develop an image it will take some days or if I want to do some quick sketches that are fairly resolved I can choose a medium that lends itself to that like a watercolor wash.

The most time I would spend on these is in the beginning when I do a pencil drawing where I try to be as correct as possible outlining and measuring, anticipating the values,etc. Then the wash is quickly placed on top of the outline. The drawing of the man on the above sketch was done more hastily but the head of the woman on the upper left corner was sketched the day before and the wash was applied on the next day during my lunch hour.

You can see the pencil outline on the left and the finished wash drawing on the right.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Sketchbook, Drawing From Imagination And Memory

Drawing from imagination, comic book characters and cartoons when I was a kid was how I began to draw. The older I got the more realism I strove for without any training in drawing from life. But when I finally began learning how to draw and paint from life I began to distrust my imagination/ memory more and more. This was a mistake. Drawing from imagination or memory should be just as important in my opinion as drawing from life.

What I learn in drawing from life can feed information into my drawings from memory and imagination and the same can be said for the reverse. I find that it helps especially when I am doing an illustration and can't find the reference for what I want or can only find partial reference. The only thing to do is to rely on memory and imagination.

Sometimes I might be working on an illustration and just sketch out some of the characters in the story. I also like to try and recall the faces of my fellow passengers on the train and sketch those out when I get home and sometimes I just make up a story or a situation and I sketch that. It's just a lot of fun to do and drawing should be fun.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Progression Of A Gouache Painting

Above is a progression of a gouache painting I did in my sketchbook.
I started out with a pencil outline of the portrait then I painted spots of color trying to be conscious of value and temperature. I did the pencil under drawing on my lunch break at work which took about 45 minutes. the first lay in of colors took about an hour and a half to two hours- done before just before going to sleep at night.

The next day back at work I continued to paint on my lunch hour smoothing out the paint by adding water and a bit more paint. In the third panel on the right I continued to paint at home for a couple of more hours adding more paint and smoothing the transition between values with just water on the brush.

The final painting is on the left.

I should have taken a scan of the initial pencil drawing underneath but I didn't think of it. It would have looked a lot like the drawing I included on the bottom.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Pen and Ink Portrait Sketches

A few pen and ink portraits I've done using an old fashion dip pen and either Copic multiliner or Micron pens. I also use an Molotow acrylic based white marker to make corrections.

I like doing these because they don't take long. I can do these as warm ups before I do other work.

While I make these drawings the challenge is to strive for more accuracy and to work toward a loser drawing.