Tuesday Night Figure Drawing

Worked on a charcoal-toned paper, which was nice. As it was with still life, I struggle to finish a drawing in the allotted time, but I’m becoming more comfortable with where to prioritize. Not very stoked with any of the drawings this week, and my gestures were crap. However, still getting in good practice and trying new things. Overall a win, since a decent finished drawing is only a bonus (posting rough unfinished stuff never gets easier!).

Both of these are the usual charcoal on a charcoal-toned bristol paper, 18×24.



Simone Bianchi Ororo

No digest this week, the only sketchbook work I did was on Ororo and a few practice gestures for class last week. So here’s my copy of Simone Bianchi’s Ororo piece. Mine is graphite, 8.5 x 5.5:


Wednesday Night Oils

Last night when I got home from figure drawing, I transferred my portrait sketch over to canvas using the method previously explained. I then went over the sketch with some thinned umber and blocked in the shadows, also in thinned umber.


Tonight in class, the instructor took a different direction and we went directly to local color lay-in, or ‘dead color’. I think this is because this class is a little slower than the previous and she doesn’t want people to fall too far behind. The full process does take a loooong time, I chuckle when people think 36 hours is a long time to complete these portraits. Nobody finishes. I was the only one who had done the transfer, so I was able to start directly with local color – the first time I’ve been neck and neck with the instructor on painting phase…and we both finished local color. It’s not a race, but it’s nice to know I’m getting faster without sacrificing quality.


I got a compliment from the instructor on my color mixing, have to say I was pretty happy overall. All that reading on color theory really builds a good foundation! Also put my new pochade box palette into use, it was awesome mixing on glass. I tried to emulate the instructor’s mixing habits (which I’ve been watching all along and asking tons of questions), so I made basic local colors but was a bit freer with my technique. I had a much better feel for the consistency of the paint and mixed on the fly a lot more, which led to some more interesting things, even in local color. Excited to push that further with later stages! Also reduced the amount of brushes I used to basically three (light/dark/detail) and let some mixing happen organically. The instructor has a real nice touch on the canvas and all that plays into it.

Figure Drawing

I drew along with Proko from youtube for my work break sketching yesterday, and it paid huge dividends in class last night. Still a long way to go, but it’s very rewarding to overcome obstacles like that. I think I’m finding a happy medium between my mind’s eye for gesture and the way my instructors want it done.

2 minute gestures. Did a few pages of these to warm up. Model was the same as Sunday, so that was cool. Charcoal on newsprint, 18×24.


10 minute study. Sanguine conte on newsprint, 18×24.


20 minute study. Charcoal on bristol paper, 18×24.


I switched up from Conte sticks to pencils (sharpened with the long taper), using the overhand grip I had been working on with the stick. It was initially awkward last year when I tried it, but the intervening practicing has made it feel much more natural. Fine linework is still tough, but the bigger stuff is much easier with that grip. Really happy I’ve been making the effort to develop it!

Also spent some time teaching other students how to sharpen pencils properly. I got a kick out of that!

Sketchbook Digest

Another slim sketchbook week due to classes. I kind of took a class on Sunday, too. Sat in on a figure painting class and did gesture drawings. Since there was only one pose, I ended up sketching the students a lot. Here’s a sample of that, I did a bunch of pages like this. Gestures ranging from 20 seconds to 2 minutes (but mostly 30 seconds to a minute), charcoal on newsprint 18×24. Also a head study at the end of the session, about 15 minutes (same media).



In the sketchbooks, another page of study from Huston’s book, graphite on paper 9×12. Still working on my Simone Bianchi Ororo copy in the small sketchbook…getting bogged down in the hair details, blah.


Wednesday Night Oils

Second stage of the drawing for this semester’s portrait class. Fixing proportions, adding some detail, blocking in the shadow shapes. Ready for transfer to canvas before next week’s class. Graphite on paper, 14×17.


Sketchbook Digest

Sketchbook digest a bit slim this week due to classes starting up. Draw every day!

This week I got in a new book, Steve Huston’s Figure Drawing for Artists. Did some gesture studies, both practice from the book and overlay gestures of master works. Then a page of head construction studies.



Only one comic book copy this week, took me two days to finish (4×15 minute breaks). Copy of an Alex Ross concept for Planet Hulk.


Wednesday Night Oils

First night of Oil Portraiture. New model is an older gentleman, so this is going to be a really awesome class! It’s been a good progression of models: the first guy was clean-cut and angular, the second had interesting hair, this one has some wrinkles…and he put his hand in the pose, yikes! Painting a hand!

Just roughing in the drawing here, getting the angles and measurements together and just beginning to add some detail. You can see my value thumbnail for checking composition, I changed things around several times in the thumbnail before starting the larger drawing.


Figure Drawing

Last night was my first figure drawing class. I last took figure drawing in 1984, and it felt like I was right back there…except that was a horrible experience that has lurked around in my brain ever since. So I took a step back, used the skills I acquired over the last year and pushed through the doubt and negativity, so I could begin to learn.

I was struggling with my linework as usual, and got a bad angle for the first 10 minute pose. I decided to play around with some tone, and struck on the way to navigate this difficult subject…I should fall back on my strengths, developing form with values.


Things got a lot more enjoyable, though obviously this is just the beginning and I have a looooong way to go, and so much more to learn. But at least I found a way to make it fun!


Sketchbook Digest

Here’s last week’s sketchbook digest. I took the weekend off to get a break before classes this week, so it’s a bit thinner than usual. Started with more anatomy from the Winslow book, the first two are graphite, Prismacolor and white Conte on toned paper, 5.5 x 8.5:



And a few rectus abdominis studies, graphite on paper, 9×12:


Only one comic book copy this week, a request by Matbar (who is the proud new owner of it already!), a Marc Silvestri copy. Graphite on paper, 5.5 x 8.5:


Tonight…portraiture class, part III!