This one is approx. 22×18, taking about 3-4 hours. I had a great weekend in the studio. Experimenting a bit with tools that I just haven’t spent much time using.
In my world of engineering, symmetry is a part of design almost daily. So this gentleman’s beard bothered me somewhat. I often have to convince myself that symmetry is not always the norm in art, and with portraiture, it can lead to great character representation.
I have a huge respect for some of today’s artists and their charcoal drawing capabilities. Their drawing skills and understanding of values are something I hope to achieve through more of these kinds of drawing sessions.
Thanks to skydancerstock on DeviantArt.com for the reference.
Constantly sketching is crucial to any artist’s painting skills. It strengthens painting abilities, experiences, and ultimately the final creation. Without accurate drawing skills, we spend more time correcting and possibly disposing of many creations because they “just don’t work”. Believe me, and I know many of you who love to create will understand, not every approach to the easel or drawing board has a happy ending. But more good comes from the preparedness than not.
So, I continue to sketch in the mornings, when I can, to keep the skill-set up to my expectations, and to take some time to indulge in my creative side. Each session, regardless of its success, is a learning experience. It truly is. My studio is littered with my “failures”. Some in piles of stretched canvas and some hanging on my studio walls. All of them I consider studies. I hate them in some respect, but they really do serve as a reminder of what not to do, and sometimes how I may have actually succeeded with my personal lesson.
The following are a few more recent morning sketches done before heading off to work. They do have points that I would change or rework, but for a half hour worth of pencil in my hand, they serve their purpose. The more I do of these, the more confident I am at the easel with a brush in my hand.
This one, while it doesn’t look anything like the subject photo that I used for reference, was an experiment with some media and tools I had lying around. Years ago I had some classes with a local artist in a local art league, where we learned how to use media differently from a traditional elementary taught art class. It was quite the experience and taught me to see values as I had never seen them before. One of these days I’ll post a process that I learned from those early days. “Experimenting with media” was more for discovery and fun than anything. Creating for creating sake. Doesn’t have to amount to much, just create!
I enjoy sketching the portrait in different viewing angles. To me, that expresses the most emotion. Maybe that’s why I watch people so much. I am constantly looking for that new portrait concept, or emotion to convey.
At times, even the simplest looking sketch can take me longer than others. Getting the feel for the drawing just doesn’t come quickly at 4:00 am. Of course, there is the possibility that the amount of coffee I’ve consumed by then could be the difference.
Okay, I finally did make it to the studio this morning for about 40 minutes of sketching. I had recently purchased some new materials… PanPastel in black, some Sofft knife pads, and charcoal pencils, all of which I noted from David Kassan’s website. So I decided to get ’em out and play a bit. I really like experimenting with drawing processes, and quite honestly, these reminded me of some classes I took years ago.
Anyway, this is the result of my first attempt at sketching in over three weeks. Summertime almost always slows the studio time. It’s not anywhere near a finished piece, And I have a lot to learn, but quite different from my past sketching.
We, as artists, all know that good drawing skills are essential to good painting. So, as I find myself struggling to paint, or when I don’t have the time to get the paints out, I always come back to sketching. It helps me focus, and teaches me where I may be tailing off in the wrong direction when approaching the canvas.
These are all done with a 9B pencil, my favorite, on heavyweight 20 x 26 drawing paper. I have sketchbooks, but prefer the larger format. I can get up to three good sized portrait sketches on each sheet.
They are short in time to completion, not perfect, and generally running 25 to 45 minutes before having to stop. I do many of these first thing in the morning. It’s a time of day when I can focus entirely on my drawing, before the business of the day gets too complex.
I have many, but will only post a few for now, and new stuff as I can.
They are done from photos found on DeviantArt.com, where most of my sketching subjects come from. They are not a completed piece of work, rather a work to keep me understanding the fundamentals.