Thursday, November 24, 2011

Laughing Kids - Almost There

Well, a few layers and corrections later, and this one is turning out pretty well. I've started adding some colour into the shadows, because I want there to be quite a lot going on, given that the subject is high energy, even if the original photo was more neutral. Also, I think I've got the boy's face sorted out pretty well, he's not looking squashed anymore:

And then here's a photo with another layer, and starting to build up the background a bit more. I've also toned down that orange shirt a bit, because I was finding it too distracting in the overall composition. First a added blue and purple, but that really muddied it up too much, so I ended up blending in some light grey, and that really did the trick.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Laughing Kids - Corrections

I left you on the last post with a cliffhanger about how I'd destroyed the boys face in my pastel. I've been working and fidgeting with it for the past few days, and here's where I've gotten so far:

Followed by a few layers to flesh everything out, and I'm getting close:

I still have a fair bit to do, including finding a better spot to take a picture, because I can't get the colours right for you here. He's coming along fairly well now, and I think another day or so and I'll have it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Laughing Kids - Underpainting

A friend of mine asked me to do a picture of he and his sister wen they were little. It's a really cute photo, and they've both got big grins of their faces. Should be a fun picture, with lots of bright colours. Here are the first few shots.

I choose a nice dark paper, because I want to colours to really stand out. It is a lot darker than I've done portraits on, though, so it might get interesting. I'm starting out with darker colours, then lightening as I go.

Ok, now the problem. I don't know if it's the different technique I'm using, or I'm just getting over confident in my pastel abilities, but look what I did to to the poor boy on the next layer:

Yeah, he looks a little squashed. This should be interesting.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rudiments - Drapery 1

I finally realized on Monday that my Saturday drawing session had long passed and I should get myself in gear. So I grabbed my neglected drawing board and hopped on my bed. Fortunately (?) I hadn't taken very much care when I made it, and everything was nice and wrinkly. Plenty to draw! I'll admit I wasn't 100% focused, so it's not the greatest drawing I've ever done, but helpful nonetheless. I think even a little bit of the different textures can be seen. The next session will involve finishing that front pillow, which has some rather intricate and metallic brocade. I need to find a white pencil crayon first, though, so I can try for the shiny highlights.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Flanders Fields - Inside

I had left plenty of room around the full page of the calligraphy I put up in the last post, so it was easy to trim the edges to fit. Then I realized I slightly misunderstood the directions and had to double the amount of folds I had for the book, but thankfully that was easy to do. I ripped all the edges of the flags because I didn't want them to look nice and neat. 

I started glueing everything in place, starting at the bottom strip, and realized by the forth layer that the backing paper was a little small. It was actually a bit big to begin with, but I guess I left more room between the layers than I realized. Thankfully the paper was pure white by this point, so it was easy enough to make that layer a little bit smaller without losing any of the image. The placement on a few of the flags is just a little off at the edges as well. Between all that, and the difficulty I had gluing everything neatly, I've learned that next time it would be best to glue one fold vertically at a time, rather than the full horizontal strips. I think. The glue did tend to get all over the place, and I've already spent a good deal of time scraping it away. None of this is really noticeable, and I'm probably going to keep fixing everything, but I'm anal enough for it to really annoy me.

This is what it looks like flat, which is neat because you can see how the flags were originally part of a larger image.

And here are a few shots of what it looks like in book form:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

In Flanders Fields

Remembrance Day is coming up, so I've begun a book based on John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields. It seems to me like a bit of an odd thing to make into a book, somehow, but I am in the military, so I guess I just work with what I know. It's going to be a flag book, which I've never made before. The pages/flags will be made up of a this, which is the poem written over and over again in ink, with red ink 'poppies' interspersed. I've used this calligraphy/abstract way of writing a few times, and I love it every time.

Here's a close up. I dropped the red ink onto wet writing so that it would bleed along the letters. I'm not 100% on how it turned out, but once I got some watercolour on the red they looked better, and a lot more like flowers instead of random blobs of ink.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rudiments 1 - The Idea and a Rant

I'll be the first person to admit that this is not the most exciting thing I've ever posted here. It's actually just a quick sketch I did because the class I was in today was very very boring. However, it's here for a good reason. It's one of the first things I've ever drawn in which I focused on the textures and materials of the object, instead of just it's shape. It's a water bottle made out of a matte rubber, somewhat reflective plastic, and a highly reflective clear plastic base. It somewhat astonishes me that I've never really put much effort into drawing textures before, and this seems like a massive oversight in my training. I've also never done a drapery study, and only once a perspective study. Really. Yet I have a BA in Art with Great Distinction.

So I've decided it's time to start remedying this giant oversight in my education, and will start putting aside a certain amount of time every week, probably three hours or so every Saturday, to work on these things.

While I was thinking about this, and coming up with a few things to practise, I googled 'drawing rudiments' to get some ideas. One of the articles I came across, targeted to beginners, talked about how important it was to put 'emotion' in the drawing, and let the 'spirituality' of the artist or drawing or something come through. (Rough paraphrase). How completely ridiculous! Drawing is a skill, just like any other, and it takes hours and hours of practise to know what one is doing. Style will develop with time, and only truly skilled artists will be able to put emotion into a piece of artwork. Forcing this at the beginning, especially for a beginner without basic skills or knowledge, is much more damaging to someone trying to learn what they are doing than it is a learning experience. One must learn the rules before one can break them. Furthermore, this idea perpetuates the myth that art is some kind of mystical practise, and that talent simply descends on a chosen few. This notion keeps non-artists, and potential art-lovers at a distance, and blames the viewer for not appreciating the artwork instead of ever entertaining the notion that the art itself might be to blame. Art is not made only for the chosen few who know the right words, wear the funny clothes, and raid the buffet at a gallery opening. It would be fairer to the viewer, to the veteran artists who have put the effort in, and to potential artists to admit that art is just a skill, and like anything else, will take a very long and frustrating time to master. And then show them the Sistine Chapel so they can see that it will be worth it.