One thing I don't think I will ever need to worry about is copy infringement for source images. I never seem to capture the photo I'm looking at when I draw. The drawing seems to take on a life of its own. So maybe you can guess who this is but trust me it looks nothing like the photo reference. Brush pen line with gouache color, with a bit of Photoshopy work, not much, just color and erasing here and there. No new pixels were created.
Above is an illo, from today’s NYTimes Home section. Below is the sketch. The story is about universal remote controls, how they don’t necessarily work that well. I arranged the letter buttons to suggest the shape of the remote, and to allow some of the letter buttons to overlap the thumb and finger to imply that it wasn’t working. The floating letters suggest a flimsy, rickety construction, as if pushing a button causes it to move and move around the other buttons.
Here's a project I'm currently working on, a screen print for an upcoming exhibit.
I’m trying out a pre-sale model using Kickstarter to fund the project, details here.
Project backers get a signed edition of the final screen print and, with a larger pledge, can get their name embedded within the art work, ala Hirschfeld’s “Nina.”
Above is the image so far. This shows preliminary hand lettering placement, still waffling over what top word to use; Psycho, Savage, Monster…
Above are the initial steps into Photoshop where I’ll design the print. I first refined the sketch a bit, enlarging the front wheel, adjusting the road, other little tweaks. Then I chose a background color starting point, a warm red, suggesting heat, anger, blood. The next step will be to define the edges and add one or two more colors to the palette. I will also be refining the face with ink line work as well as other details. Not sure about the road, think I prefer the severe straight-edged version over the s-curve. The lettering has not worked its way into the composition yet.
Following are the preliminary sketches with notes:
I may look at adjusting the face and lettering but this first step was to get the arrangement of the body and bike within the format. This bike is very simplified intentionally to place more focus on the face of the rider but could use some corrections and details here and there. The word “Savage” may change, looking for a word that sounds well spoken with “Cycling” and suggests a fierce, focused, beast-like energy and attitude.
This version is a refinement of the next two sketches. The word “Savage” replaced the word “Psycho.”
This is the second version of the sketch where I corrected the handlebars.
This is the first version of the sketch with flat handlebars since I used my commuter bike for the reference. I tried bending my hands around the outside of the handlebars to suggest the lower position and angle that would occur with track style handlebars.
These are the thumbnail sketches. They began with a rough placement of the cyclist and bike within the format (top middle) which I refined a bit (middle right) and then tried adding more detail without using reference (bottom right) followed by a more finalized sketch (left two sketches) using reference photos.
These reference photos were taken by my daughter in our back alley, showing me as a ferocious cyclist. I didn’t realize she was taking the two pictures of me giving her some direction.
I’m working on a series of fingerspelling images. This is the letter “N” I drew at church as a quick reference drawing for the project. I wanted to add some hand lettering and “Luke” came from today’s lectionary (I know, begins with an “L” but I didn’t hear any interesting “N” words and couldn’t remember the sign for “L”). A couple of things I’ve learned about fingerspelling…
bridges sign language and spoken language to represent words that have no corresponding sign1
I made this for my sketchbook exchange with a friend of mine, started out as a drawing of David Suchet as Poirot, using a Nikko G-pen nib and brown ink, then became overrun with some doodling using Dr. Martin’s True Blue dye.
This is a doodle with collage from one of my sketch exchange books, random drawings around this tree, also incorporated some collage using Eric Carle’s technique. The pink is ink that had bled through from the previous page.
This is a sketchbook exchange entry for Aaron with some heavy influence from him. I made this with a YasutomoNiji Waterbrush pen filled with Coffee Brown Dr. Martin’s Dye. I bought a full set of these dyes at Art Materials about twenty years ago and have never really used them, actually wasn’t sure if I still had them, then found them buried in the back drawer of my drafting table. A little messy filling the pen with the eyedropper but it flows through the pen fairly well. More to come, with additional colors!
This drawing began as a dot and then became a wooly dot and then an aura or explosion, just an exploration in waterbrush pen line quality. Done while listening to Wolf Parade.
I brought my Thursday class over to Spyhouse this afternoon to do some observational research, looking, listening, sketching. I had time for a quick brush pen sketch of a young man concentrating on his laptop.
This is a sketch of Finian Greenall, records as Fink, from Brighton, has evolved from ambient techno to acoustic folk with a DJ slant, his music reminds me a bit of José González, messed up the ear so drew a better one, photo reference here.
I’ve been using Danny Gregory’s method of drawing upside-down combined with Jack Unruh’s semi-blind contour drawing method with some mixed results, often ending up with some wild distortion. For this one, I drew rightside-up and, after blocking in the head a bit, started with the left eye worked my way through the face and hair and down to the shirt. Reference photo can be found here. Love that mustache!
Neko Case’s music, according to All Music Guide, has “smoky, sophisticated vocals,” and, “dark, country-noir,” and, “sad cowgirl blues with all the rustic nuance of Patsy Cline.” Case possesses a “hauntingly beautiful alto, a siren call fashioned from country’s might and pop’s melody,”
Dan Deacon’s music is described by All Music Guide as, “influenced by diverse artists like Devo, Talking Heads, Scratch Orchestra, Raymond Scott, and Conlon Nancarrow,” and, “whimsical electronic music sensibilities” and, “filled with hyperactive and often challenging electronic detritus,” and, “an extravaganza of noise-pop that looks, not to the dance field, but to the slowly burgeoning indie rock fetish of voices, either in harmony or in chorus.”
I was searching for a good Gene Simmons reference photo and couldn’t find anything I liked but stumbled upon this photo of Ringo Starr within the search. It was with a trivia quiz asking what band Ringo Starr played in prior to The Beatles. The answer (Paul Revere and the Raiders, although according to Wikipedia, he actually played with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes) included a Gene Simmons reference. I can’t find a credit for the photograph, found uncredited here, here, here, and here.
It was Elvis‘ 75th birthday Friday, watched Jailhouse Rock on TCM while sketching.
Mos Def looking a bit like Castro maybe, some distortion. This is from an upside down reference photo. I’m using Jack Unruh’s drawing method, blind contour drawing starting with one eye and working out from there, creates distortion. But I’ve noticed if I combine that with a reference to the frame, drawing the negative areas around the edge of the page (I crop the reference into a proportion matching my Moleskin), I get a bit more accuracy. So the Sillitto drawing is a little less distorted. Lorenzo Sillitto is the guitarist for The Temper Trap (sound like a Travis/Deerhunter blend).
This is a drawing of the actor Paul Bryar in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode from 1955 called “Salvage” made using an upside down screenshot reference, drawn with a Pentel brush pen.
Kong!! This is from a photo from issue #108 Famous Monsters of Filmland of a sculpted Kong figure from the first film. Basil Gogos used this same photo for his painting featured on the cover of that issue.
This is a bundled up wool sweater portrait using an upside down photo reference with a Pentel brush pen and some messing around in Photoshop. January is just way too cold for me.
My daughter signed up to promote her ballet troupe’s Nutcracker performance this season. She dressed up in her soldier outfit and handed out fliers at the Mall of America on Black Friday. She didn’t want me hanging around so I walked down to Crave (website plays music) with my sketchbook and pens and drew people at the bar.
The cap of my Kaimei brush pen came off (found out this is common) and the brush tip dried up. I tried re-wetting it, washing it, all of the online suggestions I could find but no luck. So I set it aside and looked for some other options. In one discussion board, I found this list which also includes recommendations for nonbrush tip pens: Pentel GFKP Pocket Brush, Zebra brush pen, Rotring Sketch EF, Rotring Rapidoliner, and Sakura Micron 08.
I decided to try out the Pentel brush pen (recommended by one of the Wet Paint staff persons). I’ve also been using a Pelikan P58 Style Fountain Pen and a Zebra F-301 ballpoint pen, and a red Uni-Ball roller ball pen.
These drawings are from Crave and from church, my first using the Pentel brush pen.
The top one includes a draped table from church, used for a baptism.
The middle sketch is of a burly man in sweats watching football at Crave.
The bottom sketch is from church, more back-of-the-head views.
Today, I was sketching with my students at Nina’s Coffee Cafe, actually spent most of my time grading but got in a quick couple of sketches, one here with some notes from my friend Zak Sally’s presentation to my other class. In addition, a couple of sketches from September, sketchbook catching-up day.
The top sketch is of a man who was sitting with his wife and little bean newborn. They spoke with an Eastern European accent. Another man sat with them who spoke without an accent or with a less noticeable one and resembled this man, maybe brothers?
This second sketch was drawn at The Bulldog in September, the bartender that particular day. He wore a PBR knit cap and served me a few Maredsous Blondes. The red drawing with him is a man from Nina’s from today, two views, with some chairs and a cup.
This third drawing is from September, at the Irish Feis. This man didn’t look as David Lynchian as he does here. I was also drawing some of the dancers’ outfits, colorful, with shiny rhinestones and decorative stitching.
It seems my sketching during the church service is gaining notice. Talked with a member of our church’s exhibit committee briefly about showing some work. Another will be contacting me about a poster design for an event they’re planning. And in the pew in front of me, a restless boy was leaning back trying to see my drawing of the violinist and then looking back at her, comparing the two, or maybe just trying to figure out what I was drawing. When I finished, I handed my sketchbook to him and asked him if he wanted to draw something. He said no but asked if he could see more of my drawings so I let him look through it. After handing it back, he handed me a small piece of paper and asked, “Can I have your autograph?”
When I started this, Kal Penn was in the news for leaving House to join the Obama administration. The sketch was drawn upside-down using my Jack Unruh inspired semi-blind contour drawing technique, resulting in some distortion. I corrected a few proportion and alignment issues and added color and texture.
This week, I took my digital illustration classes outside of the computer lab to sketch food. For my sketches, I decided to start with candy, found out that pretzels aren’t the easiest thing to draw. Then I tried a cupcake from Starbucks followed by a pig’s foot, a fish, and some vegetables from an Asian market.
I did this image a few weeks ago for a story about genetic markers and second-hand smoke. I first sketched out a tattoo cloud on the figure's chest. The client asked for more clouds to suggest a larger number of genetic markers (below: sketch with alternate sketches).
I collect old family photos when I find them, in antique stores and at sales. I prefer the older ones mounted on thick card stock but also look for any interesting prints, even newer ones. One of my favorites is this one of a man with two llamas, he reminds me a bit of my Uncle Bob.
The sketches at top are of Grandma and Grandpa Behar, Rebecca and Leon, drawn from a couple of hi-res family photos I found online.
My wife and I have differing definitions of the word couple; I say it's always two and she says it depends on the situation, could mean three. So looking up the definition tonight, in fact, as an informal definition, "a couple" is an indefinite small number. There you go.
Above are two sketches of John Updike. I've been tracking the NYTimes' obits this year for some portrait projects and these two studies are in preparation for that.
I’m due for bifocals, actually should have them by now but keep putting it off every year. I prefer setting my glasses atop my head when I read and then putting them back on when I need to see anything beyond about a foot. So tonight when I was sketching a self-portrait using Photo Booth as a sort of mirror, I realized that I needed my glasses to see my face on my laptop screen but then had to look under them to focus on my drawing. And I was trying not to move my head too much so I struggled between maintaining my head position while at the same time looking down under my glasses at my drawing. The compromise seemed to be viewing my drawing half through my glasses and half under them, a split view with an odd mix of focus and blur. This resulted in a somewhat blind-contour drawing with a bit of distortion, along with a slight eye-ache. But I ended up with a nice sketch and my daughter’s hour-long Irish dance lesson seemed to go by much more quickly.
I think, after slogging through two graduate programs searching for a way to use reference in my process, I’ve finally successfully intergrated line drawing from reference into a finished piece, actually two. These were for a job I worked on this week. The sketches were done in my normal stylized method without considering the use of the reference drawings. But in the middle of making the devil image, I dropped in the bus drawing and then cut and pasted other bus drawing elements to fill it out. The top image is for a story called “Unknown Quanitity,” playing off the phrase “the devil you know,” this person representing “the devil you don’t know.” The bottom image was done just after the top one and is a standard gear-head concept for a story about re-educating or re-setting clients.
Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of Robert Kennedy's assassination. Today's NYTimes had an op-ed section of essays written by his children. The essays feature nine illustrated portraits of Kennedy done by Leanne Shapton, Andrea Ventura, Tina Berning, Vivienne Flesher, Thomas Libetti, Laura Carlin, Paul Davis, Brian Cronin, and Isabelle Arsenault.
Feeling left out and a little somber on the anniversary, I decided to have a try at it using the same observational process I'm using for my thesis. I think I used the same reference as Andrea Ventura.
I was 6 when Robert Kennedy was assassinated. There is this foggy memory of me sitting on the floor in the living room in front of the TV watching the news. I could feel that my parents were sad, maybe they were crying (my mom anyway, my dad never cried). I've always connected this memory to John Kennedy's assassination but I was not quite 2 at that time so maybe it was Robert Kennedy's death.