Sunday, December 30, 2012

Owen's New Haircut

Owen surprised me when he agreed to sit for me on Christmas. 
And to sit [almost] still for me.

Dark Red Lyra Rembrandt with white Stabilo CarbOthello on toned tan

I can see where I should go back and lay on some darker values in the shadow side of his face. At the time, I was too fixated with giving him a hand and not a claw! So...revision might soon as the furnace gets fixed. The wood stove makes normal daily stuff possible, but house temps in the 50's have me reaching for the hot packs instead of the drawing pencils. I would not make a good plein air winter painter.

Friday, December 28, 2012


I never would have considered 
Katie Holmes and Jennifer Morrison look-a-likes, 
but...can you tell which one of them 
I set out to sketch?

Dark Red and White Stabilo CarbOthello pencils on Tan Toned Sketch

Answer: Katie Holmes, from a photo (not this one) in December's Vogue

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Merry, if late, Christmas to you!

Merry Christmas...season! 

I've taken a few days to absorb and enjoy the season, sketching and writing (a bit,) and will have posted pictures to come, but today I'm having too much fun leafing through a fantabulous Christmas present from Cassidy: James Gurney's Color and Light!

This book is not only packed with colorful illustrations and tons of valuable information, but it's signed by Mr. Gurney, and he even drew a little dinosaur with his message. So nice!

And since I'm so late with the Merry Christmas, I am going to right now go ahead and say...
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sketchbook Inspiration

Lately, I've been posting pages from my tan-toned, mostly-portrait sketchbook. For a change of pace, here's a  two-page spread from my smaller sketchbook. It has artsy quotes on each page that I usually forget to read and sometimes draw over.

In case the characters are non-recognizable, I'll give you a clue: I was watching the movie Cowboys and Aliens while sketching. And that "pod thing" is not an alien pod from the movie--the aliens weren't that type of aliens. It's a wild cucumber that Handsome found out in the woods. Very interesting biological specimen. 

Revisiting my own sketches is somewhat interesting and probably educational. For some truly inspirational sketchbook work, though...Moleskine Project...check this out!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Revisiting the Magic Feather

My "finished" self-portrait sketch is not going to see the light of day. Nor the inside of the woodstove, but it is staying hidden. When the worlds of limited ability and limited pulchritude and cranky-dark conte pencil collide, it ain't a pretty picture!

So here's the substitute portrait sketch of the day--an actor who was photographed by a professional to accompany a Vogue article, done with my friend and magic feather, the Lyra-Rembrandt pencil. 

I haven't been able to get the white Lyra pencil to work on this tan toned sketch paper, (paper too smooth?) but I like the way the white Carb-Othello goes down. Perhaps a bit too much, sometimes, when I heavy-hand it.

Note: It's so much easier to be pleased with a sketch of a person you don't know.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reenactment: Who Knew...

I always learn something when I read the Muddy Colors illustration blog: sometimes a tip that I can put to immediate use, sometimes a hint or a technique that I'll sock away for later, always some sort of inspiration. Today's post dealt with using photo references. Apparently, successful illustrators poke about online to find photo references (along with posing and snapping friends and paid models) for making their illustrations more realistic, and thus, more successful.

There was mention of online images of Roman Reenactors which made me sit up and say, "Roman Reenactors"? There are Roman Reenactors? Yes, there are.

But why not? I'm aware of the Society for Creative Anachronism. (That's a club with a great name, in my opinion.) Are there people who reenact...most anything?

The answer seems to be YES. There are those who reenact the Iron Age, and those who reenact the Medieval Era and the Renaissance. There are those who reenact Tudor England and  Regency England and those who reenact both the Civil War and the Revolutionary War and even World War 1 and World War II.

But it doesn't stop there! You name it, there's a group to reenact it:

The Vietnam War (Or was that not technically a "war," but a "conflict"?)

and, yes, The Gulf War. I'm sure there are groups reenacting the current wars, but it depresses me to think about looking that up. 

Here's one last link that maybe someone else could use for reference.... So many photo references, so little time to draw.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Something about this guy's head had been bothering me (well, actually, more than one thing, but...)

I'm not planning to keep going back to this portrait in my sketchbook to fix it, fix it, fix it, but I had to make him a degree less pea-headed before I turned the page on him.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Wish I'd Stop Staring at Me

Here's a quick sketch, done in conte pencil, which is going to be reworked

 --after I sharpen the pencil, so I can get some crisp lines. These look like I was holding the pencil between my toes! I'm also going to re-watch Stan Prokopenko's How To Draw Hair mini-vid a couple of times, before I go to town on the hair.

Stay tuned for results.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tilt the Screen, Cock your Head.

In an attempt to distract myself from my headache today, I pulled up a still, online, to sketch. And I learned a simple lesson.

You have to look at the screen from slightly different angles, because if you don't, you might be looking at it the wrong way, and most everything that isn't really black will appear black and then you'll draw it all black, and it will look weird.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Notes on Danielson's Framework...

Yesterday was a Superintendent's Conference Day. No students, or rather, the staff became the students. We started off with a wonderful breakfast. Our cafeteria manager is the best--nothing like my childhood school meal memories ever passeth over his counter. (Anyone else recall stewed tomatoes with small hunks of soggy bread in them? or The Hot Meat Sandwich: 2 pieces of white bread enclosing a slab of Spam and a gray gravy over top? Please!)

Then three hours of "Danielson," presented by these two BOCES* instructors:

You can see that I did, indeed take careful notes.The portrayals might not be absolutely, completely representational, (Hey! They were moving around!) but they are my impression of the presenters.

And upon opening to this page today, my first thought: It sure is easy to spot a teacher. They just look like teachers!
Oh. And then lunch was even better than breakfast. 

*Board of Cooperative Educational Services