Archive for August, 2009

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Theatre Painting Updated

August 27, 2009

Here’s the latest version of the new painting with the top section of undertone complement colors laid in. This was done with diluted India ink (Dr. Martin “Bombay” brand.) It’s now ready for painting.

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Top section detail

Top section detail

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New Painting Started

August 24, 2009

I’m finally starting a new painting. This one will be of people watching a theatre performance based on drawings and photo references. The size is about 12 x 20 inches on a sheet of birch veneer primed with my own shellac primer (another surface I’ll be testing out here.)

Drawing transfered

Drawing transfered

Drawing close up

Drawing close up

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This close up above shows how I used a very light orange pigment to draw in a rough sketch as a painting guide. It’s a bit hard to see here, but a faint line is all that’s necessary. This was made using a ground up orange pastel that I used in my homemade transfer paper process.

Undertone started

Undertone started

Close up

Close up

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The grey tone here was made using my new PITT markers that I wanted to try out for this purpose. I think they’ll hold up fine, but the markers make me feel a need to be more precise than I’d like to be at this point, so diluted black India ink would allow for a faster application. I think I’ll complete the top section that way. The brown ink is a shellac based sepia ink from Sennelier.

Bottom section undertones

Bottom section undertones

Close up

Close up

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Here is the completed bottom section undertone. The green and red tint was made by shading in with a watercolor pencil which was brushed over with more shellac ink to seal it on the surface before painting.

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Drawing Toy Heads

August 23, 2009

If you’re having difficulty finding a decent model to draw from you may not need to look any further than your local toy store. In my case here it was a shoe box in my closet.

Superman head

Superman head

 

Ronald in armor

Ronald in armor

The “Superman” mask came from an old Captain Action kit I had as a child. I can’t remember the name of the figure in armor, so I’ve been calling him Ronald, since he remindes me of the old actor Ronald Coleman. He also came with a horse which I still have, but the Western cowboy kit I had for him disappeared down a hole somewhere in time.

Drawing of heads

Drawing of heads

There are action figures now with several points of articulation that make them more poseable, but still look rather unnatural. Nonetheless, some of them can make for good reference material, especially the faces.

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Carpenter Pencils

August 17, 2009

Carpenter pencils hold flat shaped graphite sticks and are the sort you can find at any well-stocked hardware store.  The lead is typically soft and 5 x 2 mm thick.

flatpencil

In this photo you can see two different types of these pencils. A standard carpenter’s pencil is at the top right. Below that are two different “sketching” pencils that have wider 8 x 2 mm leads, one made by General the other Derwent. At the bottom is a round woodless graphite pencil from Koh-i-noor. All these are regular pencil length (7 inches) but I’ve heard of some that are longer.

All of these fit inside the sharpener box you see here in the photo. It’s a cleverly designed device made by Keson which has two sets of blades on both sides and at either end. Insert the pencil in one end and move it side to side to sharpen it. At the other end vertical blades cut off the wood from the thin side of the pencil. I also use a fingernail emery board to shape the points.

Recently I ordered a special carpenter pencil that uses retractable woodless graphite, like these from Lee Valley. They’re the same 5x2mm size as normal carpenter’s pencils, but there’s no wood to shave.

On the paper in the photo you can see the sort of marks these make. They can resemble a wide-tip layout marker, but a soft touch is good for large area blending. A soft surface underneath like a stack of newspapers can help get an even mark when you press down hard.

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This recent drawing was made with a mix of pencil types: mostly a mechanical lead pencil and a “sketching” pencil which was used for the middle grey tone in the background. The round woodless pencil, which is a dark 6B lead, was used for the darker areas. It’s about 8×10 inches.

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New Drawings

August 16, 2009

To test out my little easel I put together yesterday, I made these two drawings last night. They show two different forms of wrestling, which can be quite entertaining when you freeze the action and only hear the audio. Both in pencil @ 8×10 inches.

sketch100sketchb01

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Mini Drawing Easel

August 15, 2009

My little craft project for the day was to whip together this mini tabletop easel for drawing. I often like to sit in front of the TV and sketch, so this easel will make it more comfortable.

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It’s nothing fancy, obviously, but functional. All made from scrap pieces of wood I had lying around. The frames are 1x2s seven inches long with 45 degree cuts that was screwed together and some thin strips of solid wood I happened to have. I used two metal hooks at the bottom to support the hardboard panel. Another strip across the back top would make it stronger but this will do for now. The table is about 17 inches high, which is just right for sitting on the floor on a comfy pillow. It gives me an excuse to watch more TV, but now I may never leave the apartment.

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Using a Pencil Like a Pen

August 7, 2009

This is a sketch I made last night while waiting for my dinner to arrive. It was done in pencil on 8×10 inch scratch paper.

sketch099

What I wanted to use this for is an example of how you can draw in pencil as though you’re using a pen. For anyone who may feel that an ink line is intimidating since it cannot be erased, you can practice attacking the page directly with ink by using a pencil in the same way, just don’t erase your lines.

None of the lines in this drawing were erased. Now, certainly, some marks are more lightly drawn than others, but a thin fine point marker or crow-quill nib can duplicate that to some effect in the same way, or you can use diluted or grey toned ink to start with.

While there’s nothing particularly bad about lightly drawing in pencil, finishing in ink, and erasing the pencil afterwards, what often results from that are lines that look too mechanical, and the erased pencil drawing was probably better. Drawings made directly in ink on the page look more confident, and demonstrate that you know what you’re doing.