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Showing posts from September, 2008

Color Design Workshop on Nov 8, Ten week Head Drawing Course Begins Oct 20

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If you're in the LA area and want to refine your color and drawing skills, you're welcome to join me for a couple of upcoming events.

On Saturday November 8th I'll be giving an all day workshop on color theory for subjects of all kinds including landscape, figurative and entertainment design. Here's what we'll cover:
The fundamentals of color theory for painters and digital artists.
The emotional impact of various color combinations to create mood and environment.
Principles for organizing the complexities of color into pleasing harmonies.
Color exploration exercises.
Painting from a costumed model.Also coming soon is my 10 week Head Drawing Course. It will be held each Monday night from 7 to 10 pm starting October 20th.
To enroll contact the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art at 877 LA-Atelier. Their site is www.laafa.org.

Hope to see you soon.

ONE LOVELY DRAWING, part 22

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In this drawing, the great Saul Steinberg captures different lives in their journey from birth (A) to the end (B).



It's hard to imagine a simpler reduction of biographies to plastic form. I suspect you know some of these people. To understand the discipline that line imposes, you might try distilling your own life, or your own relationships, this way.

Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrote, What can't be said can't be said and can't be whistled either.But as Steinberg repeatedly reminds us, sometimes it can be drawn.
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Fun with acrylic.
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THE TAIL ON THE DRAWING

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I'm sure there's a technical name for those squiggly black lines that artists put in the background to complete a picture.

Frank Godwin

Stan Drake
Unfortunately, I have no idea what they're called. More importantly, what rules govern their use? How does the artist know what shape to make them? How large or small should they be? What kind of lines work best in a particular situation?


Feliks Topolski

The great William Oberhardt (below) explained the rules about as well as they can be explained: "I follow only my feeling of harmony."
William Oberhardt

It's fun to watch the most tightly controlled, "realistic" artists use totally abstract splotches in order to round out a picture.

John Cullen Murphy

Al Williamson
I often think artists use this device the same way many animals use a tail. A tail provides counterweight and balance for animals, enabling them to walk along tree branches or make sharp turns at high speeds. It keeps the animal stabilized and on target.…
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A painting I did for the animated movie Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron. This scene is set in Bryce Utah and was designed by our fabulous layout department.
Acrylic on illustration board.

Copyright DreamWorks Animation SKG.
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THE SECRET LISTENER

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The last king of the Ashanti empire, Assantehene Agyeman Prempeh, was surrounded by victorious British troops clamoring for him to come out of his palace and surrender. The gods had abandoned Prempeh and all hope was gone. But before he went out to face his conquerors, he commissioned one last work of art.

Colonel Baden-Powell described the surrender in his memoir of the African military campaign. When Prempeh emerged, the soldiers commanded the defeated king to grovel before them:


It was a blow to the Ashanti pride and prestige such as they had never suffered before. Then came the demand for payment of the indemnity for the war.... The king could produce about a twentieth part of what had been promised. Accordingly, he was informed that he, together with his mother and chiefs, would now be held as prisoners, and deported to the Gold Coast.Prempeh was marched off to jail. Behind him, soldiers plundered his palace and burned down the sacred Burial-Place of the Kings of Ashanti.

In those l…
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Karen, compressed charcoal on newsprint. This is a 40 minute sketch using the same approach described in the previous post.
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Head Drawing Demo

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Clark Allen. Compressed charcoal on rives lightweight paper.
This demo will specifically address the challenges of representational life drawing.
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Step 1: A construction drawing that emphasizes the simple geometry of the head and helps properly fit the parts into the whole. For you 3-d guys out there, think wireframe.
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Step 2: Add darks in the features and important lines so as to not loose them as the drawing progresses.
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Step 3: Block in the big simple masses of light and shadow. No detail yet! Most artists use the term "value" for the relative lightness or darkness of the tones they put down. That's the term I'll use here as well.
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Step 4: Work the halftones into the light. Wrap your strokes around the forms to help the illusion of 3-D. No mindless details! Make sure every tone you put down usefully describes the underlying form. I'm using my fingers alot in this particular drawing but technique is not nearly as important as getting the right value in the right p…

LIGHT THROUGH PLASTIC RAINCOATS

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The great French impressionists did not have plastic raincoats, so when Monet or Renoir wanted to study the reflections of light on translucent surfaces, they had to visit La Grenouillere, a local riverside spot, and paint the surface of the water.


By the 1950s, plastic had been invented and clear plastic raincoats became a fashion trend. Many illustrators were drawn to the challenge of capturing light reflecting on this new, translucent material:

Austin Briggs


Al Parker


Robert Fawcett

Monet brilliantly captured the essence of light on water by using bold daubs of fresh paint, rather than painstakingly blending and smoothing the colors.



Briggs brilliantly captured the essence of light on plastic using the same bold approach.




Briggs and Monet each realized that carefully blending with smooth brush strokes would have stripped the painting of its vitality without improving its accuracy. You have to be very, very good to get away with painting this loosely.
One other point about the illustrators…

ARTISTS IN LOVE, part 15

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In 1886, Camille Claudel dictated a contract for her lover to sign. Claudel was only a young art student but her lover, the great sculptor Rodin, obediently wrote down every word:
In the future starting from this day of October 12, 1886, I will have as my Student only Mademoiselle Camille Claudel, who will be my sole protege.... I will accept no other students to avoid producing, by chance, rival talents, although I suppose that such naturally gifted artists occur very rarely.... Under no excuse will I ever go to visit Madame X again, to whom I will no longer teach sculpture. After the exhibition in May we will leave for Italy, remaining there at least six months together in indissoluble union after which Mademoiselle Camille will be my wife.
-- A. Rodin
Camille's contract doesn't specify what Rodin received in exchange, but his letters made it pretty darn clear:
I only had to meet you for everything to take on unknown life, for my gray existence to flare up in a bonfire. Thank …