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Showing posts from August, 2010

GEORGE BRIDGMAN'S ART CLASS

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These are original student drawings from the 1911 class of the famous art teacher, George Bridgman.



Bridgman, constantly inebriated and chewing on a large black cigar, would rail at his students about the importance of mastering anatomy: "Don't think color's going to do you any good. Or lovely compositions. You can't paint a house until it's built." His students adored him and vied for his approval.



Some of the students in this class would grow up to be stars, such as Norman Rockwell, Mclelland Barclay or E.F. Ward. But in 1911 they were still ambitious teenagers dreaming of the future and striving to develop the kind of academic drawing skill that many illustrators today consider irrelevant.

The crowded classroom was warmed by the stench of tobacco, charcoal, perspiration and turpentine.













Many of the models were girls who had come to the city to work in department stores during a peak holiday season and were laid off after the holidays.  Desperate for money, they…
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A Watercolor demo this week.


I began with a light blue wash over the paper before beginning the drawing, then added darks so as to not loose the drawing, then built up the washes from there. The drawing is in orange prismacolor which began extremely light but then I dug in with final lines so the drawing wouldn't wash away.
















Winsor and Newton watercolors on Arches Cold press paper.

ONE LOVELY DRAWING, part 32

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I love Thomas Fluharty's working drawing of Hugh Hefner:



The purpose of this drawing was to capture the information Fluharty needed for an oil portrait. This could never be achieved merely by tracing liver spots. Look at the vigor and character of his line:



Robert Fawcett once wrote, "A design started tentatively rarely gains in vigor later on. In anticipation of the dilution... the first rough draft [is often] put down with an almost savage intensity...." The personality that Fluharty squeezed into this drawing will survive conversion to painted shapes followed by several phases of refinement and blending.

Despite the obvious energy and speed of his drawing, he has not sacrificed acuity. Note how sharply he records the eyes, never resting with an easy symmetry:



Best of all, as he digests information Fluharty infuses it with strong opinions. Here Fluharty takes liberties with Hefner's ear, treating it like the gnarly horn of a grizzled old satyr:



















One of the things I love …
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This is a scene painted for Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron with close-ups and a color rough. Acrylic on illustration board.














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A location sketch for How to Train Your Dragon, photoshop.
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ARTISTS IN LOVE, part 17

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Many of Frank Frazetta's fans had trouble understanding why the "master of fantasy" couldn't fantasize a better lifestyle than a home in the suburbs with a wife and kids.

Frazetta was able to conjure up vivid worlds of savage barbarians and wild harem girls. He painted eyewitness accounts of magic spells on alien planets and colossal battles with dinosaurs.



How could such an imagination possibly be satisfied with middle class domestic life?

But Frazetta made no apologies for his choice, shrugging, "I got married, had kids, did my thing."

Frazetta said he picked his wife Ellie over all the other girls because "I sensed that she would be forever loyal and I never had that feeling about any other girl I'd been involved with." Apparently her ability to pilot a space ship was not even a consideration.



They started out with very little money, but you don't need much when you're young and hot blooded. Ellie recalled that when they moved into a sma…
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A scene painted for The Prince of Egypt, 1998.
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COMIC-CON 2010 (conclusion)

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[This is the last installment of my field report on my expedition through darkest Comic-Con with gun and camera. Special thanks to those who have managed to remain awake.]

It seems that every year, Comic-Con gets larger and louder.

As Nell Minow observed, Comic-Con has evolved into "the Iowa caucuses of popular culture," the trial balloon for movies, television series, books, computer games and music in addition to comics. Film studios now erect statues of cyborgs, rocket ships and cartoon characters that tower over the exhibition hall. Rival fusillades of Dolby sound thunder back and forth across the convention center, each heralding the birth of the next great superhero legend.

It's not surprising that so much of Comic-Con centers around themes of extraordinary power. Power has been the focus of myth and legend since ancient times (Simone Weil famously noted that, "The true hero, the true subject matter, the center of the Iliad is force.")

I was among those who w…