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Showing posts from December, 2012

ELEGANT COMICS FROM A BYGONE ERA

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Fifty years ago, some comic strips presumed readers had a level of literacy, as well as a patience for drawings, that today's readers lack.

You won't find anything on today's comic pages today to resemble this Sunday strip by the great Leonard Starr.  Here, a journalist is smuggling a Chinese defector out through the jungles of Vietnam.  The two have begun to get on each other's nerves.  Starr's smart dialogue combines politics, human nature and humor.  



I love the elegance of Starr's lines, both written and drawn.

Around the same time, MAD Magazine was producing satires that assumed even children knew the words and music to Gilbert & Sullivan songs.  MAD writers and artists even thought their young subscribers would get jokes about rivalry between Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater.


Here the great Mort Drucker conjured up a crowd scene with caricatures of the extended Kennedy dynasty, in a scene that relies on your knowledge of the wealth a…

Merry Christmas!

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This is a painting I did for the DreamWorks Christmas Special Shrek the Halls, it's meant to set up the look of the lighting and color for the moment when Shrek tells the Night Before Christmas story.

LEE CONREY (1883-1976)

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Few people today remember  Lee Conrey, but he drew thousands of lurid illustrations for  The American Weekly in the 1920s and 1930s.


The American Weekly was a cheesy supplement for Sunday newspapers, printed by William Randolph Hearst on pulp paper.



Week after week, Conrey drew ambitious, complex drawings with a lot of heart.



Most copies of The American Weekly have crumbled with age, but it would be a shame if Conrey's illustrations crumbled with them.






 You can tell that after thousands of drawings, Conrey still got the same child like pleasure from creating these overdone, dramatic pictures.  A fortunate artist indeed!




Online Portrait Drawing Course!

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Study portrait drawing with me from anywhere in the world! My new online class is Drawing the Portrait in Charcoal. It begins January 21, enrollment is limited, sign up today! Hosted by the great people at LAAFA!



I've done my best to make this class the strongest such class on the market, it includes nine fully illustrated,  jam packed audio/video lectures, twelve video drawing demonstrations showing a wide variety of subjects, techniques and materials, and weekly homework assignments that will build on themselves to teach you a clearer, better way to work from life.

I'll work with you personally each week, you'll get a full audio/video critique of your work where I'll talk through with you what's working in your drawing and what can be improved and I'll draw over your image to give you a personalized demonstration for every assignment you turn in. And there's a built in grace period at the end for you to wrap up any incomplete assignments and still get full …

AGAINST SCHOLARSHIP IN THE ARTS

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"The shudder of awe," wrote Goethe, "is humanity's highest faculty."  This helps explain why some people are attracted to the arts.  But other people who aren't as comfortable with shuddering have found more orderly ways to relate to art.



For example, art historians try to understand art by researching the lives of artists.  (The new biography of Saul Steinberg, a splendid piece of scholarship, devotes 732 pages to how Steinberg's childhood, his sex life, and his paternal grandfather shaped the pictures we enjoy today.) 

Chemists analyze the composition of pigments for whatever insights chemistry can contribute.  Radiologists x-ray paintings, searching for earlier, discarded drafts.  Psychologists rummage through an artist's underwear drawer for psychological explanations for creative decisions.

But that's not the worst of it.  Prominent economist David Galenson explains that with the benefit of new "quantitative methods," we can n…

Coming Soon: Online Portrait Drawing Class!

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Next week we'll officially announce my upcoming online, 9 week portrait drawing class which will begin in late January.
Keep an eye out, we'll start taking enrollments at the time of the announcement and I'd be thrilled to have you join in. So if you'd like to see and hear everything I know about portrait drawing including a live recorded demo of this drawing and numerous others, check back here or at the LAAFA website for more info.
(you'll also see that I have a 2 1/2 hr charcoal portrait demonstration currently available through LAAFA).