Here’s my pencil illustration for the the thumbnail I previously uploaded. I went with the underwater city. I took some of my inspiration loosely from those great Jules Verne books, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and all the vintage diver stories. I’ll also post my inked / copic tone marker version at the bottom. Ink and copic markers are new media for me. I also am working on Mylar / Dura-lar, which is helpful for making frequent revisions, especially with ink.
I’m enjoy Life Drawing this quarter. We’ve been working on 3D ecorche models which show figures without skin (emphasizing musculature). An additional challenge was to draw bones in a similar position. Working on lots of these is giving me a much better three-dimensional sense of the figure.
My other course this semester is Western Civilization, so not much to show there.
As much as I liked traditional atelier instruction like at the Gage Academy, I’ve really wanted to get more experience drawing imaginatively and using drawing to tell stories. One great exercise we had to do in my Mastering the Pencil class at RMCAD last quarter was drawing multiple thumbnails to tell a story.
The prompt was an old suitcase. We had to make a story out of it. Here are some thumbnails sketching out potential characters, locations, and sequences. From the brainstorm, I created an Agatha Christie Miss Marple-like character, Emmeline Duck who solves mysteries like the suitcase at the bottom of Bolger Pond.
Last week when I was writing a paper on the great illustrator Howard Pyle, I was struck by this quote from him: “If the first sketch looks like the one I want to do, to make sure—I always make the other forty-nine anyway.”
My teacher in Mastering the Pencil this quarter is children’s book illustrator Karen Windness. We had a fun assignment this past week creating a veggie or fruit circus using the real items in a diorama that would serve as a model for a pencil scene. I went to a Chinese market (lots of things looked like they could be characters in a circus) and picked out a sweet potato that looked like an elephant.
It was good to have a physical model to work with to work out the placement of characters, lighting, and background elements. Here’s my sweet potato with ginger arms and legs. Here’s my drawing that I’ll submit today. I used some graphite powder for shading (Creatacolor better than General’s).
I just learned that I won one of the First Prizes in the Best of the Gage Academy Awards for 2015! Wow! I’m kind of blown away. If you’d like to see my work and the other winners of the Best of the Gage this year, it’ll be on display in the Steele Gallery at the Gage (1501 10th Ave E #101, Seattle, WA 98102) until August 17th.
If you don’t know about the Gage, it’s a famous fine art school in Seattle founded by Gary Faigin and associated with such luminaries as Juliette Aristides.
My prize-winning drawing was done in my first-ever figure drawing class with Aron Hart (Figure Foundation I). I’ll admit I was initially overwhelmed by figure drawing, but I found that blocking in shapes, making master copies, and then learning the anatomy helped a lot. It was in Aron’s class that I also first started using graphite sticks and compressed charcoal and I took to that medium very well.
I know I haven’t had time to post blog updates in a while, but I’ll get back to them. Lots of great things – finished out another quarter of Art History and Composition (wrote on The Ambassadors by Holbein) and now halfway through Color and Figure Drawing II. This is a great quarter as I’m doing all art. I’ve also be traveling a lot but have some great photos from my time at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston.
I had an assignment this week that required me to interpret Rothko’s Orange, Red, Yellow. This work sold at auction for over $86 million dollars at Christie’s.
Here’s my response to several questions posed by the teacher:
“1. Mark Rothko has spoken at length about the intent and significance of his artwork.He maintained that the purpose of his art was to convey emotion through color, and that he was not specifically concerned with abstract relationships.With that in mind, his artwork seems to be experimenting with how much an image can be reduced while still having an emotional impact.
2. Rothko’s artwork breaks with most of the culturally-accepted norms of “good art”.There’s no attempt at depicting the physical world, little real skill in the actual execution, no explicit ideological statement.Rothko makes the case that these factors aren’t necessary for artwork to have an emotional impact on the viewer, and that mainstream art culture’s idea of “great art” isn’t the only way to produce great art.
3. Rothko’s artwork seems to be directed at a more intellectual art viewer, one who is willing to appreciate more abstract forms of art.His paintings aren’t that obvious in their aesthetic appeal; it takes a more conscious effort to be emotionally impacted by them than with, say, Vermeer’s paintings.This type of viewer would probably be older, and if I had to guess, I’d say they’d tend to lean more to the upper class.”
I had an incredible opportunity to study with Allen Williams at the TLC Workshops in October. Williams is a master of highly realistic fantasy drawings and I experimented for the first time with graphite powder.
This Marabou stork was the first thing that I drew with powder. I used William’s technique of looking for random patterns in powder then letting these patterns evolve into drawing.