Thursday, April 7, 2011

NuPastel - a quick approach to starting and finishing

The drawings in this post are all from life and are completed within 20-45 minutes.

NuPastel is a dry pastel product that was originally made by Eberhard-Faber, the company has traded hands several times over the past 30 years and is presently manufactured by Berol/Prismacolor. NuPastel is harder than most chalk pastels but also is quite easy to rub into the paper or smear around on the surface. It may also be manipulated with paint brushes, ground to a fine powder with a sanding block and erases quite easily with a kneaded eraser.

I tend to draw with the long edge of a stick broken in half, not only to mass in large areas but also to put down line. I advise drawing with straight lines particularly when one is struggling with defining shape. Converting curves to angles is fairly simple when you draw with the awkard long edge of a straight block of pastel.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Black and White on Toned Paper

The above image was created using nupastel Prussian blue and white.

The above drawing was done using black and white charcoal.

The image above was created using black and white prismacolor pencil along with burnt ochre to add warm flesh tones in the light and warm reflected light.

Drawing on toned paper is an incredible time saver. If used effectively the value of the toned paper becomes the mid tone that represents the darkest values in the areas receiving light and the lightest values in the shadow areas that represent reflected light. The other challenge is never letting the black pencil and white mix together as it creates an undesirable blue-gray color inconsistent with the tone and hue of the paper.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Charcoal Rub With Addition and Subtraction

For the beginner charcoal often gets a bad rap because of its messiness and the seeming difficulty of manipulating it. It is however a wonderful medium with amazing capabilities. The charcoal rub is intended to lay down a middle value that allows the artist to utilize efficiency in putting down charcoal in the shadow shapes and removing it in the shapes of light with a kneaded eraser. It is a reductive or subtractive process as well as additive.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Geometric Figure

Structure and geometry in the figure is obscured by skin, muscle, bone and our inaccurate perception of what we are attempting to accomplish. This is more interpretive than other processes and requires our ability to observe and understand perspective and simple forms in space. It requires seeing the figure as something that can be sliced, planed and transparent. Learning this process makes it easier to understand volume and foreshortening relative to line.

Monday, February 21, 2011

White prismacolor on black canson mi-teintes paper

Drawing with white on a black surface is an invaluable experience and one that should be practiced often and integrated into our working methods. We have likely been making dark marks on white paper most of our lives. This exercise nudges most of us out of our comfort zones and forces us to see shapes opposite of our normal modes. I have had students in the past who have drawn dark shapes with white pencil creating a "negative" effect. Drawing shapes that are unfamiliar make us scrutinize the shapes more closely and as a consequence our drawings become more accurately defined.

Shadow massing the figure

As the shadow shapes are described I look at them one at a time and move on relating them to all other shapes. Horizontally where is it comparatively, vertically where is it relative to other shapes, what is the angle between it and other shapes? Often I start with a simple shape I know I can define, I use straight lines to describe it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

First Post, First Month 2011

Most of the drawings you will see on my posts will have been completed within a time range from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Some will be less. I do not typically do figure drawings as finished pieces of art, they are studies and drawing practice done in the classroom as demonstrations.

I hope I am not too old to understand how or why I should do this or to simply keep up the demand of regular posting and updating. I want to make this valuable for me as a professor and artist, for my students in any help I can be for them and those who love figure drawing and want to improve their ability to see. I hope to help my students who are anxiety stricken, excited, eager to learn and striving for excellence in depicting the human form. My goal is to share my passion, excitement and love for drawing with others and to have those who share it with me, give helpful information about blogging and drawing.