I was commissioned to design a tattoo recently. The bones of the brief was- a woman's face, with tentacles and flowers. Well, here you go. The original finished drawing seemed a bit stiff, and the girl looked too young, so I ended up doing another (the top one). I'm glad I did as I think the second attempt is looser and compositionally better.
I've been getting some decent direct observation practice in recently, which was continued in this study of the Roman bust. This is graphite on toned paper, with some white charcoal for the lightest areas. The light source (from the window) changed many times throughout this drawing, but I stuck closely to the initial shadow shapes all the way to the end to keep it pretty consistent and believable. For the most part.
This post is not specific like the last one, in fact it's a proper mish-mash of randomness. A lot of this stuff is out of my imagination, or I've used reference photos of myself as a starting point. Some of these ideas were supposed to be converted into finished paintings, but for whatever reason it didn't happen. The colour studies were prepared first with a layer of Clear Gesso, then painted in oil.
If there was one piece of advice I'd give to art students, at any level, is keep a sketchbook. They are often at least as interesting as an artists final pieces.
I've taken a few trips to the Museum and Art Gallery and Barber Institute (both in Birmingham) over the last year or so, making several studies. Along with drawings made from busts in my studio.
I'd thought Id share some of those sketches, which were all done from life. Most of them are from sculptures, but some of them are from Master paintings. I've also included some progress shots to better illustrate my general process.
I found these bird bones a good few months ago, but I've only just gotten round to drawing them. Bones in general fascinate me (as is evidenced from previous posts) but I was particularly interested in the delicate look of these.
My support is Strathmore toned grey paper, and I begun with a light graphite sketch. This is simply the basic shape of the subject, with no emphasis on detail or tone yet.
Once I've got the basic construction in place and I'm happy with the composition I'll block in the basic shadow shapes. This isn't taken to any degree of finish, just a generalised approximation of shadow placement. I did this shadow block-in using graphite powder applied with a small filbert brush.
Now that the drawing is a little less flat, I build up layers of shadow/tone gradually, in multiple layers. I tend to work from the darkest values into the middle tones and only in the last layer of rendering will I add the white charcoal highlights. They're like a bonus for yourself at the end of the process that brings it all together and adds that extra bit of depth and form.
I found a squirrel skull on one of my walks in the park, so I decided to draw it using pencil and graphite powder on toned paper.
Skulls, whether human or animal, are absolutely fascinating to me, and a big challenge.
As always, I started off with a light sketch, focusing on the larger shapes, before moving onto some of the smaller ones.
I had a strong single light source coming from the window, so it was easier to draw in the basic shadow shapes, before defining the whole thing with a variation of darker and thicker lines to suggest depth.
I then began to block in the shadows with a small brush dipped in graphite powder. This is a pretty quick way to block in tone, and quite satisfying. It's a case of building up the layers of tone gradually, one layer after the next, and filling in details, including highlights with a white pencil or white pastel.
I'm not entirely sure how long this took, but it was certainly several sittings. Fairly pleased with it overall.
I'd like to get my hands on a crow skull next.