Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dani's Exercise Drawing Cont. 4

Yes, I have been working on the drawing! Probably not as hard as I should have been though ;) . I vow to make myself sit for at least and hour a day from here on in. I have found out the hard way that it is difficult to regain my rhythm if I ignore the board for even a day. Not to mention, it doesn't help in the portfolio building department!!

As you can see, the hand has made its appearance into the portrait. I still need to do some smoothing and deepening of values, but it is close enough to show where I am heading with it. The background under the hand will have a harsh cast shadow (like in the other portrait), so that should help push the central focus forward.

I must say that I am actually growing fond of doing hands. Looking back at old sketches, my favorite past time was drawing little critters. I would always do a fair job of completing the fur but could spend an immense amount of time laboring on the little hands. I was fascinated by the different shapes, sizes and colors (love the dark colors of the raccoons and prairie dogs!). The versatility of their hands amazed me and was a wonderful challenge to make them appear 3d. I have had very little experience doing human hands but have found that they are not much different from the little animals. Although, I do find working on a larger scale more of a challenge.

Next up for completion will be the arm. With all of the hair, it will be a challenge of its own. I will make the background similar to the photo reference and let it be slightly blurred. I hope to have this one completed before the start of next week...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dani's Exercise Drawing Cont. 3

Dani is getting close enough to 'finished' to post, I think. His fur needs some more definition, but I want to take a change of pace and move to the hand for awhile. He is so much smaller in this composition that the fur can be rather tedious. I found myself mapping values, blending, erasing out highlights, and redefining the darks. Then I would blend some more and start all over. It was becoming an obsessive loop. I had to make myself stop and step back 3 feet and see the whole hamster. This helped me to pick out where I was lacking in my values overall, since at the drawing board I only focus on small areas.

Dani is definitely not as fluffy in this composition. (Although, I still have to put in some whiskers and a few longer hairs.) This fact is due to the hour long run he had in his ball prior to the photo. Well, not really an hour long... He has a tendency to find a corner of the room and hide out cleaning himself, or sit dreaming about his sunflower seeds, or wonder if my son has added some new bedding to his cage. You know the usual hamster thoughts! Trust me, this hamster will NEVER be accused of over exerting himself. Enough gossip about the little guy, I had better get back to the drawing board...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dani's Exercise Drawing Cont. 2

Where did Thursday go? Well lets just say it was an artist's holiday! Every once in awhile you have one of those days that settling down to the board just doesn't happen. Can I blame the telephone for ringing?? Anyway, Friday was a very good day for production. I was able to complete the ball. I left some of the holes in the ball blank for now until I decide on the shade of the shirt. It will probably be similar to the other portrait. When the drawing is closer to being finished, I will add some depth to my darks and search out a few more highlights. I am very happy with the reflection from the fingers and Dani's little hand that shows through the plastic. If you want the honest truth, I am relieved that the ball itself is pretty much finished. The false start was a lesson to me on how to begin a drawing and pick out values. I am so glad that panic didn't sway me to shelf this drawing!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dani's Exercise Drawing Cont.

Here is where I am at right now. I felt enough at ease with recognizing the intensity of my darks and lights to dive into the center of the ball. I sometimes think that drawing a globe with all the continents would have been easier! When the reference picture was taken, the flash bounced off the inside of the ball. (The ball itself is translucent blue.) This caused some phenomenal shades of neon blue to appear on the outer shell of the ball and illuminated a world of interconnecting plastic sections and micro details. (This would be awesome drawn in color someday!) I faltered a bit over what was truly darks and mid-tones. Right now, I am concentrating on just getting the basic form and shading in. I know there will be some rework later with details to add and shading to even out. I went ahead with the hand reflection for the thumb and am pretty happy with how it looks. Hopefully, I will be able to knock out most of the ball tomorrow. It does make me think (like this isn't driving me crazy enough!) how cool it would've been with a clear ball. Of course, it would have taken me most of this year to get all those details in!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dani's Exercise Drawing

Here is the beginning to my next portrait. It is of Dani (aka the hamster) getting his evening workout. My son had him running around in his little blue plastic ball. We took the cover off, he climbed up to look out and posed for this picture. His pose is very similar to the first portrait. I found this picture interesting due to the challenging position of the hand and the ball itself. The line drawing was a little bit of a challenge, but that is where the graph to me is invaluable. I have no doubt I could sketch this scene (with its fair share of erasing!), but the graph makes the job quicker and helps me to place all those tiny details. Also with regards to the fingers, it leaves no doubt when positioning the shadows.

I finally feel pretty confident at taking a pic and posting at this point, but I must admit this is my second attempt at a start on this portrait. I started on the inside of the ball on the first drawing. I laid the graphite heavy on the first layer ( a little too heavy!). After blending it in, I realized this level of darkness was not needed. (The intensity of the blue in the ball was throwing me off.) After erasing, I noticed that the graphite was deeply embedded. I tried to work over it but was not happy. So, into the trash went the first attempt. Humbling isn't it! This sent me frantically looking for a different composition all together. (I never said I could stand failure!!) I lined up a few new ones, but the thought of doing a new line drawing, and leaving this one not completed, was causing me to lose self confidence by the hour. So thankfully, I work on tracing paper for my layouts. I transferred my drawing AGAIN to Bristol. I picked another area of the ball to start and carefully began layering my graphite. I feel I'm on the right track or close to it. Graphite can be challenging with its shades of gray!!

I suppose, I should add this drawing is started with a 2b mechanical pencil. In the last drawing I used a 6b in some of the darker areas. This will probably hold true for this composition also. I am blending with various size stumps and highlighting with a click and kneaded eraser. The finished composition will be approximately 7 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches. Well, back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Handsome Dani Portrait

Here it is! Or at least I think it is. I do not want to remove it from the drawing board until I have had a few days to reflect on it. The final background decision was to stick to my original photograph. I kept to a very dark more out-of-focus background and ran highlights in with the kneaded eraser. The only minor change was the shirt behind the hamster might be about two clicks lighter than the photo. I think that makes a better back drop to Dani. Overall, I am very pleased with how this portrait turned out. I had been given the suggestion to not have a background. This was an idea I actually had played around with in the planning stage, but I thought two hands that were floating free holding a hamster might give a more memoriam feeling to the piece. This was combined with the mistake of transferring my initial graph to the whole drawing surface and it would not have been easy erasing all the remnants! Live and Learn.