Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Bargue plate master copy stage 2

Over the last few days I've been refining my Bargue plate master copy drawing by cleaning up the contour lines, adding the sphere to show light direction, and darkening the shadow areas.

When I got to the step of adding the terminator lines to the drawing of the arm, I realized I accidentally skipped a whole section of lessons earlier in the course. Ooops. After completing the 3-step straight line block-ins from life, the lesson actually included a series of longer 4-step block-ins from life. That would be a good exercise for me to go back and practice once my master plate is complete.

2018-03-25 Bargue plate master copy stage 2
Bargue plate master copy with shadows filled in.

Next step is to overlay vellum on the original plate to get a sense of the form.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Mixed media portrait commissions of two awesome dogs

custom hand drawn dog portraits of Mabel and Abby

When Mabel's and Abby's dad, Wayne, saw the drawing he saw on Reddit of Scout he emailed and asked if I'd create portraits of his two awesome dogs as a surprise for his wife.

His girls sound like sensitive and loving dogs that you just want to wrap in your arms. Mabel is big and clumsy and scared of the world, and Abby is like an angsty teenager. Awwww!

With these personalities in mind, I created concepts tailored for each one. Mabel has an unintimidating butterfly on her nose and looks terrified of it, and the botanical frame is made up of lilies, which is a flower that represents a sense of innocence. Abby has vintage 80s headphones to suggest that teen angst, along with dried up roses for the frame which are both sensitive and a little dark.

Mabel reference photo next to colored pencil and watercolor portrait

Abby reference photo next to colored pencil and watercolor portrait

I used the same art materials as with Buster and Cooper. One of the things I'm enjoying about using the colored pencils to draw in the fur and other details is that it's a methodical and relaxing process. It's basically slow art.

If you'd like to read more about the portraits, there's a longer writeup on my Oxford Dogma blog.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mixed media portrait of Buster the French Bulldog

mixed media portrait drawing of Buster the French Bulldog

This portrait of Buster was commissioned by John, his owner, in the same style of the drawing he saw on Reddit of Scout. The concept for this drawing is based on Buster's favorite toy that he received in a BarkBox, which John and his wife call Olympic Man.

mixed media portrait drawing of Buster the French Bulldog

The stuffed toy inspired the gold medal around his neck, and the leaves along the sides are olive branches. Since that's what was traditionally used to crown Olympic winners, I thought it would be a great botanical accent to frame Buster.

John also wanted a French beret in the drawing, but we didn't want it to mess with his ears. So I shrank it down and positioned it between his ears. Which looks quite jaunty!

The portrait is primarily drawn with colored pencils — a combination of Polychromos, Caran d'Ache Pablos, and Prismacolor. The leaves are watercolor, and the name banner is gouache. I really enjoy working with this combination of materials.

You can read more about the story behind Buster's portrait on my Oxford Dogma blog.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Bargue plate master copy stage 1

I've been building to this drawing exercise for months! When I started the online atelier with the pencil sharpening lesson, I wasn't sure what it would actually feel like to complete the classical drawing course. We started with circles and ellipses, then added shading, and advanced to block-ins. Now we will put everything together with a Bargue plate master copy.

Today I chose one of the arm plates that I haven't yet used and did the block-in. The whole point of this lesson is to see shading in a three-dimensional way, rather than seeing the shadow areas as flat shapes.

I have to keep reminding myself to just take it one step at a time — when I imagine the final shaded drawing (and making it look just like the original plate) it gets overwhelming!

Bargue plate master copy stage 1
Block-in for Bargue master copy

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sketchbook practice: bag of dried figs

Daily Art 03-17-18 sketch of package
Sketchbook drawing of a bag of dried figs.

Over the weekend we took the camper out for a little getaway in nature. Unfortunately MANY others had the same idea and finding a spot was hard. But we managed to snag a spot in the overflow lot of the Usery Mountain Campground in Mesa, AZ. It's incredible to me how we've lived in the Valley for 17 years and it was our first time at Usery Mountain! It's a beautiful desert park with tons of saguaros and cholla, and winter is a fantastic time to stay there. As long as you make a reservation first…

On Saturday while Matt did some hiking and wildlife photography I stayed in the camper with the dogs and made a sketch. It's been far too long since I did block-ins and it felt good to do a bit of it. One reason I got away from the daily sketch practice is that I got so busy making dog portraits, like this one of Cooper. I also had a big custom order for some dog harnesses (a swim harness that I'm super excited about, a buffalo check plaid, and a tartan style plaid) with matching bow ties and a collar. Plus my shoulder has been really messed up for about a month and I wanted to give physical therapy a chance to start working.

I found it a lot harder to sketch in my little sketchbook after getting used to standing at the easel. I think the sketchbook would be great for contour line drawings though. My goal today is to restart my Sadie Valeri online atelier subscription and get back to it!