Thursday, March 30, 2017

Scribbling the Dogs

Here are few more drawings in the series I did practicing the lessons from Mattesi's book Force:  Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators.

Most of these feature my two Dutch Shepherds, Nik and Nora.

These next two sketches feature my friends' dog, Charlie, who likes to nap and therefore is an excellent subject!

I am really enamored of this method of sketching and need to learn more about it.  Mattesi has more books which I think I will get from the library so I can study them more.  I've purchased the first one.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Practicing on My Cats

Most of these drawings show my practice with the lessons in Mattesi's book Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators which you can find on amazon here.  (I am not affiliated.  I just like the book.)

I am using a china marker on Strathmore toned tan sketch paper.

This next one is one I did on my ipad, using the same principles.

There is something different about these pictures when I practice Mattesi's ideas.  I want to do more of it.  I find more energy, more life, more shape and movement in the sketches.     And they are fast!!  Really scribbles.  My hand flies across the page and I can do them in seconds--and I find they are better (at least, in the sense of more pleasing to me) than ones I work much harder on.

More to explore!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Travel Sketches in New Hampshire and Maine

There's this excellent drawbridge where you can walk from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Kittery, Maine.

The day's chill felt full of the warmth of the sun, so I took the walk.  I was able to stop along the way and sketch a few thing, which I added color to later at home.

Later, in the hotel room, I drew my trusty Timbuk2 sketching bag.  I don't think they make little messenger bags like this any more.  Which is a bummer, because I would buy another.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Travel Sketching: People

During my recent trip to the east coast of the U.S., I practiced, among other things, fast sketching of people in motion.

I used a china marker on a Strathmore tan-toned 9 x 12 sketchbook.

I practiced some of the lessons I have encountered in the wonderful book called FORCE:  Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators by Michael Mattesi.   I can't recommend it enough.

You'll see this is all very scribbly and I am still learning.  But I love the way these lessons push me to look at parts of bodies and how the fit together, move together, and how various forces push into each other.

These first two are among several pages I did sitting in a Barnes and Noble.  Great place to draw people.

This next page is all selfies--which I did looking into a full-length mirror in a hotel room.  THat is harder than it looks.  But it was fun to position myself in different odd stances and try to draw them, thinking about force and balance.

The next two I drew before and during a church service.  Again, people in interesting positions talking to each other, twisting and shifting angles, but mostly stationary.

This last page I did during the church service.  I had the fun of combining my sketches of people in the pews with my notes from and thoughts about the sermon.

This last page I'm including for fun. During one of the World Series games that week, I sketched pages of baseball players.  On one hand, hard, because the move a lot.  On the other hand, not so hard if I employed patience and waited for the repeated positions.  Pitchers have the same moves.  Batters do to. 

The hardest part was having to rely on the television cameras to repeat angles of the same players.  When you can't control the gaze, it's a lot harder.

I look forward to a lot more practice with the principles in this book!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Travel Sketching: White River Junction, Vermont

I had a little bit of time and a lovely lunch in White River Junction, Vermont.

There is plenty there to draw and I hope to return soon!

You can read from my notes the things I thought about and overheard as I drew.  All of those things would be lost if I hadn't captured them in the sketchbook.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Travel Sketching: The Vermont Institute of the Natural Sciences

During my trip to New Hampshire and Vermont last fall, I visited the Vermont Institute for Natural Sciences.  I found myself with only an hour to spend there, as I was on my way to an appointment somewhere else.  But I love sketching raptors, so even though I knew I would be rushed, I went ahead.

Then, I had a decision to make:  I had about forty-five minutes left after I paid my fee and got oriented.  So, should I pick one bird and spend the time with just that animal, scribbling and sketching and getting to know it?  This is what I often do when I go to the nature centers near my home.

Or should I adopt a different approach and zip through the place, doing quick scribbly sketches of every bird there (or at least as many as I could) capturing gestures and shapes, and only playing with pen?

I decided on the second option, mostly because it was something I hadn't done before.

You can see from the time stamps on these pictures that I moved pretty rapidly.

This "game" of scribbling yielded interesting results because I got to snag my first impressions of each bird,  and to become really aware of the most basic differences in the shapes of each bird.  I took very quick notes about what caught my attention in the few minutes I spent with each animal.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Travel Sketches from New Hampshire

Last fall I had the great good fortune to take a trip to New Hampshire and Vermont.  I spent much of my time sight-seeing and doing some travel sketching.

For me, the impact of keeping a travel sketchbook is combining both the visual and the verbal.

I do not write down the "dear diary" sort of entry to capture everything I did on a trip.  And I don't even use the sketches to commemorate every wonderful thing I encountered on a trip.  I take loads of photos and I enjoy them.

But in the quiet moments, or the moments when I can find time to draw, I draw whatever is in front of me, and I can write a bit about what the travels have brought to my attention.

Such sketchbooks made a great record of the experience, that complements any photos I take.

Below are a few of my sketches from the start of the trip.

First, a sketch of the blaring CNN coverage of the political situation in the United States at the time.  It was around 9 am and because I am always nervous about flying, having to listen to this horror show while I waited for the hotel shuttle to take me to the airport didn't do me any good.  I recorded that moment of frustration on this page.

 Scribbling on a plane is a great way to distract yourself if you are  a nervous flyer!

We stayed with friends who had a comfy chair in their front yard with a lovely view of foggy mountains.  I had the chance to go for a morning walk and capture this scene before others were up and at 'em for the day.

I am sure I would not remember this quiet moment and that delightful wet walk if I hadn't done this sketch.

Below, I captured (and not exactly accurately) one feature of their home in New England that I remember seeing a lot in my childhood days growing up on the east coast, but which I never see in the midwest:  wall sconces.  I love them.

One day I traveled to Portsmouth, NH, to explore.  I had a lovely lunch on an enclosed porch on the water, where they let me sit for two hours and paint while I ate.

While I was painting, another woman in the restaurant came over and asked if she could take a picture of me sketching.  I said sure!  So now I and my work are in someone else's memories of this excellent day!

I see more and more how scribbling in public brings the most interesting encounters and opportunities.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

From Skeleton to Mannequin

After working large on the skeleton for a few weeks, I did this quick pencil, ink and gouache sketch  in a tiny Hobonichi planner on super thin paper.

I worked with values to show shapes.

I think I'd like to get such a mannequin.  I borrowed this one.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Skull in Charcoal

A bit more work with the skeleton.  My drawing instructor challenged me to try to work on dark paper, so I had to draw the whites.

Not as easy as I thought it might be!  This kind of turns my brain inside out.