Tag Archives: colored pencils

There’s Always Room for Dragons

A wyrm type dragon, very chthonic.

A wyrm type dragon, very chthonic.

These are the other 2 dragons from the set of 4 mentioned in the previous dragon post. While I did enjoy playing with light on the mountains, water, and clouds in the red wyrm image, not to mention the sweet reflections on the knight’s shield, I never liked this image very much. Possibly, I was just unhappy with my color choices. I felt that they couldn’t all be blue and green (by this point I think I had acquired a full set of high quality colored pencils, and wanted them to wear down more evenly) but red and purple, at the time, were very daring choices for me.

Another western dragon

Another western dragon

Here, the princess never satisfied me. She seem cartoony, and I wanted her to look, at the very least, comic booky. The dragon is pretty solid, though. Love that twist at the bottom of his tail. The colors in these images has faded over the years, revealing some of the textural imperfections.

Comics! Part 1

Characters from Bloom County: I never did a lot of copying of other people's work, but there are ways in which is can be useful/interesting.

Characters from Bloom County: I never did a lot of copying of other people’s work, but there are ways in which it can be useful/interesting.

Secretly, I’m really into comics, and always have been. Publicly, you’ll only see me with books of course. I didn’t have a lot of exposure to comics as a kid; there was no one to share them with me. Of course, I was lucky enough to grow up in the time period when Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, and Berke Breathed were writing dailies, and I still own many of their collections, but I never had access to comic books when I was little. I remember owning maybe one issue of Superman that a babysitter gave me.

Detail from Little Nemo by Winsor McKay. My theory is that everybody is influenced by Winsor McKay, whether they know it or not. So much of what we know of fantastic art originated in his pages. This drawing is from the early 90s, when I was in college. 

In high school and college I developed an interest in the history of comics: Robert Outcault and the Yellow Kid, the Katzenjammer Kids, Krazy Kat, and all that. I read everything the library had to offer me, and I did end up reading some classic comic books. A volume of the first Wonder Woman comics stands out in my mind.

Another college-era sketch. I had done a stunning poster for a guy I liked: it featured 3 views of Death looking adorable. I put it in a poster tube to keep it safe and my mother threw it in the trash because obviously if I put a poster tube on the mantle it must because I wanted her to destroy it, and there certainly wouldn't be any point in opening it up to see if there was maybe a poster inside it. I never could recreate that work. I gave the guy a less awesome picture of Death I drew, and later we dated for almost a year.

Another college-era sketch. I had done a stunning poster for a guy I liked: it featured 3 views of Death looking adorable. I put it in a poster tube to keep it safe and my mother threw it in the trash because obviously if I put a poster tube on the mantle it must because I want her to destroy it; it’s not like I was capable of throwing out my own trash, and there certainly wouldn’t be any point in opening it up to see if there was maybe a poster inside it. I never could recreate that work. I gave the guy a less awesome picture of Death I drew, and later we dated for almost a year.

Sandman was probably the first graphic novel I ever read, and of course the storytelling and the artwork are both stunning. After that, I read every graphic novel anyone gave me, a rather eclectic assortment. It wasn’t until grad school that a guy introduced me to Alan Moore. I read The Watchmen first. Talk about amazingly good storytelling! I’ve read a fair amount of his work. My favorite is definitely Promethea, which might not be as objectively good as his other stuff, but which I adore. It’s the catalyst for my Alphabet of Desire.

The Trickster’s Hat Part 10

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Van Gogh’s iconic painting of Blue Irises in a Yellow Vase

It’s a really striking image, and much-copied. I love the thickness of the brush strokes, the boldness of the color.

My Blue Irises in a Yellow Vase.

My Blue Irises in a Yellow Vase.

Exercise 31 involved learning from others: pick a famous work, study it, learn from it, duplicate it, and then expand the project in some logical way. The example in the book suggested visiting a ballet school if, for example, your famous work was one of Degas’s.

Drawn fast, larger than actual size.

Drawn fast, larger than actual size.

For my extension, I visited the nearby Tucson Botanical Gardens and sketched flowers.

This is a hibiscus that lives in the greenhouse.

This is a hibiscus that lives in the greenhouse.

I like the rougher look to Van Gogh’s work, how it seems sloppy, but it’s not. The colors weren’t really available to me with the materials at hand, but some of them made a nice showing there, anyway.

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Orchids are hard; I’ve been trying to draw a passable orchid for years. I sketched this one slowly and then took it home to use the pastels. Somehow it looks meaty, rather than delicate, and I’m afraid there’s something the slightest bit obscene about it. Orchids are complicated.

Sketching in the gardens was so enjoyable. It’s definitely the sort of thing I want to incorporate into my artist’s life to a much greater degree.

 

The final flower

The final flower