Saturday, July 09, 2011

Sketchbook: Walrus Skull.

It’s always satisfying having created a good piece of artwork regardless of the medium. However, for me, there’s something especially satisfying if the medium was pen and ink.

There are probably many reasons for this. One is the level of difficulty. Rendering an object and showing its forms using two values and organized scratches is a tremendous challenge. It’s also permanent. There are no do-overs.

I love its aesthetic. Few things look cooler than a good pen and ink drawing.

And there is a minimalism that I relish. It doesn’t get simpler than a pen and piece of paper.

For the majority of my pen and ink drawings, I go straight in with pen. I don’t lay-in with pencil first. I either begin in a spot and work my way out, or do a loose and light contour drawing and then jump around to different areas.

One thing that I find fascinating about seeing other artist’s pen work is that each has a unique approach to rendering forms. I’ve been playing around with different techniques, focusing on edges. To make a piece come alive in drawing and painting, edges play a crucial role. In pen, edges are usually the first to go. I’ve been trying to find a way to maintain these transitions between shapes. It’s tough.

The following two sketchbook drawings were based on photos I took at the Chula Vista Nature Center a few weeks ago. They had a walrus skull on display. Very cool.

Walrus Skull I (Ball-point pen in Moleskine sketchbook, 4 x 7 1/2").  
Walrus Skull II (Ball-point pen and watercolor in Moleskine sketchbook, 5 x 8").

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