Thursday, June 28, 2012

Art: Julie With Satchel.

Julie With Satchel (Pencil, charcoal dust, and watercolor on Bristol board, 8x9").

Lately I've been obsessed with trying to get a smooth pencil finish on works without using a finger or tortillon to blend.  I don't like overly blended works.  I feel like every 6th grade art teacher instructs drawing students to take a paper towel and blend the hell out of everything.  That's what I was taught.  The problem is the technique creates cool looking artwork while covering up a multitude of drawing inadequacies.  As such, students never develop skills beyond this.  Over-blending removes all nuance and results in a homogenized surface.  We end up with a lot of blended artwork that hovers in this middle-ground of sound without fury.

I want to achieve a smooth and even finish using dexterity and technique, while softening the occasional edge with a quick stroke of my finger.  I've been playing around with different combinations of attack, paper, and pencil.  One material I was curious about was charcoal dust.  I decided to try it out for this drawing.  I started out with a pencil drawing and partially rendered face.  I then applied the charcoal dust to the background and parts of the body using a brush.  I encountered a problem with the paper.  I used Bristol board which has a very smooth finish.  It works well for pencil, but it had no tooth to trap the dust.  It sat on the surface like beach sand on a boardwalk.  Any contact or slight breeze, and it disappeared.  I'll have to try it again using paper with a tooth.

In a related coincidence, an artist I admire posted a picture today of a beautiful pencil drawing with smooth and soft contours.  On top of the drawing sat the utensils used to create it: a pencil, soft eraser, and yes -- a tortillon.  Perhaps I can't escape its use and need to treat it like anything else -- all good in moderation.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sketchbook: Drawings My Mom May Hang On Her Fridge.

I've been playing around with various approaches and agendas lately.  I'm trying to be more expressive by laying in things looser and not obsessing about exact rendering.  I'm constantly thinking about design.  I want to get a background in and perhaps a pattern or secondary element.  And I recently discovered ProWhite and I love it.

Here are some recent sketches:

Fish (Watercolor, ink, and ProWhite in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x8"). Based on photo from National Geographic.

Sucker (Watercolor and ball-point pen in Moleskine sketchbook, 6x2").

California Condor Skull with White Stripes (Ball-point pen, ink, and ProWhite in Moleskine sketchbook, 8x5").

Mountain Lion Skull (Marker, ProWhite, ball-point pen, and watercolor in Moleskine sketchbook, 8x5").

Wolf Skull (Marker and ball-point pen in Moleskine sketchbook, 8x5").

Paca (Ball-point pen, acrylic ink, and ProWhite in Moleskine sketchbook, 8x5").  Based on photo from San Diego Zoonooz.

Pepper Shaker While Sitting In Rhino Cafe, Coronado (Ball-point pen in Moleskine sketchbook, 2x4").

Coffee Cup In Claire De Lune Coffee Shop, San Diego (Ball-point pen, acrylic ink, walnut ink, and watercolor in Cachet sketchbook, 3x6").

Friday, June 15, 2012

Julie On Newsprint

Julie On Newsprint (Conte pencil on newsprint, 12x20").  Hadn't used the conte pencil and newsprint combo in a while so I decided to bust them out.  A little rusty but not bad.  The drawing of the face came together rather quickly which made me happy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sketchbook: Study Of Julie Leaning Against Side Of Chair.

Study Of Julie Leaning Against Side Of Chair (Pencil, ball-point pen, ink, gouache, watercolor, Pro-White, and possibly the kitchen sink in Moleskine sketchbook, 5x6.5").

I had a photo-shoot with an amazing model named Julie, and while the session produced many photos that beg to be drawn, I found myself enamored with this pose. I hope to turn it into a large oil painting, but wanted to do a small study first. I find these small studies to be invaluable because they identify problem areas, reveal bad habits, and allow me to figure out how things work in small scale. It provides insight.

Because the photo's high-contrast essentially dissolves into two values with a few, narrow transitional areas, I decided to use a monochromatic approach with an ink-y two-tone feel. I mixed a black using ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. I had tried using Pro White before but didn’t like its off-white color which was noticeable on white illustration board (I found that white gouache worked better). However, since the Moleskine sketchbook paper is yellowed, I decided to give it another try. It worked well. I appreciated its opaqueness, texture, flow, and ability to create interesting effects when mixed with watercolors. Unfortunately, it dries quickly, so the cap has to be put on the jar when not in immediate use.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I have an Instagram account where I post random miscellany. If you want to check it out, my username is: brytip

I post sketchbook work, in-progress shots, and occasional items of whimsy.