Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Secret

gorilla charcoal drawingI completed the gorilla drawing yesterday, and to my pleasant surprise sold a print before I even got to post it here! I loved working on this drawing, so much that I forgot about my new multitasking routine and worked on nothing but him until he was done. As my first primate drawing, I am quite pleased with the result.

This gorilla is a resident of the Albuquerque Zoo (Rio Grande Zoo). He was sitting in the corner next to a plexiglass window, and the sun reflected off his enclosure giving him the appearance of being lit from a low angle. I'm not sure what is reflected in his eyes, but I liked the effect. That and his slight grin inspired me to call the piece My Secret, and it makes me wonder what he really was thinking.

The original and prints are available.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

WIP - Charcoal Gorilla

I haven't put up a work in progress in a while, other than my coral reef, so I thought I'd share what's on the drawing board right now. I've been wanting to draw a primate for a while now, and after an awesome trip to the zoo (and several hundred photos) last weekend, I got my wish. I got really close to a bunch of animals, one of which was this lowland gorilla just a few feet away from me. And I was lucky enough to get him in the perfect pose for a drawing.

I debated for some time as to which medium I would use, and even considered doing two copies, one charcoal and one graphite, just to see how they would differ. I still may, we'll see. As (almost) always, I started with the eyes. Then I worked on the skin of the face and down to the nose. I added the background (with a charcoal-covered chamois) before I put in the detail hairs hanging beyond the face boundary, then went to the eyebrows. The plan is to work up and around the head, down the neck, then do the hand last. I should add this image is only a portion of the full drawing.

I like working on unique animals and ones that I think are a challenge to draw well (like the warthog). It helps me improve and develop my technique. The best way to get better is to step outside your comfort zone and try something different.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Don't Hate Me 'Cause I'm Beautiful

warthog graphite drawing
Oh, the misunderstood warthog, often deemed one of nature's ugliest animals. I actually enjoyed this piece, taking my pencil drawing to new territories. I used a wide variety of graphite pencils: 4H, 2H, H, HB, 3B, 4B, 6B, and 8B, along with a blending stump and an empty mechanical pencil. That's a trick I learned recently: while trying to find a suitable stylus to indent the paper to draw white hairs and fur, I came across another artist who said he uses empty pens - I went with what I have, which is mechanical pencils (thanks to my husband).

The indenting technique is not hard. Use the stylus to scratch the paper where the white fur or hairs will go, then use the pencil (or charcoal, or whatever) over it. The pencil will glide over the indentations and give the appearance of white hair/fur over dark hair/fur (or dark shadows).

Many thanks to Barbara Keith and her photographer Mike Dulaney of the Cincinnati Zoo for the reference photo. The original (14"x11") and prints are available.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Polar Bear Pointillism

polar bear ink pointillism drawingAfter seeing some really cool pointillism drawings, I thought I'd give it a try myself. Pointillism, also called stippling, is the creation of a drawing using only tiny dots. I decided my first attempt should be a white animal, as that would minimize the number of dots I'd need. I learned a few things about the technique.

First, it's not always possible to make an area darker just by adding more dots. You have to keep the dots fairly evenly spaced, so if you try to add more, the value may not be uniform and you could even end up with clusters of dots that look like lines or holes.

Second, it's best to know exactly what value you need for a given area before you start to stipple, so you can avoid the previously mentioned situation.

And third, give your eyes a break and don't do this for long periods at a time.

All in all, I like the technique and will probably use it again in the future. The original and prints are available.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blog Award - Arte y Pico

Many thanks to Glendon Mellow of the Flying Trilobite, who has given me the Arte y Pico blog award! I am especially honored as he has a huge blog list. Here's how the award works:
  1. Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for creativity, design, interesting material, and contributions to the blogger community, regardless of language.
  2. Create a post showing your choices of award winners. Include the name of the winning blog and a link to that blog, to be visited by everyone.
  3. Each award winning blog, has to show the award and put the name and link back to the blog that has given her or him the award.
  4. Each Award winning blog and the one who has given the prize should show this link: “Arte y Pico“ showing the origin of this award. (The original blog originates from Uruguay. Here is a translation of the Arte y Pico blog.)
  5. Show these rules.

It was hard to get five picks, mostly because I don't usually read blogs other than the one that gave me the award! So I did some research, and here is my list of five of the best artist bloggers, in no particular order.

OnlyPencil. Lissandro Pena is a master of the pencil, creating incredible photorealistic animals, detailed tutorials and time-lapse demonstration videos.

A-Zoo. Lene Daugaard is another amazing realistic animal artist. She works in graphite and colored pencil with both domestic and wild animals.

WildlifeArt. Jason Morgan paints large scenes of wildlife in their natural habitats. Take a look at his works in progress, in particular the current one with zebras and wildebeests.

ArtDogBlog. Rebecca Collins is an animal artist specializing in dog portraits. Her paintings are vibrant and full of life, and she keeps her blog fresh with new posts almost daily.

ArtMentor. This is the only blog I picked not dedicated exclusively to drawing or painting, but also to the business of art. Wendy Froshay shares a plethora of tips for marketing and promoting your work after having been in the business for over 20 years, in addition to drawing and painting tips and book and product reviews.