Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ferdinand Petrie Studies

I've been studying Ferdinand Petrie in an attempt to improve my environment/landscape composition and rendering technique. Here are a few samples of my studies.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Bridgman Faces Studies

Finally finished all my studies from Bridgman's Faces book. Here are the studies from the book's last 2 pages:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bridgman Heads and Faces

More George Bridgman studies. Going through his heads and features at the moment. Very challenging to freehand, but I'm doing my best to keep up.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bridgman Studies

Been busy doing Bridgman studies. Using the renaissance workshop approach to learning: tons and tons of copies. Heads and figures are from a few months ago, hands are more recent. It's a slow process, but I'm noticing a significant change in line quality.

Here's a snapshot of some of my Bridgman mastercopies:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

More Bargues

Hi everyone,

I've been busy practicing and working. Here's a snapshot of some of my latest training: bargue copies. I use them slightly different than what I used to do at the atelier: I measure everything strictly by sight and all of these are done digitally using the Photoshop pencil  live brush.

I try to keep each piece down to no more than 3 hours total.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week 25 of Nicolaides Challenge

Week 25. This was the final week of the challenge.

I learned a lot, my skill and artistic ability improved in ways I never expected and to the level I never thought possible in such a short time. I will try to find time and energy to do this again (maybe with paint next time) in a year or two.

I hope everyone enjoyed watching the effect of this amazing teaching method. Thank you, Kimon Nicolaides, for sharing your knowledge and for providing superb instruction to generations of aspiring artists.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Week 23 of Nicolaides Challenge

Week 23 has introduced variations into the gesture drawing exercise: straight-to-curve and subdividing the space inside of the shape of a frame. I find it fortunate that throughout the course, Kimon Nicolaides makes the student go through all the major drills, practicing each one in relative isolation, acquiring necessary skills in a relatively low-pressure environment.

It's tough practice, but it's some of the best art instruction I've had.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 22 of Nicolaides Challenge

Nicolaides week 22 is all about drawing with paint (or a digital oil paint brush, in my case). Everything else is almost exactly like week 21: gestures, modelled drawings, anatomy, one nude, one clothed model.

I'm also doing composition studies which I'm not showing here: they look like abstract black and white blotches.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Week 21 of Nicolaides Challenge

This is week 21 was a lot like week 20 with muscles. This week I went from contour drawing to skeletal study to muscle study.

All the work is still freehand, no analytical outlines - everything is done by "feel" and iteration.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 20 of Nicolaides Challenge

This is week 20.

Now that I look at it, I can see that my gestures started getting better. That is not how it felt at the time. I remember that with every passing week, it felt as if my drawings were getting worse and worse.

It's funny how thin of a line an artist in training walks between solid reality and complete delusion.

Or maybe my drawings were indeed getting worse and all I'm seeing now is my own delusion? I don't know. You be the judge.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week 19 of Nicolaides Challenge

Week 19. Same idea as the week before. As you can see, I got tired of making things look "presentable".

More focus on the nature of what I'm observing, while trying to truthfully reflect my understanding of form and action.

From this point on, the challenge started revealing to me the difference between making a picture and drawing what I see. I finally started getting what artists were talking about when they were referring to honesty and exploring your art.

Yeah, I know it sounds pretentious. Who cares, it's the truth.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Week 18 of Nicolaides Challenge

Week 18 was heavier on anatomy and bones. The rest was modelled and gestures, as usual.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Week 17 of Nicolaides Challenge

Week 17 of Nicolaides. Gestures are now enhanced with light and dark lines: part design and  part lighting of the model. More variation in color, but still a very limited palette: it's all about developing and maintaining the sense of "touch" when observing the model.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Week 16 of Nicolaides Challenge

Here's week 16. Same pattern as before.

Some variation in hue is introduced for the modelled image exercise. The structure for "painted" images is done by using the very same contour drawing technique used throughout the whole course.

You can see the gradual progression of complexity and how more advanced steps are based on the methods introduced in the earlier drawing sessions.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Week 15 of Nicolaides Challenge

Did my first bone/anatomy study in this unit. Building up more confidence through all the freehand drawing practice.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week 14 of Nicolaides Challenge

More freehand drawing and modeling. Used a bunch of Tai Chi people for this week's gesture studies.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 13 of Nicolaides Challenge

Week 13. Just past the halfway point.

It's funny how I can now see gradual improvement from week to week. When I was doing the work it felt as if my ability to draw was actually getting worse. I'm glad I decided to keep everything organized for future reference.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 11 of Nicolaides Challenge

Did a bunch of drapery gestures during Nicolaides week 11.

 Took me a while to figure out how and why gestures are so important (I always thought it was the silhouette). And I don't mean just the underlying gesture; but every stroke of the pencil or brush should convey and re-enforce the gesture.

Gesture is the thought and understanding behind every piece.

It's safe to say that any given drawing or painting is nothing more than a hierarchical diagram of gestures: from the big generic to the small specific.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 10 of Nicolaides Challenge

This week we start using color. Mine is all digital, but I did my best to simulate watercolor.

Every week Nicolaides helps the students get comfortable with new forms of mark-making. All the work is still done freehand -  an extension of the same natural contour drawing by "feel" from the beginning of the course.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Week 9 of Nicolaides Challenge

Week 9. Gesture, contour and modelled drawings are now standard parts of training. Easy on the expectations, hard on focus and trying to be impartial to the outcome.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Week 7 of Nicolaides Challenge

As you can see, everything is still done freehand: no construction, no outlines.

It's gunslinger training for the artist: see the target, focus on the target, then shoot from the hip. These sessions would leave me completely exhausted, but the skills and confidence acquired from these exercises is unmatched.

Not to mention the courageous attitude towards art one gets from this training.

Nicolaides week 7:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Week 6 of Nicolaides Challenge

Started using "watercolor". Since I did the whole thing digitally, it wasn't a big transition, but it still had an impact, which actually surprised me. I can imagine how different it feels when the whole things is done in real media.

I want to complete this challenge again using real tools and materials.

Week 6 of Nicolaides.

Week 5 of Nicolaides Challenge

Nicolaides week 5

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Week 3 of Nicolaides Challenge

Here is week 3: gestures and cross-contour drawings (yep, good old rubber band lines).

Although the drawing ends up looking like a regular silhouette, it was drawn over several hours, one cross-contour surface line at a time. Builds character :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 1 of Nicolaides Challenge

Hi everyone.

Some time in early March of this year, I realized my approach to art training needed a significant change in perspective and direction. My work and practice have become way too analytical and made me feel like I stuffed myself into a straitjacket.

Obviously, any form of training gets tough from time to time, but this feeling of constriction and anxiety immediately spilled into my sketching and my personal projects. Walking around with nothing but dread in my chest and crappy lifeless drawings in my hand was making me very concerned.

I suspect it was mostly due to the fact that my training was focused 100% on technique, speed, precision and "accuracy" of lines and proportions. All the necessary production skill, which have very little to do with the quality and the nature of art itself. I'm sure some would argue, but this is my opinion.

I realized that I needed to re-acquire that original spark of inspiration which has been guiding me through my life. I decided to crack open my old "The Natural Way to Draw" manual by Kimon Nicolaides which has been sitting on my shelf collecting dust for more than 10 years and on the very first page I saw this amazing quote:

"The supreme misfortune is when
theory outsrips performance."

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Obviously , this was my answer and the solution.

"The Natural Way to Draw" is a 25 week-long drawing course with 15+ hours of assignments per week.

I figured out how to adapt the training to my situation (I don't have access to live models, nor to a full studio) and I got to work.

It was one of the hardest, most demanding training experiences I ever had, but it was worth every minute of the frustration and emotional exhaustion. And I finished it this time (after many unsuccessful attempts through the years).

I'm pleased with what I've learned and with the fact that I now have a method I can use to continue  improving my art and my skills for the rest of my life.

Every day for the next month or so, I will be posting a new image showing the work that I did for each week of Kimon Nicolaides' training.

Week 1:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Art Training Snapshot: June 25, 2014

1 hour portrait sketch and CGMA Environment Production Design final piece:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Art Training Snapshot: June 20, 2014

I'm currently on week 22 of my challenge. Switched media from crayon to oil (all digital, in my case, of course).

Once I started working on the pirate, I got quite excited about this particular piece. I decided to include my process snapshots.

I have 1 more hour assigned to the pirate, so we'll see how much detail I can handle.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Art Training Snapshot: June 17, 2014

Here's more stuff from my project. Getting quite sick of it. Almost done.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mike Mattesi Character Design Class: Spring 2014

Hi everyone,

First of all, let me say it once again: Mike Mattesi is a brilliant artist and teacher. I know I've said it before, but Mike somehow manages to surprise me with his amazing skill every time I study with him.

Here are a couple of highlights from Mike Mattesi's Force Character Design Class.

Mike helped me figure out and correct some frustrating drawing habit's and mistakes I've been making, and I learned quite a few new design techniques along the way.

This class was focused on shape and contrast, as you can see from the samples. And, of course, Force. There's always Mike's signature Force drawing approach.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Art Training Snapshot: June 6, 2014

More stuff from my secret personal project. All freehand, all short sketches: 1 hour or less.

On a side note, if you are interested in the psychology behind art (especially comics and film), make sure to read this excellent essay recently posted on Muddy Colors by Greg Ruth: SIMPLE vs. COMPLEX (PART 1: Comics).

Monday, June 2, 2014

Art Training Snapshot: May 31, 2014

Got slammed by the flu. It was a drag. Still managed to get all my work done, but the fever made it hard to focus :). 15 minutes to 1 hour studies

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Art Training Snapshot: May 27, 2014

Some more stuff.

I'm turning off my comments for now. I don't want to be rude and not respond and with my currently overwhelming schedule, it is bound to happen. Please feel free to use the form on the right side of the page to shoot me an email directly. I always look forward to hearing from everyone. I will eventually reactivate my comments or start a new blog.

In the meantime, please feel free to +1 my post if you like it.