Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Need New Glasses (Self Portrait 2011)

Color Stix on a 5" x 7" Red Suede Mat Board

There is not much to say about this guy here.. except that he is an artist.. blah blah blah.  Anyway, the only thing I did differently was my approach.  I started this self portrait by using a colorless blender to sketch my face. Usually, during this process, I would use a graphite pencil for my sketch but I couldn't this time. On suede, the colorless blender creates easily visible lines compared to a traditional graphite sketching pencil. The blender allows for depressions to reflect light that cause highlights that are much easier to decipher. There is one problem though. You must make sure that your blender is clean of other colors. If not, just like the color stix, the blender will leave unwarranted marks within your drawing and it is not very consistent.  Be careful in areas that you plan to leave.. colorless.

After I had my sketch, I used a brush pen to incorporate the darkest darks. I believe that your art teachers and college professors will or have told you that you always want to go light to dark, but this is not always the case. I figured that coloring over marker with wax is a lot easier than coloring over wax with wax.  I have provided a few images that illustrates the drawings progression.  This is the first time I have purposely recorded my progress so I hope it looks good.

Colorless blender sketch with unwanted markers near nose.

Pitt Pen

I used canary yellow to
outline highlights.

Additions of white, sienna brown, and dark brown.

Refining some areas and adding minor details.

At this point, I had to fix certain areas that were mislead by my sketch. My right cheek protruded too wide and my eyes were wrongly shaped. Cosmetology time.

That looks.. better, but my chin hair isn't that thick. Lips need work.


Finer details of facial features.
More refining of lips, mustache, and neck.

My finished color pencil self portrait.

I love that it looks like an oil painting.  I hate that it's creepy with realism.  It's also pretty small and was difficult to be precise in certain areas with the color stix.  I guess i could have used color pencils also but I didn't.  Anyway, thanks for reading.. if you did.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Madonna Enthroned

5" x 7" Colored Pencils on Green Mat Board

This scratch drawing was actually a drawing I created five years ago. It is a small abstration from the bottom right corner of Unconcentric.  You can see certain areas, left of my signature, that are familiar here.  When I started coloring it, I planned on accentuating the forms from the drawing, but this didn't happen.  I started applying white to the top left corner revealing Mary's face by accident and my mind was set.  This is when I decided to make it what you see above.

My Modanna and Child has reverted back to the flat Byzantine style of the 13th century, depicting the iconic Roman Catholic image of Mother Mary and her infant child Jesus. My image, like all Modonna's, stresses Mary's maternal role and relationship with her son.

Although I did not include the angels and gold leaf (side note: I just looked and I do have a gold mat board that would work perfectly for my next one), I still provided the sad Cretan stare that conveys Mary's knowing of Jesus's future demise for mankind detailed in the close up above. I also like the routed sun, purely by luck, on the blanket wrapped around Jesus.  I guess this was the plan all along.

I decided to crop the bottom portion of the drawing for the final display.  I think the scene becomes much more intimate and the composition more visually inviting in a 4" x 6" format. This also makes Jesus the central motif of the picture which was the whole point of these paintings, frescoes, and sculptures.


Colored Pencils on 5" x7" White Illustration Board

This drawing/scratch art is about an email I received from my girlfriend recently. She has issues with her stomach which restricts her from eating certain foods that 90% of the world finds delicious. She may have a gluten allergy.  Having a gluten-free diet must be one of the hardest regimens to keep. This thicken protein is in everything that tastes good.. beer, pasta, bread, sausage, ketchup, ice cream.. AWHhh.. Iccee Creaammm.. Lets just say it really sucks for her. Well apparently it super sucks. The email that I received basically said that living with gluten eaters can potentially harm non-gluten eaters. Things as simple as cooking with the same microwave can contaminate her food. Even kissing me after a meal..  This is us after I brush my teeth.

Self Scratrait

5" x 7" Colored Pencils on White Illustration Board

This image tags along with the artwork from my post Brush Strokes Without a Brush. I am trying to refine this style so I have moved from the inaccurate thumb tac to a Speedball Linoleum Cutter and Nibs. This tool allows me to create much cleaner lines and finer details than the callus building thumb tack. It also has different weighted nibs to create thick and thin depressions which I hope to try soon. I just have to find my nibs.
Saturday, June 4, 2011

Quantity Seems to be Taking Over

Lately I've been on a mat board kick. I'm sure you have realized by now that I was lucky enough to score a stack of 5" x 7" various types of mat board which I greatly appreciate by the way.. You know who you are. I really do enjoy messing around with these fabrics mats and trying to turn something that normally preserves your art, into art itself. I can think of nothing better than to sit down with a new material and figure it out. So I have been. I've created a small stack of these guys over the past two weeks, but only one I've found appealing so far. The Rapture I may be spreading myself too thin at the moment, but it did give me an idea..

So, with that said.. The decision has been made. I am going to create one of these small drawings everyday for a year.. or until I get (mat) bored or run out of mats. Then, I will attempt to attach them to a board to try and make something like a rectangle. There are not many factors for the number 365 though. Only 1, 5, 73, and 365. I guess 5 and 73 will have to do.. or I'll plan on missing a day. That would be.. 13 rows and 28 columns. That would mean the dimensions would be around.. (buttons on calculator) 7' 6.5" x 11' 8" wow! That would be a costly frame. Whatever. I'll figure it out. Here we go..

A Blender
5" x 7" Mixed Media on Illustration White Board

Color Stix and Suede

Recently, a customer came in with a great pastel drawing of her favorite musician. At first glance, the artwork looked like an oil painting. Up close I could see that the surface on the work was textured. She explained that she uses nu-pastels (hard pastel) on suede mat board to create her drawings. The pastels apparently blend extrememly well on super smooth surfaces. This is something I can understand. When caricature artists create cartoon portraits of people, they use a very light weight paper and a foam pad underneath the drawing. The light weight paper, which has little texture or tooth, can still cause a lot of white space when a color stick is dragged across it. It also takes a lot of pressure to remove these marks but with a foamy, an artist can reduce these spaces to make the caricature's colors blend smoothly while minimalising strain of one's wrist.

I decided to try this technique using similar materials. Although color stix are harder and made with oils/wax instead of binder and pigment like pastels, these materials still worked well.

Untitled 5" x 7"
Mixed Media on Green Suede Mat Board

This was experimental. Like most of my recent post, I am trying to use new materials to discover new possibilities. I wanted to see how well the color stix would perform on the suede, but I went over board as usual. Fun as usual too though. This piece actually started out as the fifth building to my last post. It came out terrible so I worked over it. After I colored, I dripped some drawing ink on the suede to see how that would adhere to the material. I could probably work on suede for the rest of my life.. if I could afford it. It really is a great material for all media. Pastels are coming soon.. I have a few 5" x 7" pieces to experiment with and I hope to make something I actually like.

Stalker 5" x 7"
White Color Stick on Black Suede Mat Board

This here was actually intentional. I was skimming my news feed in Facebook and found a picture an old friend posted. It was a portrait of her in 3/4 view. She had added a filter to the image to make it a high contrast black and white photograph which was nice. It wasn't the black and white that I loved about the picture. Everyone loves black and white photos. They make everyone and everything look good. What I really liked was..is the composition. Everything balanced so well. The fact that she is very easy on the eyes and her hair looked awesome was also a plus. I didn't do an exact replica of the photo. I find it very difficult to be precise with the color stix. They are slabs of colored pencil that you can sharpen, but if you would like these items to last, I wouldn't. Due to my lack of a white color pencil, which I now have, I came out too wide on her cheek. Because of this, I had to modify most of the drawing accordingly since the suede isn't very forgiving and the white pencil is not erasable. Her neck is much shorter now and blah blah blah. Put it this way, there is a resemblence but not enough (to me anyway) to place the original side-by-side with this drawing.

Side Note: Colored pencil is extremely hard to photograph; especially on suede. Many problems have occurred with these small drawings. I guess colored pencils are camera shy. <-- Bad joke.


My boss has been asking me to create him a picture for the past week. Everyday I get to work the first thing he says is, "Where's my picture?" I didn't know what to make him. Its so hard when someone asks you to create something out of nothing. I needed an idea.. I needed more information. I asked him what he would hang in his house because that is pretty important. Framing something you don't like will never happen. It's super expensive to custom frame anything, no matter how awesome it is or isn't.
"A cityscape in your style." Deal!

5" x 7" on White Illustration Board

After I showed him the image, he wanted more. A series of these little guys maybe? That night I started a few more. I did not have the original above so I tried to remember what I did and this is what happened..

All: 5" x 7" Various Types of Mat Board

Brush Strokes Without a Brush

5" x 7" on White Illustration Board

One of my illuustration board scraps had some cuts and bruises so I tried to use them to my advantage. To make this destructuion look purposeful, I used a thumb tack to apply depressions in the mat board so that the color stick would essentially cover only the surface leaving the depressions in tact. In fact, I can remember doing this as a kid. The first time i saw it was in an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in the late 80's. April, the local news reporter, needed to find out where the turtles were going. She took a pencil and lightly rubbed it over a small pad near their phone to reveal the depressions from the previous page detailing their destination.

5" x 7" on White Illustration Board

While playing around with this idea, I realized that you can layer these "scrathces" on top of color to create colored lines. Scratch, color, scrathch, new color, and repeat until your fingers callus like mine. I did a few more using this same technique, subject matter, and colors but these did not turn out as interesting as the ones above. I'm hoping to use these technique again in a controlled manner because it almost makes colored pencils look like oils because of the placebo 'brush strokes.'


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