Thursday, November 12, 2015

Journal drawings, Shoes and Thumbnails

I actually had the above penciled in for a few days prior to adding ink. I used the .03 Copic Multiliner for this one. Lots and lots of fine lines, almost as good as stipple without the dots or the huge amount of time that stipple takes even on small drawings like this one. Done in my new Strathmore Multimedia Journal (5 x 8 inches) from a personal reference photograph.

A real still life was the reference for this, a bowl full of 3 lemons and 2 limes. I used Paynes Grey acrylic ink and a dip pen for all of the line work and added watercolor for the fruit and bowl. I was mostly trying to see how well the multimedia paper in the new Journal will take watercolor. Not bad, not as good as using the real thing, but not as tricky as using the thinner sketchbook paper. I tried to avoid outlining anything, though there are a few in the areas where there are dark shadows. Semi happy with the results. I really do need to do more watercolor work though.

I have a habit of photographing what I call "Found Objects". They are usually physical objects found out of place, often on a sidewalk, but as in the case of the sneakers some on grass. Over the years I have made a collection of shoe photographs as you can see in the above scan. All of these shoes were dropped, lost or left by their owners who were not around when I made the photos.

Last week I printed out all my shoe images on one sheet and started a group of of thumbnails to come up with a good layout. A funny thing, when I was taking classes a few years ago I got so sick of drawing shoes that I think I swore I would never draw another, oops, well they do make interesting subjects, and these probably have interesting stories to tell about how they got left.

Above are the six thumbnail drawings I did using my "found" shoes. I know thumbnails can be a pia to do and for many seem like a waste of time. But note the first drawing I did above, The four shoes are centered on sheet, not only centered design wise but all shoes are about the same relative size. Not a very inspired drawing. I don't know about you but such is my initial tendency when starting a drawing, my comfort zone so to speak. In the next drawings I tried different things working the shoes larger and smaller, pulling them toward the edges  I probably should have done more drawings, but some of these I actually did some erasing and redrawing on just to change things up.

One of the first things that happens if you spend any time in Collage level art classes (other than beginning drawing) is that you will find that instructors push you to create thumbnail drawings to play with various layouts. Since I have realized that my initial layout drawings are usually pretty trite I have to admit that I am trying to stop plunging into a major drawing without at least some thought if not spending the time to do the thumbnails. Once I start with colored pencil I am going to put significant time into this piece, so the overall design should be as good as I can make it up front.

I decided that the one I liked best was the middle drawing on the right side, but rotated so that the sneaker was on the bottom.

Above is my working drawing, still just pencil right now and I am trying to decide if I like it or not. I intend to ink outlines on this and then color it using colored pencil. The drawing is being done on Strathmore's new Colored Pencil paper and I am curious as to how well it will take colored pencil.

The sneaker ended up a bit smaller than the one in my thumbnail, and I am trying to decide if this smaller version works. Drawing is approx. 8 x 8 inches in size.

 Only one photograph today, as fall slips into winter there is less and less plant material and insects to photograph. Since we haven't yet had a hard freeze I do still see an occasional butterfly (a yellow sulfur or cabbage white) but I haven't actually photographed one for a while. Above is a milk weed pod letting loose its seeds. Love how the light lights up the seed heads. Photographed over the weekend in my local park.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Exploring Various Ink Colors

Took a couple of days off from drawing after the finish of the #inktober challenge last weekend. I had sort over extending myself and needed a mental break if not physical.

Earlier this week I took a trip into Boston and made a visit to the large Dick Blicks store up near Fenway Park. I picked up some new colored ink and colored pens to play with.

Not a very good still life, I did the drawing last night and then did a rush job with the inking this morning. Two apples and a pear, and I am not at all happy with the apple to the left in the drawing. Part of my problem this morning was with the light hitting the fruit. Last night there was only a single source from a lamp on a table next to me, this morning the sun was coming in the east and south facing windows that are in the room, but it was still early enough that I also needed the lamp on. Still Life's do much better with a single source light source, should of inked it last night or waited. Ah well guess I can try again another day. Also should have thought through where I wanted outlines and where I didn't before I started inking. Oops indeed.

I used my new Acrylic Indigo ink with a dip pen for this, though I am not sure that the scan really shows off the blue ink. Indigo is a combination of blue and black, and I am thinking as I write this that a drawing using the Indigo with Paynes Grey and maybe some black should be interesting. Drawn in  my new Strathmore Visual Journal. I like the paper for ink, not so much for pencil, but that is OK, any pencil I use will be because I need the guidelines for the ink.

I was visiting Blicks because I needed some replacement tips for a couple of my aluminum body Multiliner pens. To my surprise I noticed some new brown colored pens in the rack and ended up purchasing a couple to try out. The color on the pen is Brown, vs the other brown Copic Multiliner that is labeled Sepia. So they are two different colors.

I had picked up this oak leaf and small acorn on my walk along the Fens (I was on my way to the MFA) and thought it would be a good subject to test the new brown ink on. I added some lines using the Sepia pen so you can see the difference in colors between the old Sepia and the new Brown. The new Brown is slightly darker.

Don't go by the acorn I added black to that since the actual acorn has a very dark walnut colored body. Not sure what kind of oak this is, but I have a feeling it isn't an American oak, most native oaks have much larger acorns, and this little guy wasn't a fluke, there were lots of them about the same size.

Last of my drawings today, I sketched a fellow passenger on the bus into Boston, rather sketchy, but I actually rather like it.

Now for a couple of photographs. The above was taken on the Northeastern University Campus in Boston. The day had been warm and sunny earlier, by the time I made this photo it was getting to be not only late afternoon but a bit overcast so the colors aren't as brilliant as they could have been.

The above is a photo of one of my White Christmas Cactus flowers. I have two plants and they are both currently in bloom. The flower is being lit by some sunshine coming in a south facing window, so the light hitting the petals and reflecting off some of the leaves give this a rather abstract look. Christmas Cactus flowers are a bit strange looking in any case, but I rather like this photo.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are welcome. Have a couple of other projects in the works so  hopefully it won't be a week until  my next update.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Final Images from Inktober

I don't like to post so many drawings/images at once, but it is now November and #inktober is over so I want to be finished blogging about the challenge.

I feel I did well, I actually managed 31 drawings within the 31 days. Now I have to take a deep breath and think about what I want to do next. Not sure, though I did pick up a new sketchbook over the weekend that is a Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal which I think I will be using. Should be good for pen and ink and some light watercolor washes. Well it will be better than the Strathmore sketchbook that I was using for the #inktober challenge. The Journals were on sale at my local A.C. Moore and I just couldn't resist.

Back to the drawings, expanding from just single cats or dogs I made the above drawing for the 27th of Oct. I used a reference photo I made a few years ago. The bird is a Blue Jay, and I don't think it was happy to find the squirrel in its feeder. This is a photo I have been saving to use for a more finished work. This drawing isn't quite as finished as I would like (had to be done in one day for one thing) but it is a good study for something larger. Pens used were a mixture of my Copic Multiliners and my Rapdiograph technical pens.

From another of my personal reference photographs. A swan with arched neck and an almost perfect reflection. I used Copic Multiliners for this one the .03 for the swan and the .5 for its shadow. I made an error with the placement of the swan on the page and didn't have room for the complete shadow, rather than spend time redrawing the swan I just went with it. I may also redo this one someday, there are other errors, though you may not notice them.

This is from a photograph that was one of the January 2015 Pen and Ink Wetcanvas Forum challenge images. I didn't draw them at the time, and by the 29th of October I was looking for something that would be relative quick and easy to draw, so I used it. I used my Rapidograph 0 pen for this one, and tried to limit the amount of outlining that I did, using the shading lines to create the outline of the gourds.

For the 30th I did a quick revisit of a leaf and seed pod. We have lots of Catalpa's in my city, in fact they are something of a problem I think for some people, growing where they aren't wanted. Again I wanted something not too complex. I added some watercolor to this one, and am not really happy with how it looks, splotchy on the leaf. Would have been better if I had been able to pre-wet the paper but the sketchbook I was using wouldn't have been happy with that technique. Otherwise a mixture of Copic and Rapidograph pens, and a dip pen for the outline of the leaf, seed pods and seed.

Since I started the month with just a black and white drawing of my elf helper, I decided to end the month with another image of him, with the addition of a jack-o-lantern, after all the 31st was Halloween night. Maybe he went trick or treating after posing for this.

Not the best drawing, but by the 31st I just wanted this done with. Pens used were my standard mix, Copic Multiners and Rapidographs.

As a final photograph another scene of fall foliage, the last for this year I promise, mostly because we had a storm last week and the trees were pretty much stripped of leaves so they aren't there to be photographed. Well maybe there are still a few trees with some leaves so perhaps there might be one or two more, but I am fairly sure there won't be any more photos with trees with green leaves in them. This was made in my local park along with the photos I showed last week. Yesterday was mostly cloudy so not a good day for photographs.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome and appreciated. Oh I had issues with the uploader today so the image size isn't as large as I usually post - sorry.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

End of Inktober in sight.

Inktober is starting to wind down, only 5 more days until it will be over and it will be November. I am basically taking it one day at a time and so far so good. All of today's drawings are animals, either a cat or a dog as the case may be. Just haven't felt like going back to leaves and the elf. Course I am not only using different images as reference am using different styles for the drawings depending on the animal portrayed and what I think fits it.

Above is one the stray cats I occasionally see in my neighborhood as my next door neighbor feeds homeless cats in the evening. He used to feed them during daylight hours and I was able to get more photographs but I think someone complained and he has switched to feeding them after dark so I rarely see them any more. However the other day I did see this cat in the yard and was able to make a few usable photographs of it.

All the drawings are done in my 8 x 5 inch sketchbook, for the one above I used my 0 (.35) Rapidograph technical pen for all of the lines. Oh one other mention before we move on to the next image, all of these were first done in pencil and then the pen work was done either over the pencil or to it.

The above drawing of a poodle was done from another of my reference photographs. The State parks I walk in allow dogs, on leashes supposedly but depending on the park many who have obedient dogs will walk them off leash. I don't usually mind, unless the dog is a jumper and has recently been swimming or the paths are wet because of rain. Anyway sometimes I try to make photographs of some of the dogs I see.

For the poodle I used my Copic Multiliners the .05 and .1 tips. What I did different here is I filled in the background to my penciled lines and allowed the darkness there to define the edges of the dog, so there are very few outline lines in the above drawing, most of the additional lines are actually shading lines, not outlines. I am fairly pleased with how this one came out. The dog even looks a bit fuzzy, and if you know the breed they have very curly hair and are a bit fuzzy.

I really liked this photo, the dog was interested in something on the ground, and I think this is a pointer so tracking by scent is part of what they do. For this drawing I went back to the Technical pen, the 0 (.35) for the entire drawing. I also outlined this dog, since it had short slick coat I thought using an outline would convey that feeling. I will also say that I like the drawing.

For yesterdays I went back to a cat, this one in motion. It was another of the neighborhood strays, they really don't like strangers to approach them, and I am a stranger so. For this photo it had taken off across the street, but I was for once ready with the camera and was able to make a couple photos.

I used Copic Multiliners for this, in this case the .03 and the .5. The .03 for the line work on the cat and its dark patches and the .5 for the shadow which I wanted dense and dark.

To me all of these images have a very illustrative feel to them, fairly simple drawings of animals with clean line work and some shading.

Sunday started out with some drizzle (we could really have used some rain, but we will take what we get) but it started to clear toward mid afternoon so I went out for a walk in my local city Park. Still though there was just a bit of sun it stayed mostly cloudy, so the colors above are not as bright as they should be. Yellow, orange and red, with the understory still green, a typical New England fall image.

I don't usually post the same photo in two different places on-line, but I love this photograph, dead fern fronts in among some bushes whose leaves had turned bright red. the contrast of colors makes the fronds sort of glow.

That is it for today. Per usual comments and/or questions are welcome.

Friday, October 23, 2015

More Mid Month Inktober

The month is moving on, and so far so good with keeping up with the #inktober challenge. Here are more of my drawings to date.

I used a Box Elder leaf and a group of seeds for the above drawing. This is a combination of black Ink, brown Ink and watercolor. Black ink in Copic or Technical pens for the figure and lettering, brown ink with a dip pen for the leaf outline and the seeds, and the wash on the seeds is ink. I used Sepia Ink for this one. The green color of the leaves is watercolor, applied quickly and with relative little water. I was quite pleased with how this came out.

This one is a bit in a more traditional pen and ink style, no ink or watercolor washes son this one. The background of the maple leaf is strictly pen work, parallel lines. This is the classic fill for pen and ink, and requires a fair amount of concentration and patience, neither of which I have a lot of any more. Still I had enough to do the leaf. The brown ink was Winsor Newton Nut Brown and I used a dip pen for this. Black ink again was my technical pens with an assist from a Copic Multiliner.

Leaves and seeds were picked up in my neighborhood.

For the 21st I just couldn't face another leaf. I will probably go back to them before the end of the month but I really needed to do something different after 20 days. So I looked through my stack of reference photos and picked one that shows a squirrel on a brick wall.

This is from a photo I made myself. I tend to wander around the world with a camera, and on this day I startled a squirrel which must have been relatively young, it really wasn't quite sure how to get away from me, it ran in one direction, changed directions then started to climb a wall, fell off, ran a different direction, went back to the wall tried to climb again, fell off again, and tried a third time and finally managed to get a grip and actually climb. I watching these antics, got the camera ready and when it stopped for a moment on the wall to check me out I made some photos.

For this piece I did lay it out first with pencil then using my 0 (.35 mm tip) technical pen I drew it again in ink. The lines are basically scribbles, but the scribbles have given it a more spontaneous feel than it would have had if I had used more traditional techniques. It isn't a masterwork, but it is a fun piece.

Again I wasn't in the mood for more leaves so I drew another animal. This is my Sister's cat. I can't recall if I made the reference photo or if it was part of a group she sent me. Again there is a pencil under drawing for this, Accuracy counts with cats esp. their faces. I have her sort of floating in space I know, but I deliberately didn't anchor her to the background.

For this piece I used various commercial technical type pens, There are actually 2 browns and a black, the browns are Copic .05 Multiliner, and a Prismacolor 005 liner,  the black is a .05 Copic Multiliner. Not totally her, but pretty close, she is a pretty kitty. I didn't want to draw an inked outline around her, most of her outline is defined by either the background or her dark fur, and occasionally some shading.

More fall follage, again a maple tree in full color. Won't be long now until all the leaves are gone and we will be left with bare tree's.

I am not sure what these flowers are, they are growing in a neighbors front yard, and as you can see are a very pretty pink. I tried for several days to get a good photo of these. But I was mostly trying at the wrong time of day. Yesterday I was out in the early afternoon and finally had enough light to get a good photograph.

That is it for today. Comments are welcome, I would to know which of my Inktober drawings you like the best.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mid Point of Inktober

We are now more than half way through October and so far so good as far as my keeping up with the #inktober challenge goes. I have been doing one ink drawing per day. Well mostly, some days I just do the drawing part and then ink it in in the morning, but I am staying up to date so far so I am not going to quibble too much.

All drawings are being done in my small sketch book (5 x 8 inches, approx) most starting with pencil drawings and then being inked with a combination of dip pen, technical pen and my Copic Multiliner. The figure work is from my memory/imagination while the plant materials are all from reference, usually the actual object. So any errors you see in figures is because I don't have a real image in front of me.

I used the leaf and a seed pod from a Red Bud tree for the above, that little brown dot is actually one of the seeds of the Red Bud. Antelope brown ink was used for the plant material. Dip pen for the outlines and a brush for the wash. I do water the ink down quite a bit before brushing it on the drawing.

For the pears I did things slightly differently. After the initial pencil drawing the bowl and the pears were outline with a dip pen and Sepia ink, but for the color I went with watercolor paints entirely. I am relatively pleased with how this one came out. It would have been better if I had used watercolor paper for a base but still I like the results of this one.

We have a lot of Beech trees in MA. The woods/forest are full of the native species, and many cities and towns have specimens of various European Beeches growing in yards. These leaves are from a neighborhood tree which is an old Copper Beech. The tree has an enormous trunk (several feet in DIA) so I feel that it has to be over 100 years old.

Doesn't matter if the trees are native or European they all have these slightly prickly seed pods that contain 3 triangular seeds. I have drawn an empty pod and one seed to go with the leaves above.

Native Beech leaves turn yellow in the fall and sometimes the leaves will stay on the tree until next spring when the growth of the new leaves forces the old to fall. In the woods the ground underneath a grove of beech trees sometimes looks like it has a yellow carpet from the fall of leaves. Can you tell that I am very fond of Beech Trees.

I went back to the Antelope Brown for the leaves and seed pod above.

I bet you are wondering where this drawing came from. It is actually my ink drawing for the 18th. I was so tired/bored of drawing my Elf yesterday that I decided I deserved a break. These 3 mushrooms are from a photograph I made earlier in the summer and I decided they would be a good subject for yesterdays drawing. I used my Technical pen (.35mm tip) for this, making simple shapes and then shading, and then cross hatching the background to add value contrast. I didn't do a pencil sketch with these, I didn't see any reason to actually. Not amazing, but acceptable and I enjoyed the break from the Leaf/seeds and Elf series.

Closing with a couple more fall photographs. We have had some semi cold nights (no frost here, but there was elsewhere in the State) so I am not sure how much longer these flowers will survive, such a pretty yellow they brighten any yard.

The maple in the above photo is in one of the city parks and as you can see showing its colors while most of the other trees are still quite green.

Well that is it for today per usual comments are welcome. I hope you are enjoying my Inktober drawings for the most part I am enjoying making them.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Doodle and More Inktober

So far so good this month, I have actually managed one Inktober drawing a day. Well sometimes the inking overlaps onto the morning of the next day, but I am getting the drawings done on the day. I am continuing to use a combination of reference materials and my imagination for these. The plant materials are the ones I am using references for and my figure is from my memory and imagination.

With the mushrooms above I have started using a brush to either add color or tone to the drawings instead of doing them all with the pen and having just lines. The mushrooms just called out for color and I couldn't resist. The brown in the above drawing is mostly ink, thought there is a bit of brown watercolor mixed in, the red is just watercolor.

Again these are done in my 8 x 5 inch sketchbook and I am doing under-drawings with pencil prior to inking. The mushrooms were collected on a visit to Massasoit State Park in East Taunton, and no I didn't eat any of them, when I finished drawing them I tossed them in the trash.

On another walk this week this one in Borderland State Park, Easton, MA. I acquired the leaf and seed pod of a yellow poplar. The seed pod pretty much fell apart on the way home so I ended up printing out a photograph I had made earlier in the day and using that as reference. I used Antelope Brown ink for this drawing.

On a walk to the library I collected this Rose Hip and a rose leaf. Also got pricked by thorns. Not sure what variety of rose the bush is other than one of the reds, it tends to bloom all summer and doesn't have an obvious fragrance.

I used Winsor Newton Nut Brown ink for this drawing, well other than the black.

I noticed this tree which is growing sort of on waste ground last year, but couldn't get either one of the seed pods or a leaf to make an ID of it. This year there was more of a low growing branch and I was able to snag both some seeds and a leaf, and yes that is one leaf and is actually a couple of feet long. The tree is the Tree of Heaven, it is originally from China and was planted for a while by city fathers who wanted trees that didn't mind pollution. It has turned into a problem invasive and is no longer allowed in some states and is certainly no longer being planted by those in the know.

I have only noticed this one tree in my city, but that doesn't mean there aren't others, which there probably are as this one is probably a volunteer, meaning not planted by anyone deliberately. Not sure how old it is as I don't know its growth habits, but it is old enough to bloom and have seeds so not young.

The ink here was Sepia again.

Above is the doodle, done with one of my technical pens, I just needed to play with something other than the more restrictive Inktober drawings. This was just drawn directly in ink, not even much pre-planning. I actually rather like it.

Both photographs are from my walk in Borderland State Park on Monday. It was a beautiful sunny warm (temp in the low 70's) fall day. This is some kind of Maple overlooking what should be a pond but with our lack of rainfall this summer was mostly an empty hole. I could see tree stumps and even some old stone fences from when this was farm land prior to the creation of a dam that is not in this photograph.

I love photograph milk weed seed pods that are releasing their seeds, the silk lit by the sun is so much fun.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.