Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ATC and More Cookbook Illustrations

Above is another ATC that I have been working on. I wanted to play with designs that looked more like a machine than what I normally do. Still I can't seem to stay away from curves and more organic looking forms. I started with my technical pen, drawing the lines and dark areas then added color using my watercolor pencils and a couple of the Inktense pencils. Colors with activated with a wet brush. 

Done strictly for fun. 

I am still puttering away on my ideas for the cookbook Illustrations. When drawing the above page I was thinking that my sketches so far have been way too complex. I really don't think I need elaborate drawings for these pages, in fact simpler is probably better. So above are 3 quick sketches that I drew from memory. The knife and fork are slight wonky, but that is semi deliberate, I am also trying to get away from my urge to make totally realistic drawings. While that sounds easy to do, for me it isn't. I imagine that the early modernists also had to work to distort and simplify their images after being trained to draw realism.

Just for fun I cropped out the plate with the knife and fork from the scan of the above sketches and using some different brushes in Photoshop applied some color. I didn't even try to stay too neat and within or under lines. Sort of fun to do, and just another option that I need to think about prior to making any decisions.

I actually finished this bag a couple of weeks ago, and it was started a couple of years ago. Oops, can I say I got sidetracked with other projects. Anyway this one is now done, batiks on the outside and more ordinary fabrics as the inside lining. I am still working on 2 more of these and a couple more of the shopping bag size.

Another photograph made in my local park. I just thought the clouds were interesting in this photograph.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are always welcome. If you have been following along with my cookbook sketches let me know which style you find the most interesting, simple sketch, Illustrator drawing, Pen and Ink outlines, or one of the more elaborate sketches that could become a finished drawing.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New ATC's, a bag and a figure drawing

I am not creating as much art as I would like to be doing. But I am doing more than I was back in December. In the past few days I have finished 2 new ATC's (Artist Trading Cards), the top one is totally new and is based on the pear sketches I was doing last week. I threw in an apple just to add some variety. Outlined with ink and colored with colored pencils. I used mainly my Polychromes but also a few of the Derwents. Background is mostly pen with some colored pencil.

I call the card above Red Moon. I started it last year but only did the ink work, I felt it needed something more so in the past few days I added color using Inktense and watercolor pencils. I did the coloring first with the pencils and then using a wet brush activated the colors.

I like doing ATC's they are small so finish quickly, well more quickly than a larger work would do, they allow me to experiment without investing a lot of time. Both of these were done on Stonehenge paper.

I haven't forgotten about the cookbook illustrations so worked on some thumbnails over the weekend trying to generate ideas. The sketches above are for the Desserts section. Some relatively simple and others more complex. Still nothing here really thrills me so I will just have to continue working on it.

Above is the figure drawing I made this past Monday. Simple pose on a single chair, not not quite as easy to draw as you might think. Still I rather like how she came out. Backs can be so very fun to draw.

I am also still working on some sewing projects. Above is another of my shopping bag sized bags finished. This one is put together with many of my Indonesian Batiks. Well not all the fabrics are truely batiks, but if they aren't batiks they are traditional patterns, and the lining is a classic batik pattern. Some of these were rather expensive fabrics back when I purchased them. With the cost of cotton going ever upward the price doesn't seem to high now, anyway they were just sitting in the stash and I decided that it would be better to just use them then to let them continue to sit on the shelf.

I like this one, I esp enjoy the combination of colors and pattern styles.

Last image for today is a photograph I made in my local park. The ice on the pond was melting that day with intermittent sun and clouds. I love the reflection of the bare tree trunks on the water pooling over the ice. It has since turned very cold and I have a feeling the pond is again totally frozen over.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are always welcome.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pears and Bread

First up images of pears that I drew last night. The top scan drawings were done with graphite, I think it was my 2H lead, rather hard so I didn't get very dark darks but I didn't feel like playing with softer leads so they are what they are. All drawings are of the same Bosc Pear just in different positions.

Below is the same pear this time drawn with a technical pen. I used a bit of cross hatch for the shading of the curves. Two different looks, I am not sure which I prefer.

The next two images are more development work for my cookbook illustrations. I was working on ideas for the Breads section, started with a loaf of fresh baked bread, and a couple of muffins.

The above drawings were done in my sketchbook using a technical pen. The top two reproduce the drawing I started in Illustrator, the lower image is my imagining a different set of images for the drawing. Need to do some more of that. So far I have just gone with my first idea, which I learned in my graphic design classes is often not the best one. I won't be sure until I push to develop other concepts which one ultimately works the best.

The image above is from my Adobe Illustrator drawing. Not sure I am pleased with it, I think the blue needs more work, maybe widen the lines and perhaps darken the color so the changes are a bit more subtle.

As a total change of focus my figure drawing from Monday nights session. a new model for us, in a pose that looks like it should be easy to draw. Actually she held the pose very well except for her head position which tended to drift a bit. Only semi pleased with this, I feel I didn't get all the relationships correct, and looking at it now the head seems a bit small. When I was drawing it seemed too large, ah well hopefully I will do better this coming week.

Last a image of a downy woodpecker feeding at my wire feeder. I don't get a huge variety of birds at the feeder, the downy's, a nuthatch or two, starlings and sparrows. If there are others I haven't seen them. What I find a bit odd is that a downy will perch on the feeder and just hang there, not eating, but not really looking around either. Not sure what it is doing, sometimes after sitting a bit it will fly away, other times it will start feeding again. I did see a blue jay the other day, but it wasn't at the feeder.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Veggies on my Mind

Not the best drawings, sketches actually, and I need to do a lot more as these are really just concept sketches.

I guess I need to back up a bit here. A couple of years ago I started a project to create a cook book of family recipes. I have mostly finished setting up the recipes in In-Design, though I just realized I need to go back in and make the different sections the same number of pages, 28 pages to be exact as that is the number of pages you need to create an easily printed booklet. I learned that when I was making the calendars. Ah well better now than when I actually go to do the print job. Anyway I have been thinking my book/booklet needs illustrations. So over this weekend I started to sketch out some ideas. The top one above will be for soups. The next on down for vegetables.

With the thought of vegetables I decided I needed to do some practice drawings. I have not been doing my daily drawings and I am not happy about that so decided that yesterday was a good day to start back into the practice. I pulled an onion out of the frig. and sketched it in various positions, first with pencil then with pen and then with colored pencil.

Above are my colored pencil efforts. Top is the onion, not wonderful but I think it has the feel of an onion, the lower drawing is a sweet potato. I like to eat them so had one in the frig to use as a model. Again not wonderful but I think it looks like a sweet potato.

I have also been downloading some reference images to use for my drawings. Haven't quite decided on a style for them, but I don't think I want to go hyper realistic with these.

Above is my first long pose drawing of 2013 and done last Monday night. The hints of color that you are seeing were provided by my using one of my Christmas presents, Derwent Graphtint pencils. I used a wet brush after I got home to bring out the color and make it looked like it had been washed.  Not sure how I like the effect, I think I need to play with them a bit more.

Above is a Photograph I made of the Moon back in December. I was walking in my local park and couldn't resist the sight. The sun was starting to set as you can see by the pinkish clouds.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are welcome.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Catchup Figure Drawings and a bookmark

I am showing the bookmark first but really this update is all about figure drawings. I was doing so little other drawing in the run up to Christmas (see the post last week about bags for what I was busy doing) that I neglected the blog for other activities. So even though I was still attending my weekly life model sessions and doing the work I wasn't posting the results. Since it is now January 2013 I feel like I need to clear the decks by posting all the work finished last year. 

So above is a bookmark that I drew and colored last year but didn't get the tassel made until this past week or so. I was trying a slightly different method of attaching the tassel, which I think I prefer to the way I was doing it, though the results pretty much look the same. Anyway I used pen and ink on Stonehenge paper and colored the finished drawing by using Inktense pencils a brush and a bit of water. 

On January 1st I participated in a short pose life model session. The drawings above and the one below are a couple of samples of the drawings I made during that session. The above poses were probably around 2 minute poses, the one below was more like 10 minutes. Not quite enough time for a fully realized drawing, but time enough to get the gesture and hopefully some of the energy of the pose.

I went through a lot of paper, and while some of the drawings work for me, there were more that I am not so pleased with. My excuse is that I haven't done any short pose drawings for a couple of years. My other excuse is that I don't often get the chance to draw a male. Males are less inclined to participate in long pose sessions and I don't have access outside of the studio.

The next three drawings are long pose studies from the Monday night sessions I attended last year. I am mostly pleased with these drawings and will just let them stand by themselves, not to say that they don't have issues, they do, but for the most part I feel I actually captured the features of the models which makes me happy. Course you will just have to take my word for it that the drawings look like the models as I don't have any photographs of he models.

One last image a photograph I made last week in my local park. It snowed the last Saturday in December and it had stayed cold enough after that for the snow to still be on the ground when I took a walk around the park. It had been cold enough that the ponds/lakes were mostly frozen over with just a few open spots for the ducks, geese and swans to still swim and feed.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are welcome.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year and an update on bags

I want to take a moment to wish my readers a Happy, Healthy, and Safe 2013. May this coming year be a good one for you, your friends and family.

It has been way too long since I posted an update here, but I was in something of a quandary. I wasn't doing a lot of drawing, except for my weekly figure drawings and I don't like to post those as my featured image but I was doing a lot of sewing. The problem with posting what I was sewing to the blog was that my family reads my blog and the sewing was for Christmas gifts, bags to be specific. Well now Christmas has come and gone so I can post these photos to the blog for all to see.

Above is the knitting bag I made for my sister, Japanese fabrics along with some batiks. You can't see the inside but I incorporated pockets on both sides. Several narrow pockets to store knitting needles, and a large pocket on the other side for patterns. The handles are braided fabric strips with D metal loops to attach the strips to the bag. All sides have batting between the lining and outside fabrics. For the photograph I put some of my own yarn balls into the bag to make it stand up. Size is 15 inches x 14 inches x 6.

This second bag is larger and also of simpler construction, just a lining fabric and the outside strips, no batting, though I did reinforce the bottom with a non-woven stiffener to provide a sturdy base. This one is about the size of a large shopping bag, 20 x 19 inches, and is 6 inches wide. The one above is actually my prototype, I made 3 more for family members. On theirs I applied a zig zag stitch to the raw outer edges which finishes them off a bit more. I use mine to haul clothes back and forth to the laundry, not sure how my family will use theirs.

I was also working on more bags to wrap Christmas presents. You can see my Sister's tree in Chicago with the fabric wrapped gifts. They make a rather colorful sight. The best part is there is very little cleanup after everything is unwrapped. The bags are saved and will be reused next year.

This will be my third year making bags. I figure I need to do at least one more year before we will really have enough to just recycle them from year to year. I originally got the idea from a fellow member of a Yahoo group I belong to, my family and I have found it to be a wonderful idea, much the easiest way to wrap gifts (and you often don't even need those pesky boxes, just put the article in the bag with a tag and your good to go). I purchase the Christmas fabric for the bags at the after Christmas sales which does cut down on the cost.

Last but not least one of the figure drawings I was working on while doing all that sewing. This is from early in December. I am only semi pleased with this one, but I do have a couple from last month that I will be posting that I am quite happy with.

One last image, a photograph of Millennium Park with the Chicago Skyline behind it made from inside the Art Institute of Chicago in the fairly new Modern Art wing.

I did enjoy my visit to the museum, though I have to tell you that I have no love or understanding as to why solid color painted squares or rectangles are considered Art and given space in a Museum. As far as I am concerned they are color studies not art, but then I am not a critic so have to admit I might not be a good judge. On the other hand we saw some wonderful textiles from around the world, and some works on paper that I do consider art. I may post some more images in my next Blog update.

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