Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Landscapes and Atmosphere

It's been about a hundred years since I last posted, but I'm still here!

I'm working really hard to improve my art work, focusing a lot on putting my subjects in a space with some depth, and atmosphere.  I spent about 40 minutes doing this sketch, and it's the first woods scene of my life that actually achieved that.

Drawing from life or photos of scenes has helped a lot.  Especially when it comes to the texture of plants, though I know I've got a long way to go.  For this one, I used the value almost exclusively.  The limited light source really helps you push things into the background. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Making a Maxi Can Make you Mad!

It's summer + I wanted a maxi dress + I have short legs = I make my own.
This one, to be exact, cause it's purdy!

Smocked Maxi Dress 4/2013 #125, from BurdaStyle

The measurements seemed like they should be just fine, other than the length adjustments I knew I would have to make.  So I just dove right in.  I got the bodice done, and it was beautiful, but way too big.  Like, the shoulder straps sliding off my shoulders too big.  The arm holes are gimongous, too big.  Who has tatas this size, too big.  

I took it as a cue to finally draft myself a sloper based on my actual measurements.  I used a tutorial on youtube for a very basic sloper, and I measured in centimeters.  For one, the video used metric, and it's just more precise.  Additionally, I have no idea what 50 cm actually is, so it's a good, honest way of measuring myself.  

I traced my new sloper onto some vellum, and began marking points based on the Burda pattern.  I marked the depth of the V-neck, and where I wanted the shoulder straps to land.  I matched the width of the straps, and matched the armhole of the Burda pattern to that of my sloper.  Here, you can see all the changes I made.  The original sloper in purple, and the pattern in blue.

And here's a comparison between the original pattern pieces and the modified ones.

The bodice ended up a little too long in the back, and I'm not quite sure why.  It's still wearable, but I need to figure it out! I love this pattern, and it may be the first of many more maxis for me.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Color-aid Paper and Colored Pencil - A Great Pair!

Well folks, I have been busy! I've done a lot of work on the house, a lot of family related stuff, and lots of drawing!

My sister had this big stack of Color-aid paper.  If you've never seen it, the color is rich, incredibly even, and has a very fine tooth.  We were going to try some collaborative exercises, but we've both got a lot on our plates and it hasn't really worked out.  What did happen, is that I found out I LOVE to draw on it with colored pencil!

I've always really enjoyed drawing on toned and colored paper, but this stuff is fantastic.  It's small, so I don't usually spend more than a couple of hours on a drawing.  It's a lot of fun to let the colors come through in the drawing.  This is made extra challenging by the fact that it doesn't erase well.  In fact, you'll probably lift the color off the page before you lift the marks you want to remove. 

The best way I've found to work on it, is to start with a low-contrast pencil, and draw lightly.  For these bird drawings, I've been lightly blocking in the whole bird, and slowly building the colors.  It was initially developed as a backdrop for photographs, but since when did artists ever use things the way they were intended?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Black Is (And Isn't) A Color

James Gurney has just published the best explanation of the properties of black that I have ever seen. He has done a four part examination of its use as a pigment, in composition, and properties as a color...or not.  This last installment was my favorite.  As it turns out, it depends on the context of the discussion, and its relation to other colors.  This man is a heck of an educator!

If you don't read his blog yet, I highly recommend it.  GurneyJourney.blogspot.com

Saturday, December 14, 2013

New Scanner!

A Scanner Darkly: It might be the name of a really weird movie.  It might also be the addictive behavior of a person who just purchased an Epson Workforce 7510. 

We bought it for the large-format printing and scanning ability.  Now, I'm not planning to make art prints for sale with this thing, though I hear it does ok with that.  I was really interested in the scanning ability.  The reviews were great, and I've been a scanning fiend since it arrived!  It's got an 11x17" bed, and prints up to the same size.  It's not a plug-and-play scanner, but the software and network setup is not complicated, and the directions were quite clear. And all of that setup comes from it being WIRELESS!  Here's a fun feature: any apple mobile device connected to the same network can print without any setup!

Check out the detail it captured in one of my new drawings:
Primary - Female Eastern Bluebird

I'm still tweaking the color settings.  It seems to read white as white, without letting its natural transparency appear.  Much of this can be corrected in Photoshop without too much effort.  I did change the gamma setting, which helped a great deal.

I also prefer to start my scans through the PC application, because you can crop out the extra scan area before the image is captured.  If you use the buttons on the scanner itself, you cannot perform this function. 

Yes, I've only had this thing for a few days, but I really could not be happier!  Scanning is so much faster than setting up a photo for these small drawings!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In The Dark

Rachel has done it again, and assembled a seriously A-list team of creators for her horror anthology, IN THE DARK.  She's funding it through Kickstarter, and today is the last day to get a copy.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sargent's Methods

I've been reading the book John Sargent, by Evan Charteris.  Sargent is one of the greats of portraiture, and my work has been leaning that direction lately, so I've been doing my research.  This book was written shortly after his death, by someone who knew him personally.  It contains statements from his students, and is generally a close look at his life.  Most important, it talks about his methods, not just examines his work.

In the last couple of pages I read, I learned that he preferred to work on the mid tones, and lift the lights and deepen the shadows from there.  Let me tell you, this is a GREAT way to work!  It's my favorite way to work on drawings, in fact.  So why have I never tried that in a painting?  I haven't a clue.  But I'm going to now!  Can't wait to share the results!

I've also recently started posting photos to my Blue Canvas account.  I found it through the magazine first.  It's one of my favorites, and features a wide variety of mediums and styles of art.

Check me out here!