Here we go.
Day 13: Watching two of the Terminator movies (the first and third, to be precise) I decided for no good reason to try drawing a skull, throwing in a bit of the style I’m trying to develop. Here’s the result:
I’m not too unhappy with it. Skulls can be pretty hard to draw. There ARE examples of skulls within illuminated manuscripts and similar decorated works of mediaeval times so I may copy a few and see how mine compares. Considering I based mine on an anatomical chart of a skull I found on Wikipedia I’m guessing it’d at least be more physically accurate - though art isn’t always about physical accuracy, but more about mood and symbolism.
Anyway, before I start waxing lyrical on the nature of art and am summarily accused of ‘hipster bullshit’ or some other similarly inaccurate term, here’s Day 14:
Yep, it’s a curtain. If my handwriting is too scrappy to read, the lines down the bottom read: Curtain from the portrait of St. Matthew, Lindisfarne Gospels
And that’s what it is. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve always had a hard time dealing with cloth, and the way it’s treated in the Lindisfarne Gospels, as well as a few other manuscripts, blows me away.
Note that one of the lower folds doesn’t have a line leading down from the gathering loop in the middle. It did but I erased it. Why? Because it doesn’t have one in the original. I’m not sure why it doesn’t but there are examples of ‘intentional mistakes’ on several of the Lindisfarne pages, so one assumes it was very intentional in this case.
Not the happiest of subjects, nor the best-executed. Perhaps it’s the size. Remember, if you will, that I’m working on A6 paper (105 x 148 mm - or, if you’re American, 4.1 x 5.8 inches).
I’m still having trouble with cloth; I’m not sure if I’m ever going to get the hang of it (har har, the hang of it, geddit?).
I’m also not great with foreshortening, but one of the legs is indeed foreshortened. I’m not too displeased with the result.
Okay, my artistic efforts have been flagging recently, so I’m determined to break that cycle. Whether I’ll remain determined long enough to manage it is the test.
Lost for ideas of what to draw on Day 11 I prowled about Tumblr for a while and found some items of clothing - skirts.
First thing you’ll notice, apart from how generically sucky the drawings are, is that the pictures are weirdly blue. No, it’s not a different sketchpad. These were taken during the day and this tone, apparently, is what my iPhone picked up on. <shrugs> I don’t claim to understand it.
For the most part they’re fairly rushed. I wanted to get something down. Making cloth look dynamic is something I’ve always struggled with but I think I’ve dealt with the ruffles and such pretty well in this case.
Well, on Day 12 I drew while sitting in a car. That’s when I took all three of these photos which is why they all came out blue, but that’s neither here nor there. Not wanting to do skirts still (apart from putting DSFG in one just to learn ‘im) I was flailing around for a subject when some guy - a quite normal-looking guy - in a beanie walked by my car.
So I drew the first thing that came into my head:
Now, to point out: the guy was of normal weight. I drew a line in the wrong place trying to mimic a jumper (you Americans call them sweaters) and decided I liked the effect. So, as you can see around his belly, I enhanced it a bit to make it a rather expanded beer gut.
And so, in the way that my brain has of running with an idea quite out of control, I give you…
Saint Bloke and the Holy Football.
Today I dug out my little book on the Book of Kells. Here’s an interesting thing…
The faces are somewhat simplified in comparison to the Lindisfarne Gospels. not a great deal, admittedly, but a little. They follow the same basic pattern but the influence of the eyelid lines around the eyes proper is noticeably less. In addition the upper lip is given more of a bow shape, less of a simple semicircle.
Noses, when viewed front-on, look a bit weird. The nostrils become small circles but the whole thing remains, more or less, a nose.
I tried drawing a smiling face. Then I tried giving the smiling face a border around the cheek and chin. That developed into meeting the point of the ear, then the neck begged to be drawn and… Well…
The Reader. The text on the side reads: ‘Smiling young man in a hoodie and loose pants, with a book.’ Note the lack of Disapproving Stick-Figure Guy; I assume his failure to make an appearance means I’m reasonably happy with this drawing, or that DSFG is on a holiday. Attempting to frown when you have no face is probably tiring.
These illustrated manuscripts never cease to amaze me with the grace and detail of their feet and hands. Indeed, they’re a treasure trove of fascinating artistic detail.
Note the lines on the feet - in the original manuscripts these represent, I believe, sandals. This whole picture is really just an adaptation of St. Matthew from the Lindisfarne Gospels, but it required alteration of the right hand and a few other points. Adapting the older drapery-style representation of robes to suit a hoodie and loose pants was particularly enjoyable.
I once used the same pose as the basis of a self-portrait, too; this picture, if you’re curious, is most certainly not a self-portrait. It just sort of… happened.
And, I have to say, it was fun.
Dragged out my mini-book on the Lindisfarne Gospels today (it’s about the size of an A6 page). Got to reminding myself how the faces are constructed:
The ‘eye symbol’ is extremely persistent. Even the cat uses it. Likewise the lips are more or less consistent (on human faces, at least) right across the board.
I really need to work on larger paper, though, and probably when I don’t have a headache and an intense desire to go to sleep.
And I REALLY need to work on the noses.
Why am I putting a question mark in the title? Because it lets people ‘answer’ the post.
Guess what? I’ve been putting the wrong date on things. It’s June, not July, so I’ve been marking everything with 07/2012 rather than 06/2012. Sigh.
Anyway, with that issue solved, here’s yesterday’s post:
I’d planned a huge page of different facial proportions but I had a headache. I’m a bit surprised I kept drawing through it, actually; I guess I must really want to do this.
I had to give DSFG (Disapproving Stick-Figure Guy) a bit of action so after a few rough faces I decided to do one for him. I must say his facial proportions are far easier to get right. Then, of course, I decided to do facial proportions in a circle rather than an oval. Go me.
And of course to round it out I whacked in a saying that’s been bumping around in my head: ‘Everyone has a cross to bear… But for some people it’s a St Andrew’s.’ I might put it on a t-shirt. Most people won’t get the reference but that’s fine with me.
Oh! And! The eye/nose in the centre of the picture is something I’ve been thinking of reviving for a while. Back in Uni I started doing a study into the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Book of Kells and similar illuminated manuscripts. Never took it further than a self-portrait, though. Maybe it’s time to work on it again…
So, okay. It’s maybe not that exciting. Here we go, in any case…
Sometimes the brain comes up with weird stuff. In my case that’s often puns. Bad ones.
At least I didn’t draw Foxanne.
Disapproving Stick-Figure Guy disapproves.
So, my reflections on Day 1…
Something I’ve always struggled with is creating a sense of volume in my art. All of it looks pretty… flat. I was never any good at ceramics, either. Now, for some styles of art a lack of depth isn’t too much of an issue. For some you can fake it by placing the focus in context (ie. an environment, such as a background) and faking depth with things like smaller objects set behind the focus.
Proportion I was (at one stage) passable at. Perspective has always been a bit of a bugbear for me.
Distortion is an interesting element, I find. It can be used to incredible effect when used sparingly (like some of Van Gogh’s portraiture), or it can create a harsh, extreme kind of feeling if used a lot.
There’s a certain skill, though, in making distortion look intentional rather than just badly drawn. Making it look intentional and good is another level of skill entirely, and one which I don’t think I yet have.
Where to go from here? I’ve no idea. I might dedicate a few days to proportion study. Maybe some to perspective as well.
If anyone’s curious, Australians denote dates with a DD/MM/YYYY system rather than a MM/DD/YYYY system. 01/06/2012 is the first of June, not the sixth of January.