October 22, 2013

This story kind of ticks me off, because — honestly— who does it offend? We’re not talking about a marker at Arlington cemetery, this is just a regular graveyard in Ohio. Considering how many negative impressions children have about death, funerals, and cemeteries, plus the  popularity of zombies in media right now (and don’t send hate mail- I love me some Walking Dead), doesn’t it seem like a good idea to do anything that might abate some of the fears attached to cemeteries for children? If the concern is how it affects people, then maybe we should rethink all the naked-child/cherub statues and weeping angels (which any Dr Who fan can tell you is now ultra creepy to see anywhere)! I would think as a child, seeing a pleasant image like Spongebob during an event as sad as a funeral, would be comforting instead of… hell, I don’t even know— what is the complaint? If the family doesn’t find it disrespectful, then who are we to say it is for them? I’m annoyed that society feels it can tell a family they can’t have a cartoon headstone for their murdered child, but it doesn’t do anything to the parents of a boy that illegally gets on a plane and flies to another state after he just rammed a stolen truck into a police car! Sorry— tangent.

Here’s a pic of the headstone, courtesy of Cartoon Brew, where you can also read more about this. Look at the friendly smile… offensive, isn’t it? Nay verily.


I think it’s just other people operating from a stand point of jealousy, but then most reactions humans have to something are either out of that… or fear. If Spongebob can help one kid with the fear thing, isn’t that reason enough to keep it? Not to mention the rights of the family to celebrate the life of their daughter as they want to. I’m not condoning statues of people being slaughtered (although the Romans covered that), or people having sex (I think they did that one too). Seriously, it’s friggin Sponge Bob people. Get a grip.

Either way, speaking as part of a family that spent a similar amount on the marker of my own father back in 92, I’d be pissed as hell to be told I couldn’t celebrate his life the way I wanted.  A monument is supposed to mark, celebrate, and remember the life of the person it’s for. When my father passed, I wanted to shout at the world, and remind them of what he had accomplished in his life, but we thought this pretty much covered it.

Miss you Dad.







So to continue on from my last post, here are more drawings of pretty ladies. I mentioned I was having trouble deciding if I wanted to stick with chalk/graphite or go with markers. I’ll probably just continue to bounce between the two.

For now, here are a few images from recent sessions.





I always love a challenge, and foreshortened poses are nothing but. First, there’s just getting the angle right. One wants to make the person look like they’d be normal if they suddenly stood up. Sometimes you get figures that are built like cartoons, with heads that are too big for their bodies, etc… Second, because of the first challenge you end up spending more time on your base drawing than you’d like, but you still want to finish in the 20 minutes you have during the pose. I’m not one to go back and add things after the model is done, I like to keep things as they were when I was doing them. I think it’s a better representation of what I can do in the time allotted.


I spoke about markers above, and in my previous post, but even in the marker issue there are other things to debate. The process I follow in chalk or marker is basically the same. I start with a pencil drawing, then I go over it with various gray graphites/chalks or markers, then drop in my white highlights, and lastly hit the edges or dark areas again with black marker or charcoal. Anyone familiar with Copic markers (and other brands) know that there’s not one “gray”, there are a range from light to dark and then various hues. There are cool grays, warm grays, neutral grays, and tonal grays- just in the Copic system alone. I usually bring three stages of gray, and two sets; one warm and one cool. I can’t decide which I like better, part of my brain has always preferred the nature of cool grays, Payne’s gray being my favorite color over all others. I find them comforting and gentle, but the argument can be made that warm grays feel more vibrant and alive. This first image is done in warm grays, the second in cool. It’s a hard choice for me, as the warm grays (which tend to lean toward red) blend in with the paper’s rosey/brown a bit more, but the cool grays (and their blue hue) seem to pop from the page more dramatically. If there were a theme to the image, or some sort of context, the decision would be easier. For now, it’s just a preference problem. Thoughts?



Lastly, we’ve all seen the trend of “photo bombing” on the internet, well it happens in drawing too. The last pose of the evening the other night was a reclining one, and people started whizzing about the room to find their ideal spot. I never move, this goes back to my “no bad pose” theory, and how you draw what you get. If you only draw people from the front, then when you have to draw someone from the side or back, you’re screwed. However, one girl decided to sit on the floor, to do a back drawing… right- in front- of- me. I think it’s a bad decision to crane your neck around an object to do a sketch, because your point of view alters. Basically you end up doing one, of two, things… either a bad realistic drawing (because some bits are seen from a different angle than the rest), or a half arsed cubist image (which is essentially the idea of seeing different angles of an object all in the same drawing). I chose to draw what I saw- hence the new internet trend of “drawing bombing”. Well played art student, well played.


Sketch Dump- February

February 22, 2013

It’s that time again, when I parade out my lame attempts from figure drawing sessions that I attend. This month has been a little bit like a Hollywood version of a life drawing class in that all the models have been young, thin, and pretty… gets awfully dull. Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the older guys in class, (weird, there seems to be three distinct ages- 65+ then a 20 year gap to the 40s, then another 20 year gap to the college kids- odd, eh?) so I don’t mind seeing pretty, young women in only what God sent them into the world with. Even then— lets mix it up a bit!

Below are a few of the recent efforts, all on colored paper, but I’m constantly trying to decide what I prefer to work in. I bounce between Creatacolors thick drawing leads (which have a nice range of graphite, charcoal, and chalk options) and the paper saturating Copic markers (which are intense, and visually pop off the page). The thing is, both give me the look I want, but in different ways— like two pianists, each can play the piece, but one strikes at the keys while the other taps them. So the question is, do I prefer the stark nature of the markers, or the gentle tones of the graphite/chalk? It may be a practical issue that decides things, as the markers don’t smear or wear off the pages of the sketchbook during transit, where the other does. I haven’t made up my mind, so if anyone has any specific thoughts go ahead and post them.

First up are some old images I found which I can’t remember if I posted or not. Since I’m lazy and don’t date things, I can’t tell when I did them; I know it hasn’t been too long since they’re near the end of the book. These do stand out, because it’s one of the rare times we draped the model. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine with drawing sessions, I know we need to understand the form to know how it will change the fall of cloth over the body, but you have to draw cloth sometimes to know what it does! Sure it has certain tendencies, bit rarely will a person take a pose, drop out of it, and then back into the same pose to have the folds of the cloth repeat the same position; it’s just not that consistent. Yes, the “pinch points” will be at the joints and edges, but how many folds, or how it creases, will change by how the position is set. Seeing that, studying it, is enormously beneficial, and why schools don’t work it into their programs is beyond me. In 99.9% of my career the figures have worn clothes. The .1% that didn’t— well, we won’t mention since it would hurt my political career. Seriously, I draw more jackets than nipples and more slacks than bare bums. Sorry— rant. So here are a couple that I found from that session involving drapery… they’re very “Clash of the Titans”.



So back to my original comment, that the models lately have all been in their mid twenties, in shape, and pretty. Nothing to complain about, but life drawing is meant to challenge you, and to force on to see, and draw, things in a different way, which can be hard when you find yourself repeating things. I mentioned in a previous post, there are not bad poses, so I’m not blaming the models, rather the mind set of classes. It’s a catch-22, you want people to attend,  to have sessions that appeal to people who aren’t professionals, but (sadly) it also appeals to middle aged men who want to see naked women. Lets be honest here- because I know one guy who only draws if the model is thin and pretty, for he seems to chat and eat a lot of snack food when it’s a guy, they’re older, or the model is on the heavy side. I admit, pretty girls in the nude… well, I’m a bloke, I’m pre-programmed that way; but I love a challenge. I like having to take what most people don’t find appealing and make it attractive, or to find the beauty where others miss it. I like the challenge of folds, wrinkles, man bits, etc… but, that’s not to say I want those all the time either. The thing is to mix it up, men, women, fat, thin, old, young, tall, short, apple, pear, pole- doesn’t matter, but lets represent!

Be that rant as it may, here are some nice drawings of young, thin, girls— who never seem to let their hair down. I will admit, though, I did like this girl’s braided hair.





Just in case anyone was wondering, here is a scan of from one of my books so you can get a sense of scale. I work on small pads, rather than the spiral bound billboards a lot of people bring in to draw on. Anyone who has seen my original comic work knows I draw on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper. I like that size, because it’s easier to see a page as a complete thing, and it keeps me from getting bogged down in too much detail. I was talking with another artist at the session and it dawned on me, it probably has something to do with the fact I grew up drawing on notebook paper (as most kids do), so I suppose there’s a bit of a comfort zone built in as well. You can see the spirals of the notebook at the top of this one, which I think is 5×7, or 7×5- depending on how you hold it. ;¬P



More to come next week- with less complaining, and more drawings.