Yes, I’m still alive.

A little surprised though to see that I haven’t posted anything in over a year, and really only because I haven’t done any “serious” drawing in that long.  By serious I mean sitting for a couple hours at a stretch.  There have been the occasional doodles and and 20 second sketches… oh, God that’s just sad.

Well, the other day I decided that, dag-gummit, I was a gonna set myself down and draw.  I had intended on doing this drawing for a very long time, as I loved the source photo when I first saw it.  The girl pictured was one of three I worked with a couple years ago whose face paints I did for Halloween.  This make-up was my favorite of the bunch, especially cause it was so well-framed by her hair.  I altered her selfie a little bit at the collar for the sake of symmetry, but otherwise this is what she looked like.

It’s neat (to me at least) to cover half the picture with my hand, flip it to the other side, then back again… “so pretty…so scary… so pretty… so scary….”

Couldn’t think of a title though, started with “skull…..” and the word “baby” popped into my head.  One of those word association things cause there’s a song called ‘Skullbaby’ by a punk band called the Didjits I used to see (what seemed every other week) back at U of I (Illinois at Urbana) in 1987.  They were usually packaged with another local indie band called the Poster Children.

‘Skullbaby’ always struck me as amusing cause the lyrics began:

“Momma had a skullbaby… and it screeeeamed all night long… you would scream too if all you had was a skull!”

Back then, I had my friend copy his copy of the Didjit’s home-made CD onto a cassette for me… but thanks to the internet I see all this stuff is available on Youtube, and I am blaring what was, in 1987, the new album ‘Hey Judester’.

Holy crap that was nearly thirty years ago.  How is it I still know the songs but couldn’t even tell you what classes I took without looking at my transcripts?




trapeze3 trapeze2trapeze1


Well, I finally found the time to head over to another figure drawing workshop.  This was a five hour session, but I had missed the first hour since I was at work Saturday morning.  There were about a dozen artists, and the media used was quite varied: digital painting, oils, watercolors, pencils, charcoals, etc.

The petit model had brought in her trapeze set up, which was hung from the exposed ceiling structure of the converted warehouse which serves as the art studio.  She was up at about six feet off the ground, and did a variety of poses in five minute intervals, where she would sort of stretch and get the blood flowing and all that, then get back into the pose again.  There were perhaps three or four poses over the course of the afternoon.

Early on I was griping to myself about how my butt was uncomfortable in the metal folding chair, but then I looked up at the model who basically was perched on a bar as thick as a towel rack, and decided my suffering was paltry compared to hers, ha ha.  On the other hand, I must weigh 2 or 2-1/2 times as much as she did, so at least I have a smidgen of justification.

My line drawing seemed to come relatively easy today; I didn’t have to scribble-erase much.  If I find the time, I think these would look nice with some digital touch-ups like a toned background and playing with the page dimensions to improve the composition.

It was nice to be drawing again instead of writing!

Felespiller (the fiddler)


Well I finally “finished” ( I still may do some touch ups) my Norwegian fiddler girl.  I suppose I will name her Cecilie, after an actual Norwegian girl who found and complimented my work in progress pic that I had posted on the deviantArt website, and who was kind enough to let me use her ID photo as a reference for the fiddler’s face.  The body, hair and fiddle comes from a photo of an actual professional Hardanger violinist named Maja Gravermoen Toresen.  I never had the time to do some modeling with my wife and kids for the current series, and besides, I do not want the same face for every character.  At least for the male faces I can alter my own by varying hair styles and facial hair, but the women’s faces would not be so easy to adjust with any reasonable level of realism.

I think the whole shebang took 5 or 6 hours over two drawing sessions.  I am happy with it, considering it is the first large scale attempt at realism I have ever done, and using a variety of pencils (H thru 8B).  I do wish I had better quality paper to begin with, this old stuff was not as white as I would prefer, and did not seem to hold up under an eraser that well.  I did wind up buying a much better quality, and really large pad today, figuring I could always cut the sheets in half if I wanted 11×17 size again.  Things I need to figure out at this scale from what I experienced here is how to control smudging, how to avoid shiny/metallic spots from pressing too hard with the darker pencils, and how to add highlights via erasing or perhaps white chalk.

Oh, also I have a new problem: how in the world to take good photos of these drawings at this size.  Here, I taped up the drawing on my kids’ chalkboard easel, turned on a bunch of lamps, and tried to hold my digital camera steady.  Then I imported the photo into Gimp, turned it to gray scale and cropped the edges.  The color you see here is not true to life, and the image is a bit warped (like a fish-eye lens effect) and no where near the resolution I would hope for.  I do have an old film camera that is pretty decent, but who the heck uses film any more besides “real” photographers?

Ballerina (revised)

The first time I posted this, I said i was not happy with the color, and would look at playing with color settings or overlaying a “screen” of color some other time as it would likely take a long time. As it turns out, it took about five minutes to try a couple of color overlays (I went with a sort of honey mustard) and then set the lightness and saturation of all the blue colors almost all the way down.  Life was so much easier drawing only in black and white!



Child’s Play

My sister in law teased me recently about the figure study sessions I attend once a month, wondering how I manage to wind up with naked lady models.  I told her it was not intentional, just serendipitous!  Of course, we finally are getting a male model (costumed as Conan the Barbarian) but on the day I will be out of town.  I will have to rely on whatever photo pack our host will eventually distribute to us for any sketches I may try out.

I looked through my archives and found few male studies worth posting, and my recent drawings are more about the female characters I have come up with, especially Winsome Wildwarden, as seen in these posts (and a few other works in progress):

So what could I do but post a pic of myself (its always about ME!) that my 5 year old daughter drew of me from memory.  She had been doing a little journal for her teacher as a special assignment in her pre-kindergarden class which involved writing a few sentences a day and drawing a scene of that story.  My daughter was born in October, a couple weeks after the cut off date to be able to attend school, and as a result is like 6-12 months older than the other kids in her class, which at that age is a huge advantage.  She is way beyond the rest in reading and writing ability, which is why the teacher gave her this journal project.

The day before she drew this I watched her drawing, and gave her a few pointers.  She was doing the typical child sketching of round head, smiley faced stick figures with hands that looked like lawn rakes.  I told her to make egg-shaped heads, and how to locate where the ears and eyes and nose and mouth are relative to each other, even mentioning the corners of the mouth should sort of line up with the centers of the eyes.  I told her an easy way to make a nose was to make it like a letter “L” instead of a little pimple-like curly thing a-la-Sponge Bob. We practiced by drawing a few superhero faces (X-men and Avengers) and she liked the way things came out. I was so happy and amazed to find this drawing when I came home from work the next day… she had remembered all the little tips and drew a portrait of me as a present.