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Mark Montana
05-31-2008, 07:14 PM
Hey Everyone.

A couple of people have asked to see some WIP. I know I always enjoy seeing how something is created.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC-stage-3-Tony-detail-3.jpgThis WIP is a drawing of a good friend of mine….so I am taking my sweet time and working on it whenever I can…which ain’t too often.


BEWARE: I do EVERYTHING in my own way…because I am going for something very specific, I have found that there are simply no handy ‘rules’ for me to follow. My techniques are not tried and true approaches that everyone can follow and get good results. I try to use common sense and logic mixed with knowledge gleaned from past experience, with a healthy dose of instinct. All I know is what works for me… when something doesn’t work out right, I am very tenacious and just keep trying.


Whenever someone asks me “how do you start a picture”, I usually answer “I start by scrubbing the toilet”…it sounds like I am being flip, but there is a kernel of truth there. When I am lost in the mendacity of cleaning and organizing my work/living space, my mind is fully engaged in working out the potential problems I will encounter in a new portrait…PLUS, there is nothing like walking into a clean apartment!


In the days and weeks before I first put pencil to paper or brush to canvas, I obsessively THINK about what I want the finished piece to look and FEEL like. I try to visualize in minute detail, what every inch of the picture will look like when it is finished…which areas or details will be the most fun to render or what areas of the picture will create visual excitement. Invariably, there will always be some blind spot in my thinking or some problem I can’t quite resolve in my head beforehand…those are the demons that can make a picture drag on for months.


I started working on this picture on 11/11/2007, and had gotten through the bulk of the work of rendering Tony’s right eye and half of his forehead by the end of the first week…then it was time to pack up all of my artwork and prepare for a move that would take me from Reston, VA to Stockholm, Sweden in the first week of Dec/2007. With all the upheaval and excitement of moving to a new city, I have not had much time to work on poor Tony. I did some more work on this picture for a couple of weeks in March, but I haven’t worked on it since. Perhaps posting this WIP will motivate me to be a little more consistent and shame me into finishing it before the next Ice Age.
It is very difficult to take photographs of a drawing at this stage, because you are essentially photographing white paper with very faint lines on it…if you expose to reveal the pencil marks, then the paper appears too dark…anyway, the solution to that problem is: FINISH THE DAMN PICTURE!


Because I knew I would be transporting this picture with me on the plane to Sweden, it had to be within certain dimensions to qualify as ‘carry-on luggage’. This made deciding on a composition a bit of a mute point as there is not much room for more than head and shoulders on a board that measures 17.5in x 22in. Tony’s head is rendered a little larger than life size (and he has a head the size of a watermelon, to start with…just kidding :wink2:)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC_stage_1_Tony.jpg
11/11/2007…end or first day:
Once I have decided on the composition, I will lay in the standard grid so many artists use. My grids tend to be relatively small, because when you are creating a piece as realistic as one of mine, being off by just a few millimeters can have a dramatic impact. The early stages of putting in the major landmarks are quite boring, but an absolute necessity to land them in the right place. At this stage, I am sifting through 40 or 50 photographs trying to be certain that I fully understand the 3 dimensional contours of whatever it is I am drawing
At this point, I don’t trust anything I see in a single photograph because so often, what might appear to be part of a cheekbone in one picture is revealed to be an ear in another. This is particularly true with things like eye lashes. Getting the pattern or angles wrong can change the shape and over all look of the eyes, so before I put down the line for each eye lash, I try to find the exact same lash in several photos to get a feel for how it moves...it sounds nuts, but that is how I work.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC_stage_2_Tony.jpg
11/15/2007…end of first week:
I refer to this early stage (quite politically incorrectly) as the “burn victim stage”. Although I have a pretty good instinct for hitting the correct value, it is necessary at this early on to go a little darker than the finished picture will end up being and emphasize certain landmarks of the face that might make the face appear mildly disfigured. The reason this is necessary is because one of the hazards of working in pencil is that your marks are easily smudged or erased by simply brushing your arm across the picture. That is one reason I prefer harder pencils (like 7H) because it allows me to really press each mark deep into the fibers of the board and make permanent marks. In the final stages of the picture, the fun part is to go back with a kneaded eraser and soften or lighten certain passages that really unify the whole piece.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC-stage-3-Tony.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC-stage-3-Tony-detail.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC-stage-3-Tony-detail-2.jpg
4/23/2008…An additional 2 weeks of work:
This is the current state of Tony. It is coming along nicely and is in a fun stage. Now that I have enough of the face finished to really know that the likeness is nailed, I can proceed with more freedom to enjoy the process.







MATERIALS and TECHNIQUES:


This drawing is being done on a new illustration board that I have never used before and can’t remember the name of (Sorry). Overall, I am satisfied with its performance and its ability to withstand the rigors of such intense abuse. It is a bit softer than I would prefer and there is some ‘breaking’ of the fibers which is making some of the finer details a bit softer than I would like.

As usual, I am drawing with my beloved “Staedtler Mars Lumographs 100’s”:clap: (they are the blue pencils with the black tip). They are available as hard as 9H and they have (very thoughtfully) printed the number on all 6 sides of the pencil, making it immediately obvious which pencil you are reaching for (Thank you Staedtler). I tend to stay in the harder end of the pencil range, and I rarely go softer than 2H. Dark values are achieved by slowly building up lighter pencil strokes. This technique produces a more even and somewhat lustrous appearance.


Any ‘blending’ is done with those paper stumps. I prefer to use the #2 size, but that is (naturally) the size that is never in stock when I am at the art supply store.


ERASING:
Erasing is very important, and too much of it can ruin the paper or board being worked on. Highlights are usually left ‘blank’ or refined with a kneaded eraser and a very delicate touch. When it comes to things like individual hairs that are lighter or a highlight on an individual hair, I sometimes use one of those hard white eraser pencil with the blue fan brush on the end of it…they are called “typing erasers” and they are getting increasingly harder to find as no one uses typewriters an longer:(. I keep them sharpened with an electric pencil sharpener and refine the sharpened tip with an exacto-knife.
I use this technique VERY SPARINGLY and try not to draw over a place that has been erased. The typing erasers always break the fibers of the paper or board and drawing on the broken fibers renders a darker (dirty looking) value.


CAMERA EQUIPMENT: (for those who are curious)
Moving to high resolution digital was a life changing experience for me. I am a fairly lousy photographer. When I was shooting with film, I would, invariably, make some bone headed mistake that would ruin an entire photo session:(.

There are so many things to know about using a camera properly that I was easily overwhelmed. When I would get my rolls of film developed, I would always be disappointed at how many pictures were duds.
After saving up and doing months of online research, I made the investment in buying good camera and lens and some studio lighting. I am still learning about lighting, but I have come a long way in a short time.



I photographed Tony using a Canon 1Ds (the 11 megapixel) with a 100-400 L Series lens. The lighting was the three ‘Flashpoint II Model 1820A 900 Watt Second Monolights” from Adorama Camera in NYC. I was using some cheap soft boxes that I got on Ebay…Not the best lighting equipment, but certainly good enough.
Currently, I am using the Canon 5D with the L Series 28 – 300 mm lens. I am in HEAVEN with this camera and lens:clap:!

The incredible zoom range allows me to go in for lots of close ups and the lens can focus at a very close range. I thought the 5D would be a step down from the 1Ds, but I have found that it far out performs its Pro brother. It has incredible performance at higher ISO, so I can use a smaller aperture for a larger depth of field.

OK...posting this was quite a project, but it has motivated me to get back to work on Tony...as soon as i get a good night's sleep...and go to the gym...and walk the dog...

Mark Montana
05-31-2008, 07:36 PM
Hey Everyone.

A couple of people have asked to see some WIP. I know I always enjoy seeing how something is created.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC-stage-3-Tony-detail-3.jpg
This WIP is a drawing of a good friend of mine….so I am taking my sweet time and working on it whenever I can…which ain’t too often.


BEWARE: I do EVERYTHING in my own way…because I am going for something very specific, I have found that there are simply no handy ‘rules’ for me to follow. My techniques are not tried and true approaches that everyone can follow and get good results. I try to use common sense and logic mixed with knowledge gleaned from past experience, with a healthy dose of instinct. All I know is what works for me… when something doesn’t work out right, I am very tenacious and just keep trying.


Whenever someone asks me “how do you start a picture”, I usually answer “I start by scrubbing the toilet”…it sounds like I am being flip, but there is a kernel of truth there. When I am lost in the mendacity of cleaning and organizing my work/living space, my mind is fully engaged in working out the potential problems I will encounter in a new portrait…PLUS, there is nothing like walking into a clean apartment!


In the days and weeks before I first put pencil to paper or brush to canvas, I obsessively THINK about what I want the finished piece to look and FEEL like. I try to visualize in minute detail, what every inch of the picture will look like when it is finished…which areas or details will be the most fun to render or what areas of the picture will create visual excitement. Invariably, there will always be some blind spot in my thinking or some problem I can’t quite resolve in my head beforehand…those are the demons that can make a picture drag on for months.


I started working on this picture on 11/11/2007, and had gotten through the bulk of the work of rendering Tony’s right eye and half of his forehead by the end of the first week…then it was time to pack up all of my artwork and prepare for a move that would take me from Reston, VA to Stockholm, Sweden in the first week of Dec/2007. With all the upheaval and excitement of moving to a new city, I have not had much time to work on poor Tony. I did some more work on this picture for a couple of weeks in March, but I haven’t worked on it since. Perhaps posting this WIP will motivate me to be a little more consistent and shame me into finishing it before the next Ice Age.
It is very difficult to take photographs of a drawing at this stage, because you are essentially photographing white paper with very faint lines on it…if you expose to reveal the pencil marks, then the paper appears too dark…anyway, the solution to that problem is: FINISH THE DAMN PICTURE!


Because I knew I would be transporting this picture with me on the plane to Sweden, it had to be within certain dimensions to qualify as ‘carry-on luggage’. This made deciding on a composition a bit of a mute point as there is not much room for more than head and shoulders on a board that measures 17.5in x 22in. Tony’s head is rendered a little larger than life size (and he has a head the size of a watermelon, to start with…just kidding :wink2:)




http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC_stage_1_Tony.jpg
Once I have decided on the composition, I will lay in the standard grid so many artists use. My grids tend to be relatively small, because when you are creating a piece as realistic as one of mine, being off by just a few millimeters can have a dramatic impact. The early stages of putting in the major landmarks are quite boring, but an absolute necessity to land them in the right place. At this stage, I am sifting through 40 or 50 photographs trying to be certain that I fully understand the 3 dimensional contours of whatever it is I am drawing
At this point, I don’t trust anything I see in a single photograph because so often, what might appear to be part of a cheekbone in one picture is revealed to be an ear in another. This is particularly true with things like eye lashes. Getting the pattern or angles wrong can change the shape and over all look of the eyes, so before I put down the line for each eye lash, I try to find the exact same lash in several photos to get a feel for how it moves...it sounds nuts, but that is how I work.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC_stage_2_Tony.jpg
11/15/2007…end of first week:
I refer to this early stage (quite politically incorrectly) as the “burn victim stage”. Although I have a pretty good instinct for hitting the correct value, it is necessary at this early on to go a little darker than the finished picture will end up being and emphasize certain landmarks of the face that might make the face appear mildly disfigured. The reason this is necessary is because one of the hazards of working in pencil is that your marks are easily smudged or erased by simply brushing your arm across the picture. That is one reason I prefer harder pencils (like 7H) because it allows me to really press each mark deep into the fibers of the board and make permanent marks. In the final stages of the picture, the fun part is to go back with a kneaded eraser and soften or lighten certain passages that really unify the whole piece.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC-stage-3-Tony.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC-stage-3-Tony-detail.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-May-2008/106421-WC-stage-3-Tony-detail-2.jpg
4/23/2008…An additional 2 weeks of work:
This is the current state of Tony. It is coming along nicely and is in a fun stage. Now that I have enough of the face finished to really know that the likeness is nailed, I can proceed with more freedom to enjoy the process.







MATERIALS and TECHNIQUES:


This drawing is being done on a new illustration board that I have never used before and can’t remember the name of (Sorry). Overall, I am satisfied with its performance and its ability to withstand the rigors of such intense abuse. It is a bit softer than I would prefer and there is some ‘breaking’ of the fibers which is making some of the finer details a bit softer than I would like.

As usual, I am drawing with my beloved “Staedtler Mars Lumographs 100’s”:clap: (they are the blue pencils with the black tip). They are available as hard as 9H and they have (very thoughtfully) printed the number on all 6 sides of the pencil, making it immediately obvious which pencil you are reaching for (Thank you Staedtler). I tend to stay in the harder end of the pencil range, and I rarely go softer than 2H. Dark values are achieved by slowly building up lighter pencil strokes. This technique produces a more even and somewhat lustrous appearance.


Any ‘blending’ is done with those paper stumps. I prefer to use the #2 size, but that is (naturally) the size that is never in stock when I am at the art supply store.


ERASING:
Erasing is very important, and too much of it can ruin the paper or board being worked on. Highlights are usually left ‘blank’ or refined with a kneaded eraser and a very delicate touch. When it comes to things like individual hairs that are lighter or a highlight on an individual hair, I sometimes use one of those hard white eraser pencil with the blue fan brush on the end of it…they are called “typing erasers” and they are getting increasingly harder to find as no one uses typewriters an longer:(. I keep them sharpened with an electric pencil sharpener and refine the sharpened tip with an exacto-knife.
I use this technique VERY SPARINGLY:eek: and try not to draw over a place that has been erased. The typing erasers always break the fibers of the paper or board and drawing on the broken fibers renders a darker (dirty looking) value.


CAMERA EQUIPMENT: (for those who are curious)
Moving to high resolution digital was a life changing experience for me. I am a fairly lousy photographer. When I was shooting with film, I would, invariably, make some bone headed mistake that would ruin an entire photo session:(.

There are so many things to know about using a camera properly that I was easily overwhelmed. When I would get my rolls of film developed, I would always be disappointed at how many pictures were duds.
After saving up and doing months of online research, I made the investment in buying good camera and lens and some studio lighting. I am still learning about lighting, but I have come a long way in a short time.



I photographed Tony using a Canon 1Ds (the 11 megapixel) with a 100-400 L Series lens. The lighting was the three ‘Flashpoint II Model 1820A 900 Watt Second Monolights” from Adorama Camera in NYC. I was using some cheap soft boxes that I got on Ebay…Not the best lighting equipment, but certainly good enough.
Currently, I am using the Canon 5D with the L Series 28 – 300 mm lens. I am in HEAVEN with this camera and lens:clap:!

The incredible zoom range allows me to go in for lots of close ups and the lens can focus at a very close range. I thought the 5D would be a step down from the 1Ds, but I have found that it far out performs its Pro brother. It has incredible performance at higher ISO, so I can use a smaller aperture for a larger depth of field.

OK...posting this was quite a project, but it has motivated me to get back to work on Tony...as soon as i get a good night's sleep...and go to the gym...and walk the dog...
awards/images/merit_points.gif (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:;)

Gail V
05-31-2008, 11:01 PM
Incredible! I also checked out your website - wow, I am blown away by your talent!

Roxie Real
05-31-2008, 11:23 PM
I just don't know what to say, your talent is incredible. Roxie

terence p
06-01-2008, 09:46 AM
thank you for sharing so much of your approach for both the the drawings and taking photos of the work. I learned so much from this and know it had to take a long time for you to prepare, write and provide all this information.
your work is terrific

Dana Design
06-01-2008, 10:16 AM
This is so spectacular! Thank you for those close-ups. Your talent is amazing.

I was going to place this in the Portrait Classroom but see that it's already there! I'll post your updates there if you like.

PatrickHedges
06-01-2008, 10:45 AM
This is rediculously good. I'm in awe!!!

Mark Montana
06-01-2008, 11:46 AM
Thank you Dana..yes, please post the updates there...cuz i have NO IDEA how to do that :)

I appreciate that you appreciate the WIP.

Dana Design
06-01-2008, 12:01 PM
I'll wait until you've completed this and post the entire thread there!

Mark Montana
06-01-2008, 12:17 PM
Hey Patrick, Thank you muchly...I visited your website, and your work is really wonderful (but I'll bet you already know that ;) )
You have too many great pieces for me to comment on one particular work, but i was very pleased to read about your success at the Urban Art Show.

Cheers and I look forward to spending more time on your site and seeing more work from you.

Mark

JParker
06-01-2008, 12:26 PM
Following along here with interest. You are quite the draftsman. :thumbsup:
Really amazing work and thanks for your process info.

Jerome

Bnsmalkin
06-01-2008, 04:09 PM
Thank you so much for taking so much time with us. I for one have saved this to my favorites so that I can study this much closer.

Your patience and abilities are a true blessing, so I encourage you to keep working this so that I and I am sure others can continue to follow and learn.

Thank you again,

Sharon

Wassie
06-01-2008, 09:37 PM
Thanks so much for this information. I am just in awe of your art.

amedeo_art
06-02-2008, 08:50 PM
All your research and preparation has paid off 150%. You have a great talent.
You're also a damn good communicator.

Richard

greencook
06-03-2008, 01:55 PM
Mark,
Tony is coming alive on paper brilliantly.
I must agree with Richard you are a very good communicator. I very much appreciate you talking about the detailed pre-planning necessary to carry off a piece like this and how a pencil or eraser will affect the fibers of the paper. Small details are so important for those of us wanting to learn. :thumbsup:

I look forward to more posts from you.

BTW: I've really been enjoying your photos of Barcelona from your website.

theBoardLady
06-03-2008, 10:23 PM
Mark, you do such beautiful work. I do scratchboard work and I happen to use those "typewriter pencil erasers" you discussed in your materials section. Here's a little something for you:

http://www.shopatron.com/product/product_id=CFKFC185800/228.0

I hope they ship international. Keep up the good work. :thumbsup:

The BoardLady

Mark Montana
06-03-2008, 11:31 PM
Hey BoardLady....
I like the work of yours that i have seen from your past posts. Scratcboard is not a surface i have ever worked on, but it has caught me attention since joining WC.

Thanx very much for the link...that is very thoughtful of you...I am a bit confused though. Are they selling an entire CASE of those pencil erasers for $30.00 or is that (as it appears) the price for an single pencil? if so...YIKES! (and I thought painting supplies were expensive)

At the moment, i have about 12 of them remaining with about 4 still completely unused, but i have never paid more than a dollar or so per pencil eraser...hmmm...I wonder what makes those pencil erasers so darned expensive...perhaps it has something to do with the soaring prices of oil ;-).

Something i would really love an answer to is: why did Crescent change their recipe for their 100% rag, cold pressed illustration board? :mad:

It WAS such an amazing surface to draw on...now, it is far softer and shreds much more easily (they even changed the graphics on the back of the board...for the worse.

I am not particularly daring when it comes to 'experimenting' with new surfaces...it is daunting to think that i can put so much time and effort into a drawing and discover (too late) that the surface is not strong enough to withstand my drawing technique.

BTW" I want to offer a GROUP: "tack så mycket" to the WC community and the many members who have been so very kind to me.

"hej då"
Mark

Patrice Erickson
06-04-2008, 01:48 AM
Mark, your work is masterful. Thanks for taking the time to start this thread to show us your procedure. I want my studio and home all clean and in order before I begin the next painting, too. It somehow frees my mind to concentrate better on my work.

Patrice

danworg
06-04-2008, 04:04 AM
Mark...sorry just picking my jaw up from the ground.
An inspiration to any artist in my books....so talented....wow.
If i could get a percentage of the way there i would be happy.

Dan:)

Mark Montana
06-04-2008, 04:22 AM
Thank you Patrice.

I realy enjoyed looking at the great work on your website.
Your portrait work is wonderful (I am betting you keep very busy) and your landscapes are beautiful...I wanted to lay down in the middle of your "Poppy Field" and absorb the beauty.

Cleaning one's studio is practical as well as meditative. I recently took some WIP pictures of a painting i am about to resume work work on. My camera is almost 13 mega pixels so the images are HUGE when viewed no my monitor. I was very pleased with how well the painting photographs, yet I was mildly horrified to see how much dust and dog hair has decided to make their home IN my painting :eek: !

Mark Montana
06-04-2008, 04:35 AM
Thank you Dan...muchly appreciated.
While it is really great to read so many people calling me "talented", I have to tell you that I think my REAL talent (to the extent that I have any at all) is that i am relentless.
The portrait of 'Vincent" that I posted in a different thread was my FOURTH version of that picture. (I also attempted it as a water color...a pen and ink / pointillist version...and a graphite drawing based on completely different photographs.)

My portrait of "Natalie" is version #2" (the first one was simply too small, and the board started to disintegrate to an unusable level).

"Dale" is also the second incarnation (the first version had a dark background).

It is never an easy decision to scrap a piece that i have spent a couple of weeks working on, yet i have never regretted the decision after the fact.
I feel as if i learn more by doing that than if i were to keep going and save my lessons for "some future portrait"

greencook
06-04-2008, 11:37 AM
Mark,
Hearing of the many versions of your subjects is fascinating! You're obviously gifted with a very strong drive toward perfection and attention to detail. However, that is also a talent many strive their whole lives for, so count yourself lucky!
Although I wanted to be able to draw as a kid, my attempts then were pathetic. It wasn't until I reached 37 did I accidentally find I could draw. Mind you, I am a long way from your level!

Question: Have you ever worked in metalpoint? Your work reminds me of the late Dennis Martins'. With all the dedication you give to your work it seems this would be a medium that would stand the test of time. From what a friend of mine has told me who has seen some of the Martin originals, the gold and platinum provided a luminous quality that tricked his eye into thinking the subject was breathing!

Thanks, and have a great day! :)

Mark Montana
06-04-2008, 12:26 PM
Hej Mark (hey! that's MY name).

thank you for the kind words...a couple of years ago, i was going through things that I had put in storage almost 20 years before, and i came upon a lot of drawings that i did as a small child and through my teen years.
I have to admit (immodestly) that i was sorta impressed by the quality of some of the efforts.

Of course, there were some 'clunkers' in there as well.

One portrait was of one of my teachers (Mrs. Alexander...gosh, i loved her:heart: ). It was an 18x24in drawing based on a wallet sized picture of her. It was also my first attempt at drawing a black person and (apparently) i took the term "black person" a little too literally. In addition to rendering her skin way too dark, i also made her a little to 'shiny' (it looked as if she had been basted with butter). I was so unhappy with it, that I gave her money back to her (along with my sincere apologies) and kept the portrait for myself and hid it behind another picture in a frame.

Twenty-odd years later, it STILL made me queasy to look at it ;-)

My only exposure to metal point has been through books and magazines, but i have never worked with it or seen it in person. I am very interested in learning more about it, just as i am interested at trying my hand at Scratchboard.

BTW: on the topic of 'scratchboard' and 'young artistic attempts', i was VERY IMPRESSED by the work of a WC member named starfinder.

She seems to be a young girl with a butt-load of talent. She just posted a portrait that she drew of her boyfriend which is really excellent, and she has also posted an image of a scratchboard picture she made in a post called "Giant Eland - 11x14"...Check it out! it is so good, i want it for my wall.

theBoardLady
06-04-2008, 02:06 PM
Mark,

Concerning the erasers, they're priced by the dozen a box. :lol: I'm embarassed that you saw any of my work but thank you for the compliment. I'm not anywhere near your caliber :eek: By the way, if you want to see some really good exceptional scratchboard - look at Diana Lee's work.

The BoardLady :)

Pilan
06-05-2008, 10:34 AM
me too! fabulous

Mark Montana
06-09-2008, 05:32 PM
Hello Everyone. :wave:

Progress on one of my drawings is usually excruciatingly slow. This update on "Tony" is the result of approx 1 full day's work (8 hours). Aside from the some work on Tony's left eye, the bulk of my work has been in the skin and a some work on the hair.

I will probably work on his lower lid and then move on to his lips, 'cuz that one section in the center of his lower lip is very distracting and looks like his lip is bleeding.


I take back anything good I may have said about this (anonymous) illustration board....it is a complete pain in the B-hind. :mad: It shreds and flakes and breaks with very little provocation from me. When I first posted this thread, it had been a while since I worked on this picture, and I had forgotten what a difficult time I had been having with this illustration board.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Jun-2008/106421-WC-stage-4-Tony-detail-1.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Jun-2008/106421-WC-stage-4-Tony-detail-2.jpg

jocelynsart
06-09-2008, 06:28 PM
One illustration board that I love is Strathmore coldpress. It is hard to get here I've found and funny enough, Michael's is the only place that carries it.
Strathmore, I noticed, is a corporate sponsor on Wetcanvas so maybe now, it could be ordered online. At the time I used lots of it, I could not get it anywhere when Michael's was out of it.
Jocelyn

Mark Montana
06-09-2008, 07:08 PM
Hey Jocelyn...
thanx for the tip...I am having a similar conversation on another thread right now and I was just writing that i did one picture on Strathmore Plate finish, and although it could take an enormous amount of abuse, the plate finish was a lot like drawing on a sheet of glass and I never really could build up the dark areas without my pencil PICKING UP as much graphite as it was putting down.

I think I have some old Crescent Illustration (Cold Press) board arriving soon in a shipment of my belongings form the US. If not, I am going to focus on painting for a while until I find a surface I can enjoy drawing on again.

jocelynsart
06-10-2008, 08:13 AM
The plate finish wouldn't be the one I use. The one I use has some tooth.

Mark Montana
06-10-2008, 04:03 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Jun-2008/106421-WC-stage-4.6-Tony-detail-2.jpg

About 24 hours since my last update. This is the result of approx 7 hours worth of drawing (hey, whadayawant? Euro Cup Soccer is on :clap: :clap: :clap: )

This drawing is just now getting into the "fun phase". I have always known it would be mostly about the darks and shadows, which I have yet to really begin working on. It is also Tony's left eye that is the more dominant and will carry the bulk of the drama.

One aspect of portraiture that I really enjoy, is the subtle manipulation of the facial expression and pushing the tension between the two sides of the face.
When I drew my mother's picture, I really wanted to underscore the dual nature of her persona, so I kept covering half of her face, so that i could work out her expression of her left side independent of the right, and vice versa.

Mark Montana
06-12-2008, 10:45 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jun-2008/106421-WC-stage-5-Tony.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jun-2008/106421-WC-stage-5-Tony-detail-1.jpg

6/13/2008:
Logged in about 4 or 5 more hours on this. "Tony" is in one heck of an ugly phase at the moment. Although I am very confident that I have hit the correct values on Tony's left eye, the dark eye against the white page gives Tony the look of a raccoon.
There is also quite a strong 3D feeling to this drawing...it feels like it is coming off the page. Ultimately, this will be a great thing, but at the moment, with the lower half of the face missing, the effect is making the eyes appear disproportionately large and the overall feeling to stand up and look down on the drawing only emphasizes the feeling that the head and face are balloon shaped.

Striver
01-15-2009, 01:09 AM
Interesting start and good info, wondering if you will be finishing Tony or perhaps its a long walk for the Dog.
Kind regards
Les

griffster
01-19-2009, 04:53 PM
This is incredible! His eyes are brilliant. The overall picture is downright magical! Thanks for posting.

Chris

V-honey
02-24-2009, 12:27 AM
Wow that is stunning. The amount of detail is wonderful. How do you make the skin so realistic?

levelek
04-01-2009, 02:09 PM
I am in awe.

twilightbrew
12-01-2009, 06:09 AM
Beautiful WIP! Thanks for sharing all the details.
I appreciate the camera info! That is one thing I need to do... figure out how to photograph my work.

Take care,
Rhonda

Wassie
12-02-2009, 04:07 AM
I am amazed at the detail. I can even see the pores in his skin. I wish I could see you working on the drawing. That closeup of the right eye shows he's looking right at me.

Artbynan
05-09-2010, 01:17 AM
WWWOOOWWW,
This is really amazing!!!
My passion is graphite too.
I would like to know how you make the skin look so realistic??
I wish I could watch you draw;)

michelle021
10-29-2010, 04:28 AM
Mark... Please share how you get the pours in the skin?

Mark Montana
10-30-2010, 10:59 AM
hi guys,
I'm a little confused as to whom i am answering right now. i got a pm from michelle but an actual email from Wassie with a link to this page, but the question in Wassie's email is does not appear in this thread...odd.
anyway, thanks for looking and inquiring. this drawing has been kind of shelved as i have gotten too busy with life and other works (commissions come first ya know, cuz da rent gots to be paid)

i totally forgot that i even posted this thread and it looks like i didn't keep up with it at all. Oddly i also posted it on artpapa and was better about posting updates there. I am sure that any questions about technique are probably answered within that thread, so if you are interested, you can have a look here to see the last photos i took of the drawing (over a couple of years ago...yikes):

http://www.artpapa.com/forums/showthread.php?18482-WIP-quot-Building-Tony-quot-Mark-Montana-%28new-member%29/page4 (http://www.artpapa.com/forums/showthread.php?18482-WIP-quot-Building-Tony-quot-Mark-Montana-%28new-member%29/page4)

thankx again for writing to me and, of course, for the nice compliments.
cheers
mark

candy e
11-10-2010, 12:19 AM
Oh my, breathtaking peice right down to the pores on his face, my camera doesnt do that good ... I am in awe. :)