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Old 05-16-2010, 03:12 AM
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter All-Media Book started 2006...

Recently in reorganizing my stuff, I found this great 9" x 12" Canson Montval All-Media book again, so that's what I'm titling it. I got it in a very handy Sketch Folio set that a friend gave me for my birthday in 2003 or 2004. It was a great portable sketching kit. Unfortunately, I was bedridden so I didn't go out, so I didn't use it for the longest time.

It's a black folding canvas portfolio with a big pocket behind the one the sketchbook slips into where I can tuck a 24 color pencil set, the other side has a pocket for a Sakura Koi 12 color watercolor set that came in it plus lots of brush loops. I put in a sandpaper paddle and a few other things and used it often, but didn't use the book because I was saving it for when I went out. Which I never did. If I went to doctors' offices I took a smaller kit, something like a 4" x 6" pad so that I could finish the sketch during the wait.

I did silly things like that then. Back in 2006, I decided it was stupid not to use it so I did the first page. This one.


All-Media Book, Page 1
9" x 12"
Derwent Graphitints and Pigma Micron Pen
Canson Montval All-Media Book

The buffalo is from a photo reference a friend gave me, though I no longer have the file or remember which friend. I didn't save references I didn't have permission on, it could've been any of my DeviantART friends or eBay friends.

The Celtic knotwork piece is original, I designed it and didn't copy it from any ancient source. I created a shape and experimented with laying out knotwork to fit an irregular shape.

Really nice first page, isn't it?

I fell prey to first-page willies. After an opener like that, how could I fill it up with crummy sketches? This one has a spiral binding, a hard cover, 90lb watercolor paper... it was too good to waste on scribbly sketches. It was for good drawings. So it went in the stack of Sketchbooks Too Good For Everyday and stayed there till the summer of 2007 when in Kansas, I joined a Life Drawing Group for some months.

Oh yes. That's why this thread has the Butt Icon.

I might keep my nudes and figure studies in it, since most of the rest of this book is the charcoal and Conte life drawings I did while I attended the life drawing group. All of the models are artists who took turns modeling. Nudity was optional, some wore more than others. This group is where I first successfully tried and succeeded at gesture drawing.

It changed my drawing methods completely, and any conciseness you find or speed in my using any other mediums comes from the one and two minute poses one of the models did later on. I used 12 pages in it so far, some of them back to back. If I start a thread for it, I'll actually keep it out and use it again, maybe for more nudes and figures!

Enjoy.

Figures start in the next post.
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Last edited by robertsloan2 : 05-16-2010 at 03:21 AM. Reason: Add Butt Icon, Add Text
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Old 05-16-2010, 03:17 AM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

Page 2 was from the first meeting of the figure drawing group. Each scan is an entire page. This is before I started sketching the way I do now fitting more than one drawing around each other well, some of them are proportioned oddly because I cropped out unused space. I wasn't as good at placing art on the page and was lousy at composition back then.

But I could do people. I'm not going to title them and don't remember exactly what I used, whether charcoal pencils or sticks or what, though the sanguine ones are Conte crayon. All are from life now.


All-Media Book, Page 2
Charcoal


All-Media Book, Page 3
Charcoal


All-Media Book, Page 4
Charcoal
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Old 05-16-2010, 03:25 AM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...


All-Media Book, Page 5
Charcoal


All-Media Book, Page 6
Charcoal and Sanguine Conte

I decided to do a foot study on this model for some reason, I think it was because another artist was blocking my view of the body or just that I liked the foot. I know I wanted to do a good foot study to see if I could. It was about a ten minute pose.

Followed by the first one-minute gesture from the next model, which I did in Sanguine Conte crayon.


All-Media Book, Page 7
Sanguine Conte Crayon


All-Media Book, Page 8
Sanguine Conte Crayon
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Old 05-16-2010, 03:38 AM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...


All-Media Book, Page 9
Sanguine Conte Crayon

Same model as the gesture sketches. She really was wearing shorts in the gesture poses even if one of them looks like she took her shorts off. That's because I didn't have time to get the line of where her shorts fell and they were pretty tight shorts. I had to get going on her next graceful movement!


All-Media Book, Page 10
Charcoal

I loved the light on this lady's body. She posed in a perfect relation to the light and I was one of the first to sit down, so I got a good view of the effect I wanted.


All-Media Book, Page 11
Charcoal

Last page is slightly out of order because it's on the back of Page 10, but I did it much later. Last month, when I reorganized my stuff and found this book. Charting my Graphitints in it wet and dry will make it easier for me to use them in this book, which I'm planning to do. It's chronologically last though.

I might go back to using just one side of each page though. I'm sure there are other 9" x 12" or 8 1/2" x 11" wirebound watercolor books with a heavy back that are bound on the long side. Just checked Blick and there's two of them side bound, one from Canson with a hard back and paper cover and 60 sheets, one from Strathmore with only 15 sheets and a paper cover. So it's not like I can't replace the book when it's full, or slide any side bound 9" x 12" sketchbook in there.

It's not doing much good being held aside because the portfolio wouldn't be useful without pages left in it, is it? So now I'll use it whenever I want to sketch figures and also for other watermedia experiments. I'll see if I can add something to it now and then. This is definitely the one that I'll use though, when I want to do something that's legally "for mature audiences" and needs a butt icon.
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:48 AM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

Awesome studies, Robert! Must be fun sketching from real live models!
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:25 PM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

Thank you! It was great being able to go to that group weekly, though when the season changed in Kansas I couldn't keep up with it any more for health reasons. I loved it that all those healthy people would pose nude or near-nude and let me get a much better grasp of figure proportions and modeling shadows on the human body.

I have some manikins and photo reference books of nudes as well as figure drawing books, so I may return to this one sometime soon and keep going with figure studies. I prefer drawing healthy people to recording my own deformities for history though.

The one time I modeled for the group, even clothed, it disturbed half the artists because they thought they were getting my proportions wrong. Some of them normatized my body, others exaggerated the misproportions. Many got them accurate but thought they'd made huge mistakes in everything from my neck to limb length to the asymmetry of my right side hemi-hypoplasia.

The right side of my body is about two full sizes smaller than the left and that will distort everything. It also causes odd musculature as some muscle groups bunch up exaggerated by the extreme efforts it takes to walk. I also often get minor injuries that cause extreme swelling, especially on my right knee, ankle or anywhere on my leg because of the imbalance. So I'll be shrimpy on the right side but with a hugely fat looking right leg or a scrawny calf going up to swollen knee and thigh like a fat guy's leg.

I starved myself as a kid one year trying to get healthy and worked out constantly. The net result was that I had giant muscular thighs from the difficulty I have walking, usually swollen on the small side from sports injuries, with a bony skeletal upper body from not eating enough. I looked in the mirror and realized I looked worse than I did at my normal stable weight, so I quit dieting and my weight has remained stable ever since.

What's amusing is that only medical people and artists see these distortions, and not all medical people do. A lot of times I'll meet non-artists and they overguess my height by my facial proportions, underguess my weight by more than the 30lbs of extra bone weight from the scoliosis and assume I have normal proportions for my torso size. Now that I think of that, overguessing my height is natural if I'm sitting down.

Standing, my short legs reduce my overall height. But if you took my torso and assumed normal leg length to go with it, I'd come out at the height people think I am. It's kind of cool, certainly helps me socially -- and most people don't see me standing for more than a minute or two because that's as much as my back can take. At least now I understand it... this is something I just worked out today thinking about some of the bizarre sketches that came out of my one and only modeling session.

Thanks for letting me blather. I'm not going to diagram it either, but it's good to at least know what creates the optical and social illusion that I'm taller and thinner than I really am.
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:24 PM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

I believe that drawing the human body is one of the most difficult thing, and it's amazing how you can "grasp" so much expression is so little pencil strokes! I could never draw persons, even copying from magazines or drawing books... ^^

And don't you worry about the post length: I think that, especially in this Art Journal section, it is the background stories that make the drawings/painting even more meaningful
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:26 PM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

I'd be cool to sketch from real life, but I'd probably feel uncomfortable being the model I would definitely lose concentration if I draw (or try) someone I know personally, I don't think I would take it seriously!

I guess it's the same illusion that we get from women sometimes. I often mistake them as taller when I see a slender woman but when I get close, I realize that I was in fact taller! Proportions are really tricky!

Oh, and don't worry about blathering. I like the little chat in here from everyone. As always, thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:18 PM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...


Figure from Manikin 1
8" x 5"
Derwent Graphitint "Russet" and wash
Canson Montval All-Media Book, 90lb cold press watercolor paper.

I'm a little rusty and it's been a while since I sketched figures from life. I got her torso too short, which makes her head seem a bit too large and her legs too long. However, she's still esthetic because those specific distortions are sexy and just make her look a little more like a cute manga figure.

I had something real to draw from, an Art S. Buck female manikin. Blick put both male and female African-American (brown) ones on Clearance a couple of years ago, so I snapped them up because I'd intended to get them eventually anyway and liked the brown color a lot better than the gray used for Caucasian manikins. I could've dealt with pure white, like a marble statue, but the gray was just too ugly, looked like cooked meat.

I condensed her body in sketching in the underside of her leg, kept it because I knew that specific distortion might still be esthetic and I wanted the whole leg in. But that's the kind of artistic decision you can make while working on a figure -- it's good to be aware of it and not do it every time (or do it deliberately every time if going for manga).

I also put short hair on her because the manikins are bald. It's easy to put hair on someone, harder to see the skull underneath. The size of the forehead and back of the head are things it's easy to get wrong intuitively, since they are very strange proportions compared to any other animal. Eye to eye on the same level, my cat has no forehead at all and his ears are sitting on top right over his eyes and off to the side a bit.

Sandra, I don't think it's any more difficult to learn to draw the human body than it is to draw the feline body or any particular species of living creature. Half the problem is getting the model to sit still, and humans can at least be persuaded to do so. Or you can look in the mirror and do yourself, which gives the advantage of being able to get back exactly into the pose.

After a while it becomes possible to do idealized or improved versions of the self, or make even more dramatic changes like Michelangelo turning a muscled construction worker into a soft and alluring lady. Granted, some artists were better at that than others, Michelangelo was in love with muscles.

It took me as long as it did to start getting human proportions to get my cat's proportions right. My first attempts looked like dogs, because I'd seen much more of my birth family's small poodles than any cats except on television. The result was long-legged, dog-faced cats with nonetheless recognizably catlike tails. Much later I got a real cat of my own and then wrestled with cat proportions for decades... and finally got it.

Manikins are a lot of help because they're reasonably accurate and if they can't do all the poses a real person can, they can do a lot of them. Even the blocky wood-bits ones are pretty good for getting the volume of the body and can be expanded on and changed very easily. They're designed to block in foreshortening easily without the distraction of details. They're also cheap if you don't get a large one, often on sale or included in sketching kits.

Raymond, getting self conscious about sketching someone you know is something that wears off if you do it a lot. One of the models in my 2007 life drawing studies is a very close friend of mine who was my art buddy every Thursday night for three years. I had a little less trouble drawing that friend than the other models because of familiarity.

But then, everyone else in the group looked good to me by comparison. I had decided not to be self conscious until I saw the results and realized that I'd wound up distorting half of the artists' work and perceptions by my deformities.

If you draw someone you love and it doesn't come out well, they're likely to understand and cheer you on anyway, see the progress. They know you that well. If you get drawn and don't come out well, you know that other artist well enough to know that's where they're at and can see the progress. It's possible to desensitize on both sides of the self conscious thing.

One thing that happens to couples is that you wind up married to the most beautiful human being in existence. It's just what love does. Everything's endearing. Everything about that wonderful other is cool. Getting it wrong may feel awful for a while, but that's also what kneaded erasers are good for and lots and lots and lots of fast gesture sketches.

It was so much easier for me to forgive myself a bad foot or missing half of a head when I only had a minute to draw that girl in the first place. Drawing in more detail is where the mistakes start to feel awful, because fifteen or twenty minutes or an hour is going to be a sizable investment of energy and emotion into getting it right. Some bits of it will come out right, but attached to bits that really didn't.

I let my artist friend draw me many more times than the life drawing sessions. My friend was the only one there who just took my deformities in stride by familiarity and knew my stubby fingers or short arms or outsize thighs weren't the same as other people's.

Raymond, your post also made me think about women's high heels. I'd never thought of this before, but maybe one thing that gives them enduring popularity is evening up the average height distance a bit to make body language easier. You're also right about proportions, a slender woman may look quite tall until you're right next to her. Conversely, a plump one may seem short until you're close.

People's builds vary a lot. Part of getting used to drawing people was becoming aware of the range within what's normal -- height, waist to hip ratio, head size to body size, shoulder size, leg length, this all varies a whole lot. Then there's little kids with big eyes and oversize heads and small bodies, where an experienced artist or parent can judge age at a glance by proportions. I've been watching my grandkids grow up and it's educational.

The best book I've ever found on it is still my old favorite, Jack Hamm's "Drawing the Head and Figure." It's $10 at Amazon and while the hair styles and so on are a bit dated, half of them are coming back in style now and then anyway. I tend to just look up the thing I want to draw, be it a hand or black hair or an eye or something and then study that page or two intensively. Someone working through the whole book would probably learn faster than I've learned though.
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Old 05-16-2010, 08:32 PM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

How cool to get to life drawing sessions. That's something I have never tried. I hear artists talk about them. And, I can see how they are beneficial in learning to draw the human form. Your drawings are very interesting. I can see how you couldn't "finish" a drawing if you aren't quick.
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:20 PM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

Having a live model is the best way to really get the human form. Part of it is that people can't hold a pose for hours -- you do have to get it in twenty minutes at best, and then the model gets a break, so you have to be able to get the essentials down fast and then look at the details. I learned so much with that group, few as these sketches are.

Other than that, though, photos or a manikin can really help to get the basic proportions right. It's not the same though. When a person moves, his or her body isn't solid and stiff like plastic or wood. Soft parts will sag or fold, skin stretches taut over bone, muscles bulge in particular ways. It's fascinating.

I'm going to continue with photos and manikins though, since I don't have that group any more. Maybe sometime I'll get to draw with a group that has a model again. I'd enjoy that.
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Old 05-16-2010, 10:52 PM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

Great figurative sketches Robert. The figure is something I haven't tried yet, but I do have a one day workshop coming up next month in figurative drawing so I'm gonna give it a try before then.

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Old 05-16-2010, 11:21 PM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

Very good figure sketches,Robert. I have never been drawn to sketching the figure, but I have always admired those who did. It is quite a departure from your other drawings, but still interesting to look at.

I enjoy reading your comments and envy you, because writing doesn't come easy to me. Now talking, is a different matter.


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Old 05-17-2010, 08:54 PM
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

Thank you both! Doug, it's a lot like talking with my fingers, except I can talk faster with my fingers. It may help to type faster. I know that sounds crazy but the easier it was for me to type, the easier it was to write well. I guess because I wasn't thinking about the process any more than I think about how to move my tongue while talking.

Now for Something Completely Different...

I belong to a group called Mixed Media Workshops on NING, run by a good friend called Deb Company. Okay, that's her handle, I am not sure if she has Company on her birth certificate or married a Mr. Company, but you never know.

One of the new workshops is a 21-day plan for building a daily sketching habit. I decided to participate because I've already got the habit -- nothing like taking on an easy challenge, right? Does wonders for morale. So today's challenge on it was a bit weird and involved collage...



It's not my usual thing at all. I hate cutting up magazines because I always really like the articles in them or I wouldn't like the images either. But I found an out of date seasonal art supply sale catalog and cut out three images from it, glued them on with acrylic gloss medium because I don't even own a glue stick, then embellished with watercolor pencils.

The result still looks too abstract and randomly modern-art looking to be something I like, but I'm rather proud of how I rendered the paint blobs to complete the range of colors for a basic palette and extended the pine branch bit from another image. That did work, it just came out sort of -- cut and pasted stuck together without any coherent meaning, that's all. So I put swatches of the colors above it to try to give it some meaning, as in, "basic palette."

This is exactly opposite the pretty manga girl nude, so I could actually do something panoramic across the bottom of both pages. Or not. Anyway, there will be more! The book is out and handy and it's got watercolor paper, so anything goes on that. Even collage, not that I'll be doing it that often.
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Re: All-Media Book started 2006...

Great idea to use a catalog rather than a magazine. And, not too cluttered. I like that in collage.
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