- Lesson details
Steve Huston demonstrates his charcoal drawing technique on a female reclining figure. Steve will take you through each step of his process, starting with a light lay in using a stump loaded with charcoal powder all the way to finishing touches.
- Conté Crayon – Black
- Alphacolor Char-Kole Square
- Alphacolor Soft Pastel – White
- Blending Stumps
- Sandpaper or Emery Paper
- Electric Eraser
- Plastic Eraser
- Kneaded Eraser
- Cut Paper Scraps
- Paper Towel
- Large, Soft Paintbrush
- Strathmore Bristol Paper – Vellum
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technique on a female reclining figure.
Steve will take you through each step of his process, starting with a light lay-in using
a stump loaded with charcoal powder.
After that, you’ll learn how to establish a clear core shadow in charcoal and then create
the shadow side of your drawing by scrubbing in a gradient away from that core.
Next you will develop the major forms using half-tone, core shadows, and a darker contour
line in Conté crayon to contain the volumes.
paper itself, which is laid out here, is Strathmore 400 vellum surface. You can use 500 paper too.
It’s a Bristol sheets vellum. Vellum means it has a slight tooth to it. If you use plate
which is slick, you’ll never get deep, dark black in it. So you need a vellum that’s
going to grab the pigment and hold it. Then we’re using a couple different charcoal sticks.
This is alpha color. They come in this size in a pack of black or pack of different colors.
I’m using the black, of course.
It’s a nice soft pastel. That’s where the rich, deep blacks are going to be for
our nice drawing. This is a full-value drawing as opposed to a sketch in charcoal. Oftentimes
it’s kind of a soft, more ghostly value.
Then for sketching in and for doing fine lines I use Conté sticks, the Conté a Paris sticks.
They come like this, again usually in little packs of two or more. Then what I do is I
whittle them down like a pencil. I’ll use my Exacto knife or whatever blade I’ve got.
Whittle them down and get a rough conical shape. I want them to be moving back at a
nice slow angle, so I’ll just scrape it down this way and work it into a nice cone.
That way when it lays on the surface I’ve got a broad edge that can hit that surface
and catch it. I use a paper towel to rub and scrub those values, get the gradations.
I always have at least a couple of these Conté sticks sharpened because
I'll break one as I’m going or something.
And then a stump or two. Stumps are just rolled paper. They’re rolled so tightly that you
get a pencil of paper, basically. The stump is blending tool and it’s also a drawing
tool. You can use a little bit to get on the surface and draw lines with a soft line.
I'll usually have a grubby dirty one where I just scrub into the darks and a cleaner one.
The other things you want are erasers. You’ve got a kneaded eraser and a hard eraser.
Usually the pinks are a little better. I happen to have a white today. The pink ones will work
better. You want to test them out. Some of the cheaper pink erasers will actually leave
a pink stain on the paper. Not good. White is good that way, but the whites are softer.
You can’t scrub as well. I don’t have it today, but I’ll have an electric eraser
I’ll use sometimes. That I can basically scrub out. It’s abrasive. It will scrub
out the highlights out of a tone. Instead, I’m going to use Emery cloth, just a sandpaper,
and I’ll sand it carefully back. That will slightly abrade the paper, but it won’t—unless
you’re going to tear at it you’re not going to hurt it. I’ll also use the sandpaper
if I’m going to do some drawing, and you’ll see me do it with the stump. If I want to
do some of that work I’ll take the sandpaper, and with my alpha color I’ll scrub down
some dust, some charcoal dust, and then dip into that and go to work on it.
So those are the basic materials. Not a lot of investment in it. Then, of course, our
reference material. You have the model in front of you, or in this case a photo of the
model in front of you. I’m going to move these off, now out of the way from our drawing
surface. Then we’ll get going here.
You could also use a little brush to dust it and stuff.
The problem with that is that powder when you sweep it you can see here really
grabs the paper, and rather than dusting cleanly away that dusting with the brush
will actually just smear that stuff.
Now, the trick to this technique—let me show you over here.
Once you’ve done a drawing, and you can draw with the Conté or you can draw with the stump.
Once you’ve done the drawing then you’re going to use your alpha color.
We’re always going to work at the core.
We’re going to work from the core shadow which is that beginning of the shadow. I define
the core or the beginning of the shadow as the corner of the form even it’s a round
buttocks or a round ball you’re doing it seems to have a perfect transition from one
direction to the next. I’m going to think of it boxed logic. I’m going to think of
it as a corner there. Then with my gradations, with my rendering with the half-tone blends,
and the shadow blends around that corner. Think of it as a corner. So when we start
the form we’ve defined the form with our light drawing, and now we’re going to go
to the corner. The core shadow, and we’re going to draw a soft line.
Notice what I’m doing.
I’m laying this down. Let me switch over here. If I take the tool and draw with
the tool in the direction of the stroke, notice how it becomes a thin line. If it turn it
against and draw down with the tool, the chalk in this case, pointing against that line,
I’ll get a thicker line. That’s what I did here. I found a facet of my
little chalk that gave me a nice thick line.
Then I’m not going to fill in the shadow. This is loaded up with tone now.
I'm going to come with my finger or my stump or my paper towel. There’s the finger. Here’s the
paper towel, and I’ll wad it around my finger. When you get into this you’re rubbing a lot.
It’s a very aggressive style to get those deep darks.
And so you can start off softer, but eventually you’re going to scrub it.
Now, see how I just filled in the shadow. It’s messy but I’ll clean that up if I
need to. Here we’ll decide if we need to. I’ll clean that up with the eraser, either
of the erasers. Notice that a kneaded eraser, you have to work harder to take that tone
off the paper. It slows things down which is good when you’re doing careful gradations.
The hard eraser is going to attack and cut away that form. That’s good for when you
need to cut back a sharp edge of value.
Then we’ll go to the other side. Again, finger, paper towel, or a stump.
In the big areas, relatively big areas I’ll use the paper
towel and the finger. In the tighter areas I’ll use the stump.
So you can start to see our natural gradation working. I’m going to come back again and
do the same thing. Blend that and work that. Notice every time I rub it back with the paper
towel, in this case, it lightens it up too.
I’m taking pigment off, and so it’s getting lighter.
To get the deep rich dark that I am after, I’ll work back and forth several times.
When you work you want to make sure that you’re fingers aren’t oily. You can actually rub
a little bit of the charcoal into your fingertips like talc powder a gymnast uses.
That'll take that oil out.
You can see it’s a bit of a mess here. We have our value range that
we want. I’m coming back and finding my edge again. Then I’m going to use the subtractive
method. I added pigment to the white page, and now I’m going to take pigment away.
We always have that choice—with most mediums we have that choice, where you can add or
you can take back. Watercolor you can rub it back with a wet brush. Oil paint you can
scrape it back. Acrylic you can’t so much. Of course, any kind of pastel or charcoal.
So notice I’m getting that lighter and lighter and lighter. My strategy here is I’m going
to the highlight, wherever the highlight or the lightest half-tone, whichever happens
to be the case. I’m going to start there. Just like when I rubbed away pigment with
the paper towel or the finger, you’re taking away that pigment. It’s get dirtier. The
tool gets dirtier. Same with the stump. That’s going to happen with my kneaded eraser too.
So I’m going to start in that highlight or lightest half-tone area, and I’m going
to start scrubbing out. I want it to get dirtier. What will happen is as it gets dirtier it’ll
take less and less pigment off, and that’ll make the gradation easier to do. You can do
little hatches at it. You can back and forth several times. That’s really going to be
my strategy. I’m going to work on it, blend it back, and then rub it down again. Blend
it back, rub it down. Erase it away, rub it down. Add charcoal to it. Rub it down. I’m
going to go back and forth several times until I get a perfect gradation or a painterly gradation
or an appropriate gradation, whatever. We’ll just stop there for it.
Now, the last little bit, this highlight is not quite as light as that. For most cases
that would be fine, but if I want it even hotter, I’m going to take my electric eraser.
It’s basically a little dremel but instead of an iron bit it’s got an eraser bit. I’ll
scrape it away. Or, I’ll use my sandpaper here and erase it away. I’ll oftentimes
scrub in circles with whatever tool I’m using. Then I’m wiping the dust away. So
anyway, that’s a strategy. So let’s go ahead and look at our reference here. We have
a nice reclining nude. I’m going to go ahead and use my stump so let’s take—I’m going
to take this emery cloth, take a section out, and I’m going to take my alpha color and
I’m just going to sand it on to the sandpaper. Now I’ve got a load here I can work from.
Then I’ll just dip into it, just dab it in.
Usually, if you look at my raw sheet of artwork off the frame, you know, outside the frame
of the picture you’ll see all these marks here where I’m testing the tool, I’m cleaning
the eraser. See how dirty that gets? We want the tip, the edge to be clean. So whatever
edge I’m planning to use. I’ll come over here. I’ll erase it and make sure I don’t have
dirty charcoal that’s going to get smeared in there.
You need to keep your tools in decent order.
Then we’ll just start here and just sketch it in, like I would in a five-minute sketch
in a figure drawing class. Whether I’m doing a big monumental painting, a fairly quite
tight little sketch like we’re going to do today drawing, or something that’s loose
and just kind of picking up a design possibility for something. I’m going to work this same
way. It’s important to me that I act like a philosopher. I have a view of the world,
and I have a process that supports that view. I don’t change the process, and I certainly
don’t change the thinking any more than I have to.
Whether I’m working in paint or charcoal, whether I’m planning to create a monumental
piece, or it’s a quick sketch, just a little notation to myself, I want to make sure my
process is consistent as possible. So this is how I always start, and I’ll just take
it further and finish. The material will have a material difference from paint to pigment
to charcoal, but my method of working is the same. Really, if I were sculpting it would
be the same again. I would just lay in simple shapes on my armature in the same way and
then slowly add and subtract clay as I develop that work.
Just indicating stuff here. I’m getting enough information so I feel comfortable
in connecting the next piece.
The business of being an artist is the business of connective tissue, working with the pieces and finding
how they fit together. That’s our job. Everybody can see the pieces in the world.
The artist’s job is to make them fit together in some
beautiful dynamic, challenging, interesting, pick-your-adjective kind of way.
I work that out and the logic behind that and the process for it.
Typically we have this bent leg coming out at us, so I could come down here and say, well, I think it fits
right here and draw it and probably be wrong. What I want to feel is here are the buttocks
here. I want to have a sense of where that other buttocks shape is behind here and draw through.
Then from here we just come over thigh wide and find our moment, bring it down.
This is form that’s going deeply in space. I’m just conceiving all this stuff as tubes
or slightly bulbous pickle-barrel type tubes. We want to feel that depth.
Since it’s foreshortened it’s shorter, so we want to feel that shortness.
What I’m going to feel is all the way across that thickness of the thigh and then here I begin a calf and moving on.
Then again, come up calf-wide. Then you kind of check your negative space. Maybe a little tighter
up, so maybe a little thinner here, that kind of stuff, and we got it.
Let’s go ahead and add this over here...
actually about here.
That takes off this way severely foreshortened, way back.
Again, notice what I’m doing: I’m connecting on the long side,
the outside, the stretch side of such and such form.
Then I’m measuring the proportion on the inside. When I add that calf in there and that ankle
in there and that then I can see how close it is.
That one starts to bind up against that.Then that sweeps off this way.
We have our foot and there at least the beginnings of it.
This is taking off this way.
I’ll keep this quite loose because as I develop these forms I’ll change
my mind oftentimes. This thigh is feeling a little short to me, but the hip is feeling
a little long. I’m not sure that knee is in the right spot.
That means this might be wrong, this might be wrong.
I’m going to keep my options here and make little adjustments as I go.
Let’s move on back here and feel the breast in here.
Breast form poking through there...
...and the arm coming down, so we’re going to spend five or ten minutes
prepping for our rendering. You might spend 20 or 30 minutes doing it.
Take your time. What I would actually
recommend if you haven’t done this before, which there is a good chance you haven’t
unless you’ve looked at my other demos on this, then you want to just pick a section.
And pick an area—I chose this view because she looks away from us.
We see the breast in profile. The breasts aren’t coming out.
So this frontal view here—in other words, we’ve got the features, the breasts coming out, all that kind of stuff.
On a back view it’s simpler. Side view, back view; it’s a little simpler. The back is a broader statement.
You don’t have all the musculature of the pecs, the breasts, the ribs, a 6-pack,
maybe, or the stomach muscles. All that kind of stuff doesn’t get in the way.
Also, with a female the forms are simpler, cleaner shapes. You can more easily see the
breasts as just a cone shape. The arm is just
a tube. If you’ve got a muscular male, you go lumps and bumps everything.
Everything is balls on balls, boxes on boxes, and it can get quite intimidating and confusing.
So when you pick a pose the first few times, it’s real simple, rather big forms. You
know, we’ve got some toes to deal with, but we might just vignette that out. Most
of that is big thigh shapes, big upper arm shapes, the torso shapes. They are all big
simple shapes much, much easier to work with. So anyway we’ve got it pretty well laid
in, and we’ll knock that face forward a like little bit more. I’ve got it a little more upright.
You know, now, I think I’ll keep her more upright. I like that. It gives a sweep this
way. Notice, compositionally the form, drawing through that interruption to feel it. Drawing
through this. See how that bottom of the torso minus this little interruption of the breast
sweeps right up into the face. If I bring it into where the face is in the reference
it’s a little droopy. She’s falling down a little bit this way. So if I do it up then
I get that nice sweep up of the stretching tummy, the stretching chest, the stretching
neck. We can’t see into the face. And that face, that cheek line runs right in there.
See how beautiful that is, that sweeping action. I can take that all the way up into the back
of her hairstyle. There is her little bandana in there. So I’m looking past.
Remember, the artist’s job is not to get the parts, but to group it, to create harmony,
to create a storyline, to create a complete piece of art. As I say all the time, and I’ll
say it every lecture I do, it’s not the notes; it’s the song. All those pieces come
together. Our job is to make it cohere, to make life make sense, some kind of sense.
It’s all in beautiful color harmonies. It’s all in lush, rich tones. It’s all one emotional
statement. It’s all something.
Alright, so we’re laid in. We’re ready to begin. I’m going to go to the simplest,
easiest, what I think will be the easiest are to work with to build my confidence and
to get kind of warmed up in my technique. Get into that material. It’s like meeting
and old friend after you haven’t seen him or her for awhile. There’s that kind of
getting to know each other. You talk without saying much. You kind of ease into your relationship
again. You’ll want to do that in your painting and your drawing too. Get to know the surface,
the subject matter. Let your fingers remember the materials and build your confidence and
kind of get into the flow of things. We want to kind of flow into, move through this, have
a rhythm like an athlete that’s warmed up.
So I’m going to start in this rib cage area. There’s a simple bump of the rib cage waist
into the hip area. I’m going to start in that area
and feel that core shadow. I’m always going
to the core shadow, and then I’ll build my tones out of that. As I draw this, let
me make one other just basic drawing point. Let’s do our, well, we’ll just work off this ball here.
So looking at this ball, notice when I did my core shadow I curved it this
way. That’s what I just did here, curved it that way. But I could curve it this way.
The core shadow could go this way on the ball.
It’s tracking that ball in the same curved manner.
What I probably wouldn’t want to do is go straight through that ball with a core shadow like that.
That's going to be using a straight line to try and describe a curved object. That’s bad design
unless I’m doing some kind of formal design where I really need to do that, like maybe
an art nouveau artist might want to do. It’s much better to let the contour of the mark
or the direction of the tone reinforce the idea beyond just the rendering. We’re going
to match the values of nature here more or less. I had to create that illusion of reality,
but we want also to design it in such a way that it reinforces that on a more fundamental
I’m going to turn it this way. Rub this back. Notice when I do that there’s my kind
of round or egg shape or my rounded pickle barrel kind of tube, when I do that it’s
creating this bulge here. If I did the other way, it would feel like it’s turned back
a little bit going this way. I want to show the round volume bulging here, bulging here,
like that. But I also want to show how it’s organic, and so usually if I get a session
that curves one way I’ll see if I can’t take it the other way. In this case it wants
to do that anyway.
Notice on our reference the shadow shape is a little soft, so it’d be very easy on that
reference to not be sure where to put it. It could have been here. It could have been
there. It won’t matter too much. Let’s go ahead and take that back. And by the way,
I should say notice what happened here when I mucked around with this, where I sanded,
look at how dirty it got. Now it’s going to be some work, and I may never be able—it
just depends on how badly I abraded there –I get away with it. But, you don’t want
to do that sanding trick until the end. If you’re going to move things around abrading
the paper is going to grab the pigment in a different way and potentially cause problems.
Let me grab another paper towel here.
So maybe this should have been a little more
energetic idea and pulled down that way. Notice I can change my idea about what I should be
doing, and notice how this I can erase out, or it can end up being a darker half-tone
as we certainly have there. I drew a thick mark for the core shadow, blended that pigment
down towards the shadow. Some of it will bleed back a little bit towards the half-tone. You
can see it creates a little bit of softening. That’s all to our advantage because we’re
going to render that anyway. I’ll come back again. Always at the core shadow. If I come
and kind of sketch into the shadow notice how that can be very, very hard. I’m going
to scrub the heck out of that. It’s really hard to get those marks out.
It's going to ruin my gradation.
The lovely thing about this technique is you get these rich, deep values, much darker than
most drawings. Most drawings most artists do in art history periods are light and ghostly.
That’s one of their charms. They’re not a painting. They’re delicate. But there
are times when we want to push those values, so it’s a full value range like a painting.
The inspiration for me on this was the Sargent drawings he would do. He got to the point
where he just wanted to paint outside. He wanted to tour around Europe and other places,
the Middle East, and just paint. He didn’t want to do these stuffy commissions in his
studio back in England, Paris, or sometimes America. And so he’d do, he’d try and
talk them into a charcoal drawing instead of a full portrait because it was less work
for him. So he developed this style that I loved as a student, and so this is my version
of that. I’m going to adjust this shoulder a little bit as I go, and we can see how,
we can feel that. Once I get that, that’s the shadow shape I drew, the core shadow,
which is the beginning of the shadow, which is the corner. Really, really important that
we understand that as a corner. Once we render it becomes a rounded corner. Then I’ll do
a little bit of rendering. Notice what happens here. Steps down. Right at that corner.
value and their experience in the world is every time I see a different value I see a
different plane. There can be local color or local value differences, say a shirt, you
know, a costume to the flesh. But within any particular object, the value shift is going
to be primarily because the form is turning toward or away from the light. If we can kind
of codify that, kind of stylize it, simplify it into making all the shadows a dark value,
all the lights a light value, then it becomes a tool that’s understandable and quite, quite useful.
Okay, so I’m going to come back here. Notice that arm is long. I had to drag this all the
way down unless I do that hatching thing that is not so great. What I can also do is rub
it onto the cloth or you can use a chamois. The thing with a chamois, and again I’m
going to come up towards that core shadow.
You can see how much quicker that is. Then I’ll switch to a clean spot, rub it in.
See how aggressive I’m working. I can really, really scrub that.
I want to imbed that charcoal into the paper so I’m really abusing that paper a
little bit. You can see maybe on camera how there’s a little bit of mottling, and that’s
the texture of that kid finish or vellum texture.
Kid finish is usually even more textured or cold-pressed, they call it.
You can see how that mottled texture comes through, and that actually feels
like when you do this rendering—especially if you do a drawing of some size. It feels
like the pores in the flesh and adds to that illusion. It’s a really lovely, rich way
to deal with nude figures especially.
Okay, so notice I’ve worked that into the surface. I could blow on it. I could put a
wind machine on it. It’s not going to move that pigment around. Whereas if you just make
a mark that gets smeared easily so it becomes destroyed. You’re little rendering there.
It can build up dust if I keep coming back on top of it. There’s dust on there that’s
going to blow across your lighter areas and goof it up. So I can’t stress enough the
importance of being aggressive with that tone, building that one in there.
Notice we can come back and render this...
and scrub it and abrade it and build back those statements.
Notice when I change the core shadow edge I put a lot of pigment at that spot
and it’s embedded. It stained the paper so I have to
work like heck to get rid of it. We’ll work on it—well here, I’ll do a little bit more.
You use your electric eraser, a really hard rubber eraser, or this emery cloth.
Okay, then we’re going to come up here.
There’s a change in form as it goes from waist to hip.
As I’m rubbing notice the tool, in this case my finger.
I'm rubbing along the border so I’m breaking it,
I can break it into little sections. It goes this
way and then it goes this way. Then it goes this way. I can get those facets. I’m going
to go along the border, and I’m going to push. I’m smearing it down into the paper.
I’m also pushing it this way to correct the drawing. I want that to be a little higher up.
If I didn’t want it to be higher up I’d go this way. But, what I do is I usually
mark it in a place where it’s backed off slightly from its final position.
That way I can push in because you’re below going up, usually. I can spin the paper around,
of course, work from the half-tone into the shadow rather than the shadow into the half-tone.
I like the idea of building the shadow first because that’s the primary contrast. I just dabbed
a little bit more pigment onto my paper towel.
Looking at my reference.
Now, I’m going to feel that hip turn around.
When I add the half-tone that I put in at the beginning to emerge out of that core shadow, I want to
anchor that half-tone to the core shadow. That keeps my drawing from getting spotty.
If I see a little tone here, a little tone here in the lights, it starts to get spotty
and I lose that basic simple contrast of light, light, and dark shadow.
Notice how then I can correct that shape, work it back and forth.
Now, I’m going to come over here. We’re going to
keep this sketch. We have a light background. We’re going to keep it that way. In another
sketch I’ll do a dark background, but this sketch we’ll keep it light. I might change
my mind and add a little tone in there, but for now we’re going to keep it light.
Otherwise, if this was a Rembrandt where we have a light figure emerging from a dark environment
I would at this point do exactly what I do here, but I would do it along a hard edge
and build back. That’s a different technical issue that we’ll deal with, as I said, another
time. For now, let’s just worry about rendering the form and not having to deal with an environment.
So we have our lovely model here on a light seamless, and that way we don’t have to
deal with environment. It’s just a sketch. In other words, it’s not going to be a full
picture of a figure in the ground. Okay, so I’ve got this working out here.
I’m getting a feel for this and this.
I’m going to adjust this shadow shape a little bit.
Come back again and add a little stair step here where the core shadow is.
Notice we have a fairly soft, quite soft edge, where shadow meets light. It makes a lovely,
beautiful, soft, but it also makes it tougher to see exactly where that shadow shape is.
But you make a decision, and I know, I know that shadow is somewhere in this kind of
1/8 inch, 1/4 inch area. And so if I push it a little too far that way, a little too far
that way, it’s probably not going to matter. If it was the front view where we have the
breast forms here, the cheek bones, the nose and the eyes, you move those off 1/4 inch
that can be a problem, but on that back view it’s just rounded shapes. You shift that
shape a little this way, a little that way. It just feels like the light source might
have been tilted one way or other. It’s not mucking with your proportions.
You've got room for error. One of the things we want to do is be aware of where we can, what we
can get away with, where we can take a little liberty or not have to stress out so much
about exact proportions. Now here, notice how I darkened that up, adjusted it, and blended
out, and now we’re starting to get that richer half-tone.
But the half-tone is coming out of, anchored to the shadow.
Okay, and I’m working that core shadow again, back and forth, back and forth.
Coming back now, and I’m basically rediscovering my construction lines here because the rendering
has stolen them away. I just need a hint of them. If you needed more you could
come back with a pencil or use a Conté stick.
You can just feel it so it’s a bit of a lost and found.
You’ll find it. You’ll lose it in the rendering. It’s important that you
allow the rendering to overwhelm or to just move over, submerge the constructions.
Otherwise, you’re doing a paint-by or draw-by numbers.
You’re trying to fill in. So you got it once.
Trust that you can get it again if you need to find that arm or that cheekbone or
that eye socket. If you have real trouble you could lay a little tissue paper over it,
sketch around and move it until it feels like it’s true and then match that in your rendering.
Now, we’re going to feel this. Let me take a little bit better look at my reference.
Feel that tummy draping over the thigh here. Notice when I’m doing here—
I'll draw it a little darker. See that little bump there? When you get a little wobble in the line like
that that says that one form has ended (the hip) and a new form has begun (the thigh).
Notice that that little bump, and you can even feel through gradation is going to fit
with that little bump, that little connection there maybe.
Then I’m going to dust this back a bit.
Another nice thing about the kneaded eraser is if you have construction
lines that are a little too strong you can ghost them back like so.
I’m reforming that. I love movement. My work always has a great deal of movement or
tries to have that. So oftentimes I’ll use several lines. I’ll show you a little bit
later more of what I mean, but I’m sketching that several times in each of these areas,
and then I can pick the one in the finish that I want, or I’ll let all those lines
show, and they’ll be kind of a vibration, speed line, kind of that
comic book aesthetic that I talk about.
core shadow. Keep it a sketch. Don’t work you’re reflected light. Notice also that
by focusing on the core shadow and letting the rest of the shadow happen really by default,
just scrubbing down that core shadow it fills in for us, you get the feeling of reflected
light, a simplified version of it. Reflected light says that as we turn out of light into
shadow that direct light, that primary light source is no longer affecting the form. We
go from the top of hip, top of the tummy, the bottom of the tummy, or top of the back,
the bottom of the stomach. Now, once we’re down in that stomach area the primary light
source is not affecting that form, but the secondary, the bouncing light is. The light
is not only striking her, it’s striking the ground that she’s on. Bouncing light,
bouncing value back up. And so we have a value range in the shadows. It actually reverses.
Notice the shadow becomes in darker half-tone. The darker half-tone becomes middle. The middle
becomes light. The light half-tone becomes a highlight maybe.
As we roll up we’re getting progressively lighter and lighter and lighter. But then
in the shadows it reverses because that light source in the shadow area is the indirect
bouncing light, the light hitting the seamless, bouncing up into the stomach and all the other
areas. So now we go back to the core shadow, and as we go down the core shadow the core
shadow is darker, and then we have a little bit of reflected light, a little bit more
reflected light. That’ll get lighter and lighter that way. And so it gradates in both
directions, lighter progressively as you go deeper in the shadows, lighter progressively
as you go deeper into the lights. Core shadow then becomes the darkest part of the form
except for little areas where you’ve got crevices where not reflected light can get,
so maybe the pinch of the armpit, in the crotch where the two legs and the stomach come together.
It becomes a deeper, darker. That might get darker yet. Other than those little cave-like
areas the core shadow will be our darkest, most dramatic shade.
Now, let’s go ahead—my hands get a little sweaty, so I’m going to make sure I rub
them into the chalk. You can see you’re not going to go to a dinner party right after
doing this. You’re going to have to scrub off your fingers, but that’s art. Art is
a working class environment. We think like a philosopher. We work like a ditch digger.
Now I’m going to come back, and I can make this as rich and as strong as I want.
So let’s go back and push this even darker. Always to the core.
Look at that beautiful buttery tone.
Now, by making that deeper and darker look how easily now I get those lovely, beautiful,
lush, buttery tones coming up. I’m noticing they’re aiming for this little area right in here.
That’s such a thin little area. I’m going to mark it for us, make it darker
than it needs to be using my stump. My stuff is rolling on my here. Then burnish it into
the ground. I’m dragging down. I know this shoulder blade, this triangle here is going
to fuse back into the bigger rib cage, so I’m dragging the tone’s down as it goes.
I always think of the Loch Ness monster, that back comes up under the water and it submerges.
That’s what these forms do. The hip comes up, submerges into the waist. The rib cage
emerges out of the waist, submerges back into the upper back, maybe.
Then the shoulder blade emerges and submerges.
You get these momentary reveals of the form and then they go back into the greater whole.
That is all done with half-tone. The half-tone gradation makes those
transitions, so as we come off the shoulder blade into the back that’s what we feel.
Since we have a white background here, this has this lovely gradation going over it.
This is going to have a little gradation going this way so that it separates because the
reference shows it. So let’s do that. I’m going to come back to this side. I’m going
to scrub like heck on that line, and I’m going to slowly, notice a zigzag motion. I
kind of tread water in the same spot as I burnish it down, and I zigzag and move over.
The tighter the zigzag the more aggressively you push in, usually the more perfect the
gradation, less so the more painterly the gradation.
So it can be very painterly. It can be hatched.
It can be connected zigzags, broken zigzags. Any of those variations are
terrific. It just depends on the style. We’re going to go for the rendered, more realistic
style because I know that’s what most of you guys want.
It’s always so cool to do something that looks realistic.
There’s a real thrill to be a creator of your own real world.
The other thing I’m doing as I work is I’m going to squint. I’m going to actually squint
at the surface, and that way I’m going to see the values. As I squint I’ll look and
see do all the shadows group overall against all the lights. Now, maybe the very darkest
half-tone next to the core shadow is about as light as the lightest reflected light in
the shadows. But overall, the shadows look dark and the lights look light. We’re creating
a metaphor, an idea of shadow. We’re not creating real shadows. No real form on this
paper. It’s flat, but we’re creating the idea of the form. The idea of the form is
shadows are dark and lights are light. In the beginning at least the two don’t compete.
It’s like a Hollywood movie. The bad guys do bad things. The good guys do good things.
They have their own set of behaviors. If you muck them up you confuse us. Once you’ve
established how nasty that villain is or how heroic that hero is, then you can add a few
complications to it. But overall, we want to be clear and concise and squint like heck.
Now, I’m going to go ahead and draw this finish line. I’m going to take my Conté
chalk and point it in direction—I’m going to draw along this back edge—in direction of that stroke.
Usually what I like to do is rub that down too, so it blurs slightly
and it feels faster to me like a speed line. Notice that each I wiped, and I just did a
mistake there that I really like, so I call those happy accidents when something happens
that you didn’t, you couldn’t have planned or didn’t plan, but it just adds.
Notice that I’ve got this line going through. I broke the line. I let the hip overlap the
waist and rib cage line. Then is smeared it down and smeared it again. When I smeared
it again the pigment I picked up on the paper towel from this line was quite a bit, obvious,
and made this mistake in there. I like that mistake because that gives kind of a fibrous thing
to the muscles. If we look at the muscles they attach origins and insert at the ends.
They go down this way. They’re made of fibers. It’s like a bound cable, and so that muscle
is made up of a ton, thousands of fibers or a lot of fibers. It goes all the way down.
Those fibers go in there, and if the muscle is working hard or is flexed, acted upon a
certain way you’ll see the fibers separate within the muscle form. So the muscle form
can have its own particular shape. A teardrop shape for an arm muscle. But within that shape
it can have these fibrous cables going down through it, and those can create secondary
forms and actually break out that big form. The pectoralis major, the big muscle in the
chest is made up of several thick bundles that separate away,
and then each bundle is made up of any fibers.
So these muscles can separate. Several muscles can group into one shape. One muscle can separate
into several shapes, and so anytime I have that separation happen as long, whether I
saw it or not, as long as it’s going in the direction of the muscle form, the cable
back, erector muscle, the back is going from tailbone to neck, basically. If it’s going
in that direction and not across, not this way but this way, we’re good.
Generally, if you make those cable, let’s do this:
If I make those lines, speed lines, fibrous lines, as long
as they’re moving down the long axis of the form they’re
going to read fine. It’s going to seem like a more athletic, less fat content on that model,
or it'll feel like speed lines, kinetic lines, blur lines, that kind of stuff.
I like this look. See when I blend that see how smudged that line is. It’s still nice
and crisp, but it’s not smudged like this is smudged. Let me do it here. I push really
hard. I’ll break these quite often, I push so hard. I always want that pigment to embed
into the surface. Notice how I can extend that line and blur that line. Especially in
the shadows that seems appropriate. It becomes basically—it’s like a camera blurring
the shadows but being crisp and clean in the lights. That makes the shadows—it’s kind
of a metaphor of the shadows as a non-lit or poorly lit area. We see light. That’s
all our eyes see. The absence of light shouldn’t be as clear to us so it becomes a storytelling
technique to talk about the light source.
Coming up with these little visual, these technical
inventions that hopefully help get the idea across, are key to this, to any art form.
It’s key to your style. I do a lot of lines.
I’ll often draw incorrect lines, lines I know are wrong,
to give that sense of movement, kinetics, energy,
or even just a feeling of searching.
Notice as I went this way my chalk pointed in that direction. Now I’m going to come
over the top of that shoulder blade, and I’m going to turn my chalk so it’s tracking
in that same direction. It’s leading by example. It’s drawing us through.
I'll fade that back.
Also, I tend to kind of roll this around searching for a different edge. That’s one of the
ways I get good line quality or line quality that pleases me. If I do this it tends to
be about the same all the way along. If I roll it around—here I’m going crazy with it—
but if I roll it around it wobbles a little bit. It becomes imperfect.
You can see how imperfect, wobbly that is. What that says to the audience is organic. Life is imperfect.
Life is organic. Life evolves. It changes. It never stays the same for very long, all
those kinds of things. It’s a useful kind of metaphor for life. All we did was draw
a little triangular shape for the shoulder blade and a little tube for the thigh and
an egg for the hip, cone for the breasts, on and on and on. Really simplified shapes.
Oversimplified. They’re not realistic. They’re conventions. They’re convenient choices.
They’re placeholders for the form that we can never get for the reality of it.
They're just ideas, thoughts on a page.
And so by making them wobble around it hides the mechanics of what you did.
I’m just going to make a mannequin. That’s really what construction stuff is.
When you do construction-style drawing, where you do lay-ins, where you’re dealing
with gesture and structure you’re doing mannequins. You’re desperately trying to
make them very, very good mannequins that model or mimic life, but they’re not life.
They’re not nature. They’re not the real form. They’re not going to be the exact
proportion. They’re going to be a stylization or an abstraction of that.
(I like it a little dirtier) of taking pigment off.
I can create little variations there.
Now I’m going to hold my pencil differently. I'm holding it at the very end, so this is going
to be kind of shaky like that. Whereas if I’m down here I’ve got more control. Oftentimes
you’ll see artists draw, and they’re doing this. They’re thinking so hard that they
start working hard. Their muscles, their body and mind connection kick in. You think hard
and you grit your teeth. You frown. You get a I’m-going-to-get-this kind of thing.
It gets fussy or it gets overaggressive, or it just
becomes the same line everywhere and that’s no fun.
So I’ll change things around. I’m going to go back to the end here.
I guess we’ll do it down here. We’ll go back to the end here. That does two things.
It makes it a little shakier. I have less control back at the back. Here’s where all
the work is being done. I’m way back here. So now it’s a lever that’s getting longer
and I have less precision with it. But also, I cannot dig in as well.
So now I can do these light lines.
I’m going to do the trapezius muscles in here coming in
there, maybe coming over this again and dusting it back.
I did two things there now. I drew some of the information that was there, stylized version
of it, but some of the information that was there as these muscles are going up from midback
up to neck to connect and then out to the shoulder points to connect. Did some of that.
But also, look what I did now. Up in here I’ve got this chunk of light. I got this
chunk, this chunk, a bunch of little ones in here, and then this chunk.
Notice that not every time because that would be too obvious, but in general as I move from this side of
the back to that side as I go from this shoulder blade to that shoulder blade in light I’m
getting smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller, all the way through.
Every once in a while I’ll pop up a little bigger or I’ll vary it so it seems not so
planned. When I do that I’m thinking of a picket fence that’s going into a one-point
perspective. They get smaller and closer together. I’m making these closer together so it rolls
over that way. If I make them the same no matter what my tone does my design will stay
flat because here is—even if I make these smaller,
if I make these about the same--pretend I made those the same.
It’s not going to have that progression back. It’s getting
shorter, but more importantly for us, because these things are connecting they’re not
going miles away. They’re going inches away. They’re not going to squeeze down
shorter that way, but they will crowd each other.
Degas used this in his ballet paintings all the time. He would have it very open on the
left side, and then as you read across, where Westerners read across this way, as you read
across the composition he crowded those ballet dancers over here so you couldn’t get off
the page. You couldn’t get out of the canvas. So anyway, that’s the basic process. In
your first few studies this would be a good place to stop. You could come in and finish
off the bottom side of here, but just creating a sketch here where you still see the process.
That’s a great place to stop. You see where you started. You got a sense of how to render.
We never got into the highlights. We just dealt with the darker half-tones and lighter
half-tones happened as they happened. Great place to end things up. Of course, we could
take it further, but I would suggest for your first couple times do it to this stage. Just
test it out. Get good starts. Charles Hawthorne always said, “Lots of starts, don’t worry
about the finishes so much.” So any new technique do several starts just to get your
rhythm. Get the process down. Then take it further. What happens is you end up several,
five, six, eight, ten, 300, whatever, pieces that are all at different levels. You take
it a little further after two or three, take it a little further yet after two or three
more. You start to see how it got better or more likely in the beginning, how it started
to go wrong. Now, at this stage it was looking good. Then I got here. What’s the difference.
The tones got to dirty, reflected light got to light, whatever.
Anyway, we’re going to take this further. At this point, it would be a good time for
you to begin again. Alright, so we’ve got our torso here set, and let’s not go in
other directions. Let’s work on the head a little bit more. I’m going to come back
with my little loose charcoal, sanded charcoal down, my stump, and I’m going to come back and
reinvent or reinvigorate this head, the construction of it.
We talked about the last time how I’m tipping that head up a little bit.
Probably a little bigger than that.
Bringing it up just because it flows more nicely with the line of the torso, at least I think it does.
Those kinds of decisions are things you work out in comps. If you’re doing a finish for
keeps it really needs to be firing on all cylinders and not just a sketch.
It has some quality to it and then you work out those little ideas by doing two or three versions.
We don’t need to do that because this is really just a demonstration sketch.
We’ll let the hair go up to and maybe even a little bit off the surface there, off the edge.
I’m going to play up her hair. Hair is a wonderful thing for all sorts of reasons,
but it gives us possibilities for wonderful shapes that are a little different than the
organic round cheeks, round rib cage, round buttocks, a lot of rounded off around biceps
and muscles even are rounded. Her with the hairstyle you can really have fun playing.
So I’m going to create a bit of a mushroom shape happening here with the hair. I’m
playing up what’s there and making a bigger deal out of it.
Especially this kick back here here against the more bulbous, you know, we have
containing shapes. Line contains. If I do this we feel
that ball idea in there. If I do this we tend to feel that idea. We go into the interior
of that curve that bulges on the inside. Everything else is inside. When I twist this back it’s
quite uncharacteristic of what the body wants to do. The body is made up of small bulges.
There are no true concavities in the body is oftentimes the wisdom on that. You can
find places where you can argue it is a concavity, the Achilles tendon, for example. But for
the most part, everything bulges. It’s a series of bigger and smaller bulges. So to
actually bind this back to turn the convex quality into a concavity is maybe a fun idea.
So that’s what I’m doing here.
There’s her bandana again. All these little folds on the bandana are going to be done
with much less grief with this stump because we have a little pencil to rub tones in.
Everything else—my fingers, the chalks, the paper, the paper towel. All that stuff is pretty crude.
That’s why I’m working fairly good size. Oftentimes I’ll work very big. I’ll
even work life-size on this stuff. The bigger the better in a way with this because it’s
big blocky tools. I can get down into finer tools with my Conté and my stump, but a lot
of the work is done in big, broad strokes. One of the things with the Conté is Conté
is a chalk which means it has a slight waxy quality to it, and that wax doesn’t blend
real well. It’s much better for hatching, not quite as good for blending. It will blend,
but it doesn’t blend as beautifully as a pastel chalk, this waxier chalk.
Okay, so got the head laid in there pretty nicely. Let’s put that there.
Let's go ahead and get some tone in here now. So the ear is going to be the border of the core
shadow basically. Then we go up into that bandana and hairline.
I’m going to start just on the face here.
And then bleed out from that and then do it again.
It is awful quiet when I don’t talk, isn’t it?
I’ll let go over the ear a little bit, and I can draw that back out with an eraser later.
Okay, I’m doing little hatches there because it’s her short hair along
her neck line is has that quality, so I’m going to do that.
Another way I’ll do this—Now, I’ve got a little forms to work out, zigzagging the
light and shadow forms to work out. I’m going to do that with a stump, as I said.
I’m going to come right onto this chalk and just draw off some pigment and just pick it up,
and I can get that little shadow behind the ear that way. You can hear how aggressively
again I’m scrubbing. I can get some little hatched marks for the hair,
texture of the short hair, layered hair.
[scratching noise on the paper] That’s kind of like fingers on the chalkboard, isn’t it?
The editors will edit in a Julie Andrews soundtrack over the top of that
scratching sound so it’s more pleasant.
Now, I’m scrubbing it in. Remember how aggressively I worked last time to embed that charcoal
into the paper. Also, I’m using it lighten up a little bit that shadow and blend it.
Now, as I go I’m taking that, I’m wiping it down. Then that wipes off that loose charcoal
and then I rolled it a little bit. So now I’ve
got a fuller load of charcoal, and then I roll it again.
That’s why that—you’ll see the little spinning action sometimes on whatever I'm using.
Okay, now I’m going to do some of the similar hatching just to give a sense—I’m going
to let this be a more line quality sketch rather than a finish. I’m taking my queue
from some of the academy drawings. You’ll see this in academy drawings, gifted students
or professionals who still work in that style. You’ll see in the Russian Academy of today,
although the older drawings are almost always better than the new contemporary drawings,
and the Chinese Academy, which all developed out of the Paris Academy that had Jerome and
Ang and had a long tradition of excellence until about the Impressionist period.
They would vignette out a little bit. In a painting we’d kind of dust it back in value or fade
into the background or let the strokes become more painterly. What it does is it keeps the
interest in the more rendered, more real, hotter areas in terms of light and shadow.
of hair. Let me do a couple of those here. I’ll do one that goes behind the shoulder.
Now I want to come back, so I basically drew the strands of hair more or less. Now, I’m
going to come back and I’m going to do a gradation over that whole hair, because all
that textured hair is really tracking over that tube of the neck that’s underneath,
and so the tube is going to slowly gradate out of light into shadow and go from lighter
to darker. So now I’m going dust over all my rendering and pick up that gradation.
So I have two ways of getting a gradation over a major form. Say there’s a gradation from
shoulder to hips. I can do the gradation first and then do my rendering over the top of that.
Or I can do the rendering first and do the gradation over that. Either one. In the dry
mediums like chalk or pastel you can do either one,
but usually in paint and usually in pastel
too—the looser pastels—you’re better off doing the gradation first. This is so
embedded I can’t do a lot of damage to that with a casual brushing over it. I’m not
going to move that pigment over. But in a pastel drawing, when I do a pastel drawing
that’s stuff is just sitting on the top, and if you blow on it hard it goes away. Certainly
if you rub over it it would go away. And in oil paint everything is blended. It’s not
presumably dry. So you’re better off doing your big gradation first and then rendering
over the top. Otherwise, in oil paint you’d want to do your rendering, let it dry, then
come back and do the glaze. So you always have several choices. Those kind of things
are important to experience with to find out which way works for you. When you look at
someone’s art that you admire you think about some of the basic ideas of rendering,
and oftentimes those subtle things you don’t think about. I just got some of the dirtiness
off that shoulder, lightening it up. You can see by lightening it up how hot it gets compared
to that relatively dark face. If I want this to look light, I can make it lighter or I
can make that darker. So pulling away that dirty value showed us how light that shoulder
was compared to that. Of course, I could push that head much, much darker and it would set
back. But I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to get a lot of dark values here.
I'll take away from the dark values I’m having here or I’m going to have here. Like I said,
I want it to be a bit of ghost vignette in going from tone into drawing.
Even those little marks I want to embed in. Let’s make a little adjustment on that ear.
Then I’m going to grab my eraser.
What I did there is I took it and I formed it. That’s the great strength
of a kneaded eraser. It’s first strength is it gets dirty, and as it gets dirty it
erases less and less efficiently because it’s smearing charcoal into charcoal. If I want
to get more charcoal off I go to a cleaner area. You can pull it part until you get a
clean area. It’s kind of self-cleaning in that sense. But what this does nicely is that
it erases, and as it gets dirtier it creates a natural gradation as I zigzag across.
Again, the border between the two tones, I want to get a gradation this way. So I go across that
direction, cross-directional, go across that. Do my gradation painterly or carefully.
I can go back and forth to stroke it. Sometimes you end up with little imperfections in the
paper, or it was slightly oily from your finger, and you’ll come back and work that out.
We won’t bother with that. But that’s what I did here. I created a little finger
of eraser rather than a big blunt block of it, which are the other erasers. Then I drew
out, pulled off in a subtractive manner the tones I didn’t want.
That gave me my little highlight that I was after.
Alright, so that’s about all we want to do for the—I just gave her a really bushy
eyebrow, didn’t I? She just got a Groucho Marx eyebrow. I think that’s about all we’ll
do for that for now. I say that and I keep going.
It’s so hard to stop once you get into a rhythm.
Now, I stop. I promise.
Again, all I’m doing. We’ll do more later. All I’m doing at this point is I’m drawing
when I’m in shadow. I’m using line when I’m in shadow. I’m using my rendered gradations
in light. I’m getting a big broad gradation, kind of an unfinished gradation off my core
just to fill the shadow with its appropriate value. That gives a sense of reflected light.
But I haven’t put any thought to it. I haven’t worked to get that. I may never in one of
these drawings work to get that. Although for us, we’re going to do that just because
I want to show you how if you decide to.
But this is what I call the Brown School way of working. The Rembrandts, the Sargent (except
for his outdoor stuff and his watercolors), the Zorn indoor portraits, Van Dyke, Gainsborough,
Reynolds, all those kind of guys—Thomas Eakins. They’re all Brown School, meaning
the shadows go into a Brown, basically a non-color. All the real color, all the local color is
on the light side. They go into a non-detail. It’s non-light is the general thinking there.
That non-light doesn’t deserve any detail in any reality. In the same sense that the
light side would. Any detail I do in the shadows at this point will be line
and may always be line.
If you remember at our last section I talked about these wandering lines, drawing several
lines instead of just one line for all those various reasons. We can do that over in the
shadow side if we wanted to, and they could be lighter, softer, more ghostly lines too.
And that would give kind of a blurred effect that would add to the insubstantiality.
There are all sorts of tricks you can use. In other words, what I’m saying is there’s a real
difference between the world in the shadows and the world in the light. The world in the
shadows is simpler. It’s darker. It’s less rendered. Maybe there is more line. Not
in this case, but maybe in another painting there is another artwork that is more line.
So I’m creating, maybe it’s thicker paint against thinner paint. I’m setting up a
reality through these technical choices. In a story you do it through action. In dialogue
you set up this dichotomy, this difference between. We need something in each art form
that tells us this is this and that is that. What are you going to do for us that lets
us know, that clues us in. The shadows are very, very different. Most realists will make
the shadows just as rendered as the lights. Oftentimes by mistake they’ll make it almost
the same value range as the lights. They’ll do that with the background too. They’ll
make the background just as rendered, just a real, the same value or similar value ranges
of the lights. You usually don’t want to do that unless you’re working in a hyper
realistic style, you know, photo realistic or thereabouts because then you’ve got no
visual clues, no intuitive clues to their differences. It’s purely pictorial.
It's really just copying the world and relying on the faithful copy of that world to do all
the work for you, to do all the dialogue for you. I’d rather set the terms of the dialogue myself.
In debate class and politics they know if you can frame the argument you’ll win the
argument. I would rather frame the argument. So I’m going to say in my world shadows
are much simpler. In my world, at least in this painting, this picture, I should say,
there is no background. I’m going to something or maybe possibly several things that will
help the audience intuit that difference.
That, on top of whatever reality, whatever truthful gradation, truthful value range I
stick in there, it’s going to tell the story or make the argument is a better way to do it.
I actually shouldn’t say tell the story. I don’t like it when artists try and tell
a story. This kind of art is a lousy form, doing a one-shot painting or drawing or doing
just a short series of paintings and drawings for a show or a catalog or something.
It's a lousy way to tell a story. There are much better forms. Comic books are much better
forms. Film is way better. Novels, of course. Stage plays. Those are story forms.
Painting, drawing, sculpting, dance, music—those are much better at iconic ideas: Metaphors, symbols
of an idea. They cross over, of course.
The drawings become a comic book. The music becomes an opera.
But you’re better off letting it evoke rather than spilling the beans.
Let's put it that way. At least in my opinion.
Since I’m the only one talking here, I'm the one that counts.
Anyway, that’s our worldview. We’re trying to create a fundamental difference in things
so that they become a visual clue for our framing of the conversation that is our art.
I’ll put it that way. So I want to be a good craftsman. That’s what this website
is about, to pass on craft that’s gotten lost more or less. Or, it’s held onto, it’s
held on by technique without a deep understanding, oftentimes. That’s really just the first step.
What I want too, then, is something to say with my craft. It’s like learning your
grammar, learning the steps of your soft shoe without having the full dance to ever play.
What I want to do then is have something to say with
this lovely vocabulary that I’ve developed.
So thinking about things, thinking about human nature, thinking about life. You know, your
worldview, why you went into art. Why in the world would you do art?
All those things start to give you an insight into the way you see things,
which is going to be different than the way I see things and should be.
That’s the fun of it, and that’s the magic of it.
That’s what we pay you for. We pay you to tell us how it is, at least for that painting.
I do that it actually blocks the drawing. I can’t see the hip I’m aiming for and
I’m going to miss sometimes. That’s kind of fun for me. I’ll come and correct it.
So I’ve got several lines that wobble there chasing after the truth of that backside.
Notice the wobbles hide that tubular construction. It hides the fact that I simplified this way down.
I came back and did a little bit of a wobble here, wobble there, did my splashy
technique. It hides the silly simplicity of trying to reduce a thigh,
a human being’s thigh into a simple shape.
Let’s say I want to do a gradation here from the thigh up to the shoulder. I’m going
to go this way. I’m going to muddy up those half-tones basically and take it back this
way. Notice as I was talking I was just kind of hatching around, doing little hatches here.
That could be kind of the stretch marks in a way of the tension as the ribcage and pelvis
are pushing, torque-ing against each other, then we’re going to get the folds increasing
back. If you look at that this pushes into that, and we get the cross-current. The tension
direction line goes this way and this way, and then the folds have no way to go but out.
They pinch out that way and they bind up. And so I’m showing some of that binding
action by going across. It’s just kind of a nice relief. It’s subtle here.
It's ust kind of a nice relief from all this linear stuff. There are some stair steps here and
I’ve gotten more aggressive with those, which tends to be style to overdo things that way.
Not tends to, it is my style to do that. A lot of linear—things are wandering, streams
down the mountainside, currents down the riverbank, that kind of thing. They’re all heading
in one direction. So going across is a bit of a relief. You know, we have the same thing
going in here in the crotch area with the binding leg. That’s a relief to see that
cutting across. We even have an X of intersecting stuff. Leg against crotch against other leg.
Relief. It’s something different visually to hold our attention.
Another little trick we can do, you’ll see this in academic drawings. This leg I’m
going to make less important than this leg, let’s say. So I’ll make the shadow lighter.
The difference between light and shadow is lessened. I’ll do a stronger cast shadow
line, strong edge there, which is really kind of a stylization of what that shadow is doing.
That’s less real. Maybe I’ll dust the whole thing down. The highlights get less
lit or something like that. I’ll do one or two or three or four little things that
are different to show, to allow may be a better way to put it, to allow the audience to intuit
that this is a different thing going on here. Difference in terms of importance, in terms
of symbol, in terms of visual dynamic, shadow against light, foreshortened against flat, whatever.
So that’s that.
Let’s go ahead and work on that then. Another way we can go, rather than going right with
the chalk and digging that out. I’m going to look at my reference here a little closer
so I can see it. I can come in with my stump and do a nice light drawing. With my chalk
it’s going to score. I’ll never really be able to get rid of those lines completely
probably unless I power scrub them with my eraser, my electric eraser, and even then
possibly not. But with the stump’s soft edge—now, I’ve turned it so that you can
see where the chalk is. That whole face was down on this because I wanted a broad, soft
statement there. Then I’m going to scrub it in, and I’m going to blend that off into
Whoops. Mistake, mistake, mistake. We just back with our kneaded eraser, dig that out,
and I would spend a long time then gradating that back into the surrounding value. Instead,
I’m just going to take out that little goober of value that I had and just scrub that back
in and let it all blend back in together and be pretty good. If I kept working on it and
working on it, I could get it way back to where it needs to be. Get those little imperfections
out if I was being super-duper pristine.
Now, see what I did there. I darkened this line here, specifically over this little bump.
What I want is I want that leg to be coming out at us this way. And so getting that knee
to insert in as a smaller tube, smaller tube inserting into the bigger egg or tube of the
thigh, kind of a drumstick idea. This idea. Then I darken that line, and then I came with
my side of my finger, and I just rolled right over that line and drew the end knee into
the bigger volume of the thigh. So now we have that nice insertion there with very little
work. Then I’ll come back and take a look at my reference here and force my core shadow.
Notice when I do that aggressive rendering oftentimes it plays down that core shadow
or even eliminates as we add in this case.
In general, when you pick the value of your half-tone, what you’re really doing, what
you really should be doing is keying, keying like a key in a door, locked door. You're keen
for the highlight. So we want it dark enough so that when we do our highlight we get the
appropriate pop. So you can see that jump out. Now, for our purposes that’s too big
a deal. I want this to be the strong value. I want this to be less. But I wanted to show
you that just so you could see that pop. We’ll do it again on the hip up here. What I’m
going to do is I’m going to start back here. I want to do a natural gradation, lightening
this whole area now so it’s more ghosted out like it was before. I’m going to stroke
back and forth and work my way back. Use that powerful highlight over most of it, working
my back so it’s more of a ghosted version of itself. In my world when things start coming
towards me as they’re moving towards the edge of the frame they become less and less
full value range.
To me it’s really important to have that worldview. In my world I ask that question
a lot. What’s happening in my world? In particular when you’re doing a model sketch,
particularly a pretty young woman, you feel obligated to make her pretty and young, and
so you feel like it’s has to look right, which usually means it has to look real, which
means you're copying, which means you’re not doing your art, which means you’re not going
to make the big bucks. Remember, they want you to have an agenda. You’re not a journalist.
You have a very specific agenda. In a good sense you have a prejudice. You have a way
you see the world that’s not true in an absolute sense.
It’s very subjective, but it’s exactly what we need from you.
That’s the only way you’ll end up with a powerful style, personal style that you can call your own.
Notice how I’m going to do this a little quicker here. Notice how quick I can be with
my rendering if I really get to it.
I’ll let that have some of the cast shadow.
Then again, whoops.
Then again I’m going to dust that back a little bit. Here we ago. I’m going
to start in this area that’s light. I can make it painterly. I kind of like that, so
I think I’ll leave that painterly.
Ghosting it back. Then I’ll come back...
and I can go back and forth several times until I get what I want out of it.
Until I can get what this work of art needs.
What I’m trying to do is get to a place where I’ve got a
dialogue going with the piece itself. What is it after? What does it need from me so
that it can say what it needs to say? It may not be anything concrete. It’s just does
it feel right—that’s probably more likely where you’ll be at with it.
Okay, now I have a little binding up in here. It’s like kinking up a garden hose, this
interior of the knee, so I’m going to use a stump because a little tiny kink,
and I'm going to take this again.
Correct that shadow shape a little bit.
Smooth out that gradation.
Now I’m going to pick up that cast shadow here.
Here’s that far breast form in here. Knock that down.
Here’s the cast shadow here.
Let that fade off.
I’ll come back and I’ll cut away...
and just go back and forth a couple times until I get what I want.
surgery here. We’ll get that out pretty well, take out some of those tones that bled
over as I was doing the cast shadow. Again, I don’t want this to be all that carefully
rendered, at least at this point. I think we’ll not finish yet,
but I think we'll leave it there for now.
Okay, and then we have a darker tone here as it meets the ground.
Alright, now let’s go ahead—we still have the feet to do. We’ll just leave those for
now. Let’s go ahead and work in the—I take that back. Let’s take and get the feet
a little bit further along here.
When I lay in that shadow off that core, I don’t worry about it overlapping into the
environment. I’ll erase that, correct that later. That just cramps
my style too much to have to do that.
Okay, we have that nice big calf muscle...
and then we move into the lower ankle area.
Alright, so we’ll switch over to our stump here.
I’m just doing a seismograph thunderbolt here to go
along that pinching ankle to the heel and
see how nicely that stump works as a subtle pencil.
Again, I’m not worrying about it bleeding in the background.
I'll cut that away with my eraser. I just want to get a nice relatively smooth gradation here.
Notice how dark this got. I put that gradation in to show you. It looks pretty
muddy, doesn’t it? I’ll show you how to change that.
Oftentimes I’ll try something. I’ll go, eh, nah, that didn’t work and take it out.
There’s no harm, no foul on most of this stuff. You can just come back and correct it.
The paper is pretty resilient. You can see there will be certain areas that give
you trouble. Like that area is a constant issue. It just scuffed it.
That will be a little bit of a repair job, but that can be fixed.
So now I’m going to dust this back.
I like a little bit of the almost like dust, sand in the desert, on the desert dunes coming
off, a little bit of that wispy. Again, it adds to that speed idea. I’m going to start
here because this is the hottest area. I’m going to hatch it back this way. Notice that
my eraser is getting dirtier. I’ve screwed up my darker half-tones. That’s going to
be easy to fix. I just want to get this overall gradation. Come back here and go this way.
It’s got less and less clean rubber, whatever it is, kneaded eraser rubber, and so it’s
going to take less and less pigment off the paper. You get a natural gradation, hatched
as it is or more careful if you’re tightening up those zigzag strokes.
Notice that I can go over the whole thing and give kind of a windswept, which can be pretty cool.
It can also start to look like too much of a technique. We don’t want it to be a technique.
We want it to be a style. I’m going to distinguish between those terms.
A technique is something that does the job but is obvious, let’s say.
A style is an honest discovery of something that explains your idea.
My style is my worldview, physical made visual. I have to do these strokes
this way because it’s the way I see the world. That’s all the great artists, Rembrandts
and such. They worked as they worked because that’s how they saw the world. The technique
was an expression of that vision, and that’s why we love them or hate them. That’s why
we get to evoke strong reactions. Think of all the great stylists. The saw the world
in a certain way, and they developed techniques, patterns of speech in effect, to explain that.
Whereas a technique is something you learn from a teacher or another student, and it’s
an expression of what you see. It’s struggling with materials and just trying to make the
materials work to capture what you see. That’s kind of working out of desperation, which
is where you’re going to be at when you first begin this stuff. Eventually you want
that to be a natural outcropping, you know, have faith.
This is your, you want to have a dogma.
You develop a vision, a philosophy of the world like a religious scholar would.
He sees the world through these filtered lenses through a glass darkly or whatever and not
just something you copied because it looked good, because you liked it.
Start there, but then say that’s cool. I want to do that but I didn’t like the way
he did that that way or she did that that way. I would do it differently. That’s the
beginning of you finding your style. When you can look at the old masters and find fault
with them that’s when you’re on your way.
Okay, and this will just pull out this way.
That wandering line. I love that wandering line.
That’s the way I like to do things. You might go, ugh, I hate that wandering line.
That’s good. That’s a place where we’ll part company, and that’ll be a niche, a
place that you can carve out for yourself. Check—no wandering line in my world.
Might even let that overlap a little bit. There, that little line goes through just a touch.
Let’s go ahead and hotspot that highlight there. It looks cleaner.
I'll go back and sometimes I’ll go back and forth several time. In fact, we’ll do it now.
You know, should I make it a hot highlight. I tried it darker. I didn’t like that. It
just started to look dirty. Let’s try and make it a hot highlight there.
I like the hot highlights here, at least at the moment, but I think not here. Os I am
going to go head and blast this out. Take away most of the half-tone.
Pull it away from that darker edge. That’s a little contrived anyway, that idea of going darker lighter,
darker lighter all the way across. It reminds me of a corrugated roof that’s really flat,
but just there are peaks and valleys all along that flat surface. Doesn’t do much for us.
Here we have in effect that corrugation, those rippling folds of locks of hair. But they
are all moving around there, and it’s appropriate for the wispy quality of short, cropped hair.
This is a big, broad form. The hip is the root, the fulcrum of the body.
Everything builds out of that.
The support system and the articulation build out of that root base,
and so it demands a little more power, and that might mean cleaner tones.
Again, notice what I’m doing. I’m speaking morally in effect. When I talk about this I’m speaking
about the worldview as the world should be. My view of a right-thinking world, a world in
harmony, a world in alignment with my predispositions.
That’s what an epic does, by the way, in a story. An epic speaks about a worldview,
how the whole society, the whole world, the whole universe maybe even can align and harmonize
and be right thinking. A writer who is doing an epic has to think about not just how that
character will act in that action moment, but how the bigger implications of what it
says about the whole world. That’s what I want to do here. =
I don’t want to just get this calf working. I want to get this calf working with this thigh.
That calf works pretty well, but that dark mark ruins the integrity of this whole
movement, and so that cannot be. The part now is going to have to sacrifice itself
on some level to make the whole harmonize.
Again, I’m just going to kind of play with the value scheme here.
I know basically what has to happen to make the form turn, but how is it going to compose?
How is going to align design into the bigger leg? That’s what I’m playing with now.
I’m going to use this, and I’m going to clean it off. Sometimes you get a dirty—especially
because my hands are sweaty under the lights here. Sometimes it will get moist, and if
you get wet then that tone just stains. You’re never going to get it out. You want to make
sure you’re not putting on something that’s going to be a problem.
Integrate it again.
Maybe even I’ll knock this back a little bit.
So notice I’m trying strategies.
Oftentimes you just won’t be sure what you want to do, and you’ll just try things.
What is going to work in my world? We don’t know oftentimes because you haven’t done
it before. I’ve never drawn an ankle in this perspective position maybe.
Or I've never used these tools at this small or large scale, maybe.
And so how do I create a consistency?
How does this little new problem fit into my big worldview?
You know, again, it’s a moral question in a sense.
How does the whole benefit from that part?
How does the part maintain its own personal identity in that whole?
These are the formal questions that art deals with, and
the technique is just a dumb excuse to talk about them.
Whereas most of us realists are so enamored with the reality to getting that highlight on the nose,
we spend our lives struggling just to get that. It’s a sigh of relief when we make
a good step towards it. Ideally, that’s just the beginning.
Now I’m going to start teaching the world how to see the world, at least for a moment, an afternoon,
a couple hours, a month of showings in a museum.
My strategy here was to use more line finally, use left value. Keeping it more that sketch
idea, which is not surprising because it worked pretty well here,
but it makes sense to try a few things or just settle, try some other choices.
The little pinching toe makes it look like the toes
are way too short. Pull that back. Dust that down.
Stretch that out.
Even if I had the model as a live model in front of me, no hurry. There’s no hurry.
I’ll get as far as I can get in the time I’m given. If I hurry I’m just going to lie.
I’m not going to give the truth of what I see. I’m going to lie. I’m not
going to give the truth of what I see there. I’m not going to be able to interpret it
in an honest way. It’ll be working out through desperate measures, basically. We don’t
want to do that unless it’s just trying to be loose and free to see what happens, where
there’s no pressure to perform at any moment. You just do a quick sketch and see what happens.
Throw something down loosely. Even that, your goal is for it to ring true.
You're not stressing, you’re not changing if it doesn’t. You just move on and try something else.
Okay, so that’s that. Just to give kind of a landscape strategy to give a sense of the plane that
the environment is on without having to commit to detail and structures that are going to
distract or annoy, or you don’t have the time or the energy to devote.
Then we’ll get our little alpha color here.
Here’s the advantage of working on film,
one of the great things about this website, if I can say that, is there was a moment where
I hatched it. Before I put this mark or these two marks it looked great, and then my momentum
carried me past that great moment, and I did too much. I could work like heck to try and
recover it, but I don’t have the energy or the interest to do it.
You can go back, stop motion it and find that moment,
with a little bit of work, and see what it looks like.
That's what we want to do with our own work.
It’s why it’s so helpful—I said in the first part of this session where I stopped
at that first stage. None of this was done, and that wasn’t done. That was a great way
to start. Then for you start again. Start it over again and take it that far again and
see if it’s better or worse. If it’s better either stop and start it a third time or go
a little further, and see if it keeps getting better or does it start to fall apart. You
can incrementally, do five or six, eight or ten, 20 or 30 of these. It doesn’t have
to be this much. It can just be a little ball, just an egg on a towel. It can be just the
torso, just the thigh and the hip. Pick a couple areas and do it. See how it moves from
the bare beginnings to the finished stage and do your own how-to manual basically on
that step. See where it gets better or where it gets worse. In the beginning maybe the
initial lay-in was really fresh and beautiful, and he should have kept it there. By the time
you rendered it you got belabored and it fell overworked and tired and self-conscious.
We switched to copying rather than designing and integrating these things. It just didn’t
have the guts it should have. So you go back and you start again and try it do it better,
or you go back and you keep it at that simple stage.
It’s a great way to work, but if you’re watching a demonstration on camera, now you
can go back and stop at each stage. You go something’s bothering me about what he’s
doing at that moment. So let’s go back and see when it didn’t bother me. How does it
look now? How does it look six minutes back before he got into that area? Why was it working
better then? Now let’s go forward again and see if he bails himself out or if she
bails herself out. See if it got better or worse five, six, ten minutes later, half an
hour later. Maybe he went through the ugly duckling stage where it had to kind of work
its way through and seeking that truth kind of got a little bit awkward—the teenage
years got a little bit awkward, and they pulled it out at the end.
Maybe it was a flaw in the thinking, and that mistake just carried on through the whole piece, and it never
really recovered after that. You can learn as much from bad demos. I never do bad demos, of course.
But, the other people who do bad demos—you can learn as much from bad demos as you can
from good demos. Knowing bad behavior, what not to do in life is every bit as valuable
and sometimes more valuable than being preached
to and being told exactly how you should behave.
You learn from everything. Everything is a lesson to be learned from. What do you hate
about your favorite artist? What do you love about styles you can’t stand? Maybe you
can’t stand the post-Impressionists. You can’t stand Picasso. What can you learn
from Picasso? What could you learn about symmetry and asymmetry from a Picasso? What can you
learn about—maybe you love Rubens. What can you learn about tastelessness? How much
is too much in a Baroque piece of art? That was that Baroque style. The name Baroque meant
imperfect pearl, which means a thing of beauty that was flawed. It was a pejorative. It was
a put-down as a lot of these art movements are in the beginning, some critic putting
them down. Then they end up adopting it. It was considered garish and over the top, and
it is garish and over the top. It’s Hollywood big budget. It’s Titanic, you know, with
a cast of thousands. What’s good about that? What’s bad about that?
You’re questioning. As an artist you’re saying what do I see? Then you’re saying
what do I want to say about it? Most people just answer the first question, and they never
think to ask the second question. What do I see? What do I want to say about it?
What do I see? That’s the craft side of things. I see this tone darker. I see this form rounder.
What I want to say about it is the poetic or philosophical side of things. I want to
say life with all its difficulty there are times when it’s absolutely glorious.
It's beautiful. It’s electric. It’s an epiphany. It’s religious. It’s spiritual in a material
world; that’s what I want to say, or I want to say life is hard, and unfortunately the
longer you live the harder it gets. What are you trying to tell us?
Let’s go back and bump this a little bit stronger.
Notice now that I’ve got so much pigment down there,
I’ve burnished that surface so many times I can now hatch over
that lightly with this. I couldn’t do that before. I hatched over on the clean paper.
I could never get those hatches out. That’s the problem I’m having here. Here though,
I can do a real light hatch if I’m careful.
Notice how it blends right in. I’ve smoothed out, I’ve burnished down, smoothed out the roughness
of that surface. It’s not going to grab like that.
I’m dragging the half-tones out of the shadow back into the lights.
Then I can say that’s a little too much.
I can pull some of that tone back a little bit.
There’s my dirty eraser.
I have to work hard to get those tones to come off now. That's what I want. The harder
I have to work to change this surface the more control I have. The more facile I am
in throwing down that mark or blob of ink, the less control I have over it.
In general, when you’re rendering, when you’re working in a small area, a subtle
area, a difficult area, you want to have to work hard to change the tone. Put very little
paint on your brush. Put very little charcoal on the stump. Have a dirty eraser or dirty
finger to blend and soften. I’m taking a step back to look at it from a distance to
see how it’s working. I still don’t quite like this transition, so let’s go again.
I’m going to take this highlight and I’m going to let it zigzag up.
What I did there is I took the highlight, came off the hip,
onto the waist, into the rib cage. Now, I’m tracking
with that highlight like I am subtlety with the line, like I am strongly with the
core shadow. I’m tracking over the chains that bind there.
I'll work on this area and see if we can salvage it.
These little forms can be almost anywhere,
so I’m going to erase back in there that whole area pretty aggressively, and then
just shift things around a little bit so it looks cleaner.
No hurry. Pretend you’re being paid by the hour. You don’t have to hurry.
Just whenever the job gets done. That’s better. It’s not perfect yet but it’s better.
Let's clean up that a little bit, reinforce my, it’s actually a cast shadow.
It's the base of this form turning.
Cast shadow there and then I’ll just kind of wander around,
reinforce that core a little bit. Okay, now, that the thing that’s missing here, notice
we have these half-tones dragging out of the core. We’re anchoring almost all of them
to the core shadow. That gives great cohesion to our design as I talked about earlier.
But, we have nothing going on in the shadows. We said we want to make the shadows simpler,
but we also want them to feel like they’re part of the same world. They’re a distinct character
I that world. They’re a darker character but they’re still part of the same world.
I’m going to drag some of these tones now off the core shadow instead of up into the
half tone down into the shadow, and that will
make it feel not so, no oversimplified and not so
alien, not so flat and distorted.
I did do a little bit of work on that armpit before, so I'll reinforce that.
Again, I can afford to hatch and lay a little bit of
pigment in the interior because I’ve got a good dark base. It’s not going to give
me problems. You can see by doing that doesn’t that help? Say yes, it helps.
Now we're starting to feel sophistication in the shadows.
Not much, but notice every time I do a little mark—
I did this little darker mark here, and that gave the sense of it cover over and
bumping, turning under quicker to catch more reflected light, swelling up towards the top
a little bit to get less reflected light and then tucking over again.
Then maybe we’ll push this cast shadow.
If I don’t like it I can get a lot of it off.
Won’t be able to get that back to light.
But, I can take it back to a more pale shadow.
You can see, again, the hatching that shows up there because it was almost white.
The surface is flawed now.
I like it in there, though, so there is no risk to do that because any hatching
in that cast shadow wasn’t going to be a problem. It’s a flat, painterly, more linear
statement part of the drawing. There is no concern that I was going to destroy structure
or create a flaw that in the lovely young flesh that might throw a monkey wrench in things.
Let’s get the belly button in here. Notice it’s a stretching belly button so
I use a stretching mark. Scoot that back a little bit.
I’ve drawn that belly button four times moving it around. That’s the old Pontormo
style of drawing. He’d draw four nipples and seven fingers trying to find where he
wanted to put the silly thing. It added to the drawing. It made it more beautiful,
more quirky, more fantastically his.
Okay, I’m going to come in again here. Pull a little bit of action down in off that hip.
Alright, so we’re going to begin again. I’m going to start by refining my contours here.
Changing that belly button again.
I’m just making some adjustments.
I tend to move things around as I go, which is always the way I’ve done it.
You can see how it gives kind of this energy to it that’s going to morphing strength
as it’s kind of growing and swelling and breathing, like some horror film that’s
getting bigger and bigger kind of thing. I just always liked that.
Life evolves so why not let our art evolve with it even within a single piece.
Okay, so I came over here and dirtied up my eraser, and then I came over there.
I had to work harder to pull that off, that little tone off. Anchor that tone a little bit.
Now, we’ve got to do a little bit of work on this shoulder. I’m going to come back to
my core shadow and hatch into that tone a little bit so I have a little more pigment
to work with and drag it down and do it again and drag it down.
What I’m looking for is to turn this first in a box-like way.
Turn that like a 2 x 4.
Push it stronger so you can see it.
Notice I’m doing a little bit at a time, taking my time to ease into that
new idea. See that now? It’s darkened this under here.
Okay, now it is going to be a little darker than I want,
but I wanted you to be able to see this. Then the elbow down
here gets very dark. I’m going to push that darker here. We’re going to darken that
same side of the arm but also the backside of the arm and let it grade up into that lighter
tone. I’m going to lighten this up to get that strong reflected light and look what
happens as soon as I do that. Light or reflected light.
Feather it into its surrounding tones,
soften those tones. There I’ve got a strong reflected light. Squint and look at it.
It's too strong, isn’t it? That’s the danger.
What I did wrong in concept is I added lighter tones to a shadow.
That’s always dangerous. By erasing back to the white paper I added
lighter tones to shadow. If I was painting I would’ve added white paint to the paint
mix, added whiter paint to the shadow. When you do that you’re adding light to the shadow.
Now it is light, it’s reflected light. But it’s a lesser light. It’s a different light.
We have to distinguish it as a variation of shadow. Shadow is a dark idea.
It's not a light idea. This part of the shadow is relatively lighter than the rest of it.
But it’s still a dark idea. So I was much better off the first go around where I just barely showed
that reflected light, and I did it by darkening the darker shadows rather than lightening
the lighter shadows. If you want those shadows to get a little bit lighter, make the shadows
around it a little or a lot darker.
Even doing that line, a darker line makes that shadow a little lighter there.
I can add some cross-hatching in there. You can add technique.
But anyway, that gives you that sense. Now that really pops out, that shoulder, because
it’s the lightest part of the light side, and it’s the darkest part of the dark side,
and it really pops out, really kind of too strongly. That whole shoulder kind of lifts
away from the rest of the form and overwhelms. I’m going to dust that shadow back a little
bit, steal away some of its value. It’s also not the main area of interest. I want
the main area of interest down here. So I’m going to dust it back.
Sometimes I end up with a technique, maybe the hatching, that makes it nicer technically
than it would have been if I had of left it. I’m going to let that be hatchy the way
I did it down here, but to a lesser degree. Working back in forth, and this is tough paper,
so it take the abuse. It’s being abused by erasing and scrubbing, erasing and scrubbing.
A lesser paper, a newsprint, can’t do this with newsprint. Don’t even try. Newsprint
you want to lay down a tone and leave it. If you go back over it more than once probably
you’re in big trouble. It’s going to just tear to shreds.
Let’s see here, where do I want to work. Okay, now I want to scrub away under that
breast. I did this when I took a break. I cut out a little piece of paper, just cheap
old paper, bond paper, and just did a generic S-curve.
So now I can pick the area that closely resembles or tracks that curve, and
I can use it as a little shield. You can actually buy—erasing shields they’re called. They’re
usually straight little rectangles that have rounded corners. Then they’ll have cut out,
like a template cut out areas.
You can use those to erase or to draw so you don’t
muck up a nicely rendered area. That’s what I’m doing here.
I’ll show you one other place where we can do it.
That’s actually the reason I did it and made the thing.
Not is it right in any logical sense, but does it ring true? Does it give the essence?
The dynamic thrust. The overall proportions, the sense of relaxation and work that is going on.
The tonal pattern. It’s working on some level, but it’s really from the gut finally.
Does it feel right? Does the artwork demand this particular thing even
though the reference said that particular thing?
We’ll see you next time. I hope you got something out of it.
Free to try
1. Lesson overview56sNow playing...
1. Introduction to materials, core shadows, highlights, and initial lay-in15m 25sNow playing...
1. Finishing the lay-in and establishing a core shadow15m 31sNow playing...
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2. Creating more shadows and halftones, rendering shadows14m 23s
3. Deepening core shadows and revealing the form through halftones15m 38s
4. Stylizing muscles with conté crayon and defining the head15m 16s
5. Creating gradations and containing the volumes with line14m 34s
6. Defining the legs through line and shadow15m 11s
7. Cleaning up lines and defining the feet15m 2s
8. Detailing the feet and redefining the shadows15m 2s
9. Refining shadows and highlights, finishing touches19m 8s