- Lesson Details
In the final lesson of the series, master artist Steve Huston begins with some warm-up poses using his fountain pen and then dives into three separate gouache renderings. Watch Steve mix paint, experiment, and make decisions based on reference images.
For years, Steve has been asked how he creates his beautiful sketchbooks. In this series, he will teach you how to blend two very distinct processes into one great way to do studies – or for that matter – finishes. Covering landscape, still-life, and figure, Steve shows you why watercolor is such a great tool for planning out a tonal or color composition, why it’s ideal for creating what he refers to as “happy accidents,” and how it can help you make that difficult transition from competent draftsman to first class painter.
Additionally, Steve will put in time using pen and ink, and brush and ink, exploring ideas for planning future paint strokes, seeing how it will help develop your eye for the precise way to track and/or reinvent form on paper or canvas and see how you can sneak a little color and flare into these time-honored tools. Practice with Steve as he lectures and demonstrates how to begin and finish both quick sketches and more complete renderings.
This series is based on a live-streamed workshop hosted by Art Mentors in late 2017.
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Today we’re going to work in sketchbooks and I’m going to show you how to render
in a sketchbook.
We’ll work small and relatively fast.
We’re working with gouache.
We’ll show you how you can get all the advantages of watercolor but then take it into a more
finished and slightly opaque version of it of that.
I love this technique.
The pressure is off.
It’s a great way to get mileage in rendering without all the pressure of the big finish.
Steve Huston is an internationally renowned painter and draftsman, who has worked for
such clients as Caesar’s Palace, MGM, Paramount Pictures, and Universal Studios.
He has taught drawing and painting at Disney, Warner Brothers, Blizzard Entertainment, and
We’re going to work from some figures.
We’re going to do a couple of demos.
Then I’ll take you all the through the process of laying in the drawing, building up the
paint, the color, the richness, and getting some flair to the technique.
Let’s go ahead and get started.
This is three of three, our last day together.
We’re going to do some warm-up sketches here.
Keep in mind what we’ve talked about in the last two days.
We were trying to find all the ways a sketchbook can help us.
This is our lovely model here, Jennifer.
Just a beautiful set-up there that you can—when you get this kind of set-up you can sketch
You can also sketch the casts and the globe and the whole environment.
There are all sorts of ways to play with that, and that’s from the Draw This Website that
is not yet up—it will be up in a few months.
But anyway, our sketchbook can serve a lot of functions.
One of them is to draw objects.
We talked about a sketchbook devoted just to drawing objects.
That way we can focus on the whole world really as architecture.
When we start drawing simple objects—glasses, spoons, and baseballs, every simple thing
in the world; a CD case or, I’m trying to look around my studio here for different objects,
All those things.
Any simple thing.
What we’re doing is we’re learning to translate the world into a simple architectural
truth that’s functional, that we can then build on.
Basically sculpting the world in pencil, paint, pen, or actual clay.
It gives us great control.
All of a sudden we can translate the world.
That’s what we’re after in our art.
It’s seeing the world and not copying it so much as translating it into something that
hopefully speaks to people aesthetically and maybe even more than aesthetically.
Maybe philosophy in some wonderful way.
Notice as I’m doing these strokes, I’m not doing a traditional lay-in with the pen
here, although sometimes I will do that.
I did do a few lay-in marks every once in a while, just simplify things out.
You can just draw and it’s going to be a little out of proportion or a little too much
this or it’ll be a mark that’s wrong, something like that.
Notice when I’m drawing down the long axis of that arm I’m drawing a long axis curve
to show life.
Anything that could show that length, that fluid lively quality is what we want to pick up.
Notice we have kind of a ball for a head, a ball for a rib cage, a couple of balls for
There is a lot of snowman action going on so when we get to a long arm, and here we
have both arms.
You can see the inside of the forearm on that supporting arm.
We get to a long arm we want to get as much curve as we can out of that so that we show
that fluid graceful quality.
But anyway, back to what I was saying.
We want to have a sketchbook that devotes itself to understanding the simple architectural,
the manufactured or found objects in the world and not so much the figure.
You could sneak a few things in there, as I suggested with the thumb.
They are really just objects.
Then that gives us a good catalog of simple shapes in our head.
You can say, well, that’s rib cage.
I’ll draw it like it’s a loaf of bread.
I’ll draw that ear like it’s a slice of disc, cylinder that’s been cropped.
That kind of thing.
It gives me a way of translating, getting control.
The other thing we can do is group the world into simple values, so light and shadow and
If you’re doing any particular object it can just be a two-value system now.
It’s light and it’s shadow, and you don’t really worry about the half-tones.
You don’t worry about the reflected light.
You just do that two-value system.
That’s a good one to do in marker, although you could it in pen and ink like we’re doing
here with my fountain pen.
Once we have those going and we have some mileage, we’ve got some practice with those.
We’ve taken some classes.
We’ve done a few sketchbooks, all that good stuff, then you can combine them together
and do something that we’re doing here.
Sketching the body as simple architectural shapes, build on that curved, fluid long axis.
Simple two-value system, the light and shadow.
If I’m going to show some of the environment, she’s sitting on something, then that will
also just be the same two-value system light and shadow separating.
I’m not going to worry about local value, local color differences of dark leather to
light flesh or dark hair to light flesh, that kind of thing.
It’s just very simple.
We want to think of the world as a series of simple architectural shapes.
We want to think of the world as a series of simple value, two or three-value systems.
Then everything gets reduced and distilled down.
That gives me more control.
Then I’ve got a handle on the world and then I can start manipulating the world, making
the world say what I want it to say structurally aesthetically and possibly again philosophically.
The other thing we can do is do little color studies as we did yesterday, and that can
be in the figure.
We’re going to do that a lot today, but we’re going to take those studies into more
finished, at least a sketchbook version of finished renderings.
Fairly finished, actually.
But it could be landscapes or still lifes as well as we see here.
Just breaking down real simple shapes.
They are vaguely organic.
It gives you a sense that maybe that’s a mountain.
Maybe those are clouds.
Maybe those are bushes.
Maybe that’s a tree or cities, city lights and skyscrapers.
Any of those things give us a sense of the value.
Notice here I’m talking about creating a gray scale really with just a mark.
It’s just line and yet line combined together tightly as opposed to spaced far apart gives
me a sense of value just like the dot pattern in a newspaper, for example.
We combine a series of lines and get that sense of value.
Here we are over in our next reference coming up to show what I’m working on here.
Anyway, the advantage of that is when you make lines that combine the tone
into a value system.
All of a sudden those can translate into brush strokes and for we painters out there, those
brush strokes can get wildly inventive, and we look to some of those in the first couple
days, early illustrators and such.
Seeing that they had incredible energy and direction.
There were a lot of lines that formally tracked over the form.
Other lines that broke against it.
Other lines that played up the textural quality.
Other lines yet that subsumed, settled in to a bigger design system, bigger values system.
If you can take those, all those marks and contain them into a shape, then the marks
start to group, and you start to lose the marks and you start to see the big shape.
That’s the idea in cross-hatching and pen and ink hatching, cross-hatching.
Notice here I’m just kind of using a strategy of drawing what’s in front of what.
The arm is in front of the shoulder.
I’m going to draw the arm first with a hand.
One arm is in front of the other.
I usually start with the head first on these things on any drawing I do or painting because
I find if I don’t get the head in first that it kind of gets stuck on the body rather
than becoming an integral part of the body.
The head really should be the first gesture of the body, and so we want to make sure that
the head is the beginning of our story and tracks well.
It doesn’t stick on but flows well into the whole story called the figure.
Notice when I do my hatches, those hatches up on the top of the hair, I’m losing most
of the silhouette of that hair.
I’m just giving a bare sense of the silhouette, and the hatches expand beyond that.
With that kind of thinking you can even see the hatches going beyond the arm there.
That kind of thinking is inclusive.
On doing that on purpose, really.
It makes it more expressive.
It’s slightly surprising that it would break out of the contour.
Also, it’s giving me a hint.
It’s reminding me that this is a figure in a ground.
It’s a foreground with a background.
It’s a figure in an environment.
And so even as I’m drawing the figure I’m also thinking of the environment.
Notice that strategy of drawing a little double lines there.
That gives me a chance to show the shadow.
That little double line can be a little edge shadow say where I drew the inside of the
arm and the armpit of that far arm.
On our left, her right.
Doing a little double line suggests that.
It also gives me an out.
I can say I think it’s a right-side line, but then I find out, no, it should be a little
I’ll accent that inside line or I’ll push another outside line even farther.
Those hatches give a sense of maybe reflected light or energy, or I can come back with a
darker line later and kind of ghost back, let the other line feel ghosted back as I
just did on that shoulder and back there, shoulder and rib cage.
That double line is useful, and it makes me feel less committed.
If it’s just a single line a part of me feels like it should be a beautiful contour
line that’s exactly right.
Letting it drift and be wrong and be searching to me is quite alright.
Some of favorite artists like Pontormo, his drawings, he would draw two or three nipples,
six or seven fingers.
He’d draw the contour several times.
Even someone like Nikolai Fechin—Fechin’s drawings were incredibly carefully worked
out, and he was slow, meticulous, yet they had a great energy.
He would still draw a correcting line in there, and I loved him because of that,
not despite that.
I actually cultivate that kind of thing in my paintings, having a line that’s incorrect
left in the finish and allowing that correction come right on top and letting the audience
kind of pick the one they want and help me decide on that.
All that I think is to the positive.
It makes the process abstract somewhat, so we start to celebrate the marks.
Maybe not just as much but at least in some way in conjunction with what the marks mean.
That’s a rib cage.
That’s a belly button.
But also is it a beautiful mark?
Is it a beautiful series of hatches?
See those hatches I did on the inside of the leg just above where I’m drawing now.
They kind of splay out a little bit as the thigh starts to move in towards the hip.
That splaying, that wandering line, not just staying in the same angle but opening up like
an umbrella slightly and rotating, that’s fresh.
That adds a little bit of energy and interest to that area.
So, having things that aren’t formally perfect, playing with things and redoing things, trying
again and again is always too me an interesting process to let that show up especially in
a sketchbook but even in a finish.
Here notice I’m dealing with the figure in an environment, and I’m trying to get
that feeling that her weight is settled down onto her lap, and the lap is pressing on those
bent legs, and then those bent legs come in contact with that hard and moveable ground.
Then it is what it is.
Here I’m going to draw that cast shadow, and I’m going to make the cast shadow ever
more broken as I go so the shapes will start and the hatches will start to disjoint, discombobulate.
I don’t know if I can say that one.
There was a little correction.
It’s a sketchbook I’m correcting.
If it was in paint I could cover that correction with the opacity.
And so feeling those interesting relationships and oftentimes having some idea in mind showing
the weight, for example, or the tilt of the head forward against the torso going back,
and then the thrust of the lap forward with the lower legs going back, that forward and
back, maybe, as we’re pressing down.
Notice I allowed the one drawing to be a different size and to overlap, the first drawing to
some degree, I like that also.
That’s not something you would ever do.
You’d do overlaps, of course, with your one figure, one object from the other, but
you wouldn’t let it be a haphazard overlap that destroys the picture making and allows
one drawing to come through and not be hidden by another.
That’s part of a sketchbook that’s unique, really, unless you’re going to be some type
of collage artist.
I like the idea that we’re showing this intruding into the space of that, and they
you start to get these interesting negative shapes.
Our first drawing comes down and to the right.
Our second drawing kind of came down and to the left so we get kind of a V-shape between
them that’s a really interesting negative shape.
Now I’m going to break that negative space again with this even smaller figure, again,
a third size change that’s going to come over both of them.
And so I’m going to get these lines cutting over lines.
These might suggest, you know, I might do the same thing on some level with my painting
where I do corrections, and I decide to make her that one figure a little smaller and shift
it to the left.
If I draw right over the old figure and correct that.
All those things kind of suggestive and potentially I can use them in some way in a picture.
I might have the ghost of an old position or an old figure showing through in the final
It’s a process.
I’m always interested in process.
I always want to respect the process, maintain that process, but at the same time play games
with that process in a way that makes it interesting.
Notice when I go down the long axis, the longer I go, the more I want to show that curve.
We have all these kind of articulating pieces, all these architectural pieces stuck together.
The hair in the features.
The head and the neck.
The neck and the costume.
The sleeve and the torso.
Then we finally get a long simple arm in a long graceful position.
Play that up so that all of that stuff doesn’t overwhelm.
We give back to the simple truth that something that is alive is mainly water, and something
that is mainly water is going to have a fluid long axis.
Again, in the feet and come out of all that turmoil, all that binding up, gathering up
of material that falls and rises and underlaps and overlaps with gravity and with articulation.
Then we can come to a simpler moment where we show again the lovely simplicity.
Notice if I want her to stand up and not fall over I need her head over the heels and not
outside the heels.
Over the heel and ankles really, the ankle bone malleolus, the little knob on the ankle
is probably a better, safer place to go.
If I tip her head back so it breaks to the left side of the ankle bone or of the heel,
it will definitely feel like she’s falling over backwards.
She stands pretty rooted.
She is leaning back a little bit on her pose there but not so much that she falls over
Frankly, the shadow can help hold her.
If I did a little construction line on the front showing maybe where the floor meets
the wall in front of her that would be there if I did one behind, but if I did one in front
that would actually pull her forward.
It would be like a fishing line hooking her leg, let’s say, and keeping her pulled forward
and not tipping back.
You can do the little relationship marks that help do that.
Now I’m thinking about the curve there of the thigh one way against
her lower leg the other way.
That interesting dynamic that is just happening here.
I might play this against that in another composition.
Maybe the back of her rib cage against the back of her hips
and legs with that gathered nightgown.
There is that bulky line, the doubling up, the binding and kind of bean bag binding of
But then play that, come back to that upper back into the neck, that long bulging convex
curve, and then play that against the sweep of the forearm into the hand to get that reverse
Here, again, playing something again for the second time.
Sometimes it’s better.
Sometimes it’s worse.
It’s definitely going to be different.
It’s going to be simpler, in this case.
Just kind of playing those dynamic differences, except maybe now integrating a little bit
of the background environment in there.
Now I have a little vignette composition of several things playing against each other.
Notice right there the dynamic curves playing against each other and look at the V happening
between that little bit of the chair I’ve drawn and the back of her body and then how
that relates forward.
She’s crowding back against that chair.
That’s going to help keep her standing up if my drawing tipped back a little bit.
She’s away from the desk there on the other side.
That might, that space there, the crowding in one and the space
of the other might suggest movement.
She’s moving towards the desk, you know, coming out of the chair moving towards it.
It might give a sense of what happened before and what happens after.
Every mark I want to be slightly surprising.
It’s trying to be accurate, of course, but not dead-on accurate.
It’s trying to be speak to the truth of it.
Do I change that hair so I get a bigger bump back rather than just kind of the helmet shape
that the reference gives me?
Can I play the skull underneath that thick wig and then how that binds back against the
That head thrusts forward a little bit.
Maybe I’m going to go forward a little bit.
Maybe I’m going to play that thrust forward against that linear vertical line coming down
to show that, make sure that open vest steps back and maybe I should have pushed it back
even a little bit more.
That would thrust his head forward more.
It gives that forward momentum as he’s about to take that next step forward with this right
leg as opposed to his left leg.
When you’re looking at these poses you can also than what happened before that pose.
How’d he get into that pose or into that situation if you’re projecting a story on It.
Then how is he going to get out of that pose and move on to the next step in the story.
It’s all kind of odd watching yourself draw.
We’re doing this after the fact because our audio issue.
We let you all know, we apologize for that again.
But I look at these things and I just drew these a couple of days ago.
I’m kind of curious what’s going to happen.
I don’t quite remember what I did or what I was thinking as I did it.
It’s a little bit magical to watch.
You cringe at the mistakes.
It’s a little bit magical to watch this kind of coming alive.
You get it sped up in the recordings.
You speed it up and then it just appears almost like magic.
It’s kind of cool.
It’s fun to see that develop.
It’s almost like a cliffhanger.
You think even though you’re drawing, oh, what am I going to do now or what did I do
to get out of that problem?
That line is not right.
Oh, that’s pretty good or oh, geez I just made it worse.
Notice I’m playing the wider character that bottom, giving a little bit more of a potato
shape or a pear shape to him, wider vest, wider leg.
I don’t even know if I intended to do that.
I don’t remember.
It actually has a more pleasing shape than the straight shot down of the figure, this
older gentleman that we have, great figure.
He’s just thin so it’s fairly vertical.
So to bulge out that center a little bit, kind of the egg from the thighs up into the
chest, a greater egg adds a little more interesting, I think, design to things.
Giving him big clogs, I guess.
I’ve got a Waterman Paris fountain pen.
Actually, I guess you can’t buy the Waterman anymore.
I’ll have to check on that.
That was what I was told.
It’s at least 20 years old, this pen.
I’m sure I’ve had it forever, and it’s worked great throughout.
In fact, we bought a backup pen, and it didn’t seem to work.
I don’t know if it was the fairly cheap ink or old ink but it didn’t bother my old pen.
It had a little bit finer nib than what I’ve got.
I think I’ve got a fine on mine and it was a very fine, or if mine is a very fine as
that other very fine.
In any case, it works lovely.
I love that pen.
It’s a good friend.
We’ve been through a lot of sketchbooks together, a lot of pages.
Notice very quickly we establish the three-value system, the light, the middle, and the dark,
in this case, the hair becomes the three-value system.
Notice now the interesting, just there, that vignette, like the Joseph Clement Coles and
some of the others that I showed you where you get the vierge.
You get the vignette of a whole scene having a ragged edge that sits within the frame rather
than being framed out as I’m showing here.
Having a frame that contains it here, the environment ends the atmosphere and mood ends
with a vignette shape and then that’s plunked down on the toned canvas or white paper or
something, wherever it’s going to be.
Usually it’s a printing choice.
Oftentimes it’s designed to create and interesting shape for printing.
That kind of demands or suggests that vignette.
Notice I’ve got this little palette cam here.
I’ve got a porcelain palette you can use just wax paper or you can buy the paper palettes
you can get at art stores.
Cup of water.
I’ve got gouache and watercolor together.
The blue is ultramarine blue, viridian is the green, titanium white is the white, alizarin
crimson is the darker red, lighter red is Windsor red, and then I’ve got a yellow
there that I need to resupply a little bit, and that’s Hansa yellow or Windsor yellow.
I’ve got a couple of them.
Windsor yellow is a little warmer.
As you’ve mentioned before, you can interchangeably deal with gouache and watercolor.
Gouache just has heavier particles, bigger particles, bigger chunks.
It’s not quite as fluid in transparency.
You’ll get sediment showing a little bit of it.
The watercolor will be a little cleaner glaze.
Other than that—likewise, watercolor is not quite as opaque, but if you thicken it
up it’s going to, you can’t really tell the difference.
They’re using the same gum Arabic medium.
I just think of them as the same.
Then we have our lovely setup here.
Notice how warm everything is.
I’m going to try to work out just a simple little idea here and just think of the framing
Do you want to come in and crop in tight, frame up and do a bust shot with those wide
elbows poking out, that nice kind of symmetry.
When I’m thinking of a composition it’s a lot of things, but it’s always that symmetry,
She’s got a symmetrical pose with both arms up in a similar manner, but her head is turning
away or slightly turned off the frontal.
The light source is coming from an angle.
All those things throw asymmetry in that basic symmetrical pose.
Now when I lay the water down there that’s dampening the paper, of course.
I wiped a little bit away so I didn’t drip so we could move a little quicker.
And now those washes, see how quickly those move?
Whereas if it were dry paper then it would grab—I’d have to fight that a little bit
I’d have to load up my brush a little bit more.
It quickens the process a little bit.
Then again use that paper towel and you can take it down quickly and dry it down.
Now everything is going to be keyed to yellow, meaning every color in the painting except
for the super-opaque colors are going to have some yellow bleeding through, and that yellow,
of course, is going over the oatmeal color, that very gray, cool yellow.
So the yellow itself has now been keyed in and affected a little bit by what’s underneath.
That transparency is letting the colors come through.
Those colors then affect everything else that goes on top of it as long as the transparency
That is kind of the reverse of oil paint in a way.
In oil paint you can paint it down, let it dry, and then glaze over the top of it as
say Giorgione would do in his John the Baptist painting and you glaze in those incredible
Rembrandt did it too, those incredible golden colors.
The red cheeks that you’ll see to show the warmth of the flesh coming through.
All those things in Brown School painters and high Renaissance baroque, Rococo, they’re
glazing those colors in.
Gainsboro and Reynolds, great British painters, they would start with just gray and white,
just a black and white paintings, just the gray tones.
Then they’d glaze all the colors in.
Before that, in those earlier periods it would be brown and white, and that’s why they
call it Brown School.
The shadows would stay kind of Brown.
This would be a natural painting for a Brown School painting.
Everything is coming out of browns.
There is a tint of local colors, but the colors don’t dominate, the values dominate.
Here I’m just going to do a little study, just kind of figure out what I want to do.
Not so much compositionally for this because that’s not the scope of this workshop, although
we could absolutely do that and should do that, frankly, if we’re going to turn this
into a true ambitious painting, a finish.
Here I’m just working out the color schemes.
I’ve got that yellow laid down.
Notice how the white was very opaque when I put it on, but it had a lot of water in
it so that water soaks into the paper.
It dries quickly.
All of a sudden you’re seeing some of that yellow come through, and now it’s shifted
towards the green because the white is a light cool gray.
The light and cool gray is then going to shift everything to the cool so we’re getting
that cool white, the yellow undercoating and we get some kind of greenish.
Notice I don’t care about the drawing.
I think it’s important in these little studies to not worry about the drawing.
If you worry about the drawing you’re going to fuss about it, and you’re going to be
thinking about the size of the forearm and the attachment of the shoulder and the proportions
of those things, and you’re not going to see big picture stuff, the big simple shapes
in color and value.
That’s all we’re after here.
Color and value.
What’s going to be a shadow on a nightgown in this painting?
What’s going to be the shadow on the wall in this painting.
How is that shadow of the wall and the shadow of the nightgown going to harmonize, going
to work with the dominant color, that ochre-y color in the background.
Just working out those issues.
Notice since everything is wet, when I lay in my strokes they float and we get that watery
quality that’s so famous of watercolors.
It’s so appealing.
Keep that frame in there.
Put that frame in there.
It’s a safe way to be able to see into the window of your world.
It’s really helpful.
Later you can do little vignettes and stuff, but the more you put in that frame the more
you’re going to see and feel the environment.
We want to look in here and see very clearly that this is a specific world with a certain
set of rules, in this case color and value rules, basically.
In my world everything is kind of yellowish.
I’m going to get these wonderful variations of yellow.
Rich golden ochres, gray-green umbers, darker, lighter.
The whites are pale, blue-greens.
Now I’m just kind of working out these little areas.
This is a shadow under the chin and down the collar of the nightgown.
The shadows underneath the forearms.
Now I’ve kind of spotted, the hope is I’ve spotted all the major color statements that
are going to be in a final rendering here, and then that’s going to give me my clue
when I render, but at this stage figure it out is this the way I want to go.
Is this the way I want to render it?
To me the freshness of the marks—you know, look at the little kind of circular mark that’s
supposed to be separating the forearm, the big forearm from the upper arm.
It’s just a little circle on our left or right.
That’s horribly drawn in terms of trying to show that this bulging tube of forearm
pinching, binding, and separating with light and shadow against the upper arm.
As a mark, it’s a lovely little mark.
When I look at this little piece from a distance now, and this is the way to look at it—not
up close, not like this, but step back after you’ve done it or even while you do it and
see it from distances we just saw in the earlier shot.
Now you get that true thumbnail advantage.
You see things small.
Everything is cohesive because it’s so small, and you’re seeing the relationships of these
eight or 10 light and shadow shapes.
That’s what you want.
That’s the advantage of this.
Work bigger, more carefully.
Add some drawing into it later, but in the beginning work small so you can see the advantage
Seeing big picture stuff.
That’s really our job as artists.
It’s to show the big picture to our audience.
This is the world, all groups and works this way.
All separates and works that way.
Here now on this second little one, now I’m not allowing it to harmonize around that yellow.
Of course, that oatmeal color is underneath so it’s harmonizing in the grays.
Interesting little highlight there on camera.
It’s actually a beautiful green color that came through so they might try and—if I
saw that I might stop the film and try and mimic that color there and value for maybe
another painting or maybe the shadow of her nightgown.
Notice now we’re not harmonizing over dominant bright yellow, relatively intense yellow-orange,
We’re now harmonizing over the grays.
Everything is grayed towards the center of the color wheel, and so they harmonize because
You can harmonize things to the warm side or the cool side.
You can also harmonize things towards the center of the color wheel.
The gray as things get gray and grayer as the orange takes on more blue, as the red
takes on more green they get grayer.
They have each other in common and they start to cancel each other out and loose their dominant
If we push them too far they get too murky gray.
They don’t have a personality.
If we look at our little study there.
Very gray but each color swatch has its own personality, its own value, and it is clearly
a specific color that’s distinct from the other colors.
When you work this gray you might find that there is no color that’s particularly attractive
because they are gray.
They’ve kind of lost that pastel, that prettiness that we tend to associate with color.
You want to balance that out.
You want to do a very, very gray, I like to do very gray works, of course, and then I’ll
sneak in little intense colors.
That ochre, that intense ochre is still there.
It’s just in a reduced form but it’s quite intense compared to everything else.
You can three or four on this gray them and just see where it takes you.
Maybe everything gets grayer and cooler yet.
Maybe it pushes into the umbers.
Maybe start out with gray and you add more intensity as I’m starting to do now.
Lighting that gray a cool blue.
As the nightgown gets darker it gest more intense.
As the flesh gets darker it gets more intense.
So, what if.
You’re just playing what if games.
This is a lot of fun.
There is no pressure.
To me these two little studies are really charming.
I really like them and yet they’re the worst-drawn things I’ve done all weekend.
I’ve always been, of course, a draftsman.
It’s how I learned to do art.
It was what I did best and first, although I wasn’t very good at that either in the
beginning, but relative to my other skills—color, painting.
I’d never done any of that before I went to school.
I’d drawn out of my head, really, from comic books.
That was all I had done.
Drawing was the skill that came to me easiest.
Although it is certainly not easy, but relatively easier than the other, and it’s what I spent
most time on, frankly.
I was good at it and it made me feel better about myself, and I’d get more pats on the
I love drawing.
I’m a big fan of drawing.
I’ve spent a lot of my life teaching drawing to pass along the importance of it.
But at these stages, drawing gets in the way.
Especially if you’re a really good draftsman, you’re going to make a really good hand
there, a really good nose.
That’s not the point of these.
If you’re not very good.
If you’re insecure about where you’re at, and we all are, actually.
Then you’re going to try and do a really good hand, really good nose to prove that
You’re going to fuss around those finders and miss the overall color statement.
Notice what I’ve done here.
The strategy really worked more, the darker it got the more intense it got for the most
The lighter it got the grayer it got.
That hair was actually a pretty bright blue.
Of course, it soaks into that oatmeal color and grays out and becomes kind of a dark umber.
Notice when we get it darker color, a darker value, you don’t see as much chroma.
You don’t see as much intensity.
That blue as it dried a little darker because it didn’t have the sheen.
It got also grayer.
A very different or at least somewhat different study than the last.
I’ve got a choice a both.
I could do paintings of both of these.
I could do a series of paintings of the same woman and the same pose like Monet’s haystacks
and just let the colors shift.
Wouldn’t that be interesting?
Same woman, same pose, same composition, but the colors are changing, seasonally or as
we had in the Monets or just through the day, morning to evening.
It could be fun.
That little white highlight will drop down.
Notice what I did over on the palette cam.
I made it very cool.
If I push a highlight lighter than the half-tone; of course, it’s going to pop off.
But if I also push it into a different temperature, taking it from warm to cool, it will pop even
more so because that, not only the value but the temperature is dynamically different,
and that creates the contrast.
That hand there, I want to glaze that color down, get a little more intensity to suggest
the warm fingers and now the warm elbow.
I could glaze right over that hand as I did.
With one quick stroke of a lot of water in your brush but just enough to cover.
It takes a little practice to figure out how much load you have in your brush.
You wash right over that hand and you get that kind of orange color to show the suntan
of the hand or the warmth of the blood coming through.
If I stroke back and forth more than once then I’m going to dilute it.
That’s what happened in the middle of the forearm.
I went back and forth a couple times.
It diluted that orange glaze soaked into the white-pink that was already there and got
lost, but that helped create a little bit of a gradation.
We can glaze in watercolor and gouache.
You can take and get a big flat brush.
I had to glaze her negligée into the greens like that little highlight I put.
I’d say this color even.
I could glaze over that with a big, flat brush so I wouldn’t have to stroke, stroke, stroke
just a couple of strokes, and then just leave it.
It is was about as wet as I just put down the green here, then you would get a glaze.
It would shift green, and there would be little or no sabotaging or diluting of what was there
You wouldn’t lose the marks you had before.
Notice when we add that brighter green in there that’s going to play off the warm
oranges that we have.
We have a blue-green playing off these yellow oranges.
It’s not true complements.
It’s a near-complement.
They are still in the yellow range but they activate each other.
The oranges are going to look more intense and so are the red of the flesh next to that
Maybe we do a frame that’s green.
So now I’m just taking water and diluting that because I had loaded that little highlight
up too much, and it grabbed too much attention.
Notice what happened to the surrounding chest and neck, though.
It diluded that and we lose that clean initial statement.
Once the paint is dried on the palette or on the painting if you dilute it again it
changes it’s character and loses a little bit of opacity so you can see some of that
oatmeal coming through that stroke.
There are our two choices there.
Much more intense, warm like a tonalist painter doing Georgian-esque.
The tonalist painters would oftentimes take a slice of pie.
They’d take yellow-oranges to yellow-greens, say, whereas the bottom one was a little bit
more like a whistler where oftentimes he would paint with a lot of white and so everything
would gray out.
Everything in the flesh and the costuming of this model has a lot of white in it and
so it sucked most of the color out except for the shadows where we’ve glazed back
Whistler wouldn’t have done that.
So, two quite different ideas.
You can play.
You can combine the two.
You can steal something from one and something from another, maybe we’ll put the, we’ll
do the bottom one.
We’ll make it a red-brown hair rather than the blue hair.
That blue hair is a little steely, isn’t it?
Probably not a good choice there.
The dark sienna color of the one above is much better so maybe a slightly grayer, maybe
an umber version of that or the load at the left bottom of the frame, you know, the actual
background there as it bumps against that green.
See how purple that is.
Maybe it’s the darker version of that kind of purple umber that goes in the hair.
That would, again, be a better choice.
It would tie it into the background too, which wouldn’t be a bad idea.
One of things that is interesting, obviously the drawing would be adjusted in a finish,
but the fact that the right side hand is well away from the head and the left side hand
is up into the hair, that might be a good way to go.
Separate those out rather than both coming up to the edge of the silhouette of the hair.
Sometimes I’ll work on these kinds of things and just these happy accidents will happen
with the asymmetry of the hands, as I just said.
Bring the model back and shoot it again and see if you can’t replicate that somehow
where you can have both arms up but pull that arm away.
Here it’s pulled away because the shoulder is disjointed.
But can we replicate that somehow by turning the perspective, turning that hand toward
us so it foreshortens and gets visually shorter, those kinds of things.
Each mark I put down quick to try and make it fresh.
That puts me a little out of control but keeps it fresh.
And notice how here I was talking about how the front of the top one maybe we’re seeing
a three-quarter view of that head, and the back one we could make a suggestion of the
head turning away from us.
That’s going to goof us up.
We’d have to probably change the body a little bit.
Notice how that bottom one, as it is we’re going to end up with that little top drawing
that I just did.
We’re going to end up with a nose sticking out, lips and chin sticking out whereas in
a little study I did we had this nice recession where the whole shape of the face rolls back
into that neck and so you have very little chin to create that out and back architecture
of bumping for forehead, nose, chin, and all that kind of stuff.
Maybe turning that head away becomes an idea just because of the way I didn’t draw the
face well in the study.
You get these little accidents that are suggesting of a different position.
If I moved the ear closer she’d be turning her head back over her shoulder.
That would probably feel like it’s breaking her neck, but we might opt to go that way
and then turn her torso and do a little bit closer profile.
Then rotate her arms back a little bit to get those more a silhouette.
See if we can create a little bit of that.
Or next time we’ll do the same thing, but we’ll do it over the shoulder, and we’ll
do a back view so we can get the silhouette as it is here of the hands up, but now we’re
behind her and face is looking back over the shoulder at us.
It gives us all sorts of possibilities there.
Again, I’m always looking for ammunition.
If something happens there and if it’s just what the reference gives me I’m stuck with
But if I’m kind of just going away, letting the drawing wander around the composition,
proportions wander around, sometimes all of a sudden it gives me new ideas, new ammunition
that I can take this thing and push it a little farther than everybody else in the class or
get a better idea.
As I said, get that model back or sometimes even change models.
Say, oh now I know what I’m really trying to get to with this series so I need a different
I need a model that has more flexibility maybe so she can turn over the shoulder back at
me, and it’s not going to feel like she’s straining her neck.
Maybe with this model she couldn’t turn quite that far so we’re kind of stuck with
the pose we had.
You’re always looking, never settling, never being a slave to reality.
That’s always one of the problems of doing the figure.
You feel obligated to make her pretty.
Don’t give her 10 extra pounds and don’t give her a stubby neck.
Give her nice dark, thick lashes and full hair.
Oftentimes, we want to do that.
We want to do a lovely image of a lovely human being here, but what I’d rather be doing,
as Michelangelo would do, you’ll use the model as an excuse to draw your own people
in your own world.
Michelangelo’s models were Michelangelo’s people, and you would never recognize him
on the street.
You would see them only in the painting and you could never find them again because that
was his world and you were stepping into that.
I always liked that idea, that you create a fantasy world in effect where you can’t
see that walking down the streets of Florence or wherever you happen to be doing your art.
Now she has full cheeks, a little older woman.
She doesn’t have a real clean jawline.
I like that.
You have this vaguely horizontal or angled lines really taking you down into the jaw
and neck from the cheekbone and then bumping into that neck.
I’m going to play that up rather than turning every model I ever draw into a 19-year-old
supermodel or a pretty girl, I’m going to make this more of a mother figure or a middle-age,
or a maybe it’s a story, a Dickensian story of people trying to get along in a world,
in a city that kind of chews them up, that depresses them.
Maybe it’s a Rembrant where I don’t want to do beautiful features.
I want to do beautiful light on those features, so I’m going to be absolutely okay with
giving her 20 extra pounds.
She may not be okay with it, but that’s why she goes away at some point.
You pay her and say thank you so much for your time.
And then she is gone but your art remains.
The models are professional and they’re fine with that.
We tend to be nice people, which is good, and we don’t want to offend.
We want to make sure it looks like them and flatters them.
You don’t have to do that.
The painting itself, the artwork itself, the series you’re working on may demand that
you do something that’s a little or a lot different.
As I draw that little hand in there, it’s going behind the hair, of course, and it’s
going to look small because it's partly cropped and because it’s kind of cupped.
The thumb and fingers are kind of together, kind of looks small.
Do I want to keep that small and delicate?
That kind of goes against the grain for me because I’m used to doing boxers and workers
where their hands become their weapons or their tools so I tend to make hands huge.
Maybe here I’m going to do a series of this delicate woman at her toilette as they say,
like a Dega.
It’s going to be delicate, feminine hands so I’m going to purposely reduce the size
of those hands.
Notice as I’m drawing those things I’m breaking through the frame I put in, and I
do that all the time.
You start drawing and it gets a little bigger, a little smaller, or you get an idea that
you want to add something you didn’t think you wanted to add and just put a new frame
around it later on.
But that frame gets you started.
Look at the mess of colors, the shifting colors I’ve got and the umbers and siennas.
Then they move out into the richer primaries and secondary colors.
All those colors are harmonizing pretty good because they’ve all kind of blended into
They’re all coming out of that brown range.
As I mix now, I’m mixing at the edges of that watery swamp of colors there and taking
in some of that.
Now that I’m putting in this pink, and you can see, again, that’s one of the big problems
with gouache and watercolor.
We don’t really know what color we have at this point, what value we have.
We’re going to pay attention and see how it shifts.
You can see from the right side it’s already darkening as it dries and soaks into the paper.
Then shift and push it a little bit more intense and that kind of stuff to get the pinkness
of the flesh.
Then maybe later I’ll glaze yellow over it if I wanted it to be yellow or maybe I’ll
come right into it while still a little bit wet.
Shifting the colors.
Putting down a color and then while it’s wet or even when it’s dry, coming back with
a redder version or a pinker version of that and then coming back into that with a more
intense yellow version.
Bring some of that sunlight into it or whatever.
Now I’ve got three colors in there.
Now I’m working darker and more transparent, and so I’m tinting that oatmeal paper just
It’s not going to shift as radically as that chest.
The light drops off on that.
I’m always, again, looking for—not again, I’m always looking for ways to play.
Should I make it darker so the light hits the chest and it’s really kind of glancing
light on the head?
Nah, I think I’ll keep that head up into that richer range like the chest and group
But I’m always thinking about how to drop things off.
Now, notice the strategy on the eyes.
Sargent does this, for example, painters will do this.
You start out with that eye socket darker, either the ground that you had established,
you know, the tinted canvas or in this case the color of the paper, and then you—or
you mix a dark color and put it in there.
Now I’m going to have basically a dark half-tone or a light shadow for the socket.
Then I will build down darker so the eyebrow, the deepest shadows, the dark lashes, build
down darker one or two steps.
I might do it darker and then darker again.
Then I’ll build up into the glancing half-tones and any highlights that go on there.
That way building out of the socket basically.
In effect what you’re doing is you’re painting the eye socket the whole, and then
you’re painting the ball in the hole with the lids and lashes on them.
That’s a good strategy.
So now I’m coming into that nice rich, golden warmth that I had in that first little study,
and you can see how I started with the fingers and hands to bring in the more golden yellows,
As it dries it’s even shifting into the kind of rusty red.
We’re getting a lot of reds in autumn here in Montana.
You see a lot of that color on the leaves around here, just gorgeous.
It helps having the tinted canvas, but until we get rid of that, until we establish every
silhouette as its own color character, its own value, really as each light and shadow
silhouette as a character in a story, we won’t to understand the mood we have.
We won’t understand what color we have.
Notice when I put in that yellow how purple now the original flesh tone looks.
It didn’t look that purple before but now I’ve contrasted the yellow which is bringing
out the purple in those cool grays.
Some of that is the pencil.
Cool gray pencil getting in there.
Some of it is the oatmeal paper and some of it is the contrast of adding a warm, and that
makes what’s cool cooler by contrast, simultaneous contrast.
Little happy accident there.
That looks lovely.
It’s picking up a shadow, a darker half-tone of the sleeve, maybe reflecting off the rich
flesh of the arm and forearm.
Notice with the nightgown now I put down a wash, and I let it be kind of a dirty orange
I didn’t clean my brush real well so we get the yellows and oranges harmonizing.
And I came in with the whites and let those soak in to that wash so the upper shoulders
stayed dry, and then where I wanted the gradation, the nightgown dropping off, then that’s
where I had that wash in there.
Now I’m bringing in some of the pink flesh as it comes through that see-through gauzy
material of cotton or whatever it is.
Now I’m pushing, again, the lighter light hitting the shoulders and letting it go down.
Also, the material because it has some needlework or whatever it is details in the material
itself thickens up and at times you get kind of a, anyone that knows sewing.
If my wife was here or my daughter, she could help explain it.
You’ll get the—I’m at a loss for words on it.
You’ll get thicker material as they put on little patterns and stuff.
That’s the very best I can do, so don’t ask for anymore on that front.
Okay, now to make that gown lighter.
I can make it lighter or I can put what is next to it darker.
I can ease into just how dark I want to go, or I can hit on one big sloppy, watery glaze
of color, as I did under her arm on the right side there.
Bringing in the cools a little closer to what I had in that second composition.
I’m using those steely blue-greens in there.
If you do two or five or ten different color compositions then you can steal a little bit
from each one.
Again, building that green along the edges of those siennas and umbers.
Going to get a little bit of that into the paint, help to harmonize.
Nothing that I’ve put down is anywhere close to completely opaque.
That oatmeal is coming through and informing all the colors.
You can see those whites.
They look so strong on her nightgown up on the upper part of her body.
They are now faded out as it soaks in.
I might come back three or four times.
That’s one of the reasons we want that eye socket idea.
Started out with an eye socket.
I’m going to bring in the intensity of the colors into the darker colors.
The darker things go the more intense they go to some degree.
You can see that eye socket has a little drip there.
I love those because that’ll dry and that will create a little watermark that creates
this lovely little edge as it settles since our sketchbook is on a slight angle for me
to see and for the camera to see.
Now we start getting the sense of things.
Notice how everything is loose and for that watery quality.
Trying to have a process that’s not distinctly different than my regular process, but a process
that also takes advantage of medium strength—in this case, the watermarks, these lovely pooled
shapes that are distinct to a really wet form, a loaded-up brush as opposed to just enough
pigment on the brush to make the mark on the canvas.
Here we are loading up and so the shapes get a little out of control.
Now I just added water so I can give him that natural gradation going up.
I’m going to want to get a little dark accent for that cheekbone and the side of the forehead
too to turn those planes.
The cheekbone is going to turn under a little bit.
The cheek against the nose will tuck under a little bit.
The forehead will turn around, turn to the side to go into that temple.
Just getting those little structural ideas.
There is where the drawing comes in.
Knowing the architecture.
A little dark accent underneath and probably not quite dark enough there, although it’ll
settle a little darker.
Allowing also separate color shifts.
Now I put the cools in the warms and that’s going to give a sense of maybe the hair coming
in, the negligée or the nightgown, whatever that is, coming in and shifting the colors
a little bit, or just loading up that wet.
There is the little accent of the cheekbone to turn that.
Just loading up the color with a new color.
So now instead of one color I’ve got really four or five colors for flesh, and that’s
one of the distinguishing qualities of flesh.
You get that translucency.
You have the blue and red blood coming in from underneath the skin.
You have the color of the skin itself.
You have the weathered skin where maybe the hands get more sun than the forearms, and
the forearms get more sun than the upper arm, and the upper arm gets more sun than the chest.
You get that weathered effect.
You get the color of the light on it, color of the shadow light on it, the warms and cools
usually of that.
You’ve got the color of the flesh itself that can change.
You’ve got the color that’s under the flesh coming through.
You’ve got the color of the light and the shadow light coming on top.
All that comes down to, all that complexity means that the color of the flesh is going
to be changing quite a bit as the values change and even sometimes when the values don’t
So, as it goes from light to shadow you’re going to get a lot of color change.
I’m laying in hair.
This is kind of a traditional cliché of hair, but it works.
Hair is soft especially hers because it’s curly.
You have all those little curls of hair going on.
It softens the edge.
So if you get a soft lost edge then that’s going to feel more hair like than a real hard
You can see how it feels like a toupee or a wig.
Not a toupee, a wig on the hairline until I start softening those edges.
I’m going to need to soften that forehead edge, just soften a little bit the temple
That’s loose locks coming down in front of her ears so I could have left that hard
edge, but I really want this to be kind of a filmy environment with fairly soft values,
you know, soft transitions, and so I have a real hard edge.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Same with the background.
We want to soften that up.
You can do just a lovely, soft gradation, kind of like the chin going into the cheek
on her face, or it can be lighter and darker glazes as the front of her hair is doing.
The right there, the front as it goes from where the bangs would be on top of the pile
on top of the forehead up into that bun up above.
If you have paper that’s fairly wet then you can come back even though it’s created
You can come back and worry away that edge, kind of dab at it as I just did with water
or a new pigment with water and re-dilute that and get a pretty good soft edge.
It won’t be as clean as if you did it perfectly wet in the beginning, but it will be pretty
good because that wet paper will not have—the stain will not have set in.
The hard edge will not have set in.
Again, as I glare off the camera it creates a whole separate color from what the color
is we mixed, which is cool.
We can see what the color should be, that dark golden, but that flare creates a really
Had I been able to see that in person—that’s just a product of the camera—I might well
have said I’m going to paint a lighter green.
I like that little horizontal variation to the background.
Now look at how purple the hair looks compared to the yellow-orange that we’ve popped against
it, putting the more intense warm against it, it makes the cools pop in the other direction.
That’s simultaneous contrast.
Put a light against the dark.
The light looks lighter.
The dark looks darker.
Put a warm against the cool.
The warm looks warmer.
The cool looks cooler.
Put in an intense color against a gray.
The intense looks more intense.
The gray looks grayer.
Now we’re getting a whole rainbow of colors, partial rainbow of colors in the background,
having those temperature shifts.
Just like temperature and color shifts bring life to the flesh, it’ll bring life to anything.
It’ll show that the light is playing light and shadow and reflected light are playing
with the object and have a complicated relationship with the object.
If you keep your values all about the same then they’ll stay in that little silhouette.
Look at the watermark of right where I’m working there.
That little watermark in the deepest shadow.
They are supposed to be the sky hole between thumb and palm back in the background, but
that lovely little watermark is something you cannot really plan.
It’s not particularly well drawn.
It crowds the thumb too much, but it’s a really beautiful shape and when you get something
like that oftentimes I would rather let the drawing suffer a little bit as long as it
Keep that lovely shape rather than correct it and worry over it and make it exactly right.
Here I just paint it in the rich kind of rusty color of the shadows of the forearm, and then
since it was on the wet paper, still damp paper, I could come right back in with water
and soften that edge as a second step.
If it wasn’t wet then I would have had a second brush in my other hand that was loaded
just with clean water.
As soon as I laid down the stroke of rusty red I would come right up against it with
the water touching that edge and letting it bleed right into the rest of the forearm.
As you work this watercolor gouache, and this is really all watercolor.
It’s not perfectly proper watercolor because we are using some white, but most watercolor
artists will use white.
Oftentimes it’ll just be at the very end to pop out little highlights on the nose or
You can see how you can make a bit of a correction there before it dries.
You can actually take and electric eraser and come in and buff away.
You want to really let the paper really dry.
If you did it when it was wet it would kind of pull up the fibers and destroy the paper.
I’m going to come back and try and save that soft edge again.
Get that hard and lost and soft kind of dynamic.
I’m using the same color to get the accents.
Same color as the hair.
That lovely purple of the hair.
On my monitor the colors are actually a little more intense than in reality.
You’re always going to—anytime you reproduce, they will have corrected this in the studio
for you guys a little bit, but it varies a bit.
It always does.
It’s as fun as having painted the original to see how it varies.
I’d like to see that.
I can say, well, shoot I should have made it more intense.
I like mine being a little grayer than this is, or that got just too garish.
So I’m seeing it differently.
You can even take your original, put it in the computer.
Just take a shot with your smart phone or whatever.
Put it in the computer and play with Photoshop, of course.
It’s a great way to get color comps.
You can take a big finish that you did that you really liked how you rendered it, but
you didn’t like the color solutions.
The colors got a little garish.
Drop it into a paint program, reduce it down into something small, thumbnail size, smaller
than we have here on camera, and then play with the colors.
Put a wash of blue over everything or push it back to black and white like a Gainsboro
would and then paint colors back on top of it in layers.
Now I’m bringing in the red lips and the chin is down.
It’s going to pool blood as she holds that position for a while, the blood is going to
run down towards the tip of her nose and the bottom of her chin and stuff.
You can pick up a little more intensity there.
I’m just using that formula every time I change the values, I’m going to change the
color to make sure I’m allowing the color of the light and the color of the shadow light
to affect and allowing the blue and red blood to come to the surface when it has a chance,
like around the eye socket I was just pointing.
That’s going to get bluer.
Typically around the eyes the blue blood comes up.
The nose, the ears, the lips, and chin, the red blood comes up.
Okay, so there I’m glazing.
There is that glazing technique.
Stroke over quickly.
If I come back over those same three strokes there it’s going to dilute it.
I came back with a water to soften that edge, of course, and having done that, that will
slightly dilute what’s underneath.
You can see on the nose how it’s kind of subtly shifting a little bit.
It’s setting there, and it was a little too wet on my brush to not affect what was
I might do that by design, or that might be an accident.
You can glaze on the cheek, those two strokes that are still visible down the side of the
Those are sitting and have done little or no damage to what paint was underneath.
Of course, the paint there is almost much thinner.
It wasn’t opaque.
Now I come back maybe with a little bit of water on the brush.
Wipe most of that water off on the towel.
That’s what I did off camera and then get that soft edge.
It looks pretty good pretty quick, doesn’t it?
On the forearm I left it more of a hard edge, a three-step light half-tone, dark half-tone
shadow on that forearm, elbow.
I’m going to glaze in some of the red like I did my little study.
Now again, you can see on that arm—hand, forearm, and arm—every time the color of
the value shifts darker we get more intense and it moves more into the oranges and reds.
Now bring in a little bit of color at the far edge to turn that forearm over as it moves
into the backside there.
It has to dry to do that.
It’s actually lightening up.
The base of that heel of the palm, give it a little dark accent to separate the palm
from the wrist.
I’m slowly starting to add structure.
It can be a real loose structure as I’m doing now and just kind of search out, and
this will stay a loose painting.
Or you can do a real careful pencil drawing underneath.
You can see the pencil still shows through and it always will.
That’s part of the charm of watercolor.
You won’t hardly find a watercolor painter, especially figurative painter, but any painter
where you don’t see some of those pencil marks come through.
That’s just part of the convention of the form.
I’m bringing some of the transparency now, the flesh to the surface, showing the pink
flesh coming up through that gauzy gown material that is so beautifully described earlier with
my knowledge of sewing.
That’s a big challenge and fun to play with transparencies.
We’re just giving an indication of this.
This would be kind of a second-level comp.
With this I’ve got pretty much all of the colors that would be in any kind of finish.
All the variations of flesh tone, all the sense of what is transparent, what’s opaque,
what’s going to catch a lot of rendering, what’s going to be simple, all those things.
Now I’m just adding in a lot of these little notes.
I overwork these oftentimes at this stage, adding all these little color notes that I’m
doing, and it oftentimes is too much for the painting itself.
What I’m doing is these are color notations or just possibilities.
What if I bring in a lot more warmth and then get a little cooler?
I’m going to wipe off my brush with water and soften that edge.
What if I really load up that color in the shadows there?
And so, go from the gray-purple that the hair color was for the shadows and then push it
into those golden colors.
I’m paying quite a bit of attention to the structure and such in this painting, but really
these are little footnotes to me, what I’m going to do when I get into my big commissioned
portrait, say, or beautiful genre painting of women
preparing themselves after a bath or preparing for bed or whatever their toilette is, as
they say in French—cause I know so much French.
Souffle, I know that word too.
What I do there, like the cheekbone, I’m really playing up and exaggerating that idea
of if I’m going to change the value I’m going to change the color.
It gets a little darker.
I really push it redder.
Okay, now I’m going to come in and pull out the eyeball out of the eye socket.
I just had a socket.
You can see it worked fine with just the socket for a little study, and especially with the
head pointing down and those strong drop shadows we can assume that the whole socket went into
shadow and there was no separating.
You can see how that light half-tone for the upper lid all but disappeared.
We’re getting just a bare hint of that.
I’d ease into that especially if it’s a delicate drawing, a delicate area that should
be subtle and nuanced.
I’m going to ease in to the actual value of that.
I’m not going to attack it right away.
Now I’m trying to bring in the kind of dappled quality of the lacy, whatever—I keep wanting
to say filigree.
That’s not the right word.
I don’t know what the word is.
I’m not going to embarrass myself again.
But anyway, the thick and thin of the material.
I’ll say that.
It wraps around the side as it wrinkles over the chest.
It’ll get a little bluer, let’s say.
One of the things, not all the time, but oftentimes one of the things I try and cultivate in my
paintings is not always the real hot model, the really beautiful young supermodel type,
the gorgeous fairy on a unicorn with perky breasts and stuff.
That gets kind of old to me, and it plays down, it objectifies in a way that’s not
always healthy for society, but it plays down the art in a way because now instead of seeing
the poetry of these marks, the abstract quality, the colors, you’re seeing boy is she cute,
is he handsome.
Boy, look at how many blood spatters are on him.
That’s fun escapism and I don’t have any problem with looking at beautiful women and
handsome guys and I do my own version of heroic guys in my genre paintings, working men paintings
and stuff, but also doing, you know, in a Rembrandt sense in a way, I guess, you know
he would not paint beautiful people.
He painted beautiful light.
He wanted to show that beauty was in his religion, basically.
Not in nature.
Someone else like a Carot, he’s going to show the beauty in nature.
But what I like to do, kind of to be contrary in a way too.
Everybody is doing, if they do a woman it’s the prettiest model they can get to come pose
It’s the most muscular man they can get.
I like to do older people, heavy people.
Jenny Suval—I always forget if it’s Seville or Suval, which is terrible.
I’m terrible at names, but she is fantastic.
I love her work.
She does very heavy, she has done a series of very heavy women.
Lucian Freud did that before her, men and women.
So kind of going against the morays of what beauty is.
Why can’t a heavy person be beautiful?
Beautiful shapes, beautiful colors there.
They are not sexually appealing.
They’re not titillating and that doesn’t play on those mating instincts, basically,
but just doing this beautiful voluptuous flesh or beautiful rolling shapes of flesh or flesh
as gravity pulls on it or flesh as time has aged and affected.
Those kinds of things can be really interesting.
To be honest they probably won’t sell as well.
People don’t want to hang what they consider an ugly person on their wall, probably.
Art collectors will but the average person is going to want a pretty landscape, not a
part of the freeway in California where there is trash all over and there is a car wreck
smoking, ruined from two months ago or something like that.
They want to see beautiful eucalyptus trees and they want to escape.
They want art as an escape and I understand that.
But also, we can do art that celebrates different types, different character types.
Animation is wonderful at that because they’ll play, like Wall-E all the humans were chubby.
They hadn’t, they sat in chairs their whole lives and had robots do everything for them,
Playing character types, old, old men like in Up.
They put a heavyset Boy Scout in the same movie.
You can really play up all that kid of stuff in a fun way in cartooning because they except
cartooning to have a sense of humor about itself, and so the shapes can be lighthearted.
You get into realism and then they have to be, the action hero has to be really handsome
and really well-muscled.
He’s got to save not just a girl, he’s got to save a knockout beautiful girl.
That whole convention there.
That gets a little old.
It’s fun to do types.
It’s fun to do people who are different than 90% of the paintings you’ll see out
I’m just putting little notations down.
I’ll make a mark off the side of the canvas to test what the color is or to put it down
below to show where those colors and values might go.
They might vignette.
They may fade down into a lighter, darker, warmer, cooler kind of thing.
Look at all those watermarks, the nipples I put in up on the shoulder those pinks coming
See those beautiful kind of warmy shapes of watercolors across her shoulders there.
I love that.
I find that just so beautiful.
As I’ve done on some of the other demos, I’ll load up some of those wet silhouettes
so that the watermark gets stronger.
Here I’m trying to play up some of the stitching and stuff that’s on the outfit just indicating
that I’ve come in and get that lacy stitching there.
Then again I love the juxtaposition of the little study and then over, in this case,
a corner right, older marks that are referencing something else maybe completely different,
that are cutting across the corner or off to the edge.
Even the original frame that I drew in with a pencil, you can see that cutting through
her left, our right on the forearm, that original vertical line.
All that kind of stuff.
Seeing that process, seeing things kind of jump out or get lost, seeing things that are
pretty highly finished, other things that are completely unfinished and laid in.
All those variations of what a mark can be.
The whole history of the process laid out in one piece.
I really like that, or an art history lesson where we go from realistic to impressionistic
to expressionistic to abstract.
I like that process where we see the drawing underneath.
The drawing comes back through.
The unfinished quality, unfinished marks show up, and yet they still settle in in some way
with that pictorial truth of this in light, this is in shadow, this is foreground, this
Just correcting that sleeve now.
You can see when I come in with that white, that off-white to correct that sleeve, it’s
going to be out of whack.
It’s not going to settle in with the colors around it, so I’ll let that dry and that’s,
again, a place where I can get a glaze and glaze it back to that umber-y green that’s
kind of a hallmark of what I painted in earlier.
I’m putting in, the other thing I’ll do, in these studies not so much, but just for
a finish I’d start laying in all these little dabs, all these little folds, and I’d maybe
spend an hour or two doing that.
Then I’d spend another half-hour or hour taking a lot of them out.
Too much, too much.
Same with those little color accents under the chin and things I was talking about earlier.
I’ll put all those little accents in and then I’ll spend a good amount of time taking
a lot of them out.
So just kind of going back and forth, more or less.
Which is better?
Should I keep adding more?
Is that too much?
Just working that socket.
I’m going to give a little bit of the ball coming out.
I gave the darker accent of the lashes, that settles that in deeper.
Indicating now that other eye socket that’s around the other side of the nose so just
the fairly careful observation that it has thinned out and gotten more vertically oriented
for that socket that goes around the other side and the socket that’s closest to us
is much wider and stretching along the horizontal.
Here I am loading up even more color.
Keep adding more color.
Notice how you can see in the shadows under her jaw the four or five or six colors that
are all competing that are all sneaking out to show themselves and then fading back, blending
back, washing back into the surrounding.
Okay, all these little accents I’m doing probably not appropriate for this painting.
They’re going to make it more rendered, and that was one of the promises of the class
is to take things farther.
But at this point, these things are actually going to make it more spotty, I think.
We’ll do it just so you can see how we can take something to more and more of a finish.
But when I start adding all this extra stuff to make that thumb a better thumb, make that
little finger a better little finger, make that nose pop off on the lips and make the
lips wrap around the other side like the socket did.
All those little things that structurally maybe make sense, pictorially, they’re going
to be these little dabs of extra stuff that are going to all start competing for interest.
One of things we want to do is know when is enough when we’re actually doing a little
study like this.
Sometimes the studies are purely functional so I take them farther than they should.
There I’m glazing over it farther than I should to see what is going to happen when
I start rendering for my finish.
Other times I’ll leave it at a simpler stage because I think it’s probably more beautiful
there, more of a complete picture in its own right rather than a study servicing some greater
cause to come, the big finish.
So you have to balance those things out.
It’s real easy when you work in a painterly method to overwork things.
Oftentimes, less is more, and that’s true in most art forms, too.
A few less flourishes on the keyboard, I’m glazing over that ear to make it now a redder
version of the cheek.
In writing, the exposition is where you explain everything, and almost always the rule is
Let it be not be completely explained every single time.
Let the audience decide what’s going on there or don’t even bring attention to it.
The audience doesn’t even think about it.
Most young writers want to put in everything.
This is why she is doing that right now.
It’s this ancient wound that’s been with her forever, and she’s talking to this guy
because he is like a second father to her, and he is mad at this woman because that woman
a year ago stole her husband or stole her job or kicked her dog or whatever it is.
We usually don’t need all of that extra stuff.
The same thing here.
All these little, you know, turning that forehead down so it would go forehead bumping into
nose, getting a highlight on the cheek.
We probably don’t need any of that there, but in terms of making that cheek more rendered,
it makes it more rendered.
It also steals some of the freshness, and not everything needs a highlight.
One of the things you can do with these recordings is back them up two minutes, five minutes.
Back it up before you have your own undo like you would on a computer.
Just back this up.
You can say before I put in that cheekbone that was much better.
Same with this ear.
Probably we don’t need any of this in the ear.
The ear was probably much better being this flat little swatch of orange-pink, whatever
Rendering a little bit of the ear is a fun exercise.
It’s good practice and it’s a good tutorial for you guys unless I screw up the ear, which
I probably will.
It’s a little tiny ear.
I forget how big this is in reality.
It’s tiny compared to how big it is on the screen.
I think it was 4 inches tall or something, maybe 5.
So now I’m taking out that detail I just put in, making a different version of that
Letting that, softening that lock of hair on the front a little bit and maybe even glazing
it back into the browns once it dries so it doesn’t jump out quite so much.
Again, maybe doing that level of finish is going to start to overwork it.
One of the problems we have to watch with watercolors overworking things.
We don’t want to—I’m going to do some stuff in the hair.
I probably don’t need that.
It’s probably better off without.
Maybe I’m not going to do some stuff with the hair.
Just leave it.
But now look at the wild shapes.
As much as we’ve softened edges and we haven’t done tons of it, but very few marks are completely
blended into its surroundings.
Most of them separate out on their own to some degree.
Look at the glorious variety of marks and shapes that creates, and can we bring some
of that into our oil painting, maybe, or into our charcoal renderings.
I’m getting some really kind of flamboyant, exciting—there I go again, putting more
stuff in the ear trying to show some of those outer and inner rim bits that we just don’t
need a this level.
I thought better of it and just hatched off into a soft edge.
But it was still probably better just in the beginning when it was just that pink version.
Probably should have just it there and save five minutes of work.
Look at how green that is.
It’s not that green in reality but it’s still way to green so now I’m going to load
it up with red, and red and green will cancel out.
It will gray out.
Soften that edge.
Drag it in.
Just kind of easing into a solution here.
I really load it up so now we’re getting reflected light in there like we are under
the thumb next to it in the forearm.
Then by loading that up with water I can come back and pull back some of the colors so it’s
not as intense.
Also we get a nice watermark edge at the bottom there when it dries, probably.
If you bring in a new color don’t just put it in one place.
Put it in a few different places so it feels like it has company.
It’s not a little alien invader.
Back to the ear again trying to get it back to where it was before.
I pull all that time into that and didn’t make it any better at all, and that’s just
part of the process.
That’s how you learn.
Next time I’m going to let it go or I’ll push it but in a different direction than
Softening that hair a little bit and suggesting thicker hair, fuller shape there.
I can do that in two or three marks if I wanted to fill out the fullness of the hair, glaze
over it and knock that back down.
gouache and a little bit of watercolor mixed in from
our Draw This! reference. And we have a tough,
muscular looking character, you know, you can make up whatever story.
This is a little closer to what I do with my kinda heroic boxer
so we'll play up those muscles some.
And I'm just looking for enough information
in that drawing so that I can get that paint going.
And since that paint's fluid and I'm gonna be working
transparently for the most part in the beginning, I can ease into that
solution and get -
excuse me - and get some
fun paint going. Some dynamic
paint shapes and colors and values
and so, since it's transparent, working a little
crazy, a little pushing things a little bit is
a good idea. Now when you lay in those ears of course, compare them to the eyebrow line.
Because he's tilting his head down, he's looking downward and his head's
tilting downwards as a result. And so as the forehead
drops with those eyebrows, the ears
are gonna look higher in relationship to them. And so the way those ears pop
out and then a little bit of asymmetry between the two ears is
fun sometimes. Especially if he's a real character.
I think of Steven
Colbert the comedy
personality. And his two ears are
very asymmetrical and it's very cool to see, I like that, you know, he's a
good looking guy, but we have that nice
asymmetry there. In my eye - like I have one eye that's
a little more squinted, you know, is a little sleepy, sleepy eye kinda
and it actually looks less so as I get older. I'm not sure, because I feel
more tired as I get older, but my eyes are - my one eye
is not quite as sleepy looking. So there's some asymmetry
in that. And so playing that little bit of
asymmetry off the symmetry is interesting to do. It's a
little dangerous. The more asymmetry you play up, the less attractive it tends to look to
people. But having said that
each side of the face is actually quite
asymmetrical compared to the other. If you take one half of that
face and then just flip it - just take a perfect
copy of it and flip it in photoshop and stick it onto its
mirror side that you flipped from, it actually makes the person
look very strange when they're perfectly symmetrical. It doesn't look right.
So little bit of asymmetry is a good thing.
And again, that's that dramatic balance between
symmetry that shows beauty and health, and that's really the
basis of beauty is what we consider healthy,
beauty and health and then asymmetry is
drama. And so having a little bit of drama along with
that stability that is
suggested with the asymmetry is always useful. So I'm already
thinking now that, as I draw these things in, I'm thinking a light
source. I don't just kinda copy the shapes of shadows, I
lay them in in relationship to light source. And so since
the light source is up and to the right,
this torso is gonna turn - well everything's gonna turn into darkness
as it goes down and to the left. And so we're gonna get a little less
mass on the pectoralis,
the chest muscle that's on our left, his right side.
And a little more on the
reverse. So we look at it, the right side's gonna be lighter, catching more
light on that chest. The left side of the picture's gonna catch less
light, more glancing light, the half tone'll naturally
get a little darker and having that value range
between forms as they slowly turn away having
not only the shadow shapes kick in, and you can see how much
thicker the shadow shape is on the side of that
chest I'm drawing on now compared to the shadow on that side -
I'm correcting the nipple on. So we've got a thin shadow there
and on the other side it's quite thick in shadow. And that's because of that rolling away
from us. Same thing's going on in the head and the stomach -
everything else. It's important to be aware of that.
And then it's just a matter of
breaking down those values. I'm gonna start with that two or three value system
since he's got a costume and a background to deal with. A few
color differences - a dark beard, a dark costume,
the medium value background, and then the light flesh in light.
Then I'm gonna wanna use those three
And if I want that light side to pop out in the middle
value - let's say the background and the shadow of the flesh is gonna be of middle value
that should be closer to the
dark value probably, the hair,
and the costume. So
then those two values of middle and a dark will frame against the light. It'll
frame the light side and make that light side pop out. And that's usually
the strategy of total composers is they'll have two of the values
grouped together to frame the third value. It's more dramatic,
it shows again a little bit of asymmetry rather than just having one
five and ten, equal separations between light, middle, and
dark. You crows two together. You crowd the middle value
towards the dark or towards the light and then those, again, frame
the remaining value. Okay so
bringing in some of the cooler
color into the shadows. And since I need to make it cooler I'm gonna use the same
blue gray that I used in the background. That way it not only cools it
off and grays it down, but it cools and grays it exactly in harmony
with a color that's already in the painting. That's a landscaper's
trick. Or they'll have the sun, the blue of the sun,
sneak into any color that's cooling
off. It'll cool off towards that particular blue.
The sunshine blue. And that's a great way to harmonize things,
very cleanly and concisely.
And you can see that dash across the forehead, that's separating the skull
from the facial features. So the skull, the big, round
ball that's the skull, the brain casing, comes down
and meets a more architectural forehead that's framing the eye
sockets and where they come together that kinda flat
platform shape of the forehead. The board shape of the
forehead and the round, you know, convex,
shape of the skull where they come together, you get - they bump against
each other. The brow ridge bumps away from the round skull cap. That's why we
got that zigzag where forehead meets brow. And that's -
the tougher the character you would draw, the more male the character
you draw, the more mature the character you draw, typically
the more you'll play that up. Not always, but that's kind of a
generic clichè in a way. You know, older
generic clichè in a way. You know, older
character you're gonna have the skull and the forehead separate more.
More male character you're gonna have, again, more separation
if it's a child, a woman, generically just
generally you'll have those things
So you can quickly establish character,
a lot about the character just in the shapes you choose.
You know we know it's a male because there's no breasts, but you can - with every shape
or many shapes that you've laid in
that can - it can say male and it can say a certain
age of male. So that's
useful. You know, those kinda clichès are useful. In
story, the equivalent would be the genre. In a genre -
an action, or a detective, or a love story, people come in knowing quite
a bit about the story form and so they know a lot
of what's gonna happen already. It becomes a shorthand then for the writer. So
when they have a guy, you know, twirling his mustache
they know immediately as an audience that that's the bad guy.
We don't need a lot of exposition,
a lot of information. It tells us immediately. So we can do the same thing in our shape
design. So now I'm loading that with water. It's gonna drip
a little bit and you can actually put so much in there
you'd want to tip it up more vertically than I've got the board here but you
can put this in such a way that it will drip down
I just blew on it to make it drip down. And that gives -
here I'll do it again - that
drippy action kinda shows again the process,
a fun way to go. And I can draw some of that out so
it doesn't take forever to draw here, I don't smear my hand off it.
it doesn't take forever to draw here, I don't smear my hand off it.
When I was in school there was an illustration style that was popular
and we'd do it in class sometimes you paint in
acrylic usually or sometimes gouache
but you'd have your illustration
board, you'd use white illustration board, which is not that much different
in thickness and character than what I'm painting on here,
and you would pin it up on a drawing board like you'd use in class
for a drawing class, for drawing the model or such.
Clip it up and you'd be almost perfectly vertical then. And then when you would lay in -
wash in things, just very much like this is - you'd just let it drip down.
Let that drippy part of it. And it was really charming to see the drips
come down, because they're beautiful. Each drip has its own personality. You know, it's gonna be
different. There I'm just worrying over that edge, rubbing over it several times
and that'll soften that edge quite a bit because the background
had wet the paper. And I came inside that green
cloak shape and wiped away with several strokes
to draw some of that green off and allow there to be slight gradation with that brown.
That warm kinda, slightly reddish brown.
Now I'm gonna come over again to
darker that shadow down closer to where it needs to be and I might go over it
three or four times. You know, if you're working with, say
the arches watercolor paper which is a traditional, you know it's
kinda the king of watercolor papers. Most people
use that. There's others but that's the most popular.
You can - if you do
more than three washes of washing down a value
often times the pulp, the paper fibers start
coming up. Lifting up. And it start looking worn
and kinda over worked because those fibers start
to pop out and they start to separate from the simple gradation
or the simple color shape that
you've washed in. So that - it starts to
affect the illusion on what you're trying to do
because the ground itself, the paper itself is starting
to create a - get a textural difference that attracts attention.
But on this paper, since it's more of a board,
you know cardstock basically, so it's pretty thick,
you can work over it quite a bit. Those fibers are pretty tough. They've been
pressed with heat together and so they're pretty tough, it's hard
to work them up. You can do it, but you have to rub over
it quite a bit. You have to be aggressive and scrub into it like I did a little bit on that
shoulder of that cloak there to pull some of that green
off. You do that a lot then you can destroy it and start to
compromise those fibers. But short of that it's going to be
it's gonna hold together pretty
good and you can work it over pretty well.
And as I paint this, I squint at it. You know, squint to see how
things are grouping. Is the darker green of the cloak
and the lighter kinda slightly reddish brown of the cloak
the right values? And do those group together and frame
the lights of the figure? Well I still need to push it down darker, I'm getting that
left side darker. And so it's getting there, but
just keep squinting and see. And I
may want to back off
on the lighter value. There's that reflection - making those marks lighter than they
But sometimes I'll stop way
short of the deepest, strongest value and let it be more
ghostly. And that's just a surprising and interesting way to go.
So I do it just to be contrary, just - because it looks beautiful
but it's also different. And I just
wet with water and just spread those out so that they
So I'm constantly looking for, am I getting the reality
of light against shadow and foreground against background, getting those
correct relationships? If so, that's all I have to do.
And then I can always, as long as I'm getting the relative darkness of the shadows
exactly how dark it is, compared to the light side
and half tones and exactly how light they are, is
up for grabs. I can really manipulate those. I can look at the whole scene
through - like I'm looking through gauze or a screen
door. Excuse me. Or
I can look at it through dark sunglasses,
knock everything down several notches so it's like, rather than very light
to very dark, it's middle to dark or middle to
light. Or I can set
in a haze and be in the middle range. Nothing gets super light, nothing gets super
dark. So I'm always looking for excuses not to make a realistic
value relationship. The general
relationships between those two ideas, light and
shadow and foreground and background, keep those. I won't make the shadows light than the half tone
but just how light one gets and how dark another gets
I've got lots of choices. And then since these are watery shapes
I look to make as expressive a shape as I can with it.
And still reflect its
stomach, it's the abdomen, it's a forearm.
It's the extensorextensor muscles, whatever that is.
In laying this in you can see already it's soaking into the ,
getting and fading out, it's not near as strong.
And those strokes, if I put those strokes in,
in the right way, they can end up being the fibers of the muscles
too. So I can show, or the wandering
line is I did that first mark underneath the nipple down the ribcage,
the wandering line over serratus and ribs, as I kinda weaved
together like crossing your fingers,
stitching your fingers together with both hands. Those kind of overlapping, zigzag
back and forth and one intruding the other. You can get that kinda
relationship into the ribcage and serratus muscles if you
want. Okay so now I'm gonna come back again and build
a little bit more opacity.
Looking for how those shapes might
go down in an interesting way. Those marks -
strokes, how I can move fluidly from one idea
to the next. Not just jumping and spotting. Kinda
light tones, but seeing how they can feather in too or flow
And just give it a second to dry.
begin again. So I wanna bring some of that warm
skin tone underneath what I'm gonna render. I'm gonna glaze over a little
bit of the chest. Over the parts that have dried at least.
See if I can push things into
a yellower range. A little bit like
I did for that top little study for the
woman in the nightgown.
So notice I put the brush at the edge of the pile of paint
and then I mix it in.
If I'm gonna mix it out of
another color that's on the palette I'll come to the
edge of that color and mix it in. Not right in the middle, because then it will -
might make too big a change, too big a jump. I'll come to the edge
to take a little bit of yellow off the yellow pile. A little bit of red.
Then I'll mix it together and test it to see if that's right.
And then I'm just gonna feather that up so it gets up a little
higher off that trapezius - up a little higher to get that kinda
swagger, that tilt of one shoulder.
He walks around, these muscled guys walk around with shoulders
and chest kinda leading the action.
And there's a interesting concept in
acting I was - that was brought to my attention
recently at a conference I went to. Ed Hooks - like Captain
Hook but with a plural, Ed Hooks,
real nice guy, terrific acting teacher and he was doing some
classes on acting for animators. I sat in on a couple of them in between
my classes and he talked about, I think he called it
the center of power. That's what I've been calling here. I'll have to check
my notes to see exactly the phrase, but I think that was it. And it's different
than the center of gravity. Center of gravity is
where's the middle of the body in terms of weight.
And then where the balance is, having that center of gravity, that middle,
central point of weight and mass right
between your support so that you're stable. You know, when it moves out of those supports
you're gonna fall over. So the idea of action and
stability. But center of
power is the part of the body that is leading the
action. Basically where the emotion, in a sense,
where the emotion is bottled up. So if you're
a real tough guy and you're yelling at somebody who you think you might have to get
in a fight with, you might be leading with your chin, you might be thrusting out
your chin as you talk and emote and yell
and storm around. And so it all leads with chin.
And so in some way, that chin is gonna lead the action
to whatever statements and activity you may do as an
actor on the stage. Well you can bring that same action into your character.
So you can have Moana lead with her chin as she's
trying to act tough in front of this demigod that she's got to convince
even though she doesn't feel tough at all. She's trying to put on the airs
of it. In this case, he might be leading with his chest
and shoulders, so tipping up that shoulder up
high, his left shoulder on our right side, pushing that up high
and bringing that trapezius up higher might give
that sense of swagger, where he's swelled up like a
bullfrog up in the top area to show his muscledness,
his manliness, and how he's in
control. He's gonna lead with the power center,
you know, and what he considers the most intimidating or the most
impressive. Okay so now
we're gonna bring some cools in so we can cool down that shadow
a little bit and darken it a little bit. And now start bringing those cools into the hair.
He has dark, black hair or close to black. And so that
black is gonna be - suggest a cooler rather than a
browner, so we're gonna move towards the blues a little bit. And I'll just kinda search it
out, whether it's gonna be the green blues or more dead
black, what exactly. So here - so a blacker version -
I don't have any blacks of course, so I can use my
viridian green and my
crimson, put those together, the red and green will gray out. Of course
they'll cancel out and go to a green, they're compliments. And the fact that they're both slightly
blue will mean it will be a bluish gray and that's
appropriate for that very dark hair he has.
If we had a
brown haired model then we'd want to maybe err to the
And we'll lay those in. I'm trying to give a little bit of the,
you know, the hair loss areas. Getting these patches of hair
and then the skin's coming through. So that's one of the reasons I glazed in
that yellow so that yellowish skin
with a little bit of pink in it is
coming underneath that greens and then the lighter dark blues
give the sense of the patchy hair. Now I'm coming in with a little more of the blue purple
Seeing how that goes.
And it'll be less dramatic
when it dries. So I'm probably gonna have to glaze two or three times over that. Notice
the kind of water mark eye sockets. I love that, where you get these really
organic shapes. They thin out to the outside of the forehead to show kinda
the eye socket trailing into the wider cheek
and moving along the hair of the eyebrow there. And then they
wad up into more of a ball of darkness from the inside to show that
full socket where the eyeball settles in. So those are actually very
descriptive even though they're fairly asymmetrical.
They each of their own character and they have a lot of personality with that
wonderful watermarking that watercolor and gouache does for us.
So again, trying to take advantage
of the strengths of a particular medium while
respecting the gesture and structure of what I'm doing.
And I'm constantly looking for a tone that
describes a structure. The side of something, the top of the something, the bottom
of something. And then showing how that flows into
the next thing. Flows down in a curve or a series
of zigzags. Or flows through a gradation out of
shadow into light.
And darkening those edges
there and shifting the temperature a little bit. Underneath
those - the edge of that cloak you're gonna have
the warm flesh vibrating and throwing some warmth
into those shadows.
And notice how, right now,
it actually looks pretty good. We're gonna take it farther because we're trying to
play with the rendering techniques and know how to really get the point
down for you in this last day.
How to use transparency and opacity together. But this
might be a good place to stop with maybe a
few more little accents on the torso itself. But of course we won't,
we'll keep going. You can see that the water
mark turned into a bloom down, right below, where I was
working there on that left side of the body.
Our left. And how it bloomed and we lost the full value of the
shadow down where the oblique, just to left of the belly button,
meets the pants. So that water flared out,
pushed the pigment off the paper and
gave this interesting shape there.
And of course that destroys the shadow. We're losing form there but
it's really beautiful. A little
blooming of a shape.
Okay, pushing the warm and cool ideas, that makes it look
sophisticated. The cool has a lot of blue in it of course.
and so does the warm. The red is a cool red,
relatively. And since it's transparent
everything that's underneath it comes through and that helps to harmonize it even more.
So notice how, but keeping things in the earthy
ranges, they flare out into real gold
and yellows and push over into the pinks.
Then we have a lot of blue greens, a little bit of purple
in the background pushing more into stronger
blues and into cool reds and so
all those things are working out of the earthy tones. All are
laying over the oatmeal paper. And so everything's harmonizing
nicely. There's a lot in common. So there's a cast shadow off the
arm, across the pants, and we're just gonna let those things
vignette down below, let it be a ragged
illustration like the Joseph Clement Coll's and the Daniel Vierge's
and I hope
will look up those artists and look at a lot
of the images, see how they designed and such.
Pushing the warmth on those pants.
And then making
sure that warmth doesn't sit just in one spot, that would seem
artificial. Make sure that warmth sneaks through
throughout the pants and even up in the shoulders.
there. The other shoulder is
spotting it - stitching it through. It's fun to look at artist's paintings,
old master for example, and just track a red. See where
the red is throughout the composition. See where the blue
is throughout the composition. A certain green. Or see how
the green evolves throughout a composition, say in a landscape
from foreground to background. It's fun to track those
And instructive. That becomes like a subplot in a story
there's gonna be a - the main character's gonna have a
story arc, where we follow him through victories and miseries
but also the secondaries characters in good stories and third
tertiary characters. The better stories
every major and medium character will have some kind of change
go on. They'll have a challenge to overcome, they'll be affected in some
deep way by that challenge.
And tracking that change is one of the jobs of a writer.
Every character has some arc, some
change that goes on. So I'm doing a wash over that, just one stroke.
If I do more than one I'm gonna totally dilute what I already had there.
Sneak it under the binding so we get a sense of where that arm
goes. You know, just a little bit of the color note that there's an
arm on the other side even though it's lost.
Okay I'm gonna let that
liquid pool and so where
the eyelashes would be, the bottom of that socket is gonna be -
gets the watermarking, the pooling of that and
create the darkest moment of that and I could load that up with a
water to accentuate that or not.
And when you use the -
a wash of water color for say, a cast shadow. If the cast shadows is
on the bottom side of your tilted
surface then you're gonna have
the pigment load a little stronger
and sometimes a lot stronger on that bottom edge. That's what creates that water mark
idea. That little bubble of paint underneath my
thumb, the knuckle of my thumb there. You can see that's gonna have a strong water mark when it dries.
And if we can have that watermark suggest
cast shadow, where the
head casts across the chest, say on the left side, his
right side peck then that's gonna allow the
medium to really help reinforce
reality of that shadow. And notice
again our left side, the mustache and beard just flare out
and get lost in a total soft edge. We lose some of the value
range of that dark hair and it goes right into the neck.
Or I'm sorry right into the chest there.
And that's pretty cool, just catching two thirds of the mustache,
the goatee area really, as opposed to all of it and letting the rest
flare out and get lost in the shadows. As a neat
idea that could be really great in
a finished painting. And I don't know if I come back and finish that out.
I probably do because I'm in my rendering mode here.
Start yacking away and painting away and putting in
everything and probably too many things. But if I was smart, I'll leave that
flared out. And that's something I'll use, just looking out -
I'll use that in a painting some day. Because it's a neat
idea to have it details flare out into the shadow like
all the sudden it becomes murky water and just gets lost,
submerges underneath for no particular idea.
Other than its less distinct light. So now I'm coming back
over it for at least a third time for that stomach and shadow.
And the side of the torso and the shadow and the little oblique and the
shadow and still that paper's in good shape. It's not
lifting up at all.
Showing a little bit how the obliques
separates from the muscles. So I'm thinking in planes now. This little area
that I'm putting in here is turning down a little bit and turning to the left a little bit.
Turning down here, turning to the left there.
And every time a form turns down and to the left, at down or
to the left is gonna get darker in this situation because shadows
up and to the right. So if it turns a lot down and
a lot to the left, it becomes shadow. If it turns a little bit
it becomes darker half tone. But in either case, it's darkening. So I can have
those big turns of the torso drop into shadow and
then subtle turns of the torso, around the obliques
and the serratus and
the ribs against the abdomen, all the kind of stuff, and have it just barely
get darker. But it's still the same logic. Still consistent.
And it's kinda fun as I'm working I got the
monitor above me, that you all can't see, it shows
me what you're seeing. I've got my painting before
me and then I've got the reference also, which again you can see.
And so being able to compare those three, I've got
a little extra information now because I can see what you're seeing. Although my
monitor is not color corrected. The colors are way
more garish in appearance. So that little bottom edge
as that earlobe turns down and to the
left, it's gonna get darker so I'm picking up that underside
there. And I can maybe put a pirate ring in it if I decide to do a pirate
ring. I'm just gonna fix though that little drag of color that
popped down because my brush wasn't sharpened enough.
You can see now with kind of round
watermarks, how the front of the forehead is
showing a darker value and then the far left
of the forehead is much darker and then the top and the
right are getting much lighter, which I'm gonna pick up now.
So I'm breaking that into three basic planes. A
front corner, a front, and another front corner. And then that
goes into the temple area which is side planes basically.
And that - those three central planes turn up towards the hair line
and into the skull, become a top corner plane and eventually
a top plane. So you've got several planes going on there. And each one
can catch its own value or value range
and then of course each color and color range. Now those look real
strong and I can soften them up so they're not so strong, but also
of course they're gonna dry and get radically reduced. So notice I'm
spotting all these highlights. I'm going to the hottest parts
and then moving that into the surrounding - and look at how spotty it
looks. I'm spotting the highlights, the hot spots,
and then it gets real spotty. So I need to come back with a
clean brush, or almost clean brush, and let these things blend back
over, into the surrounding environment, the surrounding half tones so it's not so
spotty or trust that it's going to fade out as
we get - as it
dries out. It'll settle down and become a fraction of that
contrast. And of course, if it didn't, if it
stayed opaque and sat on top I could come back and glaze it
down or I could come back with water and since it's opaque it's sitting on
the top of the paper. I could come back and rub
that edge out and make it more settle and I think
I do that at some point here pretty soon.
So sometimes we get -
we make changes and we think they're too
strong but more often
than not when we do changes, and if I wasn't in my rendering
mode I would do nothing to that ear, but I decided to do something,
it didn't really need it though.
But we get in the rendering mode and we put
way too much stuff in. But that's kinda my job here this weekend, is I'm gonna show
you how far I will take things or how far you
might want to take things. Nothing will get hyper or realistic,
that's not my style for a sketchbook and it's not
what I was teaching here is to get the basic realism
and as I said in the last
one, get enough color shifts and shapes
design so that we could apply this directly over to rendering
and draw out all the color ranges we want as we get those
value ranges shifting. So bringing in the
pink flesh there and I wiped off most of that pigment, put
a little bit of water in it so I can blend it out so you get a little pinker
version of that earlobe.
If I spot those light and shadow shapes correctly,
and even if it's close to correct, the audience
will bail me out. They'll turn that into an ear for me. I don't have to do a lot.
Wipes off most
of that. Now I'm pushing a - more of a straight
purple. Decided that wasn't quite right.
And trying to get the -
some of the variation in the costume now that
the lighter accents there go bluer than the surrounding
kind of red, brown red there.
So notice I've got three or four
or five color shifts in the costume there. And
those, you know I can tap into all those when I decide to render
in my big finish illustration for the
pirate king of Barbados or whatever the illustration novel is or
graphic novel or cover
art. And this would be the
strategy you'd use if you were doing
a study from life, like a landscape painter, oftentimes
landscape painters will - especially the
Rocky Mountains type - they'll go out in the beautiful outback, you know, the beautiful
wild life of Wyoming or whatever and they'll do little studies
sometimes in watercolor or pastel, more often
in little oil studies. Like a Scott Christensen
or a Clyde Aspevig types
I'm not sure if Clyde Aspevig goes out
on location to paint, but I know Scott Christensen does.
I've seen YouTube videos or something of him
doing that. He does these beautiful little eight by ten inch
studies on location then he'll take those back - I assume he takes some
photographs too - but he'll come back and take those and turn
them into finished landscapes that might be four by five feet
three by four feet. But he's done what I've done here. He's
marked out all the basic shapes. He's familiar enough
with trees and mountains and stuff that he can add
a little bit to it or stylize or edit things a little bit
but he gets all the basic drawing information, all the basic
relationships of size and scale and then all the color
notations. So all those
golden strokes I put in were all
downward and left facing planes. Just slightly turning downwards.
The upper peck separated from the lower peck
with a slight downward stroke. The far left
peck against the right peck again turns away. And same
with the abdomen and
the oblique and stuff. So I'm getting this secondary
subtle bumps to the left, turning away from the light
they're getting a little darker. In this case a little more golden.
And that's a strategy of brown school painters.
The indoor painters like Rubens or Van Dyck or
Zoran watercolors or Sargent portraits.
The darker half tone is where most of the color intensity is. That's where we see
the pink flesh, the rosy cheeks say, or the
blue of the shaved beard like we have on his
that line going up to his ear
and sideburn area. In the blue of the
shaved skin there, basically. So
in the darker half tones that's where we can show
the true color. The front of the forehead here.
You know, the front, inside of the cheek
below the eye socket, before the wing of the nose starts. That's where we see more intensity.
In the lighter half tones and highlight it's pale and
weak. It's a pale gold, yellow. Or it's pale pink.
Or it's a, you know, a
washed out Naples yellow. But in the darker
medium darker half tones, like we're putting in here, the turn of the cheek into
the mouth before the mustache, the brow, furled brow
before it builds up into the full forehead. There I
can put darker values - darker half tones - and put richer
colors. The other place I can sneak them in is in the shadows,
like the shadows on the ear. The inner and outer rim, stylized
marks I did on the ear, his left or right side. My brush is
pointing that - the tip of the brush is pointing at it. There in those
areas, the translucent ear light kinda cuts
through that because it's so thin. And so we get the shadows kinda glowing
brighter colors, rather than the dead browns of most shadows.
There we'll get a
richness of color sometimes
because light cuts through the backside or
shadow catches reflected light and so it starts to
glow and intensifies. So I'll have to let that dry.
Right now it looks like his eye's slightly open in kind of a
strange look to him. But that'll settle down
as it dries. And if it doesn't I'll fix it.
And again, if you rewind back before I did all this stuff
on the eye, see if you like what I have here better now
or worse. At the moment it's actually a little worse. It'll hopefully get a little
better as I refine things, but as I build on it it's not as
good and clean as it was before. And you'll find that quite
often that you either take a sketch and try and take it too far and
quit letting it be a sketch, or your painting just goes through an ugly
stage. Or you artwork, maybe your drawing goes through an ugly stage and
you just need to keep working on it until it matures. It's going through that
awkward teen years stage.
So now I'm refining that again.
Now I'm starting to
pull the ball, the eyeball, out of the
hole of the socket.
And that'll settle down. And notice my -
if you look at my pallet now it's covered with colors, from several paintings now.
And now I've got a pretty good sense of what value each
color is. And I can add a little bit of water, or add a little bit of paint,
to intensify or dilute but I -
at this point I know my pallet pretty well. I know that what that red's gonna do once it
dries because I've seen it do it. And that's a good place to be at.
Where now the paints
that is there, you know what it's gonna give you in terms of value once it dries.
And so you can be more confident putting it on, even though it looks
funny when it's wet, you know it settles into exactly what it needs to be when it's dry.
And then we can do a little color,
you know, intensify the red or whatever.
And something, you know, add a little bit of red in it.
Bring back water and just soften that edge so we get the peck
against the collarbone separating. Or the neck and trapezius
that the face and the upper -
the neck and the trapezius here, the
shrugging muscle area, they have more color and they're a little darker in value
than the chest and the stomach. And that's natural
because the face and neck are usually gonna get more color from the
sun. They're gonna be a little sunburnt, weathered.
So they get a little darker and more color from that. But also the
torso has all the internal organs in it. And so those internal
organs need the blood supply to keep running. So the blood doesn't
sit on the surface of the torso very much. It wants to go down, deep
inside to service those organs and to keep us going.
So that's why ears and noses, mouth
around the eye socket, those catch a lot of color.
Here I'm gonna show some of the pink flesh
coming up through the - there you can see
those pink spots fade back in. And those -
that'll show that modeled patches of thinning
hair where the scalp is coming through.
And of course, your illustrious teacher knows a lot about
that scalp coming through the thinning hair. So I'm
an expert on doing that.
And just letting those settle in. You can see it
disappearing like a cloud vaporizing in the sky.
And you just keep working on
it until your happy with it. That eye - the two eyes now looks like one's open and one's -
the other's swollen shut. Maybe he got beat up. Somebody stole his pirate
treasure or something. So you want to address that probably by the end of it.
Or sometimes you don't even notice that because you're just indicating
things and you see it later and you say hey that's a good idea. I can have
this guy have an asymmetry in these two eyes. One eye has been
punched or he's got a patch over an eye.
Or whatever. You show a little bit of asymmetry.
One eye's winking.
I'm trying to avoid the
typical highlight on the tip of the nose, so I'm putting those highlights in
anywhere but. See if I
can restrain myself from putting the highlight on the tip of the nose. It's hard.
It cries out for it.
Now it's just water on the brush and I'm softening that edge
between inner eye socket and nose and brow.
And maybe getting a little bit of color
It's that green and red, you get a dirty, dark
So I'm putting in a new -
just redesign that shape and scrubbing in the old shape to
make sure I soften that watermark
edge if I don't want it there, which I didn't.
And just water, soften that up. Too much water'll
drip so I wipe that up and away.
Now you got that eye has changed a little bit
for the better, it still looks kinda puffy. So don't
panic, just keep working on it. Sometimes you do a change and you go oh my
god, it's ruined. You attack it. But just ease into it and build the structure around
the eye socket. That's what Sargent was so good at. Velázquez was
so good at. They would build this incredible
structure to hold the eye socket. And then the whole
eye socket was a structure to hold the eyeball, and
the eyeball was a structure to hold the eye lids. And so you always had
a greatest structure developed, carefully developed,
to support the lesser structure. Whereas a novice
would work really hard on lids and lashes to
make an eyebrow, hair of the eyebrow. Look at those local color
differences. And just the accidental light and shadow
on that particular object rather than the surrounding landscape. It's an ecosystem.
So we have to have each object in a landscape. And the
landscape has to be the structure that
works first. So the little structure is a
product of the bigger structure. If you're on top of the head, you're gonna be on
top of the eyelashes. So those tiny, tiny structures have to
show that same, greater structural
relationship. And so the novice will not
work as much as they should on the brow ridge and the eye socket - or the
cheekbones and the nose. They'll just work on the eyes.
And they'll end up kinda outlining the contrasting
of the eyes. There I couldn't stop myself and fussed around with that.
Goatee lost in the shadows and probably have ruined
that kinda bloom of shadow detail that's lost. Bloom of shadow details that's lost.
And then we're gonna stop
here in a moment and this is it, our lunch break.
I think and we'll come back and finish that. Which is not a bad idea to
come back on something like this with a fresh eye after
doing something for a few minutes or an hour or whatever and then coming back
with a fresh eye and saying okay, now what's it need?
Now, picking up—part of the thing that finishes things off is picking up the accent, the little
dark spots, the little light spots to what I call anchor the form.
As I’m demonstrating the brush right there, you lay in that little stroke, and that can
be a little dark accent at the base of something.
You can blend it back out and load it up and get that nice watermark action on the bottom.
As I’m softening that up, and then depending on how much pigment I load into that stroke,
how much water I settle into it, we’re going to get that little dark watermark edge.
I can use that as a cast shadow, anchor it in the cast shadow.
The cast shadow will actually have in most lighting situations actually have a slightly
darker border than the interior
because of simultaneous contrast and reflected light both.
Both reflected lights throwing some dark, some light into that shadow so it’s not
Then as that shadow meets the light side, say on a cast shadow across the table, then
we’re going to get those edges activated against each other.
The light of the table will meet the shadow on the table.
Right at the edge the light looks lighter and the shadow looks darker.
You can end up getting a nice little accent there of value to anchor it.
Also, that little pop, that little extra kick on the border there can help reinforce the
idea of reflected light without doing much rendering on it.
It can also give a sense that the corner speeds up a little bit.
The anchor where you get that dark edge, the form tucks in a little tighter there.
You get a bit of an imperfect curve by doing that, and that gives it kind of a wobbly curve
rather than a perfect radial curve that’s constantly changing the same value, the degree
of the same value all the way through that arc.
It speeds up a little bit at the borders, and so that adds the organic quality.
There I used water and a little bit of ever lighter color on my brush to get that rough
gradation coming up.
Notice when I make those strokes to blend the shadow out into light, I’m always going
along the long axis of the form.
That’s the easiest way to do it.
That’s the renderer’s way, the draftsman’s way of doing it.
Sargent’s strokes are almost always long axis strokes, for example.
Most of these structural impressionists, these people who will allow the paint stroke to
show and then use bright impressionist colors or not, but the structural painters will almost
always go down the long axis.
That little curl, break in the abdomen against the solar plexus.
I want the longest stroke I could, and in this case down and to the right, and I stroke
On that same axis, that same long axis border to soften that or to add a darker half-tone
or whatever it is.
That stroke along the long axis is functional.
It allows you to easily blend one color into the other or step from one color towards another.
Also, since it’s going down the longest axis, you can take that off one form, so I
could come off that site of the oblique and move into the stomach wall or move it up as
I’m going to do here into the serratus and ribs.
You can take that long stroke and just take it all the way up with whatever zigzag fashion
you need to, or you can break the stroke as I did there in little dots and dashes.
Again, there is that abdomen, long axis.
What I want to do is get the whole abdomen above the belly button, and if I really wanted
that stomach to work well and curve it up as a ball, a smaller ball inside the box,
and that’s what I’m going to do here.
Despite the cut of the abdomen, the whole little ball that’s inside there is rolling
up towards that light source and getting lighter and lighter and lighter and then turning down
into the left away from it.
I want to get a gradation over that whole chunk of little forms there, that whole chunk
of the grapefruit sections.
Then the separations of each little section on top of that.
There again, I went down the core of that lower torso with the long axis line, and now
I’m going back and fussing with it a little bit.
In deciding those strokes, if I’m going to make it a structural, a functional stroke,
probably long axis is going to be the most efficient.
It’ll cover the most territory.
It will show me how that form goes down the longest possible distance and then how it’s
going to bump into a new form or a new set of forms.
It’s very functional, but from our pen and ink work that we did earlier in the workshop
we know we can turn those strokes anyway we want.
They don’t have to always functional.
If you’re going to be a young student, let’s say, that takes atelier classes, and those
almost always have quite a bit of Sargent in them.
They come from the French Academy, almost always the Bible is the Braque books.
Braque worked with Ingres to develop those, basically to put into book form and plate
form, the basic teachings of that system which is a great gift to us.
In the 20th century especially and now even on to our new century, it got combined pretty
quickly with the love of Sargent, with the academic realists.
Again, you can understand that and again a good choice.
They always make their marks, whether they are real tight or real painterly they are
going to make them down those long axis.
And so it’s very seductive because it’s very functional, really useful.
If you want to blend you go down the long axis.
They have the core shadow, the beginning of the shadow, and then zigzag it back and forth
along the border of that core shadow back into the half tones in light.
So that’s a great way for rendering too.
The more energetically and tighter you make those zigzags the more you can tease one pigment
into the next and get a beautiful gradation.
So long axis, long axis, long axis.
That becomes anybody who has studied the how-to methods in realism is going to use some version
of that technique almost certainly.
Since we know that as well-versed artists ourselves in technique, we can use it when
we need to use it and then we can break that pattern when we want to be distinctive, when
we want to create a voice.
Again, I’m going down the long axis of that cast shadow.
Very, very functional way to go.
The strokes can go any which way we want.
And so using a delicate medium, a transparent medium, oftentimes you can’t let the strokes
get too wild because they are going to show up, and they are going to dominate.
In an opaque medium like oil paint they are going to show up, but then I can come back
into them and soften them up.
I can build over the top in several layers, and so I can make sure those strokes don’t
overwhelm, and the medium then can help me, just the character of the medium can help
me be more playful.
With watercolor it’s a more difficult medium than oil because of that transparency.
Everything you put down is going to show up and so you have to be a little more artful
at times about when you go crazy with a stroke and when you don’t.
Right here I’m staying almost always down the long axis of things.
If something pinches across like the belly button crease I’ll go over the, or the belt,
the top of the pants, and then I’ll go over the short axis, the cast shadow going across
Go over the short axis.
It’s still going to be the longest possible mark I can make.
But then it would be interesting since this workshop I’m doing, I’m doing almost all
long axis marks to kind of show you the medium and because it’s a small scale.
I can’t get too crazy with the marks either because of that scale.
Do a sketchbook where you absolutely refuse to do long axis marks.
That’s always useful.
Do a series of landscape paintings or sketches where there is no green.
You have to mix out of blues and yellows.
Start working every once in a while without your favorite color.
See what you’re going to do when you don’t have that favorite color to depend on.
All those things can be useful.
Here I’m just knocking that shadow back down so it’s going to group with the cloak
next to it a little bit more so we don’t get that strong separation there.
That’s just a different choice.
It would have worked the other way.
We could have added all of the flesh.
Separate from all the cloak really as it does in the reference.
We may have that happen pretty strongly.
Okay, so now I think I’m going to start building the light, the opaque, semi-opaque,
do opaque lights and build up that chest so it tilts way up and catches the strongest
light really in the painting short of a few highlights on the head.
I’m going to work on that same axis so it’ll blend easily into the strokes that take me
from half-tone into shadow.
Also, I can get a sense of the striations of the muscles as the muscle forms separate
a little bit and kind of sag, kind of hang with gravity because that chest, that big
muscle is relaxed.
It’s not fighting gravity.
I want those light half-tone and highlight marks are going to settle in some.
Not near as much because the paint is much thicker, but they’ll settle in some.
I want to see it come and go as the lightest part of the chest comes down the cast shadow
edge there and just jumps onto that upward corner of the rib cage that’s showing underneath
the nipple right underneath where I’m painting now.
My nipple technique—we’ll do a whole workshop on painting nipples maybe.
It’ll take about 2 minutes.
I have in mind the light source when I do this.
I don’t just chase values because the values can be modeled for all sorts of weathered
reasons or blood under the surface reasons or accidents of reflected light sometimes.
I’m constantly looking or thinking of the light source.
Here I’m talking about how you can scumble.
You can drag a dry brush, not much liquid but quite a bit of paint, and scrumble—drag
So under the nipple there on the upper part of the rib cage I did it.
I’m doing a little bit here on the chest just a little bit, and then I changed, so
I loaded up a little bit of paint in the area there.
I wanted it and then I came back with wet on the brush and diluted that paint so that
it blended perfectly or in a painterly way in this case, in a painterly way into the
It gives a little bit different texture.
Scumbling is a technique that I won’t go into here and didn’t go into here other
than little bit, but it’s a tried and true rendering technique.
It’s used a lot in acrylic, in casein.
You can use it in tempera, and you can use it here with gouache and watercolor.
When you’re working opaquely dragging with dry pigment what’s on your brush across
whatever paint is already on the surface.
The more you scumble the more textural that surface gets and more the grab of paint builds
up, and you get a real nice, real interesting kind of mottled technique that’ll be very subtle.
It’ll still blend beautifully into the landscape of values that you’ve established.
It’s not going to jump out like a sharp brush stroke will, but it’ll make it different
than just the smooth kind of airbrushed computer slick gradation.
It gives a texture to it.
Finally, once you get some mastery in rendering, really for me the fun is how can we surprise
people as two shapes, two colors come together, two values come together, when the shadow
of the chest meets the light of the chest, where the flesh meets the costuming, where
the foreground meets the background.
How can I do something that’s energetic, exciting, surprising and not just the same
Here I’m using Brown School tactics.
I’m pumping up the color in the darker half-tone.
As I put a little bit of that golden light into the cast shadow of the chest onto the
ribs there to bring a little bit of color, and you can particularly see that little edge
of golden light at the base of the cast shadow as it goes into the ribs below it.
That little intensity freshens things up and then I came back in the darker half-tone of
the chest as it emerges out of the shadow and goes into light.
Think about it.
The shadow is a dirty brown.
There I just lost most of that little golden accent that I put in there.
The shadow of the chest is a dirty brown, so Brown School paintings.
Brown is kind of a noncolor.
It’s kind of muddy and murky.
It’s kind of a noncolor.
It’s muddy and murky.
It’s a little orange-brown.
It’s a little green-brown, but it’s brown.
It’s a muddy color so there is not much there in terms of real color.
It’s really depending 90% on the value.
We’ve put a stylized noncolor in the shadow because the shadow with very simplistic thinking
is the absence of light.
We know it’s not truly that because we’re getting reflected light in there, but we’re
going to call it the absence of light as a Brown School painter.
Then the lights get blasted out by our powerful light source or the north light, you know,
God’s light coming down in a Rembrandt painting, that kind of thing.
So there is not much color there.
It’s usually a real gray-yellow-white.
The only place to really see a lot of intense color relatively and to see the warmth of
the flesh tone in the darker middle of the darker half-tones.
The darker half-tone under the side of the beard on to the neck there, you see that blast
of red, the darker half-tones in the face and on the chest there.
We see those golden colors.
And so that’s a chance to put in color there.
Now I’m picking up that barrel of the stomach and starting to get that stomach as it turns
up into the right towards the light source, getting lighter.
Then the ball of that whole abdomen is rolling down into the shadowy convolutions of those
Okay, you can see the scale there I showed you a moment ago.
The thumb, it’s blown up big on the screen, but that head is smaller than the end of the
It’s a tiny little head.
It’s actually kind of fun to have the monitor above me in studio, and then I’ve got the
source material I’m working with, the reference, and I’ve got the painting itself, which
is this tiny little thing, thumb-sized head, you know, a little body that’s whatever
it was, 5 inches long or maybe 6 inches long with the drips and drabs of the vignette pants
he has on.
And so I packed a lot of information in there and almost certainly too much information
as I alluded to earlier before the break.
You get all that information in a little tiny space like that.
I don’t know if it’s a little bit overkill.
Generally when you work much smaller, work a little simpler.
But having said that, just in terms of control, learning to paint little tiny areas with a
lot of information and have that hold pretty well is a good skill to have.
One of the things I notice with painterly artists, you know, all the prima or people
who just show off their brush strokes and aren’t doing super tight work kind of like
this, showing off the brush strokes and not doing super-tight work.
They get stuck on a scale.
They’re very comfortable with a 6 inch head, and maybe they can go down to 3 and go up
to 8 inches.
Anything beyond that, then they start having trouble.
If they get real big then their painterly style looks unfinished.
They get real small, those painttsrokes start to break down the structure.
Impressionist painters don’t draw super well.
Landscape painters are notorious for that.
They don’t draw real real well and so if you change scale on them, their flaws show up.
What’s happening there is with Impressionism you’re breaking down a structure into a
few marks, as few kind of jointly disjointed planes that kind of roughly lay together.
If you don’t really understand the structure there then what you’re breaking down, what
your abstracting is going to distort.
You’re not understanding how that cheekbone turns from ear over against the side of the
You don’t really get the nuances or sometimes even the major transitions there.
And so you start breaking it down into little color swatches that you see up there, little
values that you see or have been taught to see.
They aren’t really doing the work you think they are.
So when you can change scale and do some quite tight renderings on a little small scale like
here, and then work and do a head that’s a foot and a half tall, now you have good
control of your medium and your subject matter that you can take in every direction.
I learned that early on going around looking at gallery showings.
When I was an illustrator, in illustration you can guess usually oftentimes with the
But you don’t really know how the big the original is.
You know how big the printed size is, of course.
It’s the page size for the magazine or the book cover or whatever.
But you don’t know how big that actual painter was painted.
But you can start going around to galleries of fine art and, of course, you’re seeing
the originals, and you can see that they’re working very small or medium-sized or very big.
I started noticing that these painters that we’re talking about would work in a very
They wouldn’t work super big, wouldn’t work super small.
If they were really, really tight, sometimes they’d do miniatures and work real small,
and there is a jewel-like quality of taking a tiny little object like a cameo they used
to do, little illustrations and cameos, and doing this lovely little gem of a rendering
on a inch or half-inch head or something like that or a little cornucopia
or something like that. Very small.
There is something very lovely about that.
But the looser painters, which is what I wanted to do—fairly loose work and energetic brush
strokes—they were incredibly restrained and limited in what they could do.
If you forced them or if they decided to a big piece.
Sometimes in one-man shows oftentimes you’ll want to have a good selection of sizes.
You’ll have most of your work.
Let’s say you’re going to have 23 pieces in the show.
Usually you want at least 12 unless they’re just massive pieces.
Usually people don’t do more than 30.
It’s usually in that 20s range, 15-20 range.
But they would all be kind of mid-sized, say 2 x 3 feet and down to 12 x 16 inches.
Everything is in there.
And then they would have maybe one piece, one or two pieces that is 3 x4 feet.
And then sometimes they try and do one that’s 5 x 6 feet.
And you can see as you get past that 2 x 3 feet things start suffering.
The strokes start to feel kind of spare.
The secondary forms on the figure which is mainly what I was looking at because that
was what I wanted to do, you know, learn about what you want to do from the other people.
I was looking at that.
But, they wouldn’t go into nuanced forms even though the scale suggested they should
because there wasn’t much interest if you’re just going to break down those big forms on
that big scale.
That simplicity seemed, made the loose brush strokes seem unfinished.
I noticed that scale issue.
I started to draw actually really big when I was teaching,
and I stole the idea from Burne Hogarth.
He was teaching at the same time just at the end of me being a student, and I got friendly
with him when I started teaching.
He was also teaching and I took the second section of analytical figure drawing that
he was doing.
I picked his brain and would hang out a little bit and talk to him and stuff.
He would do these big drawings, and he got it from Bridgeman.
Robert Beverly Hale would do it too sometimes.
But he would work on a big 2 x 3 ft sketchpad, and he would do these big heads that were
bigger than life size and a giant hand that was 12 inches long or 15 inches long, a finger
or a thumb that is as big as a coke can.
He’d do these big scale drawings so that the kids in the back of the class could see
what he was doing.
He’d break down the structure of the hand on a huge scale.
I thought that was a great way to work.
And so when I started teaching I did the same thing.
I just stole it from him, and he was fine with that, of course.
That started teach me to work at different scales.
I would do a sketchbook so you’d always work small in a sketchbook.
That’s just a natural.
Then at the same time I’d work very, very big, much bigger than life.
I’d work out an eye that’s bigger than your fist, that kind of thing.
And so doing that, teaching and sketching gave me a good scale change, and I realize
later what a benefit that was.
So same with you.
Change scale quite a bit.
Get out some big cheap newsprint papers and stick it on a board, you know, clip 20 sheets
on a board and put it at your easel.
Stand up and paint.
Also, the teaching got me to be standing as a draftsman.
As a student, I’d sit on the bench with a drawing board on my lap and start drawing
away like everybody else in school would do, in the classroom would do.
But when you teahe you’ve got to stand up, more or less.
And so I would stand at the easel and draw.
At first it was really awkward, and it hurt the quality of the drawings, but that’s
just the way it is.
Then I got used to that, and so now I stand for almost everything.
These sketchbooks things oftentimes I’ll sit, but you can set up a high-top, put a
structure on top of a tabletop.
They do that now for office space, too.
Health professionals say how important it is to stand and not sit all day.
It’s really hard on your body.
Your digestive system, the flow of blood, all that kind of stuff really suffers when
you sit all day.
Standing up and painting, standing up and drawing are a good thing to do.
Here you can see closer to the scale.
On my screen it’s pretty close to a true scale, and it’s about 6 inches, the whole thing.
One of the advantages of the camera, you pull back, way back from it and you can see it.
Or just take a screen shot of this and then just zoom out and get a real small version of it.
Get it down so the whole thing is an inch and a half or two and just see it as a little
See if it works at that scale.
If it’s the equivalent of walking away from it and seeing it from a distance.
That’s one of the disadvantages—there we go, back to the big size—disadvantages
of sitting and sketching; you’re always under 2 ft from it, looking at it so you’re
right on it.
Getting away from your artwork is critical so you can see it from a distance.
You can do that digitally.
Actually get up, stretch your legs, walk away from your drawing table.
See it from 20 feet away and see if it works.
Does that whole big of the abdomen roll over from top to bottom before the little sections
separate from each other?
If not, come back and get that bigger structure so all of my little details have to work on
the bigger structure.
The little nipple has to work on the big chest.
The relatively small chest has to work on the big rib cage.
It has to work in that greater mass of tubes, boxes, and balls.
The eyelashes have to work on the eyeball.
The eyeball has to work in the eye socket.
That whole thing has to work in the structure of head.
If we’re underneath the head, we’re underneath the eye too and vice versa.
There I’m showing you how you can kind of rub back into a thick pigment and pull it
back and get that kind of bloom idea.
Just soften an edge or pull out a reflected light or pull some of the green out so you
can come back with a stronger orange in there as there was some kind of reflected detail
I’m just softening the edge between the chest and robe.
Take your time in changing those colors.
Just grab a little bit from the edge of the color and sneak a little bit into your pile
of colors so it’s an incremental change.
Not enough, a little more green.
Not enough, a little more green.
Same with this.
I want that a little darker.
I’m picking up those dark accents.
See how it kind of anchors the form?
You get those little dots that are going to end up being watermarks.
Those little things kind of pop.
They did a visual pop where that darker little accent dives in a little deeper into the form
and turns that form a little quicker and makes it less perfect, makes it more organic and
makes it feel like and accent of the form turning a little quicker.
So there I pushed a little bit of green, I’m sorry, a little bit of blue on that lighter
half-tone, and then I put the highlight on top of it.
Instead of just building up a lighter, lighter orange to get the highlight, if you shift
the temperature a little bit, you get a little bit of accenting, a little vibration going
of not just the lighter against the darker but warmer against the cooler.
So I push it lighter and cooler.
Otherwise, you just go warm, warm, warm, and you basically just keep adding white to whatever
your skin tone is, and it’s not going to look real.
It’s going to look like it’s plastic.
That skin tone has all those accenting colors, all that vibration of what’s under the surface,
what’s on top of the surface, the color and the light and shadow, all that kind of stuff.
Laying that stuff in strongly knowing it’s going to settle in, coming in with white water
if I need to soften the edge and such.
Again, just thinking what’s turning up to the right to catch little hotter light source,
and where does it turn down there?
Again, I’m accenting with a little light to get that kind of kick of turning up a little
quicker at the end so it isn’t a monotonous trudging on to ever lighter values, but it
pops suddenly way lighter or way darker.
Again, that little accent went away, but I could come back and kick that again if I think
Then all these things, I’m adding white, adding white, lots of highlights everywhere.
It’s going to make it look like it’s a sweaty, working flesh of this heroic or villainous
It also can get monotonous.
Everything gets whiter, whiter, whiter.
It loses its color.
We’re keeping quite a bit of color in darker half-tones like good Brown school painters,
but still the white gets kind of, it’s kind of noncolor.
I could let that dry nicely and do a quick glaze over the whole thing if I wanted.
I use my fingers a lot in all the paint.
Not the best idea for oil paint.
Do not use rubber gloves if you’re using a lot of solvent and stuff with oil paint
because that paint solvent will come, the turpentine say, will come right through the
gloves, and the turpentine will go into skin and it will take whatever poly, whatever rubber
chemical is in the gloves right into your body.
Not good for you.
In fact, I just found out about a friend who lost his wife because of that.
Very, very sad.
She was a sculptor.
She did, I think he said the molds she was doing, she’d wear the rubber gloves and
it had that resin or whatever she was using the molds.
Much more toxic than what we’re working with here, but still, don’t do that.
I’d go ahead and just use my finger here.
It’s watercolor base so totally safe.
But oil paint it is toxic.
I’ll stay away from the toxic colors, the cobalts, the cadmiums and try and go with
the old school colors as much as possible that are natural minerals that don’t have
that chemical toxicity to the same degree anyway.
Pushing a little separation of the stomach from the obliques
in little accents.
Popping that in a little deeper.
It’s one of the things that you miss.
How deep should we go?
We can always come back since it’s several layers.
You can always come back and soften that up and take most of it off even after it dries
because it’s sitting on the surface.
Refining a cast shadow contour, that kind of thing.
Then there I glazed over the nipple so it settled back into a deep red to stay in the
I’m just indicating the thumb coming out into the light
bringing in pinks now.
They are the same relatively light half-tones, but now instead of being in the golden colors
they’re in the red colors, bringing in a little bit of that blood that’s going to
help vary things a little bit.
I can do the same thing with the blues if I wanted to like I did on the chest there
on the left side.
Again, it gets kind of fussy for such a small painting, but it gives you an idea how you
can keep taking things farther, adding an ever subtler series of forms, lesser forms,
and that can sit and concert on top of those bigger forms.
If I have a certain amount of orange in the foreground, I like to bring some of that in
the background so there is a sense of environment.
He is within an environment so there are similar color ranges in the background even if they
are severely limited.
For the Brown School painters it’ll simply be that the shadows of the figure are brown
and the background is some version of brown.
It’s a very similar brown usually.
Sometimes it’s a greener brown, but still in that family that let’s you know that
he is in that environment.
He is part of that brown world.
I like to take it a little bit farther, more like the impressionists.
You’re going to get warm and cools everywhere, and so some of those warm and cools should
show up so we see the similarity there.
I’m just trying to vary that soft, broken edge of the skull and hair there to make it
more interesting and feel almost like it’s starting to fracture and break away and go
into the background shapes, but make that an interesting transition there, and then
correcting the beard and the earlobe by the paint around it, using a little bit of a purple
color, again, that purple is in the cloak there, and then just putting water there and
blending those strokes off in the surrounding environment.
Ideally that little highlight or highlights should be softer.
They shouldn’t be as hot as the highlights up at the top of the rib cage under the nipple.
Then I’m just playing with the energy, lighting some of the light break into the shadow almost
like there is a little bit of a shivering motion there, like the hot flare of a highlight
in photography where if that figure moves the highlight kind of trails behind, so some
Just breaking that edge up and getting a little bit of zigzagging energy going in there.
It gives that idea of action or vibrational energy that wants to move, wants to explode
into a new direction.
It’s just a cool looking shape.
I like the zigzags.
They are cool, energetic, aggressive shapes.
You can see that I’m playing up the sagging of the structures of the chest settling down,
falling on top of their attachment to the rib cage below.
I can just make that highlight and lighter half-tones into interesting marks.
I’ll play those little curl and whipping actions to see how I can dance my way down
the length of something in an interesting way or see how it bundles up and then whips
off into a new direction kind of like eddies in a stream.
Okay, so that’s I think about done there.
I always say in these things I’m done, and then I work on it another 5 or 10 minutes.
You can see that one of the things I try and do is I try and work in—watercolor works
beautifully for this—work in the mid-ranges, middle light, middle dark to separate light
from shadow and foreground from background.
Then as I render I push the lights ever lighter and I push the darks ever darker.
As I go on, the contrast gets more and more extreme.
You can see how I push those extremes on the dark and light on him about as far as you
can take it.
We go over to the woman there.
She’s much more sfumato—smoky, soft.
That obviously seems to fit with this subject matter.
You get a very different look between the two.
There is the image I’m going to work with.
I’m going to do the right-side figure.
If I have time I’ll do the left side, but this will take quite a bit of time actually.
But a really beautiful setup, all the warmth again.
We can use some cues from that first little study we can see on the right side on top
and really play up that kind of warmth there.
Red hair is always a great little kick of color.
There are lots of good things to be had there.
So as I look at an image I start thinking of verticals and horizontals, what’s on
You know, she’s very vertical.
The other figure to the left is very horizontal.
Yet they both have strong angles.
There is a triangular design to them in there seating and reclining position.
I’m going to want to bring in some of that fur covered stand which she is sitting on,
bring in that and that will get a pretty strong vertical to the right side of the composition
as things move along and then a nice angle from her piled up hair down to her toes, always
descending and moving off to the left.
Alright, here we go.
I’ve got my palette.
I cleaned off the palette, but I left the colors there.
I freshened up a little bit of yellow, it looks like, and maybe the red.
Notice I have the two piles of white.
That way I can use one for kind of the dirty brown or the cools and then do another one
for the warms.
If I have to I’ll squeeze out a third pile there, and we’ll probably have to.
I can set it just right onto the porcelain.
Having that wet paper towel keeps that color from skinning over.
Once gouache or watercolor skins over and then you dilute it again, it’s never as
opaque as it was before, as it was fresh out of the tube.
Until you lose a little bit of opacity you’ve got to build up thicker paint.
It is actually a very similar with oil paint.
Once oil paint is skinned over, it’s actually not as stable as it was before, and ideally
you get rid of that and put out fresh paint.
You throw out the paint that’s skinned over.
If you’re doing watercolor or casein you do the same wet paper towel idea.
Fechin actually would use—he probably didn’t have paper towels back then.
They were probably cotton rags.
He would lay down—or it could be newsprint or something too.
He would lay down paper cloth or something, I forget which it is, and put the oil paint
on that and then let is sit sometimes for a day or so, supposedly.
What that does is the paper or the rag, whatever it is underneath, soaks the linseed oil that’s
the medium in the oil paint.
It soaks out of the oil paint into the absorbent surface below.
It takes a lot.
It doesn’t take all of it, of course, but it takes quite a bit of that oil out, and
then you don’t have as slippery and wet a medium.
You have a drier medium.
Then he could drag that over.
If you look at his paintings, you’ll get this area, usually the head, always the head
and oftentimes the hands too would be quite tight, still have brushstrokes but quite tight.
Everything else would be very, very abstract.
To me it was a little bit too much of a shtick.
He did the same thing every single time.
The guy was a brilliant draftsman, one of the great draftsman, ever,
I think, just fantastic stuff.
Technically a really good painter, but that later style was just too much of a technique.
It was just his thing that he always did and so it was repetitive to me
and not all that inventive.
Not all that interesting after you’ve done it a few times.
You could take that idea and push it in much more interesting ways, but he way he did it
got repetitive, but the point I was trying to make before I got diverted is that all
of the—you can see in all that abstracted brush strokes how dry the paint is.
He is using a rough canvas, and he is kind of scumbling like we talked about earlier.
He is dragging that brush with very dried out pigment on it.
It doesn’t have near as much linseed oil, and it kind of drags and bumps across the
top of the surface.
You get a real energetic texture there that adds to the abstraction and steals away from
any illusion of a gradation over forms on a surface.
He wouldn’t do that in the more realistic areas of the face.
There you would maybe add a little bit back or something.
I’m not sure, but it was slicker paint there and more like a Sargent would use.
But that was his way of making that medium change character a little bit and to give
it a personality that was distinct to him, which is a smart thing to do.
It’s just my preference would have been to do that in a more surprising way.
After you’ve seen a couple of paintings you get the idea of that, and then it’s
no longer a fresh invention.
It’s kind of a cliché.
Alright, so just sketching in this figure, upright seated figure, of course.
You want to be careful with the proportions.
That might demand, probably does demand a more careful lay-in,
sketching these things in.
You can come in with the old tubes, boxes, and balls.
I tend to just kind of draw simplified contours.
If I have a tough area I’ll do a construction.
Generally, I’ll just kind of go down to simplified contour or the exact contour.
Not often the exact contour because I don’t want to be exact at this point, and I don’t
want, that line of the pencil isn’t going to become part of the rendering.
It will probably show through, certainly, but it’s not going to dictate the exact
edge of things.
I don’t want it to and it probably wouldn’t anyway.
As I move the paint around the drawing will want to move around a little bit.
Anyway, I’m trying to figure that out and giving her, I’m not idealizing her body
I’m idealizing her face a little bit by just making pretty simple shapes, simpler
than it is in the reference, that torso area, just to keep it simple.
It makes it a little quicker to paint.
It’s a little more interesting to do somethings that’s not always hourglass figure and stuff.
I like the way it sweeps down into that stomach and hip area.
The stomach and hip area you could think of as a half-ball that compresses on the seat
So that tube into that ball like a drumstick is interesting dynamics.
I’m playing up that and playing down a little bit of the wider rib cage and thinner waist
just a touch.
Also, I like how things are coming down and swinging off to the left.
We come down the stomach and we swing into those slashing strokes across the folds.
They slash across to the left.
We come down to the thigh and that kicks to the left.
Then it drops down to the foot.
The head comes down and the shoulder kicks to the left.
The cheek comes down and the shadow kicks to the left as it goes from cheek to mouth.
I like that down and over kind of motion.
We can see that on the shadows of the breast too.
This one I’m doing a little different.
I’m going to wet the whole surface.
I’ve got a less absorbent surface so the paint is going to flow a little differently.
I can let that dry a little bit or I can lay the paper towel over it.
Just a flat sheet and dab it or just dab it a little bit of the hot, the wettest spots
with my paper towels.
I’m going to start right away with the red.
You can see the disadvantage of wetting it.
Now it’s very fluid.
It’s going to sit on the surface and it’s going to flow.
If you’ve got a surface that’s tilted up as we have here, then that’s going to
flow down and you’re going to get bleed, the red hair is going to bleed into the flesh.
Now, that’s not a big deal because it’s going to bleed into the shadow, and it’s
red hair and pink flesh.
All those things are going to kind of get along.
What if she had green hair in that blue hair?
I used a blue black like I did on the last guy.
That’s going to drip into what is supposed to be orange and pink flesh, and it’s going
to cause a big problem.
So you have to kind of balance out.
You’re going to find these kind of just technical difficulties that come up, and you’ve
got to then sort through them to be able to move along.
You might find I don’t like wetting the surface because I like to have a perfectly
vertical painting as I’m doing my watercolor, and those drips come right down, and I have
to fight the drip all the way through the rendering process to get it to wear I want
it to be.
There are all sorts of choices and you try them out and see what the benefits and what
the liabilities are, how it gets you in trouble or how it bails you out.
I’m going to come right in with the flesh and the light, I’ve decided.
That will build up.
If I did that in the face, you know, onto that sweep of hair going back to the ear the
slight thickness of the paint there will actually help create a little damning effect to stop
If it’s a super wet drip it’s going to come through no matter what, so I’m leaving
space for that strap of her gown there, her nightgown.
Now I’ve decided it’s too pasty white.
I’m going to knock it down.
Notice I used yellow, which is a light source.
Pink which is a red blood and a little bit of blue which is a blue blood coming through.
I’ve combined all three major influences to get the effect that I want.
Notice long axis strokes are the most efficient, working down.
I could hatch across.
If I was Dega with pastels I certainly would be hatching across.
Go look at your favorite artists and look at the direction of the brush strokes.
See which way they’re going and see how consistently they deal with that long axis.
Then start thinking, everybody’s doing that; what can I do to mix that up?
To change it up so that my strokes are different?
Or just the load of paint.
Everybody does about the same load of paint.
Quite a big load.
There is the red blood and the suntan coming in so I’m going to spot that around to really
beautiful kind of golden orange there, really great color actually.
A little bit of blue coming in there.
You can see how dark that went.
It looks like a mask from some kind of facial.
Let that settle in and see where it goes as it dries so I can gauge.
Notice I don’t have my palette covered with colors, so again I’m having to experiment
to find out what color is a half-tone because wet on the palette is going to be different
than dry on the brown paper.
I’m having to rediscover the right mixtures there.
So there will be a little bit of searching in the beginning.
I’ll put down colors that look great on the palette.
Then I put them on the painting and watch them dry, and they get way to dark like that
Notice by coming back on top of it I correct that but also some of that dark rusty red
is coming through, and so it’s a little bit fresher, a little different way of doing
the flesh tone compared to last time.
Oftentimes, those corrections if they’re just not totally out of base, way to green
or something like that, those corrections will really kind of build up and add complexity
and interest and make things a little different than they would have been had you got it right
the first time.
I’m trying to get that kind of dappled light that’s going on the lacy texture of the
gown and then all the twisting folds that take it in and out of light there.
I’m trying to create an interesting shape.
Notice that this is the same kind of a zigzag folds that you’d see in a furrowed brow,
but I’m trying to do it in a way that is a little different because the texture and
the character of the fabric is different than the character, texture, and dynamics of the
flesh, and so a different stroke, a different design stroke, even a different load of pain on it.
Of course, a different value of color.
All those things are going to make it say fabric, hopefully, as opposed to flesh.
And that I think I mentioned before.
That was one of the big knocks on Sargent, actually.
He always paints velvet, I think is what he said.
Everything is satin or velvet because it was always slick paint, always showing the beautiful
design, the color and all that kind of stuff, but really every stroke, no matter what it
was with that same virtuosic stroke, and so the way the brush hit the surface was always
the same with Sargent basically.
That’s a fair criticism and that’s great.
When I can find one of my heroes, when I can find something to criticize about one of my
heroes that’s always a good thing because then it takes them off the pedestal a little
bit, and what it does specifically is it says to you is you wouldn’t do it that way.
Sargent is my favorite painter in the world, maybe, but in these three or four things,
I would do it differently, and that’s incredibly valuable because now you can start to distinguish
yourself from your heroes and not be a slave in a school of.
Quite often we find our favorites and we just try to match them as closely as possible and
we spend all of our time trying to look like Sargent.
Then we’re not looking like ourselves.
We don’t have our own voice.
We have a second hand or oftentimes a fourthhand artist, and if that’s a hot artist in the
art world then you’re going to have a ton of competition.
There is no way you are going to compete with the original because he was the original and
what he did was creative and a product of who he was and his times, and you’re in
different times and you’re a different character.
The way you see the world and the way you should try and paint the world should be a
least a little different than that other guy, so finding flaws.
Taking your hero off the pedestal is critical.
So now this one I’m really pushing the pastels.
The last painting even the one before that was much more Brown school.
Here I’m pushing it a little bit more into the impressionist range, so warm, light, cool
shadow, and really playing up the cool shadow and not just brown, not just a grayer, cooler
version of orange, but its own distinct color that has its own distinct character.
Brown doesn’t have much character as we’ve mentioned.
Notice that dry, that paper is already dried so we’re so we’re starting to get the
paint grabbing and we can’t then get that whole shadow to be washed in cleanly.
We’re going to see brush strokes in there.
If we don’t want that that’s a little bit of a problem.
We’d have to work wetter.
We’d have to have a second brush in our hand with water to keep the paint flowing
so we could fill that whole shape, or we come back over it with more wet paint, and that’ll
help dilute to a large degree all that kind of fussy mottled strokes that were there before.
Okay, now as I change the value going from deep shadow to dark half-tone, I’m changing
the temperature intensity.
I’m making it a yellower, going from a blue-green into a yellow-ochre.
Since that white is on the surface, I can come back into it at any time and dilute it.
Soften those edges so there is no hurry.
When I’ve got opaque paint I can always come back and fuss with it.
If it was casein, acrylic, I can’t really do that well.
Now I’m going to have the shadow of the flesh a little different than the shadow of
the nightgown there.
I warmed it up.
Then I’ll just chase that all the way through the shadows, of course.
That year is in the shadow, but by putting a lovely warm bronze orange, flaming orange
in there, now it’s going to end up being a red shadow to show the blood in that ear.
Notice how many times I’m going to have to go over that hair to get it down to the
dark value I want, if I want to match that deep darkness there.
Notice I left the arm for later because I loaded that arm up with a lot of wet pigment,
so I knew it would sit there and not dry out and create a hard edge at the elbow.
If you’ve got, if you’re trying to fill a large area, chasing after several areas,
as I did there, and loading up a lot of water in an area that you know you’ll have to
come back to in 30 seconds or a minute, that’s a good way to keep that edge from drying out,
creating an edge between strokes that you don’t want that’s going to be disruptive.
Again, getting to know your materials and having a strategy to get out of it what you
Every material is going to have great limitations and certain unique personalities and we want
to play down the former and exploit the latter.
Celebrate those quirks of the medium which is going to be one of the reason you picked
that medium, almost certainly.
You can see on her shadowed out arm, her left, our right, how poorly I designed the shape,
you know how fat the elbow gets there.
That’s impossible, isn’t it?
It wouldn’t do that in any case.
It destroys it.
But it’s in the shadows and it’s going to go into the background.
It’s not going to be a focus of anything I’m doing in the painting in terms of wanting
it to be a first or third read.
That doesn’t bother me at all.
It’s just kind of what the paint did.
It’s actually a beautiful shape if you take away the armness quality to it.
That doesn’t bother me and I kind of like it.
Maybe we’ll just leave that but if I need to I’ll come back with opaque paint, or
I’ll let that initial wash be the value of the background and then push the actual
arm down much darker.
I always have ways to work on that and sometimes you come into a situation where you just can’t
find an out.
It’s a mistake.
Anytime you can go opaquely or anytime you’re working in a ghostly range like I am now,
I’m slowly building up and now I’m quickly building up to the darks.
I really loaded up that brush.
Letting those drips happen to show the hair, the loose hair falling out so that gives a
way of showing the locks of hair that loosen up and escape the bun.
That’s a different way of doing that.
I’m exploiting that drippy quality for that.
You can see that it’s still moving so I’ll have to pay attention to it so it doesn’t
drip over the chest.
But that chest is slightly opaque, slightly thicker, and so it might be enough to damn
it up and now allow it to break through into that pink chest in light.
Softening that edge because it’s, again, soft hair.
Gives it kind of the period soft curls of before the roaring 20s that in fashion, 1880s
to the teens.
That gives us a close, gives us a sense of that period.
There is a lot of looseness to them at times.
Sometimes it showed a lower class, you know, in the class system of the 19th century and
sometimes it showed a sense of relaxation.
She’s in private.
She doesn’t have to worry about it.
It could be sensual.
Loose, flowing hair for a romp that’s going to come along, so it can be part of the storytelling.
I’ll talk myself through those possibilities.
Which way do I want to take this?
Is this a woman waiting for her lover?
Is it a woman that has had a tough day?
Is it a prostitute that can finally be herself?
Is it an older woman who is trying to hold on to her beauty, that society is telling
her that she is not as used to be and she’s trying to test out looks to bely that and
fight off that reality for a few years.
Maybe the horror of that idea, of being told by your community that you’re not as valuable
because you don’t look a certain way.
I’ll race through those possibilities, and each of those becomes a potential motivation
for the marks.
Notice how I destroyed the chin with that little mark of hair behind the mark.
I’ll either fix it now or fix it later.
I’m not going to worry too much about that kind of stuff.
Now if it bothered me and I was concerned it was going to create a problem to be fought
later, I’d come in with my thumb and wipe it back down, take it off the shadow of the
flesh and back on to where the hair should be behind the neck.
Now I’m getting that background of course.
You want to make sure that you consistently work foreground to background so that you’re
The foreground is going to be more important in a figure, always, but that’s only pictorially.
We’re more interested in looking at a person than at a wall.
But that wall in terms of picture making, in terms of design, is every bit as important
as the figure.
It’s shapes of color, shapes of value just like the figure is, and so they’ve got to
work in relationship.
I don’t know that anything I have in the figure is correct until I see it in relationship
to what’s going on in the background.
Figure and ground relationship, light and shadow relationship.
Even though one thing is going to be an area where you don’t want the audience to look
at much or an area that I’m going to edit down extremely, so I’ve taken out most of
Even though that’s going to be the case, still in terms of design it’s just an important,
and I’ve got to be dealing with that relationship.
I’m even interested in a relationship of this painting to the last painting that I did.
How did they juxtapose colors and shapes and such?
That little bit of the wandering, wavy cloak is playing against the bowed arm.
That’s an interesting dynamic.
So now I’m bringing in a little more purple blues, blues that are slightly red, and that’s
going to be the setup for the stole that she’s sitting on, the fur or whatever she’s sitting on.
I want it to have a slightly different character.
The blues in it need to be a bit different than the blues in the nightgown.
Then just bring the blues into the leg cause they are going to be off towards the edge
of the picture.
Almost always things that are at the edge of the picture are not going to be as interesting
to our audience as things that are centralized, things that are in the middle of the picture.
As I design those legs to be less interesting than the arms and the chest and the face,
I’ll bring in some of the surrounding colors to mute them, so I brought in some of that
slightly reddish blue for the fur part of the setup and brought some of that into the
legs so that they settled into that furry environment basically a little bit.
Once again, one of the great advantages you have here is you can reverse the recording,
go back and look at it earlier.
Look at the hair shape.
Look at say the initial pencil line as the hair is swept off the forehead and across
that ear and compare it to what I have now.
The line I have now is not near as artful as that initial drawing.
That’ll be something that I’ll be concerned with.
I want to be sure that flows beautifully.
I want it to come off more or less the front of the forehead.
Go around the sight of the forehead.
Fall down across the temple as the forehead falls down into the whiter cheeks and then
sweeping across either behind or over the top of the ear.
That linear movement should be quite descriptive of the planes of the face, going from front
to side and going from a narrower forehead to a whiter cheek and then stepping back into
connection to that ear there.
That’s going to help relate that ear back to the front so it’s not just a whole of
orange in the side of the head.
The audience will do a tremendous amount of work for us in explaining that as an ear.
They will make it an ear for us, but I also want to make sure that it rings true to me.
I don’t depend on the audience to bail me out of something I got lazy on and didn’t
design as beautifully and as functional as it can be.
You want to balance out the abstract idea of not getting fussy in an area but letting
it be incredibly simple, the beauty of clean, simple design.
Then the balance of my need to be a realist and do things that look accurate and the audience’s
participation—how do I engage them and have them help make the picture what it needs to be?
So, playing with warms and cools.
There is a lot of warmth underneath the armpit as we get under that negligee and maybe the
warmth of the arm is bouncing reflected light into that, or maybe this flesh is coming through
it so we feel the red blood coming through there.
That red I put in there symbolizes that.
Shifting temperatures and playing with color possibilities.
Also, it adds to the overall idea to keying up the overall painting so it’s more intense
in what we did before.
It’s not a full, bright impressionist painting or even expressionist painting like a Tanner,
Henry Ossawa Tanner would do or a Sargent watercolor.
It’s about in the range of a Sargent watercolor.
But it could be much more intense, much more of the French Impressionist school.
Look at some of the Kroyer paintings, a northern European artists, a Scandinavian artist that
brought in quite a bit of color or Sorolla’s on the beach.
His is going to be kicked up slightly more than this.
This is in the range of that.
Picking up the dappled kind of ruffled end of that outfit.
Trying to show with broken strokes the convoluted folding, that corrugation that goes on the
wave action of rising and falling folds, doing that without rendering them, but just indicating
and dropping into shadow, picking up and lighting it.
Get a little color shift in there, pushing it greener now.
I had some greener strokes down at the end of the outfit so I don’t want to isolate
those, let those dance their way up into the body of the outfit.
Now, as you can see going redder again to deepen those shadows.
That helps to relate to the deep red brown of the hair so that hair doesn’t feel isolated.
I have some of that in the background too, to the left of her arm there.
Generally what I’ll do is if I have a new color coming I’ll make sure it doesn’t
isolate in one particular area but it weaves its way throughout the whole composition.
I start out with a ghostly version of light and dark, what light and dark is, and then
as I move along I build things up and I build things down so it gets ever more contrasting.
Be constantly aware of how far you take that contrast.
You want to take it all the way to the realistic light and dark.
These are pretty dramatically dark shadows that are actually very dark, almost black.
Do I want to take it that far?
Do I want to back off a little bit so we feel like we have a little bit of ambient light
like we might outdoors, or do I want to keep it really ghostly?
There is not really a right answer to that.
It’s whatever you think works, but experiment with it.
Most realists, 99% of them will just default to the realistic choice.
I’ll make it as dark as I see it, and I’ll make it as light as they’ll see it.
I’ll make sure that the light and shadow are strikingly different so that we can feel
that chiaroscuro, that dramatic.
I’ll make it Caravaggio all the time.
It doesn’t have to be.
It can be something very subtle.
What if it’s a figure sitting back in the hazy morning light on the beach?
She might be fading back into that fog.
She might need to be ghostly.
There I am putting some browns and blues together, letting those two complements,
brown is a dirty orange.
Blue is a blue, kind of a steely blue.
It’s an ultramarine blue.
Those together give a little bit of energy to the color.
We’ve got warms and cools laying in.
It may suggest something that is not as simple.
It’s one color.
I don’t like pegging things.
It’s just red.
It’s just a red apple.
It’s just an orange, orange.
I like to have mottled, varied.
Notice I was splaying out the brush a little bit, and making those strokes go in the direction
of the fur so that was now a little bit different.
The form itself, the structure itself was wrapping over the seat she’s on, the blocked
seat, but I chose to show the texture, so I was really kind of going over the short
axis of that big mass as it goes from the top of the seed down the front, but I was
showing them the texture of the fur, and so I was hatching along the long axis of that fur.
But that was as little as possible structures, so I was sacrificing a little bit, potentially
the big structure, and maybe a lot to show the fur quality and show how fur is different
Notice the strokes are varying quite a bit.
They are a lot more energetic, a lot more cutting across to show that textural difference.
That would be something that you would try and do that maybe is not so Sargent-esque,
just distinguish yourself from that talent.
And then since I’m letting this paintings vignette they’re not framed.
Then how does it fade back into the page and play against the
painting that’s already there?
That becomes a different problem then if I just framed it out and I would just paint
to all the edges of the frame.
Anyway, I splayed it out, put the load on the paper and then dragged it out from the
center to get that hatching.
I could actually scratch with the end of an X-Acto.
Only do that a little bit.
If I did that a lot I’d destroy the paper, of course,
but I can get away with a little bit.
It’s actually kind of neat.
I’m going to change it here in a second.
But it’s kind of neat showing that puff of fur that’s on the left side, how much
lighter that is than the deep darks I’ve put in on the right side.
It might be fun to leave it like that so it’s a little more ghostly version.
As I remember, I don’t leave it like that, but that might be a choice for another painting.
You can see how pleasing the colors are when they all sit in pastels.
Again, we’re favored with that gray-yellow or the oatmeal color that harmonizing everything
except the pure whites, the real opaque whites there.
Even that, it’s coming through in enough spaces to affect that.
So everything is kind of harmonizing around that, but all the pastels dance around that.
The similar value range, the really dark things.
You can’t see much of the color.
But in the middle to light there is a similar value range.
They’re picking up in that value, and then they all have white in them, either by being
transparent and letting the lighter background come through
or actually putting white in them.
So that grays them out a little bit.
That all adds to the harmonizing of the colors.
So pastels get along famously.
We have a rainbow of colors here but they all are distinct.
It has character but it’s harmonizing through those means.
That makes it look pretty to us.
You can imagine she’s out on sunset beach or something posing this, so these warm and
cools are picking up, and you think of that lovely yellow and orange sun striking all
the surfaces on the beach and then the cool shadows of blue-green, blue-purple, wherever
there are shadows also in the pastel range doing their work
and everything gets along beautifully.
It has near complements basically.
Warm against cool.
Not exactly yellow to exactly purple.
If you look at the early impressionists they made that mistake they would do
complements like and some of these early Pissarro and Hassam
and stuff that would be yellow against purple.
It didn’t work very well.
They were kind of garish, the warm and cool.
It was a little too equally intense.
They didn’t vary from each other.
They were both similar in intensity, and they were direct polar opposites in terms of color.
They didn’t quite work in terms of lovely color relationships.
Then later they got a little more sophisticated and realized with all the reflective light
and the color of the object influences on that light and shadow light, warm and cool
temperature idea that really better simplification is near complements.
Everything shifts over slightly toward the reds or slightly towards the blues, and so
it’s still warm and cool.
In this case, for example, we’re in the blue-greens for the most part.
The warms and cools are all influenced by yellow.
Even the purple is gray towards that yellow.
You know, we have a little purple in her lap and the shadows on her lap and a little bit
in the fur that we’re doing now.
Even those are grayed towards yellow so now they’re going to harmonize better because
everything has yellow in it.
Remember, harmonizing just means the colors have something in common.
They have yellow in common.
If they didn’t have enough yellow, we could let this dry and glaze yellow over the whole
thing or glaze yellow over the area, maybe the nightgown that doesn’t have enough yellow
in it and let that come over the top and draw them towards each other.
Okay, so put that cool, lighter half-tone down the leg, and then I came back over with
that rusty red to show the blood in there.
Now I’m going to let that drop off from the much lighter into that red.
That’s pretty red.
Then the toes are handing down.
There are smaller objects.
All that’s going to say is blood comes to the surface and makes them a little redder
than the calves and chin area.
It’s something post-impressionists might do.
They’ll just put in a swatch of color or colors like a Vuillard or a Pascin.
Then draw kind of simplified, stylized, even distorted marks for the contour.
Sometimes kind of primitive marks.
It takes away the graceful, you know,
all the art history lessons that the Greeks taught us.
All of a sudden we throw that away and have more naïve marks, more direct and articulate
and unartful marks just to do something different.
They can be beautiful just because of the freedom and abandon and sometimes kind of
child-like innocence of those marks.
Whenever the color is not looking fleshy enough, bring in the warmth.
Notice now I have all the elements in there, and I can see the full relationship.
I’ve got most of the color shift in there, almost really all the color shifts of warm
to cool, rich to gray in there.
I can see the relationships. So now I can start, I can say, well, that’s it.
I’ve got everything, all the information I need to do my finish, or I can say now I
want to make this more detailed, more artistic, more frameable, and so I’ll keep working
on it and do whatever that means to make it more of what I want, but now I’m seeing
the whole composition and I want to make sure that’s working,
make sure the color of the flesh.
Should I make the light side lighter?
Should I blast out that nightgown even more?
Or should I just render on top and get the final little details in there?
There is a little bit of scumbling, dry brush over the top.
Having some paint on there already helps that new stroke.
It’s tries to grab.
One of the advantages is you blast it out with that white and you can see what happens
when you really kick it up, and it’ll start to fade away.
It’ll go away almost completely so that it is just a subtly lighter version of what
Then you have your choice between that.
It really does need to be kicked way up or it should be subtle but not quite this subtle,
so I boost it.
It actually gives you a little test case.
What if I really kick this farther and then as it settles down as it dries, it backs off
and becomes a subtle statement.
Then you can see where within that continuum of a strong change to a very subtle change,
which is the best choice.
That is searching out the right color and value there to get that lovely frilly end
of her gathered hem there.
You’re just trying to capture the simplistic truth of those lovely folds and material on
top of the thigh that’s underneath it.
Here I’m giving a little indication of the figure next to her, the feet there.
I’m taking some of her color and bringing it into her main figure so they get along.
Angering those forms again, punching that darker value into the pit of the neck to make
sure it grabs on before it bumps back out.
I’m not trying to get those side planes established a little more firmly, the big
side planes of the jaw and cheek and the temple inside of the eye socket as it meets the side
plane of the nose.
Correcting that shape a little bit.
Punch those dark accents.
Correcting a little bit the lid on the lashes, and the lashes suggest the color change, but
also the underside of the ball as defined by the lower lid.
We established that side plane again so I’m getting that eye structure but then I’m
making sure it incorporates back into the greater structure that holds it.
It’s always a trick with the features especially, but with anything, get the small thing.
The small thing has its own small structure, ball, box, or tube, but it’s going to sit
on that bigger structure.
Whatever dynamic view we’re at, whether to the side, three-quarter side, or underneath
a little bit, then that lesser structure is also that same orientation to us.
Red blood coming into the cheeks and the nose there.
Notice how that far eye socket kind of flies away in into the background, kind of slightly
disjoints to the face and flies the background.
Again, pushing redder yet, that gives the red lips, redden up her eyebrows there for
the red hair, but I like that kind of slightly disjointing of structures.
It’s wrapped around the other side of the nose, wrapped around the other side of the
face, settled inside of the cheekbone we can’t see, but I made it a little fatter than it
should be, and I made it kind of break out of—mainly because I had a brush that wasn’t
fine enough—but I do that sometimes anyway.
Getting that side plane of the nose better established.
It’s really just box logic.
I’m getting side, front, top, bottom planes established.
They’ll round into each other or they’ll bump square into each other.
I can start and take that square median and soften it with some gradation.
There again, the same way with the arm there, those highlights are flaring outside the contour
just like the darker marks of that far eye socket kicked out farther.
The forehead doesn’t really need a highlight, but I’m debating whether to put one in.
None of that face really needs a highlight.
You can put a highlight on the nose so it doesn’t need it being soft.
That is actually, I think, a better choice, but again I can’t help myself.
I can blame it on you guys for wanting to learn sketchbook technique and little small
scale renderings, which is part of that.
I’m taking things farther than I should, not necessarily farther than I would.
I get seduced into these little renderings and oftentimes take them farther than I should
take them, but that also is part of the sketchbook.
You try things out in the sketchbook and then in the finish you say, well, I should really
in the finish back off that, not bring so many highlights.
It gets too spotty.
Not bring so much rendering into the little areas, make those simpler.
I’m still destroying the underside of that jaw.
Overall when you squint at it, though, with the hair, the big hair she has it doesn’t
really hurt that at all.
You can certainly change that and I would come back with a brush with water from above
and just wet that chunk of dark that’s intruding into the cheek, into the chin and try and
force it down off that chin.
If that didn’t work I’d take some of my gray-orange there of the shadow, add a little
bit of white to it, but try and keep it the same values of the shadow and opaquely cover
Notice I have flyaways in the hair too, and that could explain why the hair gets in front
of the chin somehow, that a lock is bundled up on the shoulder and pushed over to the
If the rest of the body looks pleasing to the audience,
they’ll make those excuses for you.
Notice by not setting her eyelashes back in quite far enough, she looks rather Asian.
She has an Asian look to her which I actually like, and that full upper lid to the way I’ve
drawn that, that’s Asian.
It’s how I know I’m getting to the end of this where there is not all that much more
I want to do.
I’m trying to pick my spots.
Can I kick a little bit of color?
Can I change a shape?
Can I add something in contrast to the zigzagging angles,
maybe more vertical seam of her outfit there?
Just something to break up those shapes a little bit, zigzagging shapes in the lap.
Correcting shapes with the negative shape against it.
It’s always a good strategy.
Setting the ground work with a warm and then putting a cool on top of it.
Little different strategy again, shifting the temperature.
The values won’t shift very much because that lighter blue will settle down as it dries,
so letting the temperature shift, the warm against the cool, do most of the work rather
than making it a value statement.
It’ll be a subtler separation, but it’ll get the idea of those things separating.
Then the last little accents there that I probably didn’t need but it
gives me something to keep me busy.
All of those extra strokes.
None of those are making that area any better.
It’s just kind of busy work.
I’m just having fun with it.
I kind of like the result and so I didn’t want to leave it.
I want to live with it a little bit longer and enjoy it.
That’s always a tricky thing, where you’re kind of fussing around
with no particular reason.
Actually, after we broke here I went back and added a few little lights to the necklace
I’d forgotten to do.
I’d set up the shadows of the necklace.
I didn’t do the lights, but I did that off camera after we broke.
And I’m adding stuff that doesn’t really make any difference at this point.
You can see me looking at what you’re seeing as opposed to what
I’m seeing on a small scale.
That’s actually wildly helpful.
I like to bring in some verticals in the background, oftentimes, to show a foil against the dynamics
of the figure, the leaning angles of the figure.
I’m mixing the gradation in 3 steps, basically.
a little bit of a perspective of the whole sketchbook, you can see how those color notes,
those vignetted shapes silhouette and play against each other, and so seeing that whole
page, that whole book laid out with several images in the sketchbook, the juxtaposition.
You can see that in museums too where they stick pieces next to each other that were
never designed to be next to each other.
It can be useful.
Keep in mind as we’re moving towards the end of our time together the basics that we
learned about sketchbook.
We want to have, if not a formal sketchbook for each, we want to pay attention to drawing
objects in the world so that we can get a catalog of simple shapes that can service
as we understand how to break down the structure of the nose or an eye in a socket or the pillowy
quality of lips, having drawn actually a pillow laying on the bed 100 times is a good step
So an object based sketchbook and then line and seeing what line does for you.
Then we can do a tonal sketchbook where we’re dealing with the three value systems, two
values for any particular object, three values for any particular scene; light, middle, and
dark; light to shadow contrast; foreground to background contrast; seeing what I’m
group, what I’m going to separates.
Are sometimes my light and shadow going to group together in a black tuxedo or sometimes
my foreground and background relationships going to group together in a Brown School
painting of dark shadows in a dark environment.
Can I do that in pen and ink as well as marker to try line quality using line or even dot
and dashes to create values and shape.
Then doing color studies along with or separate from the value studies.
Then old master studies that we really didn’t have much time to get into.
I don’t know, we might be doing that next section.
I can’t remember.
Doing old masters studies of how they draw, how they design.
Doing little Georgianesque landscapes and Thayer figures and Rembrandt etchings or Rembrandt
paintings or Corbet’s landscapes.
Just seeing how they saw them.
What kind of greens—Corbet uses greens that have a lot of black in them.
It’s very interesting.
Really beautiful, distinctly different from the landscapes of the Impressionists.
Noticing those little things that can distinguish you.
You’re really going to cobble together your style from hopefully 6 or 7 influences, 8
or 10 influences.
And so paying attention and doing a little bit of work in your sketchbook or hopefully
a lot of work in your sketchbook where you do exactly that.
You pay attention and try and steal little gems from your past artists from the heroes
of the past.
Then we can do a sketchbook where we do these little renderings.
We can play with scale, work very, very small, little gem like renderings.
We can work out compositions for future paintings.
Do all the preliminary work to get us to know that particular world.
One of the wonderful things about entertainment design is if you walk into those companies
that do entertainment design, video games and movies, you’ve got this incredible amount
of preliminary work, of background material that never sees the light of day.
None of it is in the movie, and yet it informs every step they took to create that story,
to create that mood to ensure a consistent experience and understand the rules of the
Really, every painting like a lot of stories is a fantasy.
It’s a world you’re stepping into, and it can be a drawing too, a world you’re
stepping into that has its own set of rules.
Oftentimes, rules are very similar to the real world, but they don’t have to be.
They can be wildly different.
My world can be very blue.
My world can be very intense.
In my world the structures can be very flat or the foreground can be very detailed and
the background can be very simplified.
The foreground can have a lot of thick paint and a lot of mark making.
The background can be very sfumato, very misty, murky, lost.
So playing those things up and building a vocabulary for the world you’re trying to
present to us.
You’re probably as a fine artist going to work with the world for several years.
You’re probably going to do a series of boxers of boxers over several years or a series
of still lifes over several years that’ll have a certain consistent look to it with
maybe distinct separations, but a consistent look.
How do we create that consistency.
Think of a cartoon.
How does a Charlie Brown cartoon or a Baby Blues cartoon, how does it draw a baby bottle?
How do you draw a puppy dog or a dog house?
How do you draw a football?
How do you draw a baseball cap?
How do you draw grass or clouds in a cartoon world and make it feel like it’s part of
that cartoon world?
How do you not slip into realism in the cartoon world.
It’s spending time to build that vocabulary.
The sketchbook can do all those things and more, and that’s going to be the basis of
You can take the workshop that we’ve done here.
You go home and you feel excited.
You’re kind of revved up.
I want to get back to painting, I’m ready to go!
That 6 months off or that those 6 years off are behind me and now I’m going to begin
the next stage, and that’s great.
That’s one of the reasons you take things like this.
You dive in intensely with the goal and you make real headway and you communicate communally
about that goal.
You get ideas, you get feedback, you get pats on the back.
You get excited and then you go home with it.
But make sure you develop smartly what you’re going to do with that.
In other words, you get home and you’re all excited and within a few days or a week
or two, life intrudes and the excitement wanes and the deadlines kick in, and the bills need
to be paid.
You forget about it and you kind of slip back into the old style.
Sketchbooks are fantastic for that.
The number one best way to go.
If you’re going to go home and start a finish you’ve got to commit hours and hours and
hours of that finish.
Where are you going to find those hours and hours and hours and keep the enthusiasm up?
But in a sketchbook 5 minutes a day, in 5 minutes a day you can do an incredible amount
of work over a year.
We artists, you know, I’m 58 now.
I’m going to be going at 78, hopefully and maybe 88 and possibly even with advances 98.
I might have 40 years left of doing art.
I haven’t even been doing art for 40 years yet.
I’ve got maybe half my career maybe waiting for me.
How do I build that long-term success?
How do I get better and better every year or two?
If I can be painting 8 or 10 hours a day, that’s great, but oftentimes when I can’t
especially if I’m not a professional and most of us aren’t.
For whatever reason, oftentimes you just don’t want to be.
You just want to have fun with it or be a perpetual student or just use it as your own
journal where you don’t have to share it with people.
How you build on that can be just a little bit at a time.
Over 40 years, 5 minutes a day, think how many sketchbooks you’d go through, how much
art you’d have, the little gems in gouache and watercolor you might be able to thumb
through or share with your friends or your family the next generation of your family.
That’s wonderful stuff.
Of course, in the tough times in life you can go to that.
Make sure you’re doing a little bit of art most every day.
Oftentimes you get working and that 5 minutes turns into 55 minutes
and you didn’t even realize.
All of a sudden you did way more than you intended and you feel great about that.
All of a sudden you look back and go, I just meant to do 35 minutes this week,
I did 3 hours.
I’m a success.
I’m really moving towards my goal.
It has so much to offer and it’s just plain fun.
Nobody has to see this.
It’s just for you.
It’s no pressure unless you put the pressure on yourself.
It’s just plain.
If it doesn’t work out move to the next page.
If it’s a horrible page, rip the page out if you want.
It doesn’t matter.
Just take that sketchbook and let it teach you or let it celebrate your love of art,
how art can just be fun.
Art can be exploration.
Little successes that mean a lot that can make your day.
So, I hope this made your weekend.
I love talking about this.
This was a new class for me.
I got a lot out of it.
I realized there is a lot of material here that needs to be shared.
It’s not something you’re going to pick up.
You’re probably not going to get an art school class on sketchbook.
You’ll get an assignment.
The teacher will say you need to keep a sketchbook, but actually exploring the possibilities of
what a sketchbook can do for us doesn’t get touched on too often.
Anyway, I wish you all the best and, as always, I thank you for joining me.
It’s such a privilege to have a group of artists, like minded people who love what I
love willing to listen to me yammer on and willing to watch me do what I’ve spent my
life doing and love doing.
So a real privilege.
I thank you for that.
I wish you all the best and I hope to hear from you.
Let me know through Facebook or through my website or whatever.
Let me know how things are going.
You can even show me something from time to time and ask for advice and I’ll try to
get back to you in a reasonable amount of time.
I hope it was worthwhile.
It was a lot of fun for me.
I had a ball just working in my sketchbook for 3 straight days.
It was just a treat and a gift, really.
I wish you all the best.
Alright, that was our lesson on gouache in the sketchbook.
I hope you enjoyed it.
You can see how that figure at a smaller scale gets a little funner, a little less pressure,
and it’s just a sketchbook.
You can make mistakes and you can turn thepage.
Go on back through the lesson now.
Try it again.
Give an attempt at the exercises I’m doing.
Go back and compare them, but just use that sketchbook as a way to keep working, getting
out there and painting every day, paint, paint, paint.
We’ll see you the next lesson.
Thanks so much.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview1m 13sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Warm-up Poses in Pen26m 18s
3. Gouache Demo: Shannon1h 16m 36s
4. Gouache Demo: Yoni | Part 154m 43s
5. Gouache Demo: Yoni | Part 242m 30s
6. Gouache Demo: Mather | Part 135m 19s
7. Gouache Demo: Mather | Part 232m 36s
8. Sketchbook Philosophy12m 36s