- Lesson details
For years, master artist Steve Huston 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.
In this lesson, the second in a series, Steve introduces some techniques for sketchbook studies from the work of a handful of old masters. Then he’ll show you his materials and dive right into some gouache studies using opaque watercolor.
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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actually, painting and gouache.
I’m going to show you how to use it very much as you would a watercolor, and then we’re
going to build on top of that to make it a little bit more unique style.
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, and has taught
drawing and painting at Disney, Warner Brothers, Blizzard Entertainment, and Dreamworks Studios.
It really takes a tremendous amount of mileage to be excellent at any craft.
Of course, art is no different than that.
With a sketchbook you have an immediate gratification.
If you’ve got 10 minutes, if you’ve got an hour you can sit down.
Even five minutes you can do a little bit in a sketchbook as opposed to the easel and
the canvas, where you feel like you need 3-4 hours to work.
I have that sketchbook with me all the time.
I find a couple minutes here and there to use it.
It becomes my great friend.
I’m going to show you how to make it your best friend as well.
Let’s get started.
sketchbook ideas, and then we’ll move into a warmup exercise, basically, after I talk
and demo a little bit.
We’ll get after that into some Old Master work, and I’ll analyze that, actually, on
Then we will move right into gouache and watercolors.
I know a lot of you are itching for that, and I am too.
It’s a lot of fun.
There are so many ways we can take that and play with it.
I think we’ll have a ball the next day and half or two days on that.
So anyway, let’s go ahead and get back to my sketchbook and some references I’ve prepared
and talk about, just do the recap of what we did yesterday and where we’re headed
with that and some possibilities.
We’ll come over here.
Alright, so I did a couple of screenshots grabbed off the web basically, some shots.
I guess we’ll do it here.
The Guptill publishing brand has some really terrific how-to books that are old, which
usually means they’re better.
They’re usually better crafted.
Some really great early illustrators helped work on it.
The one we’ve been talking about is techniques in pen and ink.
That’s what these next couple of shots are from, from pen and ink.
He also has an excellent one, rendering in pencil, I think it’s called.
It’s basically the companion but for pencil.
As I mentioned briefly yesterday, if you can find the old edition, and I saw one on Amazon
I didn’t look up the pencil one.
You get the old editions and they’re better.
They have more.
They haven’t been edited down.
The new editions they’ve edited out a lot.
The pen and ink, the old edition one that’s most typical is it’s a nice hardbound.
It’s an all-black cover as I remember, and there is a little illustration, kind of card,
little card cutout there of it like it, and this is all black.
There is our first drawing of the morning like so.
Alright, so as we look at this first image that we have called up, this is just showing.
There are several pages in the techniques book, the pen and ink book, and it was kind
of a revelation for me.
I had grown up looking at comic books where the line work and the ink work is very stylized,
very simplified, and oftentimes very, very crude.
I had no understanding of the history of where that stuff came from.
I didn’t know of the Harold Foster, Prince Valiant, and Tarzan comic strips beforehand.
He was so influential on the more realistic comic book artists, or Alex Raymond, Agent
X19 and his more famous Flash Gordon.
Those had a big effect.
They were kind of the superstars of the early cartoonists.
They reference back to the great illustrators of the day.
Frank Gruger, who was a really great—let’s see, Gruger.
I can’t remember if there is an E in there or not.
U-B-E-R we’ll say.
[F.R. Gruger] is how you’ll find it when you search.
You’ll either add an E behind that U or not.
You’ll find it.
He worked in pencil style and very much like the Dana Gibson that we looked at earlier,
the Gibson Girl, that nice fresh hatching in pen.
Well, he had a similar style but in pencil.
He worked all in pencil.
Again, he would illustrate magazines for the most part.
He was somewhat of an influence on Norman Rockwell.
Norman Rockwell sent him a letter asking to collect his work.
He was highly admired.
Anyway, that whole group of early American illustrators and some of the foreign illustrators
and some of the foreign illustrators we’ve mentioned a couple of them, we’ll look at
some foreign master artists on the next lecture after our break next talk.
Those guys all had these really great chops, really great traditional drawing skills handed
down from the likes of Sargent and such, and the Sargent charcoal portraits on the illustrators.
The tonal compositions of Caravaggio and Leonardo were passed down to early illustrators.
Howard Pyle and Winslow Homer.
Those got passed on to the kind of Golden Age illustrators of Gibson and Leyendecker
up through Rockwell.
All those folks, then, affected the cartoonists, the comic book and comic strip artists who
were considered kind of low rent, second-grade at best, kind of hacks in a way.
But we look back on them now and we see, some of them, not all of them, not most of them,
really incredible skills, and they just found during the Depression eras and the war eras
that was a way to make a living, and they could actually make a very good living on that.
It wasn’t particularly respected among the high-browed illustrators.
We can take greatly from them because they were pen and ink artists as well and sometimes
brush and ink.
They had some beautiful mark making.
We’ll look at those if we have time on the third day with a brush rather than a nib.
They had a great effect.
There is lots to steal from, from those mark makings.
Let’s get back to this book now.
You can see how Guptill has a ton of pages where you have this type of thing in our little
insert here, where it just shows you how to hatch.
What are the ways to hatch?
There are all sorts of ways.
You can go horizontal, vertical, and diagonal.
Fill in a plane or a shape that way.
You can curve those lines.
You can sneak in some cross-hatching within it as we saw Franklin Booth do.
We can do squiggle lines.
You can do kind of flyaway hatches like this to fill in.
There are endless ways to do that.
You can use that, not just to establish a value pattern to whatever structure the top
plane and the front plane are darker and the side plane is lighter to our sandwich or whatever
it is, but we could add textural differences to it so that we feel the loaf of bread in
there, the cut bread or something.
Or we feel the craggy face, that kind of thing.
We can add personality, and that’s one of the things that’s missing in the brush work
You look at realist painters and they are so enamored with getting the surface sheen,
the reflective quality, the tonal patterns, the careful shapes, oftentimes it loses, the
brush work loses a sense, or even the rendering if it’s a tight rendering, loses a sense
And so for me there are actually three things you need to do with any that
medium to master that medium.
You need to be able to create hard-edge shapes, separate one shape of color or value from
another through a hard edge.
You need to be able to create gradation which would also be a lost edge, blending between
two ideas, between the green and the red or the light and the shadow or the foreground,
Gradation, and that’s what most realists do quite a good job.
They practice very hard and spend several years doing whatever they need to do to get
control of those.
Oftentimes, they lose a sense of texture.
This was actually a knock against Sargent.
Sargent was looked at as painting these rich, kind of industrial aristocracies where they
were captains of industry.
They made money in business.
And so he created this kind of glamour portrait for these guys and women to help validate
them and create a mythology of them of how they were important basically.
They are important because they hired Sargent to do their portraits, and we get the benefits
of those wonderful portraits.
But they were these grand masters of their universe kind of thing, and that was the point
of the composition, the color, and of the broader stroke that he would use.
Everything looked like it was silk and satin, basically.
It was silky flesh and silky hair and silky, shimmering dresses and silky flowers and silky
drapery behind and silky, rich porcelain vases surrounding.
Everything kind of looked the same in terms of the texture.
I agree with that.
That could have been something that’s really an opportunity for us to bring into that type
of work if we want to paint in that kind of Sargent-esque style.
That’s something that’s missing.
In pen and ink it’s just a mark, of course, just a line that when arranged in concert
with other lines can create a shape of value that has significance.
Within that, then, we can create all sorts of textural possibilities.
That’s one of the great things about pen and ink.
Now those textural marks may well lead you to brush strokes in your oil painting, let’s
say, that brings that same sense of texture.
You can still have the slick bravado of Sargent if you want, but now we can bring in a little
bit of roughness here.
Maybe drag the paint, wet over dry, or drag using a rougher brush kind of a stubbled brush
maybe to drag or use the end of a brush to dig back in.
I’ll show you some of that kind of stuff, a little bit of it in our painting section.
Anyway, that’s kind of what we were after.
Then we talked about how still lifes and landscapes become a way of—still lifes, we start out
with the idea of objects as a way to get a catalog in our head and down on the page and
get the wrist used to creating the world as a series of simple shapes, and by understanding
those simple shapes, first actually just in line and then later in tone.
Then we have a chance to practice our wrist skills, get used to our materials, the ink
and the pen or the brush, whatever we’re using.
Then see the world as a translated truth.
The world is what it is.
Our job is then to translated it.
If we have a sketchbook that’s devoted to seeing every object in the world, potentially,
whether it’s a sandwich or a little tube or whatever it is, a pencil sitting on the
desk, then we have a chance of simply understanding that and cleanly controlling that to speak
the language of our art, to get it down on the page in reasonable way.
Then we could add whatever technique into that to show its value ranges, its textural
ideas, its color and all that rendered realist stuff.
So creating a sketchbook just of objects is valuable.
You can absolutely dedicate.
It would be a good idea to dedicate a separate sketchbook or a separate stack of loose-leaf
paper to just drawing objects when you’re at the desk at work, when you’re at lunch
munching on your sandwich, rather than surfing the internet, Facebook or something, just
Of course, with touchpads it could be sketching on the computer.
That’s fine too.
Just sketching, playing with those things.
Getting to know those ideas.
How do I break down that Coke bottle in an interesting way?
Looking for that symmetry and asymmetry idea.
How do things, how do I get control of those symmetrically, and then how to, you know,
Maybe if I slightly use little curved and chiseled lines, I can get that to read more
And then how do I play that idea with natural asymmetry?
How oftentimes this side of the silhouette is quite different than this side of the silhouette.
Symmetry and asymmetry.
There is symmetry to this head, but the fundamental position is asymmetrical.
The difference between that boring and comforting consistency of this to that and that dynamic,
dramatic difference of this to that, and playing between.
This is a symmetrical tube, but it has an asymmetrical light source on it that is of interest.
That is something we can use.
Then we went into landscapes, and we really used landscape through the filter
of designing three levels of space.
Knowing that the first level of space will need to be a different value or a different
value range than the middle value, the middle plane of space.
That will need to be a different value or a different value range than the far level
So, creating two or three levels of space.
In other words, not just a construction of the simple shapes and the aesthetics involved.
Not just a separation of light to shadow, but now also an understanding and a separation,
a dealing with the separation between foreground and background and even middle ground, but
that foreground background relationship.
The fact that we have something here that is in a different position in space, and what’s
The table and the egg is closer to us, and the background is farther.
Maybe we have a couple values in the foreground, and we have a much darker single value in
There is going to be all sorts of choices to do that and all sorts of mark making possibilities
on how to do that.
But then landscape became our end to that tonal composition, how to make sure that it’s
not just objects that we deal with finally, but we start making pictures.
That complex of elements in space, in depth, is organized in some kind of value principle.
And so we work on a two or a three-value system.
And then if we ever get to the rendering of it, then it would be three-value ranges so
that we can render a light range of values for the cloud and sky maybe and a dark arrangement
of values for the forest in the shadows and a middle value range system for the field
out in the sun.
That gives us our possibilities for rendering and rendering very precisely.
We can put a lot of detail in there, create a lot of information, separate all of the
But it will be restrained with in its value system.
If I’m going to render the—here’s white, here’s black.
If I’m going to render the dark forest and I’m going to render it in here, let’s say.
If I’m going to render the light sky with the clouds it’s going to be up here.
If I’m going to render the field, it’s going to be here.
The more that those can separate from each other, the greater we’ll get a sense of
depth, stepping back from one to the other.
The clouds back here and the foliage here and the little farmhouse in here, let’s say.
So that was that.
Let’s take a look at that number two, please, Brian.
Here we go. Thank you.
Within that, we can use all of our wonderful skills of hatching that we’ve practiced
some yesterday, and we’ll do a little bit more this morning, and then that will be there
for you to build as a skill set as you go on.
We can use that, then to create the separate of space as we have in these two examples,
but also to fine-tune that separation.
That fine-tuning is done through gradation.
If I want to render something, say a ball from the highlight to shadow and render a
tabletop in flaring light down into half-tone, I can use gradation to help blend as I form
by its own character, slowly moves in and out of light.
Gradation then rounds the form.
I can also use that gradation to make a plane in space move from slightly lighter on the
left, in this case, to slightly darker to the right.
It could have been the reverse.
That gradation then, by putting a gradation on that flat plane in space, and it can be
a flat plane that’s not in space.
It can be a flat wall like this.
You might have a character hanging out on the street corner, and you might put a gradation
on the wall.
As he stands on the gravelly alleyway, let’s say.
That will help.
Even though that plane is in flat perspective, it moves the eye through.
That gradation is changed.
A gradation is dramatic.
A gradation can help us round the form out of shadow and back in the light to show that
it’s round and not square in the rendering of it.
That gradation can also help us move the eye through space as the light drops off or as
the city gets grimier or whatever logic you want to use.
Change is always dramatic.
The asymmetrical is dramatic because it’s change.
Symmetry, sameness is not very dramatic.
We’re always bouncing between similar, all the shadows are similar in value.
That kind of holds them together, but that gets boring, so we’ll make the light side
way different, or we’ll make some reflected light a little different.
That kind of thing.
Bringing in change.
Gradation is change.
It becomes of great use to us.
What we can do with that, we can do lots of things, but one of the things we can do is
make sure that the audience looks where we want them to look.
I can take a city street scene and by arranging the contrasting values, so here is basically
my close-in space, foreground, you can see that roadway is leading us in, that path in.
Then we can have, let’s do a middle ground here.
In this case, foreground and middle ground really group together, and then the background
of the tower or towers, the city and the distance sets back to make it more clear.
We have, in effect, two levels of space.
We wanted to make it three.
Maybe it’s the white building.
Maybe it’s the white wizard’s towers or something that’s going to save the day against
the kind of gray world, the gray light that’s infusing the world right now, and then the
dark city in front.
We have three levels of space.
We have two levels of space.
But notice how this right-side composition, again, out of the Guptill book, focuses on
the street scene down below.
The left-hand side focuses on the towers above.
They’re up here.
Then as we come out of that top the silhouette.
Now he’s dealing with the top of composition, whether it’s far space or not, and that
focuses us up above the silhouette of the city against the sky, and we have less interest
and less impact of the city below.
Now we’re focused up here.
All of the city is more or less grouped together.
There is not a separation of foreground, background within the city so much.
Then as we get down below the separation lessons.
So a very different effect with the same constructive drawing now is designed through tone in very
I keep almost putting my brush into my tea there.
It’s a very different effect when the construction,
the linear perspective could be exactly the same.
You could do the same overlay of a drawing and come out with a completely different result.
We can play a lot of games with the composition.
I’m going to foliage in front.
I’m going to have a farm house in the middle.
It’s going to be a bright sunlit sky with clouds behind.
But exactly how I arrange that through what’s the darkest, what’s the lightest, where
the gradations are, and then the last thing would be where are the soft and lost edges
as opposed to the hard edges.
We tend to start out designing with everything hard edges, but it doesn’t have to be, and
we touched on that.
Also, things can group together.
Maybe the bottom of the sandwich and the cast shadow will tend to group together.
So anyway, that’s what we had as a day yesterday.
Then we went through a lot of sketches where we just kind of played with marks and looked
for simple designs.
Of course, each of these sketches could have been conceived in a very different way, say
a cast shadow coming off the legs there, this character, or the cast shadow could be stipple
or it could be totally vertical lines that tend to flip the plane up with the vertical
lines on the wall behind.
So attempt to flatten it even though the edge of the drawings says one thing that mark making
tends to flatten it a little bit, or it lays right on the plane of the floor that happens
to track the perspective and whatever parquet pattern is on the floor, that kind of thing.
Okay, so that’s that.
What I want you to do is go ahead and warm up.
Look to our reference, and if you don’t have access to that reference, go online or
dig out of your studio.
Find some on your computer or find some reference material.
You can just do Google searches of still lifes or landscapes or figurative work.
Do some warm-up and play with that pen again.
As I do, you can draw it just freehand, and you can draw the thing several times.
You can draw the same drawing several times to kind of warm up to see the possibilities
Each time maybe slightly designing, redesigning the shape of the ear and the shape of the
hair, the placement of the ear and so on.
But let’s just do a little bit of a warmup.
We’ll come back.
I’ll talk to you about some old master’s work that can influence you and that we can
learn and analyze from.
Then we will get into, as I said, into our paintings section.
Go and have fun.
That’s not quite right.
It’s F.R. Gruger.
Really beautiful work.
So anyway, that correction.
You can see what a lovely piece this is.
Let me pull back here a little bit.
See, again, the beautiful design of shape that was a hallmark, it really developed for
the commercial market.
It was not a fine art idea, although as I think I’ve mentioned a few times now, the
illuminated 9*manuscript where you’d have the incredibly decorative O for the text,
where you’d have floral motifs and cornucopias built around it and into it, all that kind of stuff.
You could call that the roots of it.
But you look at once you get into printing, where shape matters, it’s going to be on
You’re going to see it from a distance as opposed to a manuscript that’s going to
be in your lap or on the desk.
That distance then demanded our attention, and so you start to get these incredible vignette
The whole illustration rather than filling the frame would sit within the printed page
and create this really incredible uber design for the whole story being told.
And so that grabs our attention.
We can do that within our own illustration.
We can actually do vignette paintings or illustrations, of course, but we can also really fade back
We’ll play with some of those ideas with paint.
We’ll push that back so much that the foreground silhouette, we saw that in those little compositions,
landscape compositions too, where we pushed back the details so much that we get this
big silhouette of one thing against the other, the little forest scene foreground here.
That kind of thing.
We can get the same effect by playing our tonal compositions.
So anyway, lovely to see.
You can see how Gruger, although he works in pencil, is owing to pen and ink technique,
and early in his career he did that.
You can also see the little wash technique that I used to tend, to kind of bleed that
sepia, that brown ink into a little wash.
He’s doing the same thing with pencil here.
And you can see the strokes here.
Let’s pull back a little bit.
You can see the strokes along in here.
These are all washed in.
All he did was take a brush, wet it with water as I did, and then comes over the hatched
ink—I’m sorry, the hatched pencil, and makes these washes.
You can see it down here to wash that down so it wasn’t so strong.
This whole suit coat here.
This whole suit coat here is washed back.
And so that’s a little expressive technique that we can then get some of that similar
watercolor type of thing going on in washes, and those both, the idea of fine line and
wash goes back to etchings, where we’ll see that in just a second.
That’s my mistake for the day, Gruger.
I won’t forget that for a while.
Other business to be taken care of is here
is a page from the Edgar Paine Composition for Outdoor Painting, I think it’s called.
If you Google Edgar Paine composition you’ll find it.
You can see these lovely compositions and you can see the analysis over here.
We’ve got this hierarchy of shape.
Again, the vignette idea that we saw in Gruger.
We can separate shapes out.
We can have an imbalance of shapes.
We can have big shapes.
Let me change the color here.
Big shapes here and little shape here.
We can play linear movement throughout the composition.
In this case, kind of playing off the T and the variations on that.
We can play off radiating ideas like the umbrella, or it could be the folds of a cloak as Dracula
goes through the castle, that kind of idea.
We can play the L-shape.
Here is the L-shape, another L here.
Notice that can play into that, how any of these, really, can play into that, to tie
the foreground or tie the middle ground, tie the background together.
We can play with proportion.
We can crowd things up and crowd things down.
We have a sliver of land and a sliver of sky, and then the middle ground, the mass of the
Or we can push the vertical way close and have a fragile horizontal way behind.
We can have converging in or looping through or zig-zagging across like that pathway or
the river, and here is the kind of tributaries.
You’ll see this in desert scenes where you’ll get the scrub brush and the sand between.
You’ll get these wonderful patterns.
Those patterns can be roots through or just patterns along like a Holstein.
It can end up just being patterns of light within the dappling of the shadow
or something like that.
Anyway, all sorts of possibilities there.
Keep things very simple.
One dominant shape controls the whole composition.
Everything else is nonexistent or subordinated.
He’s got page after page of these.
Here we go again, creating the donut in the center of the composition, that kind of thing.
Here is the meandering, taking us back through.
Always effective, much used in cityscapes and landscapes.
Here is the dominant foreground, creating some interesting mass that kind of creates
a frame within a frame.
A Vermeer would do it with a doorway, and you’d see the woman working at her darning
or something through a frame, so we’d have a chunk of the outer rim where we would be,
and we would be looking into the interior room through the doorway to kind of do a peek-a-boo.
This is an organic version of that.
So, on and on.
You know, in any of these we can play proportionately, push it down,
crowd it up, that kind of thing.
Crop it tight or stop back far.
They’re very valuable.
There are simple kind of clichés, simplification, reductions of what’s going on.
I mean it’s all, we’re all going to be working within some version of this.
We’ve got this to this.
Just that kind of thing, maybe.
Then that you can kind of rift off that and do several compositions where I open up and
deepen that bottom little well shape and just bulge out the top.
Play it that way.
Or as you did here, play what’s on the right and try and balance it with a left or try
and create an imbalance left to right.
So, lots of possibilities.
It gets the mind going.
There are great little sketches to create interest.
You can usually look at them in several different ways.
You can look at them as a linear idea, how the eye moves through in a linear way.
You can look at them as a shape design.
How one shape plays against the others.
What groups together.
You can use it as a way of moving you to a certain place in the composition, that sky
hole looking through, looking through kind of thing, or pushing and crowding both edges.
Keeping the center spaced or crowding the top and opening the bottom.
All sorts of things.
Okay, here is [W. Leslie] Rackham, early illustrator and did really great stuff.
He did these amazing watercolors that are just gorgeous.
He’s really moody, kind of creepy oftentimes.
Oftentimes, the characters have these kind of creepy expressions or creepy design to
them, like they’re going to do damage.
They’re pretending to be nice, but they’re not.
A lot of fantasy illustration.
You know, here is a billing card for a play, it looks like.
You can see just the incredible invention of shape.
Look at just the gorgeous ragged edge and attention to detail to the plant life, to
the figures within, to the looping vines, you know, that art nouveau kind of idea, little
fairy creatures living without.
Given the idea of this unseen connected life, connected yet disconnected to our everyday,
the fantastic, having a secret connection to the magical to the mundane kind of thing.
If I can, within my composition, when I’m looking at just a basic composition as we
have with these, and then pay that kind of attention to detail.
It doesn’t have to be that robust.
It can be very, very simplified, but carefully considering how we track that silhouette against
the next silhouette is what distinguishes you from the next realist.
This stuff, whether you learn it formally or not, you’re going to do it.
And so you may do it a little better, a little worse, but all the realists are going to be
doing some variation of these kinds of things.
But then the gamesmanship, the personality you put on top of it by playing the values,
not always black to white, but much more limited or much more moody or much more enlightened,
and then the attention to detail, how you design the silhouettes and then the actual
way you render or hatch or blend or wash in the details within those silhouettes.
Look at these lines flowing.
Just think of art as a roller coaster ride and look at this incredible ride that we’re
being taken on.
It’s just astounding.
We took a look at that and flipped out.
Come out here.
Look at that spin off in this direction.
On and on and on.
Just this ride within a ride within a ride, taking us all over the place or quieting things
way, way down, going in the other direction.
Again, possibilities, possibilities, fertile ground for sketchbooks.
This is Rackham again.
Another way to see silhouette is actually silhouette them out, and one of the things
that pen and ink artists will do that sometimes painters and realists oftentimes forget to
do is seeing things as really simple silhouettes.
For example, Gustav Klimt, the great art nouveau painter.
Look at how he’s blackened out the hair and little bits of the fish and stuff.
There is incredible graphic design here.
Now, he takes that into his painting, and it will be flat graphic or he’ll do that
hair and then he’ll do some amazing pattern within the hair or within the dress.
It’s absolute flat.
Or he’ll use gold leaf and actually bring in gold leaf.
I’ve done that a little bit in some of my paintings.
I’m actually—a new series I want to do of nocturne news, I’m going to do it again.
Not like Klimt did it, but in a different way.
Kind of collaging in, in effect, bringing in a different medium on top of it or taking
a stylus or knife or X-Acto knife and scraping back to the white canvas and then plugging
in gold leaf in that or a different color on that.
I could come in on the hair and paint that in black or my brown school brown, whatever
I want to do, and then come back and scratch back to the panel below and create a very,
and then glaze over that to whatever color golden highlights or something like that and
have a very different effect than most people’s hair, you know those lovely brush strokes
that we’ll see in a Sargent or the lovely scattered hatching we’ll see in a Clement
Sometimes going within the realist work and really focusing on silhouette before the rendering
and realizing that it might be best to focus on silhouette and forgo the rendering completely,
Here is Goya.
This is one of the places pen and ink gets its technique from is in etching, the etching
process which is a finer, there is more usually finer.
It has a little more range than pen and ink.
You can do these aqua tent washes on it, and that’s what this background is.
That’s what this background is here.
It’s actually washed in, and it’s acid wash.
It mars the plate and then the printing comes on top of that.
You can see how the sketching in of that character just in line with a little bit of tone and
then washing back almost all of the background so it sets back.
Then heavy ink or etching strokes that are then inked to separate the third value.
So we’ve got this figure on this kind of block desk, and then we have the middle value
environment and these dark accents that show the horror of his dreams, these spooky bat
and owl creatures.
All of these hatching strokes, and we can track those along, and you can see how most
of those strokes are tracking the contour of the form.
Usually the short axis but sometimes the long axis.
Here is one of my favorite artists, and he had a big influence on me.
Frank—and this one I will get right—Frank Brangwyn.
He had an influence on early illustrator.
British, did everything.
He did these incredible etching.
Whistler said you can only do etchings that are, whatever, 4 x 6 inches or smaller, or
6 x 8 inches and smaller because it’s a delicate medium.
Brangwyn went and did these 18 x 24-inch things.
This one isn’t quite that big, I don’t think, but he did these really big etchings.
It was just an incredible design.
He’d go on tours.
A lot of illustrators and painters would.
They’d go visit foreign lands, and then they would do a sketchy notebook.
Generally, they didn’t have photography.
In the early days they didn’t have it at all.
They would go and they would draw and then they would do paintings from their drawings.
Very much like a landscape painter would go out and do sketches, color sketches and notations,
come back and, like Thomas Moran, the famous landscape painter of Yellowstone and stuff
and Bierstadt, that whole group would go out to, Sydney Laurence and go to Alaska.
They’d do sketches on location, and they’d take those back in the in studio and paint
big monumental works from them.
He would do kind of the same thing, but incredible draftsmanship, incredible designer.
He did pottery design and graphic design.
He was a muralist.
He did a couple of the murals in Rockefeller Center in New York.
Not his best work, but he did those.
Did lots of murals in England and paintings too.
He had a huge influence on Dean Cornwell, who also wanted to be a mural painter, but
he ended up staying in illustration.
You can see just the gritty, scratchy quality of these workmen as they’re pulling.
This will remind of the Repin painting, the famous Russian painting of the harbor men.
I forget what it’s called, but something like that.
They’ve got these straps and they’re pulling a big cargo ship into dock, basically.
You’ve got these guys strapped in like slaves trudging along the beach trying to pull them in.
This was probably influenced by that.
But, just beautiful work.
Again, look at this incredible silhouette and how it’s incredible in a different way.
Now it’s hard times, kind of depression era, ash can school, the lowly worker as kind
of an abused heroic.
Look at the arms just kind of giving up.
They’ve got nothing left to hold on to in their life other than the meager wages they
get for this backbreaking work.
Look at the marks that are so kind of pitiful.
Charles Dickensian type of marks that just say we’re in tough times here.
Probably the greatest etching artist, and I’d say one of the greatest artists, period,
of all time, and he’d do actually fairly, sometimes fairly good-sized etchings.
But you can see how he switches.
One of the things I love about this, this influenced my painting too, how he’d switch
from the aqua tent along with the etching lines.
All this background here is acid wash behind Jesus.
This incredible sfumato, these lights that kind of come and go for no particular reason.
It creates kind of this magical effect literally here where the glow, the Orrick glow of his
goodness is flowing out and how his shadows are not as deep as our shadows, basically,
all that good mythology.
Then he’ll switch to this incredible tonal, as tonal as his painting would b in some of
these figures pure line, and so the idea if painting can be finished or a work of art
could be finished when not everything is carefully rendered out,
this is pretty carefully rendered out.
All this is carefully rendered out.
These guys over here are just drawn in with the line.
You’ll see that in Rembrandt’s shadows and later Brown School artist’s shadows
where they actually just dry into the shadows rather than rendering everything like a Jerome
would or a Bouguereau would.
That had a big influence on me, where you could actually take a work of art and in effect
make it unfinished.
That figure is unfinished here.
This is another kind of vignette, just not as striking as that one.
All sorts of subtle possibilities.
Go to your favorite artists.
Go to the masters and go to artists where you may not particularly like their style.
It’s inelegant, it’s not a classically great draftsman.
Goya was not a classic draftsman like Michelangelo and Raphael were, where they were highly influenced
by the Greek sculptures and the ideal of beauty.
The form is beauty.
If you’re a beautiful soul, you’re a beautiful form.
That fairy tale idea that every princess is beautiful and that’s what makes them a princess
and that’s what makes them good.
Goya, like Rembrandt, was a gothic, had a gothic aesthetic, where the flesh and the
individual, let me find that again.
There we go.
The flesh and the individual are not classically beautiful.
This is no heroic figure here and neither is that.
These are sad earth-bound limited souls.
Even this fellow here who has transcended those limitations presumably is not, he’s
He’s not a discus thrower in Greek that stands for the ideal of all that man can be.
I like to look at some of these folks.
I’m a classic artist and probably 90% of you all are too, where I’m influenced by
beautiful characters, beautiful muscle forms, beautiful, luscious flesh, beautiful light
on the flesh, all that kind of stuff.
I also appreciate things like the Brangwyn here and how simplifying things and making
them classically ugly, frankly, can have great effect.
Playing that contrast between what beauty is.
If the form itself, if the drawing itself is not beautiful, but the enlightenment from
God above if it’s a Rembrandt or the moody silhouette of foreground, middle ground, background
relationships we have in Brangwyn that’s so powerful and was so influential on early
Now in animation entertainment design, every background, every environment and animation
is going to be designed in this silhouetting of foreground, background, middle ground kind
Live action is too.
It’s lit that way on purpose.
So all that has a big effect.
For me, I translated that into putting beautiful light on beautiful forms doing ugly acts or
mundane acts; working, you know, carrying a bucket or punching a nose, that kind of
Alright, let’s see where we’re at.
Okay, so 11:30.
Let’s take another break.
Go ahead and sketch from some of these or from any master work.
It doesn’t have to be, like if you’re working from Brangwyn you don’t have to
necessarily mimic his strokes.
I would recommend it some of the time to learn from it, but also what would happen if I came
back in and did formally beautiful strokes like you might see in a Dana Gibson or Rococo
strokes like you might see in a Joseph Clement Cole.
Or, really playing up really beautiful, fluid, lovely silhouettes like you’d see in a Klimt
or a Rackham or a Mucha, let’s say, art nouveau, and then putting in these kind of
tortured marks within that.
Play the contrast.
Mix those genres.
Mix those ideas up.
That’s how you get something new.
You take a couple things that have been out there for a while, you know, kind of mundane,
beaten down, worn-up, worn down silhouettes.
This silhouette has eroded over a lifetime, these men’s lifetimes.
They’re eroded down.
They’re not what they were.
Life has not been uplifting.
It’s been degrading and debilitating in some ways.
And the marks are going to show that.
What happens if I take that idea and apply it to the silhouette, but then I do this glorious
brush work or pen and ink work within.
Or, I do eroded, hatched, ash can, dirty, gritty city, the grime is going to stick to
you, can’t get it off you kind of marks like we have back here.
Ugly, weather bean kind of stuff.
But I put within this incredibly rich and optimistic and idealized silhouette.
Being creative can be as simple as mixing up two basic ideas.
Shape that has one purpose against the line, the rendered line, the mark making in the
hatching that has a completely different purpose.
Now we have a complicated character in our story.
Now, we have conflict and contradictions, which makes for great drama in writing, and
it will make for great drama in your work.
Give that a shot, and we’ll come back right at, it’ll be noon our time in 25 minutes,
and we will be into painting at that point.
paint in gouache and watercolor.
Let’s get into that.
I’m going to talk about the colors and the materials a little bit, and then we’ll kind
of lead right into that.
We’ll start with value and move quickly into the color.
Alright, so let’s give that a shot.
I’m using a porcelain palette.
You can use a paper palette that you buy from the art store that’s a wax-based paper for
You can use that.
You can also use just wax paper that you buy for baking and stuff.
You can also just work on cardboard or illustration board or a chunk of wood.
It wouldn’t matter too much.
Any hard surface, if it’s slightly absorbent it’s going to soak in the watery quality
of it and dry out a little bit quicker, but any of those could work.
All I’ve got, very simple here, I’ve got my porcelain palette.
You can see the sheen on there.
It’s not absorbent so any water that sits there will just sit there until it evaporates.
Then I’ve got a little paper towel that I’ve folded up and soaked in water.
Then I put my paints on that, and that keeps them wet.
You can do the same thing in acrylic or any other water-based medium.
You can also take this, wrap it with cellophane and put it into the refrigerator.
If it doesn’t get wrapped, especially if it’s acrylic then you could actually, the
paints could actually affect the food a little bit because it's paint.
It’s nasty chemicals.
At some point in my career I would have a little refrigerator dedicated for that, for
paint, and it doesn’t dry up as quick.
Put them in there and just let them sit.
Keep them away from the food.
Anyway, that’s it.
The difference between gouache and watercolor, and they are basically interchangeable.
Let’s look here.
We’ve got Windsor-Newton and here’s Windsor-Newton and this is Graham and Company.
They are both good quality.
These are watercolors.
Here is a Graham and Company gouache.
They are both pigment.
All painting is just pigment colored soil, basically, colored minerals.
Then you put some medium in.
In oil it’s linseed oil.
In both watercolor and gouache, the white one is the gouache, its gum Arabic, exactly
The only difference is gouache has a greater density of pigment.
The pigments are usually, there is more pigment per solution in there, and there are bigger
chunks of pigment.
The pigments are bigger chunks.
They are not as ground up.
That makes it a little bit more opaque.
When you thin out gouache it isn’t quite as transparent as when you thin out watercolor.
When you work watercolor without thinning it out or thinning it out to a lesser degree,
it’s not quite as opaque as gouache.
But other than that, they are the same and totally interchangeable.
You can work with both, and I actually added both onto my palette just to make the point.
The Windsor red, the hansa yellow, and the ultramarine blue are all watercolor.
The viridian, the alizarin crimson—a cooler red as opposed to the warm sunshine red—and
the white are all gouache.
You won’t really see much difference or probably any difference.
And then I have a little cup here that allows for my water to clean my brush.
Let me move these out of the way so we have a little cleaner look there.
Then in terms of brushes and pencil we can do a little drawing with the pencil to begin
If we’re doing a little head study we’ll end up doing some figurative stuff here pretty
much all tomorrow and most of the afternoon.
I can draw that out, sketch it out with this and then paint right over it, and then you
won’t hardly notice it.
If you look carefully at Winslow Homer or a Sargent watercolor, you’ll see the pencil
lines showing through under the wash or between the colors, and it has no effect aesthetically.
It doesn’t hurt anything at all.
It can be erased.
In fact, I can actually erase into the wash of color too and erase it back with a hard
eraser if I wanted to, and sometimes I’ll do that.
I’ve got a little pencil and the harder the better, usually like a 2H or an H as opposed
to a 6B or a 2B.
Those are a little softer.
The one I just showed you is basically a 2B.
I like to use the rounds, and I like to have a brush.
This is not a great brush for that, but it’s an okay brush.
I like to use a brush that will take a good point when it gets wet so that I can get in
there and work out a corner and do the detail I need to do.
And then I have a couple brushes, either to load up so I could do a big wash to cover
the background or to start off the painting that is going to be all in blue, say with
a blue wash to begin with.
Then I’ll have another brush of the same size or a little lesser where I’ll just
use water, and I’ll just put water on this as I did here and just dilute that and soften
an edge or lay down a water on top of the paper first so that I’ve got a wet surface
to put to the paint on.
When I put paint now on this, it’s going to—let’s do a little bit—it’s going
to sit on top and then soal slowly through.
And so where it sits on top, it takes longer to dry.
Where it soaks in, it will dry quicker.
This is going to absorb it.
Your washes will dry pretty quick.
When you work something that’s thinner it will take a minute to dry or something.
If I want it to last longer because I’m working in a big area, working out a big area
of—we’ll do it down here—say of those trees, and now if I come back and put water
on this brush and I usually have a paper towel.
I’ll put that here maybe, paper towel where I can take some of the water off.
I want to come back now and soften that edge.
Notice I can’t soften that edge.
Let’s try it again.
Now if I come at it immediately I can soften that edge well or perfectly.
Now this discoloration will dry up.
This is getting darker because it’s wet.
It will dry up lighter and be all but indistinguishable from the original surface, give or take how
dirty my brush is or how dirty my water is.
That brings up another point, when you make a stroke it’s going to start out a little
darker and then dry lighter, usually.
Whatever value you’re putting on there, you’ll say, well, that’s just right, and
then it will dry a little or sometimes a lot lighter, depending.
You can see how this is starting to fade out here.
So, if I want to have more time, I’ll take one of my brushes
and first I’ll lay down water.
Maybe I’ll wait 30 seconds to let it dry, or I’ll dab it a little bit so it’s just
And then I can come in, and I have a little bit more time.
I can come back at my leisure.
Come back, clean my brush off, load it with water.
Wipe off so it’s not drippy.
Now I can soften that edge or create a ghost under it and come back.
Since it stayed pretty well diluted, I can work over it over time and bleed that in.
Gradate that out, whatever I need to for my work to be done.
A little bit of nature and material stuff.
Getting to know that medium.
Likewise, as these dark marks—now that’s pretty well dry here, and again, that lightened
The dark marks get a little lighter, generally.
You can see now what was this value is now ghosted out.
The dark marks that get a little bit lighter, the light marks get a little bit darker.
Now if I take some of white, if I take some of my white here and add water to it to thin it.
Maybe I want it to be a lighter green.
Now I’m going to lay that in as a light half-tone or a highlight.
Now, as we watch that, you’ll notice that it gets darker.
That really light, there is a light dot has darkened up and all but disappeared.
That means I’m going to have to come over several times and build it up slowly.
What I’m going to do if I’m going to that kind of strategy, I’ll come in with the
white say, that’s the mark of white.
Then I’ll come once that dries, and I’ll do another mark within that and then another
mark within that and create kind of a step pyramid of the initial green, layer of the
initial green, then that red layer and that blue layer on top or the darker half-tone
and the highlight building up.
Little glaze by little glaze, setting them inside each other so it creates kind of a
Or I can really load up the pigment there and then
come around it and blend it off into a painterly or very careful gradation, whichever I prefer.
Again, if I put it on a dampened color or dampened paper, I’ll have longer to work it.
You can see now how I can fade that highlight off into a glow or a gradation.
If the paint is thick enough, you can come back to it several times and work it because
it’s going to sit on the canvas or on the paper, I should say.
If it’s thin, you can’t do much to it because it’s imbedded in there.
As I’ve said before, you can, once it dries really well, you can come back and erase it
sometimes, and I’ll have an electric eraser and a really hard eraser where I can work
that through, and that erasing there had almost no effect, but as I add more pigment on there
I can start erasing a little bit more and get it off.
I can even take—I don’t have one—but take an edge of an X-Acto knife and scratch
Sometimes I’ll do that, scratch it, or come into the pen and ink areas here, say.
You’re on scratch-in hatches.
Maybe the hatching got globbed up there against the little ball right there.
So if I can hatch that back, scratch it away.
You have all sorts of possibilities there.
Again, we can combine some of these strategies into our pen and ink or into our pencil as
Gruger did, and as we suggested where the wash is Brangwyn and Sargent, the etching
So I’m going to create gradations on top of that line to make
a stronger statement.
Notice all of these things could be replicated more or less in digital programs.
You’ll see a lot of the comic book art.
Almost all comic book art now unless it’s independently produced is done in the computer,
and you can replicate these things pretty easily with the hatching, marks, and washes.
You guys know that better than I do.
An infant did that stuff.
With that in mind, let’s take a look then at our reference, if would could pull that up.
Now we got all that foliage and brush and the little scrub brush bits that are in the
sand and all that kind of stuff, rock on the side of the hill.
We're going to simplify this way, way down into just a three-value system and sometimes
it will be really obvious what it should be.
The foreground is very light, the background, oh I'm sorry, the foreground is middle value.
The background is very light and the middle ground is very dark with some exceptions.
So we're going to start that premise.
So there's all sorts of ways I can do this.
Now I don't have black here so I'm just going to use a, a dirty gray, and what I might do
is just do a whole wash over entire canvas and notice since I didn't wet that I've got
to reload and fight that a little bit knowing that will lighten up a little bit.
I can also come in knowing that I want the foreground to be quite light.
I can come in and wipe that off a little bit before it totally dries, again, I'd get a
better, stronger affect, not necessarily better, stronger effect had I done that right away
or had I wet this or there already been pigment down.
All those things would have started to saturate the paper so that the pigment doesn't soak
in as easily, and then I go right after my say my dark silhouettes.
And again, notice how it's a little thumbnail, next to my little thumbnail head there as
it turns out, and that's actually better to work these things out.
When I've got, I got it on a bigger screen so it's about five by eight or something and
I can see quite a bit of detail in the scrubby brush and stuff.
I want to not pay any attention to that detail and try to get some simple
statement of shape, and again if I want a little bit of variation or lighten it up I
can come back and do that.
I can, notice there's a lot of pigment there so I can come back and kind of attack that
a little bit with my brush, going to a clean spot on there
picking it up.
And now I'm going to go for my light value knowing that it's going to darken, I'm going
to make it much thicker so it's opaque so I don't have that darkening effect as strong
and that's where the gouache will work a little bit better, touch better than the lights.
I notice when it's really thick, it's going to sit on the surface so it's not going to
blob in very much; soak in I should say, blob in doesn't make much sense does it.
You can also splay out your, create little hatches or softening the edges a little bit
showing the brush,
and sometimes you'll have to remix so I didn't get enough of that let's say.
I'm doing this on purpose this time, but you'll have to remix that specific color since we
didn't have our value the way we wanted it.
We tried to remix that same dirty cool gray color and didn't get it quite right, and I
actually like that kind of thing because then you get a more nuanced color even I'm just
working in a monotone, just in the gray greens.
It's going to be a little more nuanced.
You can also then come back since it's all pretty opaque and now I just wet the brush
and I can create soft edges to show that brushy landscape or maybe things fading out
in variation of brush color or with the misty morning environment.
I can just put water on there and let it bleed out, see what happens, let it be a little
bit more accidental
and there you go.
Okay, so pretty fast and I actually did a little bit of work on that didn't I?
We can do it much quicker and oftentimes I'll then say okay, well that's, I meant to do
black and white, but actually add some color that got a little yellow or that got a little
bluer, I might as well do color and then you can move into a little color
or a limited color. Say let's...
start out with this as the sand and notice now I'm taking advantage of my tones background,
you know, the color of the paper as a brown school painter would do, tinting the canvas
before they work and I like that initial
color choice let's say like this.
I can do it much cruder now.
Maybe I'll add a couple of color notes and make it cruder,
and often times I'll do another one and say well,
the foreground needs to be darker,
the middle ground was just right and that background needs to be even lighter.
And even things like this kind of little technical things where I'm trying to fix that wash this
is what happened, it kind of clouded up on me didn't it and now I had the environment,
the frame I should say bleeding into the environment and it screwed it up, but that might actually
be a really cool concept where I have whatever the painting is at the edge as it, just before
it hits the frame I have some of the darkness bleeding in from off camera to soften that
edge there so it doesn't just get cut off as it does here, but now it bleeds in.
So again, that kind of happy accident that we were always looking for in our pen and
ink, we now can also look for in our painting and so now is this I want it.
Do I want, really want it to have the foreground and background, a little better design there;
foreground and background to, I'm sorry, foreground and middle ground to group against the background.
I think that's probably a better choice than having these things pretty close in value.
That's better because there's a big color difference, but still they're fairly close
We can also do little studies and this goes back to our earlier sketchbook ideas yesterday
of doing little marker or pen and ink, working out those things like so and you can use white
chalk like I did yesterday or I can come in with white paint now; work that out.
You can mix the medias, the mediums.
Let's see hear, yeah, we'll do it here; same way with this, of course.
Here now I have a little bit more control, a lot more control really
of the shapes so I can be a little bit more, I could be a little more attentive to the
shapes, a little more nuance in the shapes.
Sometimes that gets big time in the way though, seeing the design.
So I don't want to be too careful of the shapes or I'll get, I'll fall in love with some lovely
silhouette that's happening because Steve said to look at the silhouettes and I'll miss
the bigger design possibilities or the bigger design flaw in what I did.
And, of course, if that happens it's not my fault that's your fault.
Never the teacher's fault, always the student's fault; and work out these little things in
size and proportion; again, we can then kind of mix the techniques a little bit.
There's our three values, okay.
So lots of possibilities and frankly, and I saw some of it in the work you guys submitted
Frankly, some of these little things are worth, are worth framing, they can be really lovely.
I mean, just think, let's say this, this whole bit of work here was to figure out a landscape
that I'm going to paint that's six by eight feet.
So I'm going to have a show of let's say 12 six by eight foot paintings in a gallery in
New York or LA or wherever the heck I'm lucky enough to be able to show, Paris at the Louvre
let's say, it's at the Louvre, it's my third show there, but we can only hope.
And so how wonderful would it be if I had this sketchbook that was just full of these
things at the desk where they're thinking of buying the paintings, checking the price
lists and hopefully putting red dots on your little painting that are on the wall in the
gallery so that you're seeing and the audience is seeing how quickly they're going, and everybody
wants to buy the next one before it gets taken.
So they rush over to the desk to look at the price list and they see this lovely sketchbook
usually with a little chain so we don't have some, some poor soul decided to wonder off
with it and they thumb through and they see these things, but also on that wall with this
big monumental; just imagine this.
We have this big wall with 20-foot ceilings in this fabulous gallery and we've got this
young appreciator looking at this massive painting
and there's another massive painting over here and they've got maybe a thick black frames
And then right next to each one is a tiniest little frame, there's a frame, a little edgy
gold leaf there, actually that size framed right there, wouldn't that be cool?
So these gigantic monumental landscapes that harken back to the Hudson River School say,
an American landscape painting and in these wonderful little studies of gouache or pen
and ink or both, maybe there's a little gouache study and even smaller little pen and ink
over it right there.
So then we'll, since we're fantasizing here, it all sold, they all got red dots and they'll
put these little red dot stickers on if you've never been to an art show when they sell.
So there we got it.
Okay, so that's the basic idea, let's now switch to the other side here, now when I
switch this some of this is a little wet and might bleed into that, that's accidental things
that happen in a, here and here.
Well, you can't see it because it's over a palette, but anyway that happens.
I actually like that kind of stuff that happens.
It shows that it's been lived with, so let's do this.
together, but I'm not going to go through a careful analysis, the color theory and tonal
There's other classes for that and I know there are resources you can go to for that,
and New Masters.org has a lot of that stuff.
So I'm going to go to my palette, I'm going to clean some of this off here.
It's with a wet paper towel, there's a few chunks of acrylic paint there on this one
that won't come off.
That was my son painting his hordes, if you guys know hordes.
They're these evil little monster figurines that they play kind of attack games.
So he was using my palette there to paint his little figurines, and some of that acrylic
I can't get off.
It's for metal so I'll have to punish him when I get back home.
No, I knew he was doing it.
Alright, so let's then look at the same reference again, Brian.
And I want to try and get my three values in there so that's, hopefully, I've worked
that out in my mind or in those earlier studies as we did and then I want
to get really beautiful color.
So really beautiful color almost always means harmonious color, which almost means that
the colors have a lot or at least something in common and usually the more they have in
common, the more harmonious they are and the more beautiful they are.
That always means they're more harmonious, but it usually means more beautiful.
So if I can, the, the easiest way to control color on these little studies or in a big
monumental painting is to key, as in a key for a lock, key the whole painting to one color.
So in this case I'm going to key the whole painting to blue; so the easiest way to do
that then and actually a blue/green.
The easiest way to do that is to put a wash of blue/green over the whole area of my little
study or my giant painting and you can see since did wet the surface
later I'll wet it, I'll wet another one, we'll see the difference.
So I didn't wet it I have to work a little harder to cover it.
Good idea to always frame, now that, it wash frames it nicely, but I like to put a frame
around it and, although I don't always do that myself, but I like to teach it so that
you that are learning this material sometimes for the first time, sometimes just refining
your already sophisticated thinking.
Keep in mind and understand the fact that the frame is the window into your world and
your world then is going to have some kind of logic that's like a fairy tale will have
You kiss frogs there's a fair chance it will turn into a prince, it has a nice palace to
hang out with, hang out at.
So we want to create a window so that when we look inside in my world the world is very
blue, and that will be the beginning of the story I'm going to tell, the visual story
I'm going to tell.
So and as I look at it the sky is very light, of course, and a little more yellow.
As it works, sometimes we get those accidents, sometimes we don't, sometimes the accidents
are problematic and sometimes they're opportunities; and that's part of the fun of the sketch,
the imperfections like the cute puppy dog.
The floppy ears and the awkward stance and the crooked tail or the circular wag of it
Okay and then I notice that I want the ground to be very cool and blue/green with splashes
of red/purple in it.
And I like to have the color kind of varied so that I'll get possibilities
of what I'm going to do when I render.
Sometimes I'll end up using them sometimes I won't.
Sometimes it will be something that will tell me what I don't want to do, put that in thinking
it might be an idea that works and then I realize it's not so good.
Notice when something is very, very dark you don't hardly know what color it is, and notice
as you have less pigment on the paint it's going to get lighter and lighter and lighter
and as it, that stroke bumps into other paints then it's going to mix on the surface rather
than on the canvas or rather on the palette, I mean, and then again I can do hard and soft
edges if I wanted to.
Once I have a pool of pigment there I can kind of float it, knowing that that will darken
up quite a bit more than likely.
Now let's just give it a second to settle in and draw and then sometimes if I'm
happy with something it's somewhat a product of just not wanting to stop on something I'm
having fun with, but...
I might want to put a little bit of that glow, we can feel that
morning or afternoon glow whichever it is.
There you go.
When you do these you want to squint at them, you want to see them so Brian, can you give
me a favor, give me a solid as they say, there you go.
So that's better to see it back that way and to even step away from it.
You know, I'm sitting at a little table here with a drawing board to walk away from that
and look at it from 20 feet away or have a mirror right behind me if it's up vertically
and look at that or if I was really smart or if they were nice to me and art ???? They'd
have a mirror on the ceiling I could look up and see it and then it reverses it and
then doubles the distance that you're away from it and you get that sense.
So there you have it and you start getting these kinds of weird axonal shapes, it's kind
of scoop out here and some of those might end up being really useful in the finish.
You might decide that that's just the thing you want to do for the finish.
So, and again once I get going on something I have fun with I can't quite stop and that
means there's a good chance you screw it up, but that's the way it works, the way of the world.
Yeah, I can't tell you how many paintings I've done or if I had an undo button on it,
it would, it would be a much; my career would be much farther along than it is.
Alright, so there you have it and you can see actually on, I'm looking at the monitor
and I know monitors change, but in this monitor you can really see the grain here, see the
grain right above my fingernail there, the dirty fingernail there and that's that gouache,
so see those thick particles in there.
The watercolor is going to be thinner and I was mixing them up.
The blues and the white or gouache and the others watercolor, the rest of them are watercolor.
So right now, I take that back, the blue, the green in the alizarin and whiter gouache
in the two, three primaries are the watercolor, but that green is showing up, I guess, it's
from the green showing up those big particles and that's cool, I like that.
You get that nice watermark I get.
Okay, so that's, that's one way to work.
How we doing on time?
Let me show you another way; let's do 55, Brian, also in the cool, since my water and
palette are in that range.
So now I can take some water and let's go ahead and there you go, thank you; and I'm
going to let that soak in for a few seconds or I'll dab it back and be able to start right
away, but now that's going to make my, my washes presumably a little easier to go.
I'm going to move this off here, I don't think you need to see me dip, you'll know I dip
by when I go this way, I guess, so I can use this little section.
Now I'm going to try and do paint, or not try, I'm going to do paint that has no white
in it, as much as I can with a little bit of polluted water, but that won't have any
affect, and then we're going to go ahead and do the
Now this technique will be the most impressive on white paper, it's going to suffer a little
bit being on toned paper.
So it's not going to be as vibrant, but that's the bad news, the good news is everything
is going to key together nicely because it's going to be affected by this brown, everything
is going to be a grade towards that, you know, that very, very gray yellow and the cool yellow
so that's going to help our cause.
Now notice what's happening here as I move along, a
couple things it's graying, it's bleeding if I don't let it dry, so the mountains that
I just put in have bled into the foliage in the middle ground so I've got soft, really
lost edges where eventually I'm going to maybe want soft or, soft or hard edges, but that's
The other thing is notice how quickly over here I went right to the right value or at
least what I thought was the right value.
So in this instance, I'm going to have to ease up to those values.
So it's not going to be necessarily exactly what it should be right off the bat.
I'm going to have to do it in stages.
And then usually what you need to do and we'll minimize that for time sake, is you're going
to have to let it sit or you have a hair dryer and let it dry.
So now I'm going to bring in blues and load that up.
Notice also since my cam, my camera, my drawing board is on a tilt so I can see it and also
so the camera can look over the top of my head and see it.
Notice how it drips down, I get these watermarks below so now if I were to come in again with
my yellow, my dirty yellow here and add some more water I could again pick
this up and if it was dry as it is over here pretty well, I'll create a watermark if it's,
yeah, this will pool up and just settle where it's wet and it's wet pretty much everywhere.
It's going to bleed down in again so we get that soft edges and that's good and bad.
It keeps things fugitive so you don't have as much control over it, but also you're not
committed, you can always change your mind.
I'm going to do this just so we can dry it, but these kinds
of watermark edges are just beautiful.
I love these kind of and it's kind of blooming of one pigment into the other so we're going
to destroy a lot of that and lose a little bit of the value, but just for the sake of
time we'll want to, we're going to do that so I can move along.
I'm going to give it another couple minutes here so just talk among yourself since you're
alone probably in your studio.
I think that's okay, I think we'll be okay.
They were offering me a hairdryer; you guys probably are enjoying the peace and quiet
of me not talking.
Now if I want to get really light, since I'm not on white paper this is in the way.
So this particular palette, this particular palette that I, or I'm sorry, this particular
sketchbook that I've recommended has limitations if you're going to do just pure watercolor,
but I like, I personally like those limitations so I do it.
But if you get a white cardstock with the white scrapbook paper then you'd be able to
do straight watercolor more or less or you could actually get watercolor palettes, you
know, watercolor pads I should say and work on those and those act as a sketchbook, they're
basically the edges all the way around.
The cut paper is glued so that it will dry and stretch back and not be warbled and then
once it dries you can take it off and stack it someplace else
and then work on the next page.
So, but here I can't get that really light sky, so as we're waiting for the last little
bit of drying time, it's pretty well there, I'm going to get some more white paint out
and since the white here is kind of dirty I'm going to come over to another spot and
squeeze it out, and you can see how little paint I'm doing.
That's a lot of white actually, but these are just little dabs and if you're working
straight watercolor like this you don't even need that much,
you need maybe a fourth of that.
You notice that's paper already dried so I'm not getting the benefit
of a wet paper moving along my, helping to blend out my strokes there.
I have to kind of drag it over the dry paper.
Let's say that's the shadows, a little bit of playing behind.
I'm going to dry that or clean that off, come back and blend it back in so it's not as perfectly
blended with that bloom, but gives us a basic, a rough painterly hard edge and I notice that
there's warm moments.
Yeah and clean off that brush, if I'm smart I'd have a secondary brush.
I'm going to wet that in, this again will lighten up as it dries, so you're going to
have to let that dry to see what we have there.
I'm adding white in there to, and more color to lighten it up a little bit, this will probably
darken to about right, if not I'll come back again and adjust that; and any of this that's
dried I can come back and add water and dilute it again.
So I can come back tomorrow and this is all dried up I could go back, add water, I wouldn't
put water over the whole thing, I'd come in to whatever pot of color and add water and
it would dilute right back to the same color with the exception it would be slightly less
When I re-dilute this again for, I don't even know what reason does that, some smart fellow
is going to tell us or young lady is going to tell me, but it will be less opaque.
So I'm trying to say it will be less opaque I think there; that's the point, less opaque.
Little shadows under these bits and I notice the difficulty, I have a very
light and fairly cool yellow and if I want to get a little darker I've got to make it
oranger or greener.
If I try to do both its going to get grayer and so adding darker yellows become a bit,
becomes a bit of a problem.
In oil paint we have the transparent orange and Indian yellow and those are Godsends frankly,
because they're middle value yellows that are very intense.
Okay and then there, just color notations of where we might have a little bit of light
splash there and notice some of these deeper areas I'll have to come back a few times
to get it dark enough.
And then let those dry a little bit and they'll settle in or if it's really thick and those
are pretty thick, they won't settle in meaning the value won't change or change enough to
So then you come back since they're really thick they're sitting on top and we can take
a little bit off there.
There you go and then, that's actually it, we need to stop there.
Then, so I've got basically all my color notations so we'll come back after the break and then
we'll play with this and I'll show you, I like actually all the colors in there, they're
all harmonizing, this helps a lot.
The fact that I'm starting with the, everything in the cools helps a lot so it's all keen
into that cool green range, kind of ochres on, into the blues and purples, but it's not
very elegant in terms of composition down here, it's dots and dashes and business everywhere.
It's cut right in the middle more or less of the composition.
So we'll come back again and try and fix those other elements, now that I have color notes
more or less working now I can come in and try and make some of the other aesthetics
work for us.
Okay, so let's go ahead and take what is in LA our lunch break and we will be in exactly
I’m not going to pay much attention to the reference, although we have it up here.
I’m going to use my first study as reference.
I’m not trying to make the drawing better.
I’m trying to make the overall design.
If I’m not happy with the colors, the color is better, so I’ll reference back to the
image for a little bit help or assurance there every once in a while.
I just want to clean this up.
One of the things I try and look for—maybe use this—is notice that I could take this
and this down to this little plane before the mountain, and I could take this and I
could take this.
They’re all very, very equal.
Notice that in here I’ve got this little bit of yellow and this yellow framing that.
That lines up with that.
That lines up with where the mountain peaks up that way, and the whole peak of the mountain
is rather close to our shrubbery here.
That’s lining up too much.
We don’t have a very interesting composition.
There are lots of little dabs and notations trying to remind myself of the reference,
where a bush is, where a color note is, and they are rather inartful the way they’ve
Some of the good qualities about it is all these kind of loose watermark, you know, I’ve
got that inner red there, and I’ve got that outer blue, and then I get the outer green.
That bleeds into an orangey-yellow.
Those are kind of moving into a very painterly gradation of stepping wash over wash over
Kind of the bullseye technique is the way I think about it.
I work with the bigger and then come in towards the center to get to the highlight or get
to the dark core of a shadow or a local color.
By doing that in an organic way it’s fresh.
I can always blend it out, the rendering, but letting that be loose and experimental
and maybe surprising, you know, coming up with something new.
I always think of the mall paintings.
You go to the mall as a young man, and you look outside the store or the mall, there
is this scene where you’ve got the waves crashing on the beach with the moon and the
lights cutting through the back of the moon at sunset or close to sunset.
You go, whoah, look at that!
Isn’t that cool?
Then you look in the window and there are about 56 other ones almost exactly the same,
and then you find out that they were done in a factory where one guy is the wave painter.
One guy does the foamy water.
Another does the moon.
They are kind of just production pieces.
I don’t want that to happen in any form.
I’m constantly use my sketchbook to try and force invention to be a little out of
control or to switch mediums or switch techniques within the medium to come up with surprises
that might be useful.
This might be a great way to put in the inner, deepest most shadow of that bush.
Rather than doing bushy branches and bushy strokes, I might this kind of watermark kind
of core that’s really kind of craggy organic.
It suggests that in a shaped-based way rather than a linear stroke way.
Always looking for possibilities on that.
Keep in mind what we’re doing here is a 3rd or a 4th—I’ve lost count now—sketchbook.
Again, you could create a whole sketchbook just on this, just on color notations.
Little thumbnails of landscapes or figures in the studio or figures out in the part or
still lifes, any kind of compositional stuff where you’re going to start taking the value
of and putting temperature and intensity on top of it.
Anyway, let’s go ahead and see if we can’t do this again and do a better job of it.
Grab a paper towel here so I can dry that out a little bit.
I’m going to work the dirty paint I already have and then I’ll come back as needed,
if needed, and make adjustments.
I’m going to use a bigger brush, and I’m going to work cruder.
I’m actually looking at the wrong one.
I started to look at that one.
I’ve got to look at that one.
My head is still in my lunch.
I ate too much for lunch so my head is in my stomach.
Let’s try that again.
I screwed it up.
That means I can do one of two things.
I can start over or I can try and adjust the screw-up.
I prefer to adjust the screw-up because I’m a little lazy and because that might just
be the thing to create a happy accident.
What will happen if I try and force more of the red-purples and blue-greens more into
that subtler green and kind of sage green, I guess, and then the blue-purple accents
So let’s find out.
Then I’m going to make the—and here I am, I’m going to look a little bit at that
I’m going to make the mountains a little different color, and I’m going to push them
Notice I’ve left space between so this doesn’t bleed in like it did before.
That will speed things up a little bit.
We’ll see when that dries out what we end up with.
I’m going to do the mountain range there.
You can put in several different yellows, let’s say.
That will make it seem more rendered, more sophisticated.
One of the things I didn’t like was the shadows.
They were much too strong on the mountains.
We’ll make those just barely those kind of dry desert mountains.
We’ll make them just barely separated.
Notice my barely separation as it dries now gets darker and darker and darker.
It’s not so barely anymore.
Now I need to lighten that up maybe a little bit.
I’m going to do this and correct and I’m going to wet my brush, clean it
off, take most of the water off and take back some of that pigment off of there.
Notice it kind of reverses the values.
It makes the shadows lighter than the surrounding scape rather than darker.
Hopefully that will dry down and reverse back as it goes.
If not, then I come back.
Since it’s sitting on the surface I can wipe that back a little bit.
I’m always curious.
I don’t always put in the paintings, but I almost always put in studies like this.
I’m always curious about gradations.
I’m going to take the blue sky and gradate it this way.
Notice there is next to no change, but again, it will probably dry a little darker.
If not, I will do it again and again until I get what I want out of it in terms of value.
Now, I can wipe this off or let me be clear on that.
I can just load this with water and then soften that edge.
I could also load this with water and fill up this shape of color I put in there.
That will force a stronger watermarking like I had up here, especially since I’ve got
my tilt going.
Jenny wants to know how to draw trees.
Trees are tough.
I’m not a landscape guy.
I’ve got one of the two series I want to do, one of them is landscapes.
I’ve done them, of course, but I’ve never been known for that.
I’ve never done tons of them.
Let me grab another paper towel on the floor here.
And so I’m not the best, the expert on that.
But I’ll tell you the basic thing is designing, as we have up here, designing an interesting
If you look at Franklin Booth that we looked at earlier or Granville Redman.
He did a lot of Cypress type trees in Southern California.
I think that’s how you spell Granville.
Beautifully designed shapes.
And so if you look at the loose painters.
I’m going to go against that in a second.
Go look at the loose painters and you’ll see these beautiful shapes.
Then they’ll do what’s called sky holes, where they’ll take the sky and punch a hole
in the tree to show the break of the leaves, or they’ll do flyaways where they’ll take
the shape of the tree and making it an interesting vignette as we talked about in our pen and
This is kind of small for it.
It’d be too small to really want to do it.
You can pick up a few flyaways, like leaves coming off the tree or very, very thin branches
that you can’t see the connection for those.
The other thing you can do is you can start out with the mass, this is a plein air painter’s
You get some sky holes going on there.
You get some flyaways.
Add some other sky holes in there.
Let’s say like this.
You can come back in on top of that silhouette and draw the trunk with a few of the branches.
Let that fade back in to the surrounding values and the deeper shadows.
You can leave that loose or you can blend it back or you can really load this up here.
Then add a lot of water to get that watermark kind of action.
If you got that light sky behind, you can allow
the leaves here.
I put some of the tree color into the sky color, and that feels like it’s going back
into that environment.
We’re getting that going on in this first one up here, too, the first one on the left.
You can do that.
And then I’ll let that dry.
One that dries, then I’ll come back and maybe add a little bit of light onto the tree.
I’ll show you that in a little bit.
So, let’s go back over here, Brian.
Or is it Lily?
They look so much alike I can’t tell them apart sometimes.
Joking, I’m kidding.
Then I’m going to add some richer red.
We’ll do a different red, do the sunshine fire engine red, which is our Windsor red
in this case.
To me this is just play, just having fun.
It’s not always fun.
Sometimes you’re frustrated because you say you’re playing, but you’re also working
and trying to get an idea down on the page.
You’re trying to make the paint do some semblance of truth.
It may not be the drawn truth, but some sense of the environment, of the mood.
It can be incredibly frustrating, of course, to try and fail at that again and again and
Art is hard in that sense.
But you try and keep in mind it’s just a sketchbook, and that’s one of the many and
in some ways one of the most important advantages of doing a sketchbook.
You can take the pressure off.
You can talk yourself into believing it doesn’t really matter because it’s just a sketchbook,
and that’s valuable.
We don’t want to be constantly thinking, oh my God, I’m a loser.
I’ll never be able to do this kind of thing.
We all get in that place sometimes.
It’s a tough place to be.
It’s a scary place to be.
We wanted some way to take the pressure off and convince ourselves that we’re doing
just fine, and this isn’t all the marbles.
Right here we’ve got other times, other places, and we can deal with that.
Okay, so that’s a little better in terms of environment.
In terms of proportions, compositional, shape arrangement and such.
Still broken in thirds, but it’s opened up a little bit.
It’s varied a little bit.
Maybe we’ll do that.
Make the point even stronger.
Back to here now.
I can come back and rub this back.
Pull that out to get a better water mark.
I can also—or instead, either one—at some point I’m going to get off the stick and
put more yellow out there, but not yet.
Okay, let’s do that.
That’ doesn’t work very well, does it.
Let it dry.
Now I’m going to put more yellow out in it.
I’m going to use brilliant yellow that’s gouache.
It’s a little warmer than that Hansa yellow.
It’s a very cool Hansa.
Usually Hansa is not that cool.
We prefer it to be a little oranger.
I’m going to add it to the red.
Okay, so I’ve let it dry, and I’m going to do that.
I’m going to do that.
I’m getting water and create a little gradation.
It’s still not great.
But, you’ll do that two or three times.
We’ll do it here.
Then it’s going to feel like a little bit of the brown bark, either light hitting it
or just the brown, you know, the golden brown or the sienna, orange, or whatever.
Notice I’m just kind of easing into the truth of it, just the facts as they used
to say on the old, old TV show.
We don’t know what the facts are quite yet.
We think it’s kind of green there.
Well, that shape is kind of red.
That’s kind of spindly.
That’s more robust.
And so we search out the truth because it’s a truth.
Okay, then we’ll let that dry.
I like to load those.
Sometimes I’ll put a brand-new color.
I’m taking that blood red, that alizarin, and I’m loading it up in here.
Maybe it’s a different kind of warm vegetation.
Maybe it’s the earth coming through.
Maybe it’s the sunset light cutting through the trees from behind.
Here we have some warm cypress type shapes back there or something.
Notice you can just indicate.
When it rings true—that didn’t ring true.
When it rings true, the audience will fill in on it for you.
They’ll tell you what it is.
That’s another tree of a different color back there.
I’m loading that up with water.
I’m going to take almost all that pigment off.
They’ll say, oh, that’s another tree in the background.
You can just kind of invent these little things like this, of course, as I’m doing here.
Sometimes you come up with something pretty cool.
Now you can see it works pretty well, actually.
You can see just a slight warmth that’s catching that big, thick oak tree trunk, let’s say.
Give me a second.
I’m going to grab another paper towel.
I’m going through a lot of paper towels here.
Alright, so just plane.
Now if we look at this in terms of straight illustration or fine art, it is what it is
for making pictures, for building a voice or a career, but it also becomes—let’s
maybe come up here, you guys.
Come up above.
It can also become a means of developing concept art for movies.
Any kind of live action or animated movie is going to start taking
these same principles now.
Let’s see, where should we begin?
Let’s look at that.
This can be done for an illustration for a big cover or a record album or a magazine
or something like that, or it could be done for a fine art piece.
It can also be done for setting up a film, and I’ll talk about that in a second.
Hang on just a second.
Alright, go ahead and pull that to the side for me, Brian.
I look like a little man looking at giant piece of art.
There is my mural.
Okay, it’s fun.
It can be my conscience.
That’s my conscience there.
I’ll dress in a white shirt tomorrow and be my own conscience.
So now let’s look do, actually, we don’t have time to go through too many of these,
so let’s do this
They want to do a sequel to the sequel.
You’ll see in production design, and if you’re going to Disney or Dreamworks or
any of the animation studios, Pixar type places, you’ll see these wonderful boards where
they are 20 x 30 board and you’ll see these little rectangles, screened proportion rectangles
over and over and over again.
They’ll have a row and column of them, and they’ll have 30, 40, 60, 80 of those, depending
on how many scenes there are in a movie, usually made for 2-hour scripts, 65 scenes.
And so they’ll do these little studies.
What they are is they’ll say in the story Aladdin lives in a tough situation.
It’s hard times.
It’s the depression era.
He has to steal bread and then he has to either share it with those less fortunate or eat
it himself, but he’s a good guy so he gives it away.
And so he lives in this depressing place.
And so they’ll say okay, we’re going to use gray purples and gray oranges for depressing.
That will be the color palette for that scene when he steals the bed because he is so hungry.
The next scene where he gives it away to the little urchin who gives him the dough eyes
will have the same palette, but now they’ll be a bright spot.
There will be a little ray of sunshine coming down.
There will be some golden light, like maybe this color, a little more intense in there.
Then as it goes along and goes along, he’ll meet his future love
and the colors will change again.
What you’ll see, he’ll meet the villain and the colors will have evolved into another
another set of colors.
Then at the end he’ll have the big battle, and it’ll evolve into another set of colors.
Then in the end he’ll be married.
The new equilibrium, as they say, will be achieved.
Life where it was bad is now good.
They’ll be a radical difference between where he started color wise and an on the
64th or 65th little panel where he ended up.
You can track this beautiful series of just two or three or four colors like we’re doing
here and here.
When he goes with Jafar out in the desert.
It’s all kind of violent, dark cools and violent shapes.
They’ll be maybe a little bit of shape design going on.
Basically it’s just these little swatches.
He moves on and on and on and goes on through.
In a few scenes where the story has changed and gotten a little better, it goes here.
It goes here.
It gets way worse and it goes even worse, let’s say.
The deadly evil oak tree is going to attack him.
And so you can then see at a glance, you step back and look at it and those 64 little squares
In terms of color theory, color keys, color composition, they show a change.
Things get better.
The color has only changed.
Things suddenly get worse.
We instantly go to a brand-new big change of color.
Then things slowly climb out of that hole into a better place.
Again, the colors slowly evolve up into that new direction.
And so you can really track a whole story just in color by doing that.
You can take any visual component.
It could be just in value, just in temperature, just in intensity or all three of those things
and call them color.
Just in shape, just in scale.
Oftentimes you’ll go from flat space to deep space.
We’re in deep space where the little boy walks down the haunted hall of the hotel before
the evil twins show up at the far end and scream red rum in The Shining or whatever
happened in that scene.
We used deep space to show, and all of a sudden we start flashing and they get closer and
closer and closer.
They keep stepping with each cut, you know, 10, 20 feet closer until the little kid screams
and runs away.
Then when daddy is going to axe murder all of them they are in really close space.
You have a little tiny bathroom.
The wall is flat to the picture plane behind the wife.
She’s holding the door, and the axe blade is slicing through it.
She’s got no place to go.
All of a sudden, we open the frame up.
She finds a window, climbs out.
But shallow space, deep space.
So any of the visual components, you can change to tell your story or make your point.
Film does it all the time.
Fine art painting did it before then.
That’s where film got their language.
You can do it too for whatever you’re doing
in terms of commercial or fine art or hobby work.
You’re just doing it for yourself.
That’s what we’re going to do here.
We’re going to do these little studies that just give a sense of the world,
the world view.
And so maybe—whoops, that’s not what I wanted, is it?
We’ll use this back here.
Let’s say we have our model that we’ve paid to come into our studio.
She’s nice enough to hold still for us, and we’re going to paint her with our one
spotlight that we’ve spent quite a bit of money to buy.
With its slightly yellow light.
But, I would want, if I had my druthers to make this an outdoor painting where you have
really strong warm light and cool shadows, but I can’t afford to buy filters or I can’t—it’s
a snow blizzard outside, which may be true back home for me right now.
I can’t get outside and put her out in the outside environment, and I can’t afford
to buy the filters that would kind of replicate that like a photographer might.
What I can do is I can paint her with studies and work out all the careful drawing, the
careful composition, the value system.
I did that to lighten things up.
Then I can do these little color studies, and with some practice, and it takes some
practice, then I can shift the color composition any way I want, pretty much.
I just added water to this so there is a natural gradation there.
I added more water so I get a little, there are the clouds in the sky.
Then I’m going to be smart and let it dry a little longer,
but I’m going to do a gradation here.
I just wet that brush, thinned it out, wet it again, wiped out most of the water, and
made a pretty good gradation there.
I’m going to come back, load that up and watermark it to death so that it’s not quite
so deadly dark.
Clean off that.
There is going to be the tower that Harrison Ford who probably died in the last movie—I
haven’t seen it so don’t spoil it for me—comes back to life again at 78 or 96
years old, or whatever he is, and saves the universe one more time.
Then I’m going to take pure white and really load it up on the brush and do my little lights.
And there are my 3 levels of space, pretty much.
I’ll let that dry really well.
There are watermarks in there just because.
See what happens.
Once those dry really well.
We will hope they dry really well, and then I’ll come over.
Whoops, that didn’t dry really well.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to come over with my yellow or orange or red spotlight
and glaze over it like that.
If you let it dry, as I said, really well.
I said that a few times, haven’t I?
That’s going to be my new catch phrase, really well.
Whatever you do, do it really well.
I can glaze right over the top of it.
I can also come in—let me grab bright red.
My sunshine, fire engine red, and I can dab in that, of course.
Notice how it’s pretty dark, and that can be good.
If you want it to be a red spotlight that shows up, then you’ve dot the white, little
tiny dab on there.
Once it’s dried really well then you glaze it.
You can glaze in gouache or watercolor.
You just can only go over it one time.
If I go over it several times, look at how it dilutes the white back into a water soluble.
But if it’s white that’s dried really well then I can with one stroke across just
do that across.
Not super wet.
Super wet, that will take a long time to dry.
It will slowly delude and we’ll start to get it faded out.
Notice even as I had screwed that up, it’s still not bad.
In fact, it’s kind of cool in a way.
You might get away with it, but that’s a technique.
Let it dray and the glaze it.
In that sense with just a one shot, you can glaze and take the colors to pasty white.
Maybe this I need to lighten this hear.
I can let that dry and I could glaze over it with my peach color and set it back a little bit.
You can do a little bit of glazing with it.
So, there we go.
Let me do one more here.
That’s because I’m planning to do a series of nocturnes.
I’ve just started a painting of a nocturne so I have nocturnes on my mind.
Also, they’re quick and easy.
So now let’s look at evaluating our reference or our idea.
Let’s evaluate our idea.
We’ve got the reference, and we’re going to do some studies.
Now, how do we know it’s going to be successful or not successful?
What’s going to be our criteria of success here.
Let’s go ahead and do it.
It’s a tiger shark, I believe, from the other reference.
Pretty cool, huh?
You can see that bled out because it wasn’t dry.
That’s not a big deal.
I’ll clean it up a little bit and then let it dry.
I’ll clean it up a little more if I need to for a little study like this.
Again, we’re not too worried about a beautiful drawing.
Basically, since it’s an oddball light it’s particularly useful to create
a frame around that.
Okay, so that’s our study there.
How to evaluate this?
We want to evaluate it by a few—there are a bunch of ways, of course, but a few basic ones.
We want to look at the value, the tonal composition.
Is it interesting?
Well, the fact that nothing gets super-duper dark except maybe the diver below and maybe
we back off that decision and make that a little lighter.
We have a world that’s muted and blue.
That’s always attractive when we have a real powerful dominant key to color or dominant
range of temperature.
So, good there.
So it’s value is good.
Rather than using the full range, super light and super dark, we’re now in the mid range
in here, let’s say.
That’s limiting the value range so that’s interesting.
General realism will go almost pure light and almost pure dark, using most of it.
So value and color are good.
We’ve got, you know, it’s okay.
This would be better served if he or she is way down here as it is in the reference.
That’s a better.
The photographer staged that beautifully.
That’s much better.
Also, notice that we have kind of a directional thing going on here.
We have our giant big whale, if I can say giant big, here and over here we have the
There is this angle that way.
That’s better than what I did, where he’s right below.
In both the noses kind of line up.
In the reference as well as in my piece.
The nose of the fish and the top of the head of my character there are pretty much in alignment.
So, throwing that off even more in both is good, as I did here, where it’s well ahead
of that figure.
It might be served better in that case than to make a more horizontal statement, so I’ve
got room to put this image more or less in the middle and then put our little guy right
down here so we get that good angle and we still get some space on either side before
The little bit of
light coming from the surface there is terrific too, so probably a good idea to pick up on that.
And then the composition is all horizontal, especially if we do this.
The character is horizontal.
The whale is horizontal, although it has this lovely S-curve to it that breaks it up.
That’s not necessarily bad.
Notice that most landscapes have a real horizontality to them.
Oftentimes, the trees or a mountain or a building will break into vertical, but usually they
are played as a panorama, especially if it’s a movie idea where you’ve got the widescreen
You get a lot of horizontal justification.
Everything is rolling that way.
And so playing up this diagonal, not letting this be a vertical so that we just have this
grid boredom going on is good, and then that wonderful S-curve, as they said, is breaking
Now, readability is a problem, and this is where I would question doing this because
unless I’m going to be very, very tight, relatively so at least, put quite a bit of
information, quite a bit of work into this so it’s going to be limited in terms of
how expressive the technique can be.
Because that whale is upside down, and we have these kind of vaguely silhouetted limbs
from above, it really makes it a very abstract shape, so at this stage that works beautifully
but once we blow that up into say a 2 x 3 feet painting.
Then what—is that a manta ray?
Is it a dead fish?
We’re going to have text for the diver, presumably we can do some pretty good work
with the diver.
Notice in this soft, ambient light in this murky environment we have very little detail
other than the silhouettes of dark swimsuit to light flesh and light underbelly to dark
It’s going to be very hard to explain exactly what this creature is.
If we switch to this—can we go to 60?
My conscience down in the lower left wants to go to 60.
The good Steve wants to go to 60.
The bad Steve wanted to stay.
Now we can see it much better.
Again, it’s still ambient light.
Ideally, I’d want to go to some aquariums where they’ve got taxidermed fish or fish
closer in the tank I can look at or great photos of it or kind of sculpted, you know,
those sculpted creatures hanging, the aquatic creatures hanging from the ceiling of it and
do some real careful research on it.
Again, this is much more descriptive but there is a lot of missing information.
My final painting may well to have the same kind of murky missing information.
But if I have reference that is missing a lot of information, and that’s all I’ve
got, then I’m really guessing on what’s been edited and how whatever mark is suggesting.
Is that eyes at the edge of the mouth?
Is that a discoloration of stomach or is it a little parasitic fish hanging around?
And so you want very clear reference even if you’re going to be murky and moody if
you’re going to do fairly tight realism.
Otherwise, the guesswork is going to limit how real real can be, and you’re going to
end up having very limited choices, probably.
You’re going to settle for kind of the same old choices after a few paintings.
Oftentimes, they will be wrong because you don’t understand what you’re simplifying
or abstracting or redesigning, and so the audience doesn’t know either, and then you
get someone who knows their fishing.
They’ll go you’re missing a fin there.
That’s not the eye.
That’s a barnacle or something like that.
Make sure you’ve got really good reference, good coverage, and then you can shoot with
filters or use whistler nocturnes as references.
What you can do is take the more specific reference and push it into the obscure, then
you know what you’re abstracting.
One of the problems that I have with impressionist painters is not that I don’t like impressionism—I
love impressionism—but a lot of painters would just learn to be impressionist painters
and they don’t know when they lay those broken brush strokes and those broken colors,
they don’t really understand in any precise and sophisticated sense the forms that they’re
abstracting and getting impressions of, and the color systems that are changing for various
reasons and what you’re really doing when you break one color into three or combine
three colors into one.
It’s important that we have a complete knowledge of something, and then we can abstract it
and push that.
I’m all for that.
Most realists don’t do that enough.
But you have to start with that base of knowledge and then understanding what the world is really
giving you in that situation in a more or less complete grasp of it.
Then you make your choices and you leave out.
You end up with something that’s murky and mood and loose and fresh and maybe wonderful,
hopefully wonderful like we’re trying to do in the sketchbook, but it’s got to start
from more precise knowledge.
When you’re creating these really wild and moody great possibilities of a new way to
see the world, a fantasy world or a science fiction world or just your view of landscapes
and/or nudes and all those.
We have to make sure that we’re consistent with that and that we’re clear about how
Whatever I’m going to do, if I’m going to say my world is murky and blue, that’s
a lie that I have to keep telling in different ways and be convincing with it because not
all of the information is there.
The audience is going to constantly question that if we leave any room for doubt.
This other image that I had up would be better in terms of description, especially if it
had more information.
However, it also looks like every other tiger shark view I have ever seen so it’s going
to be very ordinary.
Maybe I’ll do deeper perspective.
Well, I’ve seen that a lot, too.
What am I going to do to make that old thing new, to make it different?
Here is the other choice.
Deeper perspective is more dramatic, more dynamic.
We can see a little bit more of where the eyes are.
I see them.
They are way up close to the mouth, all that good stuff.
Again, we see those views a lot.
And now we see the speckled back.
You have to think, am I going to do the same old water creature.
It’s cool to paint water.
I’ve never done that before but a lot of other people have and a lot of other people
have seen it, and how am I going to do that in a way that makes it fresh and exciting
and adds to the dialog rather than just repeats the same old statements?
Let’s do a reference with a figure now.
and then we'll see how it just, it will go as long as it goes on that to get my points across.
So for now let's go ahead and get back and I'm going to look at the figure now.
We're going to do that for the rest of the workshop, and really focus now with the skills that we've built
and the understanding we have and, and the hopes and dreams that we hold for these, these things as we work on them.
We're going to try and get some good figure work down on the page so let's do that.
Come on back to my sketchbook here.
Okay, so I pulled back to this, this piece, we're going to do some figure studies like this that have pretty good
information there, but not carefully worked out, you know, in terms of all the detail and stuff indicating things,
but a pretty good set up. And these are great studies to do for your paintings and working out color schemes,
all that good stuff.
So we're going to take this idea, apply to some figures and then with the last little bit we have today or starting
tomorrow we'll do more fuller, realized, not necessarily rendered super tight, but taking things farther
and building more drawing into the painting. So let's go over here and let me get my rubber bands on
so the pages don't move as I'm working on them, and you don't seasick watching it on camera.
Alright, so we've got a reference here, I'm going to scoot over a little bit here,
and let me do a quick little study here just to kind of tie our processes together.
And if this were a painting, I might spend a few hours just kind of getting to know this pose
and hopefully I shot several poses. At some point I'm going to do a workshop or probably more likely a lesson
for New Masters where I really explore how to get, how to shoot and what good reference is;
how we define good reference.
I'll let that arm fade off so I keep that away from my, my painting area,
and what I actually do, I keep the set in, in the camera angle for our fixed camera, but I would actually turn this,
it's bumping me. I'd actually turn the, turn it around so I'd have her maybe going here, going this way or head up
here or feet down there, that type of thing. We don't, we have a little bit of limitation there, but you'll often times if
you look through my sketchbook you'll see upside down and sideways drawings
and that's just because I want to get away from that, that binding on the sketchbook.
It's always an irritant to me.
Alright, so that's maybe our idea there for that fun stuff, fun image, kind of a throwback image.
Maybe I ought to make, think about what's really dark here so, okay.
Alright, now I'm going to begin my little painting here, I'll do it more or less the same size
and one of the advantages of the sketchbook is I'll start out here and then I'll draw the head this big and end up
down here and then I'll just make it bigger.
So there's no pressure there in terms of formatting it,
and so I'm going to work fairly opaque here. I'm going to take advantage of the wash quality,
but again you can do this with watercolor if you bought watercolor and you're used to that.
Maybe you've done some watercolor and that's you had on hand,
there's no sense buying a whole new set of colors. If you do that's fine.
Okay, so simple crude and then we'll just lay in those shapes;
and I can start out real loose and watery, we'll do that for another time. Here I'm going to work fairly opaque
and everything as that other one suggested.
So working opaquely with watercolors opposed to working opaquely with oil,
you put a lot of oil down it stays wet for a long time.
You put a lot of wash down enough to cover and it dries pretty quick
and so you don't have that pollution problem as much.
If you're going to do the watery, traditional watercolor style than it's going to,
yeah, it's going to bleed into each other,
but if you're working pretty opaquely it won't and you can do kind of a little of both and I tend to do that
just like I do in oil paint or, yeah, in oil paint I'll tend to make the shadows thinner and things like that.
And so let's go ahead and start with the light side
and see what I've got, I forgot where my reference was for a second, there we go.
I got too many things to look at here.
I'm just searching for color that I think is going to be attractive
and what, if you look here you can see how dark that looks. I come over here and you can see how light that looks;
now this will darken a little, but and this over here when it dries would lighten a little bit,
but big difference here between the white porcelain and the flesh, and the oatmeal paper there.
So I want to make sure that I'm creating a scheme that supports the surface I'm working on
and creates that contrast that I hope for.
So now that's pretty good, I like that color actually and it looks, look how rich it looks compared
to the grayness of the paper. So if that gray paper goes away, you know, I've covered it up
and it's going to look quite different and, of course, this is, it's already going here it's going to darken quite a bit.
So I'm pushing these redder, pinker, more bronze because it's catching glancing light
and also any, any surface that is smaller on the body
will start to usually get darker and redder because that red blood will come to the surface.
Now we have kind of a non-background. I've got two blues out here because I put out the ultramarine blue
and it was really hard, starting to dry out so that means it's not going to mix well for an opaque blue
if I needed that. So I put out this other blue, it happened to be primary blue,
which is more of a true blue if we can say that.
This is more of a red/blue, the ultramarine; it's more of a red/blue.
Yeah, so this is semitransparent or semi-opaque.
Now since I don't have a white canvas I can be a little bit more, little less concerned about coverage
if I have a little, let a little bit of the background show through as is happening here.
I've got that oatmeal paper color that's going to kind of bail me out there
so I don't have white. White destroys the illusion of an environment or mood or atmosphere
so I don't, I want to get rid of that pure white most of the time if I'm doing realist work.
Now in renaissance times blue is a very expensive color, it was semi-precious Lapis Lazuli
so they would not waste that in the shadows, they'd do something.
They would have no shadows or they would use a non-color in there,
typically they'd know, and they'd have no true shadows.
See what's going on there, can't quite see with all the lights, but I'll make something up,
again I can't quite see what's going on there, but it's okay.
No, just, still the, no, it's just the lights around me there, just, and the reference just a little bit of glare.
The question is what am I not seeing, I can't see; just a reference, it doesn't give me great insight into the
shadows seeing the color there, it's hard to see it and the sidelights coming in make it a little worse.
My, my old eyes, older, elderly eyes; not that elderly
but I start, I'm getting close to needing glasses and I keep avoiding it.
And since this is so thick I can come back into it and soften that edge, although it's going to make my light
area more translucent, it's not going to be as opaque as it was, so it's going to, it's going to show up some of the
strokes there and some of the imperfections that may or may not, may or may not turn out okay.
Those imperfections might suggest structures on the body that I can build off of
or it may suggest a badly rendered torso.
Now I'm just trying to pick up in a painterly way that belly button area;
that highlight area I should say, I think I said belly button area.
I'm getting lost in my work here, which is a good thing but it makes me kind of incoherent
as I move along through it.
So sorry about that if I'm babbling.
So now I'm just putting in the anchoring shadows
and this is something we, we really take from still life work as they have outdoors, you got that incredible glow
of the sun flooding, and so you don't have super dark values usually.
We'll stick them in the trees and stuff, but for the most part it's kind of, it's light and airy,
you don't even say that as a phrase light and airy.
Yeah, but if we look indoors with the still life usually we have that dramatic light and then all of a sudden we see
the, how the shadows work beautifully to anchor the form to,
to bring it down to earth and ground it.
So that's what I'm doing here, I'm putting in these, these anchors
and that's going to help give weight and let it feel like she's an entity that's,
it's on earth and takes light and holds shadow.
Forgot what I was going to do for a second while I'm searching for a new paper towel and brush.
One of the things I'm trying to do here is every time a change of value
I try and also change the temperature
and then that's going to make it seem more, more lifelike, it's a, that's what nature does,
it's the color of the light and there's a color of the shadow, and there's a color of the object and as the light
strikes the object and then as the shadow light strikes the object the object itself will change color
and some more, the more it goes into shadow and then reflected light within the shadow.
And then the more it comes out into light, it's constantly changing values, it's just making those moves
and so it's also constantly changing colors, temperatures and intensities, at least in theory.
So we want to make sure that we're celebrating that and taking advantage of that.
Let me get some more, get some more white in there, so I have some clean white,
and we'll see where that ends up once it dries.
Alright, I'm just chasing a color here for the hair, start with that.
Since its hair I'll make it kind of ghost-like, breaking off a little bit, a little bit of an echo there,
maybe we'll see what happens when it dries.
And after a while you start to figure out what the,
it dried here so we looked back over here and we see what it looked like wet and then we see oh, wet there
equals dry here, and you know, wet here maybe equals dry there or something.
Then we start to get a, kind of break the code on those, that tricky, tricky issue of the paint changing values.
That doesn't happen in oil paint, when you paint in oil it looks one color when it's dry
and it looks the same or when it's wet and looks the same when it's dry, more or less, give or take the sheen,
but once you varnish it if you do varnish it then you're going to get exactly that color that you mixed on the,
palette but that's not true with our medium here and that can cause quite a bit of confusion.
I never know how much to do on these little, in the tiny heads so usually less is better on them.
We'll let that go like that and see what happens.
Okay, she has this wavy hair, this would be a good place for a watermark probably.
Maybe take it over that far shoulder,
and one of things I favor is in the deeper shadows
getting a warmer to show that blood, that lifeblood in there. So that often plays pretty well.
I'm trying to get things to look like they're, they are a complete idea without being rendered
and sometimes you else, you can spend more time doing that than rendering, you know, trying to make it
look un-rendered, but ring true, I'm always; that's always my guideline does it ring true
and making these little things ring true sometimes can be quite a chore.
Other times you surprise yourself and it's easy and then you get cocky
and then the next one is a disaster, that happens to all of us, but we won't talk about that will we.
I don't want to talk about disasters while I'm still painting.
I'm going to glaze over that, bring out the pinkness to the fingers.
Go one stroke only or else it will, it will dilute it.
There's diluting into the surrounding so that's either good or bad depending on what I'm trying to do.
Alright, so we'll stop there.
So there's kind of a, the equivalent of an oil painting quick sketch
or it's kind of an equal mixture I guess of opaque and transparent. You're focusing on the opaque and then you
fill in around the transparent and try and, try and get it done in a reasonable amount of time
and get the effect you want.
Okay so, that's that.
Let me scoot this over a little bit. So let's try another one now
abstraction of it in a way. So we've got the forearm and now let me blow it up on
my reference here a little bit. Gonna go mainly from my painting but we got the
forearm into the wrist here. There's a little
forearm and then we've got the other hand beyond it, but we're gonna not
pretend that's not there and just put a background behind that just so we have
an environment to look at this in, like so.
Okay, so notice I picked a cool gray. In this case she has olive skin so I'm
doing and she's tan so I'm doing the olive, a really beautiful skin color
there. Nicely shot by the way, and so now I'm gonna do I'm gonna actually move
that so I've got some room here. Now I'm gonna put in my warm skin tone. I'm gonna
let that go into most or all the shadows so that we have that skin tone going
into the shadow light. So where the color the shadow is kind of all live, and of
course a lot of that's created by the skin tone, but then I put the warm blood
on top of that, and then we start to get right away that sense of skin in a lit situation.
I'm going to come in here and soften that at those darker half tones in there.
And then I'd let it dry. I'm not gonna let it dry very much if we don't have much time.
Now I'm gonna come back and notice this is what Michelangelo did in
practice you know he was doing a drawing here, but are there but this is what he
did on the Sybil drawing. He had the the overall big big finish there and
then he come out over here and draw a bigger something to analyze a shoulder
blade or a big toe or whatever it was.
Okay so now I need a little bit more
yellow I'm gonna put it right here
and I'll need to set up a new clean palette when I we take our break.
I'm just kind of chasing into the old colors to create this new color and
remembering that it's going to be, go much lighter,
I mean, much darker once it dries out. We'll do that.
Okay so I'm just doing the color notations here to let you see the thinking
or something like this.
And at this point I actually probably turned the whole sketch book upside down
because I want what I'd like to do is create a watermark edge. I do this
and then do this, then all this water drips down and creates that watermark
edge. They're like we have here right there so that'd be great if we could do
that on the the top of the arm so I'd actually flip the whole paper over so I
could get a little watermark.
It would be a lot more expressive mark than what I'm doing here.
But what that ends up being is the that
golden flesh Holly flesh turning away from us and as it turns away from us
it's still catching a lot relatively the same amount of light, but it's it's such
an oblique angle to our eyes it's not reflecting as much light back, and so it
actually looks darker. So those the top of the lap would do the same thing. If we
have someone sitting here with a lap this top if we're looking this way to do...
This top would look a little darker because it's such an oblique angle even
though it may be receiving as much light as the front of the leg because maybe we
have a light source at a perfect 45, but for our eye this would be at a more
extreme angle. If we come into the shadows with the darker red it gives a
temperature shift it plays up that every time the value changes the color changes
idea and brings up that flesh, you know, that warm flesh idea that's under the
surface. It's so amazing and so difficult with with flesh as opposed to say,
leather, a leather jacket.
I did a little watermark for that olma there.
So if I work on that more it's gonna start to
dissolve see how that's dissolving now so just a stroke or two.
It's really a single stroke is about all you can get. Sometimes you can get away with two strokes.
It will show the fingertips sketching more blood in them but notice
how every time I'm getting a...
a temperature shift.
And then if you're not sure what you have, then you want to come back into
that background and...
and create the environment that it sits in.
Make sure you get a sense of that environment, even if it's just for a little while to work
out an issue. And then again if I want more life into that your overall really
pump it up bring in that the red life back into that body part.
However, you might need it...
So now that those are really wet, we can pick up those watermark
ideas and let that settle on that underside where we couldn't do it on
the top side, but we could actually do it right here
and create a nice little watermark action here.
Notice I did that there just to make the point every time I lightened up that little
lighter half done in highlight, I changed the temperature, made it cooler and
cooler and cooler in this case.
So it's likewise when we add a highlight or
highlights you want to make them a little bit different temperature usually
than your halftone underneath.
And so I might come back several times and glaze over those lights as highlight
little baubles, bangles...
And maybe give a a few senses of the...
Little bangles. That's the word I was after bangles.
Alright so tomorrow I'll use these pages, the whole thing will be flipped upside down so these things will
be upside down when I get to them. So what we want to do now, and I'd love you,
I know you're probably worn out, but let's see just how tough you are.
Think about that Zorn story I told you. So we've got now, what, we've got our
object sketchbook, we've got our tonal sketchbook,
our tonal composition sketchbook based on still life or landscape.
We're using three two to three values forth or through two to three
value ranges for two to three
planes in space states in space foreground background middle of ground
we can use gradation to move from one one space to another or a cross to
create a variation dramatic change across one plane in space.
So we've got two sketchbooks, then we've got our old master drawings.
Okay, I don't know what I'm doing here. Our old master drawings will do that, I guess.
That looks just like the Sybil doesn't it? Old master drawings there. Then we've
got our painted sketchbook where we're going to be work in value ranges with
washes, you know, we spent very little time on that but just doing washes
pretending that's black and white and gray, and then we do a full color and we
just kind of combined those; so a value sketchbook, color a sketchbook, and with
this we can play with edges. We can play with painterly techniques, whereas this
is more graphic. This can be done with with the technical pen or the fountain
pen, with a sharpie or a marker to work it out. What we're doing is we're learning
to see all the simple space shapes and in the world and defining them and
reducing them to some simple manageable state. You know what can I turn fingers
into very simply to make it make it clear what I want it to be and what I
think it is, and then how can I apply a simple value system to that so that I
can control the levels of space and understand what's what's closer to me
and what's farther away, you know what's closer and what's farther away. How did
the old masters solve the problems that I'm trying to solve? What's the history
of the medium I'm using to see how it's changed over time, and can I look to
different mediums to inform the medium I have that everybody else is using at the
same time? Everybody is doing oil paint. Everybody is doing Sargent or
Sorolla on the beach, or Rembrandt frankly. There is a lot of people doing that.
How can I do it a little differently? How can I look to pen and ink to help my oil?
How can I look the gouache?
How can I use some of the painting techniques in a drawing?
You know there's all sources a whole world of possibilities that
because that there are no 'schools of' trying these things unless they're
contemporary, and then you're trying with paint that's for the most part
non-representative. But there is no experimentation with the mediums
themselves so I actually like to look at the contemporary artists and sometimes I
like them. Sometimes I don't. I'm actually pretty liberal in what I like but I'm
you I'm looking at them really to steal, you know, whoever--I'm trying to come up
with an abstract artist but I'm drawing a blank, but steal from a Diebenkorn, say
and put it into my little study that's that's based on an early illustrator.
So it and then we're gonna tomorrow we're going to spend most of
the day kind of rendering taking these farther they'll do more ambitious work
and we'll do however many were gonna do. I don't know how long they'll take, how
many I'll get in. But now we're gonna render more and we're gonna try and make
things that are, if not absolutely frameable, moving closer to that, a closer
version of something that's just beautiful and nuanced. Can I make if not
every form nuanced, if I'm not gonna get every single form say in a hand, can I
make the the statement ring true and be charming or exciting or interesting or
accurate on some level? So we're gonna try and render not necessarily we'll do
some of this actually quite a bit of it, you know trying to make it look
like a a cheek that turns, and a nose that's nose that steps out and a light
that drops off and all that good stuff. But then we're gonna try and play with
technique as much as we can. That's going to really force force the medium and
challenge ourselves to maybe screw it up a little bit but maybe find some
exciting notes; like for example, I love this little blob of deep deep flesh
between the two fingers, and I love the fact that the pink flesh that I tried to
paint into that finger didn't get all the way to the end. It looks like it ends
maybe at that last knuckle there and groups over there, but it gives the idea
of it in a charming way. I remember looking at a Zorn painting it was of
Theodore Roosevelt--no, it was Cleveland, and it was this paw of a hand and he painted this
whole thing like a ball and then just gave the lightest possible indications
of the fingers. He didn't dig deep into those those deep crevices like I did to
say under the ankle here and in here. He kept it purposely light and I've always
remembered that I thought it was so restrained and such a beautiful
invention of this big man with big hands and a big life and this big paw that had
this delicate restrained shadow, you know, the darkest value backed way off of what
it should have been. Then I get, of course, that made the face much more powerful.
Alright, so again thank you. Two days and we've got one more full day
so now we're gonna get to play a little bit if I have time. One of the things I'd
want to mention if I have time, I'm gonna play with some brush and ink. I'm not
sure if I will or not, and you guys can let me know in the comments if you care
one way or the other but show you some some techniques with that towards the
end of the day if we have a little bit of time. If I think we've kind of covered
the bases on gouache rendering but we're gonna spend more or less all day on just
doing some nice hopefully nice studies of heads and bodies and that
kind of stuff and just try and do some art with it and see what happens. Because
I don't see any reason why a sketchbook can't be a valuable thing. You know you
you frame the painting, put on the wall you ask a lot of money for it.
That should be true of the sketchbook too and it oftentimes is of important artists.
If they if they have a sketchbook it gets bought up for big money
oftentimes. Good you get to see the thought process. There is this freedom.
These little discoveries on every page.
And the clear understanding that this person loved what they did enough to do art that
wasn't necessarily expected to be seen but still took pride in it.
So we're gonna play with those ideas and see what happens. Hopefully good things will
happen, I'm hoping. So anyway, have a good nights or days rest from our class, and I
will see you in a few hours from now. Thanks so much.
Alright, that was our sketchbook lesson. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you got a lot
out of it because we talked about a lot of things. We talked about different
materials, painting and drawing. We talked about how to work from photographs, how
to do figures, landscapes, and still lifes, how to practice to get better, basically.
How to get mileage in an easy way that's fun. It takes the pressure off.
Now go on out and try it in the real world but also go back through this
lesson again and pause it intermittently and try out those techniques. Rewind it,
see how I did it, compare and contrast. This is a great tool to move you up to
that next level that I know you want to get to, and I certainly want you to get there.
We will see you in the next lesson. Thank you so much for your time.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview1m 21sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Top Artists & Books, and Design Techniques29m 41s
3. Old Master Studies29m 43s
4. Materials and Techniques15m 16s
5. Demo: Landscape (Trees)17m 27s
6. Demo: Landscape (Trees, Desert)27m 29s
7. Demo: Landscape (Mix)28m 37s
8. Demo: Landscape (City)15m 17s
9. Demo: “Nocturne” (Whale)17m 2s
10. Demo: Figure (Amanda)48m 18s
11. Demo: Figure (Amanda's Arm)22m 15s