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  1. #1
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    Friendly Sketches

    Hail, stranger.

    bio-puke: I'm 20, interested in drawing and painting. I still remember when I first discovered this site, and I saw that Jason Manley had made Bodhi's character from Baldur's Gate II. I've been inspired by so many people on this site - I hope to give back somehow.

    And, seeing as how this is a sketchbook thread, I've included a sketch from a natural history museum I visited today. I enjoyed the visit so much I think I'll go again soon.

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  3. #2
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    Hello again, CA. Recently I've been thinking seriously about applying to an atelier. The "Realism vs. Construction" thread in the art schools & education sub-forum has been a great read on the subject - very informative.

    Anyway, here's some recent work of mine to give you an idea of where I'm at. I did end up visiting the natural history museum once more, a few sketches from there below. There also some recent figure drawings I've done, and my most recent abysmal self-portait .
    Also, a picture of the 2nd bargue drawing I've done. I've made some changes since then but that's essentially it. Sorry for the low quality photograph! I'm still learning to ways of the camera. Critiques/advice much appreciated!

    A few questions have popped up recently - it would be awesome if anyone had an answer to either:
    *When I put in some value with a harder pencil, say 2h, and then shade over it with a softer pencil, I seem to get this disagreeable textural result. Do I need certain paper for this? Should I stick to one pencil hardness?
    *How can I deal with self portrait size? Mine come up pretty small because I'm doing them life size in a typical mirror. Is it standard practice to use a mirror that enlarges the face, or should I draw larger than life, or just keep practicing drawing that small (like 5 inches in head height)?

    I'm off to re-acquaint myself with charcoal and later today start my first ever oil paint color charts via Richard Schmid's awesome book!

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  4. #3
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    Hi everyone - I dipped into oil paints for the first time! I'm planning on doing the color charts suggested in Richard Schmid's book. What a privilege to be able to benefit from the experience of artists like him! Here's a process shot of my first one. I'm having a difficult time seeing subtle value changes. I.e., if I took the 1st and 5th gradation of one of the hues below and tried to see if the 3rd was an exact midpoint between the two, I would only be able to give a very crude estimate. I suppose that's what the charts are for, though

    Does anyone know a good place to buy plaster casts online?

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  5. #4
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    Hey, so lately I've been progressing on the color charts and attending figure drawing sessions. I really have to beat it into my brain to take my sketchbook everywhere I go. I think I'll start trying the character of the week thing to work on my (currently nonexistent) digital skillz/drawing from imagination, too.

    Here's a quick run through of the quick figure drawings (anywhere from 5-30 minutes)

    1. What I hate about this one is the hideous rendering. Look at the shading lines by his butt, it looks like I'm trying to light him on fire! I think it would help to study some of the masters' sketches to improve my quicker shading.

    2. Quick 5 minutes, I was happy with what I was able to get on paper in that time with this one (for my level, anyway).

    3. Do you think the outline on this guy is too hard and even? Sometimes I really flatten my images by accident by unintentionally doing that.

    4. I tried using my finger to blend in the graphite here. It seems like it could be useful to lay down tone quickly just like charcoal, but maybe lighter and so more effective for light skin tones? I dunno, just a little experimentation.

    5. I feel sometimes like my drawings really come out like crap. I'm sure we've all been there. But we must listen to the eternal wisdom of Chris Farley: "that's when people like us have to forge ahead."

    I have many more unscanned, just used these as examples. Tell me what you think!

    Color charts have been interesting for sure - since there's no teacher over my shoulder saying "that value/color is off!" I compare mine to Richard Schmid's color charts and adjust accordingly. Unfortunately a few colors (particularly my Yellow Ochre Light) are just different than Schmid's oils right out of the tube, so there's a fudge factor for those. Maybe I'll take those colors which are different than Schmid's and reduce to grayscale in photoshop so I can see how I'm doing.

    If anyone has other suggestions about how to be effective with color charts, I'd be happy to listen.

    Oh, one last thing - anyone know where to find a good quality anatomical skull plaster cast for $20? I swear someone prominent on CA linked to a site that sold one, but I can't dig up that link to save my life.

    Thanks for looking everyone,
    friendly

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  6. #5
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    Hi again CA,

    Just a few 10-20m figure drawings and a self portrait in charcoal to show. I changed the brightness/contrast of the figure drawings to make them more visible. My self portraits have been settling into life-size, which is small given how far I am from my mirror (phone was included for scale), and that made blending with my fingers pretty difficult at that size. I poked around Emily G's pages and noticed that she did her Fechin copy with a 2B charcoal pencil. Half the time I was using my compressed charcoal as a crude pencil instead of taking advantage of it's broad strokes, anyway, so charcoal pencil experimentation is definitely coming soon.

    C&C always appreciated. Later all!

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  7. #6
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    I like your color charts! They're very clean, and I like the colors. : )

    The post where you numbered the figures, I think the outline for number 3 could be a little lighter, as well as number 5. I have issues keeping my outlines from getting too dark so I know it's hard to keep that from happening.

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  8. #7
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    Long time no see CA! It's been 3 weeks since I last posted - I had a nasty fever right after Thanksgiving that put me out for a week. Since then I've been busy finishing my color charts! Or mostly finished - still needs a bit of clean-up and correcting. I've also included a few sketches from my first attempt using charcoal pencil. It's good to be back

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  9. #8
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    Great color charts! And as for the sketches, they look good so far, I do believe the statue could use more mid-tones. Good job, keep it up!

    "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
    Matthew 7:3-5

    Sketchbook

    Email>>MRRhoades@rocketmail.com
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  10. #9
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    Thanks for the encouragement, Rhoades! You're definitely correct about the mid-tones being an issue with the Bargue statue drawing - I did the mid-tones last, and I didn't pay enough attention to them. D'oh!

    Well, I did my first ever oil sketch today! It was on tracing paper with black foamcore behind it to tone the white tracing paper grayish. Other than the color charts I've never really painted before. It was a pretty big first step for me. I'd say it was a successful failure of a first try, heh. There are many, many mistakes, of course, but I tried. I kept it about as simple as it gets. One red delicious apple (I planned on doing more but the apple kept me busy). I did line drawing with charcoal before using oil paint, and I used my color charts a little as a reference. I've got a close up and a shot from the easel (the easel shot shows the apple at a different angle than what I drew it from). The background I painted is wildly inaccurate, and all of those paint splotches you see is me trying to mix paint on the paper. What a mess!

    I've included a self portrait from today in charcoal pencil as well. I'm still a beginner with self portraits, drawing in general...practice, practice... I also found a picture of my first bargue in an e-mail attachment a few days ago, thought I'd put that up as well. It's not the best photo, but I suppose it beats nothin'.

    Happy to hear any C&C, thanks for stopping in

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  11. #10
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    hey there i like your stuff.. love the colour charts

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  12. #11
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    PoO-kiE - that's a great compliment coming from you! Thank you. Colour charts are our friend

    So I did a bit more oil painting today (not nearly enough). It was a humbling experience. I can't get colors right - I need to SLOW DOWN. I'm still in the drawing mode speed-wise, but I can't keep up that pace and expect any sort of results yet - painting is a new beast to tackle. I have one and a half little fruits, and one sad face (an apple that just didn't make it. R.I.P.) I need to focus on the background colors, too, they can affect color judgment. Also a few quick sketches from a natural history museum nearby.

    At least tracing paper is great when I'm not - charcoal really glides on it. Feel free to critique, but these are mostly here to encourage me to post something less embarrassing asap. Back to it!

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  13. #12
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    Hey guys. It's been a while, too long. I'm getting back into it after a good break. I'm shifting gears for a while - I'm going to be doing my first cast drawing, sight-size! Hopefully it's not too soon for me to start on one. There's a blurry picture of the cast I mounted today. There is an oil painting as well (the last thing I did before break, unfinished). I also included a sketch of a pheasant, and 3 extremely quick sketches of my girlfriend. I am pleased to say sketching is getting more fun, or at least it has been recently . I really need to push my value range on sketches, I hardly ever dip into the darks. I have a heavier studio class load this semester, so I'll keep oil painting as much as I can on my own. I will also probably post oil paintings I do in my figure painting class, so hopefully my output on CA will remain constant, if not increase in volume. Sheesh my self portraits look awful...ha ha.

    Good luck with your own work! If you have any questions, comments, etc., I'm here to listen.

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  14. #13
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    CA! It's been too long. I should have more to show than this! I do have some figure drawings and a few sketches to upload, but I'm just taking a quick break from my bargue to scan this in. No bargue progress yet because I'm being a very poor bargue student! Too much eye, not enough plumb-line and thread, too impatient. So I'm sure there will be extra revisions in the future for my bargue, heh...crime doesn't pay.

    These self portraits (one is SUPPOSED to be a monochrome, hehe...and one a barely-finished full color painting) were both done for a class o' mine. The monochrome is a grisaille which I'll eventually glaze over. The second one is supposed to executed using more of an alla prima approach - direct painting.

    I'm really getting outside of my comfort zone now! I remember when I used to be in jazz band, and the feeling I'd get when I'd have to improvise. Or when I played in chess competitions. That nervous stage-fright, out-of-my-bubble feeling can happen when painting too! I consider it a good thing - I hope it means I'm growing. I'm using a palette knife for the first time.

    Any critiques appreciated, as I have little to no idea what I'm doing with paint...yet.

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  15. #14
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    Hi all,

    here's a shot of my cast drawing. Last week when I took a photograph of it, it looked too ugly to post Anyway, because as I mentioned earlier I rushed this one early on, I've been spending a lot of time fixing little errors. Still a long way to go with those errors, but I'm getting there. I'm doing the linework in pencil first, but I think I'm going to do this one in charcoal.

    Does anyone know how to go about smudging charcoal (or do you even need to smudge?) when doing bargue plates/cast drawings/highly finished drawings? I'm thinking of working with compressed charcoal, but the subtlety of tone change in the face might call for vine charcoal. Any opinions on this one?

    night guys!

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  16. #15
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    Hey guys.

    Some days are just bad days. Some days you might feel like punching a wall for no discernible reason. Here's my unsuccessful first attempt at cast drawing. My next one won't suffer the same fate, I promise. Browsing other artist's blogs, I'm sometimes inspired most when the greats show their human side. (i.e., when they put up some really old work, or some "crappy" work, or even just talk about a bad time they had.) We're all human...aren't we?

    I've made a little more progress on self portraits, will post again soon. Currently trying to decide when it would be best to try this cast drawing again.

    Good luck!

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    Last edited by friendly; February 9th, 2010 at 01:55 AM. Reason: whoops, forgot to post the pic
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  17. #16
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    Hey everyone, couple new pieces I wanted to put up. Finished up the full-color self portrait I was working on earlier, started a new one (the front view one), going to try to finish that one tomorrow. A crappy pic of one of my first times painting the figure, too. Also tried doing a few caricatures today, fun fun!

    Comments and critique appreciated, as always.

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  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by friendly View Post

    *When I put in some value with a harder pencil, say 2h, and then shade over it with a softer pencil, I seem to get this disagreeable textural result. Do I need certain paper for this? Should I stick to one pencil hardness?
    Hey Friendly, try to work your way from dark values to light values (which means your going to start with soft pencils and end with hard pencils)
    1. start with a soft 2b pencil to fill in the shadows,
    2. use an hb to model the general forms of what you're drawing (a cylinder for the torso or the arm, for example)
    3. darken the shadows in the places where light is completely absent and model them with an hb.
    4. model the light parts with an hb or a 2h.

    "I tried using my finger to blend in the graphite here. It seems like it could be useful to lay down tone quickly just like charcoal, but maybe lighter and so more effective for light skin tones? I dunno, just a little experimentation."

    Using the finger dirties the pigments on the paper and can produce greasy spots that can be hard to erase, besides is not that accurate. For more precision trying to use a brush or just the pencil to carefully build up the tone (this should also help you improving your line quality as you gain more control over the pencil).

    Nice self portraits! and nice still lives!

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  20. #18
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    Hello! It's been a long time since I've posted, but I'm going to try to get back in the habit a bit. A lot has happened for me since I was last here - I moved to California (probably temporarily) and am attending Art Center's at night program, taking some basic figure drawing and illustration courses.

    It's a little rough adjusting from my small midwestern town roots to being here all by my lonesome, but the quality of education is worth it. They have open figure drawing/painting sessions for 5 hours practically every day here! Anyway, the past month I've been in a bit of slump since school got out, but my first figure drawing class here is helping to snap me out of it. Nothing like a kick in the butt to get you moving again.

    Not much to show, just a quick self portrait in vine charcoal I just finished earlier today, haven't really used vine before. Also a pencil gesture from class.

    Gaussian, you were right about the soft to hard, I never thanked you for the advice! So thank you.

    Sorry about the poor photo quality, camera's missing so I used photo booth.

    Looking forward to posting again, see ya!

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  21. #19
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    Hey friendly,

    Looks like some good solid classic training!

    Overall crit: most of your work seems kind of light-- drawing and painting-- squint your eyes, map your shadows, and punch in the darks like you see them through squinted eyes-- meaning darker than they appear through normal viewing.

    Be interesting to see how you progress at Art Center!

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  22. #20
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    Hi guys!

    Kamber - that's very true of my work. I use way too much white when I paint (not really intentionally going for a high key) so it tends to look very washed out. Same with my graphite, the gestural strokes lack confidence so they aren't as dark as they might be. I'm workin' on it!

    Just thought I'd post some recent figure drawings. My figures are looking a lot more dynamic, but I'm having a hard time figuring how much of it's just that the poses I'm seeing are so much more dynamic and the models have more defined musculature than the models I'm used to. I'm pretty sure I'm improving with my gestures, though, just in the way I approach the model, looking for the large curves, the stretch and pull of muscles, rhythm and all that stuff I know pitifully little about. The anatomy tends to get a bit distorted when I do this, but I think the overall impression is more faithful, and I can work on the distortion with practice.

    Apologies for the weird sizing, I have to find a more efficient way to resize photos. Oh yes, and the sucky lighting too.

    Off to work on a self portrait now, good luck!

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  23. #21
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    Nice studys!keep it up my friend!

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  24. #22
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    Hi everyone! It has been a while. Finally getting around to posting something again. Here are a few figure drawings from a friday workshop. I'm getting a bit better. My work ethic is slowly improving in tandem with how much I limit myself to being on the internet and gaming. Bad habits to overcome! It can be difficult, especially if you have friends you keep in touch with exclusively through those means.

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  25. #23
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    I'm really liking your work =3 You seem to have a very good grasp on keeping the centre of gravity strong, and the self-portraits are awesome! Also, it seems like you're darkening up your work a bit, which is great =3

    Lost in the Eventide
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  26. #24
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    I really like the range of your studies - it seems like youre still in the starting-phase with a lot of things like oil painting , but don't worry! If you keep putting all of this work and these studies in , you're going to advance really quickly. I particularly like the oil portraits a few months back. You should post more often!

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    Hey everyone, quick post of a 20 minute head from class. Among the many problem areas, I took a few too many liberties with the mouth, and boy, did I mess up the shape of the shadow along his chin! Oooof. Way off.

    Eventide - Thanks for the compliments! Always a long way to go!

    Marlee - Thank you very much for the encouragement! Often that's all ya need to keep at it.

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  28. #26
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    love everything you post, keep it up

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    Thank you PoO-kiE! I admire your work as well, very much so.

    Here are a few figures from a workshop and a throwaway self portrait to keep up with posts.

    Later!

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