My first human figure drawing class

Since I arrived to Wilmington, DE I’ve been attending my first human figure drawing class at DCAD, Delaware College of Art and Design. I actually not enrolled in the class (my wife is) but the instructor has been kind enough to let me participate without the benefit of a full critique.

I’m enjoying sketching a new subject, new techniques and getting dirty with vine charcoal, compressed charcoal and Conte crayons. I’ve always wanted to understand how to draw the human figure and the class has been amazing.

Here are some of my sketches:

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My new places

My family and I have recently moved from Puerto Rico to Wilmington, Delaware.  We’re looking for better alternatives of treatment and rehabilitation for our son.  A change was probably very needed in so many ways though.

This means I have not only one, but two cities to sketch!  If everything goes well, I’m about to start working in Center Philadelphia next week, and Philly has so many interesting things to sketch.  Besides, in the first few days I met Joshua, a local caricaturist with whom I expect to practice the craft a lot.  I’m attending with my wife a figure drawing class on Wednesdays at DCAD, getting dirty with charcoal… And of course, also I’m still participating on the weekly caricature challenge on Facebook, Caricatura Puertorriquena en FB.

I haven’t sketched that much outside, as it’s been raining most of the days, but here are some of my latest:

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Well, I guess I am now a caricature artist…

I haven’t posted in a while but still lots and lots of sketching.  However, I haven’t gone out to sketch architecture or spaces as usual.  I was invited to do some live caricature and, being now a freelancer, said yes.  The thing is that for that gig I was asked to do five minute caricatures, just black and white, and I had never done any live work!  I had around two weeks to practice; I sketched hundreds of faces trying to achieve likeness while sketching really fast.

I’d considered myself a fast sketcher, but this is a whole different story.  My fifteen minute architectural sketches now seem like a century!  I had been practicing to do the caricatures between five and six minutes, which I thought it would be good enough.  When I got to the first gig, the hostess said I had to do between 25 and 30 caricatures in two hours.  I did my best, but only could do 20.

So five minute caricatures won’t cut it… it doesn’t add up.  And the hostess had to take a pic, then call the next one, I had to set up the sheet… lots of wasted minutes.  So my wife devised a way to save some of those minutes for the second time.  We had two clipboards, already set up.  As soon as I signed the caricature, I handed it to her, she erased the pencil guidelines, did all the ritual of taking the photo and everything, while I was already doing the next person.  This helped me a lot, as I finally made it to twenty five.

I think I got a little stressed trying to get the likeness, but in these past three weeks I learned so many things I know that next time it will be better.  I have been watching some artists online who do some great stuff in one minute, so that’s where I’ll be aiming.  And all my background is a huge help, as I have a lot of experience trying to tell a lot with just a few scribbles.  I just need to keep practicing.

As a new member of the Asociación de Caricaturistas de Puerto Rico I hope to keep developing my style, learning from the veterans and also sharing everything I know from my previous experience.  They are a fantastic group of artists and I’m really happy to be a part of it.

Here are some of the pictures:

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Caricatures of Celebrities

The world of caricature drawing has grabbed me in such a way I never thought possible. I have been learning a lot and can’t have enough of it. This morning I watched a video of the phenomenal artist and illustrator Joe Bluhm. He was sketching a caricature of Kanye West, and explaining his thought process while doing it.

He was sketching it directly in Photoshop, I’m guessing with a Wacom. Although I do own a license of Photoshop, I don’t have a Wacom, so on the iPad it is. He explained that he likes to constantly switch between defining shapes with lines and with shades. This seemed interesting, and judging by his results, I definitely needed to try it.

Another interesting thing he said was that sketching celebrities is a good way to develop your portfolio and show how you’re able to achieve likeness more than by posting caricatures of people no one knows. Well, so I decided to do it myself, and if I’m sketching a celebrity, I have to start with my all-time favorite musician, Sting.

I’ll be posting my progress with this caricature; this time I started directly on the iPad, using the app Procreate and a stylus. Here is how the first stage is at this moment:

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Caricatures on the iPad

For the past few weeks I’ve been learning some things I had wanted to do for a very long time. I’ve been taking video lessons on how to sketch portraits, human figure, different techniques and different media. I’m been really curious about pastel pencils. I remembered I had one of these pencils but am having trouble sharpening it…

Also I’ve been practicing caricatures on the iPad. I’ve tried different apps, like Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage, but my favorite has been Procreate. It’s very stable and once that I mistakenly quit the app, it opened it back exactly where I was. I know I’m still scratching the surface, but the results have been very promising.

ArtRage was a bust, cool effects but quickly crashed with no autosave. Also it is more sluggish than Procreate and Sketchbook Pro. The winning point for me is that in Procreate I can use 16 layers at full resolution, instead of a smaller canvas as in SB Pro. I also find the interface much more easy to use.

Here are some of the caricatures I did, sketching with pencil first, photographing the sketches and rendering with Procreate:

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Learning Caricatures and Rendering With Procreate iPad App

I have always been amazed by how caricaturists work, especially when drawing live. To capture someone’s likeness, abstract it and somehow make it look funny, while tens of people are watching as you go must be a bit frightening. Although I’m used to having people watch me sketch, I’m mostly sketching buildings, while my drawn people have usually been silhouettes. I have been practicing sketching people in action for a while now, very fast scribbling.

Last weekend at Festival de Claridad someone told me I should visit the Facebook page “Caricatura puertorriqueña en FB”. Even though I had only done just one caricature before, I’m always trying to learn new things, styles and media, so decided to stop by.

I have been blown away by the posted images! There are so many different styles and media, from pencil and pastels to digital, so I have had my hands full learning. And the artists have been very friendly and welcoming. So for the past three days I have been crazy drawing and dreaming about caricatures. I have even been thinking of how to make my architectural sketches more emphatic and even exaggerated, much like an “urban caricature” if you will. I’ll definitely give it a try sometime soon.

Last night I did the personality of the week, José Miguel Class -”El Gallito de Manatí”. I looked at reference photographs but I wanted to include some of his charisma while he performed so watched a few videos of him on YouTube. I was just a little kid when he had his TV show so I barely remembered his music. So I studied his gestures and attitude while he sang. I made the first sketch with a 4B pencil on paper and for rendering I wanted to try out a new app I recently got, Procreate. I photographed it with my phone and transferred it to my iPad.

After a few minutes I was feeling comfortable with the app, so it was very easy to learn the basics. It feels a bit like Photoshop, 16 layers, layer modes, opacity settings, transform tools, good drawing and painting tools. For just $5 it really is a powerful and useful app. I know I have just scratched the surface with it, so will look more carefully to all the tools and settings.

Here is the original pencil drawing and the rendered image:

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Back to blogging

I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post.  And it’s not that I haven’t been sketching; on the contrary, I’ve been sketching a lot.  I’ve been trying new materials, new styles, practicing a lot.  Tonight I even been practicing caricatures.

I joined a Facebook group of Puerto Rican caricaturists and got inspired to try it out.  This week members submit their caricature of the chosen public figure, the legendary wrestler Carlitos Colón.  I grew up watching him wrestle and my late grandpa was a huge fan of his.  I tried diverse styles, first more cartoonish, with felt-tip pen and watercolors; then tried a more… elegant style?  I like more the latter, here are both:

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I also have been doing some Virtual Paintouts, last month at Valparaíso, Chile and last night at Vilnius, Lithuania.  Here are both:

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Also I’ve been sketching on location, especially people in action while I was participating in Festival Claridad.  Here are a few of my sketches there:

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Best of all is that I’m enjoying the process, learning a lot and having fun.


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