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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“Stick” figures

Today I sketched with sticks… I had a bamboo pen, kabob skewers and a sharpened chopstick, dipping into Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink. I really like the primitive feeling of sketching with sticks, will need to use china ink; the Noodler’s won’t dry unless it has contact with paper, so it kind of messed up a bit while watercoloring.

By the way, this was in a very nice beachside eatery, El Salpicón in Barceloneta. So, beside enjoying the sketching, I spent a nice afternoon with my family.

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My First Caricature

I had always admired caricaturists, how they instantly grasp the persons’ distinctive features, but I never had an interest in learning to draw them. That was until a couple of weeks ago, when in Orlando. There was a caricaturist booth at the hotel, and I spent some time watching them do their stuff, and it was almost like magic… Just a couple minutes, a few strokes and, bam! there appears the person in the middle of the page.

To make a long story short, I bought a “how-to-draw-caricatures” book at the booth, and read it once during the flight back home. Every once in a while I read a couple pages, but this past Sunday decided to try to draw one.

But who can I use as a model? I went through my Facebook friends and found the perfect one…what else is your “little” brother good for?

I took inspiration from three pictures, as to grasp his likeness, while not trying to reproduce any of the photographs. His fiancé says it really looks like him, so who better to say?

Here’s my take on my little bro:

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Mesa Clumsy

This post may be a little distant from my regular theme, but as it is part of my artistic exploration I will give it a go; furthermore, it’s all part of a learning process of techniques I’m looking to incorporate into my sketching.

Three weeks ago I started taking serigraphy classes, also known as silkscreen or screen printing. I think it is a cool (although laborious) way to reproduce my artwork, without losing the handmade feel.

The technique I’ve been learning feels somewhat limiting, me being a loose, fast sketcher, having to carefully cut the film with a swivel knife to use as a stencil for each color I use. Probably I’m not gonna be doing that many prints this way, as the X-acto knife has never been among my favorite tools.  My professor is an accomplished veteran artist who saw some of my sketches and told me we could try blocking the silkscreen in other ways, as using wax crayons or tempera with a brush and I could achieve effects similar to what I do with the watercolors. And this really caught my attention.  Still, I don’t wanna get ahead of myself, I want to learn the rules now so I can bend them later…

We were asked to produce a simple graphic with four or five colors, to learn color separation, registration marks, blocking, printing and cleaning. He asked us to do nothing complicated, so we could learn the basics. Here’s the sketch I’m doing:

Yesterday I printed my first color. And what a mess! Mesa clumsy! When in middle school, I took aptitude tests and the results showed I wasn’t too good with repetitive routines. Evidently that is still true. I had to clean the squeegee twice in middle of a print, as somehow I dropped it onto the screen with paint, and that red kept appearing all over where it wasn’t supposed to… The paper, my hands, the frame, the table, my pants. In the end I think I got it, although probably less than half the prints are good.

I ended exhausted! I liked the process though in the future I want to try less “perfect” graphics. When I learn to block with tempera and crayons probably will enjoy it even more. Working with the exactitude of a knife is not my thing. There must be a way to be loose with the brush on silkscreen, so will update soon.

Crayoleando

Lately I’ve been trying to do some more experimentation with other media. I found a pen brush I had bought a while ago next to my son’s box of crayons, so decided to take them for a test ride.

First of all, I’m in love (once again) with the pen brush; it’s responsiveness is unlike any other pen or marker I’ve tried. It’s barely controllable (at least at first) so it is a bit tricky. However, the range of lines I’ve been able to get with it, from broad strokes to hair-fine lines, is phenomenal.

Then the crayons… I thought that the contrast between the rough crayon and the smooth ink line would be very interesting. Maybe it’s the paper which isn’t rough enough, but I’m not thrilled about how the crayon came out. Maybe it’s a combination of the size and texture of the paper that isn’t helping, so I haven’t discarded the experiment yet. At this point I believe that a loose watercolor splash or a few selected marker strokes would’ve worked better.

Or with a high liter, perhaps? Hmm…

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