My background in watercolor painting delayed the fascination with pens and inks, which has emerged dramatically this month in my sideways efforts to draw along with others participating in the Inktober challenges.
In another set of portraits here I am practicing techniques with a range of materials, exaggerating sometimes, refining others. All the subjects/muses are shared freely on the Museum app (Sktchy) where you can also find online workshops. The above muse was offered by Mad lab Studio. Must have been a wig, and what a chizzeled face with great shadow shapes! – the necessary ingredient for portrait work.
When you start with a picture like this one was of Nic Rez, it practically paints itself. My favorite – the light bouncing off the lashes.
Nathan Mussig reminded me of my Norwegian and Scottish forebears!
Inspired by a long time favorite portrait artist of mine, Roz Stendahl, I put my pencil aside and went right in with the pocket brush pen and the blackest of inks! What I sacrificed in accuracy I gained back in enjoyment and expression. Good to remind myself, after all, it’s more important to me to make a picture that speaks with authority and some kind of humanity than one that gets all the features in the right place. How easy that is to forget. I told myself to keep going with the direct-to-brush-pen technique, but I must have either chickened out yet again or forgotten. . .
. . .because when I got back to portrait-ing a few days later, I did a careful pencil drawing of this fellow Chris Jones, and decided to practice using the Sailor Fude fountain pen, which many of my urban sketch friends use so masterfully and I have found difficult to maneuver at best. I embraced my clutziness with the pen, but the real discovery here was the strange framing of black lines around the face and the zipper bizarreness. It looks almost like a mask on a stick, so you do a double take. Gotta try that with another portrait some time. . .if I remember.
This rugged face asked for a rough treatment with the brush, so I made no effort to “clean it up”, which is not that easy to do with gouache on black paper anyway! It was kind of liberating I must say.
In an homage to Inktober, which many of you probably participate in each October, I switched to ink and slowed down a bit to work with washes at first and line detail later.
Do you think I got a bit obsessed with the eyes? haha! It’s always like that. If you don’t watch yourself or set a timer or something, there’s usually a part that gets overworked. But then she did have amazing eyes!
So the next one I decided to move quickly and not overdo, and now I’m having fun and like the result better, and can’t wait to try another!
I included the names of the models for the pictures submitted as inspiration on the Sktchy app in case you want to give it a try!
One of the reasons i love to paint people is that it doesn’t take much (skill? accuracy?) to communicate feeling. A little exaggeration of one aspect goes a long way. So at some point I always think “oh what the heck. It doesn’t really look like so and so, but it’s an interesting expression, so let it be!”
We were out in the back yard putting a shade cloth over our gazebo, which was letting too much light and therefore heat onto our heads! Andrew took his shirt off, since it was hot up there where he was stationed to pull the fabric across, and his head was burning so he made a sort of turban of it. And then he crouched as low as he could to get into the shade a bit. I had my hands full and no sketchbook at hand anyway, so I snapped a pic and later sketched this out.
He’s a very patient fellow with his parents, but I don’t imagine he was having fun. He had a good laugh when he saw this sketch!
Another Sktchy app portrait. I loved the blue hair and the dark reflection on the one side of the glasses and was having fun playing with opaques on toned paper, doing my own thing with the color. She looks pretty heavy duty, I mean strong personality you wouldn’t want to mess with!
I can’t stop painting portraits! It helps that I spend most of my time at home now, because of the pandemic, and often in my studio. And it helps that Andrew has started a daily regime of portrait sketching with me. So here’s my latest. I promise to show some of his here again soon. All poses found on the sktchy app.
Gotta love that attitude!
Black and white drama without subtlety or any control of the values. Frustrating, but I’ll keep at it, because the stark values get the point across without all the niceties.
The light reflecting off the glasses is what makes this such a great pose, by Rick N.
Initially it was the wispy white hair I liked, but then as I started to draw I thought, “This guy [Duke KM] probably has interesting thoughts and would be fun to talk to. That’s what happens when you draw/paint someone. You start to get really interested in them.
I have been an art store junky for many, many years. And so I am quite well equipped to tackle new materials whenever the fancy seizes me. I recently purchased a Stillman + Birn’s Nova Series toned paper sketchbook with beige, black and gray pages.
I’ve been loving the beige paper for my portraits, after a long run of doing them on the gray, with pen, watercolor and a few touches of pastel pencil. The Sktchy app supplies me with the most wonderful subjects, which they call “muses”. Like this adorable guy Zel.
But in order to break into the black paper section of the sketchbook, I got out my gouache paints with the pastel pencils.
This may be the dawn of the up-in-your-face faces! All my fine watercolor skills flew out the window. How liberating. Gotta do more of these.
Meanwhile my in-person model is available and I’m taking advantage, in yet another, more familiar style of watercolor-what-you-can-before-it-moves.
We actually had breathable air today and a sun we could see and even a blue sky!
By the final days of the #30faces30days challenge on the Sktchy app I was more interested in trying out some techniques I’d already learned than following the prompt each day. The pictures provided were so fascinating – they’re called “Muses” on the Sktchy app- that I couldn’t wait to draw the new one each day. Here’s the last two of the month.
Watercolor and pencil on gray toned paper
This Muse’s hair was not white/gray and his shirt was patterned. I’m learning to leave out some parts to make the whole more interesting, and loving what happens on the gray toned paper.
(sorry for uneven lighting here and rippled paper from wet applications!)
Thanks to Margriet Aasman, a Canadian illustrator and teacher on Sktchy for so many useful ideas about color and final application of pastel pencil. I was trying out a bit of everything on this portrait and loving the deep purples and dark reds for this Muse’s dark skin.