Continuous Line Drawing

A few weeks ago I was paging through the enormous Winter catalog of our local high-end, up-scale mall: Somerset Collection. This “tome” is basically a super-charged glossy Vanity Fair magazine on steroids, with ads from Versace, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Burberry, Gucci, etc. You get the picture; it’s our little slice of Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive or Paris’ Champs-Elysees right here in the Mid-West.

As I was drooling over the beautiful clothes and accessories, gagging over others, and laughing at the teeny-tiny corner descriptions that state the specifics like amount$$$, I came across a really cool ad. I have no idea what it was for, there was no teeny-tiny description in the corner just a .com address which I accidentally tore through.

It was simply a continuous line drawing done in black against a solid white background and it really struck me: here was this elegant advertisement that stood out like a beacon of simplicity against all the extravagance and opulence and it was beautiful.

This beautiful ad became my muse for the evening and I set out to explore continuous line drawing for myself. I’d been wanting a good excuse to use my new set of Prismacolor® Premier Fine Line Markers I purchased a while back but hadn’t yet broken the seal. Against the 6″x6″ Strathmore® Bristol Artist Tiles, they flew with ease; it was a perfect marriage.

This was fun! Next I experimented with Black India Ink® on Strathmore® 6″x6″ Watercolor Artist Tiles. I used a technique I had learned in my Figure Class. You use 3 – 4 gradations of ink and water to show the different values. Using a silly selfie from a girls weekend (that’s one post that will never see the light of day:)). I started laying in the values while practicing my portrait skills. It was a quick fun piece. The nose is completely messed up but I like it!

Girls Weekend Selfie
6″x 6″ Black India Ink on Strathmore Watercolor Artist Tile

It was a fun creative night inspired by a simple line drawing in an outrageous, overpriced, opulent catalog. Usually I just toss it in the recycle bin, but for some reason I hung on to this one — funny how things work out sometimes.

Life Drawing

Last Fall I took Life Drawing at PCCA with Charles Pompilius. At first, I was very intimidated taking his class because he’s such an accomplished painter well known for his commissioned portraits and figurative paintings. However, he turned out to be very humble and easy going and I was immediately put at ease.

It would also be my first time working from live nude models. Going into it, I wasn’t sure how I would feel staring at a nude person while attempting to draw or paint them. But, it really wasn’t all that awkward. We had both male and female models and I found that drawing the ladies was much easier; possibly because I am more familiar with the female body or because it was a tad strange looking at a naked man for hours.

Either way, my output was not great, but this was the first time I’d ever taken a figure drawing class or worked with live models. It’s a far cry from a bowl of fruit or a vase that doesn’t breath or move for hours on end! Once the class was done I put the drawings away and had forgotten about them until yesterday; I rediscovered them while clearing out my art bag for the start of a new class.

I decided to include a couple of sketches that weren’t too horrible. After all, this blog is about the journey, good, bad, or ugly!

Greek Vase & Dummy

This is a second still-life piece from the Intermediate Drawing Class at PCCA.  I did the initial drawing in class and then finished up the detail work at home. I used a large piece of drawing paper, vine charcoal, and compressed charcoal for the shading. I then used a subtractive eraser technique on the vase where you first lay down all the darks and then use an eraser to create the lights and highlights. I did this for the decorative frieze, the body of the man and spear, and the vase highlights. Then, I used a pencil to draw in the details of the man. The last step was to add color using hard and soft pastels.

Vase & Dummy
Vase & Dummy

Pitcher and Fabric

I am taking Intermediate Drawing this summer at PCCA. Even though I love color, I thought it was a good time to go back to basics and work on the foundation. It’s been nearly 20 years since I took a formalized drawing class, so I’m well over due!

The summer classes are small and intimate and it’s a good time to get one-on-one attention from instructors. Plus, it’s always a bonus to steal away a few hours of “me time”  since the kids are out of school.

Our instructor is Stephanie Kent, a young lady with a BFA from Kendall School of Art & Design and Wayne State University.  We are working on still-life pieces in the studio and then completing them at home if we wish.  I don’t always complete the pieces, but this one I really wanted to finish.

Stephanie arranged multiple pieces on top of a dark blue fabric cloth. I liked the contrast of the smooth white porcelain pitcher and the surrounding dark heavy twisting-turning of the fabric. The first step was the drawing. Getting the proportions and elliptical shape of the pitcher took time. From there, I drew the cloth folds. Next I used our value scale to figure out the lights and darks and assign a specific pencil – ranging from 2H to 6B.

At home I completed the pitcher and began shading the fabric. I have not had any experience drawing or painting fabric folds and knew it would be a challenge. I began with the darks and moved to the lights. It took a lot of trial and error, erasing, and re-creating until I was satisfied with the final outcome.

Pitcher & Fabric_Pencil_2014
18″ x 24″ Graphite Drawing from Still-Life

Drawings

In 1994, I took a drawing class in the local community where I was living at the time. One of the best exercises we did was drawing upside-down.  It helps to release your focus on the subject and just concentrate on the space, lines, and form.  Here are my two attempts with the technique. As in most drawing class, we kept a daily sketch journal for practice and inspiration. Here are a couple of my favorite drawings from my sketch pad.

Chicago

Chicago Collage

One of our assignments in high school was to create a collage drawing. I used my recent trip to Chicago for inspiration. I composed an array of keepsakes and snapped a photograph. These included: a menu, a photograph, key chain, maps from Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute of Chicago, luggage tags, and boarding pass.