Week in Review

2015-03-25 with flame  2015-03-28 Noodle pink 2015-03-23 ET sm 2015-03-28 face sm

A few happy images… adapting Art Nouveau, drawing Noodle again…  along with a caricature of Eckhart Tolle and one very serious man.

Week in Review

2015-03-15 moebius  2015-03-14+ toppi 2015-03-14  Noodle2015-03-09 people

I drew more for pleasure than learning this week, and very little on any kind of theme. I looked at Moebius, Toppi and Jamie Hewlett a lot. I find it hard to juggle more than one project when I’m working full time, so, while I continue to draw every day, it’s not always anything very exciting. I wanted to try to write more this year, but that means, in limited time, I am drawing less. It’s a balancing act and one, at the moment, I’m not entirely satisfied with. I’ really not complaining though–it was a good week.

Week(s) in Review

2015-01-13-14 sketches  2015-01-16 Tower 2015-01-16  Hewll2015-01 various  2015-01 evening attire    2015-01 Iremember 2015-01 white dog2015-01 various2015-01 various2

A delayed sketch dump….not a lot going on around here…It’s hard for me to accept the highs and lows of creative energy, but this is definitely one of the ebb tides. I’ll hold to the faith that the rebound will come, but meanwhile, just keep drawing, no matter what.

Tank Girl in the 21st Century


21st Century Tank Girl: a book by Hewlett and Martin & Co. on Kickstarter

Am I excited? Oh, hell YES! I love Tank Girl and I love Jamie Hewlett’s work. Aside from the occasional art (and inspiration) that he posts on Instagram, I haven’t seen anything from him in a few years. (I didn’t get to NYC to see Monkey last summer.) There was no way I could miss this opportunity, plus I love Kickstarter. It’s such a great way to support creative work, directly, leave control in the hands of the artists.

Come on now, click that pic and support Tank Girl. You know you want to.


Week in Review

1 girl 2 3 

Unexpected results from correcting mistakes. Fun. The week’s themes, it seems.

Another smoker. I don’t know why I am attracted to the subject, but I am. The drawing of this guy didn’t come out as I wanted and the scan was “dirty,” but the clean up, turning the murk into a smoky frame, was the fun part.
The little girl is straightforward pencil drawing is another in a series of child-portraits that have been cropping up since summer. Not my usual subject matter at all. This gal is quite solemn, her eyes locked on yours, about to say something, though I have a feeling it’s not what you are expecting.
Then there is River from Firefly, almost the last in the cycle of character-captures my sister and I have been doing from one of our favorite shows. I love to do them fast and it’s a blast when I can get the character down in the first, wild, looping lines. The rest is just scribbling.
Finally, two ballpoint pen sketches on a night when I didn’t want to draw, but felt obliged to. Small surprise that the likenesses weren’t good, then I messed up one of the eyes with too much reworking. I trudged into the studio for a bit of Chinese white to fix it, and, while I’m in the paintbox….why not a dab of blue?  What harm can it do? They weren’t great drawings anyway. Until they were; and if not great, it sure was fun adding the color. Magenta, orange, green, blue, aqua, yellow. Did I learn something about the pupils of eyes as they turn? Maybe. I need to study some more. My sister said the sketches had “fun-ness” and I hope they do; it’s a quality to aspire to, in my days and in my work. I’m not making any predictions about the week ahead, except that I’ll try to make the most of everything I do wrong.

What I Drew on my Summer Vacation

Lost in the work from Moebius

What did I do on my summer vacation? I went to visit my sister in the North Country, which involved, as it always does, lots of walking and eating exceptionally well, sitting on Monona Terrace in the sun and just general lazing about, but also a bit of drawing every day. (It helps to visit an artist.) We got up every day late-ish, ate a leisurely breakfast, then drew. I always felt a need to hurry so I could get on with the adventures part of the day, but it was an excellent practice to do the work first. You could go have fun with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in your gut. And when can you better do that than on summer vacation?

A few of the drawings were even interesting:Jamie Hewlett lost in his work and a watercolor inspired by Moebius. Great shading and exciting color–I was inspired. Can you sense a theme here?

I Got Sunshine

I’ve been drawing Jamie Hewlett’s Gorillaz characters a lot lately, especially Noodle, but also some Russel and 2D. As for Murdoc…not so much. I must be one of those weird chicks for whom green skin and dark, demonic looks are a turnoff. Go figure…
It always feels a little like cheating to me when I copy from another style, but I do learn from figuring out how another artist has put a picture together. And looking isn’t enough, you have to get in there with your pencil and ink and colors and make it happen in order to internalize it. I learn a little about my own preferences, too, when I find myself thinking “Now if it were me…” or adding a extra line or shadow because I can’t resist a personal need for it. Maximum hubris, I know, especially since I love everything about the Gorillaz drawings and animation. If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, it would be nice to think I’m giving a little something back to Mr. Hewlett, whether he knows it or not.

Week in Review

ADovercoat boy summer dress from Moebius2

Schiele1 Schiele2

These are the main things I’ve been working on over the last few days, although there are doodled people I see on the streets, practice drawings of hands and the Gorillaz characters scattered throughout my journal and on scraps of paper that seem to proliferate wherever I am. Aside from Moebius and Schiele, I’ve also gotten very excited about the work of Sergio Toppi, Bill Sienkiewicz and Kenneth Rocafort. Still reading Harold Speed’s drawing book from 1913 (free download on Project Gutenberg), which is full of all sorts of helpful thoughts on composition, brushstrokes, line quality, and exactly what it is that an artist gives us with his work. Or should. Maybe more thoughts on that later…

Drawings–Learning to Ink

Moebius  Illa

The new inking technique, which I’ve been developing all week… I like these. The style is linear, the form structured by the new hatching style, an exploration of deep shadow, but there is also an element of my old, freer scribble.

This one took me two days to complete.

TM_phase_1 TM phase 2

It’s probably better than almost everything I’ve done before, so I can’t put my finger on why I’m not satisfied with it, but I’m not. Perhaps I’m spending too much time looking at the very skilled work that Jamie Hewlett is posting on Instagram these days, or maybe it’s the miles of images by Moebius and Sergio Toppi that I’ve been ingesting lately that make my work look so milky and anemic by comparison. Posting to Twitter is great for its kudos and positivity, which definitely helps to keep me going, but right now, what I need is a crit and that means it may be time to line up a class for the fall. There’s only so much you can learn on your own by reading, imitation and practice.

I think I need a teacher.


Patient Work

misadventure from Moebius  tank girl

And my view is that a living studio you will never find ready-made; it is created from day to day by patient work.–Vincent van Gogh

And it shows perfectly that to get at the real character of things here you must look at them and paint them for a long time….it is not enough to have a certain cleverness. It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper understanding.–Vincent van Gogh

I had an amazing drawing day on Saturday, 8 full hours of absorption and concentration and a hell of a lot of fun. The work was something I don’t usually do and a subject I’ve only begun to look at–studying the color, style and layout of Hewlett and Martin’s Tank Girl from the early 90s–which may have contributed to the fun. A little. Tank Girl is just fun all by itself; raunchy, juvenile, gross and violent but funny. Hewlett’s drawing style kept me captivated–granted, not in every panel, which at times seemed hurried or dashed off–but often enough; moments of solid draftsmanship and studiously observed detail beside pure flights of imagination, resulting in something like a movie co-piloted by Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino. How could I not have fun?

But…days like that up the ante, so that on Sunday when I could barely make myself draw, it was really depressing. Reading Vincent on the bus in to work this morning though, made me take another look. Maybe I was able to sustain this working day on Saturday in the same way as someone training as a runner: day by day you go greater distances, even run a race, but can’t expect much the day after an extraordinary run, at least not from a beginner. I hope with time I can have more sustained days of work like that because it seems the only way to get a grip on drawing the way I’d really like to.