The Force Awakens in Miniature

2016-02-22 Force Awakens thumbnails detail clip2016-02-22 Force Awakens thumbnails clip

I can’t get enough of The Force Awakens.

I’ve seen it three times, read the novelization and watched innumerable YouTube videos full of hints, analysis and theories. And of course, I’ve drawn a few of the characters. Then I thought I’d try a series of minute thumbnails from my favorite trailer. What I thought I’d discover, I don’t know, but I ran out of page before finishing. There were 44 shots in the minute and a half I covered; the cuts were faster toward the end so there may well have been as many in the remaining 50 seconds. The patterns of movement were the most exciting thing, but I made no attempt to capture that. This time. I’ve got a few more ideas to explore–and I’m sure they’ll turn up here when I work them out.

Is this studying or playing? I’m not sure it matters. I love discovering how the images were put together and maybe deciphering what it means.

(media: markers and colored pencil)

Recent Drawings

2016-01-16 Scepticism white   2016-01 Two-2 2016-01-03 Adam Driver  2016-01-14 Sirius 2016-01-23 Jumper 2016-01-20 discovered

Here is a selection of my recent drawings in the usual media–pencil, markers, colored pencils–and now I’ve begun dabbling with ink washes. Of course, I’m still obsessing about Star Wars, so much so that I’ve decided to set up a new gallery page for the new and old work. It should be ready in a day or two.

I still find myself short on time when it comes to doing drawings, but more often than not, even with quick sketches, I’m pleased with the results. That feels really good and everything, and shows that three years of daily practice is paying off, but maybe it makes me wonder….is it time to stretch in new directions?

Retro Friday: Star Wars Love (1982)

1982 Luke_0002 pale 1982 Luke cap 1982 Leia WC2 1982 Leia WC 1982 Luke pencil 1982 Luke pencil2 1982 6 heroes cap 011 crop 013 Three cap

Star Wars love is in my family…I have it…my sister has it….

Like so many, many others, I’m geeking out about the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. Like any self-respecting nerd, I have a few gripes, but overall, I think this new story is pretty terrific. Not that Start Wars love is exactly a new thing for me; I’ve been a fan for 38 years. I saw the original Star Wars movie in the theater in the summer of 1977–Dad took all of us kids, expecting to fall asleep, but didn’t–but I really fell for the series with the arrival of The Empire Strikes Back in 1979, or rather, with its re-release in 1982. That year, the stars were aligned and I was enraptured. I have pages of little doodles and cartoons of these guys, I drew them everywhere, all the time, but here are some of the best things. I hope you enjoy them. They still bring me pleasure.

I’m busy drawing Star Wars again–new characters and old, prequel, classic and the latest and greatest. I’ll post them when I have a nice collection to share. Till then…

May the Force inspire you!

(Media: watercolor, pencil and ink wash)

Speed Drawing: Moving Faster than Thought

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I think too much.

This isn’t news. Anyone who knows me, knows it’s true. You’d think when it comes to exercising any skill, including drawing, that a thoughtful approach is the best. Sometimes it is. Sometimes, the best way is to study the proportions, carefully mark the features, follow the contours with patient care. It’s what I try for when I really want my drawing to come out right.

The problem for me is that I get so wrapped up in the problem-solving aspect of the work that the soul goes out of it. Or never got into it to begin with. Maybe the issue is with what I mean by right.The finished product may be well-made, but it feels dead. I look at it and have no idea what I thought or felt about the subject based on what’s on the page, which makes me wonder why I bothered. Well, I bothered because I actually did see something I wanted to capture: something I loved, something I wanted to understand, something that called to me. Why isn’t it in the drawing then?

It’s my theory that my brain gets in the way; I’m thinking more than drawing. So my solution has been to shake my practice up a little with speed drawing: getting the line down as fast as I can, scribbling the forms and emotions, sweeping through the movement, exaggerating. I’ve done it before–here and here–but I first began doing it consciously when I was drawing the flamenco dancers in motion and was confronted by a pose that excited me, but I didn’t know how to render. If I did nothing, it was gone. So I made a few big marks, fast, fast, trying to grab whatever I could, hoping that I had captured something of what I’d seen, maybe found a clue to the truth of the pose. And more times than not, I really liked the result.

The same has proved true when sketching from a photo. My line quality is more varied and interesting, there’s more emotion and energy, and the result is more vivid than if I’d taken more care. If I’d thought about it…instead, I drew. Let my hand and my eye do what I’ve spent all these years training them to do. The work I show here won’t always be in this manner–there’s still so much training I want to do–but eventually I’d like to venture beyond the safety of pencil to try this style in markers and maybe, one day, in pen and ink.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on speed drawing or any other methods to draw with less brain in the equation.