30 December 2009

More Zorn Master Studies

Two more Zorn master studies today, started during a class at Watts. Both paintings are 10 x 8 on stretched canvas. Painted with cad red light, cad yellow deep, ivory black and titanium white, plus a bit of alizarin crimson on the shadow side of the red fabric in the second image. Zorn painted the portrait of his wife Emma (top) in 1887, at the start of his transition from watercolor to oil. (He was self-taught in oil, by the way.) The second image, painted 15 years later in 1902, displays his mature style. This image also illustrates the type of complex lighting arrangement he often employed.

As a starting point, I focused on edge control and brushstroke quality during these studies. Wherever you look in these paintings you see Zorn's preference for the soft edge, achieved by working wet-into-wet. By contrast, most beginners favor hard edges, which tend to flatten the form. The lesson I learned here is to keep edges soft, adding the hards sparingly, and only as needed for the composition. Zorn also favored long, flowing brushstrokes, especially in his later work, which gave his images a sense of volume, form, and energy that I really like. The look is loose and spontaneous, but I'm sure each stroke was carefully planned and placed. Hard for a novice to reproduce, but very good practice.

My reference source for these studies was a book on Zorn, printed in China without English subtitles, purchased from Nucleus in LA. If you're a Zorn fan, I recommend this book for it's beautiful, large reproductions and extensive catalog of paintings, etchings, and watercolors.

Copies of copies from the Chinese Zorn book, for comparison. Click to enlarge.

19 December 2009

Head Drawings - Fall 2009

Here is a sample of head drawings from the fall term at Watts, which ended today. Let me preface by saying these are my drawings, combined with critical improvements by the instructor, Meadow Gist. Meadow's changes always make the images sing a little more (sometimes a lot more).

This is my 4th head drawing class, which means I've drawn around 35 heads. I figure I need at least 4 more classes. I see improvement here, compared to my head drawings from early 2009 . Going back further...take a look at my first head drawing from the model, shown below, drawn in January 2008. That first life drawing was really exciting, but the result was flat and lifeless. It's okay, I can admit it. Comparisons like these encourage and remind me, and hopefully other students, that skillful drawing is a thing of value, partly because it takes so much time, effort, and persistence to acquire.

All drawings took approximately 2 hours, from life, using a Conte Pierre Noir 1710B charcoal pencil on 24 x 18 smooth newsprint.

25 November 2009

Master Study of "Mona" by Anders Zorn

One of the 5 classes I'm taking this term is Painting Studies from the Masters taught by Lucas Graciano. It focuses on master studies, a practice that belongs in every art student's curriculum. It's an effective method of learning because it reinforces other art lessons, as you closely observe how the master applies the "rules" of art making. As an added bonus, you get to pick your "teacher". Today's teacher is Anders Zorn. I choose his painting "Mona" because I like Zorn's loose efficient brushwork and edge control. Also the palette he used here is fairly simple (8 colors), and I like the lighting scheme---a primary warm light to the left and a softer cool light to the right of the figure. A lot to learn here.

Method: Since this is a copy of a reproduction, not a copy of the original painting, it's important to obtain a good quality reference photo. I used a photocopy from a book (shown below). I traced the projected image onto a 20" x 16" linen canvas with a pencil, then re-stated the tracing with black india ink. I prepared a burnt umber pick-out as a value guide, then painted the final image wet-into-wet. The palette included cad yellow pale, cad yellow deep, cad red light, ultramarine blue, viridian, burnt umber, titanium white and ivory black. The painting took about 35 hours to complete.

In this exercise I focused on the fundamentals (materials, brushwork, color mixing). I shaped and blended edges, mixed colors on the palette and canvas, and experimented with different brush techniques. Of note in this painting, Zorn did a lot of skimming of dark blue over warm-hued areas to model the form. This optical mixing kept the colors from going muddy. You can see this everywhere the form turns away from the warm primary light. I did this by loading the body of a sable brush with ultramarine blue and gently skimming over the wet base painting with the side of the loaded brush. Finally, I tried clove oil, which slows paint drying time. Really nice if you're slow like I am and want to work wet-into-wet. A drop of clove oil mixed into an inch or 2 of tube paint will keep it wet for a week or more. Smells good, too.

While I tried to match colors, my painting background, primarily W&N burnt umber, is darker than the reference. The other colors don't seem to have a similar problem. I've read that some paint may dry darker depending on quality, drying conditions, mediums used, etc. Couldn't find any firm guidelines. Less of an issue when creating an original painting, but something to be aware of.

Some references:
  • There are no secret techniques for master copying, but Juliette Aristides has a good discussion of the subject and a copying exercise in her book, Classical Painting Atelier.
  • A good beginner's book for brushstroke technique, which I read before starting this piece, is Brushwork Essentials by Mark Weber.
  • If you're interested in Zorn, check out this article from American Artists. Or go here for a listing of his complete works.

01 November 2009

Portrait of My Daughter in Charcoal and Chalk

I've drawn a portrait of my daughter each year since I started studying art. Her portrait was actually the first charcoal drawing I did back in mid-2007. I drew her again last year in graphite, and my post today shows my most recent effort in chalk and charcoal on toned paper. Since this is a blog about the art student experience, I thought it would be interesting to post all 3 drawings together, to show a typical progression of technical drawing skills. I cringe a bit when I look at those earlier efforts. However, they were the best I could do at the time, and I was proud of each one. I hope next year I cringe a little when I look at this year’s effort, too, because it will signify progress.

The method for today’s drawing was described in an earlier post. I used a Conte 1710 B Pierre Noir charcoal pencil and a General white chalk pencil on dark gray Canson Mi-Teintes paper. I posed Amanda in the same chair wearing similar clothing for continuity.

Top: Amanda 2009, 10x8, charcoal and white chalk on toned paper
Middle: Amanda 2008, 10 x 10, graphite on bristol board
Bottom: Amanda 2007, 14 x 10, vine charcoal on bristol board

13 October 2009

3-Color Chalk Drawings

Today's post includes some 3-color chalk drawings I did during the break. I've wanted to experiment with this method since seeing Robert Liberace's drawings at the Arcadia Gallery last May. I like the illusion of color produced by this monochrome palette, partly due to the colored ground, but also because the viewer fills in the colors, which makes the results so interesting.

My purpose in this portrait of my 12-year-old niece, Molly, was to convey the innocence of adolescence. Her gaze is direct and open. She is lit from her right by indirect sunlight, from her left by reflected light. The shadows are warmed by an overhead incandescent light. This warm-cool drawing forced me to observe temperature shifts and the interaction of light with the form. Especially important, the locations of the core shadow and the reflected light, which define shapes on the shadow side. I started painting this same image in oil a few weeks back, not very successfully. I was getting ahead of myself with the brush, wasn't really seeing the image until I paused and did this drawing study. The final painting will benefit from this extra step.

The method is straightforward. Briefly, I toned some smooth bristol board with a mixture of ochre and ultramarine blue watercolor. Be sure to tape the paper down first. After drying, I laid in the basic outline freehand in black charcoal, then gently went at it, substituting red for warm colors and black for cool colors. I used the following pencils: Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils in sanguine (#670) and black (#750...for darkest darks), Prismacolor Verithin Black and Tuscan Red colored pencils for fine details (careful, they leave a waxy sheen), General's Charcoal White pencil for heightening, and my trusty Conte 1710 charcoal pencils (B and 3B). I smoothed the darker areas with a cotton swab because toning left the paper rough and grainy. I did not fix, I've heard that changes the color of pastels.

Prior to drawing my neice, I did the master copy below of Peter Paul Ruben's portrait of his infant son "Nicolaas Rubens Wearing a Coral Necklace". He chose images with minimal shadow, using white heightening and half-tone to model the form, both here and in the portrait of his wife, Isabella Brandt. Beautiful images, full of emotion. Robert Liberace also tends to choose high-value subjects for his 3-color pencil drawings.

On a related note, you may have read of the recent discovery of a 3-color chalk drawing by Leonardo, originally thought to be by a German artist. Authenticity established by the presence of Leonardo's fingerprint in the upper left corner! Good stuff. I'm always looking for fingerprints on paintings by the great masters. My obsession is vindicated. Maybe we should all be leaving a fingerprint or 2 behind on our work.

01 October 2009

Charcoal and White Chalk Portrait

During a 3-week break from classes I'm spending some time testing new techniques. I really like 3-color chalk drawings (such as the type Robert Liberace does) and charcoal drawings heightened with white chalk (2-color drawings). The portrait today is one of the latter. My source image is a photo taken around 1900 of a Navajo warrior, from the book Native American Portraits by Nancy Hathaway. This image has nice directional lighting and some interesting shapes, and I really like that silver squash blossom necklace. It also gave me an opportunity for some creativity and personal interpretation.

The method is simple. Charcoal in the shadows, white chalk for lights and highlights, and the tone of the paper for halftones. Keep the charcoal and chalk separated, when they mix you get an odd gray. Paper color should be based on the value of the halftones in your image. I started with a freehand charcoal lay-in, filled in the shadows as a single medium dark value, drew in the lights and highlights, refined the shadows, and finally, restated the lights and darks. That's pretty much all there is to it. I used Conte 1710 B and 3B charcoal pencils and a General White Charcoal pencil on dark gray Canson Mi-Teintes paper. The drawing took about 8 hours to complete.

Navajo Warrior 2009, 14 x 11, charcoal heightened with white chalk on paper

21 September 2009

Figure Drawings - Part 2

Here are the last few figure drawings from this term. I learned a lot the past 10 weeks from Jeff Watts in the long-pose figure drawing class, and from Ben Young in the 20-minute figure lay-in class. Quicksketch and long pose classes are a very effective learning combination, highly recommended. A quicker lay-in leaves more time for the finish.

This term I realized the importance of hands to a figure drawing or portrait. Hands add an energizing secondary focal point, and can be as expressive as the face. No need to perfectly render them, in fact less detail is more interesting. But the figurative artist needs to be able to draw/paint them well....I also observed how diagonals energize the pose by creating long dynamic lines. I saw lots of poses in my figure lay-in class, and the diagonal poses were always more appealing than the verticals or horizontals. The diagonal can appear in the figure itself or the cast shadow patterns. Simple but worth mentioning.

On another topic...An instructor at Watts, Stan Prokopenko, also blogs and recently posted a chronicle of his artistic development from beginning art student to instructor-level artist, over a 7-year period at Watts. It's a worthwhile post if you're curious about what one can expect with time and effort in this sort of learning environment. A sort of art student "before" and "after". Look around his blog while you're there, lots of good how-to and technical content.

Final note: The images above were drawn in 2 hours with a Conte Pierre Noire 1710 B charcoal pencil on 24 x 18 smooth newsprint. Jeff worked up the leg in the first image and the upper left leg in the third image.

03 September 2009

Figure Drawings - Summer 2009

It's a good idea to keep your drawing muscles in shape, even if your primary medium is paint. In painting classes, students who can draw seem to have a definite advantage over those who can't. Often when there's a problem with a painting, it can be traced back to the drawing. So as I transition into painting, I continue drawing classes to maintain and improve my skills. This term I'm taking 20-minute figure lay-ins and a figure drawing class taught by Jeff Watts. Jeff is a gifted artist and teacher. He's brutally honest, in a nice way, so you always know where you stand.

Jeff has made it clear I need to work on anatomy. Good figure drawing requires some understanding of it. To shore up my knowledge, I've started to study/copy drawings from Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life. At the moment, I'm focused on legs. I figure I can "practice" legs now or I can spend time correcting poorly drawn legs later. I choose practice. A warning that some beginning students find Bridgman useless, but as your drawing skills improve you begin to understand what an incredible resource this book is for the serious figurative artist.

As my basic drawing skills improve, I find I can focus more on aesthetics, like using cross hatching to energize tonal shapes and edges. I tend to draw smooth tones into my shadows, which can be dull and static. The texture of cross-hatching, added on top of a smooth tone, is a huge improvement. It's most obvious here in the first and third images.

The images in today's post took approximately 2 hours each, drawn with a Conte 1710 B charcoal pencil on smooth 24 x 18 newsprint. Jeff worked on the elbow area of the top image and the knee area of the middle image.

22 August 2009

Portrait Painting with the Zorn Palette II

Another portrait using the Zorn palette. You may recognize the warrior Adam from an earlier post. Decided to use a photo reference of that pose for my second painting in the Portrait Painting Fundamentals class.

I used an underpainting again which, as I see it, offers many benefits for the beginner.
  • It starts your painting off right with correct proportions, shapes, and values.
  • As a value study, the underpainting allows you to consider what you are going for compositionally before you start pouring on the paint. Better than just diving in and figuring out the plan as you go.
  • Most important for me, I use the underpainting stage to closely observe how the light falls across the form; where to push the lights and darks and how to handle the halftones (value-wise). It forces me to take a long, hard look at my subject.
  • If you have a bad start or have trouble with a section you can wipe the canvas back to the underpainting and try again. Easy.
Regarding this painting, I didn't finish the clothing/chin straps because I needed to move on to other pieces. I followed earlier advice about rendering metal (hard edges and shapes around the highlights; no curves) which worked pretty well. The instructor advised me to add more contrast and red around the eyes and put more paint on the canvas, which I will do next time. The overpainting was done in a single 6-hour session.

On another topic, I'm passing along this article on Jacob Collins. Thought it was a good read. I stopped by the incomparable John Pence Gallery while in San Francisco a few weekends ago. Saw some of Collins' pieces there, which renewed my interest in his work.

Adam 2009, 12 x 9, oil on canvas board

06 August 2009

Portrait Painting with the Zorn Palette

The summer term at Watts started a few weeks ago. One class I'm taking is Portrait Painting Fundamentals taught by Meadow Gist. The class explores several approaches and palettes using photos and a live model.

This first portrait was painted from a high-quality (i.e. good contrast and strong shadow patterns) photo reference provided in class. Briefly, I pencil-sketched the image onto canvas board, fixed it, then prepared the underpainting. I used burnt umber, but a mix of ivory black and cad red would work too. Finally, I over-painted using the "Zorn" palette (cad red light, yellow ochre, ivory black, titanium white). The overpainting was done in a single 5-hour session. The Zorn palette has been used widely and discussed often. Google for more information.

The pencil sketch step seemed messy and unnecessary. Even with a fixative, I ended up loosing most of the drawing anyway when I added the burnt umber ground. My personal preference is to rough-in with a paintbrush before underpainting.

The next assignment in this class is to paint a portrait by the direct method, which means no preliminary underpainting. Big kid stuff, like taking the training wheels off a bicycle.

Nicky 2009, 12 x 9, oil on canvas board

21 July 2009

Color Charts

My lack of color knowledge slowed me down in the introductory painting classes I just finished. There was some discussion in class about mixing, but the palettes we used were limited to just a few colors. I realized the only way around the problem was to pick some colors for a starter palette and do some color charting. Since I just finished reading Alla Prima, which has a good chapter on color, that seemed like a reasonable place to start.

Richard Schmid claims he can mix most other commercially-available tube colors from a palette of 11 colors which includes 4 yellows (cad lemon, cad yellow pale , yellow ochre pale, cad yellow deep), 4 reds (cad red, alizarin permanent, terra rosa, transparent oxide red), a green (viridian), and 2 blues (cobalt light, ultramarine). I like the idea of learning to mix with a set number of choices.
Schmid describes how to prepare the charts in detail in his book. Briefly, I gessoed a dozen 8" x 15" pieces of heavy illustration board, taped off 5 rows x 11 columns of 1" squares with 1/4" masking tape, then mixed and applied the colors. Each board represents a predominant hue mixed with a smaller amount of each of the other hues. Each of these mixtures is then combined with white to produce 5 graduated values. It took about 3 hours per chart.

I took my time and tried to spot the similarities and differences between colors within each family; made mental notes on how to mix common hues; noted the shift in hue of a color combination as one color predominated, then the other. It was really exciting to pull the tape off the finished charts. They're gorgeous in real life. I felt like I was printing money, generating this wealth of beautiful colors. I didn't post the individual charts here because the reproductions are so inferior to the real thing, but if you click on the group image above you get an idea of the color diversity. The upper left chart shows the gradations of the original tube colors.

I mounted the charts on the wall near my easel for easy reference. A good exercise is to pick a color in the surroundings, name the combination of 2 tube colors to arrive at that color, then check that guess against the charts. Only 2 tube colors per mixture to avoid the mud. Also, if you haven't yet, take a look at David Rourke's discussion on color mixing in his blog, All The Strange Hours. Finally, Bruce MacEvoy offers a complete discussion of color at his blog Handprint, with some useful value and color mixing charts (TY to David for mentioning Handprint).

14 July 2009

Color Intensity Study

Color intensity is important for conveying changes in the quality and location of light sources in a composition and in atmospheric perspective. Here's a good exercise for learning about color intensity from the introductory painting class I just finished with Lucas Graciano. We were given a landscape photo and told to paint it as a high, medium, and low intensity image without changing value. There are 2 ways to do this. First, mix the appropriate color, then add either the complementary color of the same value or a neutral gray of the same value. I opted for the neutral gray approach, using a set of 4 grays of increasing value that I pre-mixed from ivory black, titanium white and small amounts of raw umber (to balance the coolness of the ivory black).

The top left image above is the original photo. Next are the high (top-r), mid (bottom-l), and low (bottom-r) intensity paintings. I wasn't trying to render, just get a decent read of the big shapes. In hindsight, the low intensity image should probably be less colorful. I followed Richard Schmids' method, described in Alla Prima. He mixes the paint for each brushstroke based on the color, value, and intensity of the adjacent shapes. Once applied, if the stroke/shape is not correct he removes it immediately. His advice: Never leave a mistake on the canvas.

You can learn a lot from this type of study about intensity, and also about color mixing in general. Time well spent if you're just starting out. So, how did I do on maintaining the values? See the grayscale conversions of my paintings below. Not too bad, could be better. I'll work on it.

In his blog, All The Strange Hours, David Rourke posted a useful article on color and color mixing, with a great section on intensity, which he calls chroma (about half-way through the post). His blog is worth visiting, lots of good posts.

23 June 2009

Reilly Method Painting

I just finished an introductory oil painting class called "Reilly Method Painting from Life" taught by Erik Gist. The class introduces the novice to painting using a limited palette of 3 colors (cadmium red light, cadmium yellow deep, burnt umber) along with titanium white and ivory black. Ultramarine blue was also in this palette, but I never used it.

Before each session students pre-mix a series of 5 values for each color using black and white. The strategy is to combine pre-mixed hues of the same value to achieve new hues of that same value. These final hues are then applied using the corresponding values on an underpainting (below) and observation of the live model as guides. Flesh tones are burnt umber warmed with red and yellow or cooled with gray of the same value. Purples and greens come from mixing ivory black with red or yellow. A good reference on this general approach is The Fine Art of Portraiture: An Academic Approach by Frank Covino. He describes this method in great detail, but using a larger palette and 9 values instead of 5. I found a copy at the library, worth searching out.

Erik is a good teacher. He's very positive and supportive and talks about the process during most of each class, so you pick up a lot if you listen. He painted Vicky's nose. I learned a lot, especially about muddy and chalky color and the value of re-touch varnish. Also learned not to save the background for last. And that I better be determined, because I've got a lot of work ahead.

Vicky 2009, 16 x 12, oil on canvas board

07 June 2009

Long-Pose Head Drawing II

Today's post is another long-pose head drawing in graphite, drawn from life. I used the same methods as described earlier, except that for this portrait I toned the paper with charcoal powder in all areas I wanted to darken. Charcoal powder is messy, but I think the graininess enhanced this image of the battle-weary warrior. My 3 goals here were to draw a decent portrait from life, experiment with lost edges to add interest, and render the metal helmet convincingly. The advice I received for rendering the helmet was to use straight, hard edges and shapes around the highlights to push texture and brilliance; avoid curvy and organic.

This model is actually a nice guy named Adam who doesn't seem like the warrior type, but is a master leather craftsman, armor enthusiast, and owner of Loveduck Leather which specializes in "historically influenced leather and archery goods". Good model, too. You may recognize him from an earlier charcoal head drawing I posted.

I think I'm coming to the end of my graphite work, maybe posting one more portrait from this class. I plan to focus future effort on charcoal drawings and on oil painting. I've decided to start my oil painting life with Richard Schmid's palette. I've been reading Alla Prima lately, along with David Leffel's book Oil Painting Secrets from a Master. I recommend both highly. I'm finding as a beginning painter that my lack of color knowledge is slowing me down, so I plan to do Richard Schmid's color chart exercises during the upcoming break.

Adam 2009, 12 x 10, graphite and charcoal on bristol board

22 May 2009

Underpainting with Burnt Umber

In my introductory oil painting classes this term all of the subjects are portraits, both from photos and from life. The first stage of a portrait is often a burnt umber pick-out or underpainting, which provides a value map of the full-color portrait to come. It's a good learning device and transition between drawing and painting, since it's value-based and monochromatic, but is applied with oil and brush to a canvas. It also allows for design work-up without the complexity of color, and improves the accuracy of the final painting.

Navajo Boy 2009, oil on masonite, 12 x 9

The image above was from a photo I found in Native American Portraits by Nancy Hathaway. I thought I did a fairly good paint job, until the instructor, Lucas Graciano, added some darks, a bit of background, and some lost edges which made the image really pop. Never underestimate the value of a good instructor.

Vicky 2009, oil on canvas board, 13 x 10

The second underpainting is more my natural style, at least for now. Painted from life for the Reilly Method class, which I'll describe in a later post. The portrait will be completed over 3 sessions, so the underpainting has time to dry before color is added.

Technique: We use Winton burnt umber which has a warmer hue compared to other brands. We tone the canvas with thinned burnt umber, then immediately paint the image. Light areas are created by removing paint with a clean brush, paper towel, Q-tips, or kneaded eraser. Burnt umber dries fast, so you can only lighten for about a day. I used Robert Simmons Signet bristle brushes for initial block-in, Langnickel Royal Sable for blending, and Robert Simmons White Sable for detail.

Final note: I'm in New York City next week, visiting some galleries and museums, so answers to comments will be delayed. Back the week after.

14 May 2009

Long-Pose Head Drawing

Today's post is a long-pose head drawing from life. The pose was 9 hours long (3 hours x 3 days), which provided plenty of time to carefully study proportions and features. It's a relaxing way to draw from life. The class is taught by Stan Prokopenko, who also taught another long head drawing class I took about 6 months ago. I think this drawing shows improvement compared to drawings I did for that class (see Portraits from Photos I, II, and III). It feels more natural and energetic to me, too, compared to those drawings from photos.

My main purpose here was to practice value and edge control to improve facial rendering, so I didn't bother finishing other areas. Since mastering art is something of a numbers game, I figured better to move on to the next drawing.

Zara, 2009, 13 x 10, graphite on bristol board

22 April 2009

Portraits from Photos IV

Just posting a few practice head drawings today. These are from photos shot by Richard Avedon and published in his autobiography. I really like drawing weathered, mature faces. There's so much going on, rhythms are more obvious, edges are harder, and all those creases...just so much more interesting than a young, smooth face. The challenge here was the lack of strong directional lighting, but that also gave me a chance to interpret the images, which I need to practice more.

One thing that helps my drawings alot is to add variety whenever I can. That means lost-and-found edges, uneven shading, adding blemishes and bumps, and introducing a little chaos occasionally. Seems to be a common beginner's mistake to make things too smooth and even, leading to some really awful results.

It took about 3 hours for each drawing, using Conte charcoal pencils on smooth newsprint.

Top: Samuel Beckett, writer 2009, 16x12, charcoal on newsprint
Bottom: Vladimir Horowitz, pianist 2009, 16x12, charcoal on newsprint

24 March 2009

Head Drawings - Winter 2009

The sketches in today’s post are from a head drawing class I just completed, taught by Meadow Gist. Each portrait was drawn from life and took about 2 hours using a Conte 1710 B charcoal pencil on smooth newsprint (24in x 18in). After getting them home, I usually worked on them a bit more, looking for ways to improve the next one.

In the head drawing class this term, I found myself focusing most on getting the proportions right, unifying values on the light and dark sides, and adding convincing halftones. I like what Juliette Aristides says about halftones in her book The Classical Drawing Atelier: "The illusion of form is the domain of the halftones. The shadows can be simplified and unified, as to some degree can the lights, but the halftones must be gradated in order for the image to read as a turning form.” Sounds so simple.

I also like William Maughan's related advice from The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head: "...all shadows begin as form-shadows and end as cast-shadows, falling away from the light." A good drawing mantra.

I plan to post more portraits after each term to check for progress.

18 March 2009

Inking as Fine Art

Dip Pen and Ink: After Charles Dana Gibson, Two Strikes and the Bases Full, 1904 (top); Fanned Out, 1905 (bottom)

I’m just finishing a class taught by Jeff Watts called "Inking as Fine Art". I took the class to improve my dexterity, and to learn hatching and inking techniques (mission accomplished). Since time was limited, the class focused only on ball point pen, dip pen, and brush on smooth bristol board. We didn’t try washes, ink color, types/colors of paper, mixing with other mediums, etc. I figure I can explore those on my own, now that I know the basics. The images in today’s post are some of the pieces I did for the class, mostly studies after Renaissance masters and early 20th century illustrators. I plan to ink an original work during the upcoming break, a sort of final project for this class, which I’ll eventually post.

Dip pen and ink: After Joseph Clement Coll, Character from Dickens, 1912.

Regarding materials, it’s personal preference whether you use a dip pen or brush, they are basically interchangeable. I like the Speedball #513EF Globe Nib (dip pen) used with Speedball Super Black India ink. It was as flexible as the brush for line variety. I also used a Rafael 8404 #3 Kolinsky Sable brush. The brush is good for extremely fine lines, for filling large areas, and for washes, and you don’t have to reload it as frequently as a nib. I also liked the Staedtler pigment liners for ball point pen work. We didn’t use technical pens in this class.

Brush with ink, gouache, charcoal: After Vittore Carpaccio, Head of a Man, 1507.

From my bookshelf:

Finally,there are plenty of modern day inkers out there, posting every day in blogs like Urban Sketchers.

Staedtler pigment liner: After Charles Bargue, charcoal study from the drawing course.

Staedtler pigment liner: (Left) After Raphael Sanzio, Study of David (Right) After Vaselius, De Humani Corpus Fabrica, 1543. From "Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters"