Sunday, May 4, 2014

Drawing Fantasy Artworks: A Process
For Rent (detail). Mixed media.

As a kid, I struggled to find methods that let me get the images and creatures I saw in my head out onto paper. Believe it or not, just a few decades ago, information on how to construct 3-d figures and characters was really difficult to access--especially in the Rocky Mountain West.  My high school art classes didn't teach it, nor did the instructors in local colleges and universities. The many approaches to drawing imaginative works seemed secret and hidden from me, and I was one frustrated person.

 Fortunately, I was able to figure it out using lots of resources and experimentation. I've cobbled my method together using techniques I learned when I finally got to art school, and from old and contemporary how-to books. (See )

I also got help from fellow artists, and from reading up on the drawing processes of artists I admire. I continue to add to my knowledge--thank goodness it is not hard to find teachers like that any longer--by studying with many artists who use and share their similar techniques to achieve wonderful fantasy imagery. 

While there is no "one-way", my personal process has ended up following a similar sequence every time, and I love to share it! When I teach drawing workshops, I try to convey these methods because they've worked for me.
It's all about building up increasingly complex pictures from forms--spheres, cylinders, and cubes--to complex, finished artworks. The following sequence illustrates a pretty simplified version of the methods I teach:

After a few rough idea sketches, this would normally be the first step. I might not always draw this out at this point in my career, but this type of diagram would definitely be in my head. I'd be thinking about how each part of the tree-man would spring from specific, directional forms.

The next step would involve chunking the forms together to make a cohesive whole. My own actual step might be rougher than this illustration, but I'm being more specific here to show the idea behind the process, and I definitely teach beginners to do this step with precision. It solves many drawing problems early on.
With a quite a bit more smoothing and blending and the addition of clothing--a whole other part of the process--I'd get to the point of adding pen and ink (in this case) or whatever medium I wanted to use.
Still, keeping forms in mind--even using them for tiny details and texture--is always part of my methodology.

At this point I added white gesso for the highlights, wanting the light to appear as though it was originating from the egg.  The detail at the top of this post shows the addition of acrylic ink for color.

You can see the whole picture, and a bit more of the sequence by clicking the link below:

This info should be available, so I'm into sharing these and other art techniques. This September I'm lucky to be teaching three illustrative drawing workshops in downtown Denver!  You can find out more about them and other great workshops at Art Makers Denver--just click the following link:

Thanks for the visit!

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