Monday, September 22, 2014

Some Dang Moral to This Story
I've struggled with drawing from life, both physically and mentally. 
Physically: My eyes never learned to see an object well and my fingers wouldn't cooperate in any case. Mentally: My mind was too fascinated with the pictures inside of my head to care about what was outside.

But drawing what's out there is important--I know that now, even though my cranky young self fought that admonition tooth and nail in school.

The photo above gives an idea of the process I take when building a picture--even when it's simply for practice. I drew the rough figure out in pencil on a scrap of watercolor paper and then used tracing paper overlays to work up the details and finalize his head--which I wanted skull-like, not a skull. The sequence follows:

Goofing with a goblinish accordion player was my goal. I gathered the resources I'd need, including a weasel skull, and some accordion reference photos.

I reduced the reference photo to line so I could see it more easily. 
Need all the help with that I can get.

Found a photo I liked better...

then worked up my version using tracing paper laid onto my rough sketch, not onto the photo.

 Added ink to the pencil sketch and erased the pencil.

I've begun the washes on top of the ink drawing. Hoping to squeeze in some time today to work on it some more. That's my process, for what it's worth, on this sketch at least.

I wish that I'd been taught better how to see, and how to draw what I saw. Well, I wish I'd have known how to ask, instead of sitting in class stewing over my struggles and 
being angry at the instructor. 
Guess there's some sort of moral for both students and teachers there.

(One more thing--the inspiration for this experiment came from Stefano Bessoni, an artist/film maker whose works I admire greatly. Check out his blog!

And thanks for reading.


  1. Same struggle, Tom, I'd either be completely lost inwhat I was drawing and produce a great drawing, or....not. And marrying observational drawing and elements that emerge from the imagination, still working on that. Been following Stefano B lately too. Learning so much! Cheers. A

    1. Thanks, Aino. Also glad you like Bessoni's work!

  2. Struggles...... well known phenomenon also in Artichokistan.... :(

    I didn't know Mr. Bessoni, thanks for sharing, great discovery for me! I have to think of Jan Svankmajer- also movie maker.... crazy but good!!

    1. Hi LT--Thanks for the commiseration :) Glad you like the works of Bessoni. He's a bit like Svankmajer, (whose works I also enjoy) but a little more humorous in tone maybe?

  3. Fascinating -- the entire process. Thanks for showing the phases/steps along the way . . .

    1. Thanks Erik--Glad you found it worthwhile!

  4. I'm going to try reducing reference photos to line. What a great idea! I love the ink lines in your drawing, especially the hands.

    1. Hi Laurie--Good ol' Photoshop. I often swear at it, but it does come in handy.Thanks for the visit and comments!


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