Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Different Figure Drawing Workshop at Foothills Art Center!

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Drawing clothed figures--or "characters" might be more accurate--is one of my favorite things,
so I'm excited to be teaching a figure drawing workshop at Foothills Art Center this fall. Not only will I deliver my figure drawing knowledge, my techniques for drawing clothing and folds will be a major part of the workshop.

My sequence for drawing most all things isn't rocket science--I developed it from studying a Famous Artist Course notebook that a friend gave me back in art school, and from studying Andrew Loomis, George Bridgeman, and others. I had to; the "just draw what you see" method did not work for me.

Roughly, my sequence follows:

This would be an early stage, after a few gesture roughs.

A middle-ish stage...

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...and the finished, clothed figure!  

This wise old lady is from a book I illustrated called The Crimson Elf: Italian Tales of Wisdom, written by the great Michael Caduto.

I'm crazy about drawing characters, and about giving them costumes, and I am dedicated to sharing my techniques.

http://tomsarmo.blogspot.com/
If you've wanted to illustrate for children's books, or simply want a fun and 
different way to approach figure drawing, please check out my class--it's three consecutive Wednesdays: October 22nd, October 29th, and November 5th, at 7 pm!

Here's the link:

Foothills Art Center is a quick 15 minute drive from Denver, 
and it would be excellent to have you join my workshop.

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Some Dang Moral to This Story

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Lessons.
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.






Thursday, September 18, 2014

Perfection, Personality, and Paralysis

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I've always liked things rough around the edges, with an authentic, far-from-perfect, handmade quality about them. But as a young artist, I got caught up listening to art school classmates debate and chatter, and sadly, virtuosity became my goal. 
That pursuit of precision suited my personality not at all. The result: Immobility (or often, crappy work that had nothing to do with my passions or my temperament). 
In attempting to emulate illustrators and artists who were my heroes, my self-talk became hyper-critical, and that most often stopped me dead in my tracks.

Fresh out of art school, my wife and I were renting a tiny bungalow house. 
It had four rooms plus a slice of a room to the north. That's where I made my studio. You can see a bit of it at the left side of the photo. Only slightly wider than my drawing table, it was bright, quaint, and inviting. Or so it should have been.

I spent more time slumped on the couch than in that great little studio, paralyzed by my own expectation and desire for perfection.

I've battled the same demon, on and off, for years. With age, though, that perfection-inspired torpidity has disappeared. Rather than focusing on any goal, I just keep in mind that I'm joggling along on a nicely bumpy and pretty fascinating journey.

Nonetheless, the snide voice in my head that says, "Well that's far from perfect" is not completely neutralized. I've just become more practiced at ignoring it or actively shutting it up.

Sketching is always a no-pressure pleasure, and I obviously still check out and admire great artists and illustrators my friends recommend. Some are pretty darn perfect, some have that scruffly-quality, and I can enjoy looking at both. But where my own work is concerned, I've got to keep to the journey. Marcia Brown, in addition to her gifts of children's illustration, offered this reality-check quote:
"Sheer virtuosity is often more useful in a juggler".

That's a much better voice for me to heed.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Art Makers Denver is Almost Here!

Very excited for my workshops starting this Sunday at Art Makers Denver.  I'm looking forward to meeting the workshop participants and having a great time during this unique urban art experience--click on all the links for more info!

I'm offering three day long workshops. In reverse order:
Day Three--Illustration Expedition, which is an intensive sequence for creating full color illustrations!

And then there's...
Day Two--Characters, Creatures, and Creeps 
which covers in-depth techniques for character design and construction!

And also....

Day One--Basic Illustrative 3-D Drawing 
which features basic drawing using forms to create all sorts of things on paper!

Finally...
...here's the historic building which will house all the great workshop offerings.
There may be a few slots left if you are interested, but to be sure 
click on this link and check out the site 

Hope to see you there!



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September Spirit

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Ghost sketch.
Glad it is September, but doesn't matter if it's fall or not, I draw ghosts all year.

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This old fellow is right out of the Denver Illustration Salon Drink 'n Draw a few weeks ago. When I'm there, this kind of sketch seems to flow as freely as the beer. In this case, I used an H pencil, a Pentel Brushpen, and a rapidograph. White and yellow watercolor was added later.

I draw lots of ghosts and post about them often. One with a ghost-plaque you might enjoy:

Mark your calendar--more plaque-art and ghost art is on the table for an upcoming show this December 11th through the 21st at the Arvada Center https://arvadacenter.org/ 

Thanks for stopping by!
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