I recently attended Illuxcon in Allentown, PA, and it was an awesome experience. I was overwhelmed with the amount of incredible artwork. Everyone I encountered was very generous with their time, and I had a wonderful time hanging out with some amazing artists. While I was there, I got to take part in the Illuxcon sketchfest at Allentown Brew Works, where they had a number of figure models to draw. I also got to take part in figure drawing instruction from the incredible Steve Huston. His instruction was great and he said many things that were very helpful to me, he even sat next to me for a few minutes and drew in my sketchbook to show me a few things, which was awesome! One thing that stuck with me was how he related visual art to other kinds of art like music and dance. Musicians and dancers aren’t just performing one note or one step, but each note and each step relate to the other notes and steps to create a whole, and we must think of our drawings and pictures in the same way. Each “note” of color or value or line in your picture must connect with the other notes to create the image. This might seem obvious to some, but I don’t think it’s a trivial observation. Thinking in this way has helped me to be more aware of what I’m doing and has forced me to ask myself how what I’m drawing now relates to what I’ve already drawn or plan to draw, and to remember to connect things, to make them flow visually. Creating pictures is an incredibly deep subject. In figure drawing alone, there are more hidden dimensions to it than I ever thought possible.
My copy of Bargue plate I, 54, page 80 of the Bargue drawing course. This was done for the SmArt School illustration bootcamp with Marc Scheff. I was experimenting with toned paper. There are some issues with this, the toned paper is too dark, and my blacks are not black enough. There are also some errors in the copying.
I recently completed the Dynamic Sketching 1 class with Peter Han and Johnson Truong at CGMA. This class was a lot of fun to do, and I took away a few important lessons from it that I think have really improved my drawing. First of all, I think that using pens and markers, which I had no experience with before this class gave me more confidence with my line work and helped me practice getting a line right the first time instead of being timid or sketchy about it, and I think that this has carried over to my pencil and digital work as well. Second, it gave me more of a sense of how to create contrast with line work and cross-hatching between different value areas. Third, I got a lot of practice thinking about focal points of a drawing, and keeping in mind where you want the viewer’s eye to go when they look at a drawing. Fourth, I got practice with idealization and simplification of reference. I had a realization a while ago while doing life drawing from a model that you don’t necessarily have to try to just robotically record what you see, that you can idealize, stylize, and simplify things to make a better drawing. It matters less whether it looks exactly like the reference and more whether it’s a pleasing image. This idea was a huge revelation to me, but I still sometimes forget this. In Dynamic Sketching, I was able to get more practice at this, and we were given strategies for how to simplify things, like a tree with thousands of leaves, but represent it convincingly in a fast way. Below are some of my drawings from the class.