24 September 2009

The Return of Figure Drawing

I am so happy to say that the figure drawing sessions at CCA/ Illustration have resumed. One can never over value the power of drawing from life. In this particular instance I made three 20 minute drawings, submitted here for your perusal.

The following image was cobbled together in photoshop, just to give a sense of the page. While the patchwork of scans isn't the greatest, this image is only to give a sense of the whole page.
Prior to the drawing session, earlier in the day, I was in conversation with a friend regarding the work of Kent Williams. While we both agreed that there is some merit to doing straight master studies from an admired artist, that in the end that is only an exercise in seeing. While we both professed a love of his work, we both also agreed that there was already a Kent Williams in the world and that there really isn't a need for a second. Thus we were encouraged to follow our own paths. As my friend succinctly put it, "there is enough room here for all of us."

Having been thinking about what it is about Kent's work that I really like, one thing that came to mind is how he lays in his lines. No doubt after A LOT of life drawing that the artist grows accustomed to the form and can be more bold { or subtle } about their comments on the page. With this in mind, these drawings endeavor to be bold, more direct and then to allow the drawings to adapt over time. This of course can lead to distortions and misproportions, but after all these are drawings not photographs.

07 September 2009

Dorothy: Then A Strange Thing Happened...

"Then a strange thing happened.

The house whirled around two or three times and rose slowly through the air. Dorothy felt as if she were going up in a balloon.

The north and south wind met where the house stood, and made it the exact center of the cyclone. In the middle of a cyclone the air is generally still, but the great pressure of the wind on every side of the house raised it up higher and higher, until it was at the very top of the cyclone; and there it remained and was carried miles and miles away as easily as you could carry a feather.

It was very dark and the wind howled horribly around her, but Dorothy fond she was riding quite easily. After the first few whirls around, and one other time when the house tipped badly, she felt as if she were being rocked gently, like a baby in a cradle.

Toto did not like it. He ran about the room, now here, now there barking loudly, but Dorothy sat quite still on the floor and waited to see what would happen.

Once Toto got too near the open trap door, and fell in; and at first the little girl thought she had lost him. But soon she saw one of his ears sticking up through the hole, for the strong pressure of the air was keeping him up so that he could not fall. She crept to the hole, caught Toto by the ear, and dragged him into the room again, afterward closing the trap door so that no more accidents could happen."

It was from this text in the Wizard of Oz, that the initial spark of inspiration flew for this piece. I was particularly struck by a few things here. One, that there is so much emphasis placed on the 'centered-ness' of not only the cyclone but Dorothy as well. Here her reaction is quite relaxed, what a Taoist might call the Wu Wei, or going with the flow. Secondly, there's the strangeness of the floating dog in the center of the room, that just sounded fun.

I owe a great big Thanks to everyone who helped me through out the completion of this piece; Zelda Devon, Rebecca Guay, Randy Chavez, Paris Raupach, and to my friends and family who helped keep my spirits up, thank you. The amount of learning that happened during the course of this illustration would be hard to quantify, certainly at each turn there was someone there to lend a helping hand.

Process wise, this piece was done in an effort to create a well composed, dramatic image, with a strong underling value structure. Consequently, it has seen numerous revisions along the way. This idea was germinated from the assignment options for the Illustration Master Class held earlier this year, due to personal reasons I was unable to attend and from there I realized that there was no need to hurry this piece along. In hindsight, that certainly allowed time and space for many small details to mature.

There will be another post later on reviewing some of the process tips I picked up and the journey from blank page to painting, but for now I hope you enjoy the image.

PS: to see the original post about this image and watch it all come together go to Post #1: Steampunk Wizard of Oz
to see the previous post about this image go to Post #3: Dorothy, as she is