This week at my Thursday night drawing studio I tried something a little different. Instead of sitting on a horse (drawing bench) I stood, cradling my iPad in one arm. Now, instead of looking up the model’s nose, I was more on eye-level and more importantly I could step in closer, or move my head for a better angle. The result is a much better drawing. Better likeness, better proportions. Overall much improved. By the end of the three hours my legs and one hip ached. But worth it.
I’m sure that I can bring this to bear while sitting, but I just need to be bold enough to rearrange the furniture and move the benches around.
I started this drawing with a grey-green drawing to set the values and work out the proportions. I then “glazed” the drawing with browns, pinks, and oranges to bring out the flesh tone. I love this trick. It makes your drawing deep and rich while producing subtle, naturalistic colors which are quite hard to pluck from the air or a color picker.
The previous weekend I had a good bit of time to myself. My wife worked so I drew. I wanted to get some more practice but I knew drawing from a tiny image in the corner of my iPad screen wasn’t really working that well.
My home is thoroughly entrenched in the Apple ecosystem. I am drawing on an iPad, writing on a Mac, and now I used my Apple TV as an ad hoc studio model. The Apple TV has a feature which shows any photos you have synced to Apple’s cloud photo service. Basically if you are using Apple’s products as they intend, then all of your photos will be on your TV for old-fashioned vacation slideshows. I pulled up a couple of photos on the TV, then sat across the room on the couch to draw. Yes, this is ridiculous. It’s a bit boggling to think of the image, taken with a camera, stored on a server, beamed over to a TV via the internet, then used as a reference for a drawing made by hand, with digital paint, on a flat future computer from Star Trek.
These images are bit rough structurally, but show me getting stronger. I may be approaching my skill level from 20 years ago.
Fun on the internet
I listen to a very silly podcast called Bonanza. It is very hard to explain. It’s a long running inside joke spanning at least two podcast networks, possibly three. Imagine drunk Bond villains running an internet start up.
On the most recent episode one of the hosts shared an unflattering picture of himself. He was a bit worse from wear after a big event the night before. This photo reminded me of the famous painting The Death of Marat.
Since I was already painting on my iPad, and I already had my ridiculous beam-it-over-to-the-AppleTV set up working, I downloaded the photo, it popped up on my TV, and then I got to work.
I used the same green-grey under-drawing technique as above, replacing the ceiling fan with a hazy painting background (you know those brownish clouds that float behind portraits in old paintings). I think it was well received.