Sunday, August 31, 2008

Arcology Festival

Out in the middle of the desert in Arizona is an architectural and social experiment named Arcosanti. It was conceived as a far grander project by the Italian visionary architect Paolo Soleri, but even after a few decades of building, it exists as a small, eccentric place for "alternative" living and architectural experimentation. There is also an ambient/prog rock music festival there every fall called "Different Skies." Many of my ambient music friends from the "Stillstream" community will be there. This Photoshop sketch, which is not a portrait of Arcosanti but inspired by it, is in honor of them. The festival begins September 14, with a gala final concert on September 20.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

More Hogarth

Here's a couple more of my copies of Burne Hogarth's figure drawings. I won't stop till I've gotten the style, and knowledge of anatomy, well-learned. There are plenty of examples in the book.
Hogarth's women aren't as good as his men. His women are either cartoony voluptuous or stiff like dress dummies. His males are full of burly action and Michelangelesque contortions.
His figure drawing work somehow reminds me of the Gay art of "Tom of Finland." (Warning: explicit content.) It's not only the heavy pencil work but the exaggerated male muscles, though Hogarth for the sake of artistic decency doesn't include the "business" of his nude male figures. 

Friday, August 29, 2008

A lovely sunset in Hell

I haven't forgotten Hell. Painted in Photoshop, about an hour's worth of time. 

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Master Turquoise

A Dodson exercise in which I am asked to create a composition with transformations and re-sizing of a single motif. The blues, greens, and aqua are in honor of a psi-adept in my Noantri world who has just attained the status of Master.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Copying Hogarth

For the next period in my self-teaching program, I will be working with DYNAMIC FIGURE DRAWING by the great American cartoonist and master draughtsman Burne Hogarth. This book and its companions are mainstays in many illustrators' training.

These drawings above are my copies of some of Hogarth's drawings. I have drawn lots of figures in static poses, or even "action" poses, all from photographs, but they are not what I am looking for. Hogarth's figures are idealized and "unreal," but are full of movement and beautifully drawn. 

Old-style art training involved copying master drawings as well as drawing from life. I don't want to draw from the "Old Masters," since they are, well, from a bygone era. But twentieth-century master Hogarth created drawings that I want to copy. I am hoping that I'll gain at least a shadow of the movement and active quality of the original and be able to draw like that myself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Somerville 1984

I did this piece 24 years ago, when I still lived in Cambridge, Mass. I used to wander around my neighborhood with my sketchbook and some watercolor pencils. I would draw a scene, almost always architecture, indicate the colors lightly with the pencils, then bring it home and following my color notes, I would paint it with watercolor. This place is actually in Somerville, which borders on Cambridge. These drawings are in a bound notebook and the paper warped when I used watercolor. I have lots of them in my archives. 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Punchy Action

The Olympics are over, and everyone is tired. Here's another action figure inspired by the Games, "generic" fighter without boxing equipment or martial arts uniform. This is vaguely inspired by the action figures of the famous comics artist Jack Kirby. I'm still not very good at drawing action figures. But I need them more than static, "graceful" model poses.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Graceful Babe

She might be doing a gymnast floor pose, but she's too tall to be a gymnast. And there is that lack of leotard. But my figures must be graceful.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Olympic Action Woman

Another action figure, inspired by the Olympic women playing beach volleyball. I adapted a model photo, not entirely successfully, though the USA beach volleyball women were successful, as they always are.
I wonder whether the Olympics inspires more people to exercise or take up a sport. Or do we just forget about it a day or two after the whole thing is over. I've never played beach volleyball and most probably never will. 

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sea Creatures

An image from early 2001, inspired by Lovecraft. They live under the sea, watching and waiting. Acrylic on board, 10" x 7".

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dodson's Flaming Turkey

Another page of Dodsons. Haven't you ever felt like a flaming turkey sometimes? I suppose it's better to be a flaming turkey than nothing at all. But then being quiet and obscure is supposed to be "spiritual." 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Action Miniatures

A page of small action drawings, inspired by the Olympics. Mostly from memory, done with a big thick lead. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


A very quick effort on Photoshop after a long day at work, and then watching the Olympics on TV. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Starbucks People

I was in Starbucks again with my sketchbook. This is a common thing. If there were no Starbucks, we would have to invent it. Everyone is a model for me, and they never know it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Naked Philosopher

The calm and noble image of a nude man contemplating the Orb of the Universe symbolizes Philosophy.
Or it could just be that he is thinking of basketball, and wondering where his clothes have gone.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Doing the Dodsons

This Dodson doodle set asks me to color in the shapes that I created in the doodle. I've sort of been doing this already. As always, making up the titles is a big part of the fun here. Kids' markers on paper.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Classical Rear End

Here's another drawing simulating the "classic" style of conte crayon on colored paper.
I don't like this style very much, but it seems to be a pre-requisite for a "classical" art training. But maybe the ones I'm doing don't count, because though the drawing is real (in this case, heavy wax pencil) neither the colored paper nor the conte crayon highlight is real. I suppose I could draw with the real things, if I must, but the pigment powder would get all over my scanner, so I'd have to photograph it instead. I'm not in art school, so forget it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Meals in No Time

A cute little graphic I did recently for Trader Joe's. I can't take credit for the idea of the running clock face, an assistant manager thought that up. In the final version the Trader Joe's logo appears on the paper bag. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Women Athletes

Watching the Olympics on TV gives me lots of inspiration for action figures. I still used photographs for the two larger ones at left, but the small figures on the right are either from memory, or attempts to capture a few milliseconds' position of players on the screen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dodsons in Faux Stone

The Dodson assignment this time was to "build" little structures out of either brick-like shapes or rounded rock-like shapes. You could build any way you wanted from these shapes, with no regard to gravity. I'm used to doing architectural renderings where everything has to make sense in standing up, so these were a bit of a mind-change for me. 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Victory and Defeat

Another Olympic-theme figure study set. The olde Greekes used to compete in the nude. The winner in this set gets to wear modest Spandex.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Action Figures

In honor of the Olympics I thought I would dare to do some action figures. These are not Olympians drawn from TV or photo images, but models from model books, catering to would-be comics illustrators, that offer people in active poses such as running, fighting, or leaping. 

Every four years I see the Olympics in a different mood. This year it reminds me how physically weak and inactive I am. I have not done any kind of sport in almost twenty years.  

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Summer Clouds

It's been a lovely summer for clouds this year. Big puffy cumulus clouds have been sailing across the sky, accompanied by flying mists of purple-grey. But most of the storms in this area have missed my neighborhood, so it's rather dry. I am very fond of clouds. Photoshop, from memory, painted quickly.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Dodson Marks Drawings

In this series of "Dodson Doodles," I am asked to create images using many iterations of one kind of mark. The book's examples are in black and white but I enjoy making them in color. Also, making up the titles is part of the fun.
In case you haven't seen the "Roman broccoli" that inspired the upper picture, here's a picture of this amazing vegetable, sometimes available in the USA as "broccoflower."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Another Pose

Well, it is about posing after all. People don't take art model poses in the usual contexts of life. This one is from my Japanese book of limber young ladies doing all sorts of improbable (but usually non-erotic) positions. This was one of the more "natural" ones. And of course anything Japanese is hot these days.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gentlemen, be seated.

I continue my figure drawings. My sketchbook is about half full of drawings now. Remember, I will only allow myself to draw fantasy figures when the book is all filled, that is my challenge. I can never draw enough of these, because every little mistake shows up and with a human figure you have to be as perfect as you can manage. For instance, the guy at the top is a good drawing but the guy on the bottom lacks's slightly stilted, the dread rigor artis set in here. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Construction Site

I did this study of a construction site in 2002. I remember that I drew it in my parked car, during very hot weather. It was in an illustrated journal and I have edited the text out. Drawn in brown ink. 

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back in the countryside

I spent another day touring the countryside in northern Virginia. This time I drove through the environs of Middleburg, which is famous for its horses and tally-ho culture. I saw plenty of grand estates with pastures, forests, and mansions, and I observed horses, cattle, and lots of birds. I did this drawing in colored pencil, while sitting on the artist-friendly tailgate of my car.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Transuniversal Mishap

What happens when the Dodson Doodles and my figure drawing series collide?
I hope she finds her clothes. If not, she will have to dress in a loud print of pink and yellow triangles, until she finds her way back to her own universe.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lady with Veil

An elegant, curvaceous lady with a veil. It's properly Artistic. With big boobs too.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Four Heroes

I could draw colorful doodles all night. Or I could do "Pretty Women in Graceful Poses" which are so important for artists to spend endless hours doing. But what I really want to do is draw comic books and fantasy art. That's why I'm doing all these figures in the first place. When my notebook is full, I will start doing heroic fantasy art with well-drawn figures in it. 
These guys have not had the "makeover" which transforms them into heroes rather than just male models.