Saturday, July 11, 2015
I actually draw a lot from reference because: it's just plain enjoyable and keeps the hand loose and helps to prep me to do inventive figure, a lot of times, without reference. I've never been one of those people who can just doodle from subject to subject, in a variety of compositions, and themes. I've always admired those who can do that. I need time to warm up, and like to stick to one subject and "plus" that out, explore many options from a single theme. I love visual stymuli; that's what gets me going.
This drawing style is one that I learned from Paul Wee (The Simpsons) who learned from Mark Westermoe. I also took a few classes from Mark, who called it "painting with a pencil", and conversely, in quick color renderings, (color thumbnails) call it "sketching with the brush". They both taught me to lay down the long guidelines you see in my sketches. When I first got to Southern California, was floored at the commercial drawing style here. In the Bay Area, it's more self taught and "fine art', but in Los Angeles, because of the studios, it's much more disciplined and figure drawing and animal drawing is taken much more seriously. Paul Wee drew the most drop dead gorgeous figures I had ever seen. Poetry, really, a smooth velvety line on newsprint, which I learned from him. And Mark Westermoe, who taught him, suffered from pronounced tremors, which actually, I think, enhanced his drawings and made the charcoal more random, but because he was so good at designing shadow shapes and shading and giving volumne to the figure, his work was outstanding also, tremors or no. It was "calligraphic", purposely organized design. I always found him to be warm, encouraging, and loved drawing. Paul is not so good with words, as Mark was, or he wasn't back then, but his teaching was thru is outstanding demos. I mean, I literally had to cancel whatever I learned about drawing, to pick up this new style. I had to learn to draw all over again. It was humbling but so worth it.
Most great artists had mentors behind them or good instructors. Norman Rockwell loved JC Leyendecker's work and you can see the influences~esp. in his toddlers. And Frank Frazetta was taught by an Italian painting master when Frazetta was a teenager. I am greatly influenced by Mark and Paul's flowing style and I learned structure and surface anatomy from Steve Huston, when he used to live in Southern California and taught at Disney and Dreamworks studios. I learned how to create a great sketchbook from the late Barbara Bradley of the Art Academy in SF, when I lived in the Bay Area. But I've had many more influencers since then, some from the web and some from friends. The important thing is to keep sketching; keep that pencil, pen or brush moving~