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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Been so busy with work and life it's hard to carve out time for sketch exercises.  And I'm really feeling it.  It's truly important to keep that hand loose and even more importantly, the mind engaged in observing.  Most people think that the hand eye coordination is the utmost important aspect in practicing drawing but as I get older, it's more the mind.  Draw it in your head first.  The hand and pencil are just the tools~like using a computer.  Be deliberate.  What do you want to say?  What's the story?  What is the attitude?  What is the mood?  Many young artists agonize over finding a "style" but it comes from this type of practice and asking these questions.  With these I am drawing from vintage black and white photos of actors, stage and theatre from the past.  I love the costumes and the tonal gradations.  Here I study the shadow shapes and how they set a mood, describing an era in history, to design the character.  These exercises will prep me for paintings, traditional or digital.  In an illustration, I will start with a thumbnail concept (several), then a rough drawing, then a final "tight" pencil ("tp", not toilet paper, ha, ha) and then start the painting with the shadow shapes, as I learned from Sean Cheatham.  I have to know that the shadow shapes (choosing a light source and it's caste shadows, soft edges and hard edges) work from the get go.  If the tonal exercise has strong presence, and it must, then the illustration will be sure to have power when color is applied.

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