Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Exquisite Illustrations Created with Thousands of Tiny Lines [feedly]

Exquisite Illustrations Created with Thousands of Tiny Lines
// Brown Paper Bag

sara corbett

Countless tiny lines form these exquisite illustrations by Sara Corbett. The Brooklyn-based creative uses the miniaturized ticks in designing creatures like zebras, bats, fish, and more. They're seen frolicking in the woods in unlikely pairings. (Who would imagine that a raccoon and elephant are hang out?)

We all know the power of a small line, but it's nice to be reminded that even the simplest mark can imply texture, movement, and the difference between tree bark and a rabbit's fur.

If you enjoy Sara's style, be sure to check out her comics, too!

sara corbett sara corbett sara-corbett7 sara-corbett4 sara-corbett5 sara-corbett6

And, a little extra: Sara also designed and made this cute plush toy!sara-corbett8

The post Exquisite Illustrations Created with Thousands of Tiny Lines appeared first on Brown Paper Bag.


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"The Last of His Kind" Development Work [feedly]

"The Last of His Kind" Development Work
// Muddy Colors

By Justin Gerard

"The Last of His Kind"

Drawing on toned paper.

As many of you know or suspect, I prefer watercolor, pencil and digital to working in other mediums. There is a energy and vitality to working with lines that I can't seem to get in other ways.  
Also, watercolor and pencil has become comfortable routine action for me; like making cheese toast, or asking someone else to make me cheese toast.   

Oil Painting on the other hand is something more stressful, like amateur bomb defusal.  (red wire or blue wire? I DON"T KNOW I'M CUTTING ALL THE WIRES)

Still, sometimes I get an image in my head that just won't work with watercolor and pencil. It needs more 'oomph'. And there is nothing like working in oil for achieving oomph. 
And lacking a mast to tie myself to, I cannot ignore the siren song of Rembrandt. So I dig out the Old Holland paints and walnut oil to try my hand at it again. 

So for this week's post I am sharing a work in progress of oil I have been working on. I hope you enjoy. 

Acrylic underpainting on gessoed 11x14 panel

Monochrome oil over the acrylic on panel

The final painting will be available to see in person at the KrabJab show, "Marriage is a Work of Art" debuting April 11. It will be there alongside Annie's gorgeous painting that she will be revealing later this week.  

In Closing: Please remember to observe April Fool's day by asking all your friends what they got their mothers for Mother's Day. 


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

drawing like an architect

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

There’s Always Time to Write a Book [feedly]

There's Always Time to Write a Book
// The Art of Non


From Laura Vanderkam's busy year:

"I have never believed that book writing needs to be all-consuming. It wasn't for Toni Morrison writing The Bluest Eye at night after her kids went to bed and let's face it, we're not likely to produce anything like The Bluest Eye no matter how much time we spend writing. Books are projects like any other.

Incidentally, you can make time for the rest of your life too. I'm always amused by the lines in book acknowledgements in which authors (generally, male authors) thank their families for putting up with all their missed dinners. Not only am I not missing dinner, I'm generally cooking it."

I'm busy as always, but I'm also writing a new book this year. How about you?


Image: Dan


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Rembrandt Says Don’t Take It Slow [feedly]

Rembrandt Says Don't Take It Slow
// Artist Daily

How to Draw According to Rembrandt

Straight from the master's mouth, er, hand. Study Rembrandt's drawing techniques and you'll find short strokes and quick crosshatching that the artist used to get to the heart of every visual impression he wanted to depict.

The Three Trees by Rembrandt, 1643, etching with burin drypoint in black ink on cream laid paper, 8 x 11.
The Three Trees by Rembrandt, 1643, etching with burin
drypoint in black ink on cream laid paper, 8 x 11.

But Rembrandt was not a quick sketcher just for the sake of speed. According to Rembrandt expert Jakob Rosenberg, the artist combined "brevity with suggestiveness ... the result of sensitive selection, with an emphasis upon significant features and an appeal to the spectator's imagination."

This can certainly be seen in Rembrandt's use of line. After sketching an outline, Rembrandt would go quickly into establishing masses with shading marks. He deftly used a light touch and took advantage of the surface texture of his drawing to create airy cast shadows and halftones.

Old Man Seated in an Armchair, Full Length by Rembrandt, ca. 1631, red and black chalk, 9 x 6¼.
Old Man Seated in an Armchair, Full Length
by Rembrandt, ca. 1631, red and black chalk, 9 x 6¼.
Adapted from an article by Joseph C. Skrapits.

He would also use line to visually connect figure to environment to atmosphere, joining them all in a narrative sense that is quite modern. Old Man Seated in an Armchair shows how the artist's buildup of crosshatched line allowed for subtle layers of shading and a visual merging of everything depicted-the figure's beard blends into his chest, the blanket he is wrapped in blends with his legs, his legs with the chair legs, the chair with the cast shadows behind the figure, and so on.

When it came to drawing shadows and the darkest darks, the marks of the artist are quite vigorous. He put down such heavy shading strokes that the grain of the paper is often undetectable, but the objects never lose their volume because Rembrandt was so skillful at bringing back in the midtones and highlights.

Drawing magazine is a top source for a deep and lasting understanding of drawing past and present. With an emphasis on learning all we can from the Old Masters, like Rembrandt, as well as contemporary draftsmen, Drawing delivers technical demonstrations and meaningful methods with every issue, which is why a subscription to Drawing comes highly recommended. Enjoy! 

P.S. For more on Rembrandt's speed-driven draftsmanship, check out our exclusive article, Rembrandt's Shorthand Drawing Style by Joseph C. Skrapits.




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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Smaug and Scale [feedly]

Smaug and Scale
// Temple of the Seven Golden Camels

I was watching the second Hobbit movie on my iPad (it's available on the HBO GO app, if anyone is interested) and I noticed some interesting techniques that were used to make Smaug the Dragon look large (I don't think there are any actual spoilers ahead, unless it counts as a spoiler to tell you there's a dragon named Smaug in the film, which I already did, sorry).

One of the hardest challenges in creating illustrations, painting pictures and in creating movies is making sure that things that are supposed to be massive in size actually look large. If you don't include humans in scenes (or human-created objects that audiences can relate to in terms of size), it can be hard to tell what scale those things are and they can begin to look smaller and less imposing than you intend.

The film "Pacific Rim" faced a few challenges along these lines. The film mostly consists of battles between giant monsters and giant robots that take place far out in the ocean, away from any human made objects. The epic scale can get lost when it's just a robot and a monster fighting in ocean waves without things like buildings to show scale. So the film makers included helicopters in many of the fight scenes, because we know how big helicopters are, and seeing them in almost every shot placed near a robot or a monster helps reinforce how big these things actually are.

Anyway, back to "The Hobbit" and Smaug. There is a similar technique at work here, but in the case of Smaug, he lives in a cave full of treasures he's hoarded. So almost every shot we see of the dragon, you can see piles of gold coins, which help tell us how large he is, especially in shots where there aren't any humans to be seen (okay, technically they're not humans--they're dwarves and hobbits--but you know what I mean and I'm going to refer to them as humans in this post).

The film uses a good variety of techniques to help make Smaug look big (and the other characters look small), like shots looking down on every character that isn't Smaug:

And the film always films Smaug from an angle where you're looking up at him, which makes him look large and imposing:

Another technique that makes Smaug look huge is making sure he always has some surface areas that are light on him and some surface areas that are dark. When a character looks like he can't be entirely lit by one or more light sources, he starts to look really big.

This technique is also very useful when creating layouts. Creating alternating areas of light and shadow can be great for adding depth to a layout. The cause of the shadows can be trees, or clouds overhead, or buildings, or anything else that works.

I used to feel that when you're trying to make a character look large, you always want to keep the large character in the foreground to make sure everything else always looks small and stays in the background. But that approach can be very limiting, and there is a wide variety of shots in the Smaug sequence where this isn't the case. There are many shots where Smaug isn't in the foreground, and sometimes there are even people in the foreground while the dragon is in the background.

In these cases, it's helpful to make sure the camera is always looking up at the dragon. He appears very large as long as the camera is low and looking up towards him. Also, I like that Smaug is centered and the human character is pushed to the edge of the screen. Compositionally, this makes the dragon powerful and the human much less powerful.

And being able to put humans in the foreground is very helpful, staging-wise, because the dragon is so massive that if you kept the humans in the background all the time, you would have a hard time seeing them at all. They would be pretty miniscule.

One other technique that the shot above utilizes is to make sure Smaug's skin is covered with lots of textures. Lots of little details on his face and body make him look big.

More interesting shots:

The camera rarely includes all of Smaug in the frame, as if he is so large that the camera can't fit him all in the shot. This is another great way to make him look big.

More alternating light sources to make him look like he takes up a lot of space:

This next example is hard to see (these are all iPad screenshots taken on-the-fly), but another interesting technique: the scene with Smaug takes place in a area that encompasses a Dwarf mine, so there are all sorts of mining equipment seen within the scene. Here, we see human figures in the foreground in these mining buckets. The line of buckets carries far into the distance, and appear next to the dragon so we can relate them to Smaug (who is in the lower left area of the frame). We know all these buckets are of one consistent size, and we can tell that the buckets (which are large compared to the human characters) are dwarfed by the size of the dragon, so this is another great shot where the humans can be large in the foreground and the dragon is relatively smaller in the background, and yet the dragon looks massive in size, all within the same shot.

Also, the dragon looks far away because of the fact that he has less contrast than the objects in the foreground. The atmosphere in this giant chamber is making the dragon look hazy. when things look hazy and far away because of atmospheric perspective (like a mountain in the distance), they look big.

Another example of making sure the camera looks down on the small human characters:

 A rare full-body shot of Smaug. There's nothing human or man-made in the shot to relate him to, so the coins on the floor are a good reminder of how big he is.

Another example of keeping Smaug in an upshot. Yes, the human takes up more space than Smaug in the frame, but we are looking up at Smaug in a dramatic way, so he appears large and intimidating.

I hope these examples make sense and that everything is clear. Drawing things in their proper scale and keeping them that way can be very difficult. All of these techniques can be used to make buildings or statues look big, or landscapes look massive, or to give almost anything else size and scale if that's your goal. And these things can be used in a converse way to make objects or characters look tiny and small.

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Barriers Every Art Student Must Overcome [feedly]

Barriers Every Art Student Must Overcome
// Artist's Network

I love being an art instructor, it is such a rewarding career. I'm a self-taught artist and thus have invested many, many hours in the trial-and-error process to learn to create my own satisfying works of art. Those hours pale in comparison to the self-satisfaction of creating art, and equally pale in comparison to the joy I experience when I get to bring students along on the art journey. Sharing my knowledge with students and explaining my processes are some of the most rewarding aspects of my life.Lee Hammond Art Instruction
Part of the year I live in Kansas and part of the year I live in Florida. Thus, I teach part of the year in Kansas and part of the year in Florida. It's always bittersweet when I prepare to leave one state to spend time in the other. It's sweet because I look forward to the new classes I have scheduled in the new location, but bitter because I have to say goodbye to current students. It's doubly hard when I see a student on the cusp of an artistic breakthrough. I help students through many struggles and having to leave when they're about to make a breakthrough is hard. As their instructor, my hope is that students diligently practice their art in my absence, forge ahead in their creative path without me, and build their own creative confidence.
Some of my students have come to me for more than 20 years, and since the average time students stay with me is 10 years, I must be doing something right. It's a joy to watch students succeed and I want my art students to continually achieve new levels.
Over the years, I've noticed some barriers students allow to hinder them from reaching their next level of success. I want to get these destructive little habits out in the open so you can avoid doing them. My hope is that if you're aware of these bad habits, you'll be able to catch yourself and STOP!
Barrier 1 - Fear of Failure: Being afraid to fail or to make a mistake is normal when you're learning something new. However, if you don't try something, you will never learn. What's the worse that can happen, anyway? You need a new piece of paper? I have thrown away many things, and with each one tossed, I learned valuable lessons. Fear not, just go for it!
Barrier 2 – Waiting to be Told What To Do: This is also normal when you're a beginner. However, part of learning is trying to figure stuff out on your own. Too many students sit helpless until I get to them, rather than making an attempt. I'm always happy to guide students, but you will become too dependent if you don't learn to analyze your procedures and work through problems. You must push yourself to work independently.
Barrier 3 – Ye Who Practice Not: Once a student has learned a new technique, they often seem to forget it by the following week. It is essential to practice a "segment drawing notebook" as I call it in my books. I see the benefits when a student actually practices. However, many students don't want to, so the level of their artistic growth is not as good as it could be.Lee Hammond Art Instruction
Barrier 4 – Acting As a Human Copy Machine: I can see it on the student's face when their art doesn't turn out exactly as they intended. Many art students get way too caught up in making their art identical to their reference. It's important to be an artist and own your artistic liberties. After all, if your reference photo is so great, just frame that! Being an artist is about being creative and a reference photo is just that – a reference.
Barrier 5 – Addiction To Learning Without Applying it to Actual Art: I've had some students that are chronic question askers. Now, that is a good thing, but some get caught up in the learning process, and do nothing but read about it, ask questions, watch the demos, take copious notes, and do nothing more. What they end up with is a notebook full of wonderful advice and suggestions, but they don't draw anything. You must apply the knowledge.
Barrier 6 – Not Paying Attention During Demonstrations: Wow, is this a hotspot for me! Art Classes with Lee HammondAdmittedly, it's frustrating to try to guide an art student and not have him/her pay attention. I have been hard at work showing someone how to improve an area in his artwork, only to turn around and find him off talking to someone else two tables down, checking a text message, etc. I love being an art teacher and will always show art students how to do something better, but you must pay attention in order to learn. Always remember that your teacher is sharing thousands of hours of learning with you, to make it easier for you.
Barrier 7 – Allowing Outside Influences and Opinions Stunt Your Growth: One week the art student is elated with her progress, only to return to class the next week telling me, "He thinks this looks funny" or "They said this needs to be done differently." While I welcome some outside commentary simply due to the fact that art is subjective, it's frustrating when that opinion matters more than mine. I've seen some pieces never finished due to an unkind remark or criticism from an outsider. That is unfortunate. I've seen artwork finished with pride, and then placed under the bed because it wasn't received as well as the student had hoped. I've seen commissioned pieces rejected and my students crushed when the client was dissatisfied. It's all a part of the process, my friends, and you must toughen up. Be proud of your work regardless of outside opinions. If your happiness is hinged on the reaction of others, you will often be hurt. Love what you do and do your best. Please yourself first.
Thank you for allowing me the honor of being your teacher and for helping me fill the world with beautiful art. Together we are an awesome creative team! I hope this blog post explains a few things so we can come together to create a better learning experience. Art students, remember how lucky you are to have a mentor. Keep smiling, and stay creative.
With art, the world is a better place!

Edited by Meghan Norton, eMedia Production Coordinator, ArtistsNetwork.com
Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!
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liamcobb: Work in progress… Coming soon [feedly]

liamcobb: Work in progress… Coming soon
// space in text


Work in progress… Coming soon


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isometric background tutorial by MenInASuitcase [feedly]

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5 Quick Tips for Expanding Your “Creative Edge” [feedly]

5 Quick Tips for Expanding Your "Creative Edge"
// Artist's Network

How many of us fall into our comfort zones
and never try to leave them? Creativity tips

Have you ever thought to yourself, "I'd like to try 'XYZ'," only to follow it with a mental "but…?" Mary Todd Beam is here to help us bolt out of that circular thinking so that we can find more satisfaction with our art. Her book, Creative Edge: Art Exercises to Celebrate Your Creative Self is newly available in paperback. I can promise that it's a great one to have on hand, as you can easily pick it up when you're in a funk or just need something a little different to consider when painting.

"Each of us approaches nature in our own way," says Beam in her "Nature's Edge" chapter. "How we focus on this relationship says a lot about us and our work. The way a scene is framed is a huge asset for the creative artist because it alters the viewer's vantage point. Such a shift can add the element of mood to the painting, and creating mood is what a landscape is all about."

Beam goes on to give demonstrations on painting an underwater scene, portraying ice-covered rocks, and sparkling ice in an abstract painting. It's almost unbelievable, how realistic something as enchanting as ice can appear in a 2-dimensional piece of art such as William McCall's Cold Mountain (below, right). Beam explains that "after creating a textured surface with gesso and a plastic trowel, McCall painted a transparent orange, then applied torn pieces of rice paper over that. After adding the opaque areas, he brushed Iridescent Pearl and Silver Mica Flake over the surface."

Acrylic collage, creativity tips

Detail of Cold Mountain (acrylic collage on illustration board, 30×10) by William McCall

Try the technique for yourself with Beam's step-by-step lessons in Creative Edge. It's filled with guided experimentations with which to play and expand your knowledge.

Wishing you endless creativity,
Cherie Haas, online editor







**Free download: Easy Acrylic Painting Techniques To Try Today!
**Click here to subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and more!

The post 5 Quick Tips for Expanding Your "Creative Edge" appeared first on Artist's Network.


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