Making my Mark Part III

Making my Mark Part III

Make a MarkI put a bit more work into the piece which I am calling Triple Falls.

So far I have about five hours into this piece and I have to say that I am really enjoying the way it is turning out and I can't wait to finish it up. As in all pieces that I do, I have learned a lot and here are the lessons learned:

I have always said that references are very important and I found out just how important on this piece. The references that I have been using for this piece have mostly been from my mind. That is working from places and things that I have seen, putting them together then creating from those images. When I started this piece, I wanted to have two large waterfalls with mist and billowing clouds of spray where the water meets the rocks below. Over the last year, I have created several pieces with waterfalls with a very stylized look. Not a natural look by any means, but in the viewers eye it read as a waterfall. This piece was going to have the same type of effect for the waterfalls. That was until I uploaded some images that I took in Yosemite National Park this week. Several of the images that I up loaded were of different falls in the park. Oh, how they changed my view of the world!

The first thing I noticed was how dark the walls of the cliffs are at the side of the falls due to water misting as the water cascades down. Another thing that I saw was the way the light plays with the spray at the bottom of the falls. I was trying to make them look more like clouds than the mist that they should look like. Take a look at the sketch of this piece and you will see what I mean. These two bits are really, in my opinion, bringing this piece to life.

I have also worked more on the cliff walls, shadows on the trees and a bit more on the water. I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I’m getting really excited about this piece.

I’m making my mark, how about you?


Making my Mark Part II

Making my Mark Part II

Make a MarkOkay, last night I got quite a bit of work done on the piece. Here's how the progression went:

I knew that I wanted the foreground to be darker to pull the viewer's eye into the piece, so I started with the tree on the left-hand side of the sketch. I added different washes of diluted ink onto the paper. I had added water to the area that is going to be leaves before adding any of the ink so that the ink would flow and not be streaked by brushstrokes. I then started to add shadows to the rocks and water to start working on making the water look reflective.

After letting the piece sit and dry for a bit, I began working on the pine trees in the background. Since I am going to have the sunlight coming in from the left-hand side of the piece, I am making sure that the right-hand side of the trees is a bit darker. Once again, I let the piece dry before continuing. In the past this used to be the hardest part for me. Just sitting and waiting for the paper to dry so that I could continue on with the drawing. Damned infuriating! I have since matured (in the last week or so) and can now put down one drawing pad for another.

Now that the paper is ready to be worked again, I started to work on the cliffs and water falls by adding light washes of ink to the piece.

I rather like the way this one is turning out so far, and that is a bit scary. When I like a piece, it gets a bit harder to continue as I don’t want to mess it up. I have said it in the past to not be afraid, just grab another piece of paper and start again. I am going to take my own advice and will show you the results in my next post.

How are your marks coming along?


Making my Mark

Making my Mark

Greetings to my 7.3 readers!

Make a MarkToday, as the title states, I am making my mark. I started out with a blank piece of paper and an idea then went for it. As I worked on the sketch, knowing what I wanted the thing to look like, it changed several times. I call this type of loose idea "letting the drawing have its input."

At this loose rough stage, note how lightly I am sketching. This allows me to change my mind on where something is on the piece and easily erasing then re-sketching without damaging the paper. Remember to always sketch lightly!

I am going to post images of the progress of this piece so you can have a chance to see where it goes from here. It may be good, it may end up in the trash bin, but whatever happens to it I will show you everything.

I'm making my mark, now you make yours!




Make a MarkGreetings all you mark makers out there! 

The attached image is one that I have been working on for about a week now.  Normally it doesn't take me that long to create a drawing like this, but the composition was giving me a hard time.  I actually started this drawing twice as the first one I messed up on.  Hey that happens to everyone!  So, I turned the page and started a new drawing.  I knew that wanted to have a rather misty mountain coming through the clouds in the background, so that is where I started.  Lately I have been putting a lot of trees in the foreground, making a kind of "U" shape with them.  I really wanted to break this trend by putting a rocky hill side on the left hand side, then some trees along the bottom.  After I did that, I have to admit that even though the drawing was just what I wanted it to be, it didn't look right.  In my oh so gentle words, it sucked.  But why did it suck?  I had to think about that for a while and I left the drawing for over a week.

Yesterday, I revisited the drawing and although it still sucked, I realized what was wrong with the piece; it was out of balance.  The detailed cliff on the left hand side really caught your eye and the wide open area was just floating with mist and clouds.  It was so heavy on the left side that it almost looked tilted.  Crap!  At this point, I had two choices.  1) I could simply start a new drawing or 2) Work out my balance issues and finish the drawing.  I chose door number 2.

I would have liked to put another cliff on the right side of the drawing, but I already had a small tree there.  So I added a large tree on the right side that gradually leans into the piece.  Now you might say "hey, that wasn't such a hard solution to come up with."  You know what?  You're right!  Unfortunately I had my brain locked into what I wanted the drawing to be and didn't let it be what it wanted to be.  I know it sounds funny, but listen.  Michelangelo always said that the figures that he sculpted were inside the stone waiting for him to find them.  Drawings are kind of the same.  Sure, I want them to look a certain way, but in truth they rarely do, and I like that.  It is accepting these happy accidents that turn just copying what you are seeing, or dreaming, into a true work of art.

I think the results of listening to the drawing really worked this time.

I made my mark, now you make yours!


Analog vs. Digital

Make a MarkDisclaimer: This is a bit of a rant on my part. My apologies.

I guess you could say that I am a digalog kind of guy. For nearly thirty years, I have been making a living as a graphic designer. I started out using an Exacto knife and a ruler to create layouts and to cut rubylith. Yes, I was a paste-up artist. Now life has changed in the design world and I have had to adapt and persevere and had to learn to use a computer to not only do ad layouts, but to build websites and everything in between. When it comes down to art though, I am all analog.

Yes, I admit that in some ways I am a bit of a luddite. I enjoy putting pen to paper. Getting the mixture of ink and water just right to get the wash that I want. I relish in watching the ink flow differently that it should due to an imperfection in the paper. I really like having no undo. Once you make that mark on a piece of paper or canvas, that’s it, there is no going back. If you make a mistake, you either start over or you learn how to hide it. Basically, I like getting my hands dirty and coming away with a tangible object when I am done.

Some of you might say “Hey Artguy, why are you being so negative about working on a computer? Things change dude and you have to move with the times!” You know some of that is true and some isn’t. I have drawn on a Wacom tablet, and even own a nice one, but I just don’t like the feel of working on them. Granted, I haven’t played around with the latest and greatest versions of them, but the ones that I have used didn’t keep up with my hand. At times I have had to wait for the computer to catch up to where I was in the drawing. That I didn’t like one bit. It stopped my artistic flow.

I never wait for my pen/pencil to catch up to where I was in the drawing, they are the drawing. The thought comes from my mind runs down my arm into my hand to the drawing utensil then ends up on the paper. Now grab a piece of paper and a pencil and make your mark!


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