Once upon a time I challenged myself to fill an entire Moleskine with “art I wouldn’t be embarrassed to show people.” This challenged me to take time in laying out my drawings, and I filled the whole sketchbook for sure. This time, I wanted a new sketchbook with less intimidation (over 100 pages, and A5 size was big!) so I bought a three pack of the Moleskine Cahier 30 page Plain notebooks. The “plain” paper has always been my favorite for graphite, I really can’t find any that I love as much as this. So I’ve decided to fill her up. Here she is, 4 drawings in.
I challenge you to fill one of your own, and take enough time to make it “drawings you won’t be embarrassed to show.”
We will see how long it takes me to fill my own – just a small sketchbook of 3.5″ x 5″ and still a challenge! Wish me luck!
Drawings and sketches by working fine artist K.L. Britton
Lessons and Workshops:
I am using a lot of the line I was thinking about – however it’s competing with my wanting to continue my old style with the soft shadows. I am still working on it – but remember to think about where you’re going: Are you wanting to make this soft? Or dynamic? Are you wanting to make her edges hard or soft? What is the tone or mood? Can you tell what it is supposed to be when you see it from afar?
Here is another one I’m working on. I’ve started adding white chalk to this one to bring out the shape of her face as it turns toward the light on the side. I find many of my reference photos from the stock section of (of all places) deviantart. There is a bunch of crap to wade through, but occasionally there are some awesome costumed or portrait references, and I’ve used many of them (with credit and sent the finals to the original model and photographer.) As long as you’re careful to credit, it’s a great resource since there are so many visions on deviantart. One of the underrated places to find inspiration 😀
I’m really liking the toned charcoal Strathmore 500 paper that I’m using on these, and will post them when they are finished. I will do a proper review as well.
You can buy it here from Amazon
Thank you for reading.
This is a large, 12″ by 18″ drawing on a beautiful toned blue paper that I got from Top’s Art Supplies here in Koreatown. I love the paper so much I wanted to have some for home and some for the studio, but I’ve left most of it at the studio for now. I have been trying to get my hands on every painting and drawing video or workshop I can lately, and after being thwarted (Joseph Todorovich’s workshop full, Ramon Hurtado’s taking a break from classes) I remembered how much I wanted to see Teresa Oaxaca’s drawing video. Teresa’s video from East Oaks Studio is fantastic, she is great at expressing her thought process during the whole video, even the little details. She has such an incredible sense of line and form, and her draughtsmanship is second to none in her style. Watching her draw was awesome!
Here are some fantastic takeaways I got from the video (that I haven’t necessarily applied to my work.)
- Use different types of lines to differentiate the background from the focal point. Ex, use controlled straight lines for your subject, and use large and wiggly lines for a background.
- Get your bases in within the first thirty minutes. Things we don’t always think about right away – how will the background affect the foreground, when we’re too focused putting details in the face or eyes. Getting the background and subject in means we can focus more on relating those two, instead of just getting stuck in one place and not being able to blend.
Over all, this video is well worth the investment. It’s like taking one day of a workshop, a full demo, no cuts or anything, and so much information you should take notes. Great film.
Thank you for reading!
As you may know, I’ve been reading about an interesting style of sketching called “dynamic sketching.” It’s more for illustrators, but I’ve found it to be very great to help improve my regular paintings and works as well – instead of just copying what I see, I can make more decisions about form, and even focal point.
Here is a flower. Normally, I’d try to be exact to the original flower, and spend a tedious amount of time to get this much information in. But here, using kuretake clean color real brush, copic wide, white chalk, and staedtler pigment liners, I’ve drawn something in 5 minutes that has form and shape, and comes off the page. This is an important technique I teach my illustration students during class, as it helps them not only work quickly from life, but make changes and guesses when they’re drawing from their head.
That’s all for today!
It was a gorgeous Sunday, perfect for finding fu dogs in Chinatown for the new art school losangelesgalleryofart.com
Waiting for things to open (other than rainbow bakery, where I got the most delicious egg tart) means sketching in action.
View from the only shady bench.
A sketch from the morning.
Both done with Procreate on the iPad with the apple pen, which I have many complaints about, mostly regarding the battery draining when not in use.
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It was a gorgeous Saturday so I stopped by the ocean and the replica Greek palace, the Getty Villa. NBD, just another weekend in Cali.
The marble is cool and shady.
A little sketch of some trees and columns and roofing. Kuretake clean color real brush and staedtler pigment liners on toned paper. Out of all the things I am allergic to, I have the highest allergy to olive trees. They are, however, super gorgeous so I sketched them anyways.
I have, in fact, been around and drawing lately, getting supplies and references together, as well as learning from books and other references. Particularly, I am looking at a method of sketching called Dynamic Sketching, and so far, this is my result page. Other than starting list after list of reference for my studio, this is what I’ve been doing with my life.
Each sketch is really, really fast. Like 5-10 minutes tops. That may sound long, but it’s not, not to get a semi-accurate, instantly readable sketch. This has been really great to learn. Here is a look at some of the steps it took to get here.
^ Yes, that’s a pasted T rex. There is also an Aurora Optima Sole Mio pasted somewhere in my sketchbook to remind me of what I want 😀
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Every now and then I get an idea that I want to do a painting that challenges me. Sometimes it’s a still life, sometimes a figure, sometimes a portrait, and I know it’s going to take a bit longer to get everything in the right place than usual. One such is this portrait.
When we paint someone or something we know, we tend to fill in the blanks or make guesses based on what we “know” about that person or thing. For example, I could say I know that this portrait’s eyebrows go at an upward angle with little curve, however when we’re painting or drawing, it’s really essential to let go of all of those pre-conceived notions. While you may think oranges are round, they’re a series of angles that form a not-perfectly-circular form.
For these kinds of challenges, where I know in advance I will be possibly messing up – I do a sketch. This isn’t really a “drawing” drawing, it’s more of a quick idea with only as much detail as I need to figure out what challenges I will face when I actually paint. In this case, I had started the face too wide, the shadows too far from the center of the face. It’s these kinds of mistakes I would run into when painting, but at that time I may not be able to put my finger on what’s wrong. Since drawing is the foundation of painting, it’s always best to start with a sketch to check your idea. Figure out what bothers you before you’ve invested a day into an under-sketch. Then fix it, and remember to keep an eye on it when painting. It makes the process much faster!
Here you can see my lay in. I already corrected the eye on the left that went out too far.
You can see some of the issues have been corrected here – the right (our right, his left!) part of the face has been moved in, the eyes have been corrected, even the nose’s bottom has moved up quite a bit. All of these are things I’ll look for when I paint.
Here I’ve made several more adjustments. I’ll probably keep working on this sketch just for fun, but for now, it’s shown me what I need to look out for in the future.
Thank you for reading!
Graphite Study of Bouguereau painting featured in the digital study I did in an earlier post.
This one is for sale – I believe it’s 20×20, and here I really had a great time putting the ground on. You can see the beautiful crackle of paint in the background. Another thing I love to do is put those colour bursts in the core shadows. Mmmm.
This was my first pastel. I like pastel, but don’t love it. I think pastel can indicate landscapes in an incredible way, I admire deeply those who have skill with it (but it’s certainly not me!) I would like to use it more often and learn it. Very fun.
My Gouache on moleskine study from quite a while ago. I’m surprised this one didn’t get posted. It was 36 degrees outside when I sketched this and I couldn’t use gloves for some reason. My hand was killing me by the time I was satisfied. Good times. I loved Philly! Probably not as much as I love L.A.