Botanicals

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I decided to try a new subject series: Beautiful flowers, with a little more precision than my usual sketches. 

For this series, which I plan to sell as notecards I used permanent ink and some, I colored them but I prefer black and white as the watercolor hides my lines because I like to paint heavy on the tint. I’ll try to so a softer more transparent wash next time.

Yet.. I still prefer black and white illustration. 

As usual my favorite paper Stillman and Birn notebooks and Higgins permanent ink. The platinum carbon pen is the best for fine lines and it never cloggs. I am becoming very fond of sketching with nibs too.

Here the drawings: 

Sketching People

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I decided recently to start a YouTube channel, I thought tutorials are fun to do and we all contribute with our own ways to do things. I wanted this to be a fresh approach, a casual way to look at how-to’s.

I this series in YouTube (https://m.youtube.com/watch?sns=em&v=k2esXE-_VyU ) you’ll notice I refer to “Haikus” They are a Japanese poem form that totals 17 syllables in a count of 5-7-5. You will see that they may be in my videos in sets of three lines at once, or sometimes scattered through the video when the sketch is done in a shorter time.

About the process:
I rarely use pencil unless it’s a large complex drawing. Here you can see the process in a time-lapse but I will explain more below:

 

Step by Step:

I usually start by setting the horizon line
People Plates_1.1.1
I continue by working on the figures in focal point and near surrounding space. I used Higgins permanent ink and a fine nib and holder
People Plates_1.1.2
I try to vary the pressure here and there to have different widths of line to create a visual rhythm
People Plates_1.1.3
I then add the environmental elements, trees and foliage.
People Plates_1.1.4
I test the saturation of the watercolor prior to applying as the first wash must be very light. Fitst wash it’s the “base color”. I let this first layer dry completely.
People Plates_1.1.5
…continuing with a light wash on the rest of the elements
People Plates_1.1.6
Time for a second pass with more saturation, and only on small areas I want to draw the attention in the focal point.
People Plates_1.1.8
I like to play with different greens, not necessarily accuracy with the right green but more the right value . Also this tells the viewer it’s a separate element not part of the same group (background, mid-ground or foreground)
People Plates_1.1.7
…going for a third pass on contrast. this is the strongest saturation almost no diluted at all.
People Plates_1.1.10
…and the final sketch.
ppl

Game of Thrones Portraits

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This week I though it’s been a while since I have done portraits, so I decided to chose a good subject, the TV series Game of Thrones. The characters are very interesting and have fascinating depth. I thought it would be fun to try to convey my understanding of the characters through expression.

For this series, I used Higgins permanent ink and Brause nibs. About 4 different nib sizes and my usual Stillman and Birn notebook, Zeta Series, excellent for ink!

I chose the first characters randomly and I enjoyed myself so much that I kept going for about three days, completing several portraits. This is the first set of the week. Each took me about 30 min.

My general process is the following:

First it’s the proportions and marks to set the placement of the features. Once that was resolved, I did a brief inking process with the finest point, and decide on the focal point,  usually it’s the eyes. The eyes and mouth are the main keys to resolve any portrait, yet every face has a distinct feature that no one else has, like a fingerprint, my goal is always to discover what makes this face unique, and then exaggerate that slightly to get the likeness. I also chose an emotion that I see is recurrent to that character.

I have done portraits for over 20 years; it is in fact my favorite subject. Facial features fascinate me, and I have discovered so much in the process of drawing them. The face is asymmetric, as we tend to do gestures with one half of the face more often than the other, this creates lines of expression that, with the years, become permanent. Half of the face has a sweeter expression than the other half. If two pictures were composed of two reflected halves from each side of the face we would see almost an entirely different person in some cases.

I keep this in mind when I draw portraits. My trick is to exaggerate that difference to get the resemblance, observing what is unique.

Actor Jason Momoa is an exception. He has an outstandingly symmetrical face. That was very interesting to me. Since I couldn’t do my usual approach I had to stop and analyzed what made his face unique. Undoubtedly he had striking features. I focused on the eyes. A very distinct shape and expression.

I started by drawing him from a high resolution photograph where I could see good detail. The facial hair that his character wears on the TV series Game of Thrones made it difficult to see the jaw line and the shape of the face clearly; I decided to transform this drawing into Khal Drogo on my own, based on several images.

In the first sketch you can see the completed sketch off the photo and the following sketch shows the final drawing where I gave myself artistic freedom to add what was needed so he could look like the character he portrays.

Materials:

Support:
Surface: Beta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – White – Cold Press Finish

The drawing was done on a Beta Series Notebook, wire-bound, 9″ x 12″. I always use heavy stock as I can have the option to add watercolor if I wanted to.

The paper is white yet the images were taken under a yellowish light and it looks like colored paper, but it’s not, yet, I liked how it looked.
I used permanent ink, again, just in case if I wanted to add watercolor. I always use permanent ink so it won’t run.
In the series of portraits of this particular TV show I was consistent using the same media, same paper, ink, and fine flexible nib with a short holder.

My favorite series are the Beta and Zeta, the Zeta I use when I work solely in ink; the Beta series have the extra tooth that work really well with water media without warping. This portrait was heavy on the ink, the Zeta could have take it, but I still may turn this into watercolor renderings at some point.

I made portraits of other characters as well that can be seen in my blog noted below.

Khal Drogo before and after

momoaDrogo

Jon Snow


Khalesi

Tywin Lannister

Cersei Lannister

Ramsay Bolton

Sansa Stark

No one

Arya Stark

Some Tutorial Sheets

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These handsheets were made for a past workshop for the local sketchers. They illustrate several concepts and tips for sketching

-How to draw gesture


-How to approach simplification of scenes


-The concept of Transitional Space when sketching interiors


These sheets will be available as PDFs at our urbansketchersboston Facebook group

http://www.urbansketchersboston.com

Join us if you live in New England!

Starbucks at Harvard Square

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Urban Sketchers Boston had a meetup at Harvard Square, and the interior is so cozy and nice with a warm atmosphere. For this I used the Carbon Platinum fountain pen, the finest point I have ever seen on a fountain pen! and my favorite brand of notebooks Stillman and Birn, Zeta series, great for ink

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Cirque de Soleil

Last weekend I went to the show Kurios and it was a delightful experience! I’m a fan of steampunk and the show was very inspirational.

The action is very quick for me to capture in the detail I would like so i based my sketches in still images.

I used my favorite paper Stillman and Birn notebooks. The Zeta series are great for ink and the heavy stock can take some washes too.

The first is the comedian of the show, he was one of my favorites and the second is one of the amazing contortionists.

I really wanted to make a bit of more elaborated sketch with detail. I used the super fine platinum carbon fountain pen. The most fine line there is! I can get different thickness with it.

I used private reserve inks as well. And inexpensive bamboo brushes. I don’t like to use the same brush for both ink and watercolor i prefer to assign a use on either of the two mediums. For watercolors i use my best.

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The Boston Opera House

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This weekend I went to the Boston Opera House and It’s such a beautiful interior ! I couldn;t resist to make a watercolor of it. The colors are so rich.

I did this is a Stillman and Birn sketchbook as usual. I recently got more art supplies and wanted to try my new brushes this is the Escoda Versatil #12. To be synthetic it’s a pretty good brush!

For the darks I used the pentel brush and I drew this not with my usual Lamy but a nib and holder.

I haven’t sketch in a while. I feel rusty but I think this came out acceptable🙂

opera900