I have been studying anatomy and expression, and revisiting the Reilly method of drawing. I learned the Reilly method through years of working at a studio of a very accomplished portrait artist in Boston: Mr Ouelette. Barbara Morse, another brilliant artist and wonderful woman, gave classes in his studio for years, and I was a fly on the wall learning as I posed in her demonstrations.
To me this is the best method I have seen as it is very organic and flexible, it has beautiful rhythm and it’s dynamic and lively. Here my attempts to experiment and implement this in my figures.
In my opinion the best source is Faragasso’s book, as Frank Reilly didn’t write any books on his method, yet his pupils did. Frank himself was a pupil of Bridgman who’s books are a bible for anyone who wants to get seriously in depth learning the construction of the human figure.
There’s three basic foundations to draw people: 1- understanding anatomy, 2- studying proportions and method of construction (Bridgman) and the academic classic Atelier method, and 3- learning to see the rhythm, grace and beauty of the human machine (Reilly)
I want to share this time a process from concept to execution for drafting inking and coloring a full comic page. It was really exciting to me ! First, this below is the background story pf how this comic came to be:
We are a group of friends from different countries in the FB group SW Comics, (Wes, Palma, Marion, Nicholas, Mark, Jutta, Jorge (+), Beliza, Cat, Jim, Holger, Sofiya, Marco, Paula, Carlos, Jane, Amy, Juliet, Jansi, Mia.. *see full list in the link** https://issuu.com/norightturn/docs/no_right_turn_20170425) led by Rene Fijten and we make stories!
Do you know or have heard about “Exquisite Corpse”? (Cadaver Exquisito) It is a method of creation in which people take turns developing a story or a project, it is passed on from person to person to keep developing and extend the story. This is how our “No Right Turn” has been done so far.
——————you can follow us in instagram @sketchingcomics————-
So, Rene gave me this
Before starting it took me a few days to think about how to bring this concept to visual. Once I had the draft the whole proces was about 8 hrs 3 hrs one day and 6hrs today.
I think I’m comfortable with this process now!
I hope you liked it 😉
Continuing with the series here is the nect two portraits
This portrait took me two attempts, the first one was overworked and I ruined it, then with more familiarity with her features the second one show here was more relaxed. I wanted to capture her beauty, elegance and sense of entitlement
Then comes Athelstan, I looked at different pictures and could not find one that hadenough detail and at the same time express who he was. So I decided to base my portrait in one and take some artistic liberty
These are done in Stillman and Birn paper with highins and Deleter Inks. In the image above you can notice the dufference in the black saturation of the inks, the deleteris noticeably darker in the final accents.
There is a reason why I enjoy portraiture above all subjects, every face makes me very curious, I try to find what makes the faces unique. It’s never an exact replica because I add/eliminate expression lines, and exaggerate the main features. When I was young, not so long ago 😜 I was very impressed by the work of Patrick Nagel from whom I learned after carefully studying his method, how does he render eyes. Years later it was Hajime Sorayama and his hyperrealistic girls, from him I tried to learn the natural beauty of the “girl next door” his women were not perfect (their faces) they were REAL relatable faces.
Then I became very interested in the aging process of faces and how recurring expressions leave a mark. The face is totally asymmetric like two faces in one! I tried to understand what I call the light side and the dark side and enhance the best qualities of those features. The tilts of the head and the glances say a lot about character; lastly, the hair is an impression of mass, not detail, like creating a rhythm of blacks to balance and keep the viewer circling back to the face, like choosing a beautiful frame for art too.
Ideally, if everything is blurred the contrasts should make a beautiful balanced abstract composition.
I enjoy very much this process, one can get away with adding an extra branch to a tree but it is unforgiving to add an extra line that ages people beyond their true age or creates a cinycal smirk instead of a subtle smile or adds 10 lb of weight. If the eyes or the mouth is misaligned people can forget everything else that is good in the drawing and focus on that ONE awkward mistake. We instantly recognize those mistakes because faces reflect back to us as humans and we know instinctively something is off.
For this and reasons of utter beauty I find in people across races cultures shapes and sizes and what makes them unique as a fingerprint of nature, how could I not keep trying?
I decided to start a series of portraits of the chatacters in the Vikings TV show. The outfits and hairdos are stunning!
Ragnar had to be the first!
After a trial that left me with the itch of wanting to do something better I was finally happy with the likeness. My first try was in regular paper here:
It was too “accidental”, the new ink I am using: Deleter dries very fast and it’s very opaque and permanent, which is great! But for the final I had to use better quality paper that doesnt warp and wrinkle as much.
Before doing a final, I tried Lagertha, to refresh my eyes from Ragnar and go back to try again.
Very happy with the ink as well. I used nibs and holders for this drawing, the “blue pumpkin” and other Brause nibs. The ink dries to a rubber-like texture so it is very important to clean up the nibs very thoroughly!!
The Arboredum in Forrest Hills is a great source for drawing and learning to represent the characteristics of different trees and they are identified by label! They also have an enclosed section with beautiful Bonsais as well
I recently did a demo video on a generic tree. Here it is:
Here my test collection of trees in different inks:
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
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
I try to vary the pressure here and there to have different widths of line to create a visual rhythm
I then add the environmental elements, trees and foliage.
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.
…continuing with a light wash on the rest of the elements
Time for a second pass with more saturation, and only on small areas I want to draw the attention in the focal point.
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)
…going for a third pass on contrast. this is the strongest saturation almost no diluted at all.
…and the final sketch.
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
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 🙂