Portrait – The Reilly Method

Handouts for my latest workshop class on the Reilly Method of drawing portraits.
This is the most intuitive way to draw portraits I have ever found. Based on relationships. When I learned it I used to get lost into the process of where to start, how to see. I created this sequence to un-complicate the thought process for anybody who learns it for the first time. So see it applied here’s a post and here another post

All About Trees

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:

Sketching People

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.

Some Tutorial Sheets

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


Join us if you live in New England!

Tutorial on a 20 min sketch

I gave a workshop yesterday and prepared some handouts on my 20 min technique for urban renderings. Here below, is the process from beginning to end including the color wash.

There was a great attendance, I am quite happy. I presented using a sequence of panels and the second half of the time was to put all this to practice by the local Urban Sketchers Boston. It’s been two years and our group is growing. We are about 415 members to date and Christ Tritt and I run it every weekend, planning meetups and researching the local architecture to give an insight on the site prior to visit. Now with great weather, we can do more plein air workshops like this.

This demos were done in a 9″x12″ Stillman and Birn Zeta series notebook heavy stock for mixed media. The linework was done with a Lamy Safari EF. Some of the black brush strokes in the values study were done with a multiliner brush pen.

I wanted a support that could be smooth enough for fine linework, heavy ink brush strokes and take a few layered watercolor washes, so I decided to use the mixed media notebook.

One of the things I wanted to emphasize is the drying time between the watercolor wash layers. When you are working on a fast sketch, the wash has to be light so it can dry faster, most important, the base layer, as it covers about 80% of the paper (I do leave a lot of white untouched areas in the peripherals of the sketch to allow it to “breath” visually)

First layer is the lightest value of the local colors on every area, the subsequent layer is massing the main shadows, the third layer is the smaller darker areas, and the fourth layer is the accents that will enhance key areas to give it depth and good contrast.

I concentrate most of the pigment toward the horizon line and toward the center of the paper. I create interest in the focal point/area during the prior ink drawing process by  doing more detail and making it visually heavy in those areas keeping the rest of the drawing very loose.


Four Layers Fist Pass Step by step A contour line exercise adding values study