Friday, October 16, 2009

Figure Studio Long-Termer

The first long-term assignment in Figure Studio was a value study of a photograph. I had to chose a good quality portrait photo that had a wide range of values, in order to be reproduced in charcoal. Gridding is totally not ok in this program, we learned amazing measuring techniques by using our pencils and plumb line to find center points, and compare angles, heights, and widths, etc.

And after 4 weeks, there she is... Twiggy

First Chiaroscuro Long-Term

The long-term projects are finally underway. The first two/three weeker for my Chiaroscuro class was a fabric drawing. I was excited about this one, as I mentioned in an earlier blog I love drawing fabric. For all our drawings, there are progression stages that we must go through to reach completion. Learning this process, for the first time here, has been so beneficial for my work. I used to become fixated on certain areas of my pieces, and end up with super detailed portions while other areas had barely been worked out. That caused a lot of proportion issues and an overall disjointedness. Working my drawings through by following these steps I learned allows the piece to be continually changing and developing as a whole.

Step 1-3: Blocking In, Refining Form, and Plotting in Shadow Edge

These steps take care of the initial mapping out, measuring, drawing, and more measuring of the subject. I draw super light at this stage so the image that I took of my fabric drawing at this point appeared non-existent on the comp screen.

Step 4: Massing In 3 Values - Light, Sahdow, and Background

This stage takes a while to get used to because much of the line work from steps 1-3 is lost. It's all about over simplifying so that the different values of shadow only read as one dark value.

Step 5: Refining Value Scale

So at this point I should have my background in already... I don't know what I was waiting for. I started smearing the charcoal around with my fingers to tone down the darks, and have it read more like a natural cloth should. I went as long as I could with just using materials to move the charcoal, opposed to adding more... my fingers, chamois cloth, tissue, tortillions (blending stumps)

And finally I finished off by adding my background, putting in missing values, and drawing the details. Fin!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


With lingering undergraduate irresponsibility tendencies, I missed one class and was late for another. I believe that happened during week 5... it was a rough one. I already beat myself up about it and still am, so I won't get into my excuses. Luckily for me, my professor was willing to dismiss my absence if I attended two drawing workshops, (which I go to anyway on my down time). There are workshops offered through my school, and a few that go on around town. I attended a figure drawing workshop in the Mission with my buddy Mike V, who also goes to the Academy. It was 9am on a Saturday, we were both hurting from partying the night before, I drove- bad idea. We finally got there about an hour late, paid 10 bucks, set up our stuff, and drew the hangover away. I wasn't impressed with what I did, but Valenti? I'm such a fan. I still say we go recession-friendly and draw each other.

I went to another workshop, held by the Academy this time. It was anatomy. I liked what I did at this one. Either way, I love the workshops but don't want to associate them with a missed class ever again. Mark my words, the first and last time I ever missed a class was during my 5 week at grad school.

Friday, October 9, 2009


So the concept that is highly stressed throughout all of my classes is professionalism. There are strict guidelines to follow, even when it comes down to what type of paper and pencils are used. Papers to be graded have to be smudge free... accidental smears that happen on the travel to class? Not acceptable. Charcoal pencils and sticks are expected to be sharpened and ready to go before class. So if one breaks another can be picked up immediately (we don't lose our train of thought this way). My professor's pencils look like daggers. Creepy.

Be On Time and NEVER miss class! These classes run 6hrs a pop once a week, so missing a session is a huge deal. Receiving A's on assignments is rare. "I don't grade you guys on effort, your work has to be good, it has to be perfect." Well said Mr. Professor. So basically, I get to my 8:30 class at 8am. And I break down at least once while doing hw at some point because... "Ugh! I suck at this. I can't get this right! Omg it looks awful." Yup. It goes something like that.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Perspective, Fabric Study

Chiaroscuro- uses of light and dark to achieve a heightened illusion of depth. We get introduced to perspective. That's cool. Except we were forced to draw cubes for 3 hrs straight. Over and over again. Then we moved on to a pile of books. Another few hrs of repetition.

And at last we get a still life! I felt like a kid in a candy store.

We moved on to fabric studies the following week. I love love love drawing fabric. Rusty here as well. Practice practice practice.

The Figure

Already having to catch up on blogs. This was supposed to keep me organized; and of course update the homies I left in NY that I don't always have time to frequently call. I'll get better.

Working on the Figure. Boy was I rusty! I mean, I was ridiculous. I'm improving... which seems to be the trend in all my classes. So all the dough I'm throwing out for this- totally worth it. I think. I hope.

Rule number 1- After the height and width of the composition is established... All length proportions should be right before the features are indicated. If they're not "fitting" DO NOT CHANGE THE TOP AND BOTTOM EXTREMITIES but make your corrections until they do "fit".

Naively altered my bottom extremity. 

My second week of Figure... proportions are certainly coming along, and I didn't have to change my top or bottom!

Thinking, I want to be her. Finally! I actually like what happened in this one.


The Color Theory projects are pretty cool. Not a fan of the utility knife, but on days when I don't accidentally cut myself and keep the blade along side the ruler for the whole paper ride... satisfaction.

Learning the essentials.

Exploring color relationships. While figuring out how the hell to mix and use gouache. Tough medium to work with, at least for me. It's getting easier.

Learning how to direct the eye to a certain area of a design.

And yes, more exploring color relationships. It's evident that color does wonders to our emotions. Don't get all excited, I didn't draw these. I manipulated photos via photoshop, posterization, artistic cutout when needed, then mixed colors and painted. Color Theory class, not Drawing remember? "It's like paint-by-numbers!" My roomate thought she came up with a legit comparison, except I'd rather NOT compare my current work (or studies) to child's play. It's a lot harder to complete one of these things than you think, trust. Anyway, I'm getting too passionate about this so... These are posted in chronological order of assignment. Clearly I was not used to the medium at all when I did the first portrait. Almost getting smoooooth with it. Almost.

Online Art Classes?

So I'm taking Color Theory online. I've always been skeptical about taking online courses, so taking an art class online.... i was super skeptical. But it hasn't been bad at all. Totally do-able. AND, I'm even thinking about possibly juggling another onliner next semester. I will say I have a lot more respect for online courses, I'm forced to dedicate at least 10 hrs a week to this guy.... I stress "at least," it's usually more. Attending class with a glass of wine and Tracy Chapman jamming in the background, perfect.

What my workspace typically ends up looking like. Late night, painting and cutting swatches, measuring, tacking, cursing, scanning, posting posting posting...