I didn’t actually intend to continue with the nutcracker theme last week, yet here’s a third. I found myself at a high school girls basketball game last Thursday night (being the supportive spouse that I am) and although I am very much a fan of women’s basketball and was very interested in watching the game, it didn’t mean I was leaving my sketchbook at home. When I first seated myself in the bleachers, I thought I’d draw out the scene, maybe focus on the bleachers with fans on the opposite side of the of the court. Then the Viking logo caught my attention and I ended up thinking about nutcrackers again. So here is the outcome. I sketched it and inked it during the game, added the color later at home. It’s a little more “inky” and “scratchy” than my usual, and I think I like it. I also used a little metallic pencil and pen, plus a little white gel pen. And the “V” is for Vanden. Go Vikes!
This week’s Illustration Friday topic is “Refrain”. I felt this series of portraits I began sketching last week actually fit the topic well. My illustrations continue to make fairly significant shifts as I continue to change the intention of my sketching. Last week I pulled out one of my black paper sketchbooks to practice working on a couple of things — one being just to practice working completely in reverse, drawing in the highlights first. This is something I used to do more of, and have always felt comfortable with, but I’ve been drawing on a medium toned paper most of the past year and wanted to take a short break from it. Part of working well on black and creating a good, high-contrast illustration (just like the scratchboards I’ve etched) is knowing when and where to stop drawing. This is something I find challenging, as it is easy to go too far. My goal for this series of portrait sketches was to “refrain” from drawing more than half of the face, keeping the shadows prominent, while also maintaining a consistency in style between them.
Last night, my sketching location was the indoor horse arena where my son, Avery, has hippotherapy. It was rather nippy while sitting on the dusty bleachers, but nutcrackers were still on my mind and I wanted to sketch. So, here’s the one I drew (with my gloves on) — a figure with a bit more flare than yesterday’s creation, and bundled up a little better than I was.
It is an exciting time in our household, as all five of the kids are participating in the Davis Children’s Nutcracker this year. This means the next few weeks are filled with afternoon group rehearsals, followed by a couple of on-stage run throughs, one dress rehearsal and six performances. On Monday, I stuck around the lobby of the Veterans Memorial Center during rehearsal time, parking myself on a bench in front of the huge glass case full of nutcrackers. The collection includes quite a variety of sizes, colors, attire, etc. They are all very different, yet very much the same. While observing them in detail, much more carefully than I ever have before, I really found them just a little bit creepy. I’m guessing many of the people who are freaked out by clowns may have a similar feeling with nutcrackers?
Of course, I pulled out my pencil case and sketchbook and sketched out a nutcracker of my own. Like the others, it turned out unique, with it’s own garb, accessories, pattern of facial hair, proportions, etc. … and it’s equally as creepy.
This was one of several sketches I have done this year that was inspired by an Illustration Friday topic. I didn’t submit it since it never got past the sketchy stage before the end of the week. This one in particular I wouldn’t mind taking a step further … possibly bring the tablet out again and render it digitally? It was a fun challenge to work through the entwining of the tentacles. This was actually the second sketch, as the first was very stiff … once I had resolved where the legs were going, then I was able to create this drawing that felt a bit more naturally entangled.
“Tail” is the topic for this week and I have been sketching some ideas. Perhaps I’ll do a little painting today.
This was the first of the characters I’ve sketched recently that was actually created with real forethought. It was still fairly quickly done, but more carefully drawn and more attention to detail than the handful before it. I was working with two metallic pens and discovered one was truly metallic and one that was fairly flat. By using both, I was able to create a little more shape and depth.
I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use the metallic pens often, primarily due to the fact that the odor is a little tough to tolerate. I had fun with these turtles though. What next? A scare turtle and a cowardly tortoise?
This was one of those drawings that started out with me soliciting someone (my wife, in this case) for an idea to get me going. The suggestion of a turtle sounded good and I got to sketching. However, once I got going I realized I couldn’t just draw a simple turtle character and I needed to give it some creature features of some sort. I had a metallic silver pen handy that I had used for touch up on my son’s Tin Man costume at Halloween … what better to add some armor to my turtle!
Although I liked the end result, I knew I would have created it a bit differently had I considered the metallic pen before starting the sketch. Sooo … after this comes yet another turtle. Stay tuned.
This particular lion-like beast came about differently than most of my sketches. It’s rare that I want to rip out a page from my sketchbook. Even if I don’t like something I’ve created all that much, I typically let it be, somewhat “finish” it, then move on to the next. For some reason this one started off rough for me, and I really wanted to just scratch it and start over. However, I stuck it out and in the end, I actually kinda liked it! The experience makes me feel I should try to stick it out more often, especially when creating something that doesn’t have a real reference or a need to be accurate. I actually had a lot of fun with the hair and mane.