So after a pretty productive day/night of drawing, I am taking some time today to look for more images/organize and to write a little about my process.
On ORGANIZATION….I have created a visual filing process, which helps me when I am trying to draw my figurative elements and also gives me inspiration. When I am reading magazines and I am always looking for faces and bodies. I never really have anything in mind, just whatever catches my attention. Sometimes it is a particular pose, sometimes the angle of the head of the gaze of the eyes. I rip the images sorting them according to face vs. full body. Then I sub categorize the images into full-on view, three-quarter view, profile, looking up vs. looking down, seated figures, etc. I even have another category for patterns, which I sometimes find in textiles, jewelry design and other fashion-based sources. I have another category for hair, when I pictures that showcase hair, usually really wavy or wind-swept. (LEFT: just some pics of the mess I created this morning as I was pulling and sorting images. Notice I do have a studio assistant, he isn't very helpful though) Funny thing is, no tree pictures on file. Just thought of that. I guess I am not as concerned with the tree; it is more of a vessel for the figure and patterns.
Side note… I have had formal training in drawing from life. Did the whole standing for three hours, looking at the nude figure and trying to recreate it in conte crayon or charcoal. Loved it. I have done self portraits, set up mirrors in different settings to learn my own face and how to articulate it in paint and other media. I love drawing from life. But sometimes you want to start and stop a drawing, or you can’t get the model to stand still so my go-to source for ‘models’ for my work is the images I see in magazines. So for the tree series I am working mostly from photos, however that could be a whole other series…something to keep in mind. That would definitely be more gestural drawing, perhaps with charcoal or India ink and a long handled brush…
Now on to PROCESS….When it’s time to draw, at least for this series, I have started one of three ways. The first way of working on this series is to start with the tree outline first, then fill the shape with pattern and figurative work if it ‘fits’ with the image. Sometimes I will draw the face(s) first and then add the tree later; there really is no set formula I just decide when I sit down. I sometimes start by tracing a large circle on the page in pencil; I like the idea of the circle as a metaphor for showing something that is sacred…mandalas, halos, Byzantine iconography… the circle is just something that is aesthetically appealing to me.
In the first half of the series I sat down and just started to draw with a Sharpie. No pre-drawing. Somewhere around tree fifteen…I started doing more pre-drawing in pencil and not just sitting down and going straight for the pen, which allows me to make changes as I draw. For the most part each drawing have been completed in one sitting (the 18x24 drawings); time spent on each drawing ranges from twenty minutes to two hours. And I am not sure how other artists feel on this, but I just about always listen to music when I work.
So that is how I organize and my explanation of my process for this specific series. After finishing the twentieth drawing last night, working on the slide show and then organizing some of my images this morning I just felt like taking a minute to record and to reflect. That is really the whole reason I started this blog, to write what I am doing, how, why… and to really keep myself motivated to keep working.
Now, back to work! Gotta try to finish these trees so I can treat myself to some canvases tomorrow!
Artist and Art Teacher