12 x 14 inch commission I worked on for a month. Graphite pencil on Vellum Bristol. The portrait was a surprise gift from the husband to his wife for their first wedding anniversary.
A commission for the UNO Magazine cover (University of
Nebraska). The front cover shows the highly expressive face and the back cover
shows what caused that expression. 17 x 11 inches, Graphite pencil on smooth
bristol, I worked on the drawing for 2 weeks.
For those that do not recognize this face it a small part of the sculpture by Michelangelo titled "The David". After seeing a recent TV show of his work I decided to try a drawing of the face of David.
I started work on this 2 foot drawing 1-3-11 and finished on 1-26-11. The reference was small but very clear so I was able to work from it. I used a 2 inch grid, have to say working on such a large drawing can be difficult so that grid was a huge help. Since the David statue is made out of solid marble I needed to visualize the smoothness, the slight imperfections, the veins, and most of all the depth of the carvings....it is the carvings along with the cast of light that make up the shapes I needed to draw. Take the eye for example, the eyelid is very deep so you know that this shadow needs to be VERY dark and slightly lighter in the foreground, light as you know fads to black in shadow. I used a 4b mechanical pencil for the lid of the eye and the pupil, I kept the pencil strokes very tight and used medium to hard pressure (not hard enough to indent the paper). I layered the area until it was as dark as the shadow depth.
Another example is the eyebrow shadows. I could see from the reference the carvings under the brow are not as deep as that eyelid so the shadows will be drawn lighter, I used a B pencil for most of that area. Since the light is cast down from above part of the eyebrow that protrudes out is lit up, but there are some shallow carvings on the brow that needed to be shadowed.... I used a blending stump that had a little graphite on the tip to color in those light shadows on the brow.
Have to say this drawing has the greatest shadow play so I enjoyed working on it. I layered the face with B many times, and then layered a bit more. One thing I wish I had done differently was to give it a border. While I was drawing I did a little research on the statue of David and learned a few things that I didn't know so I'd like to share them with you:
In 1464 artist Agostino was commissioned to create a sculpture of David for the buttresses (roof) of the cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore. He worked on the block of marble and only got as far as shaping the feet, legs and some of the upper torso, then for some unknown reason stopped work. Ten years later Antonio Rossellino was commissioned to take over the project but his contract was terminated soon thereafter. The block of marble stayed unfinished in the cathedral yard for 25 years. In 1500 the block of marble which was called "the Giant" was raised to it's feet so that the masters could examine it and a new artist could be chosen to finish the work. A year later 26 year old Michelangelo got the contract. Michelangelo worked on and fished the sculpture of David from 1501 to 1504. The statue never did make it to the roof of the Cathedral. The statues proportions were sculptured to be viewed from below, this is why his head and upper body were larger then his lower body. The 17 foot sculpture of David today stands on display in Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia.
1st step: I'm working on a 15 x 20 inch Nielsen Bainbridge Illustration board, the size of the drawing itself will be smaller. I have been using my 3b mechanical pencil, a small blending stump, kneaded eraser and I just started to use a B pencil.
2nd step: I used mostly the 3b mechanical pencil and for the background I put down some powdered graphite and blended. To get the highlights in his hair I left the white of the paper untouched and drew/colored in around the areas. The photo was snapped at an angle, I liked the look and see that the tones are very close to what is seen in the drawing.:)
3rd step: I put down another layer of the powdered graphite on the BG and then darkened the shadowed area with a 3b mechanical pencil. I refined a few areas in his face and hair too...
This sweet yellow Lab was on my drawing board 10/23/09. This one was a bit difficult due to not having much contrast to work with but I'm happy with the outcome. I used the mechanical pencil, b and a blending stump. Drawn on Nielsen Bainbridge Illustration board and it took 8 days.
This eye drawing was started on 10/14/09, it will be a part of a series I am beginning called "Body Language". Drawing something as delicate as the iris took a lot of time, I had to put down light layers and blend over and over again to give it that soft, moist, realistic look. While drawing this one I began seeing an optical illusion, the pupil looked to be dilating; which in this case was very fitting. I used a DeviantArt stock image by Netizka. 11 x 14 inch prints of this drawing are available on the "Art For Sale" page.
15 x 20 inches (actual drawing is 13 x 7.5) - Nielsen Bainbridge Illustration board - 3b Mechanical Pencil - 3b, b, h graphite - plain tissue and blending stumps - 10 days
This commission was started on 3/26/09 and is my favorite as of now. One of the reasons I enjoyed working on this one was because of the illustration board, the graphite blended and layered beautifully. The texture of the board was natural which in turn gave the skin a very natural look. I will say those braids took me forever, they were a lot harder then I thought. My favorite parts of the drawing are the goose bumps on the back of the brides neck and the kiss.
18 x 12 inches - Nielsen Bainbridge Illustration board - 3b Mechanical Pencil - 3b, b, h graphite - plain tissue and blending stumps - 2+ months
I have been working on a few drawings and testing different illustration boards as well. One of the drawings was a commission and since it is to be a gift I can't post it just yet. Another was a quick drawing of Angelina Jolie, I drew her on a piece of Crescent 100 Cold Press Illustration Board. I didn't care for the texture of the board, it's not very natural looking so I'm not sure if I will use this board again. I am testing a piece of Strathmore 500 Series Cold Press Illustration Board right now and will post a wip soon. For now here is the Jolie portrait:
15 x 20 inch cold press 100 board - b, h, and 3b graphite - Tissue and blending stumps - 20 hrs