Portrait sketch on toned gray paper

Here’s a sketch that I did a few days ago.  This was done in a single sitting.  Playing around with toned gray paper.  This was created in a Strathmore Toned Gray 5.5″ x 8.5″ (14 x 21.6 cm) sketchbook.  For this sketch, I used a 0.9mm mechanical pencil with 2b lead, blending stump, & white charcoal pencil.

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Take care – Mike

 

Something new

I’ve been spending time with a new tool, new software, & new possibilities.

A few weeks ago I splurged a bit and bought a new art creation tool.  I had been curious about and itching to get my hands on a pen display tablet for some time.  This curiosity came to a head a few weeks ago and I splurged for a Huion Kamvas Pro 16 Tablet.

For those who aren’t familiar with a pen display, it is a screen and stylus that is designed for digital art.  The screen is simply a display similar to a standard computer monitor.  The enhancement is that it works with a pressure-sensitive pen to provide a similar experience to traditional drawing.  This is not a stand-alone device and must be connected to a computer in order to work.  I use it with my laptop.  The nice thing is that it can also be used as a second monitor.

As far as software is concerned, I tried both Adobe Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint.  In the end, I settled on Clip Studio Paint due to its less complicated user interface and more economical price.

Below is a photo of the setup I used to create this drawing.  I’m sure this setup will go thru some evolutionary changes as I spend more time with this process. You can see my laptop at the top of the photo.  I pull up my reference on the laptop display.  This arrangement lends itself to a comfortable work setup.

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Clip Studio Paint comes with a good selection of creative tools right out of the box.  For this drawing, I primarily used the pencil brushes that came with the software.

Now, I don’t anticipate that digital will become my prime focus.  However, it does have advantages.  I tend to think of digital as a multi-media sketchbook with endless pages.  No worries if a sketch goes completely awry, you haven’t “wasted” any supplies.  Just put it aside and start anew, no worries.

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I will say that at this point, I still believe there isn’t a substitute for traditional tools.  There just isn’t a substitute for the tactile feedback, the texture of the paper, and the tool in your hand.

Thanks for visiting, stay safe and healthy. – Mike

Small town streets

So…Confession…I’m really drawn to black and white street photography.  I admire those who are brave enough to snap photos of complete strangers in the streets.

I would like to give this genre of photography a try.  But, I’m hesitant.  I worry that someone may react negatively to being photographed by a stranger.  I know this fear is common among novice street photographers.  I am working on overcoming this fear by carrying my Canon point and shoot camera during walks with my wife and our dog, Katie.

I live in a small town, foot traffic is light, so subjects are few and far between.  But, I’m on the lookout for opportunities, quick to capture something or someone of interest in my lens.

Below are a few photos that were taken this week, during our walks with Katie.

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The library seems to be a popular spot.
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Our old girl Katie as she s-l-o-w-l-y makes her way down the street.  I liked the split between her and her reflection in the shop window.
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A man takes advantage of the spring weather and perhaps the library’s wifi.

I hope you enjoyed this little selection of photos. I hope to begin posting more photography again. However, I will not let dust gather on my pens or pencils. I plan to maintain my drawing habit and keep posting artwork.

Have a great weekend! – Mike

Trying out a 4 color Bic

Just a bit of sketchbook experimentation

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I have seen other artists create portraits using a 4 color Bic pen and I wanted to give a shot as well.  It was a nice experience seeing some color on the page for a change.

I have a bit of ink bleedthrough from some handwritten notes on the back of the page.  But, that can happen sometimes.

Just a bit of fun and experimentation.

Have a great week. – Mike

 

Fun with Procreate

A had a little fun working in Procreate.  This portrait was created on a gray background,  I used simple strokes and crosshatching in both black and white to create the shadows and highlights.  Its a simple technique that produces good results.

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So far, traditional (pen & paper) techniques have been a direct transfer to digital media.  I suppose this should be expected given the simple nature of my art.  Sketches are just that, sketches, nothing too complicated.  But, that’s what I enjoy.

I will probably begin to post more digital work in the future.  I have recently acquired some new toys on the digital front.  I hope to have some new work to share soon.

Thanks for reading and have a great day – Mike

Fish-Eyed Refection

While walking Katie yesterday we passed by a newly installed barber poll.  This little barbershop opened for business on our street a little over a month ago.  He seems to be doing well so far.

While walking past I noticed the fish-eyed reflection at the bottom of the poll.  I pulled out my phone for a quick snap.

A little bit of editing in Snapseed + quick bit of erasing in Procreate = a little snap to share
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If you look closely you can see me, my son, & Katie in the reflection.

Have a great week!
Mike

Chimpanzee Portrait

I have been wanting a sketchbook with black paper for a while.  I finally purchased one in early January along with a 3 pack of white Sakura Gelly Roll pens in white.  The pens came in 3 weights 10, 08, & 05.  The portrait below was sketched with the 05 and 10 weight pens.

The sketchbook is a Canson 7″ x 10″ (17.8 cm x 25.4 cm).  It’s 40 pages of 92 lb. (150 g) paper.  The pages are perforated so drawings can easily be removed (if worthy, haha).

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This was a fun sketch but, you have to remember to focus on sketching the highlights, instead of the shadows.  I had to constantly remind myself of this fact.  I am so used to sketching the shadows.  Starting off light and working my way into the darkest areas of the subject is my usual approach.  This sketch was the complete opposite of that usual technique, plus I was using the Gelly Pens which is a very opaque medium so I had to be very conscious of my strokes.

Still, it was a good exercise and I look forward to creating more sketches within the covers of this book.

Have a great day, Mike

I Sketched a Portrait of Maine

I follow a number of blogs and interests here on WordPress.  Photographers, Artist, Writers…all of them are talented individuals that are putting their work out into the world for others to enjoy and perhaps gain some inspiration from.

One of those fellow bloggers is photographer John Ames.  I follow John’s blog Frog Pond Journal,  the blog focuses mainly on street photography and John shares some great images.

Recently, one of those images caught my eye and I knew I would create a sketch of his subject.  Check out John’s post “A Portrait of Maine” to see the photo that inspired this sketch.

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This sketch was created in my sketchbook/journal and may appear a little rough as I was trying to capture his likeness while keeping the sketch fairly loose.  Personally, I’m pleased with the outcome.

In case any of you guys are wondering.  I reached out to John to ask his permission before writing this post.  He immediately gave his permission allowing me to use his photo as a reference.

Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day!

Mike

Random Photo & Thoughts

As I mentioned in my previous post, we are now living downtown.  Our dog, Katie, is an older lady of 13 years.  She stays indoors with us and we walk her about a block and a half a few times a day so she can fertilizer the vacant lot (turned city park) down the street.

As mentioned, she is older, so her pace is not exactly swift and like most mature beings she prefers to take her time and not be rushed as she sniffs out the ideal spot to make her contribution to soil enrichment.

The other day while patiently waiting for her to determine the epicenter for her next event I noticed the evidence of a former doorway in the building adjacent to the park.  I wondered about what had been there in the past, what use or contribution to society the building may have served in a past life.  I noticed the contrast of the old facade next to a wooden post that now served as a power distribution point for park events.  I decided to pull out my phone for a bit of #iPhoneography.

img_0099 If you look closely, you can still make out the oak timbers that framed the opening.

Have a great day…perhaps I will notice more on a future outing with Katie.

Mike

New Year, New Digs, Less Distraction

Hello, remember me?

I’m still here…I know I’ve been silent for a while.  Life was chaotic towards the end of 2019.  We sold our home and moved into a new place, in a new setting, with more to offer.

We are now living a more relaxed lifestyle.  We purchased and moved into a historic building in the downtown area of our small hometown.  It was constructed in 1925 and we live in the second-floor apartment.  Our building includes a street-level shop that we intend to offer for lease later this year.

For now, we are busy making our new digs a home and things are coming together.  Jennifer (my wife) and I share a small room that we use as an office and studio space.  My drawing desk occupies a corner of the room.  I have a window adjacent to me that allows for natural light and a limited view of the town.

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This year, I plan to focus more on drawing and further developing my artistic interest.  I’m thankful for all who read my blog and encourage me along life’s journey.  I’m looking forward to this new year, the opportunities that it holds, & new life experiences.

Thanks for hanging out with me.

Mike

A purely joyful expression

Pure, adjective:
        not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material
Joy, noun:

a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

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Pure Joy…That’s how I would describe this man’s expression.  It is what drew me to him as a sketch subject.  Just looking at his expression puts a smile on my face.

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The reference photo for this sketch was found online.  I apologize but, I do not know who the photographer was who captured this wonderful moment.

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This is the first sketch that I have completed recently and it felt really good to lay down some graphite again.  I have relocated my studio to our basement until the house sells.  There’s not much natural light but I have at least three times the space!  Plenty of room to spread out.

I am thinking of branching out and trying some new subject matter.  I am also thinking of seriously increasing the scale of my work.  We’ll have to wait and see where the muse points me next.

Thanks for visiting, I hope you guys have a great day!

 

Snarling Wolf

Hello everyone,  Work around the house has slowed a bit, so I now have a little more free time.

I wanted to share this drawing with you that I created back in August.  This is a graphite drawing of a snarling wolf.  My intention was to leave a significant amount of negative space around the subject and only concentrate on the main features necessary to bring out the wolf’s face.

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This drawing is significantly larger than most of my sketches.  Typically I create sketches in either a small 5.5″ x 8″ sketchbook or occasionally I may draw in an 8.5″ x 11″ sketchbook.  This drawing was created on an 18″ x 24″ (45.7 x 61 cm) piece of newsprint.  I realize newsprint is typically reserved for practice but, I wanted to try something a little larger and it was the largest paper I had available at the time.

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Newsprint isn’t really that difficult to work with you just have to be careful.  It is more delicate than other papers so you need to go lightly with the eraser.  The paper also has a tendency to get a little wavy in areas of heavy graphite.

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Below is a photo of the completed sketch.  This was completed using a range of graphite pencils.  There are also a few strategically placed lines of white gelly pen for highlights.

Wolf Sketch

Thanks for viewing my work.  I hope everyone has a great week – Mike