Back at it

Hello all,  I’m have returned from my self-imposed leave.  After the passing of my father I just needed to take some time to regroup and recenter.  I’m truly grateful for your patience as I transitioned through this season in my life.

I’m currently sitting in my home office/studio space.  The house is quiet as my beautiful bride and son are still in bed.  I cherish my morning solitude as it gives me the opportunity to collect my thoughts and provides time for much-needed retrospection.  I believe that everyone can benefit from such time spent alone without distraction.

I have made a few minor tweaks to this blog, an updated about page, & a new minimal theme with full-width image display.  I have made the decision to remove the photographer focus from this blog and focus solely on my art.  Art is something that I truly enjoy,  it removes me from my environment for a while as I focus solely on the work in front of me.  It brings me inner peace and is an activity that can be practiced virtually anywhere I go.

Even though I have been absent from this blog for a few weeks I have been posting somewhat regularly on Instagram.  I have decided that IG is where I will post my day to day activities and works in progress.

I will leave you with a portrait that was created during my break from the blog.  For this particular sketch, I was able to reach out to the photographer of the reference photo I was working from and was able to obtain permission to use his image as a reference.  The photographer is Thorbjorn Fessel, a talented photographer to say the least.

This sketch was created with a 2b mechanical pencil and a 6b pencil for the darker areas.  The sketch lives in my current ‘go-to’ sketchbook.

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An Honored Request

Recently, one of the readers of this blog requested a portrait from me.  The subject was his late father who past away earlier this year.

The individual who made the request is a fellow blogger.  We originally started following one another due to our common interest in woodworking.  We quickly became good acquaintances via WordPress and now, even though we have never met in person, I consider Ron one of my friends.

So when he asked if I would consider creating a portrait of his father I was extremely honored that he thought enough of my art to make this request of me.  I gladly accepted the challenge.

With Ron’s permission, I am sharing his father’s portrait in this post.

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Now, I’ll admit I was a touch nervous about drawing this portrait.  I have never created a portrait by request before.  The fact that it was Ron’s father made it all the more important that I did my best.  So, I began making marks, hesitantly at first, but, I gained confidence as I continued to develop the drawing.   I had to remind myself a few times to just relax and draw as I normally would.  Eventually the apprehension fell away and I found my groove.

Ron is a knowledgeable and skilled craftsman who creates his wooden wares with nothing more than human-powered tools in his “unplugged” workshop.  His creations are adorned with intricately carved patterns.  Please visit his blog at  An Unplugged Woodworker to see his skill and craftsmanship for yourself.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you have a great day! – Mike

 

Reality & Tactile Feedback

Tactile Feedback Featured Image

Back to the Real Feel…

Lately, I have been spending a good amount of time creating digital sketches with my iPad.  I really like the convenience and tons of media options.

However, I was missing the sound of marks on paper, creating with real tools, and the lack of an undo button.

I haven’t created a pen & ink sketch in a while so I thought I would dust off my pens and get to sketching.  Here are the results!

Tactile Feedback Sketch

Thank for visiting, I hope everyone has a wonderful day.  Feel free to comment!

Bleeding Ink & Negative Space

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Pen & Ink Style with Procreate?

I’ve been wanting to explore the inking brushes in Procreate, in particular, I have been wanting to create a drawing with the Ink Bleed Brush.

I have seen others use the Ink Bleed Brush within Procreate to create some very cool art.  I have been wanting to create a pen & ink portrait in Procreate for a while now, so, I decided to give it a go with my latest sketch.

I received positive feedback with my last sketch where I tried to keep the style loose and minimal.  I enjoyed sketching in that loose style and I also really enjoyed the process of determining what areas to include or exclude within the drawing.  So I knew that I wanted to repeat that style with this sketch as well.

I would love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment!

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Thanks for visiting – Mike

Trying to let go and just have fun

Keeping it quick & loose

This sketch was inspired by a Lee Jeffries portrait.  I am a big fan of his work.  I find his images so raw and powerful.  I just can’t resist sketching them!

The goal with this sketch was just to keep it simple, try to capture the main features of the subject, and most of all keep the sketch loose.

I think I came closer with this one than I have with my previous attempts.

I believe trying to work a little quicker and more loosely will help me to produce more work, which equals more enjoyment.  I am trying to teach myself to let go a bit.

I am still in the mindset that I need to keep my sketches neat and each one should be as good or better than the previous work.  I am now beginning to see that this mindset can do more harm than good.

By thinking that each work should be as good as the previous works you put unnecessary pressure on yourself to produce quality work.  This self-imposed pressure leads to a decrease in enjoyment.  Sometimes you may completely psych yourself out to the point that you don’t even attempt a sketch because your worried your quality will suffer.

This is certainly not the way to maintain confidence, grow as an artist, or ensure that sketching remains an enjoyable activity.

I plan to produce more work like this, sketches that are loose and free.

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Thanks for visiting – Mike

Tarana, Inspiration via Sktchy

Thank you, Tarana for the inspiration.

This is Tarana,  I found her inspiration photo on the app Sktchy.  Her unique look and bold ear jewelry caught my eye.

This sketch was created in Procreate.  I’m really enjoying sketching digitally, but, I’m going to have to force myself to put it down and spend some time with my traditional sketchbook and pencils.

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The image below actually shows the completed sketch.  I brought forward the blue undersketch and added blue highlights to her face.  I am not sure if I like this version or the plain version above best, so I thought I would post both.

What about you, which do you prefer?

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I hope everyone has a great weekend!  Thanks for visiting – Mike

Sunday Snap 05.26.19

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Backyard Visitors…

This morning I hosted a trio of visitors in my backyard.  I noticed them as I was pouring my coffee.  I grabbed my camera and snuck out the front door, carefully making my way towards the backyard.  I didn’t want to startle my unexpected visitors.

I shot these photos at a distance, the deer were standing at the edge of the woods in a heavily shaded area.  I was standing in bright sunlight.  The bulk of the shots were too blurry to post.  I did manage to steady my camera enough to get at least one decent shot.  As I stated before I was standing a good distance from them.  This photo was shot with my Canon 75-300 “kit” lens so the image quality isn’t the best.

Sunday Snap 05.26.19

Thanks for viewing, I hope everyone has a creative & wonderful day. – Mike

Bonus photo…

This photo is blurry but, there is something about the composition that appeals to me, so I thought I would share it with you guys.

Sunday Snap 05.26.19 Bonus Image

 

Back to Basics…

Just keeping it simple

Just a fairly quick portrait I did a few nights ago.  For this one I went back to one of my smaller sketchbooks, this sketch is on 5.5″ x 8″ dotted paper.   The medium is graphite with just a touch of white gel pen to bring out the highlights on the glasses.

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Thanks for viewing, I hope everyone has a creative day!

More Procreate!

Another Lee Jeffries inspired portrait

Continuing with the theme of my last portrait, here is another portrait featuring hands on the subject’s face.

This was drawn in Procreate and is based in a photograph by Lee Jeffries.  I took a slightly different approach to the finished portrait this time by adding a touch of color.

I always start each Procreate piece with an undersketch.  If I’m drawing a portrait that will be on a mid-tone or dark background I will usually create my undersketch with white lines.  Then I can adjust the transparency of the undersketch layer so that the lines become faint, this becomes a guide while creating the main sketch.  I took the same approach with this piece but, once the main sketch was complete I decided to bring the undersketch layer to the top and adjust the transparency once again for some visual interest.   This effect is mainly apparent on the fingers.  I liked the way that it loosened up the final presentation.

I hope everyone has a great Monday!  Thanks for visiting – Mike

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Sunshine Blogger Nomination

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was recently nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award by Kanisha at kanicreates.home.blog  I am sincerely honored to receive this nomination.

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.

I do not wish to participate in the process of nominating other blogs. However, I will gladly answer Kanisha’s questions.

Kanisha’s Questions:

  1.  Is there a story behind the name of your blog?  Not really, it’s pretty boring actually, just my real name.
  2. As a child, what was your dream job?  I’m not sure if I really had a dream job as a child.  I can tell you that I was introduced to drafting during my sophomore year of high school.  I took on to it fairly well and by the time I was a senior I had arranged my schedule so I could take the architectural drafting class twice each day.  I knew from that point that I wanted to be a designer/draftsman.  I have been in the industry for nearly 30 years now.  Technology has changed quite a bit but, I still find a ton of gratification in my chosen career.
  3. Spring, autumn, summer or winter?  Definitely Autumn!  About mid-summer I have had all the heat I can stand and I begin longing for cooler days.  There’s just something special about Autumn.  The crisp morning air, the crunch of leaves under your foot, the first fire on a cool night.  These are things I look forward to each year.
  4. What is one way you relieve stress at the end of the day? The absolute best things for me is to spend some time at my drawing desk.  Making marks on paper (or digitally) puts my mind into a state where I can let stress drift away and just concentrate on creating art.  One of the things that appeal to me about drawing is the aspect of no rules.  When I am at my day job, nearly everything I create is governed by building codes.  These codes are necessary, and limitations can drive creativity, however, I really like the fact that when I’m creating art their are no rules or boundaries and I can simply do!
  5. What are the things you can’t live without?  hmmm, coffee for one.  A warm cup greets me every morning, followed by a few more cups, perhaps a late afternoon cup as well.
  6. Your favorite vacation spot? In my limited travels, I would have to say that my favorite vacation spot so far is Charleston, SC.  There’s just something about the history and charm of this southern city that really appeals to me.
  7. What cities and towns have you lived in?   Not many, I was born in a small town in the foothills of North Carolina and other than a decade spent in a slightly larger town about 35 miles southeast of here.  This is the only place I have lived.
  8. What is your comfort food?  Macoroni and corned beef.  Now, this probably isn’t a dish for everyone.  However, I grew up eating this stuff.  I remember my mother fixing it for the family.  Now, my wife fixes it occasionally for me.  She doesn’t care for it herself, but I love it.
  9. What is happiness to you?  Trainquility.  I love to be in a serene and tranquil place to be alone in my thoughts.  I guess I’m an introvert at heart.  I also very much enjoy seeing my family when they are happy and enjoying life.
  10. Something you want to change in people? Being instantly judgmental of others, or forcing your opinion and beliefs onto others.  I am a believer in free will as long as it doesn’t hurt or opress others.
  11. What do you love most about blogging? I’ve never really thought about it.  I guess I like sharing things with others in an environment that I consider safe and friendly.  I like interacting with other bloggers and the sense of friendship and community that can be found in the company of folks you’ve never met in person.  It’s intriguing, to say the least.

 

Kanisha thank you once again for the nomination and thoughtful questions.

Thanks for visiting and  I hope everyone has a great day.

I Can See You…

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Something a little different…

This is a little different I guess, at least it’s not a full portrait.

This sketch is based on a reference photo I found online.  I liked how the hand partially obstructed the face, the dark shadows added even more depth and mystery.

I may continue with this theme and produce a series of sketches featuring hands and faces.  I like the emotive quality.

The medium is graphite, powdered charcoal, & white pencil on toned tan paper.

Thanks for visiting, have a wonderful day! – Mike

I can see you

Procreate Portrait of Mr. Pegg

I’m really starting to get comfortable with Procreate…

This is Simon Pegg, English actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer.  I came across a wonderful photo of him that I found intriguing.  I decided to create his portrait digitally using Procreate. I apologize but I do not know the name of the photographer.  So I am unable to provide photo credit.

Currently, I am alternating between traditional and digital means of sketching.  The overall feel of digital sketching is very different.  There is no permanence to any line or mark you make.  If you don’t like the results you can simply hit the undo button.  This is wonderful for experimentation but I think it can become a crutch quickly.

I believe I must continue to sketch traditionally in order to keep my skill level sharp.  I think it is beneficial to the artist to work with a medium where there is some amount of permanence to each stroke made.  Sure, you can always erase a pencil mark but if that mark is in an area of shading you can also destroy the good marks.  So you have to be adaptive and that’s were finesse and technique come into play.  The permanence forces one to deal with what is on the page.

I plan to continue with both forms of creation.  I find both forms of creating extremely enjoyable and relaxing.

This sketch was created in Procreate, using the 6B pencil brush.

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Thank for stopping by, I hope you have a great week – Mike