This blog...

...was initially for pieces done on a computer, but has since become a free-for-all. Here you'll find process work (digital and otherwise), sketch pages and studies, sometimes with commentary.

You can see the rest of my work here.

Remember kids : if you can't make pretty designs, at least make pretty lines!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

lifedrawing log - 02.13.10

Today's model was spunky and full of sarcastic quips, so of course The Powers That Be put her in a near-catatonic pose for the duration. What a waste. The drawings I did that look the most natural are the ones where I deviated from what she was actually doing and relaxed her into that padded backdrop. In all, I'm non-plussed with my performance, but what else is new?

Today I'll introduce another character in our rollicking cast. His nickname is "Oshkosh B'Gosh", for his trademark overalls. Think "Super Mario" minus the gloves. An architect in his 50s, he sports a curly black mustache and a green cap, which I guess would technically make him Luigi. Oshkosh B'Gosh lives by an art school joke I heard from one of my officemates : "If you can't make it good, make it BIG." To give you an idea of what Oshkosh B'Gosh thinks is cool, take a sheet of paper the size of a TX road map (or, in some cases, an actual TX road map) and fill half of it with the model's upturned head -- the more unflattering the angle, the better. Add train tunnel nostrils the size of avocados. Can you see gray matter behind the sinuses? Good. Now begin to arbitrarily fill the features with bright colors, making sure the eyewhites are ABSOLUTE WHITE, and use this exact same value to do the highlights in the model's DARK BROWN HAIR. Stop drawing once you're throughly repulsed, or until time is up.

I was explaining to a newcomer, who asked if I do illustration, that my goal in these sessions is to create from the model. To sit and record facts is to become a secretary taking dictation from a superior. Eff that. When I wake up at 8AM on a Saturday, drive 25 minutes and pay a fee to attend one of these things, I'm going to call the shots. The newcomer said the he prefers doing still lives of clothing and other "more traditional" gallery work. "That's cool" I said, lying through my teeth. The drawing he was slaving over was, unfortunately, only traditional if sucking is a tradition.

One more account. An artist friend of mine who works at Junction Point has (thank God) started attending. He does admirable work and makes good use of his time. His drawings show an actual thought process. But -- dun-dun-DUUUUUNNN! -- he does them on a laptop. Digital art to an older generation is like the monolith to the apes in 2001 : A Space Odyssey. They flock to it, their puzzled expressions a mixture of wonder and apprehension. "Might this glowing box be the key to our evolution?" their internal monologues ask, though what they say out loud is, "That's cheating." or "That's sooooooooooo amazing." or "Is that Photoshop?"*

*Response cheat sheet : "No.", "Not really." and "Actually, this is Windows Media Player. I'm just watching a movie of someone drawing while I swirl this robo-pen around in my asshole."


Zeke said...

I'm starting to feel your pain

at the studio I draw at there's one eccentric dude with the crazy eyes who scribbles incoherently with ink then smears the resulting mess with a wet brush. The faces wind up looking like squished play-dough but everyone fawns over the results for some reason

brianleepainter said...

Goddamn, that was a hilariously entertaining read. It is useful and comforting to now be able to refer back to these individuals with their newly labeled identities, considering that I don't actually know their names. My vote is to name the beastly lady Big Red, simply because she reminds me of the embodiment of a dirty commy/statist
and can usually be seen sporting
a red beret.

It is annoying when Oshkosh B'Gosh's map takes up a 1/4
of the room when you are just
not in the need for directions.

I agree that the model today was
placed in a static pose, but your
drawings say other wise. There
is the power you hold, once the model leaves the room all that is
left is the artwork that you've
created, which is not a recording
of the stale pose.

Anonymous said...

The only difference between your 'cartoony' drawings and the drawing of these 'fine art' people is checking proportions and some kind of realistic rendering. Rendering makes a drawing look stiff so you should start with exaggerated gestures. Even your awesome gestures will stiffen up as you render and you'll be left with a finished 'realistic' drawing that still looks alive unlike most of the crap these people that try to copy the model end up with. Most figure drawing folks don't respect line work, just rendering and detail even if it's incorrect.

Love your accounts from these sessions.
Have you ever seen the 'Chaotic Speed Painter' guy? He throws huge sheets of paper on the floor and splashes and scratches watercolors all over them in vaguely human-like shapes, moving several times even during short poses. I wanna force feed him some valium after 5 minutes.

Or the 'Never satisfied with my angle' guy? Always moves after the model gets in position because obviously the model is trying to eff his drawings up.

'Boring pose only' guy? Asks for a different pose if the model twists or bends in the slightest. Unless he has a good angle at some quality (subjective) cooch. This only happens at places where the moderator is accommodating.

'Huff 'n' Puff' guy? Every few breathes are loud sighs of "god why do I suck so bad?"

Even worse! -- I took a Steve Huston (highly recommended!!! look him up, best art teacher ever) workshop in LA which cost I think $595 for 5 days and this guy from San Francisco fell asleep every day and started snoring. It became pretty funny and Steve encouraged everyone to let him sleep. Steve talks for 30 minutes and then you draw/paint for 30 minutes while he comes around and gives each student individual critique. I have many pages of notes from his workshops that I still refer too.

'I'm awesome because I went to an art school in Europe' guy - despite all evidence to the contrary this guy thinks he's the best artist in the room and indeed better then anyone in our new and less cultured country. Shit, he was in Italy for 8 months!

I once walked past a sculpture class at a community college and this middle aged guy was making a huge vagina out of bright pink sheets of 2 inch thick seat padding or something. It was probably 4 feet high. I imagined him at home sticking his head in it to sleep when he felt anxious. I'm still jealous of that guy.

Søren Bendt said...

hahaha love the ranting man. ^^
Great solid drawings too, makes me look forward to the next lifedrawing session.

c0ffeeartc said...

Just too amusing!! hope mentioned people would never read it though.
Odon, that lineup is priceless *brushing tears off*

Thanks for all these lifedrawing pictures, especially "reaches".
They highly inspired me for intense hardcore thinking on perspective so i got able to make a lesson on it. Thanks!

Vinod Rams said...

Hhehe awesome post. I love the portrait at that very hard angle. You pulled it off flawlessly.

Why don't you fight back with a tried and true art school technique: When asked for a comment on a really shitty piece of art, just comment on the materials or presentation. Goes something like this:

"Hey Paul, check out my scribbly mess."
"Wow, what paper are you using? Is that a kneaded eraser? Did I mention I like the paper you're using?"

And don't forget the classic non-comment "Nice use of negative space"

Paul Richards said...

Hahahaha..."negative space." That's a nice way of saying "Thanks for leaving that portion of the page blank."

Odon // One of my coworkers is partial to saying, "Being French is cheating." but yeah, I get a kick out of arteeests who are all about "taking a trip to paint in Venice" or some shit, thinking that the geographical change will somehow transform them into overnight Renaissance men. We have buildings, trees and old people here too, for crying out loud.

I've never seen someone sleeping at lifedrawing, but I HAVE spotted "The Letch" archetype, who draws juuuust enough to not be totally suspect, but is mainly there to see flesh. You can see that urgent, pre-masturbatory twitch in their eyes, and watch as they try earnestly to keep their hands away from their throbbing genitals. Creeeeeeepy...

Billy George said...

Your life drawing keeps getting better damn you!

btw I definitely fall into the "Letch" category.