The objective for this lesson was to use ink washes in various tones to shorten the drawing time, even out the values, and pulling the elements together into a cohesive artwork. Pen and ink stokes were to be used mainly for details and texture. Students were to use 8 x 10″ black and white photos for their subject.
All first made a good drawing of the subject on sketchbook paper either free-handed or using a grid. Four small cups were set out with a little water in one, a little more in the second, more water in the 3rd, and the most in the 4th. We put a drop of India ink in each cup, thereby making 4 different values, plus the white of the paper and undiluted ink for the darkest tone.
We worked light to dark with a round watercolor brush, and made sure to let each value dry before adding another. Layering of values could also be used. When all the values were laid in, students used their pens to complete the painting. These really turned out great!
The homework assignment was to draw a still life composition with bottles, vases, etc. but instead of developing the positive shapes, students were to break up the negative shapes with patterns in pen and ink, thereby making the still life objects the negative instead of the positive. Here’s my example of this assignment:
The second class on pen and ink drawing got serious about making strokes to indicate value, shape, and texture with several sizes of pen and ink nibs. Some students used Rapidograph refillable pens while others used disposable Hybrid Technical pens in .3 and .6 sizes. I first gave them papers with four bottle images that I had drawn. They were to practice using hatching, cross-hatching, stipple, squiggle, or contour line to value the outlined bottles. Here’s the image I used for this exercise:
After completion of this exercise, each student selected either an object brought from home or one of those supplied to draw in an 8 x 10″ size. We reviewed the steps to drawing from life:
- Draw the large shapes first
- Map out the secondary shapes (including shadows, highlights, reflections)
- Look for connecting shapes
- Use the negative shapes
Really good drawings were made of these objects using a variety of strokes:
Here is my example:
They were to finish their drawings at home and bring an 8 x 10″ photo to work from next week. We will be using ink washes as well as pen strokes to complete these drawings from a photo.
I just completed teaching an eight week class on pen and ink drawing (from 1:30 – 3:30 pm) at the Maumelle Center on the Lake. I had eight students in varying degrees of drawing expertise, but they all did marvelous work and seemed to enjoy using pen and ink. My final two classes centered on scratchboard drawing – the reverse of drawing black and white, since the 5 x 7″ clayboards were covered with black ink and the lights had to be scratched out with different tools. For this and the next six posts, I will explain what we did and show various examples of my students as well as mine. For your information, I will list the artist books that I used for inspiration at the end of the last post.
Session 1. Materials were discussed along with right and wrong usage: Art Outfitters in downtown Little Rock had been kind enough to fashion kits that included all of the materials required for the course. I emphasized the importance of the sketchbook in practicing drawing daily. Sometimes, homework assignments were given to encourage more drawing practice. When pen and ink is used, every stroke is a commitment, since there can be no erasures!
In this first 2 1/2 hour class, we concentrated on loose pen and ink drawing using twigs and ink in bottles. We went outside and chose from any of the trees on the campus for our subject matter. They were to start with the trunks and build upwards, suggesting the leaves in clumps and light and dark values to define. This was a fairly quick way of drawing, akin to contour drawing. Here are two examples from the class:
Students came back inside and were told to select a single object or their hand to draw in their sketchbook using a black marker and only two values: black and the white of the paper. This was to be a quick study of loose instead of tight drawing technique. A review of gesture drawing, sighting, and measurement was given. Here’s an example:
For homework, I passed out sheets of different kinds of strokes used in tight rendering of pen and ink drawings. Students were to duplicate these strokes in their sketchbook to practice before coming for the second lesson, which would be to draw an object from life using appropriate pen strokes and their drawing pens. They were encouraged to bring objects from home that meant something to them or their families. Below is an image of the page with stroke examples they were given.
Well, I’m going to teach an art class again — thought I was finished with that, but guess it’s in my “blood.” Beginning September 15 (Thursday) from 1:30 – 3:30, I will be teaching a class on how to compose a work of art at the Maumelle Senior Wellness Center in Maumelle. This is a seven week class, and will include examples, critiques, information, exercises, and perhaps occasional homework. Students will use their own materials, as well as materials provided by the instructor. I’ve had many years of experience teaching this subject, both in high school art classes, children’s classes, and adult classes. A lot of the lessons will be based on the blogs I’ve shared on this site. Cost is $45, and there is a maximum of eight students so call MSWC as soon as possible, if you want to register (501- 851-4344). I’m looking forward to seeing you and sharing my understanding of composition and design principles.
It’s been a while since I blogged — had a lot going on in my life lately. Today, I’m merely passing along some information about drawing the human form that I’ve gleaned from books and magazines. Unfortunately, I have no idea WHAT books and magazines I got these from. Suffice it to say that my students learned a lot from these charts. The first one is about the growth of children. You can see from this why babys’ heads and eyes always seem to be so big– they don’t grow as fast as the other parts of the body. I apologize for the darkness of the example — it was on colored paper!
This next chart illustrates how the different sections of the body can be seen as basic forms: cylinders, spheres, wedges. It is much easier to draw figures if you think about various parts as simply shapes and forms.
In the future, I probably will not be posting drawing/painting lessons from my classes. Instead, I will be sharing the artwork I have finished lately, or working on at the present. I may be hanging up my apron as an art teacher! At least for the summer! Happy drawing to all of you!
The colors featured here are blue-green, green, and yellow-green. Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel present a very harmonious, related color scheme. One color needs to be dominant, another as subordinate, and the other should be in between. Lighter and darker values as well as their neutrals can be used. The colors you choose can express different moods – for example, colors on the red side of the wheel can express warmth, joy, excitement. Paintings in which the colors have all been neutralized can suggest a mood of a foggy, misty, or rainy landscape. In the study below, I chose to use yellow, yellow-orange, and orange as my three analogous colors. Yellow is dominant, orange is subordinate, and yellow-orange is the intermediate.
As it states on the left — use of analogous colors lead to a “harmonious but potentially boring” color scheme. As you can see in my example below, it would be much better if another accent color had been used — maybe a bright blue for interest! Remember, these are just studies — learning how to use different color schemes — don’t be tied down to them!
Other art organizations available to Arkansas artists in the central region include the Arkansas League of Artists (ALA)and the Conway League of Artists (CLA).
The web site for the ALA is http://www.arkansasleagueofartists.org. The Mission Statement on the web site reads: “The Arkansas League of Artists is an organization formed to promote fine arts in Arkansas. The League is a growing membership of artists and art enthusiasts who gather to learn from one another by exploring new techniques, working in new mediums and sharing their collective knowledge.” The group meets the last Tuesday of each month except for December at 7:00 PM at the North Little Rock Community Center. Programs include demonstrations and lectures, and each member may bring an original art work to the meetings to be voted on by those attending. Each winning piece is displayed for a month at local banks as “The Artist of the Month.” In addition, several exhibitions are hosted throughout the year. The 5th Annual Juried ALAart show is scheduled for September 12th – December 27th at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies in the Arkansas Studies Institute. The organization also awards scholarships to high school students and to the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School.
The Conway League of Artists meets at either the Faulkner County Library in Conway, or the Art on the Green (a local art gallery and studio) the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7 PM. On the web site at http://www.conwayleagueofartists.org, it is stated that the “Conway League of Artists is about creating visual art. We’re artists of all types: students, teachers, professionals, hobby painters and creatives who just want to learn and talk about art. We have painters, sculptors, potters, photographers, and illustrators… and a wide variety of media.” There are several exhibits held in Conway areas yearly and ongoing displays at banks, the library, and other Conway businesses. The meetings include demonstrations, information, and member voting for the “Art of the Month”.
All four of these Arkansas art organizations are active, involved, and inclusive. Dues range from $20 to $30, and are well worth the price for the degree of encouragement, inspiration, and education derived from membership. If you’re not already a member of one of these groups, think about joining — membership will greatly enhance your creativity and confidence.
The making of art is a solitary profession. It’s not like teaching, where you try to impart the love of learning in impressionable young minds, or working for a company as manager, supervisor, or general flunky. No, you work alone at a table or easel, placing on canvas or paper what is in your mind, your heart, and your soul. Conversation gets in the way of the creative process. So it’s only natural that an artist sometimes craves the presence of other artists for comradeship, inspiration, and/or advice. We take workshops, attend weekly groups, and join art organizations.
Art organizations serve to support a particular medium or theme and furnish information, exhibit opportunities, and friendship to its members. I belong to every art organization possible: Mid-Southern Watercolorists (Signature membership), the Arkansas League of Artists (Signature membership), the Arkansas Pastel Society (charter member), the Conway League of Artists, and the Pastel Society of the Southwest in Texas (Signature membership) and the Colored Pencil Society of America. If there was a colored pencil society in Arkansas, I would be a member of that group as well! I’ll give you a short overview of each of these Arkansas organizations.
Mid-Southern Watercolorists was organized in 1970 by five Arkansas artists who desired to educate the public about the values of watercolor. Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of every month at 7 PM at the Arkansas Arts Center except during the summer months. An educational program follows a brief business session. Several exhibition opportunities are held during the year as well as workshops and demonstrations that increase expertise in the medium. Members hail from Texas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Mississippi as well as from Arkansas. The organization holds one juried membership show and a juried open show each year with major awards. I am currently the Regional Advisor for the Pulaski County area.
The Arkansas Pastel Society meets on the first Tuesday of each month (except January, February, and July) at 6 PM in the Education Building of St. Vincent’s Infirmary. It was founded in 2004 by a group of pastel artists who saw the need for a regional society to promote pastels as a medium and as a means of networking with other pastel artists. APS is a member of the International Association of Pastel Societies whose objective is “to celebrate worldwide the expanding presence of dry pastel as a major fine art painting medium,” and to “provide a strong voice for pastel artists and the luminous medium of pastel” (from the APS website). Scholarships are granted to deserving art students, demonstrations and workshops are held periodically, and a National Exhibition as well as member exhibits are held yearly.
(Discussion to be continued on the next post).