Sunday, March 20, 2016

Gustave Dore: Leading The Eye With Light

How does one lead the viewer's eye around a composition? If visual grammar is used effectively we impact what the viewer looks at first, second, third, and so on. Notice how Dore achieves visual dominance (the ability to allow some area of a composition to catch our attention first) through a play of light and dark. In the first image below we look at the radiant light in the center of the composition, then the figures on the bottom and then we notice the swirling mass of figures around the perimeter. Essentially we look where there is the most contrast (of value, shape, scale, placement within the picture plane, etc) first.

"Gustave Doré was born in Strasbourg on 6 January 1832. By age five, he was a prodigy troublemaker, playing pranks that were mature beyond his years. Seven years later, he began carving in cement. At the age of fifteen Doré began his career working as a caricaturist for the French paper Le Journal pour rire, and subsequently went on to win commissions to depict scenes from books by Rabelais, Balzac, Milton and Dante." (source)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Nicola Verlato

The Drawings of Nicola Verlato.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Egyptian Drawing: Ostraca & Other Incomplete Works

Most of the images below come from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (either photos that I took in the museum or I downloaded from their website). Ostraca are limestone fragments that were used for writing or sketching. Sometimes the sketch was for a master to demonstrate the proportions of a given figure, architectural element, animal or plant. The grid that you see superimposed on many of the images is used for proportion (either with regards to canons of established beauty or so that the drawing can be recreated accurately at a much larger size). Some ostraca seem to be unrelated to a workshop and seem to be humorous doodles done for personal pleasure. Within the context of this blog I am presenting each ostracon to show that the overall process of drawing is still remarkably familiar to us. As we might find in the notebooks of any given artist from the Renaissance, the drawing is started with an energetic but loose gesture in red or black chalk and then a more decisive and refined mark is used to delineate the underlying sketch. If the drawing is done directly on the wall (not as an ostracon but still as in an unfinished work) the same applies but a third phase of highly refined carving begins. I love the similarity between the emphasis of the initial underdrawing in Egypt and the sinopia that are found in Renaissance churches. Besides canons of proportion and rules of composition the fascinating difference is that one culture paints on top of the underdrawing, the other culture carves into the underdrawing. More on ostraca here:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Secret City

I just found out about this TV show from the 1980's called Secret City. Somehow I had never heard of it or the show's host Mark Kistler. It's obviously for children but still I thought it was awesome enough to share. Enjoy!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Anatomy For Artists

Want to draw from a skeleton but only have a web browser in front of you? Check out this clever in-browser app at for 360 skeleton sketching/studying.

Above is a video of Robert Beverly Hale that is, so far, difficult to come by online. The embed is from a Chinese video sharing website. The version on YouTube is even lower in quality.