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Monday, August 27, 2012

Robin Norling's Tips for Life Drawing

I'm developing characters for a picture book project = Lots of research and reviewing my thousands of sketches etc. We have a life drawing class in Monday evenings. 
By the way, often people ask me about drawing skills, particularly, how to draw figures. So, this week, I'll pass on you the tips for life drawing. Let's share them! 
 This wonderful knowledge was from Robin Norling's   drawing class in NSW Art Gallery that I bumped in 1997. Robin is a very famous artist and well-respected lecturer, ( *I, about to be a uni mature student, did not know his name at that time). He kindly included me, a wondering sheep. A given hand-out was spot-on that enlightened me. His humour shone through.

Here we go! 
●Drawing is a communication. It has a language!
●Learning the language of drawing enables you to express your perceptions & sensibilities.
●By learning to “read” the drawings of others, we increase our visual language.
●“He who listens most speaks best.”

●Commence your drawing with the simplest possible statement / gesture. For example,

(Don’t try to sew the buttons on before you have cut out the material for the shirt!)
●Proceed by modifying the first statement in very simple ways.

(If you find drawing difficult, you are attempting too much too soon!)

●Take account of “flattening.”

●Respond dramatically – Don’t underplay your reaction of the essence of the model.

●Make marks only when you have something to say. (Otherwise it becomes scribble.)

●Artists’ drawings are generally concerned with formal issues : movement, structure, volume, space, light, proportion, surface,  etc.(Rather than knees and nipples!)
When Robin looked at my drawings and me, he said with a biiig smile, "You're enjoying it!" Yes, I was so happy to play with charcoal on big papers, ah, heaven! "You're ok," he added. His confident say puzzled me. I asked, "Why?"
"You like drawing and you're enjoying it," said Robin, smiling back at me. I see. Joy must come first. I felt what a nice teacher he was!! 
(*Years later, when I got into art and googled his name, oh, my, I got so surprised! What a lucky girl I was!) 

Indeed, I've carried out what Robin taught in the pamphlet since 1997. Still that pamphlet shines on me from the drawing board in a studio.  I'd say special thanks to him one day, if I could see him.

In addition, I'm a self-taught artist who did not try Art school. Instead of Art school, I've been keen on learning about art at anytime and anywhere. I've watched other artists' demos, joined workshops, read books and so ons. As far as I know, many wonderful artists are self-taught and hard workers. I also believe in people's good will. If you work hard, certainly, nice people will come up and help you like Robin did it for me.

So, Friends, don't lose your heart at the tough time. Enjoy drawing!
Drawing skills take time, years to learn it. But a small everyday effort makes a huge difference in the future. Let us keep up!    
Friends, Happy Painting!!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Vigorous Sketches as References

Hi, Friends, did you enjoy a weekend?
I've been working on the projects. One is at the stage of "character design." So, I have a brain storm for 24 hours per day.  Illustration is very a demanding work, but very much fun. I enjoy sketching between the projects and fine art work.  

"Capture subjects with simple, only necessary lines in vivid colours" is my style.  I seek a "lively and vigorous" outcome in work. 

My sketches are important inspirations and precious references for any work that includes character design. I can use photos, but I dare not to do it. I train my eyes and trust in them. Michelangelo did not have a camera, but created brilliant drawings with his eyes. 

Above, I played up the lady's widely opened moth and the colour of cheeks --- worked out to depict her emotions. I mixed a blue and burnt sienna for her jacket -- interesting washes came out.   
In my sketches, factual accuracy is not weighed. Think of a caricature. It's not physically meticulous, yet it tells who's who very well. Mood, emotions and personalities are more concerns.

My process is below. A case study is the event. I was invited and enjoyed the stage.
1) Check setting. Decide composition.  
Examine a stage, a ceiling, lights and seats in a theature = check value as a "whole."   
2) Set a focus. Simplify the whole. Not get lost in detail. 
Below, a camera man is the interest. 
3) Draw, paint quickly.    
Before subjects will be gone!!

French Ultramarine worked well.  Colour experiments are great fun.
Another sketch, an executive at a conference.  
Well ... no, joke, Friends! The agenda was on the hardship of writers' ( and illustrators' ) life. I'm happy to die in a gutter?!
Technically, I often sketch a person from different angles on the same paper to understand a figure in 3D. It helps me find the most impressive or dramatic angle for a portrait. Nice and fun.  

In sketching, quick watercolour gives me many advantages. First, briskness often comes up. Second, it's very appropriate to enjoy wet-in-wet or washes in sketches. As far as I know, all watercolourists, who create beautiful washes, make a painting in short time = Before paper gets dry too much, add another colour. Third, dynamic brush strokes make interesting textures. I always try to keep liveliness in studio work, too. 

However, an option of techniques depends on an artist's personality and what expects in outcomes. "Work on your style," is the best way.

Anyway, Friends, Happy Painting!! 
Enjoy sketching!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Build Up Own Style Whilst Studying

Hi, Friends, how have you been? Sure, you enjoyed London Olympics! I've been very busy with the projects ongoing and, too, watched Olympic games(Oh! It's over)! I love sports,  both watching and enjoying them all. Interesting, any athlete has an individual style developed from very the basics. Like sports and other areas, in art, establishing an individual style is a big goal. So, I've been exploring different styles in watercolour. My ultimate goal is to build up my own style. Yes, unique and solid.
Being as an artist, isn't it a great joy and honour to hear others comment, "Ah, I soon get that's your work! That's your style"? 

Colour use, a background and a texture have been my main concerns for these months. In this post, red or pink are dominant colours. Friends, how do you "feel" or get an idea for a background? I'm an inspiration orientated artist. Until something I feel, I do not make it into a watercolour painting.
Below, the lady's red caught my eyes at the market. (*She was the busy manager of a Sunday market! A4) 
The kind lady offered me "5 minutes" to put main colours in an office. Thanks millions! I made a big rush -- in all, nearly 10 minutes? No idea. Rush, rush, rush! 
But when I sketched the lady, she was having a coffee break with a cigarette. Sunshine, something warm and relaxing mood -- was my images for the picture. Soft and light green came cross my mind for a background. Then, I organized a background like above. Hum, it was fun! I should try a background more!! Be brave!

Another study was based on my old work. In this doodle, I tried to make a strong contrast and a rough texture. I've just realized... the same pattern of my colour use. *You may say, "Hey, Sadami, you like a "red and green combination"?" Could be. 
I'd really appreciate your any feedback. (A4)

By the way, this is my personal view, do we, women often love pink or red since childhood? On the other hand, in my observation, do men tend to pick up blue? Or is it social convention or social expectation in culture?

Apart from a heavy topic and technical stuff
above all,  joy must come first for me. Tadadada~~! It's me in a studio. (Some competitions require a bio and photos. So, I took some photos last week.)
I also love doodles like this! Yey! Super Girl(A4)! Full of energy.

I want to establish my own style, while exploring something new all the time. Exploring watercolour is sometimes not easy. Experiments' outcomes disappoint me. It discourages me. But I always learn a lesson and move on. Life is short. I cannot get stuck too long. Because always I remember the joy, it encourages me again. 
Quite simple -- I love watercolour, thus, I keep up and work on my style. 
I'm sure among you, Friends, sometimes get suck and make a sigh. Don't worry. You're not alone. Sometimes, we have rainy days. But sure, you'll enjoy sunshine.  This Super girl sends you all the best, joy and energy. I hope you will reach your own goal!
Friends, Happy Painting!!  
*Oh, yes, our Monday evening life drawing class will move into a bigger and nice space tonight. Hurray!



Monday, August 6, 2012

eBooks at Library

Hi, Friends, did you have a nice weekend? 
This week, my topic is an "eBook," an electronic version of a printed book. The other day, I attended the ebook and audiobook workshop at a public library. 

Very interesting. The audience were middle age and elder people who access internet and have time and budget.
I asked a librarian to show the children's section on a catalogue. Not many, some children picture books are available. Most of them are simple ones such as counting, alphabets and animals' names or picture books published long time ago. Neither famous nor popular picture book is found. 

Sadly, digitalized information has already caused problems. First, copyrights issues are serious. Second, already ebooks have been stolen from a library.  "Some publishers won't do e book at all," a librarian said. I see. "In this digital era, once, information becomes available on net, copyrights do not exist," a uni lecturer told us in the sociology unit, "The impact of modern technology on our lives." So true.

It seems that digitalized books and related issues will take more time to settle down.

Apart from eBooks problems, I have so sweet memories with parents in reading books together in the evening. On bed, we shared time. Isn't it our starting point to meet books? So, I still now love a library's "story time" and join it.
Today, whether printed books or eBooks, I sincerely hope parents or care givers will have reading time with children. Children will remember wonderful moments forever. 

Lastly, I'd say special thanks for librarians, backstage players. They are very hard workers, so patient and very caring. You're the real heros!! Yey!  We, picture book illustrators and authors often visit libraries for a book launch and do a regular presentation. In this "National Year of Reading," libraries have many events related to books. 
Let us enjoy reading and share joy with others, too.

Friends, Happy Painting...and reading, too!!