Posts Tagged "art"
I’ve always been frustrated with my figure drawing skills (or lack thereof) and, until recently, have been getting away with “charmingly” distorted figures as popularized by indie comics and fashion illustration. For example, the figures in my work for Ang Nawawalang Soundtrack obviously defy human structure logic.
That kind of drawing is acceptable, yes, but I am married to a very skilled artist who always tells me that I have to know anatomy before I can deviate from it. Remember, even Picasso had a realist period before the creative genius revolutionized the art world with his abstract depictions of society. So I made it my mission to practice drawing figures whenever I can and this is how I’ve been doing it.
1. I hang out in coffee shops where I can watch people and draw them inconspicuously. I usually sit in a corner where no one can see me drawing or else they might shy away and turn their backs on me.
2. I’ve been attending life drawing sessions such as Who Are Maro’s Life Drawing Setup. The session is divided into two halves — one for the male model and another for the female model. Each half is divided into 5, 10, 15, and 30-minute pose sessions so it really trains the artists to draw what they see without overthinking it. Arnold and I have been attending almost regularly since last year. You can follow their FB page to find out when the next one is. Here’s a video of my drawings from the latest one. The first time we joined I just used pencils. The following time I used watercolors, and for this most recent one I used Viarco graphite sticks and tailor’s chalk from ArtWhale.
Using different mediums is training me to think and act quickly before the minutes are up and the model assumes a new position.
3. I watch gesture drawing videos on YouTube. The artist Proko’s human anatomy playlist is definitely a good starting point as he demonstrates drawing, explains bone joints and describes muscle groups in an entertaining way.
4. Sometimes I use Arnold’s action figures to study anatomy. The Final Fantasy XIII figures (which he has a complete set of, lol) are *gorgeous* and I like to pose them around so I can use them as models. They’re also great for studying lighting.
5. When watching TV series or movies here at home I sometimes sketch from the screen just to train myself to observe lines and angles carefully while setting them on paper. I found it really hard to capture likenesses at first but after much practice I think I’ve gotten a little better at it. Can you guys tell that this is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? J/K 😀
My figure drawing is still very much a work in progress but I hope this post has inspired those of you who are also struggling to get figures done right.
By the way, if you guys aren’t doing anything this Saturday, September 9, I’d like to invite you to come to the Kuretake ZIG Pen Meet 3 at the ShangriLa Plaza. I’ll be there among around 50 artists who’ll be doing live art. My slot is from 3-5pm and I will be at the “Illustration Alley” section. Not sure what I’ll be drawing yet but for sure I’ll be doing it in watercolors. Hope to see you then!
My work space at home is still the most ideal location for painting but there are times when I need to work outside the house like when I do demos or live portraiture and also when I meet with friends for art dates so I DIY-ed a portable watercolor kit that comfortably allows me to bring my at-home work experience wherever I go. In case you’re in the process of making a watercolor travel or plein-air kit too, I’m sharing mine with you. 🙂
The actual kit is a red pouch that measures 11.5″ x 8.5″ that I purchased for P88 years ago in Daiso. I think it’s a travel accessory pouch but I’ve found it suitable for storing my painting materials especially since the mesh front pocket allows anything that might still be wet inside it to air dry even when already packed. The kit is sitting on a wooden book stand (bought from Fully Booked but it’s similar to this one) that I use as an easel when doing on-the-spot portraits. I have a portable table easel too, you’ll see it in use in this video, but it’s bigger and heavier so I only use it for outdoor events or when I hold workshops.
The back of the pouch has two more pockets where I store watercolor journals, pads and paper towels. See just how sulit this P88 bag is? By the way, the Clester journal is from Sekaido in Tokyo (I also use the Albireo journal which is slightly cheaper) and the Bockingford pad is from ArtWhale.
What’s inside the bag:
- Brush stnad (given by my friend Jovan (@starshuffler). I believe she bought this in an art store n Hong Kong), Never leave your brushes submerged in water, guys. You can rest them on paper towels when not in use but I particularly like how this holder lets my brushes’ bristles dry while keeping their shape.
- A roll-up tool case I bought from crafter friend Nikki of Tweed & Twine. I like that this tool case has wide pockets so I can keep rulers and small pocket palettes in it too. Also, fabric = breathable!
- Flat water bottle from my Holbein Pro Compo II travel set – a kit I stopped using because it’s quite heavy and bulky. I transferred the paint from it into a folding palette.
- My husband‘s 20-year-old Schmincke watercolor palette (video of when I first discovered it here), resurrected for my personal use. 😛
- Collapsible water pail that I bought in Sekaido (Shinjuku main branch) last year.
- Little tin container bought for P29 in Landmark. I have lots of these and I use them for storing extra paint pans or graphite sticks.
The usual art materials:
- Silver Black Velvet Brush #8, a gift from my cousin abroad, locally available from Craft Carrot. The bristles are synthetic and I like how I can make both fine lines and semi-thick washes with it.
- Artetje Canlon Pro 5/0 brush I bought in Sekaido. I think it’s meant for miniature work and I only use it for detail work if necessary.
- Escoda Aquario #12 Squirrel Mop from ArtWhale — my all-time favorite brush. It’s a great mop for laying down initial washes of transparent color and if I forget to bring my other brushes, the pointy end is awesome for sketchy detail work too.
- Escoda Reserva #8 Kolinsky Sable Brush, also from ArtWhale — my next favorite brush. It’s collapsible so it’s perfect for travel. It can hold a lot of paint and is great for laying down juicy strokes of color which supplements the initial base washes made by the Aquario. I have a video of the two brushes in action on my Youtube watercolor tutorial channel.
- Some of the paint in the original palette has dried up so I filled it with colors I actually use which is a combination of Shin Han, White Nights, and leftover Shcmincke pans. I alternate this palette with my other folding palettes (see photo below), depending on what I’ll be painting that day.
- Viarco ArtGraf Water-Soluble Tailor Shape Graphite Block in Sanguine and ArtGraf Graphite Stick, both from ArtWhale. These are awesome and dissolve unbelievably smooth with no obvious streaking, perfect for live figure drawing sessions.
- Selection of paper — usually Strathmore. Khadi and Bockingford from ArtWhale, Hahnemuhle from Deovir Arts, Fabriano from NBS, and Canson Montval or Arches from IFEX or NBS. See my old blog post comparing different watercolor papers and on my watercolor tools (part 1, part 2)
My alternate folding palettes. I love this kind of palette since they are light, inexpensive and they have ample space for mixing colors. The one on the left is the palette I use the most since I’m already accustomed to the paints in it. You can refer to this old post for the colors / brands it contains (though I replaced 3 or 4 of the colors since writing that post). The palette on the right contains Holbein paint from that I transferred from my Pro Compo II travel kit which, as mentioned above, is really too bulky for me to lug around.
And finally below is what the portable setup looks like when in use.
Also here 😀
How about you? What’s in your portable watercolor kit? If you have blog posts about it please do share the links with me in the comments section. 🙂
Since White Nights (a.k.a. St. Petersburg) Watercolors from Russia became available here in Manila via Deovir, I’ve read a lot of reviews online and have even heard from art-friends that they are easy to re-wet and are highly pigmented. So, being low on EQ I decided to get a few pans for myself. You might already know that I’m not a fan of buying sets (though I have some but they’re either gifts and/or were purchased when I hadn’t the slightest clue about pigments and lightfastness) so I made sure to do my research before buying the paints. My self-imposed rules:
- I must be able to use the colors and their combinations in what I love to draw the most — faces, food, and felines (okay, animals in general :))
- The colors must consist of single pigments — this is to ensure lightfastness and also reduce the incidence of mud when layering.
- They have to fit into my handy DIY mint tin palette, meaning a maximum of 9 pans was in order.
- I can’t spend over P1,000.00 because do I really need another set of paints? Umm, no (see previous post), but then need is sometimes < want. Fortunately White Nights, like ShinHan, isn’t as expensive as the other brands so I was able to stay below my limit.
So taking all that into account, here are the colors I ended up with along with their pigment info & light fastness ratings:
— 2 reds (1 cool, 1 warm): Madder Lake Red Light (PR 187 / LF ***) and Cadmium Red Light (PR 108 / LF ***)
— 1 warm yellow: Cadmium Yellow Medium (PY 35 / LF ***)
— 1 green: Emerald Green (PG7 / LF ***)
— 2 earth hues: Raw Sienna (PBr 7 / LF ***) and Burnt Sienna (PBr 7 / LF ***)
— 2 blues (1 warm, 1 cool): Ultramarine (PB29 / LF ***) and Prussian Blue (PB27 / LF ***)
— 1 neutral: Payne’s Grey (PBk7, PB15, PV3 / LF **)
The last one, Payne’s Grey is not a single-pigment color (it’s made up of 3 pigments) and is something I could’ve gone without since I can mix greys using some of the colors so it’s really just a handy “convenience hue” for days when I can’t be bothered to do extra mixing. 😀
Just to show you the range of colors that are possible using just these 9 pans, here are a couple of watercolor charts I made:
This one (above) shows the range of color combinations and tonal ranges that can be achieved from mixing the brights with the darks. And just because I always paint portraits and people, I made a separate color chart mainly for the reds and yellows (below). I just added the column for green since there was extra space.
My capsule review for White Nights Watercolors:
1. Indeed they are easy to re-wet, pick up with the brush and are highly pigmented (some colors more than others though)
2. They are also highly transparent — except for the Cadmiums which are opaque — so they are great for layering.
3. At only P87.00 per pan (except for the Cadmiums which are I think P120 / pan), they are quite affordable. My customized set amounted to around P849.00 and it consists of colors that I will actually use. (Sets usually have 3 or more pans that I always end up never using.) Also, these are FULL pans, not half pans, so you get a lot of paint for your hard-earned cash. 😛
And here is something else I painted using White Nights, a simple maguro sushi for my Youtube Channel (hah! If you’re one of my whopping 3 regular viewers, thank you for not laughing at my attempts to make these home videos <3)
1. ShinHan, Holbein, and Daniel Smith are still my favorites in terms of color intensity and flow but I’m happy to have this inexpensive set of vivid paints for drawings that will be scanned and for practice work. Van Gogh, my student-grade set that was a birthday gift from Arnold last year, is my other go-to for practice work but they are strangely more expensive than White Nights.
2. The pans remain moist for a while so I can’t close the lid of the tin until they dry completely because they might stick in the lid when I store them sideways.
Last Saturday I had the privilege of teaching my first watercolor class on portraits. If anyone told the me of 2015 that I’d be holding workshops in a year’s time, I would have laughed in their face. Seriously, it took me a lot of thinking, overthinking, and convincing to finally crawl out of my comfort zone and gather the confidence to actually go and do it. Why? Because workshops are the new ballet lessons? Well …yes (*sheepish smile*) but also because I’ve gained so much from being part of Manila’s growing handmade art community so it’s time to give back. <3 And why not share what I’ve learned over the
years decades that I’ve been drawing faces to budding artists who share the same passion for creating?
But first, credit where it’s due. The first and only drawing-related workshop I ever attended is veteran artist Fernando Sena’s Summer Art Workshop way back in 1986. Believe me that was enough. (He still conducts these workshops, do check them out.) It was an intensive 8-session art course (complete with an on-site sketching session at Hinulugang Taktak in Antipolo, a “graduation” and an exhibit) while I was between 2nd and 3rd year high school and that was where I honed my drawing skills. I learned how to use graphite, charcoal, oil pastels, and even oil paints. It completely prepared me for the courses in the UP College of Fine Arts that I would eventually take. 🙂
After that I’d do charcoal and oil portraits of relatives, friends, and the random 80s teen hearthrob (i.e. River Phoenix, Scott Baio, Robby Rosa… I know, so very #titahits). It was only last year when I picked up the old hobby again and taught myself how to do it using watercolors by watching Youtube videos and reading tutorials. I would also observe Arnold whenever he drew and applied some of his digital sketching techniques to my analog work. And that’s how I developed a watercolor portrait style that I’m quite happy with — and that’s what I shared and demonstrated in my class last Saturday.
It was held at Hey Kessy, a cute little art and crafts store in Katipunan which also houses a charmingly decorated brightly-lit workshop venue. It’s also where I did the Shrink Art workshop last year. I love the place’s artsy, creative vibe so please expect more workshops from me in the space.
Some photos of what went on…
I thought it was important for them to learn face-drawing basics first so I guided the participants on how to do it then let them apply what they learned when sketching from a reference photo. *I just had to pick Kiko Mizuhara as our practice model. How pretty is she?
After we were happy with our respective pencil drawings, we started painting. Below is the result of the face I sketched and painted on-site. Admittedly, this was the part I stressed over for weeks since I’ve never drawn in front of an audience before — can I do it fast enough? Will it turn out okay?
Below: everyone hard at work on their paintings.
And finally, the result of everyone’s efforts — yay, class photo!
A few of the participants are illustrators like my friend Jovan de Ocampo who’s a cake designer and longtime member of AngINK; some are young art students looking to hone their portrait skills, and some are new to watercolors and admitted that they’ve never properly drawn faces before. But look at their outputs above and below, they did it and I think some of their own styles are already emerging! I’m so proud of them. 🙂
One of the participants, Chu, even shared a before and after photo (below, left) of a portrait she made a month ago (inset) and her work after she took my workshop.
The other drawing (aboce, right) is a portrait wherein she used a technique I taught them. So happy to see so much improvement in such a short time!
You can keep track of my workshops and student outputs via the hashtag #cynarreworkshops on Instagram. I will definitely hold another class like this soon so if you’d like to join the next one, please leave a comment on this post + your preference of area (QC / Makati) so I can update you once I get hold of more details. 🙂