The Caretaker’s Village

Along with my digital painting class I also took a class called Environment Sketching with the super friendly and talented Phillip Dimitriadis. I’ve had a few classes in perspective drawing before (you may remember my gothic church art studio), but it was an eye opening experience to try applying those mechanical drawing principles to skills like gesture and composition. I learned a lot!

This was my final assignment, based on a sketch of a big headed statue from a few years back. First some ground work:

I’m so used to my perpective drawings looking mechanical and regimented so I wanted to stretch myself as much as possible and do something that looked irregular and full of character. My good friend and super talented illustrator Leah has been hiking her way through Central America, and posted some very beautiful photos of the makeshift dwellings in some of the villages. I was particularly taken with this first photo looking down a long hill in Quito Ecuador. I wish I was this good of a photographer.

Here’s my finalized version. We learned about a layout drawing technique using col-erase pencils on tracing paper that makes playing with the lights and shadows fast and easy. I went back over my major lines here with a micron pen to give things some definition.





And then there was media study 5!

So I was thinking last night about this set of verithin pencils I’ve had on my shelf since before I had that shelf.  These are like regular colored pencils, except that their cores are much harder—akin to a 2 or 3H pencil—and so they can be sharpened to a point to help clean up lines or details normal colored pencils are too soft for.  In the past I haven’t found them to be very helpful with normal colored pencil work, but it occurred to me that might be just the thing to look like pencil-style rendering with added color.

For this composition I laid down some basic tones with watercolor and then went to work with black, grey, and umber pencils to render this unfortunate reprobate and his charming hat.  The pencils do a good job of getting that scratchy pencil look, but they are woefully transparent, even after many layers.  Still I liked the drawing I came up with, and decided to add some additional tone to the background with a few more watercolor washes.  After the washes though, the background grew so dark it was overpowering the light pencil-work, so I came back in with a normal black colored pencil and punched up some of the shadows.  I also added some texture to the background areas with the verithin pencils to tie things together a bit more.  This is the drawing paper I use with pencils, and it took quite a beating with all the watercolor washes.

I also took another approach to sketching this composition out.  Rather than working on another piece of scratch paper and then transferring a final drawing I just went strait ahead and did the sketch, such as it was, on the final piece of drawing paper.  I think not worrying about the sketch so much will be helpful, especially with techniques like this week’s paintings where it’s impossible to maintain a sketch after initial coats of paint.  I’m pretty happy with this one, although it took until just this minute to realize that I intended to give this man glasses, and completely forgot.