More free hand designs in colored pencil

 

These were fun to do, without planning and completely stress-free!:

Free hand Designs 1

Grape vine motif

Free hand Designs 2

Berries and flowers motif

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Free hand Designs

Freehand Designs 1

Freehand Designs 2

Freehand Designs 3

Freehand Designs 4

Freehand Designs 5

Freehand Designs 6

             Have I mentioned this great book which is in the public domain: The American drawing book by J.G. Chapman? Well, I was doing a few exercises  from it, like so –

      ….and you can understand that a whole day of this can get somewhat constrictive…… and I wanted to swing my pen a little …. so towards the end of the day, dinner done and the dishes done, sitting in front of the TV watching ‘Shanghai noon’, I ended up with these freehand designs. Usually when I am doodling, I do the same favorite curves again and again (mostly like the first one in this post, the one with the hearts) and this time I am glad I wound up doing different and unusual ones.

         The same principles apply here for decorative designs that you would use in fine art, I´ve written an article on this over here, you can have a look at The Elements and Principles of Art.

1. A focal interest brings the eye towards the area, and other elements can shoot outwards from this. (symmetrically or asymmetrically)

2. Designs can be symmetrical or asymmetrical.

3. There should be a rhythm that can be sensed through out the design.

4. They should feel harmonious and united.

           One way to make a design look united is to use the same elements over and over again through out it. These elements can naturally be varied to provide interest. For example, in my first design, I have used the heart symbol repeatedly; the second one has a chaff of wheat motive (my son´s kindergarten chart was lying beside me on which he had stuck these pieces of nature on); the fourth one has variations of crescent moons in it. If you need inspiration, you don´t have to look far, nature offers endless varieties of motifs….

Colored pencil Portrait Demo

Colored pencil portrait

Colored pencil portrait

The first step is the line drawing and I wanted this to be pretty accurate as I was going to paint it, so I felt my way on the drawing with a sort of grid, not with lines but with dots to indicate half way and quarter way points. I then transferred this drawing to watercolor HP paper. Before I start diving into the colors, I want to remind you that to build any form, be it a rock or a face, what is important is to understand that form can only be built up through light and shadow and so to get the values right, the colors are of secondary importance. The highlights here are coming from the other side of the forehead, the nose, the top of the lower lip, the cheek bone. The area where the forehead turns is in shadow, as is the area beneath the nose, inside of the mouth, the chin and the neck.

The colors I have used are Caran d’ Ache (a Swiss make) and Faber Castell (a German make) colored pencils. The Caran d’ Ache are slightly softer than the Faber Castell. Using small circular strokes and a sharply pointed pencil, I covered the areas of the neck and jaw with CA Reddish orange. This I went over with FC Cinnamon and FC Indian red and CA Burnt Sienna for shadow areas, burnishing (applying heavy pressure) as I went along to get a smooth appearance. The area of the nose is cooler (pinkish violet), here I went over with FC light flesh, FC medium flesh, CA pink, CA Bluish pale and CA Light grey. The highlights on the forehead and cheekbone have CA pale yellow as well. The more saturated area of the cheek has FC Light cadmium red.The lips have FC Deep scarlet red, FC Pink Carmine, FC red violet and FC magenta. Other colors I have used include CA Umber, CA Black, CA Grey, FC ivory, FC cream, FC Van dyck brown. Coming to the background, its not a great idea to use new/different colors here, for there´s the danger of the background looking to be a part of one painting and the face a part of another! The colors I have used for the rocks and weeds are  CA pale yellow, CA pink, CA Bluish pale, CA Grey, CA Light grey, CA black and FC umber.

Ek ladki ko dekha tho…

Colored pencil portrait

Colored pencil portrait (Manisha Koirala)

This song is form the bollywood movie ‘1942 , a love story’ released way back in 1993, I love this song….(I mean, which Indian does n`t?); Manisha Koirala looks so pretty, pretty, pretty in the movie and the song written by the much loved lyricist of India, Mr Javed Akhtar goes something like this…… (I hope the translation is true to the spirit of the song)

Once I chanced to see a girl, and it felt to me

like a rose blossoming, like poet´s vision, like a shimmering ray of light, a deer in the forest, a moonlit night, a soft-spoken word, like a burning lamp in the temple ……..

Once I chanced to see a girl, and it felt to me

like the beauty of a morn, like sunshine on a wintery day, a strum of the lute, spirit of all hues, a twirling vine, frolic of the waves, like a cool breeze carrying of sweet scent……….

Once I chanced to see a girl, and it felt to me

like a dancing peacock, like a silken thread, a tune of the fairies, fire of sandalwood, like an adornment, a refreshing spray of mist, a steadily intensifying intoxication……….

I just had to do this one…….. I will put together a small demo on this portrait for you soon…..

Note: See tutorial for this portrait

Quick 3 minute Sketches

 

Quick studies
Quick studies

 

I think I finally ‘got’ it! After weeks and months of trying to understand and going through book after book after book and struggling and kicking myself, I now feel I can ‘do heads’. Yesterday evening, I was watching some of Glenn Vilppu videos on utube, and he was saying something about feeling the volume… (by the way, he teaches beautifully) that suddenly struck a chord within me and I thought let me just do it, how hard can it be…to put two eyes, a nose, a mouth and the back of a skull together to form a head (!), so I plunked myself onto the sofa in front of the TV and Voila! they just flowed out beautifully and spontaneously, everything I have learned all these days coming together finally. So now I can proudly say that I too belong to that class of people on this earth who can do heads!

I think its good to learn from a few, or maybe a lot of (good) books, rather than just stop at one or two because, it always happens that when you can´t just get it looking at the thing from one point of view, you  suddenly understand, when you look at it from another person´s point of view. (or even the same persons´at a  different point of time).

Its most important to understand the structure of the head first, the way it is constructed and the way the different bones fit into one other, its planes and the way the underlying muscles move the flesh, when learning to draw it. Its not so important to get the likeness of a person at first, but rather to feel the whole head along with its volume while drawing it, so as to make a well-constructed head; …..one in which the eyes sit in their sockets firmly; the nose is on the right plane perpendicular to the face; the ears go round the face on line with the brows and tip of the nose; the features move along with the tilt of the head; then the planes – the forehead comes out, the plane of the eyes goes inward, the plane of the cheeks comes outward, the mouth on almost a straight plane (though rounded from side to side), a small area beneath the mouth recedes inward and the chin protrudes outward. Its more important to get these foundations right rather than to get the features or get the likeness of the person, because there really is not that much variation in those heads. Once you understand the planes, its becomes really easy, not to mention fun, to do the ‘shading’ or toning or even painting. If you understand well which areas recede and which protrude, then you start toning down the areas which do not receive the light (for e.g, the plane of the eyes, (when the light comes from the top) for which reason the white of the eye is never really white, it has to nearly always be toned down).

Here are some more which I did a while back:

 

Study of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Leda

Study of Leonardo Da Vinci's Leda

Study of Leonardo Da Vinci's Leda

I toned down the circular braids on the right side, there was too much local contrast pulling the eye towards the area…added some shadows underneath to make them look more rounded …..and ..well..difficult to know where to stop.. especially if you like how its turned out; the more you like it, the more you tend to fiddle with it!

Note: See stages in this drawing

Study of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Leda

Study of Da Vinci's Leda

Study of Da Vinci's Leda

I have painstakingly copied each line and curve of Da Vinci´s drawing ‘Study of Leda’ in the hopes that his talent would somehow rub off on me…..kidding…just kidding….then again, maybe not…!  Looking at it on screen makes me realize I still have some more work to do on it, the tones have to be adjusted somewhat, will post again tomorrow..

I did this using the two cross hairs (two lines – vertical and horizontal) as described in Betty Edward´s book. Its really helpful. Here are the the photos of the stages in between. There is so much to learn from these old works… he has toned the drawing so beautifully, heavier, darker lines change into lighter lines seamlessly, in a continuous flow, and then back again into darker ones (for e.g., on the neck area) The small curves in the braids, as they go towards the back change in width and shape (even value), because the perspective changes, if they are made all the same, they will look flat and refuse to plunge backward.

Note:  See Final version of Leda

Study of Michelangelo’s ‘head in profile’

Michelangelo´s study

Michelangelo´s study

Michelangelo Study -stage

Michelangelo Study -stage

           The one below is my first attempt for this study, done somewhat impromptu:

Study of an eye

Study of an eye

My first Still Life

 

Still Life with birdhouse and potted plant

Still Life with birdhouse and potted plant

I did this sketch without perspective, by the sighting methods and viewfinders that Betty Edwards describes in her book. I have always been intimidated with drawing from life, I mean, drawing from photographs is different, they are already in 2-D format, or so I thought, but using these methods, drawing from real life wasn´t really that difficult at all. In fact, I am quite amazed (and relieved!) at how it turned out. It is really as she describes it, learning to draw is like learning to ride a bicycle, once you ‘get it’, you can never forget how to again. I did know how to draw but I could n´t really find ‘the on button’ for it till now. Sometimes, it just flows, everything is right, everything fits in and nothing can go wrong and sometimes, its such a struggle, going back and forth and then back again, and accompanied by almost a paralyzing fear for some subjects that maybe I just can´t do it ….. Its this shift from L-mode (left mode) to R-mode (right mode) that she talks about, that makes all the difference between these two extremes (one of that of a flow and one of that of a struggle) in the activity of drawing.

So many meditation practices are about making this shift, really; and its the way she makes you understand (through the exercises) how different it feels being in those two modes, that makes it easier for you to make that shift yourself, consciously. (not that one mode is better than the other in any way, just that one mode is better suited to certain activities and the other mode to a different set of activities). Really, she has given a rare and precious gift to the world, because it is easy to see in how many other areas these techniques can be used, not just in drawing, like maybe in just learning to see or in creative problem solving etc.

Well, so, this is my first still life; I had never attempted it before because well, it becomes interesting for me only when inanimate things are paired with something living, and then to have a plant or flowers painted indoors….. I don´t know …. usually there´s something boxed-in or stifling about it (specially if it has to be dark to get a high-contrast) …. there´s no air, no space, no freedom…….but anyway, this is how I have rendered this to get away from that …….