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Portrait of the non-artist as a middle-aged putz, Part II

For those of you following, this is part two of The Chronicles of Ian Attempting To Learn To Draw Purty (part one is here).

If nothing else, it should be entertaining in a watching-a-train-wreck-can’t-look-away sort of way.

The text I chose to work with for this self-guided journey is Drawing; The Head and the Figure by Jack Hamm. That said, all sketches, attempts at sketches, and oddly disturbing squiggles I have attempted here are the sole fault / responsibility of me, and not Jack Hamm.

You can’t blame an elephant trainer for being unable to teach a saw horse to use a kitty litter tray, so Jack can’t really be considered culpable for my output.

My efforts since last week started with the eyes:

I can't bear to watch this work progressing. I just want to close my eyes. All of them.

As you can see, if I keep my eye on the ball, I’ll soon have quite a following amongst the far-sighted crowd.

Once I got bored comfortable drawing eyes, it was time to move onto lips:

Looks like someone has tried to interbreed zebras with humans.

In nature, striped patterns often indicate something is highly poisonous. I think even a zombie would hesitate when confronted with lips like these.

Clearly this was an area where I needed a lot of work. Or a smudge function in my graphics editor:

These lips can't lie...mostly because they are an inanimate object.

When my model’s fever broke, the stripes on her lips faded and her mouth looked almost human again. Sadly, I don’t capture that here.

Fresh off this not-quite-a-failure ‘success’, I decided my ego needed a bruising to bring it back down to Earth.

I attempted a face again. The results were, to say the least, humbling. And not in a good way:

I bet she looks pretty good through one of my earlier efforts at an eye...

Beauty on the left by Jack Hamm, talented artist. Unconventional beauty on the right drawn by yours truly, untalented putz.

I am reminded of the original Star Trek pilot, The Cage, and the woman who was repaired by aliens who’d never seen a human before.

My main take-away lesson this week: the smaller my images are on the screen, the less horrible they look. I will be focusing on making my sketches much, much smaller going forward.

Next week, assuming I don’t feel honor-bound to try to improve the whole-face drawing skills, will be noses and then, possibly, if my noses pass the sniff test, ears.

Come back and see…if you dare.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me! My books are available!
 

The Santa Claus Gang:

The Santa Claus Gang: A Marlowe and the Spacewoman short story

Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

Marlowe and the Spacewoman

Kleencut (FREE, and another fine showcase for my artistic abilities!):

So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 26 January 2013 in Art!

 

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Portrait of the non-artist as a middle-aged putz

Books sales notwithstanding, everyone knows that I’m an amazing, perfect writer.

I built that writing skill myself, with only a minimal use of schooling or the infrastructure required to make that schooling possible (i.e., cars, roads, traffic lights, law enforcement to make it safe for me to go to school, teachers, text books, pencil manufacturers, Cliff’s Notes publishers, etc.).

That’s right: my books are 100% free of government intervention.

Given my fierce, own-bootstraps one-upmanship nature, I decided it was time to branch out creatively.

I decided to take up something easy.

Drawing.

Naturally, this is something I need to build myself, without costly taxpayer bailouts or subsidies. And my ultimate goal is to reach a level of skill where, once I put out the word for nude models to sketch, a legion of athletic 20-something nubile au pairs will volunteer to pose while watching my kids.

The only requirement I will use to winnow down the host of applicants, beyond the nubile, athletic 20-somethingness of them?

An ability to stand for hours under bright lights while glistening with oil.

The Missus, having just peeked over my shoulder and read what I’ve written thus far, has stipulated a new requirement, bringing the total must-have skills list of my potential models to:

  1. Nubility
  2. 20-somethingness
  3. Athletical
  4. Au pairish
  5. Able to stand for long periods under bright lights while glistening with oil and staring longingly and admiringly at their sketcher
  6. Comfortable with my wife glowering at them from behind me during the sessions
  7. Speak American, the language of America

However, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. One cannot simply walk into the role of a great artist. One must make himself a great artist first.

And to that end, I dug through all the how-to books I bought on drawing about ten years ago (total, 2), and settled on Drawing; The Head and the Figure by Jack Hamm.

(An additional selling point on this book? Lots of sketches of nubile, athletic 20-something women who may or may not have been au pairs at the time, but almost certainly spoke American. Alas, glistening in oil was evidently not in vogue at the time this book was published.)

I am also going to document my progress from virtuoso to prodigy here, on the blog. Because I know you all want to bask in the glory of my art.

The first exercise is The Head – In Six Freehand Steps:

What a lovely young lady. I'd be happy to have something this wholesome in appearance looking after my children

Jack Hamm’s ideal female face: soft, covered in charcoal, and comfortably minimalist for the neophyte artist.

Looks straightforward enough, yes? And now, my attempt. Please, withhold your accolades until I’ve completed this blog series on becoming a greater artist.

When I look upon this without my glasses, I am forced to conclude that I have a lot of potential. I choose not to view my work while wearing anything so pedestrian as corrective lenses.

Yes, but you have to admit, her hair is holding up quite well considering she appears to be in a wind tunnel right now. That takes real talent.

Just to put that in perspective, let’s place them side by side. I won’t say which is mine or which is Jack’s – let’s see if you can suss out the subtle differences:

When I look upon this without my glasses, I am forced to conclude that I have a lot of potential. I choose not to view my work while wearing anything so pedestrian as corrective lenses. What a lovely young lady. I'd be happy to have something this wholesome in appearance looking after my children

You can call me Jack Jr. if you want. Jack wouldn’t mind.

I have to say, I am very excited about my efforts thus far, to the point I’m starting to question the need to continue with the book and instead just put out a call for models.

But I made myself a promise to do the whole book, and if I lack discipline there, how will I ever amount to anything artistically?

Edit: And another lesson down. This one is called Head Construction – The Double Circle and I followed the instructions to the letter (except the part about using a compass to draw circles – that would just scratch my tablet screen!).

The first sentence? “A mechanical method of setting down the proportions of the ideal female head.”

I guess Jack thinks the ideal female is Batman or Robocop, in which case, nailed it!

BAM! POW! WHAP! na-na na-na na-na na-na BATMAN!

I wouldn’t want to run into her while mugging someone in a dark alley.

Part two of my epic artistic train wreck can be found here.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me! My books are available!
 

The Santa Claus Gang:

The Santa Claus Gang: A Marlowe and the Spacewoman short story

Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

Marlowe and the Spacewoman

Kleencut (FREE, and another fine showcase for my artistic abilities!):

So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 19 January 2013 in Art!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
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