Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Figure Drawing

It's been quite some time since I posted on this blog, but I figured since I just did a bit of figure drawing I'd throw it up here. I finally got a chance to go to an open life drawing session tonight. It was a lot of fun, but I'm definitely a little rusty. I wanted to go with a more exaggerated approach this time around and I think it went well overall. I feel like it helps me understand poses, the human figure and anatomy better by doing this, plus it can create some pretty interesting drawings. I did notice some anatomical slip-ups in some of the drawings disregarding the exaggerations. I'm trying not to get too caught up in correcting every little flaw. Sometimes over working a drawing can kill it, and I'm really working toward a fresh, quick, almost gestural feel. I'll take another stab at it next week.

Monday, May 17, 2010

This semester in drawing has been a wonderful chance for me to explore several styles, genres, and mediums. I got to revisit charcoal, something I hadn't drawing with in quite some time. I also continued exploring digital media and painting in Photoshop. I ultimately ended up getting back into editorial cartoons.

The first project was the charcoal compilation drawing. The reference photos I gathered were some from the Devils Punchbowl, and a few from around my apartment. I wanted to set up a mildly humorous juxtaposition between a seemingly monotonous domestic image, and a beautiful natural phenomenon such as the Punchbowl.

During the 6 hour pose we got to work on, I brought my Wacom to class and decided to work on painting digitally. I still have a long way to go before I'll be close to satisfied with my photoshop results. It's been a struggle to find local colors, and depict them convincingly. On the flip side however, it does go pretty quick, and its very easy to fix mistakes. I never did finish this painting to a point that I'm happy with, I did notice some of the colors turning out better. Also I was pretty happy with the likeness I got on the model.

The next project was a lot of fun. Our assignment was to use the 3 words we were given somehow in our drawing. My three words were contest, surreal, and powdered charcoal. My main focus was to use "surreal" in a way that was completely disconnected from the artistically surreal images of Salvador Dali and others. The drawing was inked with a brush, then I added the value with watered down powdered charcoal, almost like watercolors. It was a fun process that I would like to explore more. Overall, I enjoyed how the drawing turned out. The drawing also lead me back into a more editorial field of illustration.

This was another painting of Rush Limbaugh done in photoshop. Mainly I was concerned about getting a good likeness and caricature of the man that has thus far eluded me. I reached a point in the painting where I thought I needed to put the stylus and let it be.

For the last couple projects, I gave myself a challenge of getting 5 editorial cartoons done a week. For one, I wanted to be a lot more prolific for the remainder of the semester, and also I wanted to explore some more controversial topics and put my spin on them. I have been drawing editorial cartoons off and on for the last couple years, and feel that I've made some big strides in these last bunch of drawings, especially in the jokes and imagery. As far as drawing goes, I tried to use a brush a lot more on these drawings. For one, it translates better when the drawing would be reduced to print size, and it also makes for more dynamic linework.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bipartisan Breather

I find it funny how Congressional productivity is directly related to the timeliness of hot issues and elections.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chewless Campus!!??

Well, there have been a few things during my tenure at UW-Stout that have gotten me a little steamed, but most recently it has been the campus wide ban on all tobacco use. Last year there was a referendum for a smoking ban (socially enforced as it was unlawful to ban tobacco use on government property), but now the Stout Student Association and the student body have expanded upon the referendum to include all types of tobacco. I still am wondering in what way a person chewing, snuffing, snusing, etc. has anything to do with other students on campus. Other than the appearance being unpleasant for onlookers, there is no harm to anyone, save the users. In the case it is for the sake of tobacco users that the administration and SSA banned tobacco use on campus, there are many other health conscious issues that should be addressed before the minimal percentage of chewers and smokers on campus. How about the nutritionally unsatisfying food they serve at our dining halls that many of the students indulge in. Freshman 15 anyone? Wisconsin has a 63.5% overweight/obese population. Hows that for unsightly/unhealthy?

Oh, and there are two other cartoons down there. One about Oklahoma and abortion, the other about Arizona and them crazy illegals... or legals, whichever the case may be.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh baby don't cry.

Nothing too much to say about these, except I liked the internet one. Out here in rural Menomonie, WI, we have one internet service provider to choose from: Charter Cable. Many rural areas have to succumb to the monopolies of the ISPs as there is no competition in those places. Not only is my cable bill much higher than I would like it, but Charter has a tendency to send a shoddy internet signal. Of course its up to "their standards", but I didn't realize they settled for utter crap.

As far as the art goes, I had a lot of fun with the top Uncle Sam drawing. It was a challenge to draw him from the first angle, and I completely changed the text at the very last minute. I think its a little funnier. I also noticed I'm getting a lot more confident in inking with a brush. Some of my earlier lines show somewhat shaky lines, which isn't necessarily bad, but it's nice to get a good smooth line when I want one.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here are a few cartoons that I've done over the last week. They're for the next drawing III project. I've been moving away from using a my usual nib/dip pen, and using a brush and micron pens. For some reason, I feel like I can get more control, and spontaneity in my line work with a brush. Though that is somewhat contradictory, a brush allows for some rather thick and narrow lines which are essential in editorial cartoons.

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Sketches!

Here's another page of sketches for the next project. All I have to say is Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have some great faces to play with. Ahmadinejad in particular has a rather large nose which appears solid with all its structure apparent. But more than his nose, his eyes were a lot of fun to draw. They are sunken way back under his brow ridge which caused a lot of shading on them. Also he's a middle aged man, and most of the muscles in his face are starting to show through. That always makes for a more interesting drawing especially in the cheek and mouth areas. Well, pretty much the whole face for that matter.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Here are a few sketches for the next project. I've been working on doing a few editorial cartoons every week. For the critique I'll probably end up choosing a couple that I like to show.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Artistic Influences

Humor is one of the most effective mediums to express a thought. As long as I can remember, I’ve loved looking at cartoons. My father always had a subscription to Newsweek, and that is where I had my first exposure to editorial cartoons. There was something about them, whether it was the amazing caricatures that were put in front of me, or the ten seconds it took to convey a very heavy topic, I’ll never be sure what got me interested. To quote editorial cartoonist Jeff Danziger, political cartoons are a strange combination of the serious and the humorous. It’s an editorial, which is a serious commentary on a topic, and then it’s a cartoon, which is perhaps the least serious form of art. In ten seconds one can make or ruin a viewers day. I think it was this effectiveness that first attracted me to editorial cartoons.

Joe Bluhm Caricatures

Kevin Kallehuer

Matt Davies

Influences from outside the art world:

I've always been interested in politics, geography, economics, social dynamics, religion, and any combination that creates conflict. Not to say that I or anyone else enjoys conflict, but there is something very human about it, that draws attention. I think it is conflict and the commentary on it that I really get interested in.

Personal Influences

I grew up in a strict christian home with 3 brothers. We went to church every weekend, and were expected to act like it inbetween. My parents are both conservatives, but I assume its mainly due to their religious views and how they coincide with many conservative platforms. I've found that a lot of their bullet points were things that I cared little about and I started exploring the other "big ticket" items that I found to be more serious. It might have been my own form of rebellion, I'm not sure.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Rush Limbaugh

My three words for this project were Surreal, Contest, and powdered charcoal. I didn't want to use the word surreal in such a predictable way, so I decided to think about real things in this world that I perceive as surreal. Case in point, the popularity of Rush Limbaugh. I've posted about him before, and done plenty of drawings of him. It's hard to find a more misleading person at his level of talk radio. I used to listen to his show somewhat regularly, and his arguments are filled with fallacy. Anyway, without saying any more about the man, I decided to draw him as the fictional character Casey from "Casey at the Bat". It's titled "Champion of America".

As far as the drawing goes, I wanted to keep it loose, yet controlled. Rather than using a dip pen like I usually do, I used a brush to ink the entire thing. It gave me some very interesting lines which I enjoy. It was a bit more difficult to get a likeness since I had a little less control with the brush, but It turned out okay. To add the value, I shaved a little pile of charcoal off a stick, watered it down and used it just like watercolors. It worked out pretty well. I was hoping that it would be easy to erase in the event of a mistake, but that didn't work out as planned. All in all, I think it was a success. At the very least I was able to experiment with a new process.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Digital life drawing!

This is an in progress look at the figure drawing from the other day. I'm not 100% on where I want to go with it from here, but I'll think of something. Painting digitally continues to be a struggle for me, but I think there are a few good things about this one. The flesh tones seemed to turn out well, and the overall head structure was a success (minus the nose, that needs some touching up.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


After taking the personality type test in class the other day, I found out that I am an INTJ type personality. I-introverted, N-intuitive, T-thinking, J-judging. INTJ's are problem solvers. They have a natural curiosity for "why things are" or how things work. We tend to be perfectionists, in the sense that we have a capacity for improving on anything that takes our interest. Another trait which I found interesting is that INTJ's know what and how much they know, but also know what they don't know.

For the most part, I found the articles' descriptions of INTJ's to be pretty close to me. The afore mentioned characteristics fit me very well. I've found myself being interested in the process of things. I feel a need to know the "hows" and "whys". I do tend to be introverted, and I've known that for a long time. One trait that I hold in common with INTJ's is that when prompted, we will unload a plethora of information for you, but otherwise we'll be rather reserved. This has been a weakness for me during critiques. I'm able to analyze a piece to a degree that I feel comfortable with, but then rarely will share unless called on. With regard to my art, I feel a need to have something representational in the piece. For the most part, all my work is very representational. I think where my personality type fits in is trying to figure out a system or set of rules which would apply to my various cartoons/illustrations/caricatures. By that I mean to find out what makes an illustration successful, or more or less successful than other options. Which medium best portrays the message? What point do I want to exaggerate, etc. Everything can be broken down into a series of steps that, with any luck, turns into a finished drawing/painting. I've noticed that I tend to break down painting, for instance, into several mechanical steps of paint mixing, rules to find local colors, application and mark making, and so on.

I couldn't say with any certainty that being an INTJ influences much of my subject matter. Only in that I find humor to be a challenging genre to work in. Being able to take a somewhat abstract thought and portray it with pop culture icons, politicians, and others, is just one more puzzle to be solved.

Friday, February 26, 2010

More Rush

Still working on Rush. I've found it very difficult to get a likeness on this asshole. So, I gave in and decided to do a digital painting of him. My hope is that I'll be able to go over it again and again until I get the desired likeness. Something that photoshop allows for in short time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Marc the wood worker?

I got a chance to do a little woodworking last week. Melissa asked me to help her build (or build it while she watched) a plant stand for her wheatgrass, which she's started growing. It was pretty fun, and I haven't had any building projects in a while, so it felt good to be in the wood lab again.

Here's the growing light under the top shelf.

Also I carved her a cutesy bear pen for valentines day. It turned out alright, but I could tell it's been a long time since I did any whittling. Sorry about the fuzzy picture.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Right-Wing exaggeration!

I just started doing some sketching for our next project, which I have to say, I'm pretty excited for. One of my three words for the next drawing was "Surreal". My initial thoughts went straight to Max Ernst, Salvador Dali and a few other surrealist artists. Now I'm looking at other ways to describe the surreal or better yet, real things, situations, or phenomena that are so absurd that the mind might even perceive them as surreal. Above are a few characters who I'll be exploiting for parts of the project. More to come.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Punchbowl Runneth Over

Over all, I was pretty happy with how this drawing turned out. Like a lot of people, I was trying to use this project to get back into drawing with charcoal. I've been working almost exclusively with the figure in my work, and to take a step back and do a landscape was a bit of a challenge.

There are a few technical things about the drawing that I don't really like, but I'll have a chance to fix those now. It was mostly some of my mark making decisions that I don't think really portrayed the space and magnitude of the Punchbowl. As far as the conceptual side of my drawing, I think it was somewhat successful. At the very least it gets the viewer intrigued, and might even set up a little narrative.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Freelance sketchy sketch sketch...

Recently I was approached for a little freelance gig. Just a few gag cartoons. Below are the prelim sketches.

The gag that went along with this one is pretty self explanatory. Ironically, this one really hit home since a very similar situation occurred in my studio not more than a week ago. My cat happened to tip over a large cup of water all over my desk and pretty much soaked everything. Life goes on I guess.

I did revisions on all the sketches by now, but I thought I would post these as they are.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Digital sketchy sketch!

Whilst working on our latest project, I decided to do some sketching in photoshop for it. There really was no call for it other than I forgot my sketchbook at home, but happened to bring my wacom. Never-the-less, here are a few quick sketches. I was more or less just getting a feel for some of the images I was hoping to use for the big drawing. Each were 10-20 minutes.