Before and after highlighting

Highlighting is cool because it broadens the tonal width of your drawings. By just going in and putting a bright white in the right areas, the drawing ends up looking entirely different because all of the old whites look like mid-tones. I’m glad I was able to salvage the nose and add more clarity to the face.

 

Before Highlighting

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After highlights (and some mid-tone surgery and texture work if we’re being completely honest):

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Still need to clean up the hair. and window. I’m really excited to become better at doing this extra phase in the drawings I do because its already giving me great results. There’s still some major issues with certain areas in the drawing, but it’s great when you find yourself improving.

 

Cheers!

Blu

Lines? No Lines?

There’s something beautiful in the realization that the absence of pigment can be just as, if not more, impactful than a bold line.

It’s a subtle concept that bleeds into the rest of life. What you don’t say. What you never try. Where you never go. It all says just as much as your deliberate actions.

Not doing something seems to have some sort of negative connotation attached, but I’d argue there are times when not doing something takes strength and courage. Just a thought, though.

-Blu

Time is Tricky

Would you change something, anything, in your past given a chance? Could you deal with the consequences of that one decision? Could anyone?

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Black ink and B2 pencil base with black, white, and grey charcoal (textured over a copper board). Highlights done in white ink (bleached not synthetic).

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Back to Monochrome (Character Art)

Going back to my roots a little bit. I’ve felt like I’ve been relying on color a little too much to fix contour and compositional issues, so I wanted to practice some pure black and white. I messed up the nose pretty bad, but I’m happy with the hand and how the jackets texture turned out!

Been writing a lot and loving it. Need to focus more on Organic chem 2, but I’m sure I’ll strike a better balance.

8×10 Inkwell, synthetic brush, and Charcoal.

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Cheers,

Blue

Talent is a conceptual cage. I don’t believe it exists

I was out drawing a tree during today’s snowfall. About halfway through, a woman who lives in my apartment complex approached. I hadn’t met her before, be she was very kind. She was fond of the tree I’d been drawing and mused, “I wish I could draw things like that. I used to love to draw, but I don’t have any talent, so I stopped.” I told her in response, “I don’t have any talent either. But I still draw everyday and practice. I mean, it’s really all practice, nobody starts off being able to paint or draw or illustrate well. It’s all technique and skill. Anybody can learn if they go at it hard and long enough.”

To my surprise, she almost seemed offended. That wasn’t my intention at all, as I merely wanted to suggest that you should never not do something you love because someone tells you you’re bad, or you think you’re bad. In fact, I firmly believe people pointing out mistakes or inconsistencies in proportions has been extremely constructive for me. 

After a pause, she asked, “How on earth do you think you aren’t talented. That tree looks better than the real tree!” She laughed at little there, “I mean sure, nobody starts great, but I can barely draw a straight line.” I laughed there.

So, to demonstrate, I flipped the page I was drawing on, loosened my grip and tried to draw a straight line. It wasn’t terrible, but it was nowhere near straight. Below that line, I demonstrated how I draw lines in drawings. I made small and swift movements, combining multiple small lines into a relatively straight line.

Then I said, “I actually have rigors, my hands shake. I quite literally can’t draw a straight line. So that’s how I outline my contour. Then, later, I improve the line quality while shading. Since it’s in ink, you can cover up pretty much any small mistake if you know how. I’m really not talented, and I don’t want to be. Believing you’re talented makes you complacent. You stop researching ways to improve, you think you’ve hit a perpetual ceiling in your ability when that’s the opposite of the truth. You’re never done learning, especially with things like drawing. On the flip-side, if you think you have no talent, you stop doing something prematurely even though you love doing it. I bet if you started drawing again, you might surprise yourself. The worst thing that could happen is you have fun drawing.”

To my dismay she looked even more upset. I still don’t understand why. 

She said, “Well, I’ll see you around.”

And she walked inside. It was cold out, I don’t blame her. I just hope I didn’t inadvertently say something callous or discouraging, as I was literally trying to do the opposite by encouraging her to do something she said she loved doing. 

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I understand the frustration of not being able to pull off a drawing the way you really want to. It’s one of the things that drives me to improve, so that one day I can draw anything I want, using any medium I want. It’s a passion of mine. It’s incredibly engaging and keeps me sane while I struggle through this degree. I’ve had people tell me when I was just starting off that I couldn’t draw. And I couldn’t. But I wanted to, so I did, and now I can draw a lot of things. There are still far more things I can’t draw, though, and I want to be able to. So I’ll learn how. It’s really that simple. Don’t be discouraged by others or yourself or your failed experiments because you learn the most from those.

-Cheers,

Blue

 

Art, writing, and a Mugshot of my Doggo.

Hi! Just a casual update on what projects I’ve been tackling over the past two months. I got a little side tracked from my zodiac project over the holidays (for the right reasons). I added a few more metallic flourishes to Sagittarius: IMG_7526After that I spent a good bit of time being anxious about whether or not to paint a background and what colors to use on the figure itself. So naturally I just drew something else!

My friends b-day was in early December, so I drew the cleric-beast from Bloodbourne: IMG_7428Pics a little blurry, sorry about that! I used a reference image. Actually I basically just copied the games concept art! A cute little piece of plagiarism? It sounds nicer if you just say fan art, you decide <3. Here’s the original: 

After that I started writing more and just relaxing for the holidays. I have a heavy load this semester, so I want to do my best to enjoy vacation before jumping into the meat grinder. I’ve mostly just been doodling unplanned drawings and working on my book.

Here is a lovely portrait of my doggo, Rufus. And before you ask, yes, he is available for casting in any of your movies. He’s a stone-cold professional, and will be a diva.

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Heavy Paper Review 1: Watercolor Blick Studio

I’m a paper snob. A necessary trait for someone who has a heavy hand and utilizes wet mediums (Watercolors/Heavy Metal mixes/Gouaches/India Inks). As such, I like to test out various paper stocks to see which can best handle heavy mediums while still being smooth enough to support extensive line-work without forcing a texture.

Over the past two weeks I’ve worked with Blick’s in-store studio watercolor 9×12 paper.

Cost: I got it on sale for six dollars, which is very low for a whole 15 sheets of 9×12.

Specs: 9×12 inch (confirmed with ruler, +- .05 inches depending on the serration), 140ib. weight, with a smooth finish. Acid-free and Cold-press! Both good things. Made in the USA, if you care about that. The 140 pounds is standard for watercolor, but nothing special. I usually like it a higher around 160-180, but that’s just so I don’t have to worry about killing the tooth.

Texture: The texture is extremely smooth, which is what drew me in at first. Smoothness is often a double edged sword, though, as it can often correlate with a weaker tooth, which means I have to be subtle with the watercolors (God-forbid I take my time, right?)

Ink performance: This is a beautiful stock for archival and fountain inks. It can take a good amount of pen punishment without showing indents or pressure lines. I had no issues getting a good range of value either, which means the absorbance isn’t too high (some papers spread ink when you put it down too thick).

Pencil performance: It falters in the higher b pencil range, probably because its pretty thick. Texture lines will show up if you aren’t careful, but the texture is very ordered, so used correctly, this could be a bonus. hb to 6h works perfectly well as long as you sharpen enough. My 4h really liked this paper, it started to scratch above 6, though.

Watercolor performance: This is the part most of you will want to pay attention to, considering its marketed as a watercolor studio level paper. I was a little let down by how quickly the tooth came up in the mid to shadow range of my drawing. I’ve almost never wrecked the tooth with a moderately saturated tone (the middle color of a particular watercolor). Putting down deeper colors was a big struggle and I had to do it dry as the paper didn’t hold well against the paints. It was noticeably worse against my higher quality watercolors, especially ones with metals, despite being acid-free. The glaze from my series 4 amethyst barely shined despite using a bunch of it almost entirely dry.

Metal Performance: As with most smooth Cold-pressed paper, Metals and glue bind well and sink into the tooth if you’re delicate. Very good paper for leafing and adhesives. Here is a link to a piece in which I used extensive adhesives and leafing with this paper: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/11/30/sagittarius-art-in-progress/

Oil performance: I only used a white oil in the drawing, but it reacted very well with the paper and watercolor and I was able to achieve the low opacity effect I was attempting without any issues.

Conclusion: This is a great stock for light-range watercolors, pen drawings, light use of oils. It suffers quite a bit with wet gouaches and mid-deep tone watercolors as well as heavy metal paints and mixed media projects. Overall, it’s still an excellent stock for the price. In store it was going for eight normally, but online it is listed for a mere 5.72, and I got it for 6 with a membership card.

Rating for price: 7.4/10

Rating overall: 5.6/10

 

Here is the mixed media painting that I did on the paper. I did quite a bit to repair the damage to the right of her head, but it still showed up in the final project despite two layers of dry oil over it. For these reasons I would not use it for an intensive mixed-media painting, but it performs extremely well for subtler projects, just go easy on the water and saturation and you’ll be fine : )Food2

Artwork: Scorpio

Concept: For Scorpio, I wanted to depict determination, or heart. It was done in pen and then colored with watercolors and a little bit of white oils. I overlay-ed the text in the same way as the first two (found here:). This one also has a superimposed picture of a radio-tower that I shaped with an eraser to get the abstract effect.

Size: 7×10.2 in. on Watercolor paper.

Determination4

Thoughts: I really liked how this one turned out. I spent significantly more time on line-work and composition planning than I did for the first two. The model is a loose depiction of Senua, a character from a recent video game: Senua’s sacrifice.

Artwork: Pisces

The second piece of my Zodiac project. After Leo (found here:https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/11/29/artwork-zodiac-series-1/) I really wanted to clean up the line-work and composition. This almost ended up looking a little too clean for the style, I think. This is probably the first time where I’ve had a reverse fore-ground, where the background is so noisy that it draws attention to the undetailed focus of the painting, which is a weird but kinda cool effect. Sorry about my shadow on the bottom of the picture, I have a very dark room and the light is currently out, so I had to use the window!

Concept: Pisces are all about finding that one person who makes them feel whole, there yin or yang, so to speak. To a true Pisces, life may not seem worth living until they find that person or thing that drives them. You know what they say, life was built for two.

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