Wednesday, December 22, 2010


A quick pic for the Avalanche blog "Speed Santa" topic, and for Christmas, although it may not entirely be in keeping with the spirit. The blog is showing signs of life (Death throes?)

Merry Christmas all the same.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


A study for a painting(I hope). Kind of rough and choppy, but I am much more interested in correct proportions than a nice drawing.

By the way, Scott Waddell has some very nice drawing demonstrations that he has been posting to his blog, check them out for some good pointers.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

figure drawing

Last weeks figure drawing done in my sketchbook. 9"x12" mechanical pencil on regular old sketch paper. When I am in my sketchbook I usually stay away from rendering the whole figure because it is a lot more difficult to shade large areas with a tiny point so i prefer to focus on the face.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


probably about 8"x10" pencil on paper

Thursday, November 18, 2010

fig. 43

I've got a newish technique I've been using in my figure drawings lately that seems to be working out. I am not very happy with how hi-key the drawings are but its been something I am not aware of as I am working, only later. So something to work on.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oil painting practice

I am pretty sure coming up with good ideas is the hardest part of painting a picture. I'm stuck in an idea rut right now so decided just to do some master copies, this philosophy works well for drawing why not painting? Although I never get a nice finished piece, I am getting better and that's what I prefer.
So this is a Thomas Dewing work in my top 3 favorite paintings of all time and if you are a long time follower of the blog you may remember this copy done years ago in the digital medium. Don't pay too much attention to the drawing because it is off(though not as far off as that old digital version, ugh) but then that is not the intention. It's the painting that is the focus and I am very happy with how the brushwork turned out although the colors can also use some work. There is another practice copy going on at the bottom of the picture to show you how I just use it like a page in my sketchbook, drawing wherever I've got enough space. This makes me excited to get back to doing a painting of my own after this.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Figure #42

Last weeks figure drawing. While this was done on my sketchbook 9"x12" with my trusty .3B mechanical pencil, I've really warmed up to a new technique with my large figure drawings and as soon as I get around to getting some pictures I'll describe it.

Bonus! if you look close you may be able to see the llama portrait I drew last night.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bowler hat

Done in Painter

Monday, October 11, 2010

sketchbook #35

Getting back on the horse after too many projects around the house.

Monday, October 04, 2010


A figure drawing from a few weeks back. done with Conte on 18"x24" drawing pad. Conte is nice to draw with but very hard to erase so it's tricky, whereas the Nu Pastel I usually use is easily smudged and also easy to erase but harder to control. So I've always been torn on which to use, this one turned out good because I just sat down and drew it, instead of building it slowly with layers. So I have just started doing a combination of the two. I will show one of them pretty soon.

*For coworkers, this is not Mike Hoopes, just a model that happens to be his doppleganger.

Monday, September 27, 2010


*Updated color adjustments*-looked good on my home screen but terrible at work, this should be better.
My baby all dressed up, current progress. Done using the drawing in the earlier post. I was planning on leaving it alone for now, then I was smart enough to put it out where it got paint flicked on it from another painting I've got on the easel.
Oil on board 9"x12"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

figure #40

Couple weeks old.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010


I've talked about this drawing exercise before, but I am so convinced it is great practice I will share it again. It comes from the great William Whitaker so it can be trusted. Note, this is not how I learned to draw but it would have saved me a lot of time on the journey. I've included some examples below.

step #1 - Get a pad of tracing paper. Set it up on an easel or whatever, close to a photo/model that you want to draw.
step #2 - Draw the subject. Try to do as much measuring as you can. Measure the distance between features with a straight object. Stand at least arms length, close an eye, hold your arm straight and use the end of the pencil and your finger (this is a useful technique for life drawing too). You'll get something fairly rough.

step #3 - Now step back and squint you should be able to see some structural problems. Tear off the drawing and put it underneath the next page and trace only the correct lines. Next, pull away the drawing #1.
step #4 - Now you've cleaned out a bunch of messy measurement lines. With the new simplified lines as a base, re-draw the subject. You should get closer this time around. Continue to step back and squint to find all the problems.

step #5 - Repeat 4-5 times.

Now this is never intended to be a nice finished drawing and it's not beautiful, but it should help get you closer and closer to accuracy with each iteration, you can transfer it to good paper and do a nice drawing or use it for a painting.
You are learning to see. Most people can handle a pencil just fine but seeing where a line should be is much more difficult and takes a lot of practice. Another very important trick for drawing is putting a line down. It doesn't have to be right just put something there and you can then use that line as a fixed point to decide it you are too low/high/long/short/left/right.

This is the basic measuring process I use for every drawing but all together at once on one page and without the tracing paper. This method is just a good way to break it down and take a more analytical approach which helps with learning and makes problems more apparent.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

Flower sculpture

*Update- the sculpture is "Nymph of the Fields", 1915, by Pittaluga, thank you very much Jane*

A new digital painting mainly as practice. Another sculpture I photographed somewhere at sometime but have lost track of the name or location. If you know where it is let me know. Maybe I'll do some more searching to narrow it down because it is a beautiful statue.
This type of painting is mainly value a value study since the color range is so limited. But it is still good practice.

Here's a little tour of previous statue paintings in case your interested:
-Prague cathedral
-National Gallery
-National Gallery 2

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea *alternate ending*

From the below drawing which may or may not have been produced in a long meeting. Finally a little color around here.

It's been a while since I read the book so it may not be entirely accurate.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I need to get some color back into this blog. Here is a study that I really hope I can get some time to paint because I like how it turned out. Cross your fingers.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

After Fechin #3

One of the great draftsman of all time.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Please stop me if I sound like I'm bragging but this girl is the best. This is the "can I eat this chocolate that I found" look.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

sketchbook #30

Still no colors

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day late, dollar short

Fresh off my European tour, I have this mediocre offering.

Saw some beautiful places, missed out on a lot of great art but I am happy to declare Bernini is the greatest.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

the Note

A recent illustration for The Friend magazine. I was really happy with the colors when I got the printed version. The poses still feel awkward but I think that is pretty common when trying to stitch together different reference but generally I like it.
Also, the chairs were incredibly difficult so I gave up and just did one. I really prefer to do organic things, well people at least.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


If a person is semi-still you can draw them but still get an option of picking and choosing the best elements when they move.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


It's starting to feel like a sketchblog around here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

sketchbook #25

Take a look at April 15th's drawing below and you may be able to see the very subtle preview to this post, which was on the following page.

Monday, April 19, 2010


An illustration done for The Weekly Standard. The more cartoon style helps make a really quick turn around a little more manageable. This is Mr. Obama working away with his hammer (no sickle is visible).

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Pay no attention to the smudge up top where I stepped on it. This was not an artistic choice.

Monday, April 12, 2010


There you go. Very moody, I am thinking of naming it "Death of a Bug Exterminator". Usually I insist on some amount of reference to work from. This has none. I am satisfied with the atmosphere which has been something I have been working to improve for a while now.
Done for a Avalanche blog topic on Bug Wars.

Friday, April 09, 2010

prep work

All ready to paint(digitally)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Here we have the first collaboration between myself and my 1 year old daughter. She was great to work with.
We're actually pleasantly surprised she seems interested in drawing already, her specialty seems to be bird nests and stars. I anticipate more of these in the future.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

sketchbook #22

This was done before the previous 2 and for that its not quite right with all the proportions. I hadn't found the time to draw for a long while so I guess this is the break-in sketch. I find it takes a drawing or two to get back into my grove, thank goodness it sticks with me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

sketchbook #21

I will always believe the mouth is the most difficult part to draw. People always say its the eyes, no it is the mouth.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I wanted more for the background and finish work, but I am over it now. The likeness is fine but I kept losing it and giving up then it would drift back in, so it may or may look like the subject. I'll just let you guess.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Sometimes I go for too long without finding the time to draw. I'm being distracted by a busy body 1-year old and a recent trip among other things.
Anyway I am back spending time with my old friend, the sketchbook. Its always easiest to find an old magazine or catalog, search out an interesting face or pose and draw it. This is this weekends result. I thought this was an interesting choice for a model but she looks like a Bouguereau painting IMO. Hair is always fun, my drawings get pretty abstract very quickly when I get to the hair.

Monday, March 15, 2010

simple hands

Sometimes I really feel good about some quick sketch. I really like these hands, especially the one on the right. Just the right combination of stylization and realism and appropriately simple.

Of course these are always done on the very margins of the page. More drawings to come soon.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I never really knew were I was going with this, but whatever. Here it is. I hope I don't loath it in a couple hours.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

oh pioneer

Based on a cool old time sepia photo I came across. I apologize if this is your great grand aunt. The finish work on this ended up taking forevah, but I think I am pleased with it. Sometimes you work and work forever on especially finish work, then I can't really say whether it is necessarily worse or better. It gets very subjective. Whatever, it's up and I can wash my hands of it, then move on to another old time photo.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

in process

I often start with a blue pencil, then just go right on finishing with a blue pencil. I think it looks nice. This one is in process.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


For no good reason.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tracing paper

A very good trick for getting an accurate drawing before you spend hours on an oil painting only to realize your initial drawing was way off: Do the drawing on tracing paper, then pull out that page and put it under the next page. Trace the lines that are correct then remove the page and do the drawing again. Repeat this process over and over, maybe 5 times or more if needed. Each time you should be able to tighten the drawing and get much closer to the correct proportions. This is the 3rd try at this drawing, the first was not nearly as close but I like this one. Actually the second and third were very similar, its a great exercise and you will get better as you do it.

I plan to paint this soon(I hope).

Monday, February 08, 2010

fridays sketch

A good interesting angle for this weeks sketch. These angles are extremely tricky to get correct proportions but it is a very useful exercise that prevents you from relying on what you know, instead you have to measure and analyze.
This is close, I will not point out the problems though.

Here is Sam's angle. And Adam's.