Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Drawing process.

Last week I took some time, and made a drawing for an upcoming show (details of show below!) .  I usually don't have good process shots of my traditional work, so I figured why not start now?

This is the drawing I ended up with. It's titled "Serf and Greyhounds" , standard moleskin size  ( 8.5 x10?) .

Materials: HB lead holder ( rubbed against sand paper to create a flat side), .03 HB mechanical pencil, kneaded eraser, a small white eraser and a stump... yes, a stump.

1. The Drawing:

This was probably the hardest part of making this image. Getting all the angles and proportions right can take a long time. Before getting to this point I gathered all my reference and did a quick digital composition in which I figured out my perspective, and scale relationships.

I spent probably a good full night's work  ( 4-5 hours.) on the drawing alone. Don't rush the drawing! An accurate drawing will save you a lot of grief later. 

2. Rendering

This is the part where I begin  establishing value relationships.

In fact the FIRST thing I do, is render the area where there will be the most contrast ( the area with the lightest and the darkest tones!) ,in this case I wanted it to be the woman's face. 

Because of that , now I know what is the lightest and  the darkest value. With toned paper ( like a moleskin), you always want to designate a value to the tone. Because I wanted this to be a graphite only piece, the value of the paper became my  brightest point. So that means only highlights and bright areas could have the tone of the paper. This helped immensely , especially when rendering the cloth. If you notice there are soft gradients by where the folds are, I wanted the cloth to be the second brightest thing ( next to the highlights of the girl's face.) so I very lightly shaded it, so that it became a slightly darker tone than that of the paper. 

More  rendering. Worked on the foliage by filling in the area with graphite, using the flat side of my led holder ( so I dont ruin the paper!) and picking out leaf shapes with my kneaded and white erasers. I'm trying to be mindful of edge quality too!

I focused on rendering the trees. I tried out an old tool I haven't touched since I was a kid... the dreaded stump.

(yup.. these.)

I haven't touched a stump since high school. I always thought of them as a cheater's tool, something people used when they didn't want to bother rendering, or worse, if they didn't know how to render. Ever since I can remember, I would always tell myself " I'd rather render it with my own hands!". Oh, what a fool I was!

The stump was an essential tool to this image. It helped mass in major values very quickly,  giving the areas where the stump was used,  a soft, almost paint like quality, that would have taken AGES to produce with a pencil.  This is how I made the trees, using a stump to mass in the basic value of the tree, then going over it with a pencil  and eraser to reinforce texture.

The stump also proved to be very helpful when rendering fur.

3. Done!

This is how the final looks like, except a lot more yellow... the scanner I used could not capture the yellow of the paper very well.

That's it! Pretty straight forward! :)

4. Say hello!

 This drawing will be a part of an incredible group show,  December 6th at the spoke arts gallery. 

So if you are in the bay area, come by and see this and other insane moleskin drawings and paintings face to face! Be sure to say hello too!

That's it everyone , and happy thanksgivings to all of you! Until the next update!


zach oldenkamp said...

great read! thanks for putting this up.

Alexander said...


Shelly Wan said...

This is lovely Karla! Catch up with u at the opening hopefully!

Anonymous said...

I soooo love this drawing! <3

How did you get those dark values with HB pencils? Is that because of the moleskin paper quality? Is it a bit like drawing on bristol paper?

Sergio Lopez said...

Hell yea, I love blending stumps. I sharpen mine and make the part that blends longer. It's almost like using a brush after a while.

Sara Silkwood said...

I really love this piece! Will the show be making prints of any of the pieces? ALso, I'm curious, was the show something you were invited to be in or did you hear about it and apply?

robin_chyo said...

SO GUD. congratulations on selling it! :)

Ryan Bowlin said...

Your pencils are always so lovely to behold, Karla. You really push the contrast in there. I love how you aren't afraid to really get dark with that graphite and how you still swing back the other way with such subtle marks in other parts of the image. And thanks for sharing your progress with us! It's always so cool to watch a piece unfold. ;o)

Thomas von Kummant said...

thanks for posting the step by step - very interesting. your rendering is fantastico!

Curious Zy said...

You've got a lot of great advice in here on rendering (such as setting a value to the tone, and starting with the most contrasted area first). Do you have any suggestions on books where I can learn more about this process? Thanks!

Curious Zy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nhac San Cuc Manh said...

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Nhac San Cuc Manh said...

this is a nice site. i'm a Nhac San in Viet Nam.

charvel Saligumba said...

Will this be available as prints? This is my favorite piece from you!

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