My favorite MMA and UFC fighter is Conor McGregor. He is a polarizing athlete and many fans have mixed opinions. That is what makes him the most compelling fighter in recent history. This drawing was done using a charcoal in a variety of techniques and applications. The paper is Strathmore drawing 400 series.
I’ve been having a lot of fun with charcoal drawing lately. This figure drawing experiment was done using a combination of techniques and applications like willow sticks and general’s pencils. I also played with the erasing techniques and brushes to get a variety in technique. Besides executing a realistic figure drawing, I also wanted to communicate the emotion I was feeling at the time and tell a story. What emotions or stories come to mind when you see this drawing?
The inspiration came from a photo by Ryan Loco of one of my favorite MMA fighters in the UFC, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.
In late February, 2015 I began a journey to study Russian Academic drawing. I chose 2 of the most well known masters of the art, Ilya Repin and Nicolai Fechin. Repin was a 19th century painter who helped to establish a tradition of realist, academic art in Russia and brought Russian art into the mainstream of European and western culture. Fechin was a painter and sculptor who moved to America where he became an admired and celebrated artist.
My reason or purpose for studying these Russian masters was to satisfy a curiosity and of course, for the mileage. What I wanted to know was how these men thought and worked. ‘How did they approach head drawing?’ and ‘how did they execute their drawings?’ were the questions I wanted answers to.
In the next 5 weeks, I studied their head drawings almost every day. During that time, I was able to record 2 of the studies (see video below):
To watch Part 2, the study of the reclining female, sign up for my free newsletter below. Simply enter your email below and click the blue button to get access:
For a detailed breakdown of the month long (36 days!) journey,read below.
Feb 22, 2015 – Day 1
I begin this journey by looking at Repin. I have been a fan of Repin for a long, long time. The West Coast / Reilly tradition that I inherited is heavily influenced by Russian academic drawing. So in a way, I was paying homage to the source of everything I had learned and come to love about realist drawing.
At first my goal was simply to observe and understand Repin’s technique and look. I love the way Russian artists draw heads and figures and how they approach form, edges and rendering. They’re use of straights and clearly defined planes is a hallmark of Russian academic drawing and that’s exactly the look I wanted to perfect in my own work.
As you can see in the image above, the first drawing on the left turned out o.k. The drawing on the right was not as successful in my opinion. The lesson I learned here was that it will be extremely difficult to reproduce the effects Repin achieved in his charcoal drawing by using ball point pen which is my current favorite medium.
To stay true to the master, it’s best to use the original medium. But I made a judgement call in the moment and on this day I paid the price for that decision.
Feb 24th – Getting Comfortable
As a look study, I feel these were successful. The drawings feel closeto the chiseled and hatched look I wanted.Although the drawings are emotionally flat and lifeless compared to the originals, I was starting to feel comfortable using the pen to match Repin’s charcoal effects.
I’m happy to announce my first show in Los Angeles. “Our Town” is dedicated to the Arts District and Little Tokyo district of Downtown Los Angeles. I will be showing oils, watercolors and having a sketchbook available for sale. All original, framed art. Also 40% of proceeds go to local non-profits that benefit the arts in Los Angeles. Sake will also be provided. Can’t beat that :).
Opening reception is Thursday, 7pm-10pm at District Gallery. Full details below:
Don’t forget to share the course page on Facebook and Twitter. To watch a free preview of the course, visit the course page or click here to watch on youtube. If you have any questions or feedback, leave a comment below and I’d be happy to help.
My latest course on shading explains how to create realistic lighting using Photoshop. The beautiful part is that the information taught in the course applies to any subject and any medium. The shading techniques course is more than a slick demo or a Photoshop tutorial. It’s core, fundamental principles and concepts of realistic light and shadow.
In this article, I’ll demonstrate how to apply shading techniques to a portrait. See video below for a portrait shading demonstration from a recent ‘Draw With Chris’ Livestream. Photoshop is the medium used in the video. Oil paint is used in the demo for the text version below.
For complete, step by step breakdown, read on…
Portrait Shading Process
STEP 1: Smart observation
The first step is to make careful observation of the subject. In this case we have a female model with beautiful high contrast lighting. This lighting is the best for practicing shading, rendering and edge control. For more on lighting models and choosing reference, see this article on good lighting and choosing good reference.
This image is perfect for studying and practicing shadow because of the beautiful high contrast light. The shadows are nice and dark and clearly defined.
I’m proud to present this new and exciting course. Shading Techniques in Photoshop is simply the BEST course available on shading and rendering in Photoshop.
Students will learn how to shade and render their drawings using professional level techniques and strategies. Students will be guided through the shading process step by step by an expert instructor (that’s me :)). Along with the lectures and instructor demonstration, there are powerful handouts to help the students review as they go through the course.
The course has over 2 hours(!) of video at 1080p HD! There’s also pdf handouts and other bonus items. This course is a tremendous value for the low price. Take your drawing and painting to the next level, get Shading Techniques and learn how to shade and render today!
Art Center is one of the top art schools in the country. They are primarily a design school, but they have tremendous Fine Art, Illustration and Entertainment Art programs.
Students have the opportunity to draw and paint a live model at the many figure drawing and painting workshops they organize. These workshops are often led by a professional artist in the industry. The paintings below are from 2 previous workshops I ran this month at Art Center.
“All Prima 10/18/14″, 8″x10”, oil on canvas. From the Saturday night painting workshop, October 18th, 2014.
“John Whipple Alla-prima”, 8″x10″, oil on canvas. From the Saturday Head Painting workshop, October 4th, 2014.
I want to thank Charles Hu (founder of 3 Kicks Art Sudio) for the opportunity. I look forward to teaching more and working with students at Art Center.