Friday, December 28, 2012

Male back in acrylic

11" x 13.5" on paper. I'm more inclined to study the female, whom I find more challenging to draw and paint, but I found in this ref an opportunity to study form.

Ref image by John K. (cable9tuba in DA)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

This and that...

A few sketches to keep the hand/mind in working order...

First two: Acrylic on paper, 11" x 13.5"



The following, charcoal on paper - A4, A3, 11" x 13.5" in size respectively.




My gratitude to these DA photographers, whose images I've referenced for my studies: 1) voivodess-stock, 2 & 3) vertigo-photography (Patric Shaw), 4) fovd, 5) proud59 (Auguste). Thanks!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A few W.I.P's of past and present works

A few W.I.P's... apart from the top one, which is conte on tinted paper, the rest are in acrylic. If you're using a 800 pixel wide monitor you may see a spill-over into the right hand column... please click on an image to see its enlarged version (or right-click to open in new tab/window).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Acrylic figure study + W.I.P as gif animation

13" x 19" approx, acrylic on canvas paper. The looped, W.I.P gif animation (777 kb) is given below, please allow all the frames to load for smoother playing.

Ref image by Steve Evans (babasteve in flickr).

W.I.P of the painting above, as gif animation (777 kb) - If you can't see the animation below, please CLICK HERE.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

One sketch

Just one ref-based sketch from a few hours ago... approx A3, watersoluble drawing sticks.

Ref image by provided by Renee Boyett (ChaosFay in DA) 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Glimpses of Rajasthan

These are from a hectic 10 day tour of Rajasthan, which I undertook recently. The trip was not about me, or for my study purposes, I was essentially entrusted with the care of a very close elderly person, who was often wheel-chair bound. I was privileged to be doing that, and loved carting the wheelchair up steep slopes and down long passageways of the ancient fortresses that Rajasthan is dotted with, but whenever I had an opportunity I also tried to make quick sketches with my watersoluble sticks and crayons. These are done in approx A4 size pages...

1. Co-passengers and air stewards on the flight... done with compressed charcoal and sanguine conte. I thought the latter (lower left) were quite smartly dressed in smoky, deep blue uniforms.

2. A view from inside the huge courtyard of Amer fort, Jaipur. I'm not fond of sketching architecture, but a young man from Delhi thought this was good and took a picture of me while I was sketching :/ There was an elephant walking up and down the courtyard ferrying awestruck tourists (mostly foreigners), but I wasn't free to walk alongside her for a quickie sketch :) Twice she passed me by as I sat sketching this inside view, and I could tell she's coming by the smell, LOL!

3. This grand looking gentleman is Mool Singh, guardian of one of the galleries in the Mehrangarh fort. He posed for approx 15-20 mins, during which I engaged him in chit-chat to keep his attention from wavering. Kind man that he was, he delayed his lunch break for 5 mins (and assured me not to worry in case I needed to sketch longer).. and later on, even invited me to lunch. Now that was an absolutely rare honor, being invited to his quarters to share his self-cooked meal (his family lived in the village while he was working here, and had to cook his own meal :P). However, I had to regretfully decline his invitation, as I had other engagements :(

4. I had some time to kill, while sketching this huge metal urn... basically was waiting for couple other members of my entourage to return from viewing the various exhibits in the fortress. This was next to a main entrance-way (where, once upon a time, elephants and camels and horses used to march past alongside fierce-looking soldiers in regal processions)... and was mobbed by an army of school-children tourists who asked all sorts of questions including why the heck was I doing whatever I was doing there :D

5. The lady was sketched in a restaurant at Jodhpur, overlooking the shoulder of a co-traveller sitting in front of me. The figure below is a sculpture of a single-headed, five-bodied entity on the ceiling of a temple inside the Jaisalmer fort ('Shonar Kella', or golden fortress, as it is called in Bengali... alluding to the yellow sandstone used in its construction).

As I sat sketching inside the temple, frequently looking up at the ceiling, I overhead an amusing comment from a passer by - 'They should've charged this man for his arms, or his arms should've been left outside!' :P He was obviously referring to the temple policy of no photography inside, or photography for a hefty fee only.

6. This is again from inside the Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur. I barely had 10 mins to do a sketch while standing before him, supporting the sketchbook in the crook of my elbow, before I was mobbed by tourists (both national and international) and had to flee - I don't blame the tourists, they were out to take in whatever they can, and watching an artist draw/paint something, be it good or bad (mostly bad, in this case!), is always an irresistible attraction.

7. I'm afraid I don't remember his name, but this kind gentleman with his grand moustache and turban was the guard/greeter at a nice restaurant cum hotel on the way to Jaisalmir (or was it Bikanir?). He sat for me for about 15 mins (I added the colors later on) while the food was being prepared. I was surrounded by a group of tour-cab drivers and other guards while drawing him - this was outside the main.gate to the place. I was deeply honored when at the end of the session, he gave me an elegant salute :)

8. Again, in order to while away some time, I sketched this nearly five feet high metal horse, on display inside a  restaurant.

9. You can live inside tents in Rajasthan, close to the desert (and ride on a camel if you want to), and the organizers of the camp had arranged for an evening's entertainment of folk music and dancing for the guests. This very talented lady was probably in her mid-thirties, and was a very graceful dancer. In the background you can see the singers and the musicians.

10. Another talented, younger dancer from the group... sketched mid-motion.

11. Sketched from the window of a budget hotel in Jodhpur...  I liked how the 8 a.m sun fell tangentially on the wall.

10. This, again was in Jaisalmir... the figure on the left is a sculpture on the conical ceiling of a temple inside the Jaisalmir fort. The gentleman on the right was playing his stringed instrument outside the main gates. I paid him some money out of gratitude after he had played for a while, and sketched him quickly while he was playing. He then tried to (a bit pursuasively) sell me a CD of his music :D

There were three young ladies (again, tourists from Delhi) who met me in the narrow alleyways of the fortress. They had obviously seen me sketching inside the temple, and wanted to talk to and take a picture alongside me. Haha, I almost felt like a celebrity! :D In case you guys (the concerned ladies I mean) are also reading this blog, thank you so much for your very kind interest :)

11. Lastly, the amazing camel farm in Bikaner! Although I had my fill of riding a camel at Sam Dunes, I was astounded upon seeing the hundreds of camels in this breeding/research farm. I wish I had time to make some detailed drawings and paintings, rather than these 5 minute quickies.

Thanks for giving this a look/read :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Project: Fashion for Curvier Women

What you see below is a collaboration between myself and a dear friend. While the art/figure concepts were mine, the fashion part belongs to the friend. The entire series was painted digitally in 3-4 days time, hence the very sketchy, hurried feel to it. I was hard-pressed for time, as I was just about to leave for a 10 day trip (and was in the midst of making preparations), while the project also had to be submitted within a week. But this gave me an idea of the steep deadlines that fashion people must regularly adhere to.

As you can see, this is mainly a set showcasing western, Caucasian women. However, I'd have also loved to draw a variety of complexions and body shapes, as they all have their inherent challenges. Perhaps I'll do another set in the future, with a wider variety of subject representation. In any case, it was a wonderful learning opportunity on the challenges and delights of adorning the curvier women, and how to best represent her loveliness and persona - set in the everyday background of life.

I'm used to seeing women in sarees, which is a near-miraculous garment for camouflaging extremes of body shapes/sizes and bringing out the natural feminine grace to the best effect. Hence, seeing the western attire do the same for curvier women was a real eye-opener, and increased my respect for fashion designers working on this subject. Thanks for reading this far :)

Digitally painted (mostly using Mypaint 1.0.0) on preliminary conte underdrawings, which were photographed and thus digitized. The figures were drawn sans reference.





5. I had to literally compose and draw this in hours, on the very last day prior to my departure. I could've worked on this further, before posting it here... but I guess it has a raw, rough appeal as it is.

6. This, of course is a 'horizontally flipped' pair of no. 4 :)

7. I had misinterpreted the designer's instructions, and drew her in a day setting at first...

8. Later on, it was kind of fun changing day into night and catching her in headlights!


10. Back view of the design above.

Thanks for giving this a look/read :) Its different from the usual content of this figure blog, but I decided to post it anyway.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Conte and the Caveman

Err... not him @ subject of portrait. He's a very fine gentleman from Chennai, India. I was referring to the artist. But read on please...

Approx. A4 in size, conte.

 After I had posted this drawing on an art forum, a member asked me how I could get those very thin lines with conte. He was actually referring to the 'conte sticks' (pic below) - those short, square cross-section sticks that Conte makes. I wrote back that I didn't, since I was (also) using conte pencils (pierre noire). However, even the humble conte stick is capable of doing wonderous things, including making those very fine lines! Having said that, I waxed eloquent on the following, which I'm (largely) copy-pasting below...

By the way, the ref image is by Muralidharan Alagar, modeled by his friend Sumit, taken on the occasion of an art camp at the Cholamandal Artists' Village, Chennai.

It was mid- to late-afternoon. I had just finished the portrait above, which was then posted online, immediately following which the query was made. I wanted to demonstrate the versatility of the 'used' conte stick and took its picture. Then I proceeded to draw the ear sketch (posted further below). When used with a soft enough hand, and after you have got it shaped in that way (following a period of use), the stick is wonderfully versatile in producing a wide variety of marks - both in line depth and line thickness/width. I'll elaborate further..

Look at the many micro facets on its surface, the very sharp and pointy tip, and the knife-like edge that's extending down from it. Remember paleolithic tools used by cavemen? Those sharp-tipped, multi-faceted stones they used as arrows and knives? Well, this conte has become like a softer version of those (with me being the caveman in my studio-cave :D).

 Now look at this little sketch (top half of an A4 page clipped to a board) which I made just after taking the pic above, entirely with that very conte - so as to demonstrate its wonderful versatility. These are a couple of ears, drawn side by side (from same ref actually, although shapes have differed). The one on the left shows just the outline, while the other one has tone, mostly achieved with hatching (I have used a moistened brush to even out the tones later on, but that's irrelevant to our discussion). Can you see the very fine hatching lines (which the arrows are pointng at) drawn with the sharp tip?

Thanks so much for viewing/reading.

Friday, October 19, 2012

W.I.P. study on Rodin's Mahler

OK, this is pursuant to a discussion I've recently had on an art forum regarding modeling sculptures from unsatisfactorily lit references. It's always best to draw from the object directly (i.e, 'live'),  but often times all we have is a pictorial reference. However, if even that is not suitably lit (which means that the dominant light is preferably angling down from the side, in front, along with a soft reflected glow on the shadow side) and the shadows are scattered all over, the outcome is often flat.

In that case, one really needs to 'invent' a dominant light, and suppress the other sources. In this exercise, I've downplayed the other two lights in the ref - one coming from the front, and the one coming over his left shoulder. The main band of terminator or core shadow thus passes down the face, with his right side most well-lit. Mind you, this was really intended to be an 'example sketch' of sorts, to emphasize on certain points. In that respect, it is hardly a proper, patient study... took me about 2-2.30 hrs more or less.

W.I.P. no.1. - Outline.

Preliminary sketch in conte. After establishing the basic shape of the head, and putting in the facial features in proper relationship to each other, I was marking out the broad shadow areas. These I'll be filling in, in the subsequent w.i.p.

W.I.P. no 2. - Blocking in

After filling in or 'blocking' the basic shadow shapes, giving predominance to the light coming in over his right shoulder, I had used a moistened brush to 'push' the dark pigment from the shadows into the white areas. I preserved paper-white in the highlights only. You can see this effect on his right, forehead area...  those faint brush marks.

W.I.P. no. 3. Background

Here I've used some yellow ocher watersoluble pencil for the background. So as to better integrate the BG with the head, I have also introduced some of this BG color (as reflected light) on the bust itself. In the next/final stage (which is same as the pic posted at the top of this thread) I'll be adding more details.

FINAL stage

Here I've basically darkened certain areas in preference over others e.g. the eyes, the mouth etc., smoothened out the transitions between the variously illuminated areas a bit, and over-all... worked on the 'turning shadows' or terminator shadows (darker area between two illuminated zones) to give the form greater dimensionality. Actually this was the easiest part - work-wise, but I had to be careful so as not to 'equally blacken up' all areas. Since the illumination in the ref was scattered/indefinite... I had to ensure that the bust doesn't end up appearing flat, hence some careful contrast work.

Hope it all made some sense, and thank you so much for reading! :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Figure study, acrylic - Oct '12

50 cm x 35 cm (19.6" x 13.7"), acrylic on canvas paper.

 Ref image by Aimeestock Fitzgerald (aimeestock) in Deviantart. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Skewed viewing

I can't remember this gentleman's name who had posted online (in pictures of his figure sketches snapped from a perspective. I thank him for that. I thought it was, in addition to being a very interesting way to view pictures, also helps test if your proportions still look alright despite the skewed angle of viewing. So I snapped pics of a few of mine as well.

All are on A3 pages, sketched using an assortment of conte and watersolubles. Needless to say, I'm totally indebted to the photographers and models (credits posted below), whose work I've referenced for my studies.








 And just for the sake of comparison (this one with no. f)... taken from the proper angle: sure does exaggerate a few things!

And here's just a couple of additional sketches of the 'non-skewed' variety...

j. charcoal sketch


Thanks for viewing! Credits for the refs belong to the following in DeviantArt :- for nos. a, c, f & h  - Skydancer-stock ; For nos. e, j & k -  proud59; For nos. b, d & g -  I'm not sure, and I'm trying to find out. But heartiest thanks anyway to everyone, for helping extend my education :)