Monday, December 16, 2013

A Measured Drawing of Bpah Oh Quaidt

One of my  many handsome staff members posed of a photo in Indian costume at Loll last summer.  I made the picture “for my own study”, as master Arikawa would say.  I tried to follow the Bargue protocol, however as I had no schema to work form, I had to make my own.  I printed the picture out in black and white.  To get the size I wanted (16 by 12) I had to print the picture out in chunks and tape them together on the drawing board.

The first stage was to produce the outline of the figure shape and the contained shadows on the “cheep” drawing paper.  Each highpoint had to be carefully measured and marked.
Once the high points were "mapped out" I connected them to produce an outline - turned out pretty good.
Next came the outlining of the interior shadow shapes, and the features.  The hand and the headdress were particularly daunting.  The detail on the glossy prints was not as fine as I wanted, so I printed out a copy of my model's head on regular paper and lined it up.

The next step was to carefully remove the drawing from the drawing board, cover the back with 2B graphite, and then trace the entire outline on to a sheet of Stonehenge pearl gray paper.  As I would have a lot of measuring to do, I placed black threads across the drawing surface to reestablish the horizontal and vertical reference lines. I put up a color version of the model because I could see subtle traits more clearly on it.  The next step was to begin to darken the lines, measuring and adjusting as I went along. 
The outline needed a lot of adjusting.  One must continually search the model for discrepancies; then measure with the knitting needle and make the adjustments. 
After the outlines are in place, I began to fill in the value.  I tried to keep it uniform, but there were so many subtle differences in value that I found myself "modeling the darks" as I went along.  The head dress was very challenging, and at the same time extremely rewarding to do.  For all the intricacies of the feathers, the figure itself was more difficult. One can forgive errors and inaccuracies in a bunch of feathers, the face of a friend is far more demanding. 

Once the darks were in place I progressed to modeling the lights and wrapping the figure in tone. I also added more and more details and "punched up" the darks and lights.  I kept staring at the model, making subtle changes, with the eraser as much as with the various pencils: darks in 2 B, half tones in HB and light tones in 2H.  Working the outlines became particularly challenging and therefore fun.  I referenced Bargue and other favorite artists to see how they did it.  Before I finished I asked several friends to critique the work.  There were many helpful hints.

This is the finished drawing.  If I could get it back I would probable do more work on it - but it has passed to its new owner, so I have to be content with prints, and digital versions.  I choose to believe the "real" thing looks a little better than these.
Surprise, this drawing was actually accepted in at the Eccles Community Art Center’s Black and White Art Exhibition.  The show was, from February 7th until March 29th, 2014  My beautiful model went to see his likeness on the wall and had this picture taken.  It’s not quite the “Paris Salon”, but after years of rejection slips, it was kind of fun.    

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