Category Archives: Art

A Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencil Portrait of an English Bulldog

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I took a walk at the Chinese Church near our house. They have a really nice parking lot and a lot of folks use it for walking the perimeter because it is level. I often meet people walking their dogs and recently met this really nice lady who spoke very broken English. I didn’t catch the name of her dog and had to do a bit of YouTube research to determine whether it was a Pug or an English Bulldog. My best guess is it is an English Bulldog. It was so friendly and Minnie loved scampering around it while it sat like a fireplug quite disinterested in my little hyper Shih Tzu. I asked with improvised sign language whether it would be ok to take some pictures of her dog so I could do a drawing. I chose this photo.

Black and White source photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Final Drawing:

English Bulldog -9″x12″ – Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencils on Strathmore Bristol 300 Vellum paper

I used Strathmore Bristol 300 9″x12″ paper and decided to used 100% Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencils. I love how they glide over the paper. I used the 4H pencil to do the layout with a very light stroke and they built up the tones with darker and darker pencils, from 4H=>2H=>HB=>2B=.4B.  I used PanPastel blender pads and kneaded erasers to create soft graded tones and highlights. I used a Camel paint brush to do some of the shading.

Here is a short speed video of the process:

Here is my drawing area as shown from the camera mounted above (Sony A6000 with 16-50mm lens):

My Studio and Drawing Environment

 

 

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A Pencil Portrait of Isaac – Using a Single Caran d’Ache Grafwood 2B Pencil on Duralar Film

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I’ve been doing drawings of our grandkids and just finished one of Isaac. He is so much fun! His laugh and sense of humor are contagious. He loves to kid, run, laugh, joke, eat, hug and generally be spontaneous! The last time I saw my mom alive in 2012 was when Christy and Justin and the kids met Carol and I at the assisted living where “Me-Mo” lived. Isaac was 2 and as soon as he saw Me-Mo he broke into a full run and tackled her at the knees, almost knocking her over. I’ll never forget that! We all laughed so hard and had a wonderful visit. Little did we know it would be our last. So when I told Christy I wanted to do a drawing of Isaac she said, “be sure and do one of him laughing!” I remembered this photo where Justin was pushing him on the tire swing at Jones Bridge Park near us. I think it captures his love of life and spirit! I used a single Caran d’Ache 2B Grafwood graphite pencil on .005 Dual Sided Duralar mylar film. I also used Pan Pastel blenders to treat the graphite as if it was “paint.” My Prismacolor Kneaded Eraser made a great tool for picking out highlights. Here is the time-lapse video of the drawing…

A Portrait of Isaac 9″x12″ Caran d’Ache Grafwood 2B pencil on Duralar .005 Dual Matte Film
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Christy’s Kitty – an 8″x10″ Oil Painting on Canvas

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I did this painting for Christy on her birthday in 1990. She loved her Ellie who would let her dress her, stuff her in baskets, get transported in baby carriages and strollers and generally be a sweet type “B” kitty that didn’t have a mean bone in her body!

Ellie – 8″x10″ Oil on Canvas

 

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A Colored Pencil Drawing of a Pine Warbler using Powder Blender

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Original photo by George Hoffman – December 2016 – Johns Creek, Georgia – Pine Warbler

I have eight bird feeders around my house! I know it’s a bit much, but “birding” is a love that was passed down to me from my mom and my grandmother who were obsessed with feeding their birds and frustrating their squirrels. Anyway, I woke up one morning last December and was drinking a cup of coffee at sunrise in my greatroom looking out the window when the sun came up in the east and filtered a ray of yellow sunlight through the trees to hit squarely on this beautiful yellow Pine Warbler just outside one of my windows. I startled my wife Carol  when I exclaimed “I have to go get my camera!” It was just as the sun was coming up and still quite dark. The muted browns from the trees and their dried leaves from the forest behind our house made quite a striking backdrop for the bright yellow feathers on the Pine Warbler’s breast. I have wanted to do a drawing of our little yellow friend ever since.

Youtube Tutorial Video:

 

I did the drawing using Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils, Prismacolor White, Titanium White powder from brushandpencil.com and of a couple of Cretacolor pencils on sanded paper – tinted sepia with a spray bottle of diluted acrylic paint. This drawing had three applications of Textured Fixative from brushandpencil.com to allow layering, corrections and a protective sealing of the surface. Only one is shown in the video. I thought the drawing was finished at one point and after applying the Texture Fixative and I removed the drawing from the drawing board. After looking at it and doing a bit of touch up, I realized that I could continue working to increase detail and brilliance of the colors and retaped it to keep working. You’ll see that at about the 2:30 point in the video.

The actual drawing took about 6 hours over several evenings. This video is compressed to about 3 minutes.  Please leave me any questions or comments!

For more information on this wonderful bird, visit the Audubon site:

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/pine-warbler

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A Step By Step Tutorial on Drawing Your Kitty!

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I recently saw a Facebook post by Debbie,  a work associate,  of her kitty “Pumpkin” and I asked if I could do a drawing of it. She gladly said “YES!” and I did a mixed media drawing that harkened back to a look reminiscent of a sketch from renaissance days. To create a surface to work on, I used alcohol ink stains by Tim Holtz (see video below) to create a rich antique leather-like surface and used Koh-I-Noor “Giochonda” Artists Pencils in charcoal, black, sepia, white and red chalk, powdered titanium white and Powder Blender (from brushandpencil.com). I also used a few traditional colored pencils from Caran d’Ache to add Ochre and Sepia colors. The video is self explanatory and lists materials used.

A Step-by-Step Tutorial:

Debbie’s kitty Pumpkin – 6.5″x9″ on Aquarelle Watercolor Paper – 140lb. Hot Pressed Watercolor Block

Fixative used was Blair Marker Fixative (after treating paper with alcohol ink) and Krylon Matte Workable Fixative (two very light coats at the end – if you use too much fixative, you may need to brighten the whites a bit if the fixative dulls it).

Enjoy and please leave me any questions or comments!

 

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A Portrait of Lloyd – A speed drawing of a Colored Pencil Portrait with Powder Blender on Uart 600 Sanded Paper 9″x12″

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I recently completed a colored pencil drawing of my friend Lloyd Matson using techniques gleaned from Alyona Nickelsen’s new book Colored Pencil Painting Portraits. Her products can be found and ordered at http://brushandpencil.com.

I specifically used the workflow on pages 99-101 for creating a monochrome underpainting, using her Texture Spray Fixative to fix the underpainting layer and subsequent glazing layers, then using her Titanium White and Touchup Texture for details, Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils and Prismacolor Premier White for highlights. I used Powder Blender to create glazing layers to complete the portrait similarly to how I would paint an oil painting with an underpainting and painting medium to create glazes. Thanks Lloyd for letting me use this great photo of you to create this “painting!” I hope you enjoy it!

A colored pencil portrait of Lloyd – 9″x12″ on Uart 600 Sanded Paper
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Eliza – a Colored Pencil Powder Blender Portrait

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At our recent beach vacation, our family met in Destin for our annual beach retreat. What an awesome time when all 15 of us can get together…kids, grandkids, son-in-laws, and the entertainment – our family dog Minnie! While there, I took some wonderful photos of our family and grandkids including several of the girls and ladies getting their hair braided by Abigail (13), one of our granddaughters.

This is Eliza’s portrait from from the photos from that day. (less the green wall and ceramic fish hung all over it!) I did it on Uart 800 Sanded Paper with Colored Pencils using the Powder Blender system developed by Alyona Nickelsen at brushandpencil.com. I read her book “Colored Pencil – Painting Portraits” cover to cover and used her step by step recommendations on pages 100 and 101 to create this portrait. Here is a time-lapse recording of the process  edited to show the key steps, materials and techniques for other colored pencil artists to follow. I hope you enjoy the video and portrait. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and give me a like if you like it!

Eliza – Colored Pencil 8 1/2″ x 11″ on Uart 800 Sanded Paper with Polychromos, Caran d’Ache and Prismacolor pencils – using Powder Bender system by brushandpencil.com
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Hank Curth – A pencil portrait painted with brushes, pencils and powdered graphite

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Hank Curth Original Photo posted on Facebook

When I saw the Father’s day Facebook post done by my friend Chris Curth commemorating his dad who would have been 100 years old in 2017, I knew I had to do his portrait! The photo was so striking and conveyed such character I wanted to know more about him. I asked Chris if I could have permission to do a pencil drawing of his dad for my second assignment in a drawing class I was taking online. He gladly agreed and I created this graphite painting/drawing using Caran d’Ache Grafwood pencils, General’s Powdered Graphite, paint brushes, several different erasers and blending tools on Strathmore 400 Bristol Vellum paper. Here is a 2 minute YouTube speed video of the drawing:

 

 

If you would like to know more about Hank Curth, here is a short bio on his work. Thanks Chris for letting me do this for you and your family! I am planning to make several limited edition prints for family members. 

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Ava Grace – A pencil portrait and YouTube time lapse video

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This is the original photo of Ava in front of her house

After doing drawings and paintings for over 40 years, I sometimes wish I could remember how I did something that I find in my archive art bin! Sometimes it is to see if I can avoid what is a really bad effort and sometimes it’s because I really like what I drew or painted. Often I have no recollection of the steps I took to create the art! Anyway, with my current drawings I am really enjoying doing these blog posts and work-in-progress videos on my YouTube Channel so I can look back and remember what steps I took to complete a drawing. This is a drawing I did of my granddaughter Ava for her room. She is SUCH a sweetheart and the photo really captures her. As you can see on my last post of the portrait of Hurley, I have recently taken a course by Darrell Tank at fivepencilmethod.com in which he teaches realistic graphite pencil drawing using only five pencils – 4H, 2H, HB, 2B and 4B. It is a great course and I highly recommend it if you want to learn a very systematic and consistent approach to your drawing. While this drawing is by no means the best representation of his course or methods, I am pleased that it captured Ava so “gracefully!” The 2 1/2 minute speed drawing below represents about 7 – 8  hours of drawing time.

I hope this process is helpful to you. Here is the time-lapse video of the drawing.

Here roughly are are the steps I took that you’ll see in the video ( the layout method by Darrell Tank is different and quite accurate and doesn’t rely on step 1) – links to the products I used are highlighted in green and link to Amazon.com :

  1. I printed an enlarged copy of the image on 9″x12″ paper using  my HP 7610 printer (large format) on 11″x17″ copy paper using a backer sheet of graphite paper (not charcoal or carbon paper) to transfer a rough sketch of Ava’s features to Strathmore 400 2ply Bristol Vellum paper. This works great with a standard printer at 8″x10″ size too.
  2. I work exclusively at the start with 4H and 2H pencils (I use Caran d’Ache Grafwood pencils) to bring much of the drawing to life using a light touch. During this phase I check the original drawing using a set of easily adjusted Alvin 6″ dividers (not the type with the wheel adjustment).
  3. Increase dark areas with HB pencils gradually reinforcing the deepest tones.
  4. Use a kneaded eraser to lift highlights. Crosshatch larger areas and then use the Princeton Brush Bright #10 paint brush to blend and create a soft skin texture. Use a Langnickel 2″ Camel hair brush to soften features and hair and to keep the drawing clean.
  5. Continue to deepen the darks with 2B and 4B pencils (very lightly especially on 4B – used only for the darkest darks!)
  6. Use the Tombow Mono hand held eraser to create dynamic highlights and hair details.
  7. Continue to work back and forth between darks and lights, refining the image until completion.

Here is the finished drawing:

Final Drawing of Ava with Caran d’Ache Grafwood pencils on Strathmore 400 Bristol Vellum 2-ply paper
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Meet Hurley! A graphite pencil portrait of a German Shepherd mix

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Coda – halfway finished…using Darrell Tank Five Pencil Method (fivepencilmethod.com)

I’ve been taking a course by Darrell Tank on the Five Pencil Method using 5 different hardnesses of graphite pencils (4H, 2H, HB, 2B and 4B), a camel hair brush, a “pencil like” eraser called a TomBow eraser and a kneaded eraser. Using just these few tools you can do amazing things! He suggests a rather inexpensive paper – Strathmore 300 Bristol Vellum available in tablets or sheets. (I used Strathmore 500 on this) I was working through the course and posted this drawing I was doing of “Coda.” I was halfway through the 8 week course and was contacted by one of Carol’s childhood friends about me doing a portrait of Hurley, her daughter’s dog, for her birthday about a month away. I said I’d be happy to try! Here are the reference photos and the final drawing. All reference photos were captured from iPhone screen captures and texts.

This is the final drawing – 8″x10″ graphite pencil on Strathmore 500 Bristol Vellum paper.

Hurley – 8″x10″ Drawing – Faber-Castell Grafwood Graphite Pencils on Strathmore 500 Bristol Vellum paper

Reference photos:

Screeenshot of Hurley in his relaxed mood!
A screenshot of Hurley
Original photo screenshot of Hurley

 

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