Zoo drawings

Went to a zoo drawing workshop in May run by Joe Weatherly, an artist who specializes in drawing animals. This is not to be confused with another Joe Weatherly, who is apparently a famous race car driver, who looks like his name should be Howie, and whose picture reminds me a bit of John C. Reilly as "Dewey Cox".


The workshop was fun, although I was the only person who showed up who was not currently in school. This of course, conspired to make me feel ancient ("Hey, I've been working since you guys were in 5th grade! Awesome!") However, I try not to let these realizations bug me too much, as I realize not only is this situation unlikely to improve, but will also increase in frequency as time goes by.

For any of you reading this while in your youthful, unlined 20's: sunscreen people. It's about the sunscreen.

What was fun about dedicating an entire weekend to drawing is realizing how quickly you can loosen up by simply devoting enough time to the endeavor. The first few drawings are almost always awful and demoralizing. But if you manage to stick it through the next hour or two, it stops feeling like so much work, and just becomes this nice, loose, moment, from eye, to hand, to pen. It doesn't mean that every line becomes perfect, but you do stop focusing so much on technique, and more on play.

I've spent very, very little time drawing animals compared to people (yes, I know, people are animals...ANIMALS!) So I started off this workshop with some truly ugly giraffe drawings (notice that I did not post any giraffe drawings). But things steadily improved, so that by Sunday, I was in a much happier place with my work.

A note about zoos in the Bay Area: we went to both the SF Zoo and the Oakland Zoo. The Oakland Zoo is much nicer. Also, as far as I know, no one have been mauled by tigers in the SF Zoo. Although, the surviving victims are not terribly sympathetic figures.

I'm ambivalent about zoos in general. As an artist, I recognize them as an extremely valuable resource. Also, one might reasonably argue that there's definitely an educational benefit to the population to learn about how other animals live. However, it's really hard to go to a zoo and convince yourself that these animals are happy. Danger of anthropomorphizing aside...I don't think I'd be particularly happy, stuffed into a pen with a bunch of people I don't know, and having people stare at me, taking pictures or drawing. In fact, it's a bit unnerving while drawing the animals to realize that they are aware of you staring at them. How else to explain their almost unanimous decision to always show our drawing group their backsides within 15 minutes of our arrival to draw them?

And for those of you who believe that I'm over thinking this, and animals do not get self-conscious or upset about being watched, I present to you this.


more cafe sketching

It was a gorgeous weekend in SF, so I spent most of it outside walking around, taking photos and sketching. The photos can be found here

I doodled for quite awhile today, using pen. I'm much more comfortable sketching with pencil, I suppose because pen forces you to commit and is so unforgiving of mistakes...two qualities that I struggle with in human beings , come to think of it.

This pen spatters a bit, I didn't realize until I started drawing with it today.


The Divorce-4th panel

So I came up with this character 6 years ago (ACK!) and here's the 4th panel from her story. All four are here

Here's the latest. I was playing a bit with some of those color concepts that I learned about this week at GDC. I'll probably go back and tighten this up a bit.

Or maybe not, since it takes me forever just to get started.


random sketches

So every now and then I copy pictures from magazines, and "push" the drawings. The first drawing I almost always chuck, it's almost like stretching before sprinting. The second drawing is always much looser. (I have residual "have to get it right the first time" idea going on, which with some thought, is an idiotic idea. But I'm an impatient type of person)

I've decided that I want to try and do more color work after seeing a very inspiring talk by Jeremy Vickery at GDC this last week. I'm not a painter, and while I don't foresee getting to the point where I'm just knocking them out the way a lot of my friends do...I do want to get to a point where color is more intuitive and I'm not so intimidated by it. So hopefully, there will be more color work on this blog in the future.


sketchcrawl SF

A friend suggested we go to sketchcrawl this past weekend. It was a great idea! The last time I went was in 2005 I think. I loved it, but I never managed to do another one until now. This one was held in Portsmouth Square in Chinatown. A sizable crowd showed up (hey look! We all have New Year's resolutions about drawing more!) and it was really fun.

A lot of talented artists out there validated my obsession with hording pencils and sketchbooks. It was great to see how different artists interpreted the same subject matter. Some people stylized heavily, others played it straight. Some focused on people, others on environment. I was inspired to play more in my composition, subject matter, drawing style and also to work on color skills.

I am also humbled by how focused and well laid out a lot of artists' work was. I would like to improve my layout skills, so that's a resolution too. (Let's just put that in my big pile of goals that I have...hey look laundry!) A lot of people drew these 4 old ladies on the bench. They were famous that day.