It's a lonely life...that of the necromancer, er freelancer

A blog by a designer and illustrator, for designers and illustrators which may contain musings on art, movies and random weirdness.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Drawing with Ham

Last night my wife Amy asked me to do a few drawings of her. This is part of her ongoing encouragement to keep drawing as much as possible in spite of the distractions of running my own graphic design business, e-mail, the internet, Facebook, etc. It has been a while since I have drawn from life, and years ago in art school I came up with a phrase that describes how it feels to get back to drawing after a prolonged absence..picking up a pencil or brush feels like you are "drawing with a ham". It refers to the inability to get the brush or pencil to go where you want, and do what you want, becoming as awkward as using a ham, a large block of meat, to draw with. Above you can see my four drawings of my lovely wife. You might think by looking at them that it is a drawing of four different people. Each was done in about 10 minutes. She asked me to first do the first one in lead pencil in a "realistic" style (1). The second was supposed to be done in my "George" fine-line ink style (2), the third in a looser brush style (3), and the final in a cartoony, Tim-Burton-esque style (3). Although they all contain accurate bits of what she looks like, and capture certain distinctive features, what is interesting to note is that the more cartoony the style got, the more it started to actually look like Amy. To me this shows that loosening up, actually frees up expression. I have a constant struggle finding a happy balance between the labor of rendering, and the freedom of expression. Drawing from life, which I don't do nearly enough, is one key to expression that is "alive", the other, is just having fun, loosening up and forgetting what you think something is supposed to look like, and just letting your right brain take over.

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