Back in college I took about three semesters of art classes. I still have some of the work I did in those classes and, since I've recently gotten interested in drawing again, I took photos/made scans and put them up here. As I do more drawings, I hope to add to it.
(Click on any picture to enlarge.)
I've got one representative of work I did in the years before going to college. In this case, an oil painting on canvas board I did for my sister's wedding:
This thing took me a week to paint.
The alternating dark/light vertical bands in this and other pictures are caused by an interaction between the lighting and the digital camera. I'll try to get a better representation later.
My first formal art class. We started work with pencils:
There was a "back hallway" that connected the various studios that served as classrooms for the various drawing classes. That back hallway was used as a storeroom for all sorts of junk that was used to set up subjects for drawing and painting. Here we have a wine jug and a broken dressmakers dummy along with other stuff.
During most of the Drawing I class, we worked with charcoal. An interesting point about charcoal. I'm generally right handed, but when working with charcoal I found myself drawing with my left hand almost as much as with my right. That started because when I was drawing on the left side of the paper, my arm would keep smudging stuff on the right. In frustration, I transferred the charcoal to my left hand and found that it actually worked well. That was kind of a surprise.
These next two drawings are drapery studies in Conte Crayon on Newsprint.
Near the end of the semester, we did some work in ink. At the time, I hated ink with a passion. Once the ink is on the paper, it's there to stay. I had been in the habit of futzing until things looked right, but that wouldn't work with ink. After a while I finally found the "secret" that worked best for me: start with a very, very light wash of ink. Mistakes made in the initial layout aren't so obvious then and darker washes to follow draw the attention away from them.
And we get down to the last project of the semester. I chose charcoal for this project--to try to make something interesting out of the pile of junk pulled out of that back hallway.
There was, of course, a lot more we did in the class, but those drawings don't survive. As has been said: three moves equals one fire.
This was where I was aiming when I took the drawing one class. This is a class focusing on drawing the human figure both draped (that means "wearing clothes" in ordinaryspeak) and nude.
I only kept a couple of representative (that means, my very, very best in porfoliospeak) pieces that are full figure nudes:
My instructor told me that I had a particular knack for figures that were highly foreshortened. Unfortunately, the better examples of that did not survive the intervening years.
The two individuals above were the models we had in most frequently, but the instructor had others in to give us some practice with different body types.
The most challenging unit of the Life Drawing class was the section on portraiture--pictures focusing on the head and upper body, where the goal is to produce a recognizable likeness of the individual. Well, heads had always been a particular challenge for me. In fact, one of the main reasons a lot of my other figure drawings were discarded was that the heads were so badly rendered. Even the pictures above are the best of a bad lot and I simply do not believe anyone could recognize the actual subjects based on those pictures.
After life drawing, I still had some time in my class schedule to continue with art classes. So I moved on to Drawing II
The classes started more or less recapping what was in the first year--black and white drawing, just "turned up a notch." Charcoal and pencil:
However, as we moved on in the class we started getting into colors, using soft pastels.
Finally, at the end of the year, we started doing some different things to stretch our capabilities.
The first of these special assignments was to take an object--either one of our own or one from the back hallway where they kept the junk. We then were to divide our page into 12 segments and in each segment draw a different view of a part of the object. We were supposed to alternate dark object on light background and light object on dark background in the different segments and, finally, make the whole thing into a unified composition. Here's my effort:
The next assignment was to do a "metamorphosis" take a picture of one object and over the course of five steps, transform it into a different object. Also, we had to change the color scheme in the course of the transformation.
The last assignment was to take pictures from three separate centuries and combine elements of them into a single, unified picture. I used van Gogh's "The Starry Night," a twelfth century Japanese print of souls being tormented in a form of "hell" and some images of tormented souls from Michelangelo's Last Judgment. Here is the result:
And this brings by to the end of my formal art instruction. After this, the pressures of my actual major (I was just taking these classes as a hobby) were taking up too much time and energy.
Near the end of my time in college, I got interested in Anime and Manga (Japanese animated stories and comic books). During that time I returned a little bit to my drawing hobby, drawing characters from Japanese comics:
I thought they were good enough to set up on the "attention grabbing" table outside the auditorium at the anime club's monthly meetings. But school ended, jobs started, and my interest in Japanese animation dropped to a less obsessive level.
My recent work has been inspired by recently discovering "webcomics" and deciding to try my hand at one of my own. As a result, I've started practice work aimed at brushing up my drawing skills.
These quick sketches serve as a guide to figure posture and proportion. If you don't get those right, then no amount of added detail will make the final drawing look right.
Starting with cylinder bodies, we add detail. Results have been pretty good so far.
See a description of my forthcoming webcomic here.
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