Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sketches, values, and Reilly.

Above are some digital sketchbook pages I done over the past two weeks. It's really nothing more than a photoshop file with an ever increasing amount of layers, but I've been finding it a great way to fuss about with my digital tools, experiment, and learn.

Ever since I graduated from SCAD, I've found myself trying to get a better grasp on painting. It was something that, regretably, I didn't actively pursue: I focused my efforts almost exclusively on improving my line drawing, believing that'd be enough to spring me forward into other avenues (you can guess how that turned out, otherwise I wouldn't be talking about this.)

It's been a forward march of improvement, but the progress can vary from tiny steps to gigantic leaps, depending on how well I absorb and understand it all. Self-learning can come easily to some, for others, you need a lot of learning material and grit to gain anything out of it. Which brings me to Frank Reilly and Jack Faragasso.

I've always been fascinated by Frank Reilly's teachings. His systems and methods are tried and true, and have proven to be a great springboard for artists to get a grasp of the fundamentals and hone their technique, allowing them to experiment and push themselves while relying on a solid bedrock of teaching. Unfortunately, for someone who is revered by a lot of modern day illustrators, concept artists, and painters, there's not really a lot of his teaching information available. Most of it is out of print, or if it is in print, it's usually glossed over and not covered extensively (I think this might be in part because the author's either don't know enough about Reilly's methods, or they have it so ingrained in them that a lot of things they know instinctively are things they need to cover.)

There have been some gems in the dirt though, with
Fred Fixler's amazing site and the recent addition of John Ennis' "The Reilly Papers" to the internet (I highly recommend John Ennis' site - they actually are the lecture notes from Reilly himself, and he does try to elaborate on some points that seem murky in the lecture notes. Plus he's just a great painter to boot.)

So how does Jack Faragasso figure into all this? He was a student of Frank Reilly, and wrote two books that covered Reilly's methods extensively: The Complete Guide to Painting the Human Figure, and the Complete Guide to Drawing the Human Figure. Unfortunately, both have been out of print for some time. Fortunately (for me, at least,) I was able to get pdf copies of them recently, and have been poring over them like mad.

Although the figure drawing one so far is okay (I STILL can't quite figure out how that whole system of figure construction works, and I probably never will,) Faragasso's painting book is a real eye-opener. I had recently finished reading the chapters about values and shadows, which ended up with my digesting that information into one of the sketchbook pages above (value study has been an extremely weak point for me, and this was sort of solid footing I needed.)

It's a shame a book like this doesn't exist in print anymore, since I really do think it'd be a boon to anyone that is trying to learn painting on their own. Hopefully though, I'll try and disseminate anything I've learned from it in any future posts.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Awake from the Winter, new resolutions.

Above is a piece I submitted to the Dungeon Delve challenge that went on a month back over at Artorder. It's not my most favorite piece (in fact, to be truthful, there's a lot that bugs me in terms of the painting part even though I rather like the drawing) but I was happy enough with it at the time. I think I might revisit it and fix it up soon.

I noticed that the last two times winter rolled around I tend to drop off the face of the Earth because of all the holidays getting mashed together; and I find myself trying to get back into posting regularly a little difficult (you should see how I am on other sites though...I guess you could say I do not put myself out there well enough.)

In anycase, one of my resolutions this year was to make an effort to post at least once a week - if I do well enough with that, I think I'll try and double it. Here's a few other resolutions I've made for myself this year (All art-related, surprise surprise):

-Have six illustrations done by June
-Have a basic concept art portfolio ready by June
-Get a better grasp of oil painting (a medium I'm finding myself liking more and more!)
-Continue to work on watercolors and digital mediums

I'm also kicking off this year by signing myself up for a bunch of workshops and a digital painting class over at CGMW (they have become one of my favorite sites so far for this stuff - I loved the last round of workshops.)

All in all, a strong start to what will hopefully be a strong year.