Lately I've been making drawing and practicing art more of a priority for me. It's been really hard with a baby trying to get anything done but now that she's getting older I'm able to have a little more time for myself. When she's taking a nap or just being good keeping herself occupied, I'll turn the TV off and get to my drawing table. I'm getting older too and it makes me think about is this the life I had envisioned for myself when I was younger. The answer is mostly yes, I have a family that I love, I'm happy, but the one thing that is missing is a 'career'. I made the decision to stay at home with Yvette and leave my job as a web designer but it's getting closer to the time I need to get back into the workforce. The one and only thing I have always happily envisioned myself doing (since I was eight years old) is being an illustrator. I went to art college but that just led to web design to pay the bills. Ever since then art has been more of a 'hobby' something I do when the inspiration hits but I never really honestly put in the time and practice it takes to get better and gain the confidence to put my work out there. I'm sort of at a crossroads in my life and realizing that if I ever want to make this illustrator dream a reality I had better get serious and start drawing. So here it goes!
Anyways sorry for the ramble and here are a few recent pieces I've done all for the sake of practice.
Some life studies
A quick painting for my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary margaritaville-themed party invitations that I was asked to design.
As Oprah would say I've had sort of an ah-ha moment as of late. I've known about underpainting and have tried it many times but until recently I never really understood the importance of it or how to correctly use it. The values are probably the most important thing in a painting and I have always struggled with creating strong contrasts in my work. I've been paying special attention to the values in my underpainting and then very carefully adding the colors of corresponding values on top, quickly and without fussing with it. Before I would try to blend and work the paint too much causing the underpainting to mix with my color layers resulting in a lot of muddy tones. So this small and very quick 2 inch study was the first time I felt like I 'got it'.
After that I thought I'd try my hand at something a little more involved. Still working small, loose and quick I copied a Gil Elvgren painting. Granted I came nowhere near Elvgren I still felt that it worked and I was improving, a good feeling.
So to learn even more about values I've been re-reading Andrew Loomis's Creative Illustration book and making small value study thumbnails. A practice I will keep doing from now on. Here is just one. Working small, loose and quick helps me to only focus on the large masses of value and not to worry about line and detail.