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Getting the Word Out > Making Art

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message 1: by Gary (last edited Sep 12, 2019 02:35PM) (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Over the past year, I've taken up digital drawing, and in recent months there have been interesting little hints and indications that there just might be something to this whole "art" stuff. That is, I've been asked about where I sell prints, and whether I take commissions. Just about a year after starting in this medium, I've accepted my first commission to do a book cover. The details of that are mum for the time being, but since it's an actual thing now, I figured I'd share some examples of my work here.

I post most things on Twitter, so if you want to see more (and get my occasional 280 character ramblings) you can find me @garyvfoss. I have an Instagram account, and I do look at it from time to time, but my next move I suppose will have to be getting more active on that social media site. At some point I'm going to start looking into having prints made, and maybe other swag. I have had things printed in various forms before (though not my own work) and that can sometimes be fun, and at the very least I could get a few t-shirts out of it.

There's always a story behind a piece of art, but I'll try to restrain myself and not give too much of a blow-by-blow here. In no particular order then, here's some examples of what I've been doing.

Some animals:








Plants/flowers/still life:







I did a whole bunch of studies of skulls. In part, because they're just fascinating, of course, but I very much wanted to explore the anatomy, so aside from just doing a standard skull:



I would also do things like this skull of a Hun who had been subjected to skull deformation:



A walrus skull:



And, of course, I drew a solid gold Tyrannosaurus Rex skull with diamond and ruby encrusted teeth. Because.



Some nudes:

This is kind of an early one, but I kept coming back and refining it months later, then again a few months later. Maybe I'll be done with it eventually.



In the reference photo for this next one, I guess the model felt a little shy, so he wore underpants. That meant I had to use my imagination to figure out what his butt looked like, which wasn't as much fun as you might think at first.



I got a little more abstract with a bunch of these depictions of the same figure/source, but in a bunch of colors. Here's the purple version:



Here are three pieces I did from what I called The Asylum Series. All three of these depictions are from photographs of people in insane asylums 100+ years ago.







Here are a few portraits.

Martin Luther King



Rembrandt



David Lynch




message 2: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Wow. They're all first class, but I think my favorite's gonna have to be the T-Rex!


message 3: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Amber wrote: "Wow. They're all first class, but I think my favorite's gonna have to be the T-Rex!"

Mine too. I have a particular fondness for Rembrandt, and I think my depiction captured something special, but when it boils down to it, the old master didn't have a solid gold skull with diamond and ruby encrusted teeth.


message 4: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments That's true.


message 5: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments These are amazing Gary! You're so talented!

Now... when will you do one of Donald Trump? 😁


message 6: by Gary (last edited Sep 16, 2019 06:55AM) (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Yoly wrote: "These are amazing Gary! You're so talented!"

Thanks.

Yoly wrote: "Now... when will you do one of Donald Trump? 😁"

Funny you should mention that. As a matter of fact, I've done three depictions of The Grate Leeder:







Maybe not the most photorealistic depictions ever, but I think I captured the soul of the man. Apparently, Trump Charities, Inc. (or some such corporate tax dodge entity or another) likes to spend $10,000 on portraits of The Grate Leeder. I'm still waiting on my $30,000. I plan to donate all of it to an actual charity. Green Peace or a Teacher's Union maybe....

That's part of a whole series I did of depictions of our ilLUSTrious politikal leeders these days. Here's a few:

Brett Kavanagh



Roger Stone



Trey Gowdy



Rand Paul




message 7: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments Hahaha, these are AMAZING. The second Trump one is practically a photograph.


message 8: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Here's the book cover I did for Leg Iron Books. I guess the book will come out in a few days what with the vagaries of formatting and editing.




message 9: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Spooky, but seasonally appropriate. If I sent you details on something and links to reference art on direct message, would you be able to try to make a picture?


message 10: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments Wow that cover looks awesome. Gary, do you do these on paper/canvas or digitally with a Wacom tablet or something along those lines?


message 11: by Gary (last edited Oct 05, 2019 05:11PM) (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Amber wrote: "Spooky, but seasonally appropriate. If I sent you details on something and links to reference art on direct message, would you be able to try to make a picture?"

I work as often as not from photo references, so probably. It's hard to say without more info. I wouldn't want to recreate the Sistine Chapel, and I find most architecture really dull to portray. Even buildings that I find interesting. I did a depiction of Hagia Sophia, for instance, which I think is a really dynamically structured building, and full of historical significance. Those are both things I quite like, and I can happily look at that building, but for some reason drawing/painting it was just boring and annoying.

Yoly wrote: "Wow that cover looks awesome. Gary, do you do these on paper/canvas or digitally with a Wacom tablet or something along those lines?"

Thanks!

Mostly I'm working digitally these days. Right now I'm using rather the bottom end of the digital art equipment available: a Wacom tablet that I got for $75 about two years ago, like this:



I could have gone even cheaper, but from a quality/price level that seemed like the best option.

It's on a desktop with a 23" monitor. I have another, smaller monitor hooked up to another cheap desktop that I usually use to put up photo references. Right now I'm just using the software that came with the tablet, ArtRage Lite, though I'm probably going to upgrade soon. I'm still shopping around for programs. Digital art software is like the hardware: you can spend a lot of money on that stuff. There are a few interesting ones for free, but Corel is $400-500 if I remember correctly. Adobe Photoshop is only available as a $12/month subscription, and I absolutely hate the idea of "renting" a computer program on a visceral level, so that's out. At least for now. The $50-100 options seem like the best bang for buck.

I never did it routinely or regularly, but I used to draw with either ink or pencil on paper. I recently got hold of some watercolors and a few good brush pens that I'm planning on experimenting with, but I really need some sort of inspiration to strike. I went out on my porch and did some sketching the other day, and that was pleasant, so we'll see. It might be one of those things I need to mull over.... The Wacom tablet I have sat on my shelf for a year before I unboxed it and got going. I tend to keep things in the back of my mind, and there's some sort of slow, plodding, emotional/psychological mental process that happens to get myself in the mindset of one thing or another. So it took that long before I was "ready" to start, even though there's no physical reason for that.

Working digitally with one of these little Wacom tablets has pluses and minuses. You can't really do any large, gestural movements with your whole arm or at your elbow, like you would on a big piece of paper or canvas. It's your fingers or maybe little bit of your wrist only. And the "physical scale" from the tablet to the monitor is about 3:1, so it's very difficult to make something like a circle with one quick motion. Instead, one winds up doing it in a series of small strokes, which can create "hairy lines" rather than a nice, sweeping shape. There are ways to fix that, but it means one is almost always working "in miniature" physically no matter how big the result is. That took a bit of getting used to. Plus, one has all the typical issues with working on a computer: software glitches, file backups, etc.

On the other hand, it's a lot easier to undo mistakes, you can make many versions of something without starting over from scratch every time, and you don't even have to wash your hands when you're done. It CAN get really expensive, but so can paint, good paper or canvases. It balances out.


message 12: by Yoly (last edited Oct 06, 2019 08:43AM) (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments Have you tried an iPad or a Microsoft Surface? They keep saying their pens are great for artists, but all I've done is scribble some notes. For me the fact that you're drawing/writing on glass makes it feel weird.

I used to draw a lot when I was a teenager but sadly these days the most sophisticated thing I can draw is a stick figure 😁
After I graduated high school life just got so busy that was one of the things I didn't have the time for anymore, that and reading. Thankfully I got back into reading around 8 (maybe 10?) years ago and I promised myself I would never quit again, but never found my way back into drawing.

I wonder if with enough practice I can get to where I was back then, but whenever I try to draw something, it comes out so ugly that I get frustrated. I've always wanted a Wacom tablet to try to get into it, but then something else grabs my attention.

I can't say I was at your level, not even close, but my drawings were decent. Many people encouraged me to get into graphic design as a career and I considered it, but eventually computers seemed more interesting and I went that way. I don't regret it, but I wish I hadn't abandoned it. I miss being able to spend an afternoon just drawing, it was very relaxing.


message 13: by Amber (last edited Oct 07, 2019 11:48AM) (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Gary wrote: "Amber wrote: "Spooky, but seasonally appropriate. If I sent you details on something and links to reference art on direct message, would you be able to try to make a picture?"

I work as often as n..."


LOL. Not gonna ask you to recreate any buildings. I was thinking about some artwork related to a story I want to post to Good Reads (beyond what I've already posted here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/... and here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/... ). That's all the story I've actually posted to Good Reads so far.

I need a picture of Vlad and Chiara standing nose to nose with each other with Chiara standing in a fabulous dark blue and gold dress inspired by Ancient Egypt at a Halloween party. Vlad would be wearing the armor of a Roman centurion.

If you're interested and need more information about what SHE looks like, let me know by direct message, please.

As for your tablet, it kind of looks like a face with a really big nose.


message 14: by Gary (last edited Oct 07, 2019 10:52PM) (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Yoly wrote: "Have you tried an iPad or a Microsoft Surface? They keep saying their pens are great for artists, but all I've done is scribble some notes."

No, I haven't tried those out in particular. I have used a few of the larger touch screen pieces of hardware, but not those made for art. The LCDs I've worked with are those big ones that are starting to replace a white board in some classrooms and offices. You can draw/write on them, or show a video or whatever. It's a giant LCD on the wall with a tower PC in a desk or cabinet.

The scale of digital art hardware right now seems to be at about three major categories. The first is the tablet type style that I'm working with. Those usually go for $20-200. The next is the very specialized LCD, which go from $400-$1000, depending on the size of the screen, the sensitivity, and the processing power of the electronics. I think of these as being like a laptop, or the graphics card and monitor of a desktop PC without the CPU. At the bottom end of either of those categories, the equipment/software can be kind of craptastic. At the higher end, I don't know if most people would be able to tell the difference between 2,000 levels of pressure and 8,000. The last level are the large screen units that are really up to date computers with top end LCD as a monitor. You can easily spend a few grand on the HAL9000 of digital art machines. The "Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 Creative Pen and Touch Display – 4K Graphic Drawing Monitor with 8192 Pen Pressure and 99% Adobe RGB" is $2,500 on Amazon. (But shipping is free.)

As an aside, I was spoke to a guy once who does digital art for film/TV in Hollywood (sorry, I can't remember which studio, or if he worked for some company that gets contracted by the studios) and he said that at his job they were replacing his equipment every six months or so with the newest stuff. That was quite a while ago, though. It seems to me that there's kind of a peak performance versus human interaction thing going on, and we're approaching a level of parity, so at the median levels of software and equipment, most of this stuff is equivalent to a non-digital medium in terms of skill versus ease of use. That is, the results are based on the user's talent and experience.

The results are different, of course, but working digitally is just kind of a category of media like watercolors or chalk drawing or pen & ink. Each of those three categories of digital equipment is like their own medium. That is, transitioning from my tablet to the next LCD stage would be like going from ink or colored pencils to watercolors or pastels and hitting that last stage would be like doing oil on canvas or a fresco. That's putting things in sort of a hierarchy of "value" POV, though. Really, I don't think any one has a particular artistic merit or significance over the other in and of themselves. It's just a matter of form and function versus personal preference and style.

Yoly wrote: "I wonder if with enough practice I can get to where I was back then, but whenever I try to draw something, it comes out so ugly that I get frustrated. I've always wanted a Wacom tablet to try to get into it, but then something else grabs my attention."

I have only my own experience to draw from (pun intended) but I can say that the examples I posted here are all things I made in the last year, and this is literally after not having drawn consistently or often. Ever. A lot of artists say they always drew or painted as a child, and I did do my fair share of crayons on coloring books, but I don't think I did it in a way that fits into that narrative about art and destiny that so many working artists present themselves as having, and which is the public stereotype. That said, I always COULD draw. From way back when I was in junior high school (decades go) I was able to do good representational art. But I didn't really ever do it seriously. I took the requisite elective art classes, but that was it. I've had a lifelong appreciation of art, but it was never what I considered a possibility. There were the occasional hint and implication that I could go about it more seriously, but it never seemed to really penetrate until fairly recently.

So, sure, it's absolutely possible. Again, everything I've posted on this page is the result of less than a year's actual effort on my part. It took a few weeks or months to get up to speed on the software and hardware, and a few more weeks and months to develop a skill set, but that's it. I've always been oriented toward art and I've had an aesthetic sense that I think was always suited to such things, but if it's there, it's there.

The digital medium is an interesting way to get back into it as it is low stress on a few levels. At least, it's low stress if you're already oriented towards working with a computer. You're not confronted by a big, blank page, and a box of paints. It's a blank monitor instead, and blank monitors are everywhere. You can turn them off. It's got the emotive value and commitment of a video game, meaning you can put what you want into it, and it's forgiving if you want to just set it aside. So, give it a shot if you're inclined. You never know until you try.


message 15: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Amber wrote: "If I sent you details on something and links to reference art on direct message, would you be able to try to make a picture?"

Do you have some references in mind?


message 16: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Sending a few to your Goodreads Inbox now. If it works.


message 17: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments Gary wrote: "So, sure, it's absolutely possible. Again, everything I've posted on this page is the result of less than a year's actual effort on my part. It took a few weeks or months to get up to speed on the software and hardware, and a few more weeks and months to develop a skill set, but that's it. I've always been oriented toward art and I've had an aesthetic sense that I think was always suited to such things, but if it's there, it's there."

Wow, really? There's probably hope for me then!
What do you think would work better for me to try to get back into drawing, use a wacom tablet or should I start with regular paper/pencil? Right now for me going digital would be more practical but I'm not really sure.


message 18: by Gary (last edited Oct 11, 2019 11:24AM) (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Yoly wrote: "What do you think would work better for me to try to get back into drawing, use a wacom tablet or should I start with regular paper/pencil? Right now for me going digital would be more practical but I'm not really sure."

Personally, I like the tablet, but I'm a computer-oriented person, so it has a certain appeal on that level. You can get a Wacom tablet pretty cheap these days. $50-$100 isn't unreasonable. There are cheaper "knockoff" brands that my understanding are pretty good (and in some cases better in some ways) that can go for even cheaper. I spent $50 at the art store the other day on paper and pens, since I'm looking to do some stuff "in the real" as it were. So the money is kind of a pick your poison situation.

Like anything, it depends on your own preferences, but I'd suggest you check out some of the folks putting out art videos on Youtube and see what interests and inspires you. The folks I check out there are:

Aaron Rutten does digital art and has a LOT of vids on software, hardware and various techniques. He's a bit dry, maybe, but he's very organized and informative:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcg4...

Marco Bucci is another mostly digital artist, but he's classically trained and, frankly, puts out videos that are more pleasant to watch/listen to than Rutten's, though not necessarily with as much information, and he posts much less often:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsDx...

Kirsty Partridge does mostly watercolors, but also things like colored pencils. She's also making crazy bank on Patreon ($12k/month!!!) with additional videos available only on that platform:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSl5...

This guy Jazza does draw, but he also does a bunch of diverse art projects. Mostly I think he sees himself as kind of a "kid friendly art presenter" and is very much a Youtube personality type. Personally, I find him a bit much, but he does do a LOT of different things, and if you're looking around for inspiration his stuff might help:
https://www.youtube.com/user/DrawWith...

Sycra draws mostly. He sometimes is more realistic and sometimes does a manga-style thing. He posts a lot of personal, "this is how I learned" type videos too:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5dy...

I'm sure there are gobs more out there, but those might be a good place to start.


message 19: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments Thank you so much for these resources Gary.

I agree that the tablet is a better investment.
I think I'll go with this one: https://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Wireless...

Now I have to actually click the "Checkout" button 😁
I'm a "slow shopper". It will probably sit there in the shopping cart for a week or two before I actually buy it.


message 20: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments You're welcome.

I haven't used the next step up yet, but I think using better software is more of a component of getting what you want on screen than the actual screen. The tablet is a bit odd in that you do have to draw on it while watching the monitor, but anybody who can use a mouse can acclimate pretty quickly.

Interested in hearing how it goes for you.


message 21: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Got my copy of the book today:






message 22: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments Gary wrote: "Got my copy of the book today:"

Hey! It looks AWESOME on the book. Congratulations!


message 23: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments Gary wrote: "You're welcome.

Interested in hearing how it goes for you."


Gary, I ordered a Wacom Intuous and it arrived last Friday. I had never used a Wacom tablet before so it's taken me some time to get used to how it works. I have used iPads and Surface tablets with the pen but this is very different since I don't see what I'm drawing if I'm looking down at the pen, so that's been a bit weird and fun to get used to.

But yikes, I can't draw a simple stick figure anymore! Not even on paper, so I know the problem is not the tablet. I noticed that since I rarely write on paper anymore I write like a 5 year old, even I can't understand what I wrote.

So I'm taking a step back and trying to write down the letters of the alphabet for a while, I will probably do that for 30 minutes each day, and also simple things like lines (trying to make them straight is not that easy anymore for me), squares, cubes and circles. They all look terrible 😁

I hope this is just the result of me barely using a pen/pencil anymore for 20+ years and not that I suffered some kind of brain injury. At this point it feels like I'm learning how to write/draw again. It will probably take me a few months to get back to making a simple drawing (for some reason I loved drawing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a teenager!) but I'll get there eventually with time (I hope).


message 24: by Gary (last edited Nov 11, 2019 03:10PM) (new)

Gary | 1472 comments It took me a couple weeks to get familiar enough that I wanted to actually draw something. I practiced writing my signature for a while, but really that tablet & software is not a great lettering sort of system. My writing still looks like a kindergartener's using the tablet. It's just too small to really get that sort of swoop and whirl type motion. That is, however, how I came up with that GVF signature that I use now, so I guess it was productive one way or the other.

There are a few folks who suggest drawing boxes and cones and various shapes. I did that for a while, but found it pretty boring. The trick for that kind of practice is rather than just drawing shapes, I'd draw shaped items. That is, rather than cones, I'd draw witches hats and pylons on a street. Rather than cylinders, I'd draw beer cans and tires. Still not the most enlivening exercise, but better than just geometric shapes, which have all the appeal of doing mathematical formulas.

The other suggestion I'd make is to pay attention to that little color wheel if you're using the default Art Rage software that came with the tablet I got. There are a couple little settings on there—mostly the "Metallic" part of the wheel that can be useful for certain effects, but are mostly useless gimmicks. Turn that to 0%. Play around with it to see what it does later.

There are a lot of "brushes" and various effects that come with other software packages, and even folks who sell their customized versions. I've personally not used many of them, but they look interesting. In fact, I'm kind of dreading moving on to more, better software even though that is pretty much inevitable now. It's just annoying to have to relearn those things even if there are analogous things in any particular graphics program.


message 25: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments I've had a brain injury and the writing difficulties are actually probably WORSE than the ones you're having because of how long you've used computers for your art.


message 26: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Sometimes I draw something just because I wonder what it would look like, so I drew The Moon in Purple:




message 27: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Not bad.


message 28: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments Wow, that looks very cool Gary.


message 29: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments We read Mary Shelley's book a while back, and though Boris Karloff's version of Frankenstein's monster doesn't necessarily have a whole heck of a lot to do with the novel, it's still iconic, and has it's own distinct, dare I say... 'life'? Anyway, I took it as my inspiration for this depiction of The Monstah!



Here's a "work in progress" video. Posting these things has been a little problematic in the past, but I'll give it a shot:

https://twitter.com/i/status/12104111...


message 30: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Nicely done.


message 31: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Amber wrote: "Nicely done."

Thanks. Here's a raven:




message 32: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments Wow, these are very, very cool.

I still haven't sit down to try to draw again. It really broke my heart that I tried to do some drawings and they ended up looking like a pre-schooler's work of art 😁


message 33: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments I spent a good couple weeks just experimenting with it before I actually drew anything, and the first several pieces were pretty craptastic.

My big thing lately is to try not to let it become a chore. Once it starts feeling "like work" then it gets to be a drag, and it seems to me that manifests in the end result, so even if I push through it often becomes something I don't care for.


message 34: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments You're welcome. Working on a theme are we? LOL. First a well done pic of the Monster and now a raven? *wink*


message 35: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Figured I'd draw a butterfly. This is heliconius melpomene or the postman butterfly or the common postman butterfly.




message 36: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Never heard of that kind of butterfly. Well done picture, though.


message 37: by Gary (last edited Jan 24, 2020 05:02PM) (new)

Gary | 1472 comments I might go back and touch it up a bit. I keep looking at the wing and thinking I should smooth out the "forward" line. On the actual butterflies, that is a perfectly graceful arc. On my version it's a bit irregular.

The thing is, I like things that look like they were "made" rather than "produced" if I can draw (pun intended) the distinction. I work largely from photographs, but I'm not trying to recreate a photograph. I'm trying to portray the subject of that photograph. First off, photography is itself an art form. So, that photograph was taken by someone who is already an artist. (Some opinions vary on that point, but I'm inclined to side with the more generous and general view of "art" myself.) Working from photographs as references is one thing, but if one is recreating the photograph itself then that's a much more derivative exercise. There are people who do that—recreate photographs using, say, ink on paper, with such fidelity that you can hardly tell the difference between the photo and the recreation. I'm not saying that's necessarily bad, but it is it's own thing. One needs to do that kind of thing from time to time. At the very least, it's an "exercise" in both the sense that it's a practice AND training. Further, there's nothing wrong with doing a derivative work if one is forthright about what is going on. "Here's my version of this..." Artists do that sort of thing all the time. Personally, I prefer the The Gourds version of "Gin & Juice" to Snoop Dogg's original. It's part of the conversation of art. It's fine.

But one needs to give credit where credit is due. When I post these things for the first time (usually to Twitter) I put up my photo references along with my version. Using a photo reference to get a sense of a hand or a posture isn't such a big deal, but if a photograph is somewhere between reference and inspiration then it needs to be acknowledged.

Secondly, I'm more interested in the subject than the photography medium. In fact, at this point I'm trying to look past the photograph. I'm reading Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography by Roland Barthes right now, which is all about his reflections on the artistic qualities of photography. It's interesting in a epistomological/etymological kind of way. He muses a lot about the nature of art itself and how it functions philosophically, and I think it's important to bear such things in mind as an artist. But I'm not working as a photographer in these depictions. I'm not trying to recreate what a camera can do, especially since a camera can do it quicker and easier. There are folks who do that, and it can be very interesting and entertaining to look at their photorealistic drawings/paintings based on photographs, but that's not what I want to do. The camera isn't the truth, though. It's just a medium. The photo can be truthful or it can be deceptive. I don't want to be a camera. I always struggle with a weird moment when I wonder if I've finished. I posted this to Twitter a while ago:
There's a funny thing about representational art. All such art is—on some level—abstract. Even photography. Chemicals on paper (or pixels on a screen) aren't the thing itself.

So there's always a moment when you think, "Have I done enough? Does this image convey dog-ness?"



Given the materials and method I'm using (drawing electronically) that imperfect line on the forward wing of the butterfly is part of what makes it clear, to my eye at least, that I'm working by hand, that it's a drawing not a computer algorithm that someone has fed a photograph through.

For example, the photo reference for the second of what I dubbed my "Asylum Series" above (the old lady with the haunting expression and tightly pulled back hair over her clean, white dress) is this:


Now, if you look at those two side by side (which isn't something I think we can do here are GR, but let's go with it) my depiction is clearly different than the reference photograph. You can see my linework, especially on the dress. That reference has qualities that clearly show it to be a photograph, where mine is clearly a drawing. Plus, you have to bear in mind the meta-reality. That reference isn't just a photo; it's really a faithful digital photographic reproduction of a photograph that's gone through several layers of electronic media before it got to me, so my depiction is really a drawing of an internet version of digital reproduction of a chemically produced photograph.... Point being, there are a lot of steps between me and the subject of this drawing. But what I was after was HER, not my version of their version of another version of an earlier version, so I extrapolated and abstracted where I thought that conveyed more of her as a human being.

Now, I'm not pathological about this kind of thing. That is, after I've done it once, acknowledged that reference material, I don't feel a big need to do it every single time. So, if I post something in response to a comment, then I won't necessarily also put up the photo reference. But if it's a thing I'm presenting on it's own I try to do it like this:



That's actually the second time (at least) that I note my references because I posted each of those individually as they were completed along with the reference photos.

I mention that example because at one point in my depiction of that old lady, I found myself including the wear and tear on the reference photograph. It's got age spots on the paper, and it's blurred with age and handling. I was including those things in my version. As soon as I realized what I was doing, I had to stop and backtrack because that's not at all what I'm after.

Of course, the benefit of working electronically is that I can go in, work on that wing a bit and just save it as a different file. I won't "ruin" the piece. It's more of a "as the spirit moves you" kind of thing.


message 38: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments I'm calling this one "Dancer and Rose".




message 39: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments It's pretty.


message 40: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Ava

I watched a BBC bio/documentary about Ava Gardner the other day, and decided to try to depict that sultry, sexy beauty. This is from one of the publicity photos from The Killers, which for some reason is NOT a reference to that dress....




message 41: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Should have been because that dress really is a KILLER. WOW!


message 42: by Gary (last edited Feb 06, 2020 04:40PM) (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Yeah, I'm pretty sure the REAL killer in that movie was the costume department because damn. Of course, she was one of the great beauties, but I'll confess to... exaggerating a bit in that depiction. I mostly took the pose from this publicity photo:



It's subtle, but I gave her a bit more decolletage in my depiction and made the dress (which is silk or satin) a much flatter black. I actually put in all the shine at one point and removed almost all of it because I think it looks better if she absorbs all the light in the room. I also gave her a bit more of an hourglass figure (mostly I made her hips a bit wider) since... well, I like that, and if I'm drawing one of the sexiest people who ever lived, why not go for it? Honestly, my first thought was to draw her nude given that abject sexiness, but there are so many fake celeb photoshopped pictures out there in the world, it's near impossible to do such a thing in a way that doesn't reference that vulgarity.


message 43: by Amber (last edited Feb 07, 2020 11:27AM) (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Whatever you did, it works and it works gorgeously.

Good point, though I think the fakery is the actual vulgarity here... .


message 44: by Yoly (new)

Yoly (macaruchi) | 795 comments Wow, Gary, that Ava Gardner looks like a photograph!
I'm curious, how long did it take you to paint this one?


message 45: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments I didn't time it, but probably about 2-3 hours, give or take 30 minutes. I stopped and came back to it a few times later with tweaks, which arguably means it took a full day if one factors in the time it takes to step away and look at it again with fresher eyes. I think that counts.

I did a work in progress GIF for that one, if you want to see the steps. I don't think they show up here on GR, but it's up on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/garyvfoss/status/...


message 46: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale | 659 comments Nicely done on the WIP .gif, Gary.


message 47: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Girl With a Pearl Earring After Vermeer

This one took a while to get right, but I'm about happy with it now. I have an idea for a whole 'Stage 2' of the depiction in which I place her in a room in front of a mirror, so we'd see her reflection and the makeup on the table in front of her, but we'll see. I kind of like it as it is.




message 48: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Blade Runner is one of those movies that has its flaws, didn't do all that well at the box office, but became an "instant classic" in spite of it all. There are some good reasons for that, but probably my favorite explanation is

Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty:




message 49: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments Here's a pug:




message 50: by Gary (new)

Gary | 1472 comments I did a portrait of James Baldwin. When I started it, I hadn't intended for his eyes to be closed. That came about as part of the creation process, so I went with it. I was going to do a version with eyes open, but I really rather like it as it is. Someone on Twitter suggested a tear, but I think that might be a bit too obvious for my taste.




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