Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Breakin out the brushes again

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Well, actually I didn't use a brush for this, but I will be soon. Posting all the old stuff made me really want to get back to drawing, and in particular to push my painting skills to the next level (I had only just started to figure out how to paint decently when I put it aside in favor of stopmotion a few years ago). This was done over a pencil drawing using Cra-Pas, the first application turned into a wash with some Turpenoid on a paper towel. Over that I just used straight Cra-Pas and rubbed with either a dry paper towel or my fingers. I kind of like the look of it, but it's pretty hard to get any detailing at all, and the colors are really transparent. The only way I could manipulate value at all was with either a black cra-pas (crude) or with a soft pencil, which I ended up using all over, rubbing it into the oil pastels with my fingers to blend it a little.

This is the kind of drawing I could see doing as a color rough before tackling a painting, although in this case the background is just an afterthought. Before attempting a real painting I'd work it out a lot more, and push the colors till they started to look better.

The character is Fafhrd, from Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser series, which was some of my favorite reading when I was younger. He's a northern barbarian, but he's not a total hard-ass like Conan, I always pictured him as more of a great good-natured surfer type or something (but you definitely don't want to get him pissed off!). I've decided to concentrate on him to develop my painting skills, and at the same time develop my version of the character. I also want to try to paint his partner the Mouser, a little grey-clad catlike fellow. The Mouser is Fafhrd's polar opposite, a city boy and a smooth-tongued con artist as opposed to the brawny Northerner's direct open naivety and straightforwardness. But I must say I'm having a much harder time with him.... Fafhrd is so much easier being pretty close to a stereotype we've all seen a thousand times.

The other day I got Mike Hoffman's DVD The Secrets of Fantasy Painting, which is exactly what I needed to see! If you don't know who Hoffman is, he's a fantasy painter known as almost a shameless Frazetta clone. He takes the viewer through his techniques starting with an already finished drawing on bristol board, doing the underpainting in acrylics, and finishing over that with oils. Watching the way he works was a HUGE help! I'm amazed at how direct and simple his methods are, and it looks like a very natural way to work for me. In the near future I intend to do a bunch of drawing to sharpen up my rusty skills and then start a painting that I'll document here for you my loyal readers to follow.

Oh, and maybe I'll do some work on my movie now and then too! ;)


eva said...

Mike, I love this piece. Beautiful open, eyes. No need to hide anything.. My dad has always been a huge Conan fan and got me hooked at a young age into the whole fantasy genre through that awful brute (god love 'im). I don't know the series this fellow is from, but he reminds me of my take on Nift the Lean, I think his name was, read it a long time ago. I can't say I loved the book (i never actually finished it {don't tell dad!})but your man there is a spitting image of my mental pic of him. To my actual reason for commenting, I've read many of your posts regarding you artwork- mostly your stop-mo stuff since that's my current focus, but in case i get back into painting- and I'd like to know if there's a difference between turpentine and turpeniod, or is this your lingo for the same thing?

Darkstrider said...

Hi Eva, great to hear from you! Turpenoid is actually an odor-free turpentine substitute. The real oil painting purists still use turpentine, and a lot of them say the smell is part of the experience of oil painting (that's what Frank used to say too, till he had his stroke from inhaling too much of it!). But most people these days use Turpenoid. Not being all that expereienced in oils (and havinf never used real turpentine except once or twice in the classroom) I couldn't say how different they are, but to me it seems fine.

I'm basing Fafhrd's look on a celebrity actually. It's nice to have somebody that you can find lots of pics of online or in magazines, to see the face from all angles and in different expressions, and to get anatomy and body language from. I won't say just yet who he is, but it's the charismatic front man of a band that was HUGE in the '90's and still going pretty strong. His hair used to actually be long and flowing like that, but brown. Hmmm.... now I believe it's blonde, but it's short and spikey.

I haven't been able to think of anybody yet who seems like the Mouser.

Darkstrider said...

Hello? Nobody cares to take a guess at who the mystery celeb might be? Well, as I post more sketches of him in the future it might become apparent, or somebody might want to take a crack at it.

sven said...

Sorry, man... I don't know celebs to begin with. I don't even have a pool of names in my head to start guessing from...

Leslie Cinara said...

I found your blog when I was looking for schiele drawings on google, and I am sorry about what I'll say, but I hope you think about it. I would like to apologize for my poor English first, 'cause I'm from São Paulo, Brazil, I talk and write in Portuguese.
I liked your stop motion stuff, but I think your drawings need a relaxed hand guiding the pencil. I had the impression that you think a lot about your references and another images you like while you draw. I don't think that helps. You gotta have those things in your head, but you gotta be free when you drawing. Free to find what you like to do with a pencil on a paper by yourself.
That's all, I hope you think about it.