Monday, April 29, 2013

SKETCHBOOK: "Another trip to El Dorado"

Yesterday, I returned home after a wonderful trip to my hometown, El Dorado, Arkansas.  I got to visit with my Mom, my brother, Kris, and his wife, Debra.  As is the new tradition, Mom and I spent as much time as we could going sketching. There's always more to draw than the time to draw it!

Above is a rusted out old hot rod that was in the yard of "Howlin' At The Moon: Antiques and More" in Smackover, AR ( a town near El Do).  Below is another rusted out bucket of brother Kris.  Unfortunately, he had a sinus infection and needed to sleep it off.  Fortunately for my sketchbook...he needed to sleep it off.  I told him not to worry...he's more interesting to sketch than to talk to.  (I'm a mean big brother.  But I love that dude!)

Below are the really cool columns at the Union County Courthouse.  A little sign on the column says "Quiet Please.  Court is in session."  I was not...and it was not. (Is a lying sign a proper thing to have in the halls of justice?!!)

This is a train.  It is a yellow and blue train. It is a Union Pacific train. It is a nice train.

Apparently there was some remodeling being done in some offices off of the main square downtown.  They had to take the window out to move a bunch of sheet-rock panels in through the opening, since they could not fit them into the stairs.  This is at the end of the day, when they're puttying up the replaced glass panel.  The windows are a lot more complicated looking in real life...I was tired.

Here's a little angel face on the wall between some shops.  I discovered that, unfortunately, the pencil I was using was water soluble.  It smeared all the pencil work when I added washes.  I went back into the drawing with pen...not so happy with the outcome. is a sketch of a very ornate coat hook that my Mom has on an old wooden trunk in the den.  I wasn't sure it was wise to attempt the sketch of it, but I like how it turned out.
(Thanks for all the sketch and talk time, Mom!  Thanks for the dinner and ice cream, K and D!!  I had another great trip!!)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

AUTOMATA - "Pirate Puppet" Pt.3

AHOY, ME HEARTIES! Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!

Time to show you the next stages of my little project.  As you can see, I managed to finish the rest of the sculpting, and have moved on to painting the pirate.  Below is how I made the HAT.  I started with an aluminum baking pan to create some support inside the Sculpy.  I cut a circle about the size I needed...folded up the sides, and cut slices in the middle of the metal to measure on the pirate head.  I made the hat brim a bit smaller, then flattened out some Sculpy.  I baked the brim first, then trimmed out the aluminum bits in the center with an exacto blade.

Next I sculpted a bandana on the pirate's head.  I made sure I could separate it from the skull after baking it with a heat gun.  I then put the bandana and brim together, patching up the gaps, then rounded off the top of the hat with more clay.

I then sculpted the torso.  I only needed to see the front and part of the sides of his chest and belt.  The rest will be covered up by the coat made of fabric. Also, this allows me to get to all the mechanical bits, to connect my strings that will be hidden underneath the coat.

Here are all the basic parts, after I gave the whole thing a base coat of acrylic paint.

Now on to painting the details.  I usually start out with darker tones...dry-brush on the highlights...glaze with a very watered down wash of darker browns...then add more highlights.  This process goes back and forth until I find a good balance.  I prefer the rougher hand-made look to everything.

Here is the face...and a good example of what I described above.  The color on the far left is darker than the final tone...I was building up layers, to bring out the details.  I gave him a fancy GOLD TOOTH, as well.
Now all the basic components have color.  I can start the final stages of the Pirate's clothes, then add some hair and a beard!

Make sure ya come back for more, or you'll be SWABBIN' THE DECKS....ARRRRRR!!!!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

SKETCHBOOK: "Before the Concert"

Last night, I got to witness the incredible show, "STOMP" at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  Simply outstanding!!  I love music...all kinds of music. Which brings me to this post of some recent drawings I've done while waiting for concerts to begin.  This all began last year, when I decided to take my sketchbook along to a concert to "pass the time".  Now I purposely arrive WAY before a show will start, just so I can draw the venue.  I may run out of adjectives to describe the performances. They have all been of supreme quality!  Kansas City is a great place for the ARTS and I want to keep experiencing more of it!!  (In the sketch above, that's me in the lower right corner, in the box seats.)

Below are a couple more sketches while waiting inside the KCPA. An amazing was my first time to see a performance there.

The next trio of drawings were done on March 18th before seeing my favorite band in the whole universe...YES!!!  They were performing at the Midland awesome historic building that I would love to explore and draw more of another time.  The interior was very dimly lit, so the details are quite loose.  Terrific concert!! (And a shout-out to fellow YES-fans, Amanda and friendships that came about as a direct result of watching me sketch!)

These last two were drawn at the Johnson County Community College.  The one below was done while waiting for an extremely fun concert of The California Guitar Trio joining forces with the Montreal Guitar Trio in early March.  It was fun to add people into the scene as they arrived.
And finally, the sketch that started it all...again at JCCC for the Performing Arts Series.  This was drawn last year in March, while waiting to hear "Ukulele Master" Jake Shimabukuro.  This one-man-show brought down the house! He was so generous to the fans waiting to speak to him after the show.  I even got him to sign my sketch!
Okay that's it for now...ON WITH THE SHOW!