Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Feast of Beasts

One more batch of beasts! First, some sketches from the lovely Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek, which I visited with my buddies from the SF Sketchers meetup group.

A couple of weeks later, we went on another sketching outing to San Francisco's world-famous Exploratorium to document an exhibition of Theo Jansen's curious wind-powered "Strandbeests".

Jansen's whimsical premise is that the Strandbeests are living creatures that evolve over the generations, so naturally I had to record the genealogy chart on the wall of the exhibit.

 There was also a demonstration of Scott Parenteau's human-operated Tinspider, complete with atmospheric artificial fog.

The evening culminated in the reanimation of a huge "extinct" Strandbeest. It honestly did feel a little bit occult!

And here's one last beast for the road, courtesy of the Academy of Sciences.

Oakland Zoo: Summer Solstice

After wrapping up my spring teaching duties and finishing up a huge pile of freelance work, I had a little room in my schedule to get over to the Oakland Zoo for the first time in about a year...

My photographer buddy Grace and I were especially keen to see the baby warthogs, and they were everything we could have hoped for!

The baboons were hanging back a ways, so these are really just loose impressions rather than detailed likenesses.

I keep meaning to draw the hyenas, so that's one thing off my bucket list! The camels continue to elude my pen, however.

And of course I had to visit my beloved sun bears.

I went back a couple of days later, and ended up drawing a lot of the same critters I drew last year. I'm so predictable.

 So sue me, I can't get enough of those giant tortoises.

The gibbons are always reliably entertaining. I love the way the male perches in the treetops and regally surveys his domain.

The ever-popular trio of lady elephants. It's fun trying to capture their very distinctive individual likenesses.

Loitering after closing time, I jotted down a very quick scribble of the charismatic male warthog.

SF Zoo: Winter Frolics

Stepping back in time to February, let's clear out a little backlog of San Francisco Zoo sketches from earlier in the year.

 Because nothing says "Be My Valentine" like a posse of peccaries.

 I finally persuaded a pelican to pose for me.

 And a quick impression of the wiggly, hyperactive little patas monkey.

A couple of weeks later came International Polar Bear Day, and Uulu's outdoor space was enriched with ten tons of artificial snow for the occasion.

 Awwww. What a sweetie!

From snow to sauna. It's always a bit of an endurance test sketching in the hot, humid tropical aviary.

Then I doubled back to the African exhibits near the entrance. Especially happy with that stork...

And finally, I caught the handsome hippo out and about while the staff were draining his pool. I guess he'll always be Brian to me.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

They Might Be Giant Pictures

During this semester of teaching, I've been making some large-scale demo drawings during my Fantastic Figure class. The idea here is to composite together multiple poses from the model into a single big illustration. I started off relatively small, with single sheets of 25x30 inch paper...

 Then I tried covering an entire chalkboard with paper, giving me an image area of about 60x45 inches.

For the school's twice-annual Costume Carnival, I tried using a bunch of acrylic paint pens on individual 25x30 sheets.

The next logical step was full color on a 60x45 canvas, which ended up taking ages - I had to stay a couple hours after class to finish this one up.

So the last couple weeks, I've gone with either smaller canvases or less color.

One way or another, I'm going to try to keep working big. It's challenging, but a lot of fun!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Muse Workshop, 03/05/2016

About a month ago, the Academy of Art's Illustration department hosted a special weekend workshop with costumed models. Model coordinator Sarafina always comes up with clever themes for these events, and this one was a celebration of artist's models through the ages.

That's Sarafina herself as a Toulouse Lautrec-style demimondaine.

And animation instructor Sarah Barrie Fenton achieving her lifelong dream of becoming a Mucha-style Art Nouveau goddess. Other setups paid homage to Josephine Baker, Audrey Munson, and Virginie Gautreau (Sargent's scandalous "Madame X").

I switched to acrylics for the last couple of pinup-style poses.

At the Asian Art Museum

Earlier this year, San Francisco's Asian Art Museum had a great exhibit called "Looking East," which traced the influence of Japanese arts and crafts on Western arts in the later part of the 19th Century. Lots and lots of Japanese ceramics, woodcut prints, etc, plus a lot of prints and paintings by Western celebs like Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, and Otto Eckmann. I ended up taking a lot of notes...


There was too much to cover in one day, so I had to go back later and complete the survey.

There's always lots of cool stuff in the permanent collection, too. I always love the gallery of Ganeshas at the entryway.