Monday, December 13, 2010

Self evaluation

I feel like this course has been really helpful. I have learned a lot of techniques and approaches, that I can now apply in my personal art. I particularly enjoyed ink wash, collage and working on toned paper. I have been trying my best to do all work on time and do it well. I believe I have greatly progressed with drawing people's faces, and in overcoming my fear about drawing people in general :) I'm glad we had so many portrait assignments!

Another thing I learned in this class is better analyzing and critiquing people's and my own work. Know what to look for, know what to say and explain why something works and something doesn't. I'm still not good at talking at critiques, most of the time because I really don't know what to say, but I think I'm getting better.

Drawing still life got boring at times, but this class was still my favorite! I will miss the company and the atmosphere of it.

And Jason, I'm really thankful for having you as a teacher. Thank you for keeping the class interesting and sharing with us your work and your music :) and also, just genuinely caring that we learn something in this class and progress in our skills and understanding of new methods and approaches. I have learned a lot from you.

Have a good break, everyone! :)

Collage Artists

Collages by Cecil Touchon:

Cecil Touchon Born 1956 Austin, Texas is a contemporary American collage artist, painter, published poet and theorist living in Fort Worth, Texas. Co-founder of the International Post-Dogmatist Group, Touchon is director of the group's Ontological Museum, Founder of the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction and founder of the International Society of Assemblage and Collage Artists.

Collages by Juan Gris:

Juan Gris (1887 - 1927), was a Spanish painter and sculptor who lived and worked in France most of his life. His works are closely connected to the emergence of an innovative artistic genre—Cubism, creating several of the movement's most distinctive works.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I have finally taken pictures of the building that I drew for our ink wash homework assignment. All of the pictures were taken not only at different times of the day but on different days as well, so we not only can see the change of the light, but the change of season as well :)

I drew a building of a hair salon on Stage Road here in Bartlett. I walk my dog around that area often, but apparently not so much lately because of cold and busyness at school. I liked the geometry of the roof, and thought, that if I zoom in, these diagonal lines can create an interesting composition.

Here are the photos:

about 2pm, beginning of November

about 5pm, sometime on Thanksgiving break

at 7am, yesterday - Dec 6th

Monday, October 25, 2010

artists using mark making

These are drawings of Peter Paul Rubens, seventeenth century Baroque painter from Flanders.

This one reminds me of our homework, as the artist is also drawing on a toned paper using black and white conte, with a subtle addition of sienna. He is
paying attention to the face, while the collar and the clothes have less
value and look more gestural an
d unfinished. I love the unfinished feel, it makes the drawing more alive, and brings focus to the face. The marks he is using are mostly hatching and cross-hatching, and some scribbling on the clothes.

Here, Rubens uses a lot of sienna and strong black on the person's hair, some white conte is used for highlights on the cheeks and on the collar. The cross-hatching on the face is more delicate and careful than the hatching on the hat and the clothes. In some places the marks on the hat look more like scribbling. Rubens creates a very life-like hair texture with the help of curvy marks of different value.

This drawing is done by black conte on white paper. Rubens uses directional hatching and cross-hatching to defin
e the form of the animal's body.

These drawings belong to a current artist from Belorussia. His name is Vsevolod Shayba. He draws mostly with graphite pencil on white paper.

This is obviously not a drawing from observation. It looks almost as if it was digitally generated. Some subtle cross-hatching marks are noticeable in the sky. The rest of the marks are hard to see (at least on this photograph). The tree trunks are drawn using very fine and gentle shading. Also, I think the irregular framing of the drawing is interesting, and makes it look like a book illustration.

Another imaginative drawing by this artist. The marks are more obvious than on the previous one. The marks are mostly very fine cross-hatching. Love the realistic look of the drapery!

This drawing is done with black ink and a dip pen on paper.

these are couple of close-up fragments that show the variety of marks used by the artist:
tiny lines of different length and direction, dots, and again a very fine cross-hatching.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Not my cup of tea...

this homework has been my least favorite. drawing with a stick is very annoying!

i hate drawing with sticks!!!!!! it's a torture!!! literally i never hated doing my drawing homework so much :(

PS: I must admit, that drawing with ink has been my favorite technique since i was a kid. but i've always used a dip pen. modern ink pens are cool too, but dip pen is the best!

PPS: i was tempted to use a dip pen for this homework, but i didn't, and that explains why I spent more than 8 hrs on it..

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

amazing discovery

This past week, as I was looking through books in the library trying to find black and white photographs, I came across a thin little book that was a collection of engravings by an artist Winslow Homer. Immediately, most of them were photo-copied! I liked them, because they looked realistic, and kind of illustrative and they were done in a technique that really appeals to me. They were mostly depictions of everyday life, different people's activities, beach themes that included boats, people on boats, water. All of them are going into my sketchbook, and I want to try to make master copies of them.

Well, yesterday I was driving past Brooks Museum and saw Winslow Homer's name on their exhibition advertisement! So I just went online and researched his name. He is apparently a very well-known artist, what is more he was a very prolific illustrator!! Again, maybe all of you have heard his name, but I'm still learning American art history :)

There is an exhibition of his engravings at the Brooks starting soon, I can't wait to go see it :

Winslow Homer: From Poetry to Fiction

October 29, 2010 - January 2, 2011

The evocative and beautiful wood engravings of Winslow Homer (1836-1910) captured American life in the decades before photography became the preferred medium for illustrating the news. Appearing in magazines such as Harper’s Weekly, his work offered a visual complement to stories of daily life, popular fiction, or major political events. The exhibition of 85 wood engravings includes a full range of Homer’s illustrations, from charming images of children at play or vacationers at the beach, to more somber depictions of soldiers on the front lines of the Civil War. Focusing on the early years of Homer’s career, it offers visitors a chance to experience the artist’s remarkably poignant and enduring images of life in the United States during the mid-1800s.

also, here are some of his engravings and woodcuts I found on the internet:

ink and rain

This morning, I tried to work on my landscape drawing. I was drawing a bridge in Overton park. I think it's the same one we saw on examples in class. I started by practicing in my sketchbook, and after about an hour I was still on the same sketch. I liked how it looked, but it took so much time! Just when I thought I was done with sketching, and thought that it's time to start on the big sheet of paper, my ink was knocked over by the wind and it spilled all over my sketchbook and my jeans... so I had to go and get new ink on Union Ave after I cleaned everything as much as I could. I wasn't upset about the clothes or sketchbook, I just hated to waste time on going back and forth.. So, when I got back to my spot and was ready to start, it started to rain... I waited, then went to the car, but it wouldn't stop..besides the light wasn't that great. so I took some pictures of the place, and I will come back tomorrow afternoon and try it again! hopefully, it doesn't rain!!

here is the location:

this is me sketching as the rain starts drizzling :)

my poor sketchbook

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Drawing at night

I ended up putting this homework up until the last night before class.

Monday night, I left school at 11:30 pm after working on my other homework for the Ceramics class. Came home at midnight, started to draw around 12:40am, very very reluctantly.. what kept me going was hot tea and dark chocolate. I was literally falling asleep!
I drew the side door to our house. Every night, when I was coming home from school, and was walking towards it, I thought that I should draw it one day. I really liked how the little lamp by the kitchen door would cast soft light, creating interesting lines of shadows...

so anyway, I got it done by 3 am..wasn't sure if it was completely finished or not, and apparently it turned out pretty good :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Videos demonstrating good contrast

So, when I was looking for a video or an animation, I thought about looking up some kind of shadow theatre video. The use of only white and black, the light and the shadow against the light, creates a very good contrast and a bright picture. This is the first video:

As I was looking for more videos, I came across videos by a dance theater called Pilobolus. They use shadows of their bodies to create images on a light screen. Probably some of you know about them, but I have never heard of or seen them before. They are pretty amazing!

This is a video from their performance at Late Night show with Conan O'Brien (i love the dog in the video it just made me smile :)

here's a Hyundai commercial. this is an incredible way of art!

and another one from them:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Examples of strong contrast and positive/negative space relationship

First one is an English/American artist Clare Leighton. She is mostly famous for her wood engravings. She has illustrated many books. Also, a lot of her works picture everyday life of factory workers, fishers, farmers, good old people who work on the land. I discovered her amazing work at Dixon Gallery (by the way her exhibition is still on:, go see it!!)

Her prints are very intricate and sophisticated. I can't imagine how much time and skill it would take! Also, the whole process of wood engraving makes the artist to think of positive and negative, black and whites in a kinda backwards way, because places you don't touch will remain black, the places that you cut most will be the whitest. It's the same principle as in charcoal erasure technique.

Next artist is Felix Vallotton, a Swiss painter and printmaker. He was an important figure in the development of the modern woodcut. His reductive woodcuts have really sharp blacks and whites, and are really good examples of contrast and dynamic between positive and negative space.

I really like this one's composition and the idea:

The last guy is a contemporary photographer Rodney Smith (
I really like his compositions and subjects of his photos. He works a lot in black and white photography. Here are some of his photos:

This one's composition is simply brilliant and it looks almost surreal, interesting positive and negative shapes and lines, really good contrast:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to drawing!

Hello all, welcome to my blog. This is my second semester at MCA. I came to this school because I was offered a scholarship :0) I don't regret about my decision, as I really like studying here! I'm going to be majoring in Illustration and try to learn as much as I can about Printmaking along the way, because I'm interested in it too :o)

When I graduate, I want to be an illustrator of children's books, and live and work home in Ukraine.

Drawing is my favorite thing to do, so I'm really excited about this class and this semester!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


This semester was really productive for me, at least I was trying my best to get as much as I can out of it. For real, when I think about it, it is still a miracle for me that I got all the way here to this foreign country, and can go to this cool school and learn all this cool stuff.

So, in the last 4 months of our Drawing class, I have learnt many new principles and ways to draw, as well as reviewed what I have known and forgotten or haven't been reminded of in a long time. I think, I did pretty well :) honestly, this class was hard, but still not that hard, I guess it's just because I was doing what I love and even when assignments took forever to get done, it didn't upset me, after all I have learnt so much in the process. I have never drawn with charcoal or conte before, and I have never drawn people, interiors, exteriors, and skeletons! So I must admit, I do feel kinda proud and excited that I was able to draw all of that, and it even didn't look that bad :)

I think, another thing I have learnt is to see things better, to notice little details, to pay attention to shapes and proportions and how things interact. This class has inspired me to start my own sketchbook and draw things that I notice that I think are interesting and beautiful..

I honestly think this was my favorite class this semester and I can't wait to get to Drawing 2 and Drawing Composition that I'll be taking in fall!!

I wish to everybody to have a great summer and keep drawing!!

and thanks Jason, I have learnt a lot from you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


I decided to document the progress of this work :)

stage 1. I started with a ruler

stage 2.

I free handed stage 3, I regret it a little bit, because at that point there were still some bigger areas that needed value. As I discovered ruler works better for bigger areas, unless you are able to draw really straight lines without it.

stage 4. I continued to darken shadows and small areas, at this point the ruler wasn't needed.
stage 5. I tried to avoid outlining objects as much as I could. However I had to do it in several places (with smaller objects) to strengthen my drawing. Now that I look at the picture of my final version, I'm thinking of coming back and refining it a little bit and maybe making dark areas darker.

I liked this assignment a lot, because it made me think and plan and analyze what I'm doing and where I'm going. I did some cross -hatching before as a kid, but never with ink and I didn't really give it as much thought as I did now!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My choice of media

I haven't updated this blog in so long!

About the last homework: it was interesting and challenging. And even though I practiced in my sketchbook before starting on a big piece of paper, I still had to redo it two times, until I liked the result. So I ended up using three sheets of paper, but it's ok :) it's all good, because it helps me learn. I'm sure if I did at least 5 more, my final drawing would have been even better, but I completely ran out of paper and time..

About my choice of media: it's hard to say what I like most, because I find all of them (pencil, and conte and charcoal) interesting and would like to learn to use all of them better. For now, the safest and most comfortable for me is still a graphite pencil, and I fall on it like on a crutch, often doing my underdrawing with it. It's safe, because I can always erase it and go back and change my drawing. With conte and charcoal, I have to really think before making a mark and be responsible for every line I'm putting down. I'm starting to feel confident when drawing still lifes with conte and charcoal, not so confident when doing something more complicated like face in our last homework!! It was really hard!

I'm still in awe before Ingres' drawings! I can't believe he drew with conte!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crazy Blind Self-portraits

First of all, I was really happy that we are not using rulers any more! Also, I felt like there is no right or wrong way to do this assignment (as long as I keep my eyes away from paper), and this made me feel less constrained.

Conte was my favorite, it broke several times, but other than that it felt nice and smooth. Charcoal pencil kept breaking and I had to sharpen it over and over. Stick and ink were hard, hard in a sense that it was almost impossible not to look, I would draw several lines and then check and see that most of them were blank, ink just wouldn't run. However it did create a very interesting effect! As for brush, I couldn't feel it well, I would think I'm drawing a thin line, only to find out that the brush was hardly touching the paper not leaving any line at all :)

I practiced a lot with charcoal and conte, with ink I just did couple of sketches before starting the final ones. Luckily, I had some Bristol paper left from class practices, so I simply drew over the objects we did in class. All together, I did 15 drawings and several in my sketchbook:

Here are my final choices:

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I've been reading a book called "Art is work" by Milton Glaser, an artist whose works and thoughts really inspire me. Here's an extract from this book about drawing portraits...

"The ability to create likeness seems innate among artists, although some struggle with it. Occasionally, when I see a sidewalk artist making a portrait that captures the appearance of its subject in a few strokes, I'm filled with envy. Curiously, "likeness" is not dependent on accuracy, as many of us who have traced photographs of people have discovered. In fact, distortion or caricature is more likely to produce a resemblance. The reasons for this phenomenon remain obscure.
To further complicate the issue, let us consider two portraits of Gertrude Stein - one by Felix Vallotton, the other by the consummate visual genius of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso. On one hand, you have a portrait of Ms Stein in all her corporeal reality. One can easily imagine sitting across a table from this woman. On the other hand, we have a painting to which Ms Stein was moved to say, "But, Pablo, honey, I don't look like this". To which Pablo not known for his modesty replied: "You will, Gertrude. You will." Yet there is no doubt as to which is the greater painting."

Glaser doesn't really say which one he thinks is greater, but according to the context, I believe, he means Picasso's work. I personally like Picasso's painting more, because to me it seems more alive and emotional, while Vallotton's even though precise and more realistic seems like a passport photograph next to Picasso's interpretation.

and here are the portraits Glaser is talking about