Tuesday, January 22, 2019

What do you draw to loosen up?

Tom May, writing today in Creative Bloq blog, asked a bunch of working artists what they draw to warm up or loosen up. My choice is the "diner still life."

Tom writes: "When you're eating out, the time you spend waiting for your food is a great opportunity to get creative," says artist and best-selling author James Gurney

“Diner still life is my favourite thing to draw to get my mojo on,” he says. “With the variety of surfaces, such as chrome, glass and paper, it has all sorts of reflective and refractive qualities, which transfer to my imaginative work. Plus I'm working with a time limit, as it only takes them 15 minutes to bring the scrambled eggs.”

This involves a combination of drawing and painting in a Pentalic watercolour sketchbook. “I start with water-soluble coloured pencils, and add washes of watercolor and gouache, often with a limited palette. I generally add final accents and written notes with a fountain pen filled with brown ink, and sometimes I come back into it with the colored pencils, or even chalk. 

“With the matte surface of gouache, you can draw over it and get the best of all worlds,” he continues. “This combination of tools allows the linear marks that the pencils can provide, as well as the accurate values and light effects that you can get with paint. Also, unlike oils, this technique is unobtrusive, has no odor, is small enough to fit on a diner table, and is fast.”

Other artists say they like to start off by drawing: eyes, passersby, grasses, geometric blocks, and fan art.
Read More: Drawing ideas: No more staring at a blank canvas: Struggling for drawing ideas? Leading artists and illustrators offer their suggestions by Tom May


Vladimir Venkov said...

I draw what ever is in front of my eyes and catches my attention. :)

Ralph said...

This brings up a question I have wondered about. I know you are a professional but in addition to warming up I am curious about how much you produce daily; for work or just for "fun"

James Gurney said...

Ralph, the amount of art I produce daily varies, depending on what I'm working on. When I'm traveling on a sketching trip, I often do two or three plein-air sketchbook paintings per day. In the studio, when I'm working on a paleoart painting, I might paint 7 or 8 hours per day, and a painting can take 3 days to 3 weeks. But many days I'm not painting at all, instead busy with writing, video editing, or prepping for a museum show.

Lauren F-M said...

I read this blog post in my email feed just before going out Wednesday morning. Perfect timing! I was about to drop my husband off somewhere and then drop by the mall and have breakfast (in a diner!). So, I brought along my water-soluble graphite pencils, small sketchbook and brushes, and did a monochromatic sketch of a similar still life at the diner, using water from melted ice cubes from my drink. It was just what I needed! Fun, loosened me up to do more art, and also amused the staff at the diner.

Eugene Arenhaus said...

I generally doodle figures; humans and aliens I've invented.