Thursday, June 23, 2011

Traveling and Art


      So sorry for not being able to post recently. Things have been busy here at the studio in so many ways. Cars 2 is about to come out, I've seen it and the kids should love it. On top of that I have been getting ready to go travelling abroad. I leave this Monday the 27th of June! Where am I going? Belgium, Germany and Amsterdam. So if you are in the area be sure to send me an email, I would not mind meeting up!

      So I want to talk about drawing materials briefly.. And since I'm travelling, more specifically materials on the go. Sure you can make art out of anything and make a drawing with any sort of thing that makes a mark.. but should you? I'll say no, not all the time. Just like a soccer player can not be the best player they can be while playing with a mango shaped ball, neither can an artist release their full potential with with the wrong materials..

First off-  The Sketchbook/ Pad of Paper
Find the size that's write for you.

     -You want to work on details and become free to draw without the edge of the paper restraining you? Go for the big sketchbook. (my preference)
    -You want to draw people discreetly and work on catching quick gestures and in the moment expressions, go for the small note book

    -You just want to put your self through drawing boot-camp and not treat every drawing like it's precious and just focus on form and skill? Go for the cheap newsprint like drawing pads that have like 300 pages in them and get your self some permanent markers!

     The kind of sketch book you choose will greatly effect the way you draw. Imagine you buy a leather bound notebook and you are just learning to draw. You might feel like you have to make every drawing worth it and it has to be the best.. this kind of thinking is bad, you'll find yourself too timid to even draw in it. How will you EVER improve your skills when you expect yourself to make good drawing right away? As a rule never treat your drawings as gems. I say, the first GOOD drawing you draw, have your mom, or sibling draw over it or rip it up. You have to learn to treat your good drawings like nothing and think of your self as being capable of drawing EVERY drawing that good. And make that your goal to be able to draw EVERY drawing that good when ever you make a pencil touch a paper...
     If you are in architecture, how are you suppose to draw the grandness of the building on a 3x5" sketch book????? No way you can draw the masonry or the details around the windows! You would be much better off with an 11x14" sketchbook...

So enough about sketchbooks, you get the point.

-The Pencil
Lets start with the basics. If you do not know the hierarchy of pencils.. LEARN THEM..

    In school you usually use an HB pencil or a 2B pencil. which are pretty common. Ideally you want to use a dark (they are referred to as soft) pencil to draw and sketch quickly. Especially for figure drawing you might want to even go up to a 6B pencil. It's harder to erase and it'll force you to live with your mistakes and see them, learn from them. Very good at learning how to make your lines correct the first time you put them on the paper.
   Now and then I'll come across someone trying to draw a full on landscape with a 2H pencil. Your making life hard when it doesn't have to. Keep the light (referred to as Hard) pencils for details and tinier feats. When going out, my combination of pencils are 6B, 2B, HB, and H
(Eraser to use: White eraser)

Here I used a many different types of pencils to achieve the desired shading the drawing required

This was the finished piece, my favourite sub picture would have to be the lower left.
-Wax Pencils
    I almost forgot about these. Wax pencils are usually thicker and you have to peel to expose the tip after it gets dull. I like these a lot. Use them for quick drawings and figure drawing! There are also wood-less pencils that just plain look cool :)

-The Charcoal Stick
    Perfect for life drawing and figure drawing. Charcoal is messy and fun. You can not take charcoal and be serious with it. Most likely you will see artist do fast 30 sec. or 15 sec. model studies with charcoal. Charcoal allows you to manipulate lines and clearly see your mistakes. And the only way to fix mistakes with charcoal? Is to not do them in the first place! Over time you will see your lines loosen up and you will see your hand eye coordination greatly improve. Most likely you'll see me using huge Biggie pad of newsprint paper that doesn't cost much. Huge means like a 2 foot pad. You need a huge pad so you can learn how to use your WHOLE arm when you draw, and not just your wrist. Very good thing to learn for painters.  (Eraser to use: kneaded Eraser)

A very fast one minute contour drawing of a flower
     Charcoal CAN be used for great detailed art pieces. There are no rules. I am just saying what you can do with these materials to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Still Life of hanging clothes with charcoal

Just because you don't have the right colours of charcoal doesn't mean you still can't do what you want...

-Color Pencils
   If you use any color pencils, use Prisma Color. Think: go hard or go home, they might be expensive but they are worth it. Prisma Color will get you the most vibrant richest colors out of any brand. Have fun with color pencils! I always carry a few just to inject some life into my drawings once in a while. Because page after page of black and white drawings just doesn't do it for after a while.

    There are 2 kinds of markers I usually use. There are the grey gradient story boarding kind, these are always good to have for any sketch artist. Good for practising tones and light studies.

    And then there are the Crayola markers and Sharpies. if you make a mistake, make something out of it. work with it. do not waste paper! Go with the flow, CREATE! Do what you need to do to save the drawing. Markers teach problem solving. You will find yourself saying, "Shit Danny! I drew that line in the wrong spot, what do i do with this line?" make it into a cloud? FIGURE IT OUT.  I love markers. make sure you use them with paper you do not care about. You will go through a lot.

-The Ball Point Pen and Ink Pen
    I have grown fond of these. It's a nice mix in-between a marker and a pencil. You have to learn how to do things right the first time or learn how to solve the problems you create. I've learned to be patient and learn how to shade with them and draw pencil like drawings with them. I figured out that they are very good for blind drawing and counter drawings. I like the lines the create and the aesthetic quality they give to the drawings. Try them out.

   Do not act like crayons are for kids. Do not act like it wasn't THE CRAYON that inspired you to start exploring your creative eye at the age of 3... try letting loose with them and see what happens!

     So on my trip you can expect me to have some of these materials, and to be sketching on my train rides around Germany. I'll be sure to post pictures of the sketches :) I will be gone for two weeks and will be back the 15th of July! Still keep those emails coming, I do enjoy seeing all your work and reviewing them!

Go out and draw. and watch cars2.. at least for the Brave teaser in front of it...
-Daniel Gonzales


  1. What d'ya think of the Col-Erase pencils? Everyone in college used them in the studio, but maybe it's more of a 2D tradition!

  2. I use them too, i classify them as color pencils I can erase :) I always use them as a first pass in aniamtion then go over them with darker pencils.

  3. Thanks for the post; I agree completely with what you said about drawing timidly. I found fear to be THE biggest inhibitor to drawing I've come across to date. Fear will make you draw cartoons but never draw in the faces. It's scary stuff. And on the col-erase: I use them too. Just don't try the non-photo blue, it's so damn light (a few pages in my sketchbook look empty at first glance).