Posts Tagged ‘Artwork’

Here is another figure drawing done in burnt sienna colored pencil, with white and cream for the highlights. I also worked in some henna colored pencil where the light comes out of shadow to give the figure some life. It looked pretty lifeless with just burnt sienna.

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I really like how this Illustration came out. I knew that I wanted to paint sushi, but if I was going to spend fifty hours on a painting, it needed to be something really interesting and befitting of my unique sense of humor. So I just went for it. I was thumb-nailing, and stuff started to get kind of weird. And I liked it. So I decided on an illustration of a table in a sushi restaurant, with one human, and three big, ugly fish-heads.

Taking reference for this illustration was a lot of fun. It was an excuse to go out for sushi at the very least. I got an idea of what authentic sushi looked like and how it was presented, as well as the atmosphere of a japanese restaurant. Then I had my Male Asian friend sit at a table and make weirded-out faces at a female Asian friend, who I told to pretend to be a fish person. Really, I jus told her to throw her head back and gargle violently. I got the face that I needed. Then I went to my local H-Mart for some dead fish! I bought two frozen fishies and took pictures of them in my backyard bathed in sunlight!

To paint this picture, I used permanent acrylic inks to build up an extensive underpainting. Most of the background and all of the base colors were done in ink. Then I used colored pencil over the inks to bring out the little details. The colored pencils were great for the fishes scales because I could use their texture to my advantage. Everywhere else I had to try and minimize the colored pencil texture by keeping a really sharp point.

This method of painting is a lot faster than using acrylic inks alone. Because the colored pencil goes so well on top of the inks, they can be used for most of the shading. It’s like taking the benefits of painting and the benefits of drawing, and combining them into one.

You can view this picture anytime at shaunart.net

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Black and white pencil illustration of a scene from Jack and the Beanstalk. When Jack traded away his family’s last possession, a cow, for magic beans from a stranger, his mother, in anger, threw them out the window. The next day, Jack found that the beans had sprouted into a giant beanstalk, reaching up into the sky.

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This is a pencil drawing illustrating a scene from the story of Noah’s Arc. When the great biblical flood was over, it is written that God sent down a rainbow as a signal that he would never flood the earth again. This is the scene where Noah, his family, and all the animals, after landing on top of a mountain, have disembarked from the Arc to find a rainbow and drying earth. If you look closely, the dove and the raven, which Noah sent out to check and see that the earth was dry, are sitting on top of the Arc while the others rejoice.

This was a very simple pencil drawing to execute. Black and white, 9×12″ on white Strathmore paper.

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This set of two is my completed final project for Lithography.

Typically, when I set out to compose a work, I try to put together a window that allows to viewer to see into a complete scene. As an illustrator, I deal with narrative, setting, and continuity. Foreground, middle-ground, and background are all addressed and developed in relation to each and to the boarders of the picture plane. For this assignment, where we were asked to work in a new way, that is not typical for us, I decided to disregard the idea of making a moment in time and to forget the idea of rendering a three-dimensional space.

I have always admired and envied purely decorative arts; things denoted as crafts such as embroidery, stationary, henna, and decorative boarders embellish the everyday objects of our lives and make them pleasing to look at, however they do not receive the same attention or respect as something that is framed–either literally or just by the edges of the image area.

Surface decoration can be just as laborious and complicated to construct as conceptual art but it differs so greatly because of its lack of meaning. It is so simple and upfront and that is why it appeals to me: because it is a change from the image that begs you to think about it. My henna-covered turtle is a simple image that is completely lacking in deeper meaning. It is surface decoration only, with no story, or mood, or space, or even boarders. The image stands alone without an environment and it is exactly what the viewer sees and nothing else. Yet it is still an image that I feel is worth creating because of the simple, straight-forward, decorative pleasure it delivers.

The first state of the image, the black henna on creme paper, was created very simply by drawing the design carefully onto a lithography stone. This was my first time working with a stone and those things are HEAVY. My stone was only 10″x 12″ and it weighed at least 15 lbs. Probably more. That might not seem like a lot to the rest of you, but I am a peanut!


For assignment III, the first state went fantastically and I am very happy with the results. So happy, in fact, that I did an addition of six, instead of the required five. (Yo. I’m selling these prints too….make me an offer)

The second state was made by counter-etching the first state, removing all of the gum so that I could apply more grease. I applied liquid touche (greasy paint) over the entire turtle, covering up all my pretty designs. Then, with an etching needle, and two scratch board styluses, I delicately carved out the same exact image out of the black turtle. The second stare is almost a negative image of the first, but there are obvious differences in weight of the line. When printing my second state, the areas that I had scratched out of the stone began to fill in. I pulled four prints, the first of which was just fine, with the others getting progressively darker and more filled in. So after four prints, I stopped, washed out the image, re-etched it, and then pulled six more copies with a less greasy ink. I had other problems while printing with the amount of ink on the stone and with the paper sticking to the stone and taring when I removed it, but eventually I did manage to get five good prints, though they may not be perfectly identical. Because of depressions in the stone, it was difficult to hit all places with the same amount of ink. The roller was much larger than the stone and so ink would build up on the outside while not hitting enough of the inside. Plus, even after re-etching, some lines still filled in where the ink was just too thick. But I do not mind the slight imperfections, as I think it gives the image character and a quirk.

I am excited to frame these two states together and hang them in my room. If I can somehow manage to craft my own frame out of beach wood, that would be just fantastic. But I will probably end up modifying an old frame from a yard -sale.

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For those of you who are interested in learning about the optical phenomena, here is a research paper that I wrote on aerial perspective. I would like to remind everyone, before you read, that plagiarism is lame. This paper is here for your enjoyment and education. Not for you to use or replicate as your own.

Aerial Perspective

By Shauna Leva

Looking out my second-floor window on a partly cloudy day I can see far off into the distance. The parking lot below my dorm room is filled with cars of bright color and sharp detail; but only a hundred yards away, things start to loose their detail and color even though they are bathed in the same sunlight. The grass looks lighter at the far end of a field than the grass that sits under my window, and the trees have darker bark and branches the closer they are to me. The trees far in the distance begin to look gray—even blue, and their branches blend together into tree shaped halos sitting above the horizon. This phenomenon is known to artists and scientists as aerial perspective; it is the concept that as objects recede into space, they not only become smaller, but also cooler, paler, and less detailed. This knowledge applied to painting enhances the illusion of three dimensionality on a two dimensional surface.

Most people have some understanding of linear perspective; they understand that objects appear smaller as they recede into space, and parallel lines seem to converge on a single point in the distance. Aerial—or atmospheric—perspective is different; it deals not with lines but with hue, value, saturation and temperature. “In nature, the distant parts of a landscape assume a less brilliant color than objects in the foreground; they are often made hazy or given a bluish white tone by the volume of atmospheric moisture through which they are viewed.”1 It is easy to confirm this statement with a quick glance out the window; but why does it happen?

Objects far away appear different than those up close because the light bouncing off of them must travel through more air to reach the eye. The particles of moisture and matter in the air reflect and disperse the light, and the more air it travels through, the more the light is dispersed.2 Blue and violet light are the first wavelengths to be scattered by air molecules because these colors have the smallest wavelengths. The wavelength and size of the particle are comparable, and so the two interact. Larger wavelengths such as red and yellow are not scattered by the small air particles because the wavelengths are much larger than the particles.3 Occasionally, the trees at the top of a mountain may appear clearer to the eye, and closer than the trees at the bottom, even though the mind knows they are farther away. This is because the air is thinner at the top of the mountain and the outlines of the trees and their color has not been obstructed by the thick atmosphere at the bottom of the mountain.4

Objects in the distance are also distorted because of the refraction of light, which is essentially the bending of a light ray. When light passes through areas of dense particles into less dense particles, the light is bent. The shorter the wavelength of the light, the more it will be bent by the substance it passes through.5 Blue and violet, with the shortest wavelengths, are blurred the most by the air. This makes the blue objects in the distance look soft around the edges.

Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with the discovery of Aerial perspective and was the first to implement it in his paintings.6 Before Da Vinci, there was a tendency for artists to paint objects in the background just as clear and warm as those in the foreground; this is because when we look upon a landscape, we know that the field in the distance is made up of blades of grass similar to those at our feet, and that the forest is made up of individual trees even though our eyes cannot see this. Our eyes see blurs of color and our brains fill in the details that we know are there.7 Leonardo Da Vinci was truly relying on his eyes when he noticed and included the actual behavior of receding colors in his paintings. “The Mona Lisa,” possibly the most famous painting in the world, employs Aerial perspective in its background to enhance the depth; the background can be simplified into essentially three bands of color (from nearest to farthest), red-brown, green, and blue. Each band of landscape becomes progressively cooler and paler as it approaches the horizon.

“The Last of the Mohicans, Cora Kneeling at the Feet of Tamenund,” painted by Thomas Cole, and part of the collection at the Wardsworth Atheneum is another perfect example of aerial perspective used in a landscape. Painted in 1827, Thomas Cole uses a wide range of temperatures, values, and intensities to recreate the white mountains of New Hampshire. After all, “a color’s apparent position in space relative to another color is dependant upon the interrelationships of saturation, value, and temperature.”8 Cole uses few saturated colors, but the reds and greens in the foreground are more intense than those in the background. The temperature of dirt and gray rocks closest to the viewer are perceived as being warm because of their interactions with the colors around them. Finally, the objects in foreground have more contrast; they contain the darkest darks paired up next to light values, adding crispness and clarity to the rocks’ edges and shadows, bringing them forward in space. The mountains as they go back into space, loose this contrast and clarity and the light shadows fade into the light lights. The resulting haziness demonstrates Cole’s awareness of the effect of great volumes of atmosphere on the forms he paints and how including this air in his piece can enhance the illusion of reality.

Paintings present an environment to the viewer on a two-dimensional plane. There is no real space; the artist sets up the illusion and implication of space, by presenting an artificial world as we would experience the real world. Aerial perspective allows the artist to create depth in both non-representative paintings that do not deal with linear perspective, and to enhance the depth in representative paintings that do. “If there were no air at all there might still be linear perspective…but in thoroughly good painting the air must be reckoned with, for it changes the appearance of objects quite as much as a simple form shrinkage.” Usually, fully saturated, light, and warm colors appear to come forward, while neutral, dark, and cool colors recede; however, colors can be arranged so that the opposite is true.9 The position of a color in space is dependant on its relationship with other colors—its interactions with the colors around it.10 But the deliberate and careful arrangements of colors and tones can create an amazing feeling of space, light, and airiness on a flat piece of canvas.


1 Ralph Mayer. The Artist’s Handbook. (New York: Viking, 1985.) 564.

2 John C. Van Dyke. Art for Art’s Sake. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1893.) 124.

3 Bob Wilhelmson. Light and Optics. Department of Atmospheric Sciences. University of Illinois. 2010. 5 Mar. 2010. <http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/%28Gh%29/guides/mtr/opt/home.rxml&gt;.

4 John C. VanDyke, Art for Art’s Sake, 128.

5 Bob Wilhelmson. Light and Optics.

6 Museum of Science. Causes of Aerial Perspective. 1997. 5 Mar. 2010. <http://www.mos.org/sln/leonardo/CausesofAerialPerspective.html&gt;.

7 John C. VanDyke, Art for Art’s Sake, 127.

8 Stanley W. Taft, & James W. Mayer. The Science of Painting. (New York: Springer, 2000.) 45.

9 Stanley W. Taft, & James W. Mayer. The Science of Painting, 45.

10 John C. VanDyke, Art for Art’s Sake, 124.

Works Cited

Mayer, Ralph. The Artist’s Handbook. New York: Viking, 1985.

Museum of Science. Causes of Aerial Perspective. 1997. 5 Mar. 2010. <http://www.mos.org/sln/leonardo/CausesofAerialPerspective.html&gt;.

Taft, W. Stanley, & James W. Mayer. The Science of Painting. New York: Springer, 2000.

Van Dyke, John C. Art for Art’s Sake. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1893.

Wilhelmson, Bob. Light and Optics. Department of Atmospheric Sciences. University of Illinois. 2010. 5 Mar. 2010. <http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/%28Gh%29/guides/mtr/opt/home.rxml&gt;.


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Warning–this post contains pencil sketches of nude figures for education purposes.

After five sessions, my Illustration class has concluded its unit on drawing directly from the figure. Prior to drawing from a model, we learned from a model skeleton about the correct proportions of the human body. We were given bony points to look for in a live model such as the knees, elbows, top of the hips, and the shoulders, to help us mark correctly proportioned limbs. Below are examples of my figure drawing work, along with a little about the drawing process.

The majority of our sessions were divided into 20 minute segments where we would draw 5 two-minute poses. Essentially, I would use the first 30 seconds of the pose to lightly mark the location of the head and the head, the joints, and the spine, connecting them all together with sketchy lines that suggest the figure, and then use the remaining minute and 30 seconds to draw in the contours of the body. Obviously there was no time to be super exact with any of my lines or measurements. Hands were bent rectangles, and the face if there was any suggestion of a face, would be a box or circle with a line marking the nose. Often times I was not even able to delineate the full gesture, and some of my figures go without feet or hands. This is not a problem though, as all of the drawings are meant to stay rough and are done for the practice.

We did very few long drawings, 5 minutes at most near the end of class. Some of our drawings were even shorter than 2 minutes, done in 60 seconds. There was also an exorcise where we were asked to look at the model in a pose for 10 seconds. And then, from memory, draw that pose in 2 minutes. It was crucial to look at the angle of the shoulders and hips, and especially the angle and distance between the ankles. The most extreme test of our memories and our understanding of human proportions was the described poses. After drawing a model all day, and familiarizing ourselves with her (in this case) particular proportions, the model would leave the room, and our professor described a pose to us. We were than asked to draw our current model in that pose. It was surprisingly not that difficult, and I found that I drew much faster from my memory than I did constantly checking the model to make sure my curves were correct. That exorcise was definitely my favorite.

Early on in the unit, I was having trouble connecting my forms to one another, and I was drawing pieces of the models next to each other, and not really drawing them as all jointed together. My outlines were disconnected. And as always, no matter how many times the professor pointed it out to me and no matter how hard I was trying to see what he meant and thought I saw what he meant, it didn’t click until I figured it out for myself. And then all of a sudden, as with many things in art, a lightbulb goes on and I realize, “oh that’s what you meant! This is what it should look like.” Even seeing the more correct way drawn in front of me I couldn’t replicate it until this clicked! My second obstacle was realizing that it was easier if I drew lightly the whole 2 minutes. Again, the professor had said, draw lightly. And I did for the first 30 seconds when I mapping out the figure, but then I would begin to fill in my more detailed contours using a dark, heavy line. And then I would run into trouble finishing because this heavy line would slow me down. I would still draw very accurate figures, and figures that I liked, but I would be rushing. During the last week of the unit, it came to me that I should draw even the details lightly over my map. That way, I would not have to go over areas of my initial drawing that I wanted to keep to make them darker. I could just leave them because I drew them correctly the first time. And now I didn’t have to waist time drawing them again in the same exact way. This made it easier for me to finish more of the figure in the allotted time.

They say you can never do too much figure drawing, and that may be true, but I am satisfied with the amount of figure drawing I’ve done in the past two weeks and am ready for a break. Next year I will be taking a class where will be doing nothing but drawing from the figure, not just a unit on it. Hopefully there will be enough variety in the exorcises next year that I won’t get too tired of it. It’s the repetition of figure drawing that is tiresome for me. drawing 60 pictures of the same person, going through the same process, and making them just about the same size each time can get boring.

One thing that I never get tired of in figure drawing is the immediacy of it. Two minutes and you move on, your piece is done, like it or not, and there is another chance to make a new and better pose, always. The end result comes so quickly which is very enjoyable for an impatient artist like me. I need things to be finished quickly; I don’t like to mess around building things up slowly. I’m all for experimentation, but when I’m not experimenting, I generally know what I want and want to put it there now.

It may sound paradoxical that I enjoy the immediacy but dislike the repetition. I know that the quicker I finish a drawing, the faster I move onto another one–encouraging the repetition. But it’s the only way I can describe it.

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