The final lesson was about fur, feathers, and creating the illusion of depth. This was intense and I have much admiration for people who do Natural History Illustration for a living!
This was a great class and I have learned so much!
This was a week of working on tones (no details) and looking at how the eyes are made, reflections, cast shadows etc.
I chose one of our local squirrels to be the subject – a little hazelnut thief. I am a sucker for them every time, though. They run around trying to bury huge walnuts in our lawn. So funny!
I find that I need more practice finding the structure and geometric shapes – then examining all the shading and light source. This has been more of a cerebral exercise than I am used to.
I need to do more of this. Nothing wrong with picking up the pen or paints and having at it, but stopping to think about the details and remembering why things look the way they do is a good practice. This has been an excellent course.
NewcastleX: NHI101xDrawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101 – EDX Link
A study in my various pencils – this is a common thing to do to get comfortable with the tools for the current project.
The Natural History Illustration course has been fun and a lot of learning is happening. Some of the homework included unfinished sketches demonstrating the learning techniques.
First activity was to work with natural items, breaking them down into geometric shapes, working their curves, etc. and this shell really showed me how rusty I am.
We then did field sketches of birds. Some people really finished them out. I need to spend time doing more of that, but part of my problem in the field is thinking things have to be perfect. I am working to let go of that and just get it down on paper first. Also, this was sketch paper and I knew better than to try watercolors, but did it anyway. It is a learning and reminding process.
I learned about studying flowers and how to turn them into geometric shapes (not pictured), measure, and make notations. This lesson was interesting, but I found it a bit too detailed for me. I love seeing these types of illustrations. I hate doing them.
This was about learning how to quickly capture form and essence of mammals. Now we are getting into my “love”.
We studied skeletal structure, which I actually found quite fascinating. I used one of our raccoons who was trying to get to our bird feeder as my model and tried 3 different gesture drawings for each pose. This lesson was real helpful and I enjoyed it immensely. I may be studying skeletal structures a bit more!
The preliminary blocking activities were very helpful. I normally jump right to this type of gesture drawing above, but doing the 2 preliminary gestures made doing this one so much easier and correct. That was an interesting ah-ha for me!
This was a practice on how to block off parts of birds using circles, ovals, and geometric shapes – which is difficult for me to do. We also looked at how their skeletal structure is made.
I am going to have to practice this a lot more and, for once, I am excited about practicing!
For $100 you can spend 10 Monday evenings with 2 well known Indiana artists, John Reynolds and Bruce Neckar, either learning to draw or honing your skills. They give you supplies, generously provided by Prizm Art Supply in Indy (a favorite art store of mine, so I am happy to give them a plug!) The classes are hosted by Nickel Plate Arts in Noblesville, IN, where John and Bruce have their studio.
If you want to see what a working artist’s studio looks like, you should check it out sometime!
These classes (or workshops) are conducted in a laid back fashion and you get out of it what you want to put into it. The guys are very happy to coach and answer questions or help you get unstuck, if you ask.
For 2 of the 10 weeks the guys brought in stuffed specimens to give us an as-close-to-a-real-thing in drawing wild birds as an artist can get. That was a highlight for me.
I love birds and have been painting raptors for over 30 years, so it was fantastic to get this close and to be able to study them. I spent the time doing quick sketches to “feel” the birds, as opposed to trying to do a finished piece.