Monday, January 15, 2007

Uglycute Satsumahead Gift Explosion!

This is a post for numerous fragmentary drawings which are probably leading up to something. I think I need to lose my ambivalence and my doubts about frequently drawing wrestlers and commit to making something beautiful and complete out of it. And transcend petty issues like the mere choice of subject-matter!

But in the meantime, I have been attempting to fathom out various aspects of design and likeness and colour and generally trying to focus my intent by just drawing and seeing what grows.

(words about that last image:)

It's easy to concentrate a lot of energy into a page of tiny thumbnail sketches like this, when all is excitement and potential. It's harder to transfer that kind of energy into something more complete, complex and decisive.

We're going back and forth in time a bit now. When I started looking at the Orton/Edge pairing, I did this study in coloured pencils.

Then added a bit of gouache when I got frustrated.

And I remembered that coloured pencils tend to be better when I already have something resembling a design and then I can play with it, using the pencil marks in combination with the white of the paper. In this finding-my-feet drawing, just doing swathes of colour with no gaps, they were annoying. They aren't a good replacement for paints on jobs like this. They felt kind of girly and weak. They're more like a kind of delicate hybrid between a drawing and a painting implement, and I think this might be a good way of thinking about them in future. But still, it's just a sketch. I think I'm writing all this about coloured pencils because actually I like them and I want to get more out of them. Also I have a really nice set of 120 Faber-Castell ones.

I commited my self to drawing this man who calls himself Edge. Because he's a wrestler and therefore somewhat culturally... self-contained, he doesn't have to worry about getting mixed up with the guitarist out of U2.

The chin is key, obviously. He's not a person I was immediately excited about drawing, but that's the challenge, to try and make something fun out of it anyway. He did actually once have the Loveliest Hair in wrestling, all golden and wavy and soft and well conditioned and flowing. Now it's a bit stringy.

Edge WWE

Edge WWE toy

Now we're moving backwards in time to when the Christmas colours one wasn't finished. In fact, I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with the way I did end up colouring it in. I'm still settling into a new approach.

I think I gave Randy child-bearing lady-hips a little bit in an effort to squeeze in his enormous thighs, which are so important to his general silhouette and which I have too often heinously neglected.

Actually, one of the challenges with drawing wrestlers generally, and especially when I'm tending increasingly toward the cute or the cartoony, is fitting the enormous bodies in whilst not reducing the heads to the size of satsumas. I think with skinny people or girls it's easier and natural to distort the heads and make them proportionally big, but if you did that with wrestlers you might sort of miss the whole point. There's that, and also the fact that even if I'm 'tending towards the cute' a little more these days, I still want there to be something real-feeling or even classical about these bodies.

satsuma tangerine

(A satsuma there, of the kind to which I was referring.)

Here's one of those sketchbook pages with old words and newer pictures.

I think it's got some quotes from Delacroix's journals.

Also me reminding myself to 'learn clouds'. Whatever that might mean.

For Christmas I got some new colours. I was staying in a small house with my family. I squoze out this masterpiece:

Well, it's nice to get in touch with one's new colours anyway.

I've been thinking about watercolours but I haven't got beyond some very rough primitive sketches because I just haven't put together all my intentions yet. But sometimes it's OK to make a bit of a mess if it helps me visually and tacitly to sharpen my awareness of how I should organize things.

Here's a little bumpy paper oddity:

Poor Randy, I'm sure I do still think he's beautiful, but frequently these days he becomes a demon turnip. I've been trying to strike a balance between ugly and cute or even ugly and beautiful, and these might be straying further into the ugly dimension than I want to be. But again, it all helps me to clarify what I do want to achieve.

And the other thing is, ugly-looking faces and ugly design do not necessarily go together. I could make a beautiful design out of an ugly face. Or even a beautiful design out of a beautiful face uglified!

I'm reading a book called The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World and even though its concerns are a little bit abstract and ethical to apply to the common sense/clarifying aspirations of this blog entry, it's made me remember in quite an immediate way that often the best way to make a painting good is to imagine giving it, or to actually intend giving it, as a gift to someone you care about or respect. It gives a kind of focus, removes the vulgar capitalism for a moment, and lets me just focus on the idea of making the gift-picture as good and honest and concentratedly beautiful as I possibly can.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Liquid Bunnies and the like.

I've got myself all in a muddle, drawing too much and everything getting out of synch.
I took it upon myself to learn how to draw bunnies again.

Although I feel like the subject matter in the wrestler drawings is pretty much secondary to the formal experimentation it allows and the attmempt to express some overall energetic enthusiasm, I still wanted to balance wrestlers with something more straightforwardly cute. Maybe so that the bouncyness of my intent becomes more clear.

I've found a lot of references to use for my bunny drawings. Nature for starters. Actual bunnies in my garden.

My cat Stephen kills a lot of bunnies in the spring. Little tender cute ones. But sometimes they can be rescued.

Surely you can see why rabbits belong in wrestling!

I had to figure out how my bunnies would be put together, even if they were going to end up as mere props in the squared circle. They became increasingly more liquid.

I've also begun to get into studying Beatrix Potter's rabbits and Thumper and various other bunnies of note. There have definitely been some clever bunny observers.

On an unrelated note, I just found a blog that an Australian lady called Ethel wrote about me. I think she likes my grey blog but she says not to read it on an empty stomach. From this frivolity about about Benjamin Bunny and Thumper you wouldn't think I was a thought-wrangling hardcore maniac, but clearly I am.

So perhaps I might try to have dense rich layers of many consistencies, like layers of heavy thought-rigour fudge, and layers of whipped bunnycream too, as we have observed today.

I'm going to try some tags. tell me if I've done it wrong:

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Peat Brown Muzzlebulbs


I've done lots of drawings but I've been scared to show them... well not scared, but I was trying to work up to some kind of 'culmination'. I'm sort of in a process of deconstructing and reconstructing my whole picture-making process, so a lot of what I have been doing is really 'pieces' or parts and not the assembled whole.

I had fun when I got out my dip pen and some ink that calls itself 'peat brown'.

You see, Edge and Randy Orton are a tag team now. I still love Randy more, but they are quite visually comical and homo-charged and pleasingly similar in height and bulbousness, so I thought I'd make hay while the wrestlesun shone on this partnership.

So, eventually I thought I ought to colour something in.

I did this just before Christmas, I was listening to an Old Time Radio production of A Christmas Carol with Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge and Orson Welles narrating.

I'm getting the hang of controlling my colour, but trying not to be overly anal about aforementioned control.

I got the likenesses a bit better in this one possibly, but the composition is nothingy and wrong:

Here's a sketchbook page with some connected scrappy little thumbnails. If you look at the text there's some of me documenting my hurt feelings about the received wisdom regarding 'contemporary art'. the text is eighteen months older than most of the pictures.

But that's quite fun, looking at the frictions and congealings between new picture thoughts and old word thoughts.

When I was on my little Peat Brown adventure, Edge the wrestler eventually and quite according to the whims of nature, turned into a cat, and his gigantic chin became merely a muzzlebulb.

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