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Gurney Journey

This daily weblog by Dinotopia creator James Gurney is for illustrators, plein-air painters, sketchers, comic artists, animators, art students, and writers. You'll find practical studio tips, insights into the making of the Dinotopia books, and first-hand reports from art schools and museums.

gurneyjourney.blogspot.com

Making a Tone Study with Notes

Making a Tone Study with Notes



I made this study of a shirt using pencil and gouache on brown wrapping paper. As I worked, I noted down what I was thinking about as I was doing it:

Thin, medium weight fabric with a slight sheen.

Avoid the superficial. Combine large and small. Don't simplify, clarify. Paint for a sculptor.

Two variables (of paint): thickness and dryness.

Big brush, get large forms. Make every stroke count. Divide process into sequence of steps. Make every steps have a definite purpose.

Exercise: paint a head in 100 strokes. Hide strokes.

In the rough-in:

—Look for large geometric shapes and basic structure.

—Use side of pencil.

—Keep cross checking

—Subdivide logically

—Cross-check on bilateral symmetry.

(Create) levels of accessibility

Transition from family to family (of forms, shapes and strokes)

See the form as if it were already painted. Pipe fold, zig-zag fold.

The study appears in The Artist's Guide to Sketching, published in 1982.




Al Dorne Special in Illustration Magazine

Al Dorne Special in Illustration Magazine

Illustrator Albert Dorne is the subject of an entire special issue of Illustration Magazine. Dorne founded the Famous Artists School and worked for decades in the lucrative field of advertising illustration. 

Al Dorne Special in Illustration Magazine
Dorne was also a major influence on the artists for Mad Magazine, such as Jack Davis.

The 80-page issue includes a detailed biography, richly illustrated with dozens of examples of his artwork.

Illustration Magazine Special on Al Dorne
80 pages, 8.5 x 11, perfect bound, printed in full color.

Making a Sketch Easel / Resources

Making a Sketch Easel / Resources

My homemade sketch easel uses adjustable torque hinges with a threaded Tee-nut so that it fits on a camera tripod. 

Making a Sketch Easel / Resources

Embedded magnets hold the metal paint tray and plastic water cup (which has corresponding magnets below it.) 

Making a Sketch Easel / Resources

If you've been thinking of building a sketch easel, it's quite easy, and there are links below to all the resources you'll need.

Making a Sketch Easel / Resources

Don't worry if you don't have any workshop skills or tools. Maybe there's someone in your life who will make you one.

Making a Sketch Easel / Resources

How to Make a Sketch Easel (video tutorial).

Sketch Easel Builders (Facebook group).

Previous blog posts:

Sketch Easel Hinge Solution

YouTube Videos

How to Make a Light Diffuser

Tools and Materials



 

Getting Back to Analog

Getting Back to Analog
The title makes a provocative claim: The Future Is Analog

It's an even bolder proposition than David Sax's previous book The Revenge of Analog. 

The new book, released tomorrow, suggests that the digital revolution hasn't turned out the way most of us had hoped, and people want to return to reality. 

Sure, we'll still order things online or work remotely if we have to, but most of us yearn to get back to a more grounded, face-to-face existence. 

"It didn’t take long to realize how awful it was to live in this promised future," he says. "We craved real experiences, relationships, and spaces and got back to real life as quickly and often as we could."

The pullback from the universally digital future has, if anything, become more pronounced after suffering through the loneliness and disconnection of the pandemic, after the collapse of crypto and NFTs, after social media's content-moderation fiascos, after Facebook's fizzling efforts to launch the Metaverse, and after AI image generators have sucked up and replaced the work of creative people.

The glowing promise of the digital future has turned to ashes. We were sold a utopia of virtualized connections and products, but it turns out that what makes us human is the time we spend with each other and with real things.

The book is divided into sections that explore work, school, commerce, the city, culture (mainly performing arts), conversation, and the soul (religion). Sax asks whether the choice to 'go digital' is inevitable in every one of those categories, or whether we can choose options that may be a little less efficient, but that are better for us psychologically, socially, and culturally. 

He's not advocating for a Luddite future, but for a more conscious and deliberate one by asking the following questions: 

"Can we reject the downsides of digital technology without rejecting change? Can we innovate not for the sake of productivity but for the good of our social and cultural lives? Can we build a future that serves us as humans, first and foremost?"

These are the questions that, according to Sax, we need to grapple with now. Let's face it: the future will be a blend of technologies, old and new. We all have to make our peace with computers, cellphones and the internet. But Sax sensibly asks us to question the inevitability of the digital future that the tech lords have laid out for us. 


Chamber Musicians

My fountain pen and watercolors were set to go last night at a chamber music concert at Bard College.

Chamber Musicians

They only stayed in their poses for a single movement of a given piece before they shifted offstage. 

Chamber Musicians
With that little time I could only try to capture the big tonal shapes.


 

Old Mill FallsBrocken SpectreMaking a Tone Study with NotesAl Dorne Special in Illustration MagazineCave PanoramaMaking a Sketch Easel / ResourcesBeside the Shining SeaGetting Back to AnalogDinosaur ScribeChamber Musicians

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