some challenge drawings

Once again, some drawings done for the monthly Pen and Ink Challenge on Wet Canvas. You can view the entire thread, including the reference photos here.

These drawings challenge me to do faster work… and to try subjects I might not choose otherwise.

Case in point: This one took @6 hours, and was a stretch for me.  The expression in the reference photo (by WC member brooklyn) is very subtle: just a tiny hint of a frown, and mouth positioned as if the subject is just on the brink of speaking.

Portraits are *such* touchy things, and I almost threw this one away… because the subject’s right eye is out of position: a tiny bit high.  I really couldn’t see it until I flipped the image vertically and then it became very obvious.  Oh well.  Practice makes perfect. 😉

The flamboyance of the ladyslipper orchid (by WC board member lisilk) caught my attention, so I decided to give it a try. Originally, I intended to do minimal pen work and tint the drawing, (the colors are very striking) but, as usual, I got overzealous with the pen.  So I left it untinted.  And, every time I look at it I have to chuckle, because from a distance, I see a character in the orchid.  Do you?  Time-wise, this one took @4 hours.

And finally, something a bit more traditional.  The reference photo (by member hazegry) is very striking, with lovely deep red spots in the throat and on the petals of the white lily.  However, translating the image to black and white proved quite a challenge:  I should have remembered the maxim when rendering white flowers: exaggerate the contrast!  The light source is above and behind the flower, so practically the entire interior portion is in shadow…but since it’s a white flower, going too dark is not an option.  Ah well.

Thank goodness for all of those spots, the very prominent stamens, and the dark background: they provide *much* needed interest and contrast. Drawing time: @18 hours.

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3 Responses to some challenge drawings

  1. Marilyn Georgeson says:

    Pen and ink are one of my favorite style of drawing. My youngest son is very proud of my old sketchbook. Your works are lovely. I once did a lion for a friend in ball point pen. Most people do not consider ball point pen as an art tool. Oh well, it’s what I usually have at hand.

  2. Karen says:

    Looking at your drawings makes my heart ache that I did not continue to study art, and have let my own personal pursuits of it fall by the wayside. Your work is excellent, as usual. I can see what you mean in the first photo, about the eye, but only after very careful examination. It’s not something that jumps out at me. I wouldn’t have noticed it if you didn’t mention it. I love the orchid as well! I get the sense it’s coming off the page. I can’t seem to find a character in it, though, and I even got up and looked at the screen from across the room! Can you give us a hint? A dragon, perhaps? The lily is lovely, and I get a real sense of softness from it. I agree with you on the lightness of the white, but it’s very difficult to create shape and depth and movement without using some shading. I don’t think you’ve crossed the line in any major way, maybe just a teeny tiny bit less would have made it perfect. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work! It’s always such a treat.

    • Karen, thanks for commenting!

      First off, I have to encourage you: it’s never too late to re-join the journey! While I was *so* fortunate to be able to design needlework and flex my creative muscles in that way for so many years, my drawing skills became… I guess ‘redirected’ is the right word… in the process. I didn’t realize it, but designing requires an entirely different set of skills, which over a period of years became ingrained. Thus the journey back to rediscovering drawing in pen and ink again. 🙂 I guess what I’m trying to say is that artists never stop learning, so please consider getting back to your art: just grab a sketchbook and a pencil and start drawing! Wet Canvas is a fantastically encouraging community; I definitely recommend joining.

      The character I see in the lily is just plain silly: it’s a face with hugely long eyebrows that extend out from eyes that are crinkled/slitted in merriment, the lightest area in the center of the flower is the nose, the lip of the bottom part of the orchid looks to me like an open grinning mouth above a goatee/beard. And of course, the top petal is some sort of wildly exotic turban. 🙂

      I think the lily needs a bit of reworking. The lack of contrast is bugging me. 😉

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