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Getting Started in
Plein Air
The Making of a
Shades of Gray
Classic Competition:
Picture Winners
Book Revealed!
Deliverance (detail)

by Julio Reyes,
mixed media on drafting film

Graphic Novels
Large-Scale Drawing
Will Eisner
The Atelier The Online School
Producing the next generation Producing the future generation
of artists f 20 f ti t f th t 20 years

I n 1992 we launched an Atelier modeled after

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Our focus was to build strong foundational skills
ith over 24 years experience teaching
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in an intimate studio environment. The Atelier program based on the traditions of the masters.
brings together students of all ages and skill levels Just like at the Atelier, students are strongly
from professional to novice in an environment encouraged to build their skills in drawing
of visual learning that is highly structured, with a rst, and then branch out into painting and
low student-to-teacher ratio. master classes.

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"I spent four years in art college using any paint and any charcoal stick that was available,
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Cesar Santos art education is worldly, and his work has been seen around the globe. From the Annigoni
Museum in Italy, the Beijing Museum in China, to Chelsea, NY, Santos work reects both classical and modern
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26 Make Way for Picture Books
Celebrating the work of Robert McCloskey, the author and illustrator of
several classic childrens books.

32 Truth, Narrative and Life Itself

Jerome Witkins artwork engages with questions of history, faith and
human experience.

44 Drawing Fundamentals:
Constructing the Forms of the Head
Getting a handle on the complex surfaces of the head and face.

54 Back in Black (and White)

Proudly presenting the winners of our 5th annual Shades of
Gray Competition.

66 Drawing With Depth: A Demonstration

Scott Waddell explains his process for making figures feel fully

32 72 Drawing When the Story Comes First

Storytelling, art and drama unite in a graphic novel by Matt Phelan.

2 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM




16 Material World 10 Will Eisner
Outward Bound
16 Plein Air Sketching
22 First Marks
Approaching Abstraction: 22 Getting Started in Abstration
Gridded Drawings
26 The Making of a Classic
80 New & Notable Picture Book
Colleen Blackard
32 Large-Scale Drawing
44 Master Heads & Faces
DEPARTMENTS 54 Shades of Gray Competition:
6 Editors Note Winners Revealed
66 Demonstration: HowtoAdd
7 Contributors DepthtoYourDrawings
10 Sketchbook 72 Graphic Novels

Deliverance (detail)
by Julio Reyes, 2015, mixed media on drafting
film, 16 x 16. Private collection.

Copyright 2017 by F+W Media, Inc., all rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the copyright owner, F+W Media,
Inc. Drawing (ISSN 2161-5373 (print), ISSN 2330-0949 (online) USPS 001-780 Issue #53) is published quarterly by F+W Media, Inc. $9.99 a copy U.S.A. and $11.99 a copy Canada. Yearly
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4 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM



Brian F. Riley

Austin R. Williams

Michael Woodson

Every Picture Tells a Story ART DIRECTOR

Anita Cook

rawing is a powerful narrative tool. It has been used to tell stories
by artists ranging from Gustave Dor in his illustrations of classic Courtney Jordan

literature to R. Crumb in his bawdy countercultural comics to ADVERTISING SALES TEAM LEADER

the contemporary artist William Kentridge in his thought-provoking FINE ART DIVISION

animations. In this issue we look at a few of the countless ways drawing Mary McLane (970) 290-6065
can be put to use to tell a story.

We first learn about the career of Robert McCloskey, the writer and ADVERTISING SPECIALIST

illustrator of several classic picture books, who began his stories by de- Carol Lake (385) 414-1439
veloping the images first and writing the words second (page 26). Matt
Phelan, a graphic novelist, takes the opposite approach, beginning with MEDIA SALES COORDINATOR
a script and only later turning his words into pictures (page 72). Jerome Barb Prill (800) 726-9966 ext. 13435
Witkin discusses his large-scale figure drawings, which often include
narrative or allegorical elements (page 32).
Other articles offer important drawing lessons. Jon deMartin offers
some advice relating to the challenge of depicting the head and face (page
44). Scott Waddell demonstrates his figure-drawing process, focusing on
creating a realistic sense of three dimensions (page 66). We celebrate the F+W, A Content + eCommerce Company
coming of spring with a few thoughts about materials useful for working
en plein air (page 16), and we discuss how artists accustomed to realism CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Debra Delman
can begin experimenting with abstraction (page 22). CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Joe Seibert
Finally, in what has become a spring tradition for Drawing, we pres- CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER Joe Romello
ent the winners of our annual Shades of Gray Competition (page 54). CHIEF CONTENT STRATEGIST Steve Madden
The results speak to the wonderfully imaginative and rigorous drawings VP, MANUFACTURING & LOGISTICS Phil Graham
being created by artists the world over. VP, CONSUMER MARKETING John Phelan


Scott T. Hill


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Senior Editor contact us at

Send editorial mail to Drawing magazine,

1140 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10001.


6 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

SHERRY CAMHY (Material World) is a faculty member of JOHN A . PA R KS (Truth, Narrative and Life Itself) is an artist
the Art Students League of New York, the School of Visual represented by 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel. He is also a teacher
Arts and New York Universitys Tisch School of the Arts. at the School of Visual Arts, in New York City, and a frequent
She is the author of Art of the Pencil: A Revolutionary Look at contributor to Drawing, as well as the author of Universal Principles of
Drawing, Painting and the Pencil. For more information, visit Art. View his work at
SCO T T WA DDEL L (Drawing With Depth) studied classical
M A RG A R E T D AV ID S ON (First Marks) is an artist, illustrator drawing and painting at the Florence Academy of Art and
and former teacher at the Gage Academy of Art, in Seattle. the Water Street Atelier. He teaches workshops throughout
She is the author of Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and the country and conducts online courses through his Online
Techniques. For more information, visit Mentoring Program. He also produces instructional videos
including a new release titled The Art of Drawing. For more
JON DEMARTIN (Drawing Fundamentals) is the author of information,
Drawing Atelier: The Figure. This summer he will teach
workshops at Studio Incamminati, in June; Grand Central A U S T IN R . W IL L I A M S (Sketchbook, Back in Black and White
Atelier, in July; and the Bay Area Classical Artist Atelier, in July and Make Way for Picture Books) is the senior editor of Drawing.
and August. He also teaches at the Chelsea Classical Studio
School of Fine Art. To view his work and to learn more about MICH A EL W OODS ON (Sketchbook, Drawing When the Story
his workshops, visit Comes First and New & Notable) is the associate editor of Drawing.







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The Comic Book Spirit
edited by John Lind
Kitchen Sink Books /
Dark Horse Comics
176 pages

This March saw the hundredth birth-

day of Will Eisner (19172005), the
creator of the masked hero the Spirit
and a major figure in the history of
American comics. Eisners centennial
is being celebrated with exhibitions
of his original drawings at the Society
of Illustrators, in New York City, and
Le Muse de la Bande Dessine (The
Comics Museum), in Angoulme,
France. The two shows jointly serve as ABOVE
Eisner at the
the basis for the book Will Eisner: The drawing board in
Centennial Celebration, which collects his Tarmac, Florida,
studio, ca. 1993.
hundreds of pages of Eisners artwork,
including early comics, full issues of
The Spirit, cartoons he created during ABOVE RIG HT
his years in the army and pages from Cover to Wizard:
his late graphic novels. It features The Guide to
Comics (Wizard
essays by Paul Gravett, Denis Kitchen Press, 1993)
and John Lind and an introduction by 1993, ink.
Jean-Pierre Mercier. All images this
Eisner was born in Brooklyn article Will
Eisner Studios, Inc.
and began drawing comics in the THE SPIRIT and
mid-1930s. In 1940, he created the WILL EISNER are
trademarks owned
Spirit, a masked vigilante who fought by Will Eisner
crime in a series of standalone, 7-page Studios, Inc. and
are registered in
episodes that Eisner both wrote and the U. S. Patent and
drew. Ranging in style from suspense- Trademark Office.

ful to absurdist, The Spirit appeared in

syndicated comics sections in Sunday
newspapers. At its peak the comic
reached 5 million readers a week.
In 1942 Eisner was drafted into
the Army, which took advantage of his
talents by setting him to work crafting
instructional cartoonsoften featuring
the bumbling soldier Joe Dope
concerning topics such as the proper
Page 1 to The Soaring Sixties, The Spirit, 1972
care of arms and equipment. After
1972, ink. Printed in The Someday Funnies (Abrams ComicArts, 2011).

10 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

the war Eisner returned
to working on The Spirit,
which other artists had con-
tinued in his absence. He
continued the series until
1952, when he switched
his attention to educational
comics published through
the American Visual Cor-
poration, which he founded
in 1951.
Throughout its run,
The Spirit was unusual in
both its content and its for-
mat. As Gravett writes, The
short stories of The Spirit
from 1940 to 1952 provided
a unique, spacious and
unusually flexible format
available for free through
mass-circulation newspa-
perswith constant experi-
mentation, which Eisner
later described as almost a
continuing laboratory. Each
week he could begin again
with a fresh approach and
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Title Page to Il Duces Locket, The Spirit, May 25, 1947

1947, ink.

style, and perhaps a different, often one-off, character as the

focus. Eisner was untethered from the demands of an ad-
venture strips ever-present heroic lead and lengthy serialized
continuities, while also enjoying enough comic book-sized
pages to develop intense narrative and characterization.
Eisners work was like nothing else published in the
1940sor for some time after. Eisner was ahead of his
time, the first postmodern comics author, fully playing
with the codes of the form he was working with (the noir
novel) while introducing a kind of ironic distancing for
the first time, writes Mercier, in his introduction. He
gambled on the intelligence of the reader, making him
or her think about the very form of comics. It had to be
revolutionary in the 1940s, still was in the 1970s, and is
still pretty darn innovative today.

12 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Title Page to
New Year, The
Spirit, December
31, 1950
1950, ink.

Cover to A Contract
With God
1978, pen-and-ink
with wash on board.
isner would typically begin a cartoon with rough draw-
ings in graphitemost of which are now lostthen
progress to more finished graphite drawings on Bristol
board or illustration board, which he would then ink. At
first he drew with pens, like most cartoonists of the time,
but soon he made a change to his materials that signifi-
cantly altered the look and feel of his drawings. Eisners
early shift to a more realistic style was accompanied by the
use of brushes, writes Denis Kitchen, whose essay focus-
es on Eisners drawing tools and techniques. He became
what many comics historians regard as the consummate
brush man. One of his distinctive trademarks is feath-
ering, the quick, tapering, usually parallel brushstrokes
within a figure or object that give the illusion of shading.
The artist favored Japanese brushes, and at the out-
break of World War II, foreseeing that Japanese imports
would soon cease, he bought a large supply that lasted
him decades. Brush-and-ink remained Eisners princi-
pal medium throughout his life, although in some later
works he introduced ink-and-wash to produce more varied
shades of gray. He also painted the covers for many of his
books, often using a combination of ink lines and water-
color and working in acrylic on occasion.


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14 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM
In the late 1960s and early 1970s Eisners work became a favorite of
many artists working in the underground comix scene, and in 1966,
more than a decade after the original series ended, The Spirit re-emerged
when Eisner penned a new story satirizing the 1966 New York City
mayoral race. In the following years old episodes of The Spirit began to be
republished, and the artist created a number of new Spirit stories during
the 1970s. Interest in The Spirit has remained high ever since, and the
series has been republished in whole or in part in several anthologies.
In the late 1970s Eisner embarked on a new chapter in his already
legendary career when he published A Contract With God, a collection of
linked stories set in contemporary New York. It is sometimes consid-
ered the first modern graphic novel, a term Eisner himself helped to
popularize. The artist went on to turn A Contract With God into a trilogy
and write several additional graphic novels.
By the 1980s Eisner was widely acknowledged as one of the most ac-
complished artists and writers in the history of comic books. A major testa-
ment to his influence came in 1988, when the comic-book industry named
its new annual awards program the Eisner Awards. He debunked the
truism that as creators age, they inevitably sink into formula and repetition
or gradually decline in quantity or quality, Gravett writes. Eisner brought
to the form his maturity, his artistry developed through the decades, and Drawing From A Life Force
his own lived and contemplated experience. He demonstrated that comics 1988, ink.

need not be solely a young persons game, but a lifelong quest. Y


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MATERIAL WORLD Getting the most out of drawing media

Outward Bound

ave you ever drawn or painted with the earth un-
derfoot, the sky above and the sun or the moon
as your source of light? If not, you should fol-
low the path of countless artists and give it a try.
In the late 1800s, the French Impressionists coined
the term en plein air, which was then adopted by artists
the world over to refer to artwork done outdoors by direct
observation. The concept was to study nature and light first
with drawings, then in color notes, painted sketches and
paintings completed on-siteor perhaps to return to the
studio where more formal, finished compositions could be
created. In time, each of these steps became considered an
art form of its own, admired for its characteristic merits.


If youre new to working en plein air, drawing is a great way
to start. Choose someplace special, or just go wandering and
let the place find you. Sit on a rock or on the ground. Observe.
Then, begin anywhere. What matters most is simply starting.
As you draw, try to follow the advice of Asher B. Durand
(17961886). Take pencil and paper, not palette and
brushes, he wrote in Letters on Landscape Painting. Form is
the first subject to gain your attentiondraw with scru-
pulous fidelity the outline or contour of such subjects as
you shall select. If your subject be a tree, observe par-
ticularly wherein it differs from those of other species.
Enjoy the experience. Return to your favorite sites
Palacios Nazares, Alhambra at different times of day and in different seasons.
by Timothy Clark, 2016, pen-and-ink, 9 x 6 14 . Timothy J. Clark. Carry more than one surface to work on as the day-
light changes and new ideas occur. Stop when you are
Artist Kirk Van Tassel sketching in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. tired. If you are using graphite, slip a sheet of waxed

16 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

The Rocky Mountains, Landers Peak
by Albert Bierstadt, 1863, oil, 73 x 120. Collection The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.
Bierstadt (18301902) endured great hardships in order to travel to the Rocky Mountains, where he did many drawings
and painted sketches. He brought these back to his studio, in New York, and used them as the basis for grand, panoramic
landscapes such as this.

paper between pages or spray them lightly with matte work-

able fixative to protect against smudging. When youve finished
a drawing, note the date, the time and the place. Sign your
name. What youve done is truly yours, and hopefully it is, in
Durands words, unmingled with the superstitions of Art.
You can spend a lifetime creating rewarding plein air
drawings with nothing more than pencil and paper. But if
youre eager to try other media and techniques, you can fol-
low the lead of any number of master artists. For instance
Vincent van Gogh (18531890), inspired by the drawings of
Hokusai (17601849), did countless studies of the fields of
France using pens made of hollow reeds cut to diagonal points,
which he dipped in walnut ink. You can try the same.


If youd like to add color notes to your plein air drawings, there
are several ways to do so. You can work on toned paper, using
graphite, charcoal or sanguine Cont for darker values and white
charcoal for lighter values. Alternatively, you can work on white
paper with a selection of colored pencils or erasable ballpoint
pens. Colored ink washes work well over a pencil sketch, as do
water-soluble colored pencils or crayons, which can be used Portable painting supplies include water-soluble pencils and crayons
dry or wet. To work wet, you can use a traditional brush, or you (above) and watercolor blocks (below).
may want to try one that has a self-contained water supply.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 17

Pastel is favored for plein air work by many artistsDegas
(18341917), for example. He often started his landscapes with
a charcoal underdrawing on a surface similar to tracing paper,
attached to a rough-surfaced card. He then applied dense,
crosshatched pastel marks. He used opposing colorssuch
as mixing blue-greens with salmons and pinksto create
dynamic blends of hues. He fixed each layer using shellac
diluted with alcohol to build a new surface for the next layer.
To follow Degas lead, choose a limited palette of pastel
pencils, sharpened Nupastels and soft pastels. Organize
them by color, and pack them tightly in rice or cotton
balls in cigar boxes. You can bind a few boxes together
with thick rubber bands or bungee cords. You can also try
PanPastels, which come in small round plastic contain-
ers and can be applied with brushes like dry paint. As for
surfaces, slightly sanded pastel boards will give you a rough
texture. Equipped with a can of quality workable fixative
you can, like Degas, work in many layers on one drawing.
You can also take the plunge into full-color drawing with
watercolor. A highly portable field box can fit almost every-
thing you need: 12 half-pan watercolor blocks, a brush, a
water container, a sponge and a palette. You may also want
to carry small tubes of white gouache or select other colors.
Disposable yogurt containers are useful for keeping clean and

Many common household items

can be put to creative use for
painting en plein air. Yogurt con-
tainers can be filled with water, Golden Sunflowers and Gold Finch, Buttonwood Farm, Connecticut
and milk bottles can be used to by Kathy Anderson, 2013, oil, 32 x 18.
hold paper towels, pencils and Almost all of my paintings are started en plein air and finished in my studio
paintbrushes. Cotton pads and from sketches and photo reference, says Anderson.
Q-tips can be used for blending.

dirty water separate. Remember

clean water makes for clean colors.
For your surface, try a pad of cold-
or hot-pressed watercolor paper. To help keep
acrylic pigments

EQUIPMENT moist between

uses, you can
store paints in
Thanks in part to innovations spurred
the separate
by artists in the 19th century, con-
sections of a
temporary artists can bring a whole plastic fishing
range of art equipment on location tackle box. Rest
without much difficulty. Lightweight a wet cloth in-
metal easels come with telescop- side the lid and
ing tripod legs and compact storage store the box in
containers. Folding chairs that can the refrigerator.
be carried like backpacks make it
possible to set up comfortably in

18 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Acrylic paints can be kept
moist and ready to use on
location by storing them in
a plastic fishing tackle box.

almost any environment.

Pack carefully. Take as
little as possible, but dont
forget bug spray, sunscreen,
paper towels, garbage bags
and a hat. Wear comfortable
shoes and layered clothing.
Try to dress in neutral colors,
because bright colors and white
reflect onto work surfaces
historically artists smocks were gray, blue or black for this
reason. If you notice this becoming an issue, consider using
a compact umbrella that can attach to your easel to filter glar-
ing light and make it easier to appraise values and colors.

At a Still Point
by Sherry Camhy, 2017, oil on unstretched canvas, 35 x 29. Painted at
Munson Pond, in Pleasantville, New York.






If you would like to paintwhether informal stud-
ies or more finished plein air paintingsthe task is a bit
sponsored by more complicated. Some painting equipment to consider:
Paint tubes are heavy, so pack a limited number of
small tubes. An alternative is to put some of each
Enjoy the prestige of colormore than you think youll needon a
seeing your work on the disposable palette and store this in a plastic paint
saver box, ready to be used on location.
cover of Southwest Art! Water-soluble oil paints make it possible to wash
brushes with water, but be careful not to dilute the
Your best artwork could win national paints with too much water.
exposure, a $2,000 cash prize and online Consider palette knives in lieu of some brushes.
coverage from Southwest Art. No matter your Various mediums can help control the drying time
of your paint. If you use acrylic, in particular, you
preferred medium, style and subject, you have may be interested in a slow-drying medium. A plant
a chance to take home the First Place Award. water sprayer can come in handy as well.
Stretched canvases can be cumbersome, so some
plein air artists work on cut sheets of primed canvas
that can later be stretched in the studio. Lightweight
boards are a wonderful alternative to canvas and are
Prizes: available in a wide range of shapes and sizes.

First Place: $2000

Carrying cases are useful for bringing wet
paintings home safe.

It used to be that painting outdoors was an occupa-

Second Place: $1000 tion largely reserved for wealthy travelers completing their
grand tour of cultural sites. Today, however, were all free
Third Place: $500 to travel near or far and create art on location. Throw your
preferred supplies in a backpack, hit the road, and enjoy an
10 Honorable Mentions: adventure drawing or painting en plein air. Y
$100 gift certicate
to North Light Shop

The 13 winning artists

will be published in the
December 2017 issue
of Southwest Art and
one lucky winners work
will be chosen for that
issues cover art. Theyll
also be showcased on

JUNE 15, 2017

Artist Harriet Slaughter painting en plein air in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
for complete guidelines and to enter today!

20 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

View From the Bridge
by Sherry Camhy, 1997, water-soluble pastel and pencil on cream paper, 8 x 11.
FIRST MARKS Introductory lessons in drawing

Approaching Abstraction:
Gridded Drawings
Abstraction in art is a fascinating thing,
as it is both quite young and very old.
Some abstract imagessuch as grids,
squiggly lines and patterns of dots
have been found in prehistoric caves
and are roughly 30,000 years old. But
artists in the Western world did not
actively promote and pursue abstrac-
tion until the late-19th century when,
thanks in large part to the influence of
Czanne (18391906) and the Impres-
sionists before him, artists began to
pay attention to something other than
the subject. They began to concentrate
instead on color, brushstrokes, surfaces,
the nature of paint itself and the science
of light. They started openly asking
questions about the act of seeing, the
nature of reality and the essence of
truthquestions were still debating
today. Throughout the 20th and 21st cen-
turies, artists have continued to explore
these questions by delving deeply into
concepts of abstraction.
Artists such as Piet Mondrian
(18721944), Paul Klee (18791940)
and later Chuck Close (1940) ex-
plored one method for arriving at ab-
stract images: They reinterpreted re-
alistic images through a grid. There
are many ways to do this, and those
three artists produced very differ-
ent work even though they started
from the same general idea. In this
article well learn one particular way
of starting with a recognizable im-
age and reinterpreting it through a
grid to produce an abstract image.
Really, as soon as you apply a grid to
any image, you are entering the world
Static-Dynamic Gradation
by Paul Klee, 1923, oil and gouache on paper bordered with gouache, watercolor and ink, mounted on of abstraction, which is only slightly dif-
cardboard, 17 x 11. Collection The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York. ferent from the world of realism. Both
are full of beauty and subtlety, and both
are worth spending time in. Realism is

22 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

gle value to be the sum of all the tonali-
ties in that square. I filled the corre-
sponding square in my new drawing
with this value. (See Illustration 3, next
page.) I did not limit the number of
tonal choicesmany values are repre-
sented over the entire gridded drawing.
You can see that the gridded im-
age is no longer recognizable as a vase,
leaves and pears. All of that is gone, re-
placed by a flat network of squares of
various values. However, you can see
that something has determined where
the different values go; there is an in-
fluence coming from somewhere.

Illustration 1
This is a fairly basic still life, set close to eye level
and lit from the left with a desk lamp.

Illustration 2
I drew a 1"-x-1" grid with ink on a piece of clear
acetate and laid it over my original drawing.

a world of illusion, and one reason art-

ists pushed their art into abstraction is
because they were searching for truth,
as opposed to illusion. They found that
truth in flatness, and you can too.

Lets begin with a basic still life I drew
showing two pears and a small pat-
terned vase filled with leaves. I set up
the still life high enough so that it was
nearly eye-level, shined a light on it
from the left and drew it in graphite.
(See Illustration 1.) Next I drew a 1"-x-1"
grid on a piece of clear acetate and laid
it on top of my finished drawing. (See
Illustration 2.)
This view, through the grid, showed
me what to do next. I took another piece
of paper the same size as my drawing
and lightly drew another 1"-x-1" grid.
Then I went square by square through
my original drawing and chose a sin-

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 23

Illustration 3
Here the fun began. On
another piece of paper,
I lightly drew a matching
grid. I then shaded each
square with a single to-
nality that represented
the sum of the tonalities
that reside in that
square in the original
drawing. Figuring that
out is actually quite

Illustration 4
To make things even
more removed from
the recognizable
image, I made a 2"-x-2"
grid and laid it over my
original drawing.

I repeated this exercise using a 2"-x-2" grid. (See

Illustration 4.) This time, when drawing the abstracted ver-
sion of the grid I limited myself to four tonalities: black, white You can take this exercise further by substituting other
and two grays. (See Illustration 5.) The larger grid leads to an elements for the original tonalities. They can be different
even less recognizable image, putting us firmly in the realm colors or patternsanything as long as the value relation-
of abstraction. The main structure in Illustration 5 is its flat- ships remain the same. I made two more pieces based on
ness; it certainly inspires no more thoughts about vases or my larger gridded image. Illustration 6 is composed of
pears, and not even about space or depth. The rules of com- squares of colored paper, with the values of each corre-
position apply but just to the balance of the values of the vari- sponding to the values seen in Illustration 5. Illustration
ous squares, and the thoughts this drawing inspires all con- 7 is made from squares of photocopied textiles, again
cern values and the relations of the squares to one another. keeping the values consistent.

Illustration 5
I again drew a gridded
version of my original
drawing, this time ap-
plying more restrictions.
I reduced each squares
collective tonalities to
one of only four values:
black, dark gray, light
gray or white.

Illustration 6
You can continue this
exercise by turning the
gridded abstract drawing
into a cut-paper as-
semblage, with different
values of colored paper
that correspond to the
values in your gridded

24 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

All of the images that have been created by working
through a grid have no depth. The squares are on the
same plane, so these pictures are in the realm of flatness.
Even Illustration 7 feels flat overall, despite the fact that it
is composed of photo fragments of real objects. Flatness
that is as obvious as this no longer produces an illusion
of depth or realism of any kindit is wholly abstract.
However, if you think about it, all drawing is flat. My
drawing of the vase with leaves and pears is trying to pro-
duce an illusion of three-dimensionality, but when you
boil it down to its most basic constituents, its just pen-
cil marks on a flat piece of paper. Even a stunning chalk
portrait by Rubens or a graphite landscape by Wyeth
is, in truth, marks on a flat piece of paper. This truth is
what those artists inspired by Czanne were pursuing,
and its something artists today continue to search for.
Of course, what we like about those drawings by
Rubens and Wyeth is that they take us away from the truth
of the flatness and out into fields and trees. Realistic art
takes us into a beautiful illusion. Abstract art, meanwhile,
Illustration 7
keeps us right here with the paper and the marks. It gives You can even substitute other images for the tonalities, as long as the values
us a chance to understand, if we take the time to look, that match. Here I used photocopied textiles as my source for squares of paper in
there is beauty here too. Interpreting your own drawing four values. I created these photocopies myself, but you could use pictures
cut out from magazines, wallpaper samples or anything that creates an
through a grid is one way to explore this for yourself. Y understandable visual tonality.

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Make Way for
The drawings of Robert McCloskey, the writer
and illustrator of such childrens classics as
Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal,
are celebrated in a Boston exhibition.

ts been three-quarters of a century since Mrs. Mallard first led her
brood of ducklings across the crowded city streets to the safety of
Boston Public Garden. Robert McCloskeys (19142003) Make Way
for Ducklings celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, and the occasion
is being commemorated by Make Way for Ducklings: The Art of
Robert McCloskey, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). The ex-
hibitionwhich was first presented by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture
Book Art, in Amherst, Massachusettsincludes McCloskeys preparatory
drawings for Make Way for Ducklings, as well as artwork from other books
that McCloskey both authored and illustrated, such as Blueberries for Sal
(1948) and Burt Dow, Deep Water-Man (1963).
Drawing recently spoke with Meghan Melvin, the Jean S. and Frederic
A. Sharf Curator of Design at the MFA, who organized the museums pre-
sentation of the exhibition. We discussed McCloskeys career, the lengths
he went to research his subjects, and the reasons for his books enduring

DRAWING: What sort of artistic training did Robert McCloskey

have? Did he always intend to write childrens books?
MEGHAN MELVIN: He dabbled in various things growing up; he was a
musician and a tinkerer, in addition to having artistic aptitude. He did
some drawing, printmaking and sculpture in high school, and he won a
scholarship to study in Boston at the Vesper George School of Art. From
there he went on to the National Academy of Design, in New York.
McCloskey really thought of himself as an artist and painter. A fre-
quent recipient of scholarships and travel awards, he was an active artist
during the 1930s, but he found that he couldnt make a living from selling
his paintings, so he moved into illustration based on advice he received
from May Massee. Hes quoted as saying he fell into childrens illustration;
he didnt even know it was a profession.

26 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

DR: Who was Massee, and what this exhibition came aboutmany of DR: Who were some of McCloskeys
was her role in the creation of the drawings are from May Massees major artistic influences?
Make Way for Ducklings? archive, which resides at Emporia
MM: He had a great love of classical
State University, in Kansas.
MM: She was an editor at Viking Press art, and if you look at his books
McCloskey had very lofty aspira-
and an important figure in the history youll see references to Greek and
tions, and Massee was the person who
of 20th-century childrens literature Roman mythology, for instance in
advised him to concentrate on what
and publishing. She was the aunt the choice of names, such as Homer
he knew. Thats why in his first story,
of one of McCloskeys high school and Ulysses. In some works you
Lentil, he wrote about a young boy in
classmateshe first met her when he
a small town in the Midwest who gets
began his studies in New York. He had
up to all sorts of hijinks. Hed grown Drawing for Make Way for Ducklings
a lifelong working relationship with (There they waded ashore and waddled
up in Hamilton, Ohio, so he went back along till they came to the highway,)
her, and many of his books were pub-
and drew on his personal experience. 1941, graphite.
lished through Viking. Thats also how

Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and May Massee Collection, Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 27

Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and May Massee Collection, Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives.

Final Illustration for Burt Dow, Deep Water-man (Then Burt opened a leftover gallon of yellow deck paint and started sloshing it around,
dribbling-little-bit-here, a-little-bit-there. He was beginning to enjoy himselfprobably because it was the first time hed ever had a
chance to express his personality in paint.)
1963, watercolor.

can see the influence of 19th- and Ducklings by bringing ducklings into DR: Did McCloskey go through
20th-century artists such as Winslow his apartment and living with them. many sketches or drafts before
Homer, Thomas Hart Benton and Its clear from his sketches that producing a finished drawing?
Edward Hopper. He was also very he was really studying them. Hes
MM: I dont know precisely, but its
attuned to contemporary develop- keenly understanding their move-
clear that it was a multistep process,
ments in art. ment, the textures of their feathers,
and sketches do survive for most of
et cetera. In some of his sketches, it
his published works. For the stories
DR: It sounds like McCloskey did seems to me that he is trying to look
he authored himself, he said that he
an amazing amount of research at an adult duck from the viewpoint
conceived of the pictures first and
when he was working on Make of a duckling. The Boston Public Li-
then added the text. He also knew the
Way for Ducklings. At one point brary has several of his sketchbooks
size of the publication and drew his
he was keeping ducks as pets in that can be seen online. [Visit flickr.
illustrations to the published size.
his apartment? com/boston_public_library.]
The same emphasis on research
MM: Yes! McCloskey was very commit- applied to his work on Blueberries for DR: Make Way for Ducklings
ted throughout his life to the idea that was originally planned to be in
Sal. He studied bears in the Central
close observation and drawing helps color. When in the process was it
Park Zoo, in New York. He must
us perceive the world more clearly. decided to switch to black-and-
have spent days there, watching
In his acceptance speech for his white? Why the change?
them engage in all possible activities
second Caldecott Medal, he strongly
and from every angle. His sketches MM: I think it was relatively early on,
emphasized the importance of repeat
reveal that he was looking at their although he did some color sketches.
observation and studying your
motions, body positions, facial ex- It was primarily a budgetary concern,
subject matter before completing
pressions and the texture of their fur because of the high cost of printing
your drawings.
very closely. during the war.
He did that for Make Way for

28 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Make Way for Ducklings: The Art of Robert McCloskey is on
view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through June 18. For Unpublished Drawing for Lentil (His favorite place
to practice was in the bathtub, because there the
more information, visit tone was improved one hundred percent)
ca. 1940, ink on illustration board.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and May Massee Collection, Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 29

Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and May Massee Collection, Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives.

Drawing for Make Way for Ducklings (He planted himself in the center of the road, raised one hand to stop traffic, and then beckoned with
the other, the way policemen do, for Mrs. Mallard to cross over,)
1941, graphite.

DR: Can you talk about McCloskeys skills at composition? I love that in
Make Way for Ducklings every drawing seems alive with movement.
MM: He often used very classical or Renaissance-influenced composition. His
daughter, Jane McCloskey, wrote a book about his work, and she dedicates an entire
chapter to design and symmetry in his artwork.
The thing that strikes me with Make Way for Ducklingsand this didnt hit me un-
til I looked at the drawings on a wallis that the vantage point keeps shifting. Again,
hes going back to thinking from the viewpoint of a duck. So you have some aerial
views and some compositions with a very low view coming more from a ducklings
perspective. Hes also pulling away in some drawings and pulling in closer in others.
That sort of shifting is a distinctive feature of the book. Whereas with Blueberries for
Sal, for instance, there is a more continuous presentation of the scene, as well as a
clear balance between white space and the image.

DR: Tell me about McCloskeys connection to Boston and to the region. He

grew up in Ohio, but was he a New Englander for most of his life?
MM: He only lived in Boston for a couple years; he was actually in New York when he
wrote Make Way for Ducklings. But after the war he and his wife bought a summer
home on an island in Maine, and ultimately they settled there permanently.
He also traveled a great deal. He won the Rome Prize in 1939 but was not able to
enjoy the award until after the war, when he moved with his wife and two daughters
to Rome. They traveled a great deal in Europe. He also spent time in Mexico and
on Saint Thomas. He must have had drawing implements in his hand at all times,
because his daughters book is filled with sketches from his travels, Mexico espe-
cially. He sketched his environment seemingly continuously, capturing his family,
passersby and local architecture.

30 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

DR: McCloskeys books feel very much of their time, Its become a little bit of a joke that I start all my tours
with a sense of optimism and stability that seems of the exhibition by asking: Who has read the book?
characteristic of postwar America to me. Nicholas Who has read it to someone else? Who has bought it for
Clark [the exhibitions curator at the Carle Museum] somebody? By the time I get through those questions,
has called McCloskey the picture-book equivalent virtually everyone has raised their hand. One way or
of Norman Rockwell. Do you agree with that another, many people have some personal connection with
assessment? Is that part of the appeal of his books? this book. And it seems that even within its first decade it
had become very popular.
MM: To a certain extent yes, and to me that comes across
Winning the Caldecott always helps, too, as does the
particularly in the books that draw on his youth in Ohio:
fact that Boston, I think, holds a special place in many
Lentil, Homer Price and Centerburg Tales. I do think theres
peoples hearts. And theres a timeless aspect to the book;
an idyllic or nostalgic aspect to the works that must have
you can still recognize Boston in it today. I also think the
even been perceived at the time, and Nic Clark sees them as
drawings of the ducks in particular are just fabulous
an escape from the anxiety of the postwar and Korean-war
McCloskeys skill really is in capturing animals.
eras. But to explain their appeal you also have to think about
Finally, the Make Way for Ducklings statue in the Bos-
what other childrens literature was available at the time. I
ton Public Garden has only served to amplify and deepen
think McCloskeys books have more personality and humor
the connection with the book; its really a landmark ev-
than many others, say the Dick and Jane books, although
erybody goes to see. I just met someone who moved here
those may have had charming illustrations.
recently from Missouri. She had never read the book un-
til she was introduced to it through the sculpture, which
DR: Why do you think Make Way for Ducklings, in her grandmother told her to go see. So thats part of it.
particular, has connected so deeply with so many But even without the sculpture, I think the book would
people throughout the years? be a much beloved classic. Y
MM: I think about that every day! Here in New England,
its just deeply embedded in the memory of childhood.

Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and May Massee Collection, Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives.

Drawing for Blueberries for Sal (Her mother went back to her picking, but Little Sal...sat down in the middle of a large
clump of bushes and ate blueberries,)
1948, ink.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 31

Life Itself
Through drawing, Jerome Witkin engages with
questions of history, faith and human experience.

erome Witkin is a master fabulist, a
maker of mythic tales that he often
tells on a grand scale across multiple
canvases. His themes are anything
but trivial as he takes on such
subjects as religious belief, sexual
politics, the Holocaust, the loss of children,
sickness, torture and human rights. The
narrative power of his paintings is supported
with bravura brushing, a fine sense of the
dramatic possibilities of light and considerable
compositional invention. Underlying the whole
enterprise is a deeply held belief in the power
of drawing as a means of engaging the world
in a way that is immediate, charged and end-
lessly revealing.
All of Witkins paintings grow out of draw-
ings from life. When I draw I tend not to use
photos at all, the artist says. I like and need to
have a person in front of me so that I can react
to them. He points out that to really feel a sub-
jectthe weight of hair and clothing, the shift-
ing attitude and posture, the shimmer and shift
of light, the very reality of the experienceyou
cannot rely on a photograph. I see people
looking at their cell phones all the time, he
says. If only they would look around them
and realize what an extraordinary instrument
they have in their own eyes. They are far more
powerful and amazing than the little computer
in their phones. I regard being able to see as
the most precious thing that I have.
Bride Noir
2011, graphite and charcoal, 80 34 x 45 18 . All artwork this article
courtesy Jack Rutberg Fine Art, Los Angeles, California.

32 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Witkins drawing lan-
guage contains elements of
classical rendering, as well
as a more romantic attention
to movement and drama.
He uses a very personal mix
of line and tone deployed
in a variety of media that
includes pencil, charcoal,
pastel and watercolor. He
generally begins a draw-
ing with line, finding basic
proportions by eye and lay-
ing in shapes and contours
that provide a maximum of
descriptive clarity. Generally
the line quality is sure, even
assertive, but he does vary
the weight and thickness and
often includes broken lines
and passages of more tenta-
tive and delicate drawing.
Once the line is underway
Witkin begins to lay in tone.
His preference for dramatic
lighting allows him clearly
distinguished passages of
shadow, which he blocks in
gently before building and
When he makes erasures
or changes, the artist often
leaves traces of his moves so
that the drawing gradually
incorporates the whole process
and becomes a record of his ac-
tions. Sometimes he uses the
eraser to lighten a dark area
in a charcoal drawing, leaving
soft scumbled marks that
enliven the surface and give
substance and weight to the
object described. He will often
add a small amount of color to
a black-and-white drawing to
guide the viewers eye or aid Vincent van Gogh and Death
1987, mixed media, 84 x 48.
distinctions between elements.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 33

The Beauty
1996, charcoal,
23 x 18.

Witkin also sometimes augments this repertoire with collaged elements, gluing blank areas of paper over
passages he is unhappy with and building up the drawing on top of them.
Although an inveterate drawer in just about any situation, Witkins principal focus is the human figure,
and in his studio he has built small stages on which he can compose scenes and arrange models and props.
A system of controlled lighting allows him to adjust illumination in all manner of ways, and his collection
of costumes and chance acquisitions provides opportunities for storytelling and theatrical invention. At
the root of the operation is his passionate conviction in the authority of looking, the way in which a direct
encounter with the figure generates ideas and action. I view drawing as a demonstration of feeling, a per-
formance, he says. I see it as do or die. It will work, or it wont work.

34 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Witkin is not interested in a perfect rendering or a polished finish. Rather, hes it up behind her back, and I said Let
committed to the living process of looking, in which all the marks, erasures, tries, me tie it around you, and we laughed
failures and successes of the draftsman leave their traces on the page. I was just about it. And then it hit me, looking at
looking at a reproduction of Drers drawing of his mother, he says, and the thing this, that women think of themselves
that is wonderful is that you can see the way he is using the charcoal. You can tell in that way. They feel that in some
the pressure of his hand and the weight of his mark. As I look at this drawing I can mens eyes they are merely available
reconstruct how he touched the paper. You can see that he drew this in one shot objects, like luggage. We talked about
and kept going until his mother probably said in German, Youre making me look it, and she agreed with me that this
old, or something. You are right there with the artist. You are in a performance. was so, and I did the drawing. Ive had
The drawing is a performance. You are inside a performance of feeling. a lot of women who love that drawing,

and they tell me that it says what they
iven this credo it is hardly surprising that being drawn by Witkin is an feel.
intense experience, and he will often have a model come back many times. A fruitful interaction between artist
It costs me a lot of money, the artist quips, but he has found that the time and model also led to Bride Noir (page
spent over multiple sessions can lead to rewarding departures. His drawing The 32), a life-size drawing in which a bride
Beauty Contest, for instance, came about when he gave a model a break one day. points a gun and stares out with an
She was walking around the studio looking at some of the things lying around, expression that makes us believe she
and she came across a big tag on a piece of luggage, Witkin recalls. She put is prepared to use it. The model had
been posing for me for a long time,
says Witkin. One day she told me that
she owned her mothers bridal gown,
and I asked her to bring it in. It so hap-
pened that I had been looking through
a book on film noir, all those great
black-and-white dramas from the 1950s
and 1960s. When the model put on the
dress she didnt seem to know what to
do with her hands. I had this very life-
like snub-nosed revolver in the studio,
and I said to her, Dont hold flowers,
hold this. We were laughing about it,
so really we were having fun. Its such
a life-giving thing to react to a situation
like that. I lit it with strong contrast
and did the whole thing in one sitting.
Really I was singing and laughing with
the pencil. It took about three hours,
and when it was done I thought, My
God, it worked.

Lynn Simmer
1982, graphite, 24 x 19.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 35

Study for the
Daughters of
Peter Rounds
(The Twins)
ca. 2005, graphite,
Cont crayon, Pris-
macolor crayon
and collage,
45 x 34.

Not all of Witkins drawings are completed in Joel-Peter Witkin. I asked both of them to take
such a direct rush. Study for the Daughters of Peter a pose that felt natural. One didnt do much but
Rounds (The Twins), for instance, is a large-scale folded her arms, a kind of distant pose. The other
double portrait in which the artist used a collage took a more open posture, resting her arm on an ea-
technique to erase sections and build up the draw- sel and leaning forward. I did the drawing on a very
ing. The girls are identical twins, something I feel large piece of stretched paper. Its a process where
close to because Im also an identical twin, says you wet the paper and then staple it to a stretcher
Witkin, whose twin brother is the photographer and it dries tight as a drum. When something didnt

36 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Lisa Asleep and Cat
2000, ink, 2212 x 15.

work in the drawing I took another

piece of paper and glued it on top of
the drawing with Elmers glue. Here
theres a kind of linkage between the
drawing and the painting process. In
painting you can cover a section and
repaint, and with this technique I can
do the same thing in drawing.
As he proceeded with the drawing
Witkin was not afraid to collage over
the edges of his painting, creating an
intriguing and organic border to the
work. As usual he introduced vari-
ous props, setting a pirate hat on the
easel next to one model and including
a mannequin at the bottom. He also
explored some interesting composi-
tional ideas in which diagonals in the
figures are picked up in the back-
ground and other parts of the picture.
Eventually he made a painting based
on the drawing in which the two girls
are presented as waiting to be pho-
tographed by a young woman with a
large, old-fashioned plate camera. The
natural poses of the models, devel-
oped in the drawing, now assume a
Hannah Posing
narrative role, as precursors to more 2003, charcoal, 24 x 18.
studied posing for the camera. In
effect the painting becomes a medita-
tion on the transformative nature and
power of photography. Photographic
imagery has revolutionized peoples
understanding of when and how to see
something, says Witkin.
Sometimes Witkin builds on ideas
developed in his drawings to explore
his own past. For instance, in The
Presentation of Jimmys White Suit
(page 39) the artist sets out to investi-
gate his feelings about religion and the
nature of his own beliefs. At the time
I was going through this whole thing
of, What do I believe? Am I a Chris-
tian, a Jew or nothing? Witkin had a
Jewish father and a Catholic mother.
His father left the family when Witkin
was young and he was raised Catholic,
but this mixed background eventually

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 37

2005, colored pencil and
graphite on toned paper,
25 x 19.

led Witkin to consider converting to Judaism because they already have one.
as an adult. I went and spoke to a rabbi. But For the drawing, Witkin built a large tent
I found that with going to Catholic schools, in his studio, where he posed a 16-year-old
Jesus had been etched on me. I couldnt erase model. Hes a child who thinks hes the sec-
him. So Ive spent time going to synagogues ond coming, the artist says. Hes sitting on
where Jewish people believe that Jesus was this little bed and theres a cross beside him
the messiah. They dont have to wait for one, and a saints statue. Hes being presented

38 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

with this white suit, and hes going to change that suggests stress and pain in ways both The Presentation of
Jimmys White Suit
the world. Witkin admits that he identifies dramatic and subtle. Completed after a 1987, charcoal and mixed
with the young teenager imagining himself painful and unnerving round with the doc- media, 48 x 84.
as a messiah. He went on to paint a cycle of tors, the artist explores his own reactions
paintings following the progress of the boy. It and his new condition. I felt as though I
doesnt work out well, he says. Over five pan- aged 10 years, he says.
els he sees death and destruction, explosions On occasion Witkins drawings come
and disasters. In the last panel hes back in the at the end, rather than the beginning, of a
same position, only now theres a Ouija board major narrative painting. His portrait Re-
and a bar, a kind of nihilistic situation. becca Stronger (page 40) is a commemora-

tion of a young student who volunteered to
itkin may be best-known for his large- model for the artist when he was making
scale and highly ambitious narratives, a series of paintings about the Holocaust.
but he can be equally powerful in direct Jewish herself, the girl willingly shaved
portraiture. Like Rembrandt and Van Gogh her head so that she could be drawn as an
he has made numerous self-portraits, which inmate of a death camp. Witkins portrait is
often reflect or dramatize moments in his a tribute to the girls strength and beauty as
life. In Self-Portrait Post-Surgery he shows well as an act of gratitude for her gener-
himself with a curiously twisted expression osity. Here a little pastel color has been

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 39

Rebecca Stronger
1995, mixed media,
50 x 47.

brought into the drawing, and the background charcoal I saw that both of his thumbs were miss-
mixes both paint and charcoal. ing. He had to hold the stick between his fingers
Although much of Witkins work is developed to write. I often wonder what happened to him that
in the studio he does sometimes draw outside, he lost his thumbs. Its one of the things that make
especially when he is traveling. His drawing of the drawing very precious for me.

the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was done on-site
over two days, with the artist using a large piece itkins process of building narratives that arise
of Homasote to support the paper. I had quite through drawing the model has several im-
a crowd watching me, says Witkin, who admits mediate precursors in 20th-century English
that he sometimes enjoys the attention, the feeling art, starting with Stanley Spencer (18911959) and
once again that he is involved in a performance. I evident particularly in the works of Lucien Freud
remember when I was finishing the drawing there (19222011) and the English-Portuguese artist Paula
was a man watching, very interested, and I asked Rego (1935). Witkin spent a couple of years in Eng-
him if he knew anything about the history of the land early in his career and is very familiar with their
mosque. He said yes, he was an architect and knew work. Lucien Freud is truly a heroic figure, he says.
all about it. I asked him if he could write in Arabic, He seemed to start with very little ability. But he re-
and he said he could, so I asked him to write some- ally watched things. He never used photos. And then
thing on my drawing. And when I gave him the he became the most painterly painter. Witkin also

40 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

The Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem
2007, graphite, 24 x 18.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 41

2000, graphite,
23 x 22 .

Study II, The Rain Falls on
the Holy and the Wicked
2006, graphite, 18 x 24.

admires Regos etchings of themes from fairy

tales. She has a kind of Portuguese magical
imagery, he says. Her etching of Pinocchio
being washed is truly poetic. Both Rego and
Freud are looking all the time, and theyre
viciously willing to go the distance, the whole
15 rounds.
These artists fearlessly incorporated their
passions and their responses to the events
and people in their lives into dramatic and
challenging work. Its the kind of art that
Witkin champions. The way contempo-
rary critics work, theres a revulsion at the
possibility of making something meaning-
ful, he says. And the result is a lot of art

42 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Hands as Actors in
Our Twentieth Century
Jung, Hitler, Gandhi
1998, lithograph, 15 x 18.

Left Hand Steadily Employed
1997, lithograph, 13 x 18.

Left Hand as Actor
1998, lithograph, 16 x 19.

that people dont really engage with.

But show them a Velzquez or a good
Alice Neel, and they will remember
it. When you present your vision and
energy and deepest feelings, then its
got to be something special. I think
of Rembrandt painting his wife in
bedit was a precious moment. God
was standing behind him when he did
that. For Witkin the best art address-
es the human condition and tackles
the great questions of meaning and
life. If thats old fashioned, he says,
then call me old fashioned. Y

Jerome Witkin was born in New
York City. He studied art at The
Cooper Union, in New York, and at
the University of Pennsylvania, in
Philadelphia. Throughout his career
he has held dozens of solo exhibi-
tions, and his work can be found in
the collections of museums including
The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
in New York City; the Smithsonians
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture
Garden, in Washington, DC; and the
Uffizi Gallery, in Florence, Italy. Since
1971 Witkin has been an instructor
at Syracuse Universitys College of
Visual and Performing Arts. He is rep-
resented by Jack Rutberg Fine Arts,
in Los Angeles. For more information,
visit or

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 43

Constructing the Forms of the


Our drawings appear

more unified and
lifelike when we are
familiar with the
complex, changing
surfaces of the head
and face.

Head of a Young Man

by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, ca.
17251805, red chalk, 15 x 12 316 .
Collection The Morgan Library &
Museum, New York, New York.

44 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Highest Point of Head

Top of Nasal Bone

Frontal Eminence
Widest Part of Skull Widest Point of Skull
Brow Ridge
Upper Outer
Corner of Orbit

Tear Duct

Base of
Nose Zygomatic Bone
Mastoid Process
Angle of Jawbone

Angle of Jawbone
Point of Chin Point of Chin


very artist who strives to produce recognizable human figures
should have a solid understanding of the most essential forms
that make up the head and face. Having clear conceptions of The skull provides the framework of the
these forms makes it easier for the artist to relate the parts head and face, and figurative artists should
within the whole, and this framework can serve as a point of have a sound understanding of the skulls
departure from which the artist can individualize the forms in order important landmarks. When looking at a
to create a specific likeness. persons face we can see clearly the skulls
There are countless anatomical depictions of the human head influence on the forehead, the temple, the
and face that identify and label all the muscles one might want to brow ridge, the eye sockets, the cheek-
know. However, in my view, this is not the most effective way to un- bones and the bridge of the nose. The
derstand the head and especially the face, for the facial muscles do skull also influences the forms of the side
not impact surface form as directly as one might think. Rather, the of the head, most prominently the jaw.
forms of the face are attributable mainly to skin, fatty tissue, car- In Illustration 1 we see front and side
tilage, the skull and the eyeballs, as well as to some muscles. views of the skull. Dots indicate important
With this in mind, well begin our study of the head by look- points, such as the angle of the jawbone
ing at the skull, after which well discuss how you can familiar- and the corners of the orbitthe cavity in
ize yourself with the heads complex forms and surfaces. Well which the eye sits. Each of these points can
learn how the heads of young and old people differ, and well be used by artists as anchors to help con-
conclude by discussing how to model values on the head. struct the head. These parts also serve as
a structure on which to hang forms.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 45



H 3

F 8
E Main Furrows of the Head
1 Furrow of the Upper Eyelid
Main Forms of the Head
A Forehead F Teeth Cylinder 2 Furrow of the Lower Eyelid
B Temple G Jaw 3 Infraorbital Furrow (Malar Furrow)
C Cheek H Nose 4 Nasolabial Furrow
D Muzzle I Eye 5 Node Furrow
E Chin J Brow 6 Mentolabial Furrow
7 Zygomatic Furrow
8 Secondary Zygomatic Furrow



Classical linear construction holds that we can only truly comprehend a
form when we can put a line or boundary around it. Thus our first aim in
a drawing is to delineate the boundaries of key forms. As the great drafts-
man and teacher Deane Keller put it, Line first, modeling second.
To assist us in delineating, or constructing, the parts of the head, we can look
to Illustration 2, which is based on a lesson I learned from my teacher Michael
Aviano. It shows the most important forms that the artist should be famil-
iar with, including the temples, the muzzle, the cylinder of the teeth and the
jaw. The side view at right indicates the main furrows, grooves or folds found
at the junctions of the heads components. These include the furrow of the up-
per eyelid and the nasolabial furrow, which runs down from the nose around
the edges of the teeth cylinder. These furrows are essentially base boundaries
lines that describe where one form or shape meets or transitions into an-
other. Illustrations 3a and 3b, by the sculptor and teacher douard Lantri
(18481917), show the head with many of these boundaries clearly marked.

46 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

by douard Lantri,
ca. 1904. From the
book Modelling
and Sculpting the
Human Figure.

In essence, these diagrams are arche-

types of many heads rolled into one. In life,
of course, every individual is unique, with
different forms varying from person to per-
son. For instance, youll find that furrows
tend to be more evident in the faces of older
models, whereas on a child they may hardly
be visible. But knowing these forms is es-
sential nevertheless. As Lanteri writes, On
the childs face, where [these forms] seem to
be missing completely, one can, when alert-
ed to their presence, find them indicated by
extremely delicate planes. Understanding
the forms surfaces will give our draw-
ing suppleness, expression and accuracy.

by douard Lantri, ca.
1904. From the book
Modelling and Sculpting
the Human Figure.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 47


1 Edge of the Temporal Fossa

2 Infraorbital Furrow (Malar Furrow)
3 Nasolabial Furrow
4 Secondary Zygomatic Furrow

A Group of Heads (detail)
by Honor Daumier, ca. 18081879, charcoal and pen-and-ink, 6 x 5.
Studying old master drawings, particularly ones that were drawn out of the imagination, is
valuable because we get a glimpse at what the artist felt were the most essential forms in their
head constructions. Daumier knew which forms' base boundaries to emphasize in this drawing
because of his knowledge of the construction underneath.

48 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Man Wearing a Turban
by Jean-Honor Fragonard, ca.
17321806, ink wash, 11 x 9.

boundaries, then move to smaller and subtler ones.

In Illustration 5, I conducted this exercise with a
drawing by Fragonard (17321806). I used solid black
lines to indicate optical boundaries, such as the out-
er boundaries of the nose and the head. I used dot-
ted blue lines to indicate base boundaries, the edg-
es where the different planes of the head meet. Youll
note that Fragonard included some of these lines in
his drawing. Others he did not, and I drew those based
on my own knowledge of the forms of the head.
You can try this exercise on heads of all different
ages, and with practice youll learn to recognize the
most important forms of the head. As your knowl-
edge increases, try drawing heads of younger peo-
ple, where the forms are subtler. See if you can detect
their base boundaries. Be careful not to exaggerate or
youll make people look older than they really are.



In looking at drawings by master artists well
come across heads and faces that demonstrate
clear form conceptions. For example, look at
Illustration 4, a small drawing of two heads by
Honor Daumier (18081879). Youll notice that
Daumier used lines to clearly indicate certain
boundaries, including several of the important fur-
rows on the side of the head. Note that the fur-
rows occur where forms land sharply against
each other, producing a fairly distinct boundary.
You can use Old Master drawings as a way to
practice and learn more about these forms yourself.
Whether you draw from life or from copies, one thing
holds universally true: Make sure that you relate the
larger forms before the smaller ones. Select a nice,
large reproduction of a drawing from a book, cata-
logue or magazine, and lay a piece of tracing paper
over it. Looking carefully, try to trace the base bound-
aries, where one plane on the surface of the head
transitions into another, as well as the optical bound-
ariesthe outer boundaries of a form, where it disap- Optical Boundary
pears from sight. Begin with the larger shapes and Base Boundary

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 49

Drawing of Sleeping Boy
by Jon deMartin, graphite, 5 x 5.
This drawing depicts Sleeping
Boy, a terracotta sculpture by the
French artist Philippe Laurent
Roland (17461816) on view at The
Metropolitan Museum of Art, in
New York City.

HEADS YOUNG AND OLD pressed against the forms surface, trac-
ing its contours. Drawing these imagined
Lets practice identifying the forms of the head linesshown here in redhelps enhance
on three different subjects: a child, a young our understanding of the faces surface.
woman and an old man. Youll notice that the Our next example comes from Bust of
surface of the head changes as it grows old- Costanza Bonarelli, a sculpture by Gian
er, with individual planesand furrows gen- Lorenzo Bernini (15981680). Illustration
erally becoming moredistinct with age. 7b outlines the major forms of this head.
Illustration 6a shows my drawing of the We can see the furrow directly under
head of Philippe Laurent Rolands sculp- the lower lip, which becomes shallow-
ture Sleeping Boy. On this head, the individ- er or fades out as it radiates outward
ual forms and planes are subtle. Illustration and merges with the lower side planes of
6b traces the boundaries between them, the face. The same occurs at the nasola-
and we can see that they originate at loca- bial furrows at the wings of the nose.
tions such as the upper and lower eyelids Our third and final example consid-
and the nasolabial furrow near the nose. ers an older subject: a sculpture of the
These forms then disappear into the round- Roman writer and statesman Cicero. (See
er forms of the cheekbone and the jaw. Illustrations 8a and 8b.) Because of the sub-
Illustration 6c shows another method for jects advanced age, the base boundaries be-
understanding the head: We can draw a se- tween the forms of his face are clearly evi-
ries of lines representing imaginary wires dent, appearing as distinct, enclosed shapes.

50 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM


Surface Lines

Nasolabial Furrow

Mentolabial Furrow

Optical Boundary
Base Boundary

Drawing of Bust of Costanza Bonarelli
by Jon deMartin, graphite, 9 x 7.
This drawing copies the Bust of Costanza Bonarelli, a marble sculpture by Gian
Lorenzo Bernini (15981680). ILLUSTRATION 7B

Zygomatic Furrow

Nasolabial Furrow

Mentolabial Furrow

Optical Boundary
Base Boundary

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 51

Optical Boundary

Base Boundary

Drawing of Cicero
by Jon deMartin, black chalk, 17 x 14.
This drawing copies a sculpture by an unknown artist of the
Roman statesman and writer Cicero.

Drawing of the Bust of Gian
Lorenzo Bernini
by Jon deMartin, graphite, 7 x 5.
For this drawing I copied from
the Bust of Gian Lorenzo Bernini,
a sculpture by Bernardo Fioriti
(active 16431677) on view at the
Philadelphia Museum of Art, in

52 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Form Shadow
Base Boundary
Optical Boundary
Low Relief

Middle Reli f

Lo Relief

High Relief

Cast Shadow Reflected

Light Shadow


Base Boundary

Lets conclude by touching briefly on the subject of model-
ing with light and shadow. Once we have a firm concept of
the heads surface and have constructed it with line, we can
proceed to modeling it with values. (To work in the reverse
order and begin with light and shadow would be to merely
copy the values we see in our subject, which would not pro-
duce a convincing three-dimensional illusion.) Illustration
9a shows my drawing of a sculpture of Bernini, modeled
with values. Illustration 9b outlines the key boundaries of
the head and face, and 9c indicates several types of shadows
and how they interact with the boundaries within the form.
Try to model forms in order of relief. Begin with the
deepest-relief forms that most protrude from the head and
receive the most dramatic shadows. Then move on to the
shallower forms, which will have subtler shadows. In es-
sence, were modeling in the order of impression, because
the eye is attracted to darker values (the deeper-relief forms)
before lighter values (the shallower-relief forms). As a re-
sult, our modeling will have a sense of visual order.

Being aware of the many surfaces that make up the head and
face and knowing how they knit together will add variety,
subtlety and movement to our drawing. It will also allow us
to better enjoy and appreciate the countless variety of human
faces. Each person possesses a unique physiognomy, and as
our understanding of form increases, every head we draw be- Head of a Woman With a Veil
comes an endless and fascinating study. Y by Domenico Maria Canuti, ca. 16251684, red and black chalk, 10 x 7.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 53

Once again, Drawings Shades of Gray
Competition challenged artists to submit their
best drawings created entirely in black, white
and gray, and once again, we were blown away
by the variety and quality of work submitted.
The competition received entries from around
the world in almost every conceivable drawing
medium, and wed like to thank every artist who
enteredit is a genuine pleasure to see the work

Back that youre doing.

The Grand Prize in this years competition has
been awarded to Julio Reyes, of Fort Worth, Texas,
for the mixed media gure drawing Deliverance.
Also receiving top prizes are Katherine Young,

in Agnes Grochulska and Janet Evander. Another 10

artists have received honorable mention awards.
The winning drawings are presented in the
following pages, and we encourage you to visit
the artists websites to see more of their work.

Another opportunity to see your own artwork
in these pages is right around the corner, as the
2017 Shade of Gray Competition is open and
accepting entriessee details on page 63.

(and White)
54 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM
Julio Reyes: Deliverance
2015, mixed media on drafting film, 16 x 16. Private collection.


Much of Julio Reyes work is highly realistic, showing carefully rendered
figures in recognizable landscapes. But as the artist began work on the Grand

Prize-winning piece, Deliverance, he felt like mixing things up. As soon I
started sitting with the model and doing studies from life, I realized I didnt
want to do what Id usually doneelaborate on a realistic landscapebut to
have more of an abstraction behind her and focus in on the portrait, he says.
The model is a woman Reyes and his wife knew some time ago when
they lived in Sacramento, California. She had a very interesting look that
I thought was perfect for some of the ideas that usually float around my
work, Reyes says. I like to depict people subsisting and somehow thriv-
ing amid a modern landscape, despite whatever adversities they have
to live through. As soon as I met her, she really fit that whole ethos.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 55

Moonlight Moth
by Julio Reyes, 2016, charcoal and mixed media on
drafting film, 36 x 17. Courtesy Arcadia Contem-
porary, Culver City, California.
Dust on the Scales
by Julio Reyes, 2016, egg tempera on panel, 12 x 12.
Private collection.
Julio Reyes: Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Julio Reyes, 2016, graphite, 14 x 15. Private

Reyes wanted to use this image as

am opportunity to experiment with
combining wet and dry media. His first
challenge was to find the right surface.
I wanted to use things like watercol-
or and acrylic in an expressive way and
somehow combine that with my love of
dry mediacharcoal, colored pencil,
you name it, he says. But I found that
when combining wet and dry media
on paper I had to be very careful in my
planning. I wanted to be able to move
more quickly. Things picked up when
he tried using polyester films such as
Mylar and Dura-Lar. I loved it, he
says. Right away I was able to get some
good results, and I wanted to push the
drafting film and see what it could do
in terms of giving me a different set of
problems to solve visually. I think it add-
ed dimension and depth to the draw-
ing, giving certain passages a ghostly
quality, which I liked. It was meant to
suggest transcendenceevidence of
the spirit, evidence of the soul at work.
When he was happy with this ab-
stract foundation, Reyes mounted
the film to a panel and began paint-
ing the figure with wet media, work-
ing from photographs augmented by
some small sketches. He used primar-
ily black ink and black gesso, which he
applied using both watercolor brushes
and Japanese calligraphy brushes. I
found that black gesso was a little more
versatileand when it dries it has a
little bit of tooth that makes it very re-
ceptive to subsequent layers of dry me-
diaso I used it for the majority of the
piece, he says. Id move very intuitively
with the wet media, and once I felt like
I had a good basic structure and good
light I would pull out my dry media.

56 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

PanPastel was generally the first
dry medium Reyes would reach for.
Id use that to add some initial soft
gradations, he says. Then Id take big
chunks of charcoal and add some line
work and maybe a hard edge here and
there. Then Id take carbon pencil and
start working it more like a traditional
drawing, getting those middle tones
and softer gradations that require a lit-
tle more finesse. Throughout the draw-
ing I moved from broad to specific,
focusing on the eyes, which anchored
everything else swirling around.
Drafting film affords the opportu-
nity to completely rework areas, and
Reyes took full advantage of this qual-
ity. The beauty of working with some-
thing like drafting film is that you can
take water and use it pretty heavily
and wash down areas you dont like,
he says. I could take a bristle brush
loaded with wateror with faster-
drying isopropyl alcohol or denatured
alcoholscrub vigorously and pull
an area apart, which you cant do on

paper. Its intense and very fun. The

finished image treats the viewer to all
manner of brushstrokes, pencil marks,
smears and scratches. The interplay
of those elements makes the piece feel
alive and exciting for me, he says.
To keep his energy high, Reyes
worked on Deliverance in short, in-
tense sessions. I made a point not to
work on it for long periods of time,
because sometimes that can hypno-
tize you, and you can start working
mindlessly, he says. I wanted this
to be a little like Japanese calligraphy,
which happens quicklyyou dont sit
there and deliberate each stroke. So I
worked in short bursts, although to-
ward the end of the drawing the as-
pects treated with higher realism did
require more focused concentration.
Throughout the process, Reyes
highest priority remained communi-
cating the emotion and meaning he
saw in the model. I love experimen-
tation, but Im not into experimenta-
tion for experimentations sake, he
says. For me, experimentation ex-
ists in order to derive meaning, and
that requires discipline and focus.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 57

face. Looking at the ocean produces a my drawing panel. The next part is

very meditative state for me. Ascend, very meditative. I start blocking in all
the winner of the competitions First the shapes and see what happens.

Place award, is part of a series of For Ascend, the artist worked mostly
large-scale graphite drawings of the with Staedtler 2mm mechanical pen-
ocean. There is something very relax- cils, occasionally using softer pencils
ing to me about creating these highly for darker values. The drawing will
complex surfaces out of very simple evolve, and my job is to keep the feel
and forgiving materials, she says. and flow going, she says. I know
Young keeps a collection of pho- Im done when the composition feels
tographs to use as reference in her harmonious and nothing bothers me.
Something about the oceans surface drawings. Fortunately I live in San The photo references are very help-
is mesmerizing to me, says Katherine Francisco with easy access to boats go- ful in planning the drawing since it is
Young. In my youth I spent sever- ing out to the Pacific, she says. Her such a complex subject, but its impor-
al weeks on an open ocean sail, and process begins with adjusting an im- tant that the drawing has its own life.
words cant describe the feeling of un- age in Photoshop. Once the compo- It matters not to me whether it resem-
limited vastness and the infinitely in- sition has the right feel and balance, bles the original references at all.
teresting, shifting forms of the sur- I transfer a light outline of shapes to

48 x 48.

58 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Agnes Grochulska:
Portrait No. 14
2015, charcoal, 24 x 18.
Private collection.

AGNES GROCHULSKA Portrait No. 14 is one of my favorite works, a piece that marks a special mo-
ment when I felt like I found a direction that I wanted to wholeheartedly fol-
low, says Agnes Grochulska. Its a portrait of a human face, a moment in

2 ND time, a thought captured in the features of a woman. I was inspired by her emo-
tionsomething in the distant look of her eyes and her slightly tense jaw.

PLACE Grochulska completed the drawing from life in two distinct stages. It started
as a realistic portrait of a model, she says. The artist made progress but wasnt
wholly satisfied, and to shake things up she began working on the drawing with-
out the model. Instead, she set a mirror next to her easel and used her own face
as a reference. The challenge was to keep the realistic, representational nature
of the portrait but introduce abstraction and textural elements to it as well.


DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 59


PLACE Stickley at Rest commemorates Janet
Evanders late pet. Stickley was a
Evander says. The strong jaw line
hints at his strong-willed personality,
stubborn, charming, smart, sneaky a trait that he never lost. This was one
and loving family member, says of those rare times when I was able
the artist. He was also my con- to lose myself in the process of paint-
stant companion in the studio. Even ing without second-guessing the steps
now, a couple years after his death, along the way, and I painted the major-
he continues to act as my muse. ity of the piece in one sitting. Daniel
Evander sketched the dog from life Smiths neutral-tint watercolor breaks
many times, but Stickley at Rest was and granulates in interesting ways, so I
painted from a photograph of the ani- used it knowing it would give the final
mal resting in a favorite spot. The painting some unexpected texture.
composition is meant to show both his
contentedness and a moment when I FOR MORE INFORMATION,
Janet Evander: Stickley at Rest VISIT JANETEVANDER.COM.
2016, watercolor, 8 x 10. Collection the artist. knew he was slipping away from me,

60 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM


Hlne Brunet: Bouquet Fleuri

2016, graphite powder on Yupo, 20 x 13. Collection the artist.
Bouquet Fleuri (below) is one of Hlne Brunets first experi-
ments with graphite on the nonabsorbent surface of Yupo. The
challenge was huge, says the Quebec artist. Pushing, drop-
ping, lifting, spraying and drawing with brushes and graphite
pencil were utilized. She strove throughout for elegance and
sensitivity, and she declares herself very pleased with the result.



Liu Ling: Xiao Fang

2016, charcoal, 39 38 x 27. Collection the artist.

Xiao Fang (above) depicts a friend of Liu Ling, an art-

ist from Singapore. I was inspired by the intertwined
strength and vulnerability that emanates as a quiet sense
of calmness from her beautiful appearance, the artist
says. She notes that the biggest challenge in drawing the
piece was to find the right balance between accurate
representation and self-expression. When I was drawing
this piece, I noticed that I tended to project my
emotions onto this portrait, with her smiling when I
was happy but sullen when I was in a bad mood. It
made me realize that every artwork is in a sense a
self-portrait. If the artists emotion is repressed, the con-
nections among the subject, the artist and the audience
become cold and distant. If freedom of expression is mis-
used, the artwork is merely self-indulgent manipulation.


DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 61


LiGang Zheng: Awareness

2016, charcoal, 24 x 18. Private collection.

LiGang Zheng works as a concept art-

ist in San Francisco, and he is also a pro-
lific fine-art painter and draftsman. He
notes that in drawings such as Awareness
(right), he doesnt necessarily draw what
he sees. I draw what I feel, he says.


Tracy Frein: July

2016, colored pencil on drafting film, 23 x 24.
Private collection.

Chicago artist Tracy Frein works with

black-and-white colored pencil on Grafix
drafting film, using a subtractive pro-
cess in which he strips colored pencil
away from the surface to expose differ-
ent values and textures. As a portrait art-
ist my inspiration is drawn solely from
my subjects and their hidden emotional
truths, he says. Each subject is a compel-
ling visual portrayal of the human spir-
it, determination and courage. I strive to
show the viewer that while at first glance
my subjects seem serene and normal,
they also show a sense of inner frailty.


62 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Cheng Chi-Han: Empty
2016, charcoal, 72 x 16. Private collection.

Empty pays tribute to the artists grandfather, a survivor of the

Chinese Civil War, who passed away in 2015. We see only his
head, wrapped in breathing tubes and lying on a pillow. He is
surrounded by vast amounts of white space, suggesting a per-
son fading away. As an artist I wanted to document this very
last moment of him, and this drawing is a dedication to his
passing, says Cheng. Also, putting down the various lines
and shades on the paper may let me forget the pain of loss.


Oliver Sin: Portrait of Mom

2016, vine charcoal, 24 x 18. Private collection.

San Francisco artist Oliver Sin, a native of Hong Kong, drew

Portrait of Mom from life as a present for his mothers 75th birthday.
Since moving to the United States 20 years ago I havent spent
too much time with my mother, so drawing her was an unforget-
table experience and opportunity for us to reconnect, he says.
My mom was surprised and delighted to later see her picture in
an ad for my exhibition at Cawah Arts Gallery, in Hong Kong.



The 2017 edition of Drawings Shades
of Gray Competition is now open! As in
years past, were inviting artists to sub-
mit work in any drawing media created
entirely in black, white and gray. All win-
ning works appear in Drawing magazine,
and the top four winners receive cash
awards of up to $1,000. The deadline
for entries is September 8.
To see the full list of prizes and rules and
to enter the competition, visit

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 63


Tara Merkt: Eye of the Beholder

2016, scratchboard, 14 x 11. Collection the artist.

With Eye of the Beholder [right] I was looking at how

your point of view can change your perception of real-
ity, says Tara Merkt, a Minnesota artist who special-
izes in scratchboard. I was drawn to this subject mat-
ter by the plight of animals as we encroach on their
habitats. I challenged myself to create each animal
within a two-day timeframe. This was by far my most
complicated work to date, and by setting the time re-
straints I believe I pushed myself to a higher quality.


Kathleen Kornprobst: Thomas II

2016, graphite, 15 x 11. Collection the artist.

Painting a likeness is the easy part, says

German artist Kathleen Kornprobst. But as a
portraitist, I believe that the real challenge and
responsibility is to capture and relate the stories
behind what I see. My paintings are records of
a moment in someones life. They are portray-
als of an individuals looks and personality.
Thomas II (left) was done as a demon-
stration. Thomas wisdom and quiet-spo-
ken ways are appealing, and his appear-
ance is almost biblical, the artist says. This
was a perfect exercise in preparation for my
next project, a commissioned painting in-
spired by a text from the Gospels. I firmly
believe good drawing skills to be a prerequi-
site to all forms of painting and sculpture.



64 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Sookyi Lee: Amber
2016, charcoal, 24 x 18. Collection the artist.

I appreciate the classical beauty of her face,

Sookyi Lee says of her model, Amber, a former
student. It reminds me of female faces from
classical and medieval times, and for this rea-
son I tried to catch a pose and expression that are
not too modern or exaggerated. But what is of-
ten more important in my selection of models
is the inner beauty, and I felt the warmth of her
character during the semester I taught her.
The drawing was the artists first finished work
after taking a number of years away from art to
care for her children. I could finally sit in front
of my easel last fall, and I have focused on ex-
pressing my feelings and reviving my skills af-
ter the long break, she says. I believe this draw-
ing helped me tremendously in those respects.


Dexter Welcome:
Just for Two
2016, charcoal, 10 x 14.
Collection the artist.

Just for Two is a meditation on

contemplation and solitude,
the artist says. The image it-
self is an ordinary tea setting of
one awaiting the arrival of his
date. In this moment of wait-
ing, questions are being asked:
How long will this continue? Is
it worth the wait? Delay is not
denial. The artist notes that he
completed the drawing using
techniques he learned from the
instructor Timothy Jahn at Ani
Art Academies, in Anguilla. Y



DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 65

Drawing With Depth
Re-creating a three-dimensional figure on a flat ve spent my life drawing the human
surface offers many challenges, and I describe my gure. As a kid I did so largely from
process for confronting and overcoming problems imagination, as I desperately wanted to
as they arise. become a comic book artist. As an adult
my tastes changed and I found myself
B Y S C O T T WA D D E L L drawing the gure from observation more
often. This lifelong interest is also fueled
by the immense challenge it poses: Noth-
ing is as difficult to draw as the gure. The
more I draw, the more I improve, but it
sometimes feels like I cant close the gap
between what I observe and what Im able
to produce on paper.
The human figure, in all shapes and
sizes, is stunningly beautiful, and attempting
to capture that beauty on a flat sheet of paper
or canvas requires a careful plan. For me, that
means breaking the process down into stag-
es where I can solve problems a few at a time.
The following demonstration of a female fig-
ure on toned paper explains these stages and
my solutions to some common difficulties.

I work under an artificial light, using a fixture

that holds five natural-light bulbs with a diffuser
screen. Once I find the pose, I mark everything
with tapethe easel, my chair, the models feet
and positionto ensure that everything is in the
same place after each break.
Once my setup was complete, I began the draw-
ing with a block-in, using line to establish propor-
tions and placement. I completed the block-in on a
sheet of white paper, rather than the toned paper I
would use for the finished drawing, because I didnt
want my toned paper to be damaged by all the eras-
Step 1 ing that occurs in these early stages.
There are two phases to the block-in. In the first,
When I set up to do a new drawing, I usually ask my model to try multiple I look at all the information in front of me as two-
poses. I do a lot of sketching, and after a few five-minute thumbnails we usually dimensional shapes. The head, the neck and the rib
find something that will work. We need to find a balance between an interest- cage at this point are just flat shapes, and I try to
ing, dynamic pose and something physically possible for the model to hold over pretend Im simply tracing them on my paper. I began
the course of three to four sessions, each lasting three hours. For this demon- this drawing very loosely, using large, sweeping tilts
stration, I settled on a low-angle view of my models head and torso. to capture the overall proportions of each shape.

66 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Step 2
I continued to work in this two-dimensional way, dividing my
tilted lines into smaller and more precise lines until more specific
shapes emerged. I also began to tilt inward to find interior
shapes by drawing interior lines off of my outside shape. I
continued to keep things very simple and flat.
Once I had a number of large shapes established, I began to
measure. I do this at regular intervals throughout the process,
but I always wait to measure until I have first drawn shapes
by eye. In the past I would measure first and then try to fit my
shapes into those measured points, but that process was a
mistake, at least for me. Ive found that Im far more successful
when I look at the shapes first, draw them as best I can by eye,
and then take a few measurements to confirm.
When I do measure, I use comparative measurements, visu-
ally comparing the proportions of each shape. If one shape is the
same size and proportions as another shape on the model, then
those two shapes should be the same size and proportions in the
When a measurement shows something in my drawing to be
off, I dont immediately change it. Instead I make a mental note
of the error and go back into the shapes to investigate. If I do
make a change, its born from the shapes themselves, not from
an immediate reaction to the measurement.

Step 3
I further broke down these shapes into more
specific ones. Every 20 to 30 minutes I paused
to take a few comparative measurements,
for instance finding a vertical halfway point
and quarter points, or comparing the width
of the shoulders to a vertical length down
from the top of the head. These measurement
breaks allow me to step back and get a new
perspective on what Ive drawn. Again, I dont
overreact to any errors. Instead I take a beat
and go back into shapes that survived the
measurement process and work slowly out to
the things that measured incorrectly. Often
the error is something I didnt initially realize
and the fix is different than what I would have
done if I had reacted too quickly.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 67

Step 4
I now shifted into the second phase of the
block-in, the three-dimensional phase. At
this point I reinterpreted all of my shapes as
rounded, three-dimensional forms. I was still
blocking-in, so this effort was more about
refining the linear placements and proportion
than trying to model form with value. This is
a very sculptural process. I imagine traveling
across and around the three-dimensional
curves until I arrive at the edge of each form.
When this phase was complete, I was ready
to transfer my drawing to the toned paper on
which I would render the final image.

Step 5
I toned a sheet of cold-pressed watercolor pa-
per with walnut ink by pouring a small amount
of the ink on the paper and immediately
rubbing it in with a paper towel. I like to leave
a little texture in the tone so that the rendered
form looks smoother by contrast.
After letting this dry completely, I trans-
ferred the image by photocopying my block-in
and rubbing sepia Cont all over the back of
that copy. I taped that sheet to the toned paper
and traced the drawing with pencil, leaving a
transferred image of the drawing in Cont on
my toned paper.

68 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Step 6
Transfers are unrefined at first, so I took some
time and went back over the lines with pencil.
In this case I used a brown erasable Prisma-
color colored pencil, the same pencil I would
use throughout the rendering stage. After
reinforcing the lines, I added a light shadow
value and then began modeling, starting with
a small area in the face.
When modeling I try to really develop
each area as I go rather than working all over
at once. I find that when I make a small area
look real and three-dimensional, everything
else becomes easier to render, because I now
believe in the illusion of space. The key is
identifying the direction of the light and mod-
eling around the curves of form to the shadow
edges. That makes it a simple equation: If the
form turns from the light, it gets darker. If it
turns toward the light, it gets lighter.

Step 7
I tried to identify a middle value on the
model that could be represented by the
value of the toned paper. This way, I knew
that if the form turned more toward the
light, I should add the white Cont, and
if it turned away from the light, I should
use the brown colored pencil. Those two
media eventually mixed, but its helpful to
start by keeping them on either side
of the form until things feel three-
dimensional and full.
I continued working form by form,
finishing each part as I went. I eventually
went back in and refined things once
a fuller context emerged, but tricking
myself into believing everything needs
to be finished immediately allows me to
perform at the top of my ability through-
out the process.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 69

Step 8
When I model a drawing, I tend to keep the hair very simple.
This is a style choice. The main theme of the drawing for me is
the form of the figure itself. I want it to look full and continu-
ous, and to help enhance that effect, I keep other things a little
looser so that, by contrast, the form feels even more smooth
and refined. This is helped by the texture of the toned paper,
but with the hair loosely portrayed in a compressed value
range, the facial forms can really emerge three-dimensionally.
This is also true of the shadows, and for this image I delib-
erately limited the value range within that large shadow under
the models jaw. In life, the reflected light was tantalizing, but
I wanted the emphasis in the drawing to be on the main light
effect above. As artists we can curate these many light effects
to highlight those we find most compelling and beautiful.

Step 9
It can be difficult at first to adjust to the large forms of the
figure. In the face, each form is small and relatively easy to
manage. It will only take you a few minutes to render around
the ball of the nose. It can take much longer to make your
way across the whole curve of the chest. My advice is to try
to treat it the same way. Rather than dwelling on the fact that
its a full-size person youre observing, pretend youre looking
at a miniature sculpture of a person. That makes the chest
and other large forms suddenly seem much smaller and more
manageable. Then you can accept the task of rolling across
the form of the whole chest with more ease. With that in
mind, I continued my pattern of finishing each form one at a
time as I worked through the rest of the figure.

70 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Step 10
To finish the drawing I went back and made subtle
adjustments so that the light effect agreed across the
whole figure, which was easier to do now that every-
thing was in place. At this stage I could lighten little
things or turn certain forms darker, but these changes
were relatively easy since the form was already believ-
ably establisheda three-dimensional illusion on a
two-dimensional surface. Y

The Finished
2017, colored pencil and white charcoal on toned
paper, 12 x 9. Collection the artist.

O 140-lb cold-pressed
watercolor paper (Canson)
O HB graphite pencil
(Koh-I-Noor Toison Dor)
O brown erasable colored pencil
(Prismacolor Col-Erase)
O compressed white charcoal
stick (Generals)
O pencil extender (Generals)
O kneaded eraser
O walnut ink (Daniel Smith)

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 71

Drawing When the
Storytelling, art and drama unite in a graphic
novel by Matt Phelan that presents a classic
tale in a new setting.

att Phelan didnt begin his career intending he says. I studied acting and filmmaking at Temple
to write and illustrate graphic novels and University, in Philadelphia, and after college I did a bit of
childrens books, but he found in these fields screenwriting. But while I was working in a bookstore, I
a way to combine a lifelong love of storytell- discovered what was happening in contemporary picture
ing with his background in drama. When books. I was completely knocked out by the variety of art
I was young, I was interested in drawing comics, special and the impact a seemingly simplebut actually very
effects for movies, directing and actingthe common difficult32-page book could produce. Illustrating picture
denominator was that I wanted to do something creative, books became my dream job.

The Glass Coffin (From Snow White) 2016, graphite, watercolor and digital. Candlewick Press.

72 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Phelan soon began researching
and practicing illustration, teaching
himself by diving into such classic
drawing-instruction books as Har-
old Speeds The Practice & Science
of Drawing, Andrew Loomis Figure
Drawing for All Its Worth and Robert
Beverly Hales Drawing Lessons From
the Great Masters. His efforts are
quickly evident in his work. He indi-
vidualizes characters through specific
traitsthe arch of a nose, the shape
of the eyes, the setting of a brow
and through how those traits change
as the characters express different
Nowhere is Phelans combination
of drawing prowess and storytelling
ability more on display than in his
2016 graphic novel Snow White, which
is sparing in its use of text, conveying
most of the story solely through its
artwork. The book reimagines the fa-
Poisoned Swoon (From Snow White), 2016, graphite, watercolor and digital. Candlewick Press.
mous fairy tale, setting it in New York
City during the Great Depression, an
idea which first came to Phelan when
he connected apple peddlers in the
Depression to the poison apple in the
original story. To me, the Depression
is always in black-and-white, thanks
to movies and photography of that
era, he says. The shadowy, noir-style
world of black-and-white film seemed
to perfectly match the dark story of
Snow White.
As he began developing the concept
further, other characters from the fairy
tale transformed into their Depression-
era equivalents. In Phelans treatment,
the heroine is now Samantha, a young
woman with the nickname Snow.
The Evil Queen becomes the Queen
of the Ziegfeld Follies, a bewitching Mr. Hunt (From Snow White), 2016, graphite, watercolor and digital. Candlewick Press.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 73

The Seven (From Snow White) An Apple for a Pretty Thing (From Snow White)
2016, graphite, watercolor and digital. Candlewick Press. 2016, graphite, watercolor and digital. Candlewick Press.

dancer and actress. Snow Whites father is a Wall Street

tycoon, and the seven dwarves are a gang of orphan boys
living on the streets. The story clicked very easily into
that particular time and setting, Phelan says. After that,
I just needed to find the emotional core of the story,
which was the difficult part.
Every story dictates a specific look and a specific color
palette. I like to use color as a tool, Phelan says. By limit-
ing the palette I can make certain colors more powerful.
In Bluffton (2013), a story set among vaudevillians during
the summer of 1909, the pages are ripe with yellow colors
of sunshine. Phelans first graphic novel, The Storm in the
Barn (2011), takes place in the Dust Bowl, and the colors
are primarily earth tones that make the entire book feel
as though it is immersed in dust. Toward the end of the
book there is a rabbit drive, a scene of intense violence,
Phelan says. To show that violence, I included a panel of
pure red with no drawing at all. Prior to that scene, I had
only used red as a small trickle of blood from the bullied
heros nose. That one panel of red pops out and conveys
the violence of the moment without the need for words
or images. If red had been used throughout the book, it
wouldnt have had that power.

The Chase Through Central Park

(From Snow White)
2016, graphite, watercolor and
digital. Candlewick Press.

74 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

The artist adopts a similar strategy in
Snow White. The drawings are predominantly
black-and-white, with only selective hints
of color: most notably red apples and rosy
cheeks. By stripping the story of color and
then reintroducing it at key moments, Phelan
creates a coherent, unique look that also
works to heighten the drama of the story.
Phelan begins his graphic novels by
writing a script that describes each panel
and includes any dialogue. I omit anything
to do with panel size or number of panels,
he says. I want my editor to enjoy the
story and hopefully see it in her head as
any casual reader would. He and his editor
then work on the script until it is as near
to completion as possible. Only then does
Phelan begin to sketch very loose thumb-
nails. At this stage he also decides the rela-
tive size of the panels, which governs the
rhythm of the book.

Character Sketches for Snow White

2016, graphite, watercolor and digital.
Candlewick Press.

Often Ill do a second series of slightly tighter sketches,

which I then scan and add the dialogue to, making a
dummy of the book that my editor and art director can
review, Phelan says. I want to make sure the book works
before I begin the final art. By the point when Phelan cre-
ates the final illustrations, all the major decisions have been
made and he can concentrate on the images themselves. I
tend to think of the individual panels, rather than design-
ing a whole page, since Im most interested in taking the
viewer through the story in a clear, concise way, he says. I
do pay close attention, however, to how the page begins and
especially ends so that I can control the moment of the page
turn and where that takes the reader.
Snow White was drawn with graphite and watercolor. I
love the energy and the life in a loose drawing and water-
color, Phelan says. Im interested in experimenting with
the scale of drawingmaking the original small and then
enlarging it digitally for the final illustrationand Im
also intrigued by the idea of scanning in textures to col-
lage with actual drawings. But it would all be in the service
of striving for that looseness, that life, that simplicity.
For Phelan, as for many artists working in comics and
childrens books, images need to have a purpose, an overall
expression achieved in conjunction with story and text. The

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 75

story always comes first, he says. In
fact, in each case Ive imagined the story,
written it out and then wonderedor
worriedhow I was going to pull it
off visually. Its never been a case of,
Wouldnt it be cool to draw this?
Aside from the need for the story
and the images to exist in harmony
with one another, none of this would
be possible, or nearly as believable, if
not for Phelans obvious affection for
the work he does. Although I still love
film, Im so happy to be where I am
creatively. For a picture book I worked
on called Marilyns Monster [by Michelle
Knudsen, 2015] my art director, Ann
Stott, sent me my approved sketches,
which was the go-ahead to start the fi-
nal art. She stuck a little Post-it note on
the sketches that simply said, Happy
painting! I stuck that note on my
drawing table. Its so important to have
fun when you draw and paint, regard-
less of the subject matter.
Asked what advice he would give
to aspiring illustrators, Phelan turns
to his dramatic background. I always
urge book illustrators to take an act-
ing class, read a book on acting or, at
the very least, study great actors in a
From The Storm in the Barn, 2009, graphite and watercolor. Candlewick Press.

Yo Yo Chick , 2016, ink and watercolor. From Ill Be There, by Ann Stott
2011, graphite and watercolor. Candlewick Press.

76 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Preliminary Art for Marilyns Monster, by Michelle Knudsen
2015, graphite and gouache. Candlewick Press.

film or play, he says. Knowing what your

subject is thinking and feeling at that specific
moment will influence their posture, their
expressioneverything. Approaching your
illustration as an actor approaches a role can
only help you. In other words, by under-
standing how a figure reacts dramatically
and physically throughout the course of a
story, artists can put their figure drawing in
service of a whole world of narrative possi-
bilities, including comics and graphic novels,
book illustration, animation and more. Y

Matt Phelan is the author-illustrator of four
graphic novels: Snow White, Around the World,
Bluffton and The Storm in the Barn. Bluffton was
nominated for three Will Eisner Comic Industry
Awards, including Best Graphic Album; and The
Storm in the Barn won the Scott ODell Award
for Historical Fiction. Phelan is also the illustra-
tor of many books for young readers, includ-
ing the Newberry Medal-winner The Higher
Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron. The artist lives
in Pennsylvania. For more information, visit

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Spring 2017 77

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WWW.ARTISTDAILY.COM Drawing / Spring 2017 79


Caught in a Flash
2013, ballpoint
pen, 8 x 10. Private

2013, ballpoint pen,
10 x 8. Collection
the artist.

Colleen Blackard
Colleen Blackard received her B.A. from Hampshire College,
in Massachusetts, and over the past several years has shown
her work in solo and group exhibitions around the world in cities
including New York, London, Moscow and Tokyo. Originally
from Austin, Texas, she is currently based in Brooklyn.

Frequently using ballpoint pen as her medium of
choice, Blackard uses drawing to share her experience
of nature and the larger universe, with starry skies as
the focus of many drawings. She draws primarily by
making circular marks to create tone, her many marks
combining to give her subject a unique sense of depth.

See more of Blackards work at

80 Drawing / Spring 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM


Stickley at Rest, by Janet Evander. Third-place winner,

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