Confessions of a Ballerunner

Essays on Sports, Arts, Culture, and Life

Archive for the tag “sketch”

Collection of hand-drawn sketches from Illustration course

This fishbowl sketch was based on the class’s theme of surrealism. We had to pick an object – in this case, a vase with flowers – and give it a surrealism spin. I decided to turn one of the leaves into a fish trying to escape the fishbowl – a metaphor for how employees can sometimes feel trapped working in a corporate office 9 to 5, day in and day out. The hands represent ‘working for the man (or ‘woman’, as the situation may be)’. A classmate – a florist by day – later remarked that the drawing made her think of Little Shop of Horrors. The sketch was done using watercolor pencils and wash.

Fishbowl sketch

The sketch below was a very quick fashion sketch I did on a break. It was my modern interpretation of Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer. The sketch was done using a combination of graphite and color pencils,and wash.

Girl with a Pearl Earring sketch

The sketch below arose out of a themed exercise the instructor assigned to the class. We had to incorporate black beans and a ‘found object’ of our choice – in my case, a broken candelabra – into a drawing. I decided to do mash-up of the classic children’s books, The Little Engine that Could and Jack and the Beanstalk. The drawing is done entirely in graphite pencil.

Beans exercise_sketch

Misty Copeland – first black principal ballerina at American Ballet Theatre: illustration

Misty Copeland_ballerina_lines

This sketch was originally drawn by hand using a black Pitt pen then scanned into Photoshop for colorization. The patterns in the tutu are individual pieces of fabric that were scanned and incorporated into the image.

‘Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain’: digital cartoon


After taking an introductory illustration course at the Ottawa School of Art and learning a few new tricks in Photoshop, I have been re-inspired to draw and colorize digitally. This sketch was inspired by a trip to Montmartre in Paris that I took in the fall of 2012 and the endless charm of the 2001 ‘Amélie’ film. The drawing was originally done by black pitt pen, scanned, and then colorized digitally. I think I might look into getting a Wacom stylus soon, though; I’ve heard it makes colorizing – and eventually drawing – much easier than using a mouse (or in my case, the laptop’s touch pad).

Carols by smartphone LED light

Carols by smartphone LED light

I recently attended a traditional nine lessons & carols (for background on this service, see church service. However, not known for my punctuality, the church was packed when I arrived and there were no bulletins/programs left. I had no choice but to pull out my Blackberry in the dimly lit church and try to stealthily download a program from the church’s website. All the while, I could sense the dozens of disapproving looks and murmurs behind me from people, who doubtless assumed I was simply indulging a serious crackberry addiction in their sacred place of worship.

My Sharpie marker sketch of a geographically inaccurate but artistically whimsical map of courtship memories

Being a detailed-oriented person, this art project was a really fun, but painstaking (esp Gothic architecture) drawing:


Historic street detail and vintage fashion: the marriage of sepia and conte

After a heavy 2 days of mind-numbing data-crunching and technical writing, I inevitably had to have an artistic release…

The photo below was taken at dusk in the Byward Market in Ottawa and transformed into a sepia monochrome in Photoshop while leaving the restaurant’s red door and sign intact. I’m hoping to use it in a larger drawing/mixed media project for a good friend’s upcoming wedding.

Along Sussex Drive, Ottawa

Since the aforementioned technical report had a tight deadline, I had to reluctantly forego my lifedrawing class this week. To make up for the loss of this focused evening of drawing, I thought I’d pick up my conté crayons (which we don’t use in this class; rather, just charcoal) and attempt a more loosely sketched interpretation of a vintage, early 20th century black & white fashion photo (I just loved the overall ethereal feel to this fairy-like photo) from my go-to drawing companion, Style Book. I applied various dilutions of an India ink wash for the background shadowing effects.

“Fantail feathers, a silk and lace strapless dress with a very large fan for effect, New York City, 1918.” [ref: Style Book by Elizabeth Walker]

 Now, on to the next technical report!..

Lifedrawing class: Les demoiselles d’Avignon reinterpreted

Below are a selection of sketches from my first lifedrawing class, which I took last fall. Really interesting course. Great teacher. Learned a lot of new techniques. Highly recommend this kind of course for learning how to draw and observe. We began with charcoal, followed by conté (+/- washes), and ended the course with pen & (India) ink (+/- washes). For the last class, it was just a creative free-for-all, where you could use whatever media you wanted in whatever combinations you wanted. I felt like a little kid let loose in a finger-painting class!.. 🙂

Of the techniques we learned, I especially liked the concept of negative space to keep the artist objective and the drawing honest. Now, I just have to master cylinder shading, which can totally screw up the three-dimensional effect you’re trying to achieve if you get the shading direction of the imaginary cylinder wrong. Believe me, I know.

Anyway, here are the sketches. I added just a touch of color via Photoshop to create a bit more drama. I tried to imagine a story around each pose or group of poses. The last one is a bit macabre, because I remember how scary-skinny this model was with very prominent ribs and clavicles (or collar bones) showing.

Oh yeah, these sketches were all timed drawings, so we didn’t have the luxury of lingering forever on details. We were instructed to focus on the essential elements in order to achieve a basic rendering of the figure before us.

Little artistic expressions of Canadiana

A few painting experiments and one pen & ink drawing, all with the common thread of Canada…

Below: This is my second attempt at painting with a palette knife — an instrument, which surprisingly resembles a slim, tapered spatula for serving pie or cake, or mixing dermatologicals in a pharmacy dispensary. It was so much fun, too! I loved the heavy application of layer upon layer of color to create depth and texture for the water. (You will go through a lot of paint, though!) The inspiration for this painting was a photo (not taken by me) that I found on the Weathernetwork of our famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) Canada geese flying over an Ottawa waterway. [Acrylic on canvas; Creative Painting class, 2010]

Below: Another painting experiment from my Creative Painting class (2010), where I used a sponge to apply acrylic paint to a canvas to create the effect of a wooly, classic Hudson’s Bay Company blanket.

Below: Bucolic wintry scene painted from my imagination of a waning afternoon of cross-country skiing (classic style). [Acrylic on canvas using brush; Creative Painting class, 2010.]

Below: This is a more recent fashion sketch of a model (Coco Rocha, a Canadian) wearing a Roland Mouret Spring 2012 outfit that was featured as an advertisement for The Bay in the Globe & Mail on March 3rd, 2012. I loved the color and structure of the outfit and the matching, intricate purse, as well as the overall drama of the pose. [Direct from the pages of my sketchbook: pen & ink drawing, followed by wash and colorization with colored conté.]

Good Friday – A Day of Quiet Reflection…

A Day of Quiet Reflection…

[Above: Black & white acrylic study of the Virgin Mary – first painting assignment in Introduction to Oils & Acrylics class at Ottawa School of Art, 2010.]

[Below: Black & white conté sketch of Mia Wasikowska as the title character in the film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic book, Jane Eyre; from a newspaper photo, 2012.]

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