Hunter and Bear Encounter

Post Intro

These drawings were demos for a class exercise. The subject was a hunter and a chance encounter with an Alaskan brown bear on a hard scrabble beach. Four different compositions are shown along with the supporting sketches.

Sketch 1

A full page of bear gestures. I studied some photos and then put them away and tried to remember its most important characteristics. This keeps your sketches fresher.

Sketch 2

The next step was developing four compositions with little detail. Most are views from near the hunter, but one takes us out near the bear for a fresh viewpoint.

Sketch 3

A series of studies to get the hunter a bit more developed.

Sketch 4

I cleaned up the composition sketches with all the elements in place and a little nicer drawing.

Sketch 5

This is the final developed composition of the encounter. There is very real eye contact between the adversaries here!

Classic tale Castles


The continuing theme for this blog will be along an instructional path. The majority will be inventions without reference.

Post Intro

This group of sketches are on the topic of castles and classic tales. None of the concepts are revolutionary in any way, but our continuing challenge is to experiment with overall silhouettes of elements within our compositions to achieve the appropriate response from the viewer.

Sketch 1

A study for Chateau D’IF… concept sketch

This all started as I was thinking about the Count of Monte Cristo and The island prison Chateau D’IF. This first sketch though not bad, just did not have the character I was imagining. There are as well, no mountains nearby, and it just seemed too massive.

Sketch 2

The second study for the prison… concept

This version is a bit closer to what I originally was envisioning. It has a very interesting silhouette and the shapes are more varied. It is still in the running for a final solution to the prison design problem.

Sketch 3

Chateau D’IF the rockbound prison isle…concept sketch

. This was the final solution for that element. Of particular importance…especially with vignettes, is the overall outside perimeter shape of the sketch. Let ‘air’ from the surrounding paper weave into the drawing so as to engage with the page. It is important that the overall shape is interesting and that secondary elements such as rocks and reflections along the shore are not over-emphasized and just ramble on. This could steal too much attention from the center of interest!

Sketch 4

The Count returns…concept sketch

Since I was on the subject I took a quick shot at the ‘Count’ himself. There are, since it is just an invention, some problems that working from a costumed model would solve, but it describes the character reasonably.

Sketch 5

Hamlet with the skull of Yorick… a concept sketch

Shakespeare has always been a rich field to find exciting and challenging scenes with fascinating characters. Here I jumped in with both feet on a difficult problem with strong gesture and three characters. Hamlet with the skull of Yorick…just unearthed, along with his friend Horatio and of course the gravedigger. The challenge is to have hamlet with skull, to not be overshadowed by the other figures or the distant castle. Even if you fail, such problems make you stronger at story telling. ‘Alas poor Yorick…I new him Horatio’! Yorick was the court jester when Hamlet was young. He is shown looking up at the skull since this is how he saw Yorick as a child.

Sketch 6

Warriors home bound…conceptsketch

While on the topic of castles and classic tales, an invention of a Scottish fortification with a scattered column of returning clansman warriors.

Sketch 7

A somewhat romanticized version of the classic castle, typical of subjects I just sit down and start exploring with no certain direction in mind. The use of ‘candy’ colors removes much of the morbid overtone associated with the subject.

From ‘Telling the Story’ Atelier assignment

This was a Stephen King style assignment with horror overtones. This first image includes the paragraph the students had to solve and my quick one hour solution depicting the first sight event shot.

My second solution to the actual arrival at the grim roadhouse. My time for this sketch…about 2 hours. Prismacolor and ink over a very light soft pencil preliminary on toned paper. You will see me use this approach extensively as it allows brights to function better while having no effect on the darks.