Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Gents

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't draw men very well. Give me ladies, babies, children, animals, flowers, cars, buildings, anything else; if I can see it, I can draw it. Except men. Their bodies come out awkward and they look like they're wearing lipstick. Nonetheless, I thought it might be amusing to see some of my past attempts to sketch the, shall we say, less fair sex...

Here we have one of my rare male sketches that actually came out well. In 1977, Beau Bridges starred with Jane Seymour in a TV movie called The Four Feathers. There was a picture of Beau Bridges in the TV Guide to advertise the show, and I thought he was incredibly handsome. So of course I had to draw him!

I generally try to avoid drawing men altogether. However, in my junior year of high school I took a fashion design class with a chubby young teacher, fresh out of college, named Miss Laws. All the fashions we created in her class were based on historical periods. Mercifully, most of our assignments involved designing for ladies and children.

However, there were these four unfortunate assignments that produced male fashion catastrophes. Try not to laugh too loud--you might alarm your neighbors! From spring 1971, this little number was based on styles of the 17th Century. I actually think it might have been a big hit as a costume for one of the singing groups of my high school years, like Paul Revere and the Raiders! Don't you love those thick sideburns? This assignment also included using pen and ink, but most of our work was simple pencil sketches.

Also from spring 1971, this suit represents the 18th Century. To me it seems Irish in style. I rather liked this one at the time, and so did Miss Laws. The fashions she liked best were taped up on the classroom wall--hence the little dark squares that stained the paper over the years. Someday maybe I'll buy and learn how to use one of those art software programs and remove those stains.

Again, from spring 1971: Based on 16th Century styles, this evening suit has a very odd cape/jacket trimmed with fur. I think my boyfriend at that time had a pair of brogue shoes like this guy's! Obviously Miss Laws liked this one, too, judging by the tape stains.
And finally, this outfit, which I drew in December 1970, was inspired by 16th Century fashions. But those striped pants are so very 1970s! After looking these over, I think one of the problems was I gave the men narrow, sloping shoulders, which doesn't look very manly. Note to self: in future male sketches, remember the broad shoulders!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Baby Love

I love babies! Always have. So naturally I drew quite a few of them over the years. Here they are for your enjoyment. I hope.

Baby in knitted sweater.

How does a tulip taste?

Gotta crawl 'cause I gotta have it!

Sailor suit baby.

Bright eyes at bath time.

Laughing baby.

The baby in this one is awfully cute, but her mom is a little bit scary!
(The baby actually looks like my sister Karla as an infant.)

This is a rough sketch I did while in high school.

For a while I toyed with the idea of designing baby announcements, but this is the only one I actually attempted. I think it came out kinda cute!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Head Shots

Here they are, the last of my "heroine" sketches. Don't worry, there are plenty more sketches of females to post here in the future, but they mostly come from my fashion design classes in high school, as well as my own post-high school fashion attempts. However, after this post I think we'll take a break from the ladies for awhile and look at some different types of sketches and some different mediums.
When I draw people I mostly go for the whole figure, but this batch is a set of simple headshots. These were my attempts to capture the subjects' emotions in their faces.

This is mysterious Willa. I wonder what has her so spooked.

Here is socialite Ariadne. Doesn't she make you feel you aren't quite upper-class enough to attend her big, fancy event?

Dark-eyed Camilla is exotically beautiful but she seems to be harboring dark secrets. She doesn't quite meet your eyes. I'd like the secret of where she got that great blouse!

The rest of these ladies haven't been given names, but I identify them by their expressions. This one is the Dancer. I see her in a colorful, full skirt and high-heeled tap shoes, clapping her hands to a Latino beat while she spins around the room.

This one is Innocent. She seems sweet, but very naive and uncertain about the world around her.

Here we have Wistful. She has dreams and yearnings, but little hope they will ever come true. I know how she feels! (I think she may also have a little head cold, because her nose seems slightly red!)

This lady is Suspicious. Her sidelong glance seems distrustful of someone or something. She wants to believe and be happy, but perhaps experience has taught her not to get too comfortable.

And, finally, here we have Elegant. She is beautiful and poised, with the training that gives her self-assurance, but she's also a little cool, a little distant.

Going through all these old sketches has inspired me. I haven't done much drawing for many, many years, but the urge has found me again. I bought myself a new sketch pad, sketching pencils, and a gum eraser and completed my first sketch last weekend. I'm pretty well pleased with my first attempt and I'm already working on a second. When I've completed a few, I'll post them here, but for now we'll continue with the ancient sketches from my youth--you know, back in the dark ages before DVD players, calculators, microwave ovens, satellite dishes, cell phones, and video game systems!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Medieval Maidens

The maidens in these drawings are from a much earlier era than the ones I've posted so far. These first two were inspired by an ancient book of fairy tales I once found. I loved the old styles of hair and clothing, and the lethargic poses in the illustrations! This is called "Waiting for the Frog Prince." The princess has lost her golden ball in the pond and the frog prince is soon to retrieve it for her.
I call this one "Waiting for the Beast," as in Beauty and the Beast. I think this must be after she began to fall for the Beast because she appears much too relaxed to be afraid. Maybe even a little bored. Her feet are on a footstool, for goodness sake!

Back in the 1970s or 80s there was a miniseries on television called "The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth." There were pictures in the TV Guide of the actresses who played his various wives. I was fascinated by the clothing, so naturally I had to draw myself as some of them. Not that the idea of being married to a self-centered, lecherous, murderous old man was appealing, but the whole notion of being spoiled royalty seemed so enchanting!
Here is a second drawing taken from another unfortunate Henry the Eighth wife. Her cleavage is a little less startling than the last, but that was actually the style of the period. Anyone who has been to the Renaissance Festival can attest to that.
I remember the first time we took our young children to the festival: their eyes about popped out when they saw some of those ladies' bodices. But then, my ex-husband's eyes also popped out of his head!

This is the first of three maidens I found drawn together on a sheet of notebook paper. This lady is very angry, for reasons unknown. Probably a scene from a book I was reading at the time. Don't you think she has "Bette Davis Eyes"?
Here we have a cloaked heroine. The upswept hair is different. I remember experimenting with the cloak blowing off to the side and revealing the skirt.

Here is another royal medieval lady. I think the thick braids look kind of cool. I also like the woven lace theme in the bonnet, bodice, and sleeves.
Here are the threesome together on the notebook paper where I found them. I notice that every drawing in this post was sketched on lined paper. I must have been in a very sketchy mood.

Okay, I know this one doesn't match my ongoing theme here, but I honestly don't know where else to put her! She SO does not fit with my usual subject matter. I vaguely recall seeing a picture of this girl in a magazine or somewhere, and she was so perky and cute I just had to draw her (and give her my hair!).

What's funny about this sketch is that I totally HATED being in band myself! I played clarinet for 5 years, which I also hated with a passion. My dad played clarinet and saxophone in high school and insisted I follow in his footsteps, even though I begged to play flute.

When I became a sophomore and learned on the first day of school that I'd have to march on the field wearing those "ugly" (at least in my opinion back then) uniforms, I quit band that very day. I never went back. I chose to face my dad's wrath over the utter humiliation I felt at the very idea! However, my dad was surprisingly mild in his disappointment.

Suffice it to say, all three of my children were allowed to choose their own instruments!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Damsels in Distress

Here is a set of drawings that feature women in various states of emotion. Again, these are heroines from novels I read, with me imagining myself in their roles.

The name I gave this lady is Seren, and I call it "Seren in Distress." I just loved those long, flowing gowns rustling in the wind!

I never gave this young girl a name, but I almost imagine she is entering a convent or some other place safe from the world since she seems so timid. I call it "Innocence on the Path."

There is something Cinderella-ish about this sketch, so I call it "Fleeing the Ball." More lovely, flowing skirts!

I just call this one "Cleavage"! What was I thinking? Oh well, I was very young then. I don't know what possessed me to do a pleated skirt--not nearly as pretty as the flowing ones.

And finally, I call this one "Reluctant Puritan." She seems downright upset. I'm not sure, but I may have been inspired by the much-read and much-loved novel "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" by Elizabeth George Speare.

Notice the purple lines bleeding through the paper? I drew this one on the back of a flyer from church. Those of us over forty probably remember the pretty purple of papers put through the ditto machine. (How's that for alliteration?) We just loved to sniff the delicate aroma of freshly printed dittos back in the day! (Maybe the cleavage moment came from too much ditto-sniffing?)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pencil Heroines

Ooh, I have an almost endless supply of heroines still to post, especially these that were sketched in pencil. Some are better than others, but they all fed my fantasies of adventure and love in my younger years!

These first 3 sketches are unusual in that they are not full-body, standing figures, but I was pretty well pleased with how they turned out.
There is a name on the stone bridge in tiny print. I sometimes named my sketched ladies, I'm not sure why. Sometimes the name was one I thought was cool and sometimes it was the name of the heroine in the current novel I was reading. This girl is called Mavoureen, an old Irish name I thought was neat. She seems so romantic, all wistful and gazing off into the distance.

Mavoureen is unusual in another aspect: she has dark hair. Nearly all of my heroines were given blonde hair because they were an extension of myself. Apparently I was not mirroring myself in this drawing. Even her facial features are quite unlike mine. However, I actually liked this drawing well enough that I did a similar one at a later time, which will show up in another post. It's kind of a funny take on a new theme and, of course, that one features a blonde!

This is Arabella, the name of the main character in another regency romance. I drew her in June 1973, when I was 18.

Rebecca is the name that just seemed to fit this girl's face. She appears to be open and optimistic. I drew this one in June 1971 when I was 16.

Here are two more drawings sharing a page which I found in my stacks of old art. I recognize my style, but I honestly don't recall drawing them or remember what they were all about.

These two ladies are dressed in clothing from about the turn of the century, 1900 or thereabouts. I was never too interested in that era and I don't remember any books I read from that era, so these gals are a bit of a mystery.

The girl in the black hat looks rather boring, frankly! The girl in the floral hat seems young, maybe a preteen. Obviously I lost interest and never finished her. They are not my favorites, but I guess they aren't too terribly drawn. I suppose they can't all be winners!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Heroines, Interrupted

Here are the last of my unfinished heroine sketches, all of these in pencil. You'll notice some are even sketched on lined paper. When you're itching to draw, you'll grab whatever is handy!

This depicts love between a lord and lady in auld Scotland. I love the romantic ideal of medieval life, even though realistically I know I could never abide living in a world of chamber pots and drafty castles. No doubt I would be the chamber maid emptying the pots rather than the pampered princess!

This is another medieval romance. Someday I would really like to complete this drawing and the one above. There's something tender about the way the lovers hold each other. The previous drawing is unusual in that I completed the man's face but not the woman's. This sketch is more typical; since I struggle with men's faces, I generally left them for last.

This drawing is mystical, an enchanter and enchantress. It looks like all that needed finishing was the man's cape. I do not recall who I modeled these men's faces after, but they must have been ruggedly handsome men!

I suspect the reason I didn't complete this sketch was frustration. I have a vague recollection that I could not get her legs and feet to come out right. I feel no urge at all to finish this drawing!