The Art Of The Draw At AIC

Shockingly Mad: Henry Fuseli and the Art of Drawing:


 “A witness to political revolutions and radical aesthetic shifts, Henry Fuseli (1741–1825) forged a pictorial sensibility of his own, characterized by anatomical, gestural, and psychological extremes. Bizarre, exaggerated, theatrical, and often melodramatic, his drawings embraced obscure literary and historical subjects intended to elicit profound emotional response.”

Shockingly Mad: Henry Fuseli and the Art of Drawing

Until April 1, 2018

AIC / The Art Institute of Chicago

111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Il

(Image: Henry Fuseli. The Cave of Despair, c. 1769)

Tips! – The Six Elements Of Portrait Sketching

Tips! – The Six Elements Of Portrait Sketching

 The 6 Steps of Portrait Sketching

Sketching in general entails 4 distinct steps: line, tone, texture, and shape. In the special case of pencil portrait drawing we can refine the list of steps to six: shape, proportion, anatomy, texture, tone, and planes.rambselfportrait

Sketching in general entails 4 distinct steps: line, tone, texture, and shape. In the special case of pencil portrait drawing we can refine the list of steps to six: shape, proportion, anatomy, texture, tone, and planes.

In this article we will give a detailed description of each of those pencil portrait drawing steps.

(1) Form Shape or Shape – The illusion of three-dimensionality in sketching and art in general has been central to Western art for centuries. The carving out of shape using line, structure, and tone was vital to almost all Renaissance art.

On the other hand, oriental and much contemporary art stress flatness of shape although this era in contemporary art is drawing to a close.

All shape in sketching can be reduced to 4 basic 3-dimensional solids: bricks, cones, cylinders, and spheres. The correct use of these shapes together with perspective and tone leads to the illusion of 3-dimensionality even though the drawing is, in reality, located on a two-dimensional sheet of sketching paper.

In portrait sketching, the arabesque of the skull, the square structure of the skull, and all elements within the skull (nose, eyes, etc.) are all two- and 3-dimensional shapes that contribute to the overall illusion of 3-dimensionality

(2) Proportion – encompasses all sizing and placements of shape. Proportion refers to the concept of relative length and angle size.

Proportion gives answers to these two questions:

1. Given a defined unit of length, how many units is a particular length?

2. How large is this particular angle?

Answering these 2 questions consistently accurately will yield a drawing with the right proportions and placements of all shapes.

(3) Anatomy – refers essentially to the underlying structures of bone and muscle of the skull.

It is essential to study as much as you can about anatomy. There are a lot of studies available on anatomy for artists. For a portrait artist it is particularly significant to understand the anatomy of the skull, neck, and shoulders.

Anatomy studies unfortunately include many Latin terms which makes it somewhat complicated to grasp. The idea is to study slowly and a little bit at a time because it can be quite frustrating.

oldmasterdrawing1(4) Texture – in portrait sketching expresses the degree of roughness or smoothness of the shapes. The texture of a concrete walk way, for instance, is quite different from that of a cloud.

There are quite a few techniques and tricks to assist you with the creation of the correct textures. Creating textures gives you the chance to be very creative and to use each possible type of mark you can make with a pencil. In portrait sketching textures occur in spots such as hair, clothing, and skin.

(5) Tone – refers to the degrees in light or dark of the pencil marks and cross-hatchings. Powerful portrait sketches employ the full range of contrasting lights and darks. Beginning artists many times fail to achieve this full “stretch” of tone, resulting in retiring, washed-out drawings.

(6) Planes – create the sculptural sensibility of a portrait. The skull has many planes each with a unique direction and therefore with a different tone.

The idea is to think of the surface of the skull as a collection of distinct planes with a certain direction relative to the light source. You should try to identify each of the planes and draw its correct form and tone.

The correct handling of planes contributes a lot to the likeness of your model as well as the illusion of 3-dimensionality.

Do you want to learn the secrets of pencil portrait drawing? Download my brand new free pencil portrait drawing course here: portrait drawing tutorial.

Remi Engels is a pencil portrait artist and oil painter and expert drawing teacher. See his work at pencil portraits by Remi.

P.S. For the fancy art of the 21st century and video games – visit buy PlayStation 3 info blog.


President & Mrs. Obama!

I like them!

Official portraits of President Barack Obama and former first lady, Michelle Obama, installed in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery on February 12, 2018.

Artists:  Kehinde Wiley (Mr O.)  and Amy Sherald (Mrs. O.) They became the first black artists commissioned by the Smithsonian to produce presidential portraits.

Images courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine


Elegant Portraits At The Whitney

In the show, Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined, the artist “creates intimate drawings that explore the complexity and malleability of identity…Rendered life-size in charcoal, pastel, and pencil, Ojih Odutola’s figures appear enigmatic and mysterious, set against luxurious backdrops of domesticity and leisure. “

Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined

Whitney Museum of American Art

Until February 25, 2018

(Image: Wall of Ambassadors, charcoal, pastel & Pencil 2017)

Images From The Struggle At The High!

The High Museum in Atlanta presents civil rights photographs from 1956–1967. “This installation of over forty photographs examines the history and legacy of the civil rights movement. Iconic prints drawn from the High Museum’s celebrated collection demonstrate the power and potency of photography during that significant era, while contemporary works point to the ongoing struggle for equal rights.”


 “A Fire That No Water Could Put Out”: Civil Rights Photography

Until April 29, 2018

High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, GA

(Image: “Grass Roots Organizer”, 1968)

Old Timers at MoMa!

Examples of creative longevity are on view at The Museum of Modern Art with an exhibition called “The Long Run”. Over 100 works by artists that continued working after age 45 are highlighted.

 “All the artists in this presentation—drawn entirely from MoMA’s collection—are united by a ceaseless desire to make meaningful work, year after year, across decades. They include Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Melvin Edwards, Gego, Philip Guston, David Hammons, Jasper Johns, Joan Jonas, Helen Levitt, Elizabeth Murray, Georgia O’Keeffe, Gerhard Richter, Frank Stella, and many others.”

The Long Run

(Until November 4, 2018)

The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street, New York, NY

(Image: Georgia O’Keeffe. Evening Star)

Women’s Art Museum In D.C.

Women’s Art Museum In D.C.


I was not aware of its existence in Washington, DC. True, the “National Museum of Women in the Arts“, or NMWA, is one of many museums in the DC area, but this one is special because it “is the only major museum in the world solely dedicated to recognizing women’s creative contributions.”

Created in 1987,with more “than 4,000 works, NMWA’s wide-ranging collection provides a comprehensive survey of art by women from the 16th century to the present, with new acquisitions added regularly”.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

New York Avenue and 13th Street, NW, DC


Dutch Masters in DC!

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

“This landmark exhibition examines the artistic exchanges among Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries from the mid-1650s to around 1680, when they reached the height of their technical ability and mastery of genre painting, or depictions of daily life…the exhibition explores how these artists inspired, rivaled, surpassed, and pushed each other to greater artistic achievement.”

On view are paintings by Vermeer and others including Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, Frans van Mieris, Caspar Netscher, and Jan Steen.

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

Until January 21, 2018

National Gallery of Art

Btw 4th Street and 9th Street on Constitution Avenue, NW, DC




Modern Art From Brazil at AIC!

The Art Institute of Chicago / AIC highlights the work of Tarsila do Amaral (1886–1973) “a central figure in the development of Brazil’s modern art… Her paintings and drawings reflect her ambitions to synthesize the currents of avant-garde art and create an original modern art for her home country.”

“The exhibition celebrates Tarsila’s most daring works and her role in the founding of Antropofagía—an art movement that promoted the idea of devouring, digesting, and transforming European and other artistic influences in order to make something entirely new”

Tarsila do Amaral: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil

Until January 7, 2018

AIC / The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Il



Everything Else is Fantasy

My generosity has nothing to do with my religion or politics. I want to spend time with people and learn about myself. This is not selfishness, it is a gift for all of us.

Bus Stop (c) by B.Martin

Imagining that you can change the world does not mean that you have. Someone needs to tell you that something changed. That is their generosity. Our generosity comes from our listening and our sincerely wanting to understand what is going on with that person you are sitting next to. Everything else is fantasy. From the beginning of time. SS/DB

Enhanced by Zemanta(Original post 12/04/12)