Why The Beautiful Line?

A site dedicated to the art of drawing and painting, The Beautiful Line is an open forum for the sharing of information and inspiration about the drawing and rendering process in digital and traditional media.

This blog is created for all those who share a love of drawing and are enticed by the potential of a blank piece of paper, canvas, or board to create a unique work of art. This space is dedicated to the open sharing of information and experiences concerning drawing. Included here are tutorials on drawing and rendering a variety of subjects in easily accessible media.

Why the Beautiful Line? As a long time professional illustrator, artist, and instructor, I still believe that the most powerful tool for image making is the simple pencil, pen, or brush. In an era of fantastic advances in digital arts with the power to create new worlds of amazing realism, the pencil drawing remains an exquisitely elegant tool for expressing thoughts and ideas. With this in mind, I view it as a personal mission as an instructor to encourage students to draw their ideas first, before developing concepts within a software program.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Developing an Interpretive Drawing Style: Loose is Better

"Ferrari Saleen", 9x9 inches, Black Prismacolor pencil on Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper, 2007

"Loosen up" This is a mantra that I keep in the back of my mind as I practice my drawing skills. After 15 years working at refining my skills as a product illustrator, I have embarked on a program to loosen up my drawing. My earlier professional work focused on clean airbrushed painting and technically accurate rendering. With the explosion of CGI imaging these skills are now out of favor in traditional illustration. I had to adapt by embracing my past as a fine artist--a goal that actually is leading to more rewarding illustration projects.

This drawing of a Ferrari Saleen was developed from a series of reference photos at the 2007 Woodward Dream Cruise. Going from tight rendering to a more interpretive approach was harder than it seemed at first. It took a major re-thinking of the drawing process to move away from a mechanical approach to drawing, toward a more expressive style.

"Ferrari Saleen", detail

I reviewed the work of major illustrators whose drawing I admired. Two favorites are Bernie Fuches and Robert Heindel. Both these artists spent their early years working in Detroit on auto accounts and gradually emerged as nationally respected artists working in highly distinctive styles. What attracted me to their work was the fluid drawing styles they developed as their skills evolved. The use of continuous pencil lines and loose shading in their portrait work informs my own work.

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