Sunday, January 6, 2013


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Jeff Markowsky

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Portrait Demo

This is a 30 minute demo done using the pan pastel for a block in and then going in with black and then white charcoal. It is left at this stage so the beginner student can begin to understand the use of the neutral toned paper and how to build values in shadow and then light with the black and white charcoal pencils. Not an easy task for some students. From here the portrait would be knocked back with the brush and then developed further into a more full and dynamic contrast of values.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Value, hatching and characteristics of light.

When applying the characteristics of light to the form it's important to hatch with the contour and landscape of the form. Be aware that the light hits the center of the form, the highest point nearest to the light. Even though to the human eye, the light shape on the form may look all white or bright, making it so, will flatten it out and diminish any sense of illumination and volume on the form.

Be sure to utilize the paper tone as a middle value between the light and the shadow. In this demo I have hatched in some umber and sanguine conte to the shadow to warm it up and play against the greenish tint of the cooler paper.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


These exercises are designed to allow you to begin seeing the 3 dimensional aspects of the human form in a very simple, but not easy, manner. If you can analyze and construct the figure in this manner it gives the student a tremendous amount of freedom in drawing from the minds eye as well as better understanding the form from direct observation.It is the beginning of planar analysis, which we will discuss next week.
  A good exercise is to go back to old gesture drawings and analyze the form as outlined in the above demo. It allows you to stretch your understanding of anatomy and begin to draw from the inside-out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Extended Block Ins. Standing Proportions

The important stage while learning to see more accurate proportions in drawing is making time for sighting an measuring. Once a basic intuitive block in is established as discussed last week, spend time measuring the relationship of the head to the whole.  Analyze alignment with a vertical line of the dowel. Begin to block in secondary contours being conscious of interlocking and overlapping forms such as seen in the shoulder and neck area here. Do not get caught up on the details of the features of the head, instead, make relationships of the placement to the features with simple staccato lines as seen here in the close up.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


 This week we have been studying gesture drawing and blocking in, two ways to begin a drawing to get a sense of the essence and overall configuration to the pose.  I have been putting emphasis on how the two ways relate and support one another. One of the main ideas I have been pushing is the importance of exaggerating the gesture or exaggerating the dynamic shift to the angle of a contour when blocking in. If we do so, we are more likely to get closer to the true nature and attitude of the form. A block in is an outside-in approach to seeing the form and gesture is more of an inside out approach. They can however support one another and be used in conjunction with one another with practice. Experiment with these ideas in your sketchbook. It becomes even more dynamic as we introduce the box form this coming week.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Skeleton Value Study

 The skeleton rendering is blocked in using line only as done in the above left sketch. The dowel is used to measure the proportions (using the head height as a unit of measurement) and aligning the three moveable masses using a vertical and horizontal line (dowel). Once the head, rib cage and pelvis are aligned and proportionate,  we begin to block in the smaller bones and articulate the secondary shifts to the angle of the contours.  The use of a central axis and the concept of 'drawing through' forms is demonstrated so to effectively describe the symmetry of the form from all angles.

When beginning the light, the skeleton is set up against a white wall and the students use a middle grey toned paper which allows efficient use of a simple shadow value along with simple heightening of the light and highlights using white charcoal.  It is vital to squint down when viewing the values in order to get as close to the true nature as you can.