Friday, July 31, 2015

July Sgraffito Challenge (#4 or4)

The final July Sgraffito Challenge has arrived!
Today's Challenge should offer you some peace after working so hard on last week's figures.
This photo is by John Stewart, and it offers a lovely look at reflections. 
 (Guess what we're drawing this week?)

It's nice composition isn't it?  Here are 3 reasons why:

1. It utilizes a full range of value (lightest light to darkest dark)
    This makes for an interesting level of contrast.

2. The focal point (the sun and its reflection) are slightly off center
     both vertically and horizontally.

3. It follows the "Rule of Thirds".

     The 'rule of thirds' in a nutshell...  When dividing your subject photo into thirds using a grid overlay (like a tic-tac-toe board), interesting things should happen at the intersections and along the grid lines.  This particular photo is heavier on the bottom two thirds, compared to the top third.  When working on landscapes, it's helpful to begin by deciding where the emphasis should be- on the sky or the land. This way, the viewer's eye is settled since you've already decided for them what is most important to look at.  Tricky! 

This landscape by Elaine Cross is a good example of how images become 'reversed' in reflections.  This is a great brain exercise!  Also pay attention to the space between the actual trees and the water... the line where the land meets the water is almost always dark.

Your challenge to end the month of July (#4 of 4) is to create a drawing in powdered glass that shows a reflection.  You can use these photos as reference or come up with your own, make it as simple or complex as you like.  Add your photo link below when you finish your drawing so we can all enjoy it too!

Also, I'm working on something BIG for the month of October, so keep watch... Details coming next month... I'm so excited!

Friday, July 17, 2015

July Sgraffito Challenge (#3 of 4)

The Stick Person Challenge has Arrived!

And you thought it couldn't happen! 

Stick people can actually teach us a lot about how we view drawing humans.  When we're very young, we know what is 'essential' to the human body.  Head, Face, Arms, & Legs. 
As we grow older, we add things like the neck, hands, and feet, and from there we progress to adding knees, elbows, fingers, and toes...  

Beyond that, drawing people can get a little scary as we try to make our drawings look more realistic.  THIS is where a lot of us just give up and succumb to the idea that we 'can't draw anything better than a stick man.'  This week, we're going to 'Stick-it' to that thought and tackle some fear!

First, let's look at a few funny stick figures that have serious problems...

Pablo the Stickman is headed for disaster, and doesn't even have hands to catch himself...
At least he can still yell for help.  He definitely seems concerned and looks to be falling fast.


Poor Stan.  Things in the bathroom

were never easy with arms this short, but that's a 
secondary problem...
Stan's head would likely have fallen off into the toilet first, 
just from trying to look down without a neck!


All Stella wanted from life was to dance the
'Macarena' with her friends, but alas...
No Hips, No Shoulders, No 'Macarena'.
 She can't even reach her head...


Next, let's learn some simple tips about PROPORTIONS of the human body, or, how the sizes of different parts line up and compare with other parts.

The average adult human is approximately 8 "head lengths" tall.  Children have much different proportions from adults, so this drawing can help you notice those differences.
By the way, these photos were taken from the book "Figure Drawing For Dummies", by Kensuke Okabayashi.  It's a great, inexpensive starter book for anyone who wants to learn more about drawing the human figure.

Some Easy Tips & Tricks to help you 'figure' it all out: 
In order, here is approximately where each head length hits from top to bottom...
  1. Chin
  2. Armpit/ Nipple
  3. Navel
  4. Crotch/Groin (this is also usually the 1/2 way point)
  5. Fingertips
  6. Just below knee
  7. Just below center of shin
  8. Where the feet hit the ground
Things that line up pretty closely to each other:
  • Elbows and navel
  • Wristbones and Crotch
  • When seated, the distance from the top of the head to the seat is about the same distance as the back of the seat to the knees.

When drawn in proportion, these guys/gals can attend themselves in the bathroom, catch themselves when falling, AND can take on the 'Macarena' in style!

And finally, on to your challenge...  
The July Fused Glass Powder Sgraffito Drawing Challenge (#3 of 4), is to use what you've learned about proportion to create a series of sketches of human figures.  
You can start out with stick people if you like, and give them mass by adding powder in the appropriate places.  Picture it like you're working on a sculpture; starting with a wire armature and adding shape with the powder as you work.
 It may help to draw a sharpie stick person directly on your glass, and add powders over your sketch.
Avoid thinking about outlines if you can!

Things you can do to further challenge yourself:

  • Make your figures 'do something'... Dance the Macarena, walk a dog, ice skate, run, shoot a basketball, eat a hotdog, or hold a yoga pose.
  • Draw figures of different ages together.
  • Draw figures with animals, or in scenes that give a sense of scale.
  • Study figure drawings and paintings by other artists... Albrecht Durer, DaVinci, and Degas are some of my favorites.

 An InLinkz Link-up

*For those of you know me and are wondering... YES, I did laugh a lot while writing this blog post and I did very much enjoy using the words nipple, armpit, navel, groin, and crotch in a legitimate post.  :) 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July Sgraffito Challenge (#2 of 4)

Week one went by really quickly, didn't it?
The crows are so very cool, keep posting them!  If you are like me, and haven't done your crow yet, don't worry.  There is plenty of time to catch up.
Onward we go!

Our next challenge (#2 of 4) is to create a glass powder sgraffito drawing of a lightbulb.  You can pick your own lightbulb and compose a drawing from it, or you can use the reference photo as a guide.

It can be a real challenge to capture shine and reflection, and to make things look 'round and real'  (remember the safety pins?)  you can do it!  Pay special attention to where a dark shape meets a light shape, and compare their values.  Talk to yourself if you get stuck!..."this shape is lighter than that one, but also darker than the one next to it." etc. 

If you're feeling like you need a little more challenge, try laying the lightbulb on a patterned background and see how you capture it shining through the glass, or include your hand holding the lightbulb.

Don't forget to link your photo here so we can all see what you've been doing, now you can use Instagram to post your photos.  YAY!

Here's a little quote by Thomas Edison that should be an encouragement to you! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July Sgraffito Challenge!!! (#1 of 4)

A Murder of Crows Awaits...

Hi Everyone! 
Welcome to the first of four weekly Fused Glass Sgraffito Challenges for the month of July!
I'd like to present this challenge as a continuation of the 30 in 30 Challenge that we did in January; so if you missed that one, it's NEVER too late to go back and start at the beginning! 

This week's Challenge offers you the opportunity to improve your basic sgraffito drawing skills, as well as to work on some lovely artistic problem solving skills!  

This challenge is the opposite of the "White Challenge" from the 30 in 30.  Black objects present us with a similar problem.  In order to make something appear white, you need to focus on the shadows which give the white object its form.  Reversing this idea, you'll be looking for and picking out areas that can be highlighted to give a black crow its form. 

Your challenge is to create a powder sgraffito drawing of a crow, with the goal of giving it FORM (not just a silhouette)  
You can create as many drawings as you like, and you may use this photo or any photo reference you find.  
l chose this reference photo because it's a fine example of good composition, and it also offers those of you who are 'messing with color' a nice opportunity to advance your skills.  

The photo was taken by Steve Lyddon, and taken from the website  This is a great website!  Professional and amateur photographers offer their photos here for artists to use as reference photos in their work.  Copyright free!  Thank you photographers!  

Be sure to photograph your drawings and add them here using the Inlinkz link, and also to the photo folder on the Fused Glass Sgraffito Facebook Page so we can build a "Murder of Crows" and continue discussion there.  If you're not yet a member of the group just send me a request to join on Facebook.  Happy Crowing!


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