James OBrien
March 2009
Sketching at church with a ballpoint pen
I paused for prayers and participated in the singing, even though I can’t sing very well, can’t decide if I’m a bass or tenor. I made these with a ballpoint pen rather than a 3B pencil.
Grandma and Grandpa Behar
I collect old family photos when I find them, in antique stores and at sales. I prefer the older ones mounted on thick card stock but also look for any interesting prints, even newer ones. One of my favorites is this one of a man with two llamas, he reminds me a bit of my Uncle Bob.
The sketches at top are of Grandma and Grandpa Behar, Rebecca and Leon, drawn from a couple of hi-res family photos I found online.
Sleeping boy
This is a personal piece created for licensing, a sleeping boy.
Step 6: added final shading and textures.
Step 5: introduced additional background texture.
Step 4: replaced the sketch with final line work.
Step 3: added a white texture for the shirt and fingernails.
Step 2: blocked in figure and background color.
Step 1: this is the rough sketch for the image.
Flash drawing with students
I was using my self-portrait in class today for a Flash drawing demo (see technique here). When I stepped away for a bit, one of my teaching assistants sat down and began adding to the drawing, followed by another one of my assistants who added some line work of her own. I finished it up the drawing later and above are the results. The top row, left to right, is Mikey’s, Francesca’s, and then both of theirs together. The bottom row, left to right, is my contribution, all of the line work, and with onion skin activated to reveal the underlying sketch.
Couple of sketches
My wife and I have differing definitions of the word couple; I say it's always two and she says it depends on the situation, could mean three. So looking up the definition tonight, in fact, as an informal definition, "a couple" is an indefinite small number. There you go.
Above are two sketches of John Updike. I've been tracking the NYTimes' obits this year for some portrait projects and these two studies are in preparation for that.
I’m due for bifocals, actually should have them by now but keep putting it off every year. I prefer setting my glasses atop my head when I read and then putting them back on when I need to see anything beyond about a foot. So tonight when I was sketching a self-portrait using Photo Booth as a sort of mirror, I realized that I needed my glasses to see my face on my laptop screen but then had to look under them to focus on my drawing. And I was trying not to move my head too much so I struggled between maintaining my head position while at the same time looking down under my glasses at my drawing. The compromise seemed to be viewing my drawing half through my glasses and half under them, a split view with an odd mix of focus and blur. This resulted in a somewhat blind-contour drawing with a bit of distortion, along with a slight eye-ache. But I ended up with a nice sketch and my daughter’s hour-long Irish dance lesson seemed to go by much more quickly.
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