Up in the air! It’s a bird, it’s a plane … no, it’s just me.

superdogx

I did a fun interview with Andrea Scher recently. She’s an artist, photographer, jeweler, and creative coach who runs a wonderful blog which encourages people to be their own superheroes.

Her questions ( What is your superpower? What are your obsessions? Tell us about a time when you had to practice courage. What did you believe as a kid that you no longer believe? etc)  were stimulating and challenging and I ended up saying things I’ve never thought of in quite the same way before. I hope you enjoy it.

I also came across a lovely tribute to my work by Illustrian.

EDM #49: The contents of my refrigerator

There’re few things as depressing as a bare fridge. It’s the cliché of the single person you always see in movies: a few moldy Chinese takeout containers, a half-empty jar of mayonnaise, a box of baking soda, a six-pack.

But shopping for one is tricky. These days, I do tend to eat at home and to cook more than I did when I had a teenaged roommate. But I have to be careful not to be too ambitious and to fill my kitchen with stuff I’ll never have time to eat. I hate throwing out stuff that survived past its due date: a head of cauliflower, a half-gallon of milk, some cheddar that’s turning into bleu cheese. Still, I’d rather waste food than face an empty larder.

Whenever I do a drawing in indian and sumi ink, I think of Ben Katchor. For years he did comics in the Daily Forward that had a bleakness and everyday decrepitude that made a big impression in me. His weltschmerz came out in a sigh of grey washes, a shrug of indifferent lines and cramped composition. These days as he branches out to publications with bigger budgets,  he uses bright colors but his work still has a lovely unsavoriness to it that smells vaguely of sour milk and unwashed socks.

EDM #39: Draw your toothbrush

It was so nice to draw in watercolor again to layer and adjust and tweak and blot these vivid, glowing colors. And the proportions of my subject led me back to my watercolor moleskine with its broad horizontal dimensions. If you want to see a masterful use of this shaped page, check out Ian Sidaway‘s blog. He often draws in a wide landscape book  and I learn so much from his compositions.

Ironically, last weekend I was looking through my very well-thumbed, thirty-year-old copy of How to Draw and Paint and realized that many of my favorite pieces in this wonderful book were done by Ian. Cooler still, he’s going to be in my next book “An Illustrated Journey”!

EDM# 35: Draw a bicycle or a part of one

I painted this yesterday but tried to take my time in developing it rather than rush to scan and upload it. I made it with gouache and drew (most of) it freehand with a brush.  I am replacing my habits developed over years of watercoloring with the approach I used when I was a teenager and first started painting in acrylic. I find gouache quite challenging because I can’t layer color which so often helps me hid my mistakes. With this opaque medium, I have to lay down the color and be satisfied with it before adding the next and it can be quite annoying. I’ll try to explain more about this by showing you a couple of steps I took.

First I painted my vestibule, using flat colors and with little indication of lighting. This was fairly straightforward once I had  a grip on the perspective and I just mixed up a color and then created  a lighter version to make the lighter part of the wall or floor. Probably the hardest color to mix was the parquet floor in lower left just because I had to figure out how to make a darker brown using only yellow and an ochre and blue.

When it was good and dry, I lightly sketched in the bicycle. Then I painted it in with black and white gouache. As you can see, the red wall started to leach into the white of the tires, so I let it dry and added another coat of white which helped a bit but not completely. I wanted to add a bit of the shadow that the bike threw on the wall but  didn’t want to paint around the bike to add a darker red so instead I tried to lighten the rest of the wall with a bit of watered-down white.

I don’t know if this painting is done completely. I should go in and erase the white pencil lines, darken the tires and hit the white one more time to get rid of the pink — and maybe I shall. I also fought the impulse to scrawl a caption on the floor with my dip pen (both Jack and Tommy Kane urged me to just leave the damned things as it is) and I remain of two minds about it.

Before I began painting, I spent a fair amount of time looking at the work of Taliah Lempert, an artist I have always admired, who does nothing but drawn and paint and make prints of bikes. Her work is really lovely and instructive.

An introduction

A new member to the EDM group on Yahoo wrote a lovely introduction I wanted to share:

Hello,

I’m writing from Italy, a small city from the south of Italy.

Arts or the thousand ways to make arts were always inside the genes of my family. All my uncles from my mother’s side were almost pro music players. And I played a lot of jazz and the bass.

All of them were having also some strange genes and i have cousins that are chefs, my mother is superb in many crafts, my sister try to work in USA as comic colorist. She was lucky to attend an art school, so she is great.

I started doodling since I was a kid going around in the garden scratching my legs. In my adolescence I stop drawing and I attempted to be a professional painting restorer and I studied arts. I always collected art materials and so my lovely wife. I’m lucky she’s my first supporter.

But the ways of life are so strange and I became something else, dunno if more rewarding but currently I work for an international organization.

It was down there this fire, buried, my will to make some art as pleasure for myself. In the meantime, due my work, my missions in Africa I felt alone. very alone. The work was and it’s still very hard. The heat the humidity and mosquitoes can stress any people, believe me.

But I love my job… but sometimes get stressful shades.

My only relief in missions was only my wife’s voice on the phone and a sketchpad with a pencil. I made a lot of ugly drawings, some designs. Doodles. Lines with the will to be something more.

It was funny to see how time was passing with some good music. And i felt good if not better.

Months after I blown more on that fire burning inside me, and It was like to be rebirth, seriously. My wife also gifted to me a new bike.

Bingo. With the excuse to go to buy a toothpaste I go around my very small city (yes also to buy the toothpaste… :))) and I stop where I find something interesting.

My goodness, I feel everything interesting. Even if I stay at home I can draw everything is inside in an infinite doodle or in a lifetime long drawing. I feel and I like to draw everything from the lips of my wife to the coffee machine. From the ears of my cat to the old dustbin on my balcony. I can sit in the living room as drunk and I can pass any minute of my Saturday night with ease without even touching water, drawing and painting with a smile.

I can draw the toilet paper or a bowl of fruits or an ugly portrait of soap opera character with the same happiness.

That simple, I will never get bored. Something like a drug, an obsession for every single dust of the life.

So very later on I made also a blog where I show some of my crude sketching.

And I called everything is worth to be sketched because to me it’s like that. Apart from the results… eehehehehhe

Thanks to the fate I met also some inspiring books for myself mad thoughts. They are the books of Danny Gregory, all of them, that like a bomb exploded freeing me more and more. Me and my lovely wife. So grateful.

Thanks to letting me in this group, and sorry for the long presentation.

Cheers,

Stefano
Visit his blog here