Sketchbook Detour

***Temporary Sketchbook Detour***

I began a solo motorcycle trip from Los Angeles on Friday, June 22, 2012, heading north, as far as I'm having fun. I'll be updating my sketchbook with posts from the road, and not necessarily artwork. I'm too beat by the time I'm in camp or in a cheap motel.

I'll continue with the sketches when I get back in a few weeks.

Yeah right! It's been months! I'll get back to it as I finish up some classes and have more time again. Maybe in another month, like in February, 2013.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Painted Girl 2


I sketched her with some leftover paint from a canvas I was working on.  I hate to waste that little bit that is left on my palette so I try to put it to use somehow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Drawing Step-by-Step Tutorial - It's MLK as Bad Ass Action Hero


Before I get started with the steps I took to get here, I have to comment about a couple differences between the photo and my sketch.  First of all, I think he appears a little leaner in the drawing.  I struggled with unintentionally drawing him as an old overweight guy and overcompensated by giving him gaunt cheeks, and maybe a longer chin.  I think it makes him look like Dr. King, Bad Ass Action Hero.  Second, I guess I wanted for us to have his attention, because in the drawing, he's looking at us, instead of somewhere off to our left.  I didn't intend to do either, or at least not to the extent I did.  I do, indeed, want to make people to look good when I draw them, so maybe that's what happened with this sketch, but overall, I'm pleased with the outcome.

I hope you get something out of seeing how I typically do a quick sketch from a photo.

First, I Googled a photo of Martin Luther King and was looking for more of a candid pose, not looking straight-on or profile, but three-quarter view.  The photo I selected was on the allisonj.org website.  I'm not sure who to credit with the photography, but I'm sure this is a significant picture.


Next, I'll do a quick outline drawing of the photo, paying attention to the shapes.  I focus on the angles, and the proportions of the different parts of the image. I'll also note the positive and negative spaces and significant shadows.  As I'm working, I compare the drawing to the photo and look for discrepancies in my drawing.  For example, I notice that his left eye is too low in my drawing, so I redraw it where it should be.  I begin darkening in some of the outline that I'm happy with, while correcting and shifting things that need it. 

I continually work the drawing, darkening and adding details.  I'll also begin smudging the pencil marks to create a more modeled three-dimensional feel.  I work the drawing, going darker and darker, paying attention to details as I go.  I'll be using the eraser to draw in highlights later.


At this point, I blacken in the background and really focus on the details.  I get a little too carried away with the background and lose some of the structure of his right cheek, so I lighten the background with my eraser.  I add highlights wherever the light is shining on his face and suit, and eventually decide that I'm finished.  I could continue and smooth out all of the highlights so it's not quite as rough, but with how nice the background and pencil marks came out, I'll leave it as is.  And I'll skip a tight cropping, instead leaving the borders messy and interesting, adding to the drawing.


Sorry about the blurry photos, I didn't pay too much attention to lighting while photographing my steps.  The finished image looks so different because I scanned the paper on a flatbed scanner.  It has a better resolution and more correct coloring than my quick photographs.  I hope this was somewhat interesting to you.

Please let me know if you have any comments, requests, or questions at: info@brettcarstensart.com.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two Sketches from National Geographic



Here are a couple of sketches of photos from a recent National Geographic magazine.  I tend to pick up National Geographic because the photography is interesting, seldom posed, and looks really, really good!  The top drawing is from a group of kids swimming in a lake in Georgia in the Caucasus region of Eurasia.  The second drawing is of a girl from some Nat Geo TV show who I should have got her name, but didn't.  I think I aged her in the sketch. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sorta Christopher Walken


Someone suggested I do a sketch of Christopher Walken, so I looked him up, found an interesting photo (on Moviewatchlist.com) and got going on a quick sketch.  I really got into it, then realized that something is off just enough that I think it looks more like a caricature of him instead of the cool-looking drawing I was hoping for.  Anyway...  That's the camera-phone photo of the page stuck on my computer monitor.

I bet I'll figure out what is off about the drawing tomorrow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Abe Lincoln Pencil Sketch


I was looking for something to get me drawing (I feel like crap, have a cold, and don't feel like doing anything.) so I grabbed the February 2011 edition of National Geographic Magazine.  On one of the first pages I happened upon this photo by Alexander Gardener.  It'll do.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Red Girl


She's red paint on paper.  I've noticed that recently tend to keep things monotone or very muted color-wise.  I stress the shadows and highlights and seem to ignore the superfluous I guess...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

I Don't Know - A Demon Squeeze Tattoo Maybe

Done in a meeting with a $2 Pilot G2 pen on copy paper.  These types of drawings tend to create themselves while I watch.  I started with the eyes, then finished the face.  The head sort of exploded, and the tightly gripping hand became the reason.  Then to bring it around, the arm and the doll appeared.

I think it could be a cool tattoo, if it represented something powerful to the person getting it.  I have a huge appreciation for tattoo artists and their flash art.  They do some wonderful art in complicated circumstances.  I mean, they've got a live canvas with curves and imperfections (for lack of a better word) and they use a fairly awkward tool to apply the ink among other things.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

By Request - Daft Punk Photoshop Art


I'm still figuring out how to draw in Photoshop.  I'm good at photo manipulation and working with graphics and such, and I'm good at drawing in analog, but would like to learn the techniques for blending in Photoshop. 

I'll Google it and do a tutorial one of these days.  Until then, check out the masters of Photoshop art...