November 09, 2005

The Royal Winter Fair III

There's a wee antique show on one floor of the Royal, and I've actually found some good things there. Mostly it's old plates and antique furniture, but there are a couple dealers who sell books; one lady in particular who sells early edition childrens books. One gent had two enormous "table albums" of the drawings of Charles Dana Gibson (we're talking huge) from the turn of the century--if I'd had more money at the time (and a truck with which to carry them) I surely would have bought them. I've seen a number of the little travelogues by one of my favourite artists, Joseph Pennell, and I think it was at the fair that I bought my antique copy of The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed. Good stuff.

But while the Practice and Science is a good manual, it's entirely different to put drawing concepts into practice. I was speaking with James the other day about the severe test that quicksketch is--particularly animal drawing. You can't draw well what you don't understand, and the *tricks* learned from habit quickly fail in the face of moving, unfamilar subjects. Could anything be better for you?

With birds, (this year removed for avian flu precaution!) I found that success lay in getting across their invariably complex, elegant silhouettes and interior shapes. Birds especially test your ability to render shape, form, anatomy, texture, and weight. Needless to say, I didn't find success, but it's a wonderful challenge anyway.

A few more from 2003; these again with the pentel sign pen
Notice the skinny pigeon!