A blog about Gilead's fantasy art. Exploring the secret fantasy world that may or may not all be inside the artist's head. Gilead shares his ideas and inspirations from the life drawing sketch all the way to the final painting. Step by steps, techniques and thoughts about models materials, pricing illustration, sign painting commercial art, galleries or just you know...life.
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If you look at the art of Roy Krenkel, Frank Frazetta, and other science fiction and fantasy illustrators of the 1970s you'll see lots of wild and impractical looking metal headdresses. One evening I decided to design one of my own, and this is the sketch that I came up with.
I have a latent interest in metallurgy and jewelry design. I took some jewelrysmithing, blacksmithing and welding classes long ago and got to make a few pieces of jewelry, some wrought iron, a coat of chainmail and a few crude swords and other medieval weapons.
So in keeping with the sign-inspired art phase I was going through I created this framed-in piece with spirally hair and whatnot. It's kind of like classic fantasy illustration run through a sign painter's filter to create a piece of abstract art.
Like always she is painted it on a recycled board from the sign shop.
14 inches X 48 inches, Oil paint on wooden panel
Another dresser top that I used for a canvas a couple years ago while I was emerging from my sign painter past and searching for whatever was ahead. You can especially tell because of the abstract, spirally hair.
I had given myself permission to go right ahead and paint anything that occurred to me, no rules.
If no one buys it then it was still good practice.
"The Kiss" 36 inches by 18 inches, oil paint on wood panel.
Fear holds us back from so many of the cool things we could do. I was afraid for decades to take a life drawing class, but when I finally did it turned out to be the best thing I've ever done for my art, my career and my social life.. Because of a religion I no longer believe in I was afraid to draw pictures like this one for fear of what people would think. But do you know what they thought of me back then when I was being considerate of what they might be thinking? They thought I was wasting my life not doing anything worthwhile with my artistic talents.
They were right.
I was right too, My world is full of people who would have been scandalized by this painting. But if they ever even see it they'll get over it and nothing will change.
All the judgmental people in my life who's judgment I was afraid of and avoiding? They were judging me the whole time anyways so what good did it do me to suppress my artistic impulses to try and please them?
A joke we often make in drawing class is that Circles make all art better. There's no small amount of truth to it.
One quick and simple solution to the aforementioned problem (yesterday's post) is to put a large geometric shape in the background. Circles work nicely. Once there the shape might suggest something else to you such as a door or window, a sign, a picture frame a mirror or a decorative mandala like the works of Alphonse Mucha.
Sometimes you don't even need to explain it. Sign painters especially window painters like myself would often drop a shape behind a foreground element just to pull it together and provide a color to contrast against.
So essentially I've taken everything that was a disadvantage about this composition and turned it into an advantage. The background circle tucks in visually with the shape of the chair. The ray gun that I drew initially recommended the science fiction setting.
I gave her clothes on her lower body which I couldn't see enough of anyways and left her breasts exposed because why on earth would you cover those? Plus you may notice the upper body is angled just enough to show both breasts. I just don't like a complete profile in a drawing, there's something artificial looking about it.
She was one of my all time favorite models but alas she moved away. You always have the impression that her feet aren't touching the ground, floating and ephemeral.
When an artist is attracted to a figure, a landscape feature or any object to draw there are two things to work out.
One is how the figure will look, the other is how all of the empty space on the canvas will look. If you draw a tall skinny tree or a human figure they won't take up the whole paper unless you select a tall skinny paper for that purpose. But most of the time you'll find yourself with composition problems.
A seated figure from the side can be very problematic. The "L" shape of her body creates a big empty space above her that will be very awkward if you don't do something with it.
The good news is that solutions abound. There could be another person standing back there, or an animal or goblin as I often do.
There could be architectural features, trees, curtains, Lettering or just an abstract design. It's a ll up to you and the kind of art you are making.
Solving this problem has forced me to invent stuff and because of that led to some of the most interesting images I've ever done.
The model was not actually holding a laser pistol at that particular moment, but the posture of her hand suggested it. I was disappointed that from my angle so much of her lovely figure was concealed, but you have to make what you can out of what you have.
It's much too hot to play outside right now. Hey you know what you should do? You should order a bunch of coloring books on amazon. You won't even have to go outside...well except to the mailbox I suppose. Do yourself a favor and don't order any crayons in the mail for a couple months. Not in Phoenix anyways.
Do you know how to draw a mythical beast accurately? Ask them to pose for you. Really that was kind of an obvious one wasn't it?
I always thought the word "gynosphinx" just sounded dirty somehow besides some of them are obviously male and "androsphinx" just sounds goofy. I also find the word "sphinx" a little hard to say by itself so I prefer to call them cattaurs.
I asked her what they call themselves. She gave me a contemptuous look and said "Jas" which means "us". I guess I had that coming. That word would work except that the centaurs, satyrs, minotaurs, some elves, goblins and even humans use the same word for themselves. ... Cattaurs it is.
Now I know what some of you are thinking: "Gilead who do you think you're fooling? You're clearly delusional if you believe that you actually traveled to some fantasy realm where some mythical beast posed for you to draw her like this!" OK OK you got me. It would be impossible to pose like this for very long. There was actually a tree stump there for her front paws to rest on and she didn't actually have a sword at all she was holding an overhanging branch which allowed her to keep herself in the right position fairly restfully. But you know it's fantasy art, one has to improvise a little.
Rarely seen these days, cattaurs (sometimes called a gynosphinx) used to range in great numbers along the cliffs of Mingus Morgul and the mountains of central Arizona. Their numbers have diminished due to incursions on their environment and to being eaten by dragons. But a mother cattaur and two cubs were spotted outside of Jerome early last spring. Some authorities claim it was actually a mountain lion, but of course that's just plain silly.