Inspiring Strokes of Genius

Strokes of Genius 2: The Best of Drawing Light and Shadow celebrates the beauty, diversity and expression of drawing. Fresh from the studios and sketchpads of 100 artists, these striking creations run the gamut from highly detailed, remarkably realistic images that were months in the making, to contour drawings, journal sketches and gestures captured in mere minutes. Below are a few samples from the book, along with notes from the artists, describing their working process and inspiration. To see more inspiring drawings, get your copy of Strokes 2 here.
Want to get your art published? Enter the Strokes of Genius 3 competition here. The deadline is May 1, 2010, so start drawing!

Indian Summer
Terry Miller
Graphite on bristol board
9" x 21” (23cm  x 53cm)

Use Atypical Viewpoints and Humor for Interest
Because animals are my primary subject matter, I am continually looking for interesting ways of portraying them beyond strict portraiture. By using atypical angles or viewpoints, humor, clustering and overlapping, or unusual gestures, always within the context of strong lights and darks, I hope to develop a unique take on the subject. Areas of bright highlight are worked away from, rather than created through erasing; dark shadow is built up slowly in layers so as not to throw off the balance being created across the entire work.

Terry Miller
Graphite on bristol board
5" x 8" (13cm x 20cm)

Tiger Trail
Terry Miller
Graphite on bristol board
9" x 7" (23cm x 18cm)

Invented Landscape
David Gluck
Graphite and white chalk on hand-toned paper
4" x 8" (10cm x 20cm)
Start a Landscape With an Abstract Design
Invented Landscape, as the title indicates, was created directly from my imagination. I started by designing a complex compositional web based on intersecting verticals, all tied together with a series of curving elements. It was, essentially, a work of abstract art upon which a realist work was draped. Based upon the abstract web, I slowly built a landscape on top of it. It took a lot of experimenting and fiddling to get the right ratio of variation to pattern, the correct values, and so on. The piece is meant to lead the eye throughout the entire composition, never stalling on any given area too long. I feel that too often the design potential of a drawing, or even a quick study, is not fully tapped.

Evening Reflection
Donna Levinstone
Black and white pastel on paper
30" x 30" (76cm x 76cm)

Try Using One Black Pastel and One White Pastel
My pastel drawings are created mainly from imagination. I use 3M 811 tape to mask my drawing area, leaving a 3" (76mm) border. For Evening Reflection, I used one black pastel and one white pastel. I like extra-large homemade pastels by Diane Townsend; I protect my hands with Winsor & Newton Art Guard. I start by drawing the sky using my darkest black and then add the clouds and foreground using my white pastel. I like to wipe down the drawing with tissue paper. This allows me to layer and bring out the whitest whites. It is similar to using turpentine with oil paints. The rest was created by blending black and white pastels, concentrating on the use of light and shadow to create atmosphere.

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