Enjoy this selection of the winning figure sketches and drawings from the 10th edition of Strokes of Genius, a “best of drawing” coffee table book featuring the work of over 120 of today’s top artists!
CIARA | DANIEL JARED SORENSEN
Soft white charcoal on neutral-toned paper with a hint of color 24″ × 18″ (61cm × 46cm)
This was drawn from life in a studio in natural light from a north-facing window. Ciara sat for four 25-minute sessions. My goal was to simplify the forms of the body to a basic division between light and shadow and then let the shadows entirely meld with the background. The foreground is delineated only by the reﬂections of light on the surface of the model.
WOMAN IN TURQUOISE | SUSAN O’NEILL
Soft white charcoal on neutral-toned charcoal, white and colored chalk and gesso on paper 40″ × 26½” (102cm × 67cm)
I ﬁnd great inspiration in the relationships between the rhythm of line and form (tonal variation) in the ﬁgure. This combination produces energy by which I hope to convey the passionate and timeless nature of the human spirit. I work from life and favor spontaneity. My initial impressions inspire the composition and expression. I layer line and value until I ﬁnd harmony within the pictorial space. Some areas are intentionally left loose while others are highly rendered, allowing discovery on multiple levels.
DEVON 1 | CHRIS PAGE
Graphite on cream paper 17″ × 14″ (43cm × 36cm)
I completed this drawing in approximately thirty hours over a two-week life session at the Art Students League of New York. Devon is one of my favorite models to work with, and after a few days of blocking in, wiping out and blocking in again everything except his head, hair and hands became less and less important. Ultimately, all the details that weren’t necessary to the composition faded into the nothingness of the paper and graphite . . . where they belong.
POWER | PAUL HOWE
Charcoal on bristol illustration board 27½” × 17½” (70cm × 44cm)
Having worked with many types of mediums, I now primarily work with charcoals and oils. Though very diﬀerent, I ﬁnd them both quite versatile. In this piece I used charcoal applied as loose powder onto an ultrasmooth surface with very low absorbency. This made it easier to build up and manipulate the charcoal to create textures, movement and expression. My beautiful model, who happens to be my daughter Megan, was my main inspiration. The pile of books was added later, as Megan believes that by obtaining knowledge through hard work and determination, one ﬁnds opportunities and—above all—power.
EASY LISTENING | CONNIE CHADWELL
Pastel pencils on sanded pastel paper 12″ × 9″ (30cm × 23cm)
My model, Marta, had had a long day, so I put on some soft music for her, which she loved. She settled into her pose, and I began drawing. I quickly sketched a gesture of Marta then scribbled over it with my pastel pencils. I smudged with my ﬁnger then drew over the smudge with more descriptive lines. I ﬁlled in very little beyond the ﬁgure since I like to combine line with more ﬁnished passages. The human form inspires me to draw from life almost every day, whether from a posed model or my absolute favorite: people just going about their lives.
IT DON’ T MAKE SENSE BUT IT ’S SO MUCH FUN | LINDA LUCAS HARDY
Colored on 800-grit sandpaper 18″ × 12″ (46cm × 30cm)
Sandpaper grabs the pigment and holds on. I vigorously blend with a fairly stiﬀ dry nylon brush. After blending, the tonal value and entire look of the pigment dramatically change, making the piece look like paint. The paper must be saturated with pigment for this to work. I have learned, however, that it’s necessary to blend some things like skin tones softly. Even so, I accidentally blended a portion of skin on the subject’s neck. I had no choice but to blend everything, but the skin tones still needed to be lightened. After considerable study, I decided to try Yellow Chartreuse and go over the darker portion of her neck. Much to my relief, it worked.
GARDEN REFUGE | PATRICIA CAVIAR
Soft pastel on black sanded paper 16″ × 24″ (41cm × 61cm)
Garden Refuge was inspired by vacation snapshots of the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. I ﬁrst drew a layout of basic shapes on newsprint before transferring to sanded paper. I added plants and colors from my imagination and selected as I drew, then accomplished detail by cutting oﬀ segments of various sizes and shapes from each pastel stick with a craft knife. I created unusual strokes by twisting and rolling the small pieces of chalk. Creative inspiration appears in our places of refuge whether in the world around us or a special space we visit in our minds and hearts.
CALISTA | TANJA GANT
Graphite pencil on smooth paper 12″ × 21″ (30cm × 53cm)
Calista began as an impromptu photo shoot intended for a diﬀerent project. This image of my daughter-in-law stood out because of the intense contrast between light and dark and between the crazy jumble of curls and Calista’s soft features. That juxtaposition of both values and textures inspired me. Using a grid method to transfer the image, I then worked left to right and light to dark, slowly building layers and values.
CONNER | DIANA DEE SARKAR
Charcoal on stained hot-pressed watercolor paper 14″ × 11″ (36cm × 28cm)
Conner’s portrait resulted from a chance meeting with his grandmother. She had just lost her home to a ﬁre, including her most precious possessions, family photos. A couple months later she shared an iPhone photo of Conner with me. Studying this young boy’s face, I saw his determination and strength, and knew I had to draw a portrait of him for his grandmother. I was so eager to cheer her up quickly, I decided to create a drawing instead of an oil painting. For prior ﬁgure drawings, I have used pencil on various papers stained with amber shellac diluted with denatured alcohol. To capture Conner’s determination, I chose the same technique, but using charcoal on hot-pressed watercolor paper.
PORTRAIT OF A ROMAN MAN | JULIANNE JONKER
Charcoal on heavy Bristol board 23″ × 15″ (58cm × 38cm)
In both my daily life and my travels I am most inspired by people living their everyday lives. I love candid, unposed moments. This young man was captured on ﬁlm in Rome. I was inspired by the natural lighting, the structure of his face and his expression. I started with several quick sketches to work out my composition, drawing and values. I then worked on a larger scale from the sketches and original photograph, using charcoal pencils, vine charcoal and powdered charcoal to achieve the various densities and eﬀects. At the end, I added a small amount of white charcoal pencil to accent the highlights.
COUNTING MY BLESSINGS | RANDOLPH DAVIS SMITH
Scratchboard 14″ × 11″ (36cm × 28cm)
I am a high school junior at Savannah Arts Academy in Savannah, Georgia. This drawing is from my independent study for AP Studio Art Drawing class, which is a series of scratchboard drawings relating to the importance of religion. This is my second work, which is titled Counting My Blessings. My drawing relies on the use of dramatic lighting to illuminate the ﬁgure in chiaroscuro. Pictured is a young woman of Islamic religion practicing with her traditional prayer beads. The woman takes each bead and counts one by one while praying to count her prayers, i.e., counting her blessings.
BEING LINCOLN | JODY MARTIN
Soft pastel on sanded paper 16″ × 12″ (41cm × 30cm)
I learned to love drawing and painting from my mother, Conny Martin, a gifted artist and my inspiration. My love for pastels was sparked by a Daniel Greene portrait workshop years ago, and I am most passionate about painting people, especially faces. The eyes draw me in, and I attempt to capture the spirit I see there. During the years I taught elementary art, I sketched and photographed many of my students. During the annual “Living Museum,” Joey was dressed as Abraham Lincoln. That day, he was reporting on his hero’s life as if he were Lincoln himself, all the while trying to keep his beard from falling oﬀ. His gallant eﬀort and the expression in his eyes touched my heart.
Get your copy of Strokes of Genius 10 and see the wide-ranging expressiveness of drawing and sketching. You’ll discover 120 artworks and learn the tools, techniques, methods and inspiration behind each work from the artists themselves.