Where do cows go to have fun?


This drawing took me all day to complete.  I began with an 2H pencil to plan out the perspective and shapes of the movie theater.  Then I used a 4B to sketch in the different cows posing in the theater.  I went over all my marks with a Sharpie Ultra Fine Point  Permanent Marker, and erased all my pencil marks using a kneaded eraser.  That's almost half the day right there!  In a drawing like this, it's important to plan.  In a painting, I can go over things, and as the paint applies from the brush, depending on viscosity (thickness) it can create effects that give me ideas to work with.  Paint is conducive to the spontaneous creative mind, because the effects of how the brush applies the paint lead to ideas, and from those ideas, the final product is achieved.  With a drawing like this, however, I have to have a pretty clear idea about what I want to achieve.  Lines are definite.  Applying them is like nailing in the wooden support structure from which a house is build.  Then I used Prismacolor Cool Grey Ink Markers to render the lighting of a movie theater.  I could have worked from photo references of movie theaters to get the lighting right, but that would have taken the fun away.  I embraced that challenge of really understanding the way lights effect substance in a movie theater.   I just thought about how the light of the projector is the primary light source in the room.  Everything started out with the 20% cool grey marker, but I left the eyes alone, because I wanted them to be obviously watching the movie, and for their reactions to the movie be obvious to us.  I thought about all the times I've been to the movies, and posed the cows to represent different responses to different movies I've been to.  Some movies put us asleep, sometimes they are funny, intense, or boring.  Sometimes I've just sat there mesmerized by glorious car chase scenes while munching away at my popcorn, and sometimes a big smelly fat man sits next to me, and his arms droop over the arm rests into my personal space.  All of these situations are depicted by the cows in the theater, adding to the totality of its humor.  It's amazing how a corny joke can be so much funnier when it's illustrated with little details like this.  If you look more closely now, you can see the father taking his calf to the bathroom, while a cow on the upper right peaks in on the show.  The further back we go into the space of the room, the darker it gets.  The light of the projector bounces off the cows and chairs in the room, casting long shadows which are one to two degrees darker than the object's value.  If you study the drawing closely,  maybe you can see all the thought and planning that went into this.  I am really happy with this illustration, and I am looking forward to doing more work in this style. 
Another thing I've been working on is the development of a card game called Kitty City copyright Stan Levine.  This is a role playing game where players assume the role of a kitty.  Kitties draw 3 cards per turn, and discard or play at least 1.  Players try to accumulate Kitty Power cards, that can be used in Kitty Battles to defeat their opponents and take Kitty Territories.  Whomever has all of the Kitty Territories wins the game.  Here are some examples of cards I've been developing:

The Catnip card gives the player an advantage in kitty battles. 

Clean Kitty protects players against attacks for one round of Kitty Battle.

I've also been taking a life drawing class.  In this class, students draw nudes on newsprint with vine charcoal.  We begin each class with 2 minute gesture drawings.  A gesture drawing is like a stick figure, only it captures the energy of the model's pose.  Details are not important in gesture drawings.  What is important is to notice how the model is standing, which side of the body is compressed, and which is stretched.  Here are some examples of my class work:

Then we do 20 minute poses:

The 20 Minute pose is long enough to start thinking about underlying forms (muscle structures and anatomy.)  I still want to get the pose right, but at the same time, I want to try to render the contours of the human form.  Some students try to capture a true to life, exact representation of what they are seeing when they draw.  To do this, requires a lot of technical left brained skill.  The artist must measure the proportions of the body, and keep everything centered over the model's balance point.  Being a right brained artist, I tend to go for exaggerate what I see, and go for a more animated style.  

Notice how that heel of the back foot has an "S" shaped curve to show how the ball of her foot is planted on the ground; how her buttocks is compressed against the chair's seat to emphasize the sitting action.  Her arm draped over the back of the chair.  Notice how small I drew it in comparison to her other arm.  This is not the way it actually looks, but a stylized way of drawing what I am seeing to convey a sense of weightlessness in her arm.  Her arm is just hanging there, over the chair in an inanimate state of being.