Gil Elvgren Master Copy

I have been working on a number of things in the last months, but have completely abandoned this site for a while (shame on me!). I figured I would start posting again, starting from the newest piece.

This is an 8 hour-ish master copy after Gil Elvgren. I was trying to study how to render more feminine subject, and incidentally noticed all of his paintings use frontal lighting to accentuate the roundness of the forms. Conte and Wollff’s Carbon charcoal pencils on smooth newsprint.


Head Drawing with Erik Gist – final thoughts and comparison

After 10 weeks, the term is over! Time to wrap it up and see if I learned something. Week 10 (which I did not post here, but you can find on my instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/easelj/) was quite satisfactory, but the test proof was week 11, aka did I really learn something?
I drew the same subject of week 1, Rob, from the exact same angle, and I am quite pleased with the difference:

Head Drawing with Erik Gist results comparison

I cannot post the reference, but what I can say is that I got the height/width proportion a little off, as well as the corners of the mouth a little too low, together with some other little things that I could have seen better.
I still am where I am, my eye needs to develop but I can definitely see an improvement from week 1. What do you think? This class has been worth every cent for me, can’t wait for next term!

Thanks again to Erik Gist (If you want to check out his instagram page, here it is: https://www.instagram.com/erik_m_gist/)for the awesome teaching and precious advice, and congratulations to all of the students who joined the class, both audit and full subscription!

p.s. for more info about the Watts Atelier, the brick&mortar school and/or the livestream classes, you can checkout wattsatelier.com


Head Drawing with Erik Gist, week 3 progress

Erik Gist Head Drawing class week 3

I am taking a head drawing class with Erik Gist (who is also my mentor, actually), and I am really excited about it!
Each week’s class is packed with great info, and the quality is just unparalleled. I still need to work on some edges, but I feel like I am slowly progressing and breaking the plateau.

I also get weekly critiques and video traceovers, which are an amazing tool for learning and clearly visualizing weak areas to focus on.

This one was about 2 hours!


Life drawing

Life drawing in conte charcoal watts atelier method


A series of quick sketches from the last life drawing session.
After the model kept insisting on the absolutely irrelevant poses (like the middle one, on the left) I decided it was time to (kindly) ask her to do something a little more dynamic, and she grabbed a chair. Next will be having a better lighting! Getting there little by little.


Watts Atelier’s Skill Building Challenge 25

Mom and Dad's Portrait in charcoal

This is my entry for the Skill Building Challenge 25 at the Watts Atelier of the Arts, and the last month of the yearly Master Skill Building Challenge.
The subject was supposed to be something we are really looking forward to be doing in our career, and that would have been fantasy illustration for me. However, I felt like I did not have the necessary skills to compete yet, so I chose to portray my parents. Here follows the reference I usedMon and Dad's portrait reference photo
After six long months, I feel like I did improve my skills a little bit, hopefully sign of an ascending path from now on.
Time to get back to the program, phew!

P.S. As a side note, I won the honorable mention 😀 http://www.wattsatelier.com/cycle-24-and-25-skill-building-challenge-winners-announced/


Watts Atelier’s Skill Building Challenge 23 – Head Quick Sketch


The most taxing challenge so far 😀 I had never tried. It was my first attempt at quicksketch, and I can ensure it really is as stressful as it seems! I burned out until the end, so I am glad the next phase will be on figure.
The above was a one hour quicksketch (one hour is still a fairly short time for a portrait). Follow two twenty minutes:

week2 (1)week2 (2)









Then four 10 minutes:
week3_1 week3_2_3 week3_4

And lastly eight (!) 5 minutes (!). These were by far the most challenging, I can barely find proportions in 5 minutes!

week4_2 week4_1



1 hour head quick sketch demo

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch


Poppe Totte kindly gave me the permission to publish his one hour quick sketch demo, where he shows his approach, thought process, and rendering method. For this demo he used a Conte 1710 charcoal pencil, and fairly smooth drawing paper (not smooth newsprint). Here follow his drawing and accompanying commentary

Step 1: simple block in and trying to find the planes. Think more Asaro than Reilly. I draw more with straight lines than trying to follow exact contour, time 15 minutes.

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch lay-in


Step 2: Separate light from dark, I don’t do edgemarkings like Jeff but I define the shapes and try to find the largest forms. Notice how the darks are only half tones right now, time ca 15 minutes which is probably slow but I wanted to be accurate in order to impress you.

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch middle valuePoppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch middle value


Step 3, go really dark on the darks, refine edges and shapes, also almost 15 mins which is really not that fast, but again, I went for accurateness.
I also didn’t start on the hair since it gets really easy to smear the whole drawing. Notice though that I sort of already have it in shapes and planes.

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch middle valuePoppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch full dark value


Step 3.5. Thiis is where the magic happens, smear out the darks and build up the halftone. Go lighter on the light parts but dont leave any white spots. This stage is only 2-3 minutes.

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch middle valuePoppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch halftones

Last step, final rendering, I refine some of the halftones, going lighter and darker where needed. I use a cut hard eraser for the highlights. Fingers or a stump where needed. Approx time 15-20 mins.

Poppe Totte 1 hour quick sketch