Posts Tagged ‘graphite’

Artist of the moment….James Pyman….

In the gallery please notice the last image with James Pyman standing in front of the building. Well this was a great commission for the artist. An old mill was going to be restored. The artist drew it lifesize and it was made into reproduction and is now covering the building whilst the renovation takes place.

In case you didn’t know, its the birthday of the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker. Stoker was born on this day in 1847. He published Dracula when he was fifty years old. He was also personal assistant to the actor Henry Irving. Irving owned the Lyceum Theater in London. Irving was the first great actor of his time and the first awarded knighthood by the state.

In celebration of the man I thought we could take a look at an artist who did series titled “The Dracula Drawings.”  The artist’s name is James Pyman. Pyman took the words from the Stoker’s Dracula and illustrated certain points.

Pyman is British and was born in the year 1962 in Eastbourne.  Currently lives and works out of London. For his artistic education Pyman attended the Sheffield City Polytechnic.

The artist has had a book published in the United Kingdom featuring his works.

Pyman reminds me most of the United Kingdom artist Stephen Wiltshire. He is autistic and sometimes is flown up above the city in a helicopter. He is then brought back to earth where he draws what he remembers. In this clip see his paper set up in a circle for panoramic drawing. He is working on a drawing of Tokyo from his memory, just his photographic mind was used!

Happy Birthday Dracula!


Artist of the moment……..Illustrator Chris Van Allsburg….

lets take a closer look at one of the best illustrators  of childrens books in the country, Chris Van Allsburg.

A clip with the artist explaining finding a model to pose for him in the book “Queen of the Falls.” This book had to do with the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in barrell and live. She was 62 years old at the time. Its great to see how the artist goes about finding a model and poses of how to design and compose his book.

Van Allsburg was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the year 1949. Van Allsburg attended high school in Grand Rapids. The artist then went on to study architecture and design at the University of Michigan. Van Allsburg earned a bachelors degree in sculpting and learned to work with bronze and wood. He then went to the Rhode Island School of Design where he earned a master’s degree in scultpure. He finished college in 1975 and immediately set up a studio.
Whilst Van Allsburg worked on scultpures, his wife had a different idea. She thought his drawings would be great for illustrating childrens books. She showed them to a  publisher and the artist wrote his first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. He has written done both the writing and illustration for fifteen childrens books. Also did some artwork for the Chronicles of Narnia series.

The artist currenly lives and keeps a studio in Providence, Rhode Island.

The artist has illustrated many childrens books over the years including Jumanji and the Polar Bear Express. Van Allsburg wrote and illustrated both books.
The top prize for having the best childrens picture book is called the Caldecott Medal. The artist won this award two times for Jumanji and Polar Bear Express. He won a simlilar award for his first book titled “The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.”

high price range:  An original illustration from the Jumanji book that was done in graphite went for $31,000.

low price range:  An original from the Harris Burdick series done in charcoal went for $5975.

If you enjoy this type of work with allegorical figures you might check out the art of James Christensen, who paints this world in color. Another artist working in a similar manner would be Aron Weisenfeld. This artist started out as a comic book man and has worked his way onto the national fine art scene. If you want to study someone who is a master at drawing from unique vantage points, be sure and check out this artist.

I look at this artist as very important to the art world. Able to inspire both young artists, who are just learning to draw and create, and older artists who see what a pleasant and fruitful career he has already had.


Artists working with the face and figure….Burton Silverman

A link to his personal website:

online and land based galleries: Gallery 1261 in Denver, Colorado.

low price range: $5,000 for oil painting. Various prices for watercolor and drawings.

high price range: $85,000. For more info please visit this website showing the top portrait artists including Mr. Silverman.    . For a full oil figure painting life size look to pay $85,000.

mediums used: oils, watercolor, graphite, pastels

a clip from a great dvd by the artist. He shows a unique method using bristol board and zinc goache. Its better than normal watercolor as its easy to make corrections.  What I enjoy about this artist and any of his dvds is that he lets his thought process show in the end piece. He paints a rough sketch, lets it dry, then reworks the drawing and adds more paint. He also uses a large Grumbacher brush which I had to search quite a few art stores to find. Its great to pick up large pools of water or paint and put them down without any fear of running out of paint! He has lessons on dvd covering drawing , using watercolor, and painting in oils. He also has some books out. Here is a preview from the watercolor dvd. Its also great as he slides the figure over after making some initial marks. Its great to see the entire thought process that goes into a figure painting.

A short clip from a dvd lesson dealing with using graphite and paper. I learned a lot about how the artist is very patient with his marks rather than try to get into the heavy details of the figure from the start. He starts making marks on the paper and from these random lines finds a very abstract and interesting composition.

Find his Breaking the Rules in watercolor book for around $8 on Another book titled the Sight and Insight of Burton Silverman is $90 on Amazon. This book is more of a retrospective of the artist.

Mr. Silverman was born in 1928. The artist attended Columbia College finishing in 1949. He has done commercial illustration for magazines such as Time and Newsweek. He is included in more than 20 museum collections including the Denver Museum, the Philadelphia Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum.

This artist is one of the best business artists around. He has his works available in life size oils to pastels and watercolors as well as drawings. He also has some prints of his work available. In addition he has written a book and made films showing artists his process of painting. The artist still gives workshops that are sold out as soon as the word gets out.  He is one of the best living artists in the country and I hope you get the chance to see some paintings of his in person.

One last item to learn from this artist is to use a variety of colors in your work, but grey them out.  If you have a bright cadmium red you would like to use in say a sweater, add some raw umber to the red and save the bright splashes of red for just a few areas on the sweater, the artist has supreme control of his colors and his palette.

For today’s art homework try a new medium. This artist does watercolor, oils, and pastels and a high level! You can do it also.

From my experience I use a watercolor technique similar to the artist but use gessoed hardboard rather than paper as you don’t have to worry about the board buckling.

Happy Painting!