My new friends Justin and Janell hosted guest artist Son Duong for an afternoon session at The Drunken Easel in Woodinville, Washington. Son’s art has been used by companies like Skull Candy, and he has a love of comic book heroes like Wonder Woman. For me, this was a great chance to paint a human form – something that I’ve been practicing, but haven’t yet gained confidence to the level where I’m happy sharing any samples.
The class included several Drunken Easel regulars, of all ages, and I was happy to see it wasn’t only comic aficionados.
Son provided a a graphic to use as guidance, which helped in a four hour session, and walked us through the steps as we dripped paint onto the plywood boards we were using as a canvas.
I’ll admit, I struggled, and it wasn’t clear to me why I was having difficulties getting the color tones to work the way I wanted them to. In principle, shading and forms work similarly to the kinds of illustration I’ve been doing with hardware and space scenes. By merely adding the human element, I got tense. We’re born knowing human faces visually, at least those who have sight, and as a result we’re all highly aware of faces that are off by just the smallest bit. Whether it’s the proportions on the eyes, expressions, even the fall of hair on the shape of the head. When any of these aren’t working, it’s easy to spot.
Eventually, with the help of several quality stouts, I loosened up and pushed through the final stages. Overall I’m happier with the end piece than I was halfway through it, and it’s not something I’d be inclined to hide in the garage anytime soon. I consider it a success in that I tackled a subject, and a style, that is outside of my comfort zone.
Son did an amazing job on the sample (shown below), which is up for a raffle on The Drunken Easel’s site. If you’d like a chance to own this yourself, check it out.