Seeing Red

Having been fascinated by the subtle changes in light and shadow that ink wash affords, I find myself lately drawn to mediums and sales of higher value. Thus, I have been trying out spot reds on high value images. While these spot reds don’t have the range of light and shadow, they give otherwise very stark, high value images another shade of light and shadow.

As for subject matter, I’ve been sticking with human subjects, particularly faces, since the light play on faces is a little more predictable than on other subjects. The first picture is Steve Buscemi in the introduction to Boardwalk Empire. The second is an unreferenced study of a muscular face. Finally, the last imagenis a quick sketch of a cave man, also unreferenced.

Nucky Thompsonmuscle face

cave man fire

Toilet Light

At my local coffee house I noticed that the light his the toilet in a most dramatic manner. This seemed like a perfect opportunity for some inkwashin’!


As I said  on my last ink wash post, I like to get a good photo reference for these ink wash studies. A good reference photo can have great light and shadow, interesting subject matter, great texture, etc. But I think my favorite thing to render in wash is light and shadow.

Ink Wash Quickies

I photograph many cityscapes, for they are great for ink washin’ (the apostrophe means it’s fun). Ink wash is very quick to render large areas of light and shadow, and it’s a lot of fun. What I like to do is to get a reference photo and render it well in pencil. Then I do a quick pen sketch, followed by a wash.

ink wash cityscape ink wash cityscape

Stone Age Groove

Having just played Farcry: Primal, I’ve been much taken with cave-people culture.   It was a strange and beautiful time for humanity, living on the brink of extinction and at the mercy of the elements. I guess we’re always at the mercy of the elements, but that condition is heightened greatly in cave-folk time.

I do wonder a great deal about cave-denizen clothes: I see a lot of pelts in depictions of cave times, but I also see what one can only describe as pants or leggings. At what point were pants invented? How were these paleo-pants suspended? What materials did they use? I will probably not look into these questions, so they remain a mystery.

I drew these cave-friends with technical pens on toned paper, to simulate a cave-painting feel.  I also used a white pencil for highlights, and on the first, I even used a little charcoal, to give it a real, dirty cave feel.


caveman caveman cavemen