Thursday, September 5, 2013

My green pencils need a rest.

"Brussels Sprouts"
Prismacolor colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol vellum, 3" x 11"

About a year ago, a close friend of mine gave her aunt a framed print of my drawing of an artichoke. Her aunt lives in a Northern California coastal area known for growing artichokes, pumpkins and Brussels sprouts, and kindly asked if I might draw those as well. You may recall that I finished the pumpkin, but the holidays intervened and when I finally had time, no Brussels sprouts (on the stalk) were to be found at the markets. (By the way, if you haven't eaten Brussels sprouts in a while, you should try them again. In recent years, some of the bitterness has been bred out of them—they're delicious!)

I almost never draw from reference photos; I just get a better result from real "models". But rather than put this drawing off any longer, I decided it had to be done. Now, if I were to draw using my own photos as reference, that's one thing, but this time I had to rely on stock photos I found online. The ones I ended up using had no photographer listed that I could request permission from and/or give credit, and they were all used extensively on  the internet as "generic" pics of Brussels sprouts. I also bought some loose fresh Brussels sprouts which were very helpful in achieving realistic colors and textures. (I posted some WIP shots in this previous post.) I'm happy with the end result, but can't help but feel a bit guilty about using those photos, even though they weren't "artistic" photographs per se.  How do you feel about that dilemma?

I've been a little negligent of my blog; I've been trying a new drug for my Parkinson's and had more than a few "foggy" days, but am feeling much better now. Looking back at my last few drawings, it's high time to draw something—anything!—that's not green.

Note: I just remembered that this week's topic on Illustration Friday is "lush". One order of lush Brussels sprouts coming right up!


  1. Wow! Your art looks superb! *___* Your work is amazing!

  2. Gorgeous, and that's from a person who can't stand brussels sprouts. I'll take your word for it that they're less bitter these days. As for using photos for reference, this is my thinking on it -- if you're just doing a drawing you aren't planning on selling, you're completely in the clear. It's just practice. If you're going to sell it, change the photo so it's not just a repeat of it. Sounds like you did that by getting samples from the store. If every artist only worked from observation, the only drawings of whales would be from scuba divers.

    I hope the new meds work out for you. Be well!