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Tale of the Genji

19 Dec

Fascinating post from BookRiot on an artist who laboriously illustrated each scene in the world’s oldest known novel, The Tale of the Genji, while incorporating a traditional Japanese style of painting:

The process of creating each scene in the The Tale of Genji was time-consuming and laborious. Agameishi usually took up to two weeks to paint each illustration, using her calligraphy brush, which added touching sensitivity to every line. There was an important link between calligraphy and her visual work.

“My style not only contains the calligraphic rendering of ancient Japanese (Waka) short poems, the entire picture is set in the way calligraphers endeavor to put written characters to life–and harmony–on paper… In my paintings, calligraphy characters combine like persons and the person characters appear like calligraphy.”

More Oldies But Goodies. . .

1 Mar

These are all done in colored waterproof ink and gouache on illustration board, my fave medium in the early-mid ’80s:

AppleGirl (2)


old illustrat 3-1-13 004GermanGirl

All paintings are copyright 2013, by S. K. Cole, all rights reserved.

Drawing of a Musketeer

8 Oct

Here’s a couple of shots from a drawing of a Musketeer I did in a Clothed Figure Drawing class at the Academy of Art in the summer of 2011, when I returned to my alma mater to take advantage of the free drawing classes they offer to their alumni, for the first time in almost thirty years. My old Clothed Figure Drawing instructor, Bill Sanchez, was still presiding like a lovable tyrant over Bradley Hall, the big, creaky, Edwardian ballroom at the 540 Powell Street building that has been the exclusive domain of the Illustration Department’s drawing classes for ever since anyone can remember.

Sketched in colored pencil and charcoal, my Musketeer drawings turned out rather well IMHO, considering that I hadn’t drawn a figure from life in three decades when I did them.

Clothed Figure drawing classes are different from regular figure drawing classes because the models dress up in costumes from storybooks and act out typical poses for their characters. The elvin keepers of Bradley Hall mysteriously maintain a vast store of props and costumes for their models to dress up in, as cowboys, Revolutionary War soldiers, doctors, Arab sheikhs, Frankensteins, and on and on.

They were great classes for learning all about how different types of fabric drape across the human body, and for how hats fit on human heads, and how boots and shoes fit on human feet. I took three whole units of Clothed Figure, but I did not save a single drawing from those classes–I just didn’t think they were worth carting around to all my various addresses over the years.  Now, I kind of regret that.

Musketeer 2/3 lengthMusketeer Head

Some Old Academy of Art Friends

6 Oct

Chuck Pyle was my “Beginning Head and Hands” teacher at my alma mater, the Academy of Art University (it was just a “College” back when I went there.) Chuck is now the Director of the Illustration Program at A of A. He was a stickler for traditional drawing a la the Golden Age of Illustration (Norman Rockwell, Wyeth the Elder, that other Pyle) and  he was tough as nails. I don’t think I ever pulled more than a “B” in Chuck’s class and that was after really sweating it. I caught up with Chuck last year when I sat in on some “Clothed Figure Drawing” classes that are kindly offered to alumni, free of charge. He was a young instructor of about 25 when I took his class all those years ago, but he looks pretty much the same today as he did then. If you nudge Chuck, you might get him to admit that he might, possibly, be distantly related to that other Pyle, one of the greatest of the late 19th/early 20th Century illustrators.

Francis Livingston was a young instructor at the A. of A. when I was there also, about the same age as Chuck. I never took any of his classes that I can remember, but he subbed several times for a couple of my Illustration teachers. He had loads of talent and his early work was posted all over the A. of A. Illustration Department’s bulletin boards, intimidating the hell out of all of us humble Illustration Dept. students/wanna-bees. He’s now a top-ranked illustrator and fine artist specializing in Old West art scenes.

Randy Berrett was yet another one of the Young Turks of the early 1980s at the A. of A’s Ilustration Department. He was my “Advanced Head and Hands” and “Clothed Figure Drawing III” instructor. Like Chuck, he was a toughie who insisted on Norman Rockwell-levels of draftsmanship. Today, he’s a highly successful background illustrator for Pixar movie studies and has created background scenes for almost all of their famous films.

Heather King was my “Illustration I” and “Illustration II” instructor. She’s now retired from teaching and free-lance illustration, but still sells her fine art online.

Bill Sanchez was my “Clothed Figure Drawing I and II” guru/drawing god. He’s still teaching Clothed Figure at the A. of A., thirty-four years after I took my first class with him in the fall of 1978! I sat in on one of his classes last year, and he’s still yelling the same things at students as he always did: “Wrapping around! Contrasting values! Push the foreshortening!” I never learned to push the foreshortening very well, sad to say. Bill was in his mid-thirties and had a big, poufy shock of red hair when I first took his class; today he’s got the same poufy shock of hair, but now it’s paper-white.