Saturday, September 17, 2016

I've been drawing but not posting

I've been busy drawing but just not posting.  Hope to add more soon.  This is from last Thursday session with my favorite model.  Conte and pastel on grey paper.  Just trying something new and more colourful,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Anatomy Master Class Is Back!

This year two sessions to chose from: July* and August.

For a full week we explore and study what gives the human figure its structure and form.

"A workshop NOT to be missed, great Master Instructor, great models, great studio setting, make great friends and bask in hours of great stories, incredible drawings and a highly effective system to build your knowledge, method and overall confidence in drawing the complexities of the figure. One of the finest teachers and draftsmen in Canada. Your move."   
Geordie Millar, 2015 participant

*(Please Note: dates for Session 1 are  July 18 - 22)

With the best model in the GTA every day*    

Only 7 students,  guaranteeing assistance, consultation and demonstration on a personal level unattainable in larger classes. 

One full day at the University of Guelph Gross Human Anatomy Lab where we have the opportunity to study and draw the excellent range of specimens up close and unencumbered by display cabinets or glass jars.  There is no place like it.

In Downtown Guelph 

Close to art store, restaurants, and accommodations of every price range:  Airbnb, hotels and U of Guelph residence rentals.

GO bus from Toronto

45min from Pearson International Airport.

25min from Kitchener. 

$675.   (Book July Session  before July 1 and get $130 off )

Student Discount available.

To Register  or more info:    

Monday, June 6, 2016

Creature Class Workshop this June.

Join me at the 'Bone Rooms' for an exciting three days of Creature drawing.

We'll be studying the wide array of skeletons in the excellent collection at the Vet College at the University of Guelph over three days to make the most of effective creature drawing.

Skeletons ranging from full size horses, lions and bears to two headed calves, reptiles and birds: they will all be there to chose from for creating the creature of your choice,

Day 1:  we study comparative skeletal anatomy - what is different and what remains the same in all of them.  We will look at joints as well as bone forms to understand what movement is possible.

Day 2: we will chose from 3 or 4 different skeletons to create a skeletal structure for our creature

Day 3:  Pulling muscles and giving them form.

sequence based on composite ROM skeleton  sketch

Price $265 + HST

Early Bird before June 10th $225 + HST

To register email:

plus $75. deposit   (balance  due day 1 June 21)

Pay Pal button below

for more info

Come join us for some great drawing!

June 21 - 23

Creature Class June 21 - 23

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January start in the studio - A day of figure drawing to myself.

Something I haven't done lately but must do more often is to have a model in for a day. Pure pleasure to just push conte around for hours and let the time pass.

Happy New Year!
all work conte on 18x24 newsprint.

January 6th Cat Studies

Starting the year with some #sketches of my #cat as he lay beside me on the couch.  I was supposed to be working on the storyboards for a new book book but he was just too tempting to ignore.

8B on 8.5 x 11" printer paper

Friday, August 21, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Morning Pet Sketching

It's Monday and with every Monday comes a long list of what has to get done. 

I decided it could all wait and instead sat outside sketching my cat and dog as they enjoyed the summer shade. 

Best start to a Monday I'd say.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Very Long Concert

A number of years ago I was at a very long concert.  I did this sketch when I got home.

I like my concerts just a bit shorter.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Long ago watercolour

I just came across this photo of a watercolour I did many years ago after University.  

It was an old gnarled apple tree I would pass in a field near a highway I often traveled.  One winter day I stopped, sketched and this came about.  I was sad when years later it finally died.  

I think my fascination with both trees and anatomy that holds me to this day is quite evident in this painting.

The painting is appox 24 x 30 inches and ended up hanging on some office wall at Imperial Oil in Toronto.  I'd love to think it part of the 'Collection' but in reality it was no doubt considered just a part of the office furniture.  Perhaps I should try to get it back one day.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Arm Studies

In preparation for a new Master Class at my studio I  had  my favorite model Ed Cz in for two days of what I call blowing the dust out of the elbows.  Here's one of the the many arm studies I did getting ready.

conte pencil on newsprint.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Rudy and a Tiny Dancing Mouse

It's sometimes surprising what you find when you're cleaning up piles of old drawings.  I found these two from long ago but clearly remembered moments. 

Rudy was the Dachshund belonging to the family of a friend of ours.  Rudy had a unique 'what do I care what you want?' atitude which suited everyone just fine.  Except when they asked me to do his portrait he was a bit hard to pin down to a pose. Being that I liked to draw from life, I tried sketching him but he would give me the cold shoulder and move on.  That was until his owner revealed a family secret that Rudy had a liking for scotch.  It was hardly a half a teaspoon but it was enough to have him settle in for  sketching session, but as you can see, he remained skeptical.


The little dancing mouse wasn't really dancing but sure could hop.  We caught a small family of mice while staying at a friends cottage.  Before we let them go in the woods outside I got a few sketches of them trying to hop out of the container they were in.  This one definitely was a dancer.

Arctic Studies

caribou head study pencil crayon c.1979


caribou skull study pencil 1977

study of wing  pencil 1977

bear skull study 1981

Anatomy Tune Up June 6 & 7 Toronto

The anatomy Tune Up at Studio West was held June 6 & 7 to great success.  Two day overview of the skeleton and muscles of the human as well as comparative to animals.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

10 Things You Want to Know About Anatomy (or want to remember again)

I've been teaching life drawing to animation students since 1986.  That's a  long time and it gives you a bit of overview of what is essential for a good life drawing. Of course there are a number of things, but of all of them anatomy comes out near the top of the list.

Gesture is No. 1 since without gesture there is no life to the drawing.

Close behind is Anatomy.  And looking back to all my classes and now forward to more workshops I wish to present I came up with this list of the 10 things about anatomy I feel all artists, whether student level or professional of many years should know.

My workshops will either survey the list or focus on any of the 10 points, but in the end, I feel they are all important.

No. 1     Skeleton Skeleton Skeleton. Skeleton matters most

                You don’t have to get the skeletons out of your closet, but you should definitely get them into your drawings.  Skeletons are the basis of structure and the root of form in the body. No skeleton – no real body.  Come see how the skeleton really isn’t that scary to draw.

No. 2     Joints define movement – know the different types

                Bones may be long or short, straight or curved, but it’s what at the ends that matters most.  How they move against each other dictates what the body can do.  Whether it’s a simple hinge or ball and socket, or something a bit more complicated, it all makes simple sense once you understand it. 

No. 3     Pelvis is core – all movement comes from the pelvis

                It’s a funny bone (not Humerus at all) with lots of curves and twists, but in the end whether a gut bucket or propulsion platform, it’s vital for the root of movement from the toes to the finger tips. Come see how it works.

No. 4     Spine is not the back – it is the internal stem

                No, it’s not the back. It’s the tree trunk of posture and balance.  How it bends, twists and turns lets the body be either as stiff as a stick man or as rubbery as contortionists.  Which every way you put all 26 of these little blocks together, they make sense and more importantly, make movement.

No. 5     Muscles as cables – puppetry and balloons

                We think of muscles as chunks of mass filling out the body.  But whether a 90lb weakling or a steroid monster, the muscles are the same: like stretched balloons just waiting to be inflated by movement (or steroids).  It’s the cables that move the bones that make for dynamic characters.  

No. 6     Bone, muscle, tendon & fat.  Landmarks or Confusion.

                The body has a lot of bumps, even the smoothest body.   It can be confusing. And as it moves, so too the bumps. Come learn the difference and to know when and where to make more bumps or take them away.  Learn to make sense of landmarks.

No. 7     Muscle trains – how gesture flows through the body

                Change the direction of your head, and if you’re standing, there’s a train of muscles that go right to your toes.  Muscles never work alone.  Learn how this train relates to the flow of gesture through the body.

No. 8     Muscles run in straight lines unless – 

                Unless of course they have to go over or around something.  That something would be bone or other muscle. These straights and curves give grace of form to a body or make for more dynamic pose.

No. 9     Skeletons don’t differ much – bird, animal or human – they’re almost all the same

                Yup, they’re basically the same.  Birds have arms much like us and cows stand on their finger and toe nails.  We win and we lose a few bones, but we’re very much alike.  

No. 10   Form follows function – carnivore or herbivore or human

                Whether you are chasing after your next meal or you’re the meal running from the chaser, or you’re just the couch potato  munching on a snack watching it all, your form from skeleton to muscles is defined by just that – carnivore, herbivore or gamer.