When I was working in New York, I’d love to go the Society of Illustrators for their live model drawing sessions. The bar would be open, and then have a jazz quartet would be playing. Now that was the way to sketch models, let me tell you. It looks like they still do it, in fact!
And let’s face it, when models are in dramatic poses, even the best ones tend to droop and relax a bit after a while. There are real downsides to drawing from real life.
Today, so many artists find themselves working from photos of models instead of live models. And that’s where this wonderful new book from Korero Press comes in. Drawing from Photos is a masterpiece from fantasy illustrator Patrick J. Jones. If you’re not familiar with this amazing artist’s work, that’s a shame. But for regular readers of this column, I can assure you he’s “one of us”. In the forward, Jones talks about his influences of folks like John Buscema and Alex Raymond. He talks about his favorite cover artists – folks like Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, and James Bama.
This lush new book immediately turns the reader into a student. And then, the engaging narrative and clever photos and illustrations take readers along several step-by-step journeys as Jones analyzes and interprets photographed models to create fantastic illustrations. Jones tends to eschew elaborate costuming in each exercise, instead relying on a mix of experience and imagination.
I was especially taken in how Jones talks about the progression of drawings and sketches – and how many times he continues working on each piece past the ideal finish line.
“When I look back at my own progress stages, I would say most of my drawings tip past their best moment. However, those best moments may never have happened had I not always chased a dream of a better line and tone, seeking out emotional depth with story, atmosphere, and light in the quest to create the ever elusive masterpiece.”
For someone with such talent, Jones also exhibits a high degree of humility. That makes his written word – a sort of DVD Director’s Commentary on the proceeding – engaging and downright fascinating. He leads the way as the illustrations develop. For example, at one point he writes:
“…but because my ego is dented, I decide to continue, playing the hero who can still win the fight.” (i.e., save the drawing) “This reminds me of one of my mantras: leave your ego at the studio door (you can always pick it back up on the way out). “
This is another fantastic book from the innovative and eclectic publisher, Korero. It’s perfect for artists but I believe that non-artists will have a hard time putting it down too. Highly recommended.