Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Drawing Light & Shadow

How do artists like James Gurney make paintings that are so realistic? Well, it's a lot of work! One approach Mr. Gurney uses is the making of macquettes. These are little sculptures that he makes. He then sets them up in the studio with a single light source.

If there is a fire on Dinotopia, how do they put it out? There isn't modern technology like fire trucks. To answer that question, Mr. Gurney made the painting below.

Before he began this painting, though he made lots of macquettes, models and sketches. He discussed his ideas with an engineer who designs firetrucks. The macquettes he created below were to help him make paintings of Dinotopian fire fighting equipment.

He changed some details when he painted the scene, but the models he built and the figures helped him imagine the scene.

He made the cab on the dinosaur below out of old mat board and hot glue.

We're not building our own models, but we are using dinosaur toys and action figures to imagine scenes. Below you see that Cyclops of the X-Men is taped to a dinosaur. We're working with the lights off, using only the lights that come in from the skylights. In my demonstration sketch, I'm showing the kids how to use charcoal, blending stump and erasers to create shadows and highlights on objects.

Tyler (below) is doing well on an anklyosaurus drawing.

Shaylee's drawing is below. It's not finished, but you can see that she's got the idea.

To see the whole process of how Mr. Gurney made the fire engine paintings, visit The Gurney Journey.


James Gurney said...

Hi, everybody at Lynch Bustin! You're all doing great work in Mr. Wales' class. I can't wait to meet you in a few weeks.

--James Gurney

Connie said...

What a wonderful lesson. I bet they LOVED it! I used to teach high school art, and if I even teach again I am totally stealing this idea (if you don't mind.)