How Van Gogh Made His Mark

How Van Gogh Made His Mark
I had a chance to see Vincent Van Gogh: The Drawings at the Met (see my previous post). It’s a great exhibit that continues to the end of December. Unlike many polished master drawings that seem to spring from the artist’s hand fully realized, you can really see Van Gogh working and learning in his drawings. Even after he had mastered some aspects of drawing, deftly executing complex perspective problems in large drawings of fields and farm buildings, you can still see him struggling with other challenges, like human proportions and placement of features on a face. It’s a fascinating and enlightening exhibit for anyone engaged in the ongoing process of learning to draw.

The Met has created another learning experience – an online Flash interactive called How Van Gogh Made His Mark. It’s ostensibly aimed at children, but worth a look for anyone interested in drawing. The interactive uses several Van Gogh drawings to explore some basic principles of drawing as well as investigating Van Gogh’s own process and history. It features reproductions of drawings that can be zoomed in on and dragged around within the interface. It investigates the artist’s tools, methods and learning experience and features a “sketchbook” where you can draw onscreen with a virtual reed pen.

Robert Chang

Robert Chang Illustrator, concept artist and comics artist Robert Chang works in both traditional and digital media. His 2D digital work is often done in Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop. The “Goodies” section of his site includes tips, techniques and downloadable custom brushes for Painter. There are also several excellent and detailed tutorials for his digital work, including the image shown here.

Robert Chang


Chang is the co-author of a book on digital painting techniques: d’artiste (Ballistic Publishing).

Michel Gagné (update)

Michel Gagne
I wrote about Michel Gagné‘s wonderful illustrations and comics back in August, but his galleries have recently been revised and are always worth another look. They are now arranged more logically and new work has been added.

The site also includes an expanded listing of his books, my favorite of which is Odd Numbers, a nicely bizarre and beautifully drawn children’s counting book that sets counting books on their ear (er,… ears).

Also, don’t miss Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets, a recently added series of terrific short Flash animations Gagné created for Nickeledeon.

Tadahiro Uesugi

Tadahiro Uesugi I’m not always fond of minimalist illustration. Too often artists will pare down their approach to the point where it loses visual interest.

Not so with Tadahiro Uesugi. Areas that others might leave flat and lifeless, Uesugi makes alive with beautiful patterns and wonderful textures. His superb design sense, refined control of color and playful use of light and shadow make his images a visual treat.

Uesugi was part of a recent three-person show called Three Trees Make a Forest at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA, along with Enrico Casarosa and Ronnie Del Carmen. Some of the works from the show are on view in an online gallery.

His own site features extensive galleries, some Quicktime movies and hand-drawn Quicktime VR panoramas.


Syd Mead

Syd Mead
Futurist Syd Mead has long been one of the premiere industrial design and motion picture concept artists. His movie work includes Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Bladerunner, Tron, 2010, Short Circuit, Aliens, Time Cop and Johnny Mnemonic.

The official Syd Mead site is a little disappointing. Most of the images are in the Bookstore section, and they’re a bit small. Click on any of the titles to open a pop-up with a selection of images from all of the books. There are also some images in the Features section. There are larger images of posters for sale on the AWN site, and some older images on the unofficial Syd Mead Project site.

The site I’m recommending and linking to below is the Syd Mead Gallery on the Gnomon Workshop site, where Mead is an instructor in concept design.

There are also Syd Mead books available.

A Week of Kindness (Max Ernst)

Max Ernst Brilliant Dadaist/Surrealist Max Ernst is sometimes lost in the glare surrounding more well-known figures like Dali and Magritte. Ernst was a founding member of the Surrealist movement and created some of the most powerful Surrealist images.

One of his masterpieces isn’t a painting but a collage-novel. He took engraved illustrations from peridicals and catalogs, painstakingly cut them out and assembled them into a series of remarkable images. The result is a wonderfully disconcerting Surrealist picture-story, or (dare I say it?) graphic novel, titled Une Semaine de Bonté (“A Week of Kindness”).

Remarkably, the entire book has been posted online as part of the NelePets Art Encyclopedia, which also has some images of Ernst paintings here. There are also some larger extracted images from AWoK here. Dover Books has kept a large format edition of the book in print for many years. Like most Dover art books, it’s very inexpensive but the quality of the reproductions isn’t high. In any format, A Week of Kindness is a Surrealist masterpiece.

Addendum, 2/24/08: The NelePets site listed here has gone the way of all things Internet, try the Google Books version.