Memorial Day sketchbook: Assyrian Sphinx “Memory” at Liberty Memorial

This Memorial Day, our family again visited a gem of Kansas City: Liberty Memorial, the national World War I museum and memorial. It was a beautiful day with speeches and a band and color guards, lots of vets and active duty service members, and reenactment soldiers and nurses in historical dress. During it all, I was able to take a hour and a half (thanks, family!) and make a small watercolor sketch of one of the monumental sculptures in the shadow of the tower, Memory.

Two Assyrian Sphinxes guard the south entrance of the Liberty Memorial. “Memory” faces east toward the battlefields of France, shielding its eyes from the horrors of war.
Two Assyrian Sphinxes guard the south entrance of the Liberty Memorial. “Memory” faces east toward the battlefields of France, shielding its eyes from the horrors of war.

Perspective drawing for kids, part 2

Okay, so it turns out that, yes, Creative Perspective for Artists and Illustrators  is a bit too advanced for my beginning students to benefit from yet. I’ll have more to say on that in a future post. I was able to dig up a few very basic introduction to one-point perspective videos, and so far the kids have benefitted from drawing along. Here’s a good beginning one that didn’t dive right in to rulers and other perspective aids but just freehanded it. The British accent was a treat for the kids, especially when I slooowed the video down to half-speed to allow them to keep up. (“It’s like he’s drunk, dad!”) Another parent win!

"It's like magic." --actual quote
“It’s like magic.” –actual quote

Barbossa And His Apples

Remember that scene from Pirates Of The Caribbean, where Captain Barbossa leers strangely at the starving Elizabeth Swann as she eats an apple? “The apple is poisoned,” you think. “Or cursed! Barbossa’s trying to kill her!” But nothing about the look on Barbossa’s face suggests prurience or malice. Then it hits you. “He can’t taste food. He’s tasting the food vicariously through Elizabeth Swann. He can’t feel! Barbossa is cursed.”

Chef looks on as Bruta relishes an apple

It’s a strange moment of pathos in an otherwise silly movie, and I when I recently heard a TED-ish presenter speak passionately about relishing front end web development, this Pirates Of The Caribbean scene sprang to mind.

Here is a little sketch of the scene, using my own characters from Bruta The Witch.

Perspective drawing for kids, part 1

My dear wife and I homeschool our three children, and along with a very few other subjects, art class falls squarely in my lap. Through this blog, I want to share resources I’ve discovered that might be helpful to others as they approach this subject.

I recently came across a book on perspective for the artist, Creative Perspective for Artists and Illustrators by legendary art instructor Ernest Watson. While the link takes you to a cheaper Dover softcover edition from 1993, my copy is from 1955. I suppose you could call this a classic, then, right? I think so.

1993 Dover edition cover

I really like this text and how it emphasises the need to comprehend the concepts and rules of artistic perspective in order to break them with style. 

Is this book too advanced for a kid to use on his or her own? Depends on the kid. If your student is a bit older or artistically curious, probably not. But as long as you’re willing to walk alongside, I think Watson’s accessible tone and diagrams are very clear and in small enough chunks as to not be overwhelming to readers over 12.

Watson's perspective diagram of Marinsky's illustration
Watson’s perspective diagram of Marinsky’s illustration

The fantastic mid-century illustrations Watson uses to demonstrate these concepts throughout the book are a wonderful bonus. Incidentally, I could locate none of the little applied art gems in this 1955 edition online.

Harry Marinsky illustration for Shell Oil Company.
Harry Marinsky illustration for Shell Oil Company.

That was a bit surprising to me, and proves (to me, at least) that physical books still yield treasures not available on the internet.

Next, I’ll show some of the sketch progress from my kids, as we work our way through some of the exercises in the book. Stay tuned.