Basquiat Mask: A Creative Process – Through 500 Works of Art: #29

Basquiat Mask

The History: This is my story and I’m sticking to it… for now.

The possible trip to Mardi Gras was a strong presence in my mind when I did this one. What odd Carnival delights would I see and what could I become, behind my own mask? The red plays a danger and delight game with this drawing. Start with what is taboo, put on your mask for a while, let your hair down, and go wild. This is about letting go, not about indulging in fantasy, but in possibility. This one is my favourite in this series.

The Technique: How I did this awesomeness!

Using the brush-tip ink pen allows me to create lines of various thicknesses and opacities. I start with very fine outlines, add backdrops and shading for depth, then thicken the outlines and add dinner details. The added the colours with sharpies.

The Influence: Confessions of a Plagiarist, sort of

Without a doubt there are notes from circus and carnival posters I’ve seen,  odd movies like Browning’s Freaks, and also the creepiness of James Ensnor, Otto Dix,  & Max Grolzs.

Get Over It When you buy The Artist’s Stuff: Prints, Mugs, T-Shirts, Pillow, Shower Curtains, and other awesome stuff. 

What inspires an artist?

“All they see” is the first and most literal answer.

For me, that is literally hundreds of gallery & museum exhibits, thousands of books, and tens of thousands of images online. 

When asked where to start a book collections, I almost always recommend this art bible: Janson’s “History of Art” OR Phaidon’s “The Art Book”: Both give a nice overview with good pictures. Once you’ve discovered what you are attracted to there most, you can then dig deeper into that area.

If I had to pick only a few of my major influences, which is a very difficult task, it would be Modigliani, Picasso, Van Gogh, & Andrew Wyeth. Here are a few of the best books I recommend from them.

Modigliani: Drawings 102 Colour Plates

Picasso Line Drawings and Prints

Vincent van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook

SHAG: The Collected Works

If you have the time, you are free to visit my GoodReads library to see a fraction of the books I’ve read. These are the ones I remember, that is. Or you can visit the ever growing collection on my Pinterest account.

The Materials: Quick! Order this stuff right now, AND You too, can make masterpieces!

Pentel Arts Pocket Brush PenThe Review: This has become my favourite drawing tool. Giving me the ability to practice techniques used in watercolour, calligraphy, ink brushing. I’m now able to make remarkably fine lines to very thick ones. It is also amazing for shading and texturing. I love these pens!

Crayola 96 CrayonsThe Review: Wax crayons are remarkable versatile, if you allow yourself to try them. You can blend colours and tones, and with a little practice, make lines as fine and crisp as you like. For me, the beauty is using them on textured paper, like watercolour paper… it ads the ability to work light and add shading and depth to the crayons. I have yet to find a better brand than Crayola for colour quality and selection. If you want to challenge yourself on really big pieces, get the Crayola Canada 800 Regular Crayons Classpack, 16 Colours: The range of colours is enough to recreate almost any Group of Seven painting.

Moleskine SketchbookThe Review: Some may ask if I’ve succumbed to the marketing of Moleskin and that is why I pay the higher price for these watercolour paper notebooks. Maybe, if you take into account that this tope of sketchbook has been used by such artists as Van Gogh, Picasso, & Hemingway, then I have been sold by that bunch of so and sos. I love the texture of the watercolour paper and find it the most enjoyable to draw on with pen, pencil, and ink. These books have solid covers, and always seem to inspire some new creativity, be it giving me the chance to draw on one side, and take notes on what I drew to figuring out how to incorporate the seem into the drawing. I love them. They come in a ton of different sizes, and I’ve used quite a few, but prefer the smaller ones for ease of carrying around. Check out their website for other options Or just type Moleskine on Amazon and have fun choosing one!

Photoshop for MacThe Review: You could use the free “ MAC Photos” program or Picassa and possibly get the same results, but Photoshop offers you the flexibility of presenting yourself as a pro photographer, like no other program. There’s a reason it’s considered the best of the best, after all. So, this allows you the possibility of selling this service to others and funding more of your creativity.

Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ LaptopThe Review: You may choose to get an iMac for the bigger screen, and I couldn’t disagree with the beauty of working with the 24” screen. I picked the laptop, because of the need to be mobile and the flexibility of multi-purposing it to use for client demos. As an alternative to the weight of this model, I would suggest the MacBook Air 13”. Most of us have become accustomed to mobile device size screens and it is much easier to carry around.

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3The Review: This was my first DSLR camera. Canon has a well deserved reputation of having top rated cameras. It requires a little play time to master it, and that time will be lessened by defining a clear idea of what you want to do with it, then jumping on YouTube for the multitude of How To videos. If you want a smaller camera to carry around, try Canon EOS M10 Mirrorless Digital Camera  OR go small & powerful with the Canon PowerShot Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD. 

Canon PIXMA MX492 Inkjet PrinterThe Review: For me this has been the easiest to us for cleaning and cartridge replacement. It works reasonably well with recycled inks and the wireless is easy to set-up. The Canon has worked best for me on ink usage. When purchasing printers, always consider the cost of ink replacement… for the most part, this is the big difference right now in printers. For big reproduction lines it is better to outsource. For scanning, they are as good as the camera in them… this is one reason I’m a fan of Canon products. It does do a nice job on printing photos on good photo paper, and the black print is crisp and clean, provided you do regular cleanings and keep it dust free.