Drawing Basics: David Jon Kassan on "Cellini Revisted" by Sam Ivie

Cellini Revisited, Sam Ivie colored pencil drawingDavid Jon Kassan discusses Sam Ivie's Cellini Revisited.

Cellini Revisited, Sam Ivie colored pencil drawing
Cellini Revisited
by Sam Ivie, 2000, colored pencil drawing, 8 x 10. Collection the artist.

Looking at Drawings: Cellini Revisited by Sam Ivie

by David Jon Kassan

In this small colored pencil drawing, Dallas artist Sam Ivie mixed photorealistic elements with invented imagery. Photo reference material was used for the figure, but the background was from the artist’s imagination.

The beginning compositional stages of this drawing were worked out in quick thumbnail sketches. Compositional forethought is one of Ivie's drawing basics. It was important that the window and the lion seal intersect with the figure in a certain way, so placement of these objects was carefully decided in the thumbnails. From there, a more detailed drawing was begun. The artist started by drawing contour lines for every object with a mechanical pencil to get as much clarity as possible. These lines served as his guide throughout the drawing process. Ivie made the placement of each line and stroke of the graphite pencil as precise as possible because there is little room for mishap when rendering a drawing with colored pencils.

To draw the details effectively, Ivie had to sharpen the colored pencils to an extremely fine point to get into the texture of the Bristol paper the artist likes to work on. To achieve density, depth, and realism, he layered colors in much the same way one would do with watercolors. He simply used the white of the paper for highlights.

The imagery for this drawing appealed to Ivie because it suggested the idea of heroes and the struggle to achieve some goal. The bars have a double-meaning: imprisonment and protection. The lion relief is from another of his other images—and it's for the artist’s birth month. In his work, the lion has also come to stand as a symbol for endurance, among other things..

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