Drawing Basics: One Man's Sketchbook

Michael Mentler's pencil drawings from his sketchbook.

Michael Mentler's pencil drawings from his sketchbook.

David Jon Kassan, a friend and an excellent painter and draftsman here in NYC, recently sent me these words about an artist he met during his travels. Here are some images from the artist's notebook:


Michael Mentler's pencil drawings from his sketchbook.

These amazing ink gesture drawings are by Texas artist Michael Mentler. These pages from his sketchbook serve many different purposes for the artist. He says that he wakes up every morning and makes pencil sketches in his sketchbook without fail and that these drawings are done almost always from his imagination. He says that he has been learning to draw the human figure without a model for the last five years as a way to challenge himself. He also draws from a model several times a week in his studio. These memory drawings are used to push the artist to understand what the human form is capable of so that he can enlarge his knowledge base. They have also become the underlying gesture and basis for his oil paintings.

When sketching from his imagination Metler can easily diagnose his weak areas. These areas he then targets in his studies from reference and life to fill his knowledge gap–a process that never ends. The artist says that his general theory is drawing one-third from life, one-third from reference, and one-third from imagination. The artist uses the analogy that doing sketches are like a musician doing scales.

The drawings are done in a handmade sketchbook made with French's Speckletone 100lb Cover. He uses Koh-l-noor Nexus rollerball pens that comes in a variety of earth tones. They also can be blended with a marker blender or acetone to create a wash effect. The lights and highlights are done with a CarbOthello pastel pencil.

This page specifically focuses on the artist's search for the gesture within the pose. He uses gesture to encompass a broad range of universal truths about the figure–action, rhythm, movement, weight, volume, interlocking shapes, tilts, turns and twists, etc. This exercise helps him see these traits in the pose when working from life, giving him the freedom to accentuate what is important in the attitude he is looking for and to eliminate nonessential elements that can get in the way.

To see more of Michael's work check out his site at http://michaelmentler.com/.

Related Posts:


Drawing Blog
Bob Bahr

About Bob Bahr

Hi. I'm the managing editor of American Artist, Watercolor, Drawing, and Workshop magazines. Drawing magazine is primarily my responsibility so I spend a lot of time looking at drawings, talking with draftsmen, and drawing ... but I love to paint, too.

7 thoughts on “Drawing Basics: One Man's Sketchbook

  1. Very Very Cool… reminds me of the poses you’ll find in my Wifes Dance and Pointe (Ballet) Magazines; which are very nice references for rather unusual poses.