Archives for category: master studies

One of my favorite artists is wildlife painter Bob Kuhn (1920 – 2007). Kuhn was a master of composition as well as a great draftsman. I especially admire his dynamic drawings.

BK_AIB2While I do like drawing animals, I have no great ambition to become a wildlife artist myself. When I study artists like Kuhn, I focus on aspects of their work that I want to  improve in my own paintings. For me, good composition is always a big challenge. To study composition, I like to make little master studies in my sketchbook to study the compositional style of artists that I like. I did these Bob Kuhn studies in my gouache sketchbook:


IMG_8118All of these studies are about 2 by 2.5 inches. I try to keep them as simple as possible and focus only on the big shapes. The point isn’t to make a perfect copy of a painting in miniature, but to understand how the pieces of the painting fit together to make a harmonious picture.




These are a lot of fun to do! Little studies like this are a great way to warm up for a day of painting at the easel.

There is a Bob Kuhn exhibit coming up next month at the Tucson Museum of Art. I’m hoping to be able to go check it out before it ends in February. I can’t wait to see some of these paintings in person!


Here are just a few sketchbook studies after Alphonse Mucha. I used ballpoint pen, marker and color pencil for these.

If you want to get better at drawing a very good place to start is with studying the work of artists that you admire.

I recently returned to studying art full-time again after spending 9 months in New York. taking that much time from studying is pretty much a guarantee ¬†that you’re going to get rusty. Getting rusty is frustrating. So I decided to do this study and take as much time with it as I could in order to get back into the swing of things.

Here’s Rockwell’s image:

To start, I draw a grid with the same proportions as the original piece on a piece of 18” by 24” newsprint. I draw the same grid on my reference image and use it to make my drawing as accurate as possible

After the drawing is done I start adding in the darker values. From there on it’s just refining the details until it’s done: