Since the 1940s, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of USA is consistently ranked by the scholars in the top three, often #1. He is one of my favorite historical figures ever. His biography is very inspirational. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, Lincoln was mostly self-educated, became a country lawyer and everything else he achieved.
While young Lincoln’s formal education consisted approximately of a year’s worth of classes from several itinerant teachers, he was, I repeat, mostly self-taught. He was an avid reader and often sought access to any new books in the village. He read and reread the King James Bible, Aesop‘s Fables, John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Daniel Defoe‘s Robinson Crusoe, and Benjamin Franklin‘s Autobiography.
He expressed his big curiosity and love for the books in this quote: “A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the [yet] unsolved ones”.
Mark Summer’s process of drawing
Step 1: A quick sketch to block out the final composition.
Step 2: The preliminary sketch
“I don’t always go to this extreme for a rough sketch- only if the piece is fairly complex or if the client needs to see some indication of where the exact light and darks will fall. I’m not sure how I wound up doing sketches in such a Byzantine fashion, but it is a quick way to determine the overall tone.
This is a simple line drawing, done with a felt tip pen. On tracing paper- I then spray mount it onto a light toned paper. The highlights are acrylic paint. Even after this step I will still tend to “fiddle.” If I feel a hand is too small, or a figure too large I photocopy it to the proper size and just paste it in.”
Step 3: The finished black and white.
“Each drawing begins as a black square. After this, using a knife, I scratch white lines into the surface. I try to discourage clients from asking to see “the work in progress,” as at any time there will be an entirely finished head here, a hand there, all floating in a sea of black.
I tend to work size-as (this drawing is 12” high- each face being approximately 2” high.) In a drawing such as this, I find it takes a full day to finish each figure. I then have the finished work scanned and printed onto photographic paper.”
Step 4: Finished color.
“A fast process, as the black and white drawing already defines the modeling. Simple flat tones of color are all that are really needed. I paint details with watercolor and then everything else with oil glazes. Sometimes I go in and smooth things out with airbrush. The final step is to paint in highlights with acrylic.
The coloring of this piece took about three hours.”
Orson Welles (as Charles Foster Kane), hominid (from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Oddyssey), Peter O’Toole (as Lawrence of Araby), Alfred Hitchcock, Marlon Brando (as Vito Corleone), Judy Garland (as Dorothy), James Stewart, Humphrey Bogart (as Rick Blaine) and Vivian Leigh (as Scarlett O’Hara).
Illustrations by Mark Summers
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