McCalls
pictures and words by paul mccall
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September 2008
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09/28/08
Tired of These Yet?
Filed under: Open Studio Painting
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 5:35 pm

I’ll try to be a bit more selective regarding posting these watercolors for fear of overkill.


A very noble 25 minute pose.


This one is from today (Sunday). I filled in as monitor for todays session. Setting up the room, the benches, the light, etc. making sure the model had what she needed and running the timer on the poses. As a result I have an even more profound respect for Vandra, our regular monitor, and the effort she puts into every weeks sessions. Twice a week, not counting her Monday night anatomy drawing class. Anyway, my productivity was less than it should have been but that’s not a fault of playing monitor. I did use the 90 degree rule and did this watercolor caricature of a fellow artist.

This is Scott Story, creator, artist and co-writer of Johnny Saturn, an excellent webcomic that is getting a lot of attention in the comics fan
community. The comic is co-written by Scott’s wife Benita Story. And no, Scott doesn’t wear a Captain America tunic to open model sessions. (What he wears in his own studio is his own affair!) I painted him thusly as a reference to a comment made on his blog so don’t expect to understand it!

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09/23/08
Time to Brush Up on the Anatomy
Filed under: General, Whatever, History Lessons
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 5:33 pm

One of many things I’ve learned in a 30+ year career in commercial art is that you should always try to learn new things and regularly brush-up on things you’ve learned long ago. (Or kidded yourself into thinking you learned!) At this point in time I’m both learning and brushing upon watercolor painting, as demonstrated by the seemingly unending posts of what I’ve been doing at the Art Center Open Studio session. Another aspect I’m about to embark upon is a “brush-up” on human anatomy. To that end I ordered and just today received something I’ve always wanted in the studio…

Not just any cardboard box - look closer.

Creepy, no? Yes! And that’s how the box was delivered in today’s post, with a strategic rip!
This is the box within the box…

You can get this model from two on-line vendors, Biovere, from whom I ordered this one and

Who apparently makes them and then sells them to Biovere who sells it for less.

Now, in case you didn’t click the Freedom of Teach link which is the above photo, FoT offers this model in two other versions…

The one on the left is the one I ordered because it was cheaper. I figure that if later I decide it would benefit by being the neutral gray color I can just use one of my 25 airbrushes and repaint it myself. The detachable head wasn’t worth the price increase nor was the turntable. I can rig up a lazy-susan for mine if I wish. (And, even though not pictured, the basic model has the detachable arms and wing-wang, all done with magnets!.)

This what I got when out of the packing and assembled.

Now I have to use it.

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09/19/08
Two Sessions in One Post - Again
Filed under: Open Studio Painting, Open Studio Drawing
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 2:43 pm

 Still working my way through a stack of watercolor paper I had printed with a client’s logo for a live portrait booking. (What? Did I not explain the rationale behind starting this watercolor run? I’m not just going to throw all that good paper away


2 minute gesture poses.

15 minute pose.

25 minute pose.

25 minute pose.

25 minute pose.

25 minute pose.


These are from today (Friday Sept. 19th)

2 minute poses

25 minute pose

25 minute pose

25 minute pose

The next pose was just a slightly different angle on the one above so I turned my attention to one of the other artists.
25 minute pose.

25 minute pose

1 comment
09/12/08
Even more watercolors at the IAC
Filed under: Open Studio Painting, Open Studio Drawing
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 9:23 pm

I’m starting to feel more comfortable with watercolors. (Scott S. - I think I can no longer state that I hate the medium!)
Sundays efforts:

Pardon the black bar, public access, don’t ya know!

Today’s (Friday’s) efforts: The 2 minute warm-up poses, using some bright monochromatic colors.

With this one I was really feeling as if I was getting it. 25 min. pose.

Then this next one I felt like I was making a personal breakthrough. (He’s posing with a pole, a lance, actually. I’ll add that in later when I have a straight edge to get it correct. Same thing in the above piece.) This is the first time I’ve done something in an open session that I’ve wanted refine in my own studio later.
25 min. pose.

The breakthrough feeling became even more powerful with this one.
I think this was the 50 min. pose.

And again with this last 15 min. pose.

1 comment
09/09/08
Another Commission Progression
Filed under: Studio Caricatures, Caricature Step-by-Step
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 9:00 pm

Here’s another progression sequence for the commission caricature job I just finished. After getting the contract signed and all the details from the client the idea for the layout came to me as I was going to bed, which is why I keep pads of paper stashed all over the house. Including in the headboard of the bed.



This is the first basic sketch the client saw.

After getting the layout approved I started inking as soon as possible since this job, as many jobs like this, had a tight deadline. I wanted to get the most done fastest so I concentrated on the figures and the props, leaving the facial resemblances until later.

Each of these stages were sent to the client for approval, especially when the deadline is tight I ask the client to check their e-mail frequently and respond as soon as they can so I can move on. In this one you see I’ve moved on to the faces of the children.

Now I’m on to the Dad’s head.

And the Mom. I had her hair waving in the breeze since it was an outdoor scene.

The client thought it didn’t convey the straightness of the subject’s hair. so I fixed it.

I’ve added in the background and dropped in the flat basic colors.

Then I went in and modeled the colors and it’s finished!

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09/05/08
A Corel Painter X/Photoshop Tip
Filed under: Whatever
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 9:51 pm

On the off-chance that some other artists may read this blog I offer a tip for those using Corel Painter X and to a lesser extent Photoshop. A file that has lots of layers and/or a large background image the real-time usage of the painting tools may (and in my case, definitely did) slow down to an annoying level. (Annoying meaning anything less than real-time!) How many layers are too many? When the tools slow down, that’s when! Your computer may have more power than mine and thus be able to accept more active levels. I encountered this today working on a large commission piece.


(The blue dots are because this one isn’t finished and won’t be delivered until next week)

To fix this I did two things. I collapsed as many layers as I could and I removed the large background image into a separate file until I need it after all the rendering is finished. One or both fixed the lag problem. I’ve encountered the too many layers problem on previous commissioned pieces so removing the background may not have been necessary but it only took a few seconds so better safe than sorry.

I have encountered this same problem in Photoshop but not for a long time so I’m guessing Photoshop handles lots of layers better, but if it starts getting wonky you might investigate this fix.

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More Watercolors from the Art Center
Filed under: Open Studio Painting
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 9:35 pm

Got a new pallet and some tube watercolors (there was a sale). Previously I was using some pan watercolors.


The model was tickled that I painted her tan lines!


A 25 minute pose, not enough time for me to get some real contrast into the piece.


This one was two 25 minute poses so I got more contrast into it.


A wonderful pose, not done justice by me effort. Also a fifty minute pose in two parts.

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