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"The Perfect Model"

“The Perfect Model” by Debra Snyder Heard

Pencil on Gray Paper, 10 ½ x 13 inches


"Talent takes long patience." by Gustive Flaubert


Several months ago I attend an art workshop in Frederiksberg Texas. On the third day a model was due that morning to pose for us to paint. She walked into the door all flustered because her water pipe was being repaired, and she had no water in her home that morning to wash her hair, and to clean up, so she came as she was. No makeup and wild hair. I liked the honest real look!


What made her such a good model was that she could get into the exact same position/pose after rest breaks. Few people can do this. She used her eyes looking at all angles to measure where she was before moving. She had a positive and charming personality too.


It is very frustrating as an artist painting or drawing, and the model never gets into the exact pose after breaks. It means EVERYTHING changes! A fraction off and the perspective is in another angle. Lots of times I just start over, for the practice, and never have a finished product.


Thank you for reading my blog!


Debra Snyder Heard



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Working With Charcoal

Natchez Angel by Debra Snyder Heard

"If i could have had my own way, I would have confined myself to black and white."  By Edgar Degas 1834-1917


I have resisted working in charcoal for a long time because I felt it was too messy and hard to control.


I’m in the process of taking an Anatomy Drawing Class at a close by university. We work mostly in charcoal. My pencil drawings tend to be light handed, and charcoal helps me to get a darker contrasts/values.

Pencil also takes longer to build up dark contrasts/values. We usually finish three large figure drawings within a 3 ½ hour period (I always feel rushed).


I have enjoyed reading a beautiful book called “Lessons in Classical Drawing” by Juliette Aristides. This book includes a disk that demonstrates Juliette drawing in charcoal, which is really helpful.

I have also attended two of J.D. Hillberry’s drawing workshops. His book “Textures in Pencil” is a wonderful book to read. In his workshops he demonstrates his methods of charcoal drawing, and he is a wonderful teacher.


A lot of Old Masters and new ones use colored papers to draw on which I find makes the drawings interesting.


Our homework assignments each week for class is to copy a master drawing. I have been working on charcoal drawings with colored paper to enhance my skills.

Here is my latest homework project.

 "Female Nude" by Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre 1740-1760

Copy by Debra Snyder Heard


Thank you for reading my blog,

Debra Snyder Heard



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Learning to Let Go

      "The vulgar wil see nothing but chaos, disorder , and incorrectness."   By James Ensor


My painting has been put aside for a short time, while I’m taking an advance college anatomy drawing class. I have about five weeks left (Thank you Jesus). The homework keeps me very busy.


My style of drawing and painting is very tight and detailed (I want to say Classical) rendering which turns out to be beautiful work.


I forgotten how a lot of art college professors love ABSTRACT works.


I’m very much out of my comfort zone, which can be good (or bad). While my art professor is making other students work smaller, tighter, more detailed, she is having me work LARGER, LOOSER, GEOMETRIC and less detailed.  I really have to control myself from running out of the room.


There are good days and bad days for me in this class. I’m open to learning new things, but being older and doing things a certain way for a long time makes it hard to make changes. It takes practice and I’m doing the work. I'm learning a lot and really like the teacher and students in the class.


I wonder how this class is going affect my future drawings and paintings.  I have gotten some new ideas of how I want to render some of my future art works, so it going to be a good thing.


    "Lacy" by Debra Snyder Heard

      A quick 40 minute pose drawing


The model for Thursday night open studio sessions (not part of my college class) did not show up this past week, so another artist posed  for us.  It's a 3 hour session and local artists meet every week meet at this studio to draw/paint models. It gives me a chance to practice what I have learned in class and combine drawing the way I like. I'm also meeting new artists and it is fun looking at each others artistic style of the same model when we finish.



Thank you for reading my blog,

Debra Snyder Heard


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Copying A Master Drawing to Improve Drawing Skills


" I looked at the drawing of the Old Masters from the point if view of learning what drawing was."- By Henry Moore


Copying a Master Drawing to Improve Drawing Skills


 Two days a week, I travel to Tech University to a anatomy advanced drawing class that I am taking, and work among student half my age (the teacher is my age, and I like her).  


The classes are 3 1/2 hours long each session, and we mostly stand on concrete floors next to our easels working the whole time. Towards the end of the third hour my feet feel like a couple of match sticks on fire, and I keep sipping on soda hoping to keep my energy up. I’m having a wonderful time!


One of our weekly homework assignments besides drawing anatomy parts and other work, is to copying a master drawing.


To find material to work from, I went to the university library and found a whole row of book shelves of master drawings. It was better than the Wal-Mart  Halloween candy isle.


The idea of copying a master drawing is to learn about other artist’s style and drawing methods. Also improves one’s drawing skills.

The artist I chose for this week was Harry I. Stickroth.


A portrait painter and muralist, Harry Stickroth did mural decorations for the Cunard Building in New York City and at the time of his death from strep throat was a teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago. He studied at the American Academy in Rome where he won the Prix de Rome, and at the Lazurus School for mural painting.


When I copied this master’s drawing I wondered about the artist, but mostly about the person in his drawing. 


-         Why did the artist choose this person to draw?

-         What kind of person was he?

-         What was his life like?


Harry Stickroth’s artwork is absolutely  beautiful.


This is my copy/drawing from Stickroth’s work.


Thank you for reading my blog. Feel free to ask me questions or to make commits.


Thank you,

Debra Snyder Heard




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Drawing Paper I Use


Trapper by Debra Snyder Heard





                                                    "Nothing is better than a good drawing." By Geroge De Groat


I used hot pressed Bristol board for years for drawing illustrations for graphic design classes, and a children’s book that I created.


 In recent art workshops I attend, the art instructors had us use Hot Pressed Water Color Paper, which I use exclusively now, and really like. It has the combination of softness of cold press paper, and hardness of hot pressed paper which allows me to draw fine details. The only drawback is I have to do a lot of layering with my pencil to get a nice dark shade value. It is also expensive to use.


The brand I use is ARCHES; Hot Pressed Watercolor 140lb paper.


If you are a beginner drawer, I would recommend you to use any of Strathmore sketchbooks. Papers come in different weights. Buy paper that is at least 100lb. Paper less than 100lb. does not handle erasing without tearing and looks cheap. When you build up your skills then start using the hot pressed water color paper and hot pressed Bristol boards.


Thank you  for taking time to read my blog!


Debra Snyder Heard


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