Preliminary Pencil Drawing – Exodus

February 4, 2013 § 20 Comments

Exodus (detail), Graphite on Paper, 10.5 x 12″ (26.5 x 30.5 cm), 2013

Ahhhh, we had one day of blissful sunny weather with blue skies and Spring air– followed by another usual overcast day with a sky that looks like a flat florescent light bulb. Damn you, Portland, Oregon. The winter here is the trade for living in such a beautiful and bike friendly city.  For anyone who needs a winter lift I recommend this: Brooklyn, NY PS22 children’s chorus singing Lisztomania by Phoenix.

This week I’d like to share a preliminary pencil drawing that I have been working on for a double painting called Exodus. Double painting meaning I plan on painting two works at once back and forth so I can try out different techniques and colors on each canvas.  This is a narrative theme, image, and character that I have been making variations of for years.


Exodus, Graphite on Paper, 10.5 x 12″ (26.5 x 30.5 cm), 2013

Above is the full drawing.  I used Photohsop along with my actual drawing to reassess the composition.  Photoshop is a great way to try out radically different things to get a sense of what will and will not work.  Pictured below, you can see me  re-designing the clouds before drawing them into the final composition.  This also led to me adding a strip of paper to the top of the image to give the figure more breathing room.

Using photoshop to experiment with the composition.

Using Photoshop and a Wacom drawing tablet to experiment with the composition.

Lately I have also been playing around with different chops (a traditional artist stamp/seal that signs a work).  Eventually I would love to carve one out of jade or soapstone. Below is the first draft of the chop on my recent work.  I liked it, but it was too visually distracting for this particular drawing and so I reduced it to just the hare.


Duck and hare chop pre-edit. Fun? Sure, but too busy for this one.


The final hare chop (sans duck and vines) used for the Exodus drawing.

Sun starved artist lays on floor to soak up vitamin D.

Sun starved artist lays on floor to soak up vitamin D while drawing.


Local cat Scratch chilling in the window enjoying freak February Spring weather.

Thank you for reading!  Please feel welcome to comment.  <<<>>>


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§ 20 Responses to Preliminary Pencil Drawing – Exodus

  • Love your drawing and use of Photoshop.

  • jackbaumgartner says:

    I meant to tell you this the other day, but I love the mark-making in this drawing. The layers of hatching on the figure- especially her clothes and burden are so beautiful. I get so excited about your work, when I see stuff like this. Thanks, Mikey.

    And that photo of Scratch the cat in the window with banjo and glockenspiel is a doozy.

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thank you, Jack. I worked this one with the smallest marks over a couple weeks time. In person the gradations look very soft until you are up close. I am beginning to remember how much I love drawing in pencil. There seems to be a season for every medium.

      A friend came over this past weekend and posed for photographs in the exact same position (with a bundle on her back) as this character for me. While this drawing had already been completed and documented I am going to now use the photos to adjust the anatomy a bit for the grisaille and final paintings. Having a real to life reference helps so much. Thanks for the comment, buddy. <<>>

  • i love the shading too.

    but more than that the glimpses of your studio in the photos look too gorgeous. I’m filled with even more envy now that i see you have a cat. sigh. every artist needs a cat.

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      I can’t agree more with the statement that every artist needs a cat. If you look closely you can see that Scratch has a pink eraser of mine on the window sill with her. Despite her eraser addiction/destruction habits she’s a great little studio buddy to have around. Hopefully some day soon you can rescue a cat who needs an artist too.

      Thanks for the comment! ///\\\

  • What a lovely glimpse into your process. I find it so interesting how technology can be used to improve a piece that is ultimately done by hand. It seems to take out a few of the stages because you can trial and error a lot more on a computer. In your exodus image, it’s the angle of the character that I find so compelling – you can see the effort in the fact that they are pushing, even though the ground is flat. Very compelling!

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      I appreciate the thoughtful comment. I used to be completely anti-technology because I saw it as the road to the end of everything that was good and handmade and slow. Now I love it because I know that technologies like Photoshop can actually save me so much of the (less enjoyable) legwork and can lead to more actual painting and drawing– which for me is the whole point.

      In this drawing I wanted the character to feel the weight of the burden on her back and part of that endeavor was to make the landscape flat and empty and low. Thanks for noticing and thanks again for the comment. <>

  • Brenda Cavanaugh says:

    Hey mike. Miss you man.

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Wow, do I miss you guys, Brenda. Next time I am in NYC I’ll come down and see you all. Hi to Jon and the little people! Are you going to Genesis’s pig roast?

  • GORGEOUS!!!! I can’t wait to see the finished project! And very interesting the Photoshop for composition. I’ll have to show this to my father-in-law! Oh yes you are VERY SPOT ON with the, “another usual overcast day with a sky that looks like a flat florescent light bulb”. I’m new to Vancouver (from sunny Southern California) + that is the perfect way to describe it. Locals here say, “oh, well at least it’s bright out!”. Great work!

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thank you, Shelli! I love sunny California. My grandmother is from Los Angeles and I’ve spent quite a bit of time down there over the years. The Pacific Northwest’s skies of grey whiteness (and also populations of grey whiteness? haha) can get really old. We need sunshine! Do you take vitamin D?

  • It’s so beautiful! Sometimes the pencil alone can do all wonders of the world…

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thank you! A painter friend of mine spends months drawing the most beautiful drawings on primed wooden panels before painting over them. I always wish that he’d make two so that we could keep and enjoy his elaborate and gorgeous pencil drawings as well the finished oil painting.

      Anyway, I am beginning to rediscover why I like the simplicity of drawing in pencil. It’s fun– thanks again!

  • Maddi says:

    I’m new to the blogging community, and I just found this blog– wow!

    I love this drawing. It’s very…I’m not sure how to say it, but it looks very–fluid? I love the absence of hard lines in it. How you make everything rounded and almost blend into each other.

    You’re very talented!

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