4th Annual Shades of Gray Competition Winners Revealed

Drawing magazine is thrilled to reveal the fourteen 2015 Shades of Gray Competition winners. The grand prize went to Cheng Chi-Han, a student at Academy of Art University, in San Francisco. Additional top prizes went to Marcos Rey, of Peru; Hiroshi Hayakawa, of Ohio; and Marnie White, of Ontario. Ten additional artists received honorable-mention awards.  You can learn more about all the winning artists in our new issue.

We hope you enjoy the outstanding black-and-white work of these winning artists. And the 5th annual Shades of Gray Competition is now underway and is open to all artists working in black-and-white drawing media. So if you’d like to see your own artwork on this list next year, enter now. The deadline is September 6.

Drawing Magazine’s 4th Annual Shades of Gray Competition Winners:

Grand Prize

Cheng Chi-Han: Marven

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Cheng

Marven, by Cheng Chi-Han, 2015, charcoal, 10 x 10.

1st Place

Marcos ReyWoman in Coat

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Rey

Woman in Coat, by Marcos Rey, 2015, graphite, 36 1/2 x 20. Collection the artist.

2nd Place

Hiroshi HayakawaVanitas No. 3

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Hayakawa

Vanitas No. 3, by Hiroshi Hayakawa, 2015, graphite on Bristol board, 21 x 14. Collection the artist.

3rd Place

Marnie WhiteLaurie

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - White

Laurie, by Marnie White, 2015, charcoal, 18 x 12. Collection the artist.

Honorable Mentions

Brock Alius: A Child’s Song

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Alius

A Child’s Song, by Brock Alius, 2014, charcoal and white chalk on gray paper, 18 x 14. Private collection.

Hélène Brunet: Solidaire

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Brunet

Solidaire, by Helene Brunet, 2015, graphite powder and pencil, 30 x 40. Collection the artist.

Janice EvansFarscape

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Evans

Farscape, by Janice Evans, 2013, Japanese-ink-and-brush, 8 x 6. Collection the artist.

Loren MillerVerge

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Miller

Verge, by Loren Miller, 2015, charcoal and ink, 30 x 22. Collection the artist.

Sandrine PelissierGoing in Circles

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Pelissier

Going in Circles, by Sandrine Pelissier, 2014, India ink and marker on canvas, 48 x 48. Collection the artist.

John SanchezHauling West

Hauling West

Hauling West, by John Sanchez, 2015, charcoal pencil and white pastel on gray paper, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2. Private collection, Dorking, England.

Ryan SpahrCain High Meadow, En Plein Air

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Spahr

Cain High Meadow, En Plein Air, by Ryan Spahr, 2015, ethanol ink, 10 1/2 x 14. Collection the artist.

Diane TompkinsonIn Repose

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Tompkinson

In Repose, by Diane Tompkinson, 2015, India ink and wax, 26 x 26. Collection the artist.

Laura TundelStacy in Profile

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Tundel

Stacy in Profile, by Laura Tundel, 2015, graphite, 10 1/2 x 9. Collection the artist.

Shoshana WalfishBeatrice

Shades of Gray Competition Winners - Walfish

Beatrice, by Shoshana Walfish, 2014, charcoal, 25 x 19. Collection the artist.

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Landscape Symbols Workshop with Johannes Vloothuis


TIME: 1:00 to 4:00 PM EST
DATES: 3 Saturdays: May 7, 14 & 21

Join Johannes for this online art class where you’ll learn helpful art lessons for successful landscape paintings. Register for the Landscape Symbols Workshop now!

Johannes will help you understand the elements of the landscape as “symbols” in the language of painting, just as we all understand “letters” to be the basic structure of our words and written language. Seeing the landscape and learning how to paint it with this simple understanding will lead to amazing artwork that tells the story of your painting.

Follow along with Johannes and submit your own landscape swatches for review. Painting demonstrations will be in pastels, oils, and watercolor. These following landscape painting elements will be addressed:

  • Rocks
  • Foliage
  • Evergreens
  • Water reflections
  • Crashing foam in seascapes
  • Flowers
  • Grass
  • Cast shadows
  • Snow
  • And more

“I’m going to teach you exactly how I learned. Copying photos simply does not work.” — Johannes

You do not have to attend the live courses. Everything gets recorded and can be downloaded at no extra cost.

Click here to register for the Landscape Symbols Workshop now!

About Johannes Vloothuis:
Johannes Vloothuis has exhibited his work all over the world including Saint Petersburg, Sao Paolo and The National Watercolor Museum in Mexico City. He has won several awards such as the top award in the country of Mexico for watercolor and teaches oils, watercolor and pastel. Johannes has taught over 17,000 artists of all skill levels via his online courses.

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Drawing and Visual Trickery | Meet Brent Eviston

Editor’s note: We’re happy to introduce to you Brent Eviston, one of our newest instructors at Artists Network University. Read his fascinating view on seeing with an artist’s eye in this, his first guest blog post with us. Stay tuned–Brent will be back soon with more drawing insights. ~Cherie

Drawing and Visual Trickery

by Brent Eviston


Enroll today for Brent’s online drawing course!

At the age of 15 I experienced a brief and sudden illiteracy. After hours of copying anatomical drawings I opened a book to read a bit before bed. I, a voracious reader, could not make out a word.  Instead of legible letters and words, I saw only a collection of abstract vertical, horizontal, diagonal and curving lines and marks.

A successful drawing requires the artist to leave behind the names and often meanings of familiar objects and places. Instead the artist sees a collection of shapes, relationships and values. I had glimpsed the world as pure, elemental form and for a moment I had difficulty shifting back to seeing things as I always had.

My drawing induced illiteracy lasted only a moment, but that experience formed the foundation of my work. For two decades I have explored drawing from the classical to the contemporary with a focus on how the mind interprets, and often misinterprets, information.

I remain fascinated by drawing’s ability to alter perception. and the visual trickery required to produce a successful drawing.

Here are some examples of my recent work. These three drawings differ in style and subject, but they are conceptual kin. Each one explores the visual trickery inherent to drawing in a different way.

Figure drawing | Brent Eviston, ArtistsNetwork.com

2-hour figure by Brent Eviston; sign up for his online drawing course here.

The first, a two-hour representational figure drawing (see above) utilizes the classical techniques of rendering form through light and shadow to produce a believable figure.

Figure drawing | Brent Eviston, ArtistsNetwork.com

“Apophenial” by Brent Eviston

The second piece from my Apophenia series (see above) relies on the phenomenon of pareidolia wherein a viewer sees people or faces in meaningless form. The subjects of this drawing are random crumpled pieces of paper that are positioned in a way that triggers the minds mechanism for recognizing faces and figures. From there viewers often experience apophenia, or the perception of meaning in meaningless or random information. Viewers report assigning genders, ages, activities, relationships and even narratives to the drawn collection of twisted torn and contorted piece of paper.

Drawing | Brent Eviston, ArtistsNetwork.com

“A is A II” by Brent Eviston

The third piece is from my A is A series. A is A, one of the classical laws of logic, states that a thing is itself and not anther thing. Ergo, an aardvark is an aardvark, not a barracuda. The image on the left is an italicized letter a. The image on the right is a drawing of a human brain tilted to mimic an italicized a, which the mind quickly accepts as text. This piece states a is a, and simultaneously contradicts the law that says a thing is only itself. The series demonstrates the inherent perceptual flaws that hinder humans relationship with logic.

It is easy to assume that traditional drawing is more honest or uses less visual trickery, but a quick examination reveals that traditional representation is just as duplicitous, we’re just more familiar with it’s tricks.

As artists, we must always remember that we are illusionists, scraping dirt across paper, and depositing it in a way that we fool ourselves and our viewers into thinking they see 3-dimensional form and space, and, beyond that, life, emotion, meaning and narratives.

WATCH Brent Eviston at TEDxEureka: “How Learning to Draw Has Taught Me How to Live”

Click here to sign up for Brent’s online course today! Classes begin WHEN.

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May 2016 Artist of the Month | Lynn Welker

Congratulations to our May 2016 Artist of the Month, Lynn Welker! Lynn was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s Annual Art Competition! Her piece Hidden Bridge is seen below. Read more about the artist below and what she values most about experimentation

Newport Beach, CA ~ lynnwelker.com

acrylic artist of the month

Hidden Bridge (acrylic, collage, acrylic ink, gesso on 300 lb. hot press Fabriano paper) by Lynn Welker

Because of family influences, my path was set from the beginning. I have pursued other interests along the way but none compelling enough to dissuade this art-based life. Nothing can compare to the moments of complete delight and sense of accomplishment when new realms are being created from my imagination.

Growing up in Ohio, I earned a BFA and BS in education from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, and later, after moving to California, an MA. Studying to be an art educator required practical experience in most crafts and visual media. This extensive training was very useful during my 21-year career in art education. However, painting has always been my personal preference and means of expression.

My creative process is dedicated to an uncompromising vision of experimentation and innovation. I am always pushing beyond what I have done before. Because I am a mixed media artist, my only limitation to materials is their archival properties and relationship to the integrity of the work.

Like many artists, I am directly inspired by nature and particular landscape elements. However, I do not use a photograph or visual frame of reference. There is no pre-planning or sketching. I invent solely from my mind, drawing from past experience, an in-depth art education, and a strong sense of organization and design.

Because I value improvisation and spontaneity, I begin with a loose application of flowing acrylic washes and random textural lines. The lines are an important element creating a certain vibration through their accidental imperfection. Attaching painted rice papers of complimenting colors further advances the foundation for the painting. Using a variety of chosen materials from my studio supplies, I advance the narrative until the painting is resolved. The unpredictable mystery of this process is my favorite part of the work.

Hidden Bridge is part of my current series titled, “Community”. Incorporating man-made structures and dwellings within an abstract backdrop shows man’s presence in an imagined landscape. Of the over 40 works in the series, I think the bold geometric shapes combined with random horizontal lines creates a certain flow and rhythm as you peruse the land, the houses, and finally, the road and bridge below. With improvisation and abstraction there are always compositional problems to solve and surprises along the way. The bridge itself was the surprise in this work. There was a curve in the under painting that suggested the final structure.

I work on three to four paintings at a time, moving back and forth between them. Concentrating on only one causes me to rush to the finish line so I can start another. With a group, I play one against the other, moving forward until they are all signed, framed and ready to send out into the world.

People viewing my work often see objects within the abstract patterns. Many subtle details are intended, others are quite random. Once I point out a few things, people’s imagination goes into high gear.

I am always looking for new avenues to exhibit. I am grateful to be able to share my visual expression with readers from around the world. With these works I hope to shift attention from a world of technology to one that reconnects people to the richness of the land and its communities.

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Drawing the Mouth

Focus on the Facial Features: The Nose

Understanding the basic structures of the various facial features goes a long way in achieving a realistic depiction. (An excerpt from Drawing Expressive Portraits)

By Paul Leveille

The features are what make human faces so interesting. Although most features are constructed similarly from person to person, each individual still exhibits subtle and not so subtle differences. For example, each nose has a bridge followed by cartilage and two nostrils, but some noses are thin while others are broad; some are turned up and others are hooked; and so on.

Here I’ll explain the basic structures of the nose and how to draw them.


How to draw a mouth | Paul Leveille, ArtistsNetwork.com

Watch Your Mouth

The face’s most animated feature is the mouth, which is constantly changing with every mood and expression. The lips derive a good deal of their shape from the teeth and bone that the lips wrap around. The next time you see a person smile with his lips parted, notice how the upper lip gets its shape as it is stretched across the teeth. In the drawing at left, the upper lip gets slimmer as it’s pulled back across the teeth in a smile.

Although it’s best to consider the upper and lower lips as a unit when drawing them, each is shaped differently. The upper lip consists of three shapes and has a steeper slant inward toward the teeth, while the lower lip has two shapes and is usually fuller than the upper lip (see C, below).

Women’s lips are usually fuller and darker than men’s lips. The ends of the lower lip in a man usually fade off into the surrounding flesh, with very little difference in tone between the lip and the flesh.

The Shapes of the Mouth

How to draw a mouth | Paul Leveille, ArtistsNetwork.com
A The skeletal shape of the closed mouth is similar to a barrel. Hold this thought when drawing the lips.


How to draw a mouth | Paul Leveille, ArtistsNetwork.com
B Using the cylinder or barrel shape helps when drawing the lips at different angles.


How to draw a mouth | Paul Leveille, ArtistsNetwork.com
C The upper lip has three shapes and the lower has two.


How to draw a mouth | Paul Leveille, ArtistsNetwork.com
D In a smile with parted lips, usually only the upper teeth are visible.


How to draw a mouth | Paul Leveille, ArtistsNetwork.com
E By drawing a line from the tip of the nose to the chin, you can see that the lower lip recedes below the upper lip.

Paul Leveille paints portraits of nationally and internationally distinguished clients and also conducts portrait painting workshops and demonstrations around the country. He lives in western Massachusetts. See his website at www.paulleveillestudio.com.

This article is excerpted from his book, Drawing Expressive Portraits, © 2001 by Paul Leveille, used with permission from North Light Books, an imprint of F+W Media Inc. Visit your local bookseller, call 800/258-0929 or go to www.northlightshop.com to obtain a copy.


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