Monday, June 7, 2010

They Can’t Take Art Away ©

They Can’t Take Art Away ©
by Fiore Custode

No one can take Art away from anyone. Creativity is natural to all of us. It’s like breathing fresh air. All we have to do is “do it” - like children do.

”Children are the best artists because they express their truths without concern for “The Selling” of art or what corporations use art for in their commercial endeavors.
And probably no one needs to be taught ART; it’s a natural act.

Art schools like the Rembrandt School in Amsterdam, or the Venetian schools taught technique, to prepare them for “patronage,” and their genius came forward in doing so.
But they were artists in spite of those things because they were creative people.

All art movements were influenced by, and tended to follow the agendas or of the times that they lived in. Art movements often followed the dictates of the Church, The State, Noblemen, Political Climate, Wars, Prosperity, Social Affluence, Commerce, Society, and the visual concepts of important innovators and genius’. Children need “None of that.”

It’s important to teach Art history to Children just as it is to teach World History. But put simply, teachers ought give children a period of time every day to paint, draw, or sculpt. The Children will do the rest…they’ll create ART, because Humans love to imagine, create, and make things that they can look at and say,” I loved making art.”

To say that we need to “teach” art to children is like saying we need to “Teach children to breathe.” As teachers, we need to keep children inspired, offer them time to create, take them to nature, and give them paper, color, and clay. They will astound us with what we grown-ups have forgotten to see, and express.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pink Dancer

Yet another great piece by F. Custode :

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I apologize for the un-edited paragraph that preceded the draft below, on Collins' work. This version replaces that draft.
Think You, Fiore Custode

Considering Figure Composition in Jacob Collin's work: By Fiore Custode

In looking at Jacob Collins' figure painting, there's no doubt that He plans his compositions carefully, giving much thought to the patterns of light and shade, and the position of "forms" of the figure. The immaculate cloth is heavenly, and the subtle values that describe the form are almost infallible. However, there seems to be no doubt that the rendition of the figure is more important to him than the expression of model’s humanity. Collins doesn't quite reach the "exquisite plane " of Bougureau's angelic softness in the flesh, and doesn't depart too much from what we expect in a good photograph. The narrative (theme) or subject of figure expression is missing in Collins' work, which leaves us simply with a fantastic "renditional skill, which becomes the subject of his work.
Fiore Custode
Considering Figure Composition in Jacob Collin's work: By Fiore Custode

In looking at Jacob Collins' figure painting, there's no oubt that He plans his compositions carefully, giving much thought to the patterns of light and shade, and the position of "forms" of the figure. The imaculate cloth is heavenly, and the subtle vlues that decsribe the form is almost infallable. However, there seems to be no doubt that the rendition of the figue is more imortant to him than he expression of model's humanity. Collins doesn't quite reach the "exqisite plane " of Bogureeau's angelic softness in the flesh, and doesn't depart too much from what we expect in a good photgraph. The narrative (theme) or subject of figure expression is missing in Collins' work, which leaves us simply with a fantatic "renditional skill, which becomes the subject of his work.
Fiore Custode

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanks Tyler,

Your posting on the Figure blog of James Jean is awsome. And thank you for continuing the dialogue.
If I may, I have an opinion on your question "Using Digital Technology for creating Artwork."
If one can draw, paint, and think, then the digital world is just another tool of many tools - that an artist my use to create Art. I I like the idea of drawing and composing on paper first, and then scanning to Photoshop for the finish. It's a good way to go. Actually, traditional drawing is faster, but then Technologhy can be used to elaborate on the original, or for other visual options.

However, if one beliees that drawing and paining may be circumvented by technology, they're kiding themslves. That's why it's important to invest in Art training - like we offer at Ringling. Then the world of Tchnology, or any other tool, is just an extension of creativity. Art is the source- tools are the applicaions.

Thanks Tyler for the insprational question.

Looking forward to other folk's opinions here on the blog.

December 3rd, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008


hope all is well with everyone, staying busy i hope!!

heres some of my few figure works i wanted to drop off from the past two weeks;

it feels like the end of the semester has been prowling in the bushes waiting to pounce! its just about over !!

i'm not sure how i feel about changing figure teachers already, i'm definitely indifferent about it - we'll see how it pans out though, its been a privilege and a delight to be involved with custodes albeit odd (and always hilarious) - but very powerful teaching methods! i look forward to seeing him again in advanced figure!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Saw some pretty good drawing today!!

Some good drawing vibes going on in class today yall!

stopped by the library and scanned mine in for a quick experiment in photoshop - just a light tone overlay - im more pleased with it in this state than before, there were a lot of issues i keep fighting myself with whenever i do a graphite drawing - sometimes i just want to dig into the paper and throw some darker values in but i hold back and do more of a softer touch.

anyway, heres a question some of yall might want to throw some input in; How do you feel about using digital to enhance your drawings? Do you find it to be a useful tool, or do you rather fix everything traditionally?

that question has been hovering over my head a lot lately and i'm kind of indifferent about it. . . i feel its a - good - tool to use, but should never be used as a canvas to start a piece with, but thats just my opinion?


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"the king"

james jean, who im pretty confident to say is leading the illustration game at the moment - started somewhere too, he's worked hard to get where he's at, and contrary to belief, him being asian has nothing to do with it (but it helps)!

i keep going back to his gesture sketches and arcylic/ink figure studies - theyre BANANAS!!

here's a few from

like custode said, the way he captures 'movement' is practically impeccable!

^(my favorite)

and as custode said, the way he handles the arbitrary color is just so fresh looking to me!

check out more of his work at and be sure to stop by his blog to see how he handles his illustrations!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hi Tyler,

Thanks for sending me the "Jean" art.

I didn't as yet see the acrylic wash paintings; He sure is uninhibited in using color. I call that "Arbitrary Color," where the color departs from the natural tones of the skin, and the image takes on whatever color the artist wants to emphasize - arbitrarily.

In the hand of the man, the values don't hold well but he uses color to show the changes in plane direction. But they 're very inspiring, and you should try to "break out" with color if you’d like to try that way of seeing - for a while.

I did see the figures when I Googled Jean's site. Boy, he can really show "movement" in the figure. Our students ought to copy one or two of Jean's gestures...they'll learn to have figures move.

Please Consider posting Jean' swork on the Figure bog!

My Best,


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Favorite Media

I believe media has a major influence in how art turns out.  I feel, and I'm using myself as an example, artists create better works of art when they are interested in their subject and their media. I absolutely HATE charcoal and Conte` Crayon, and I'm sure all of you know this, but when I use ink, pencil, or watercolor I really enjoy my art.  I've had a few good charcoal and conte` drawings during class, but I'm more comfortable with wet media, therefor I take more risks and I'm more satisfied with the outcome.  I also feel a lot of my better pieces were done in my favorite media.

Don't get me wrong, though, I am open to trying new things every now and then.  I guess I'm just one of those weird people who hates getting their hands dirty.

If I had to guess, I'd say a person's favorite media is their favorite for a reason. They probably feel successful with it or get good feedback about it. Even if they completely blow at using a media but still favor it, they'll use it more often and become a pro. Plus, they'd be excited about using the media and really work hard on their work and that's that friends.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I thought I'd share some more of my work from the last two classes.

This one was from today (Nov. 10). We were drawing the clothed figure. I decided to do a drawing more stylized after two previous drawings of the same model. I like how it turned out besides the arm/hand (the proportion problem is totally noticeable blaaah). I'm getting there though... It's charcoal and marker.

As for drawing the clothed figure, I find it a bit challenging (which is good) and a tad less enjoyable... for me. I really like drawing the nude and structuring the body. I don't really like when so much of the body is hidden. Although, for the sake of becoming a better artist, I hope that we get to draw more clothed figures. Practice practice...

Anyway, these are some gestures from Nov. 6. I'm pretty proud of these. I used a brush-pen.

To answer the question about how media inspires you... I think that media does make all the difference. For instance, my figure work in charcoal isn't as pleasing to me as my work in ink. It's not that enjoyable to me either because I struggle with it. I know that I have to keep at it because that's the only way I'll get better with charcoal. But yes, I think your choice of media does have an impact on your work. If you enjoy watercolor or ink and have a facility for it, your work will be better. 


Saturday, November 8, 2008

a couple new figure works!

these are from thursday, nov 6th;

was pretty happy with how these came out, the first one i threw into photoshop and played around with some levels, and the second are 5min gestures. all done with watercolor.

anyway, to answer the question custode brought up about media; "How does the "choice of media" make a difference in drawing the figure successfully?"

i think the choice of media is important, but should never be limited - as long as it can produce the 4 key values anything is fair game to my eyes!

i think it all comes down to the artist though. what one person could excel at the other could fail miserably at - however, i think it's super important for people to always be trying new things(styles, media, etc).

if you limit your potential as an artist you'll never get anywhere, and who knows - something you once thought you'd never be good at but never tried, could be that one medium you'll be recognized for as an artist!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Media Discussion : How important is the choice of media in creating figure art?

Discussion for week of Novmber 13th.

How does the "choice of media" make a difference in drawing the figure successfully?

Submitted by F.Custode-Faculty Figure IL 221

great response!

The Blog is looking good, and  shows great input.

Thanks, F.Custode

M.Cruz's Gestures

Here is a compilation of a few 2-3 minute gestures. Still need to keep practicing to get the proportions accurate and such. I don't really have a 'good' long poses at the moment, but hopefully through out the semester I'll be able to get one up that I'm proud of.
Since the knowledge of anatomy and capturing human emotions can be a vital tool for an illustrator, studying the figure is really important in our career. I think it helps illustrators visually communicate on a more intimate level. If a figure in a painting is wrongly proportional unintentionally, viewers aren't going to connect with the piece.

-Michelle Cruz

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Figure Works

In a way, I'm very surprised that we didn't use charcoal till about mid to end semester. Because, all of freshman year that's all we used (with slight integration of contè). In a way I think that gives us a head start vs. all the other classes where I see my friends just doing charcoal. Variety is always nice.
Drawing the figure in different medias I think forces us to look at the figure in many different ways. Sometimes we have to look at it in just blocks of shadows others we have to look into the shadows to see light. With that, depicting the figure and being able to experiment will come much easier for us.
Figure drawing itself is one of the most important things we'll ever learn. Not only just drawing the figure, but perceiving the figure is the biggest challenge. As Custode says, "In this class I'm here to teach you how to see not copy the figure...". Which, I think thats what drawing the figure should be about.
Here are some of the recent Charcoal drawings:

hey guys

Hey it's Kristen.
Here's some of my stuff!

One of my first drawings in conte, learning the half lights and half darks.

Charcoal, but using mostly shapes.

Watercolor. I really enjoyed doing these.

Quick sketchy gestures which are pretty fun.

Eyes from my sketchbook. I had lots of different reference, and it was cool drawing all of them :)

So I took figure class for maybe 2 years in high school ( I went to an art magnet school called New World in Miami). I started as a freshman, and got progressively better and there were plenty of successes and failures. My teacher told me to just draw and to focus on the hands, feet and face. I don't remember learning the fundamentals (like drawing from the inside out or the 4 basic shades) and I never seemed to get any better. I'm glad Custode has implemented those things into the curriculum because I've seen improvement. After a week of class, I felt like I had learned so much, even if I did have experience drawing the figure before.

To answer the question we got in class, learning figure for a career in illustration is necessary because you have to learn the basics before you can continue on. The human figure is one of the hardest things anyone can draw, and once you conquer that, you can do anything! It's also like skateboarding; you need to learn how to skate before you can do tricks. As in once you know how the body is set up, it's easier to explore distorting it or stylizing it. Picasso was an amazing realistic renderer, but then he decided to do abstract art and explore the body in different ways. Learning how to draw the figure now will definitely benefit us in the future.

Have a goodnight everyone! :)

Anne Gale and Lucien Freud

Anne Gale and Lucien Freud are two of my favorite artists, because they interpret the figure in a way that is representational but compelling by their handling of media.

Two pieces by me

My Contribution

As the title says...

These were some five minute gestures from 11/3/08. I really like working inside my small sketchbook. I carry this sketchbook around and use it every day. I always want to put my better work in my sketchbook. I also love using pen and ink. I like working loosely and quickly. I just really love gestures.

 I like how on gesture days we can use any media we want. I do think that long pose days should be in charcoal, however. It's important that the longer poses should be done that way. I know I definitely need to work on longer charcoal studies.

Here are some journal sketches...
I really like how the ears came out. I think it's my best work in my journal. I'm not very good at graphite rendering... I'm still trying to get better and better at it...
... and my self-portrait. I think it turned out pretty well considering I can't really draw myself... and that it's in graphite. I know I'm improving with portraits and that makes me happy :) 


Its been a couple of months since we started studying figure
with Prof. Custode. He has taught us different techniques
that involve charcoal, watercolor or ink. It is a very enjoyable
experience to wake up during the morning and draw the human
figure. Custode's is an interesting character himself. It is impossible
to predict what he is going to say in class and his demos are really
interesting to watch.
It is mandatory for us to keep a journal with studies of specific
body parts. This is probably one element of the class that will
help us grow faster as artists.
I believe that studying the human figure for the us
in Illustration is very important. Drawing a human figure
makes what we are trying to convey in our image
more human, and we are trying to communicate to a
human person of course.

Blog Postage - Rachel Wolfe

Hey Guys, I suppose It's time for me share.

First off, I'm a transfer student, a CA at that, and at my other school I had to take a few figure classes for my major(all of which were prerequisites to my  animation classes).  Prior to college, I spent a lot of time drawing the figure, mainly because I've been into character design since I was in elementary school.

I believe figure drawing is important because it directly relates to drawing with observation, a skill that's a must for any artist.  You learn to add life and and movement to your work.

Anyway, I've included some of my work down below.  The first two drawings are from a figure class at my old school.  

Sepia Brush pen on copy paper
Conte' Crayon on tone paper. 

The next set of drawings are all from my sketchbooks.  I prefer drawing on smaller paper because a lot of times I chose ink to draw with.  Sometimes I even use blue pencil for the underlying structure and then go over it with ink.  My work tends to have a stylized feel to it, that's something I'm trying to work on.  But,  I enjoy drawing as many figures as possible which is why I love gesture day.  All of these are from the days we drew gestures.

Blue Pencil with Ink

This last one is from my own personal sketchbook, and are studies from a book I picked up in the library.  I prefer toned paper over white, especially with ink.

Sepia brush pen on recycled paper