Archive for the ‘pencil drawing’ Category

drawing 3

pencil drawing 1of model Bryce

Meetup Groups
Have you heard of that? It’s everywhere on line. It is where people of common interests connect on line and then physically “meetup.” I am part of the Meetup St. Louis
Drawing and Painting Group.

Meetup carries on the centuries old tradition of artists gathering to work from live models. It is the digital age version of an activity that still brings great value to the
artist, the art community and the wider population as a whole. The model is essential.

What are human beings that you think about them?

What are human beings…that you pay attention to them?
—Psalms 8:4
I created these drawings of Bryce in September 2016 during a drawing session that used to meet at Webster Groves Christian Church located in Glendale Missouri.
Bryce drawing 2 backside of drawing 1


drawing 4 back side of drawing 3

photograph of model Bryce

photo of Bryce posing as a mime

four views of a girls head by John Dyess

four views of a girls head by John Dyess

This young girl was a model for an illustration assignment for  More magazine published by Baptist Sunday School Board. This drawing was done at least ten years ago using photos of the girl from different angles.This was not part of the assignment and was done as a pencil study and sample.

young girl 01

young girl 01

young girl 2

young girl 2

young girl 03

young girl 03

young girl 4

young girl 4

These drawings were done with a oo3 technical pencil using graphite lead on LetraMax 2200 illustration board. Color applied with an airbrush using Rotring liquid acrylic ink.Click on pencil drawings to view more of my pencil drawings on my blog

Portrait of Sir Edmund Hillary by John Dyess

This was one of the last campaigns I worked on at Maritz. I started my own business,John Dyess Illustration, in September of 1980. This campaign was called Peak Performance and was created for Aetna Life & Casualty. The print mailers were geared around famous mountain climbers. This portrait of Sir Edmund Hillary was on the first mailer. The trips promoted were to Germany and the Bahamas.

Detail from original illustration

This illustration of Edmund hillary was created using graphite pencil on Crescent Illustration Board, cold press surface, No. 100 heavy weight. A thin coat of gesso was painted on the surface of the illustration board before the pencil was applied. Color was added using Dr. PH Martin Radiant Concentrated Water Color ,applied with round sable brushes. I was primarily interested in drawing the shapes in Hillary face and hair and the  shapes of Mount everest. This illustration was more about shapes and color than Edmund Hillary and the mountain. I used this sample to promote My work when I began John Dyess illustrtion. This sample helped me get an assignment illustrating about 30 Americans for a text book.

General Joe W. Kelly

I was employed as an artist at Scott Air Force Base from September of 1962 until March of 1966. The headquarters of the Military Airlift Command was located on this Base which is near Belleville ,Illinois. This portrait of General Kelly was printed in the  Airlift Service Management Report for July 1963 until June 1964.I also design the majority of this report. It was the first and last annual report I designed . I enjoyed the process of selecting photos and placing them in the report.

Accent on Bars Captain Joseph M.Kovak

Accent on Bars Captain Raymond Covill

I created a series of portraits while working at MATS, which later became MAC, for newspaper printing of officers that served with MATS. I drew these with graphite pencil on a paper that had raised dots on the surface . Some of my illustrator friends will know the name of this paper. It was used primarily for reproduction in newspaper printing. This was one of the few times I drew cartoons. I will have more posts on this period of my career.

Bird's eye view of Mark's farm

I accepted a freelance assignment from  Scott Foresman in Nov.1999. I had several weeks to complete twelve black and white drawings for a beginner reading textbook. It was, I think a “English as a second language” textbook. The above drawing is from the title page. I chose to depict a  bird’s eye view of the farm. I had the freedom to chose “points of view”. This type of an assignment is, for me, more difficult than a full color painting. Models had to be hired so I can take photo reference. Research was required, pictures of farm buildings, animals, autos, etc. The above drawing was constructed by me. I couldn’t afford to hire an airplane to take a photo of a farm. I’m just making the point that many scenes had to be constructed by me.

On Marks Farm title page

The page size for this book was 5 and three eights inches wide by seven and three fourth inches high. This is a fax of  the title page and what drawing was required . That’s all I got from the client,a description “Art Spec”

Fax of page with words

This page layout may have a familiar look to it . For those of a certain age, you may be familiar with reading books that featured Dick, Jane, Puff the cat and Spot the dog.

Scan from Fun Wherever We Are

Illustration of Dick,Jane,Fluff and Spot from “Fun Wherever We Are” Scott,Foresman and Company 1962. The client for this project was also Scott Foresman.

Final drawing for girl thinking of chickens at Mark's Farm

This is one of twelve drawings from Mark’s Farm. The client requested an hispanic family visiting a farm. This is a copy of the final drawing. I don’t have the original drawing to use for this post. Some of the details in the original are missing. I will show the process for creating this drawing below.

Thumbnail for girl thinking of chicks.

This is a “thumbnail” sketch by me . A thumbnail is a small idea sketch to put first ideas down on paper .I used this to help pose a hired child model.

Line drawing of girl thinking of 10 chicks.

I sent this line drawing to the client for approval before putting tone on the drawing.

Notes from client written on fax line drawing

On all my drawings they made the same comment,should look more hispanic. When I put tone on the drawing they looked hispanic. Eyes were dark, hair was dark and skin was of a darker color.

Young girl and brother from Mark's Farm

This is the young girl and her brother  from Mark’s Farm. The time I had to complete this series was about three weeks. Some of that time was needed for the client to respond to the sketches. I began the process reading the art specs,than I created thumbnail sketches. I researched reference on farms ,not on the internet ,this was 1999. I have five, five draw file cabinets with reference images from many sources. Many illustrators my age had a reference file like this. Now everyone has a camera and ,I think,every square foot of the planet has been recorded. Many images can be found on the internet. I use reference as a starting point,to see what objects look like. I prefer to take my own photos or use my extensive file of photos I have taken for reference.After I had collected all my reference I began to draw each illustration. Line drawings were sent to the client for approval ,then the final drawing was sent to the client via overnight shipping. Today I would send a scan of the final art via the internet.

The client originally wanted to pay $175.00 per drawing. I asked for $200.00 per drawing and the client agreed . I also charge the client shipping fees and model fees which were about $100.00. This is my process for creating an illustration. For me it can be a work intensive process. I don’t just set in front of the drawing board in my smock and this stuff flows out of me.









Sketch of my parents cat "stupid" 8"wide x 6" high

Photograph of my parents cat "Stupid"

Whether a sketch or photograph of an object ,person or place the result is marks on paper or a coating of emulsion on paper. It is not reality but an abstraction of something seen. Below are other example of a sketch and a photograph of something I have seen.

sketch of a rocking chair by John Dyess 6"wide x 8" high

Photograph of a rocking chair by John Dyess

Sketch of Michael Huhn late 1950's 6" wide x 8" high

Photograph of Mike Huhn by John Dyess 1958


John Dyess preliminary drawing of Racehorse

Before creating a finished illustration I create a tight pencil drawing. Many illustrators do this. Occasionally I prefer the drawing to the final art. I have included three animal preliminary drawings on this post.

John Dyess preliminary drawing of greyhound dogs racing

John Dyess preliminary drawing of Elk in snow

Black and white illustration from "To Be Free"

This is a black and white interior illustration from the book To Be Free. The cover illustration was posted on Oct.27. I am going to describe the step by step process I took to create this illustration

Steck-Vaughn assignment

The client called me with an assignment to create a color cover illustration and eleven black and white illustration  for a book titled “Abrams Way”. They saw samples of my work in a page advertisement in a source book of illustrators and called me. They set the price and gave me the deadline. I said I would create these illustrations. The client, Steck-Vaughn faxed me this page along with the area of the page I was to illustrate. As the letter states I had twelve days to create  twelve sketches.

Thumbnail sketches

I read the manuscript and created small rough sketches called thumbnails for me to refer to while photographing models I hired.

Reference photographs

I proceed to select models from a web page of a talent representative. After selecting the models I set up a photo shoot at my home. Usually I shoot my own photos. I shoot many photos for each situation. If I don’t hire professional models I ask my family or friends to pose. I usually don’t plan the poses, I let the models relate to each other and then combine various photos. I supplement my photos with reference found in books or internet. An example for this illustration is the photo from a book of sailing ships.

pencil drawing to show the client

This is a “tight” pencil drawing created from the photo reference. This was shown to the client for approval. Once the sketch was approved I made a black and white copy on a copy machine from the pencil drawing and painted tone on the copy with water based paint. This was the second drawing made after changes were suggested by the client.

list of changes

Here are the changes made by Steck_Vaughn. They were minor. The name of the book was changed to To Be Free.

I created the finished illustrations and sent them to the client. This job was created during December of 2002 to February of 2003.


James Maritz Senior

Denny McDaniel

The first drawing is a pencil portrait I created of James Maritz Senior while employed by Maritz Motivation Company. It was based on a photo of James Maritz Senior.It appeared on the cover of Maritz Team News on September of 1978.

The second drawing was created for First National Bank of St. Louis sometime in the early 1980s. It is a drawing of Denny McDaniel ,president of Southwest Truck Body.This was used in a series of advertisements featuring costumers of First National Bank. I was given many black and white photos of Mr. McDaniel. The concept and layout was left up to me. The shape of the ad was determined by the client. I incorporated a grid pattern with the profile portrait because Southwest Truck Company designed storage compartments for military trucks. Many St.Louis illustrators worked on this campaign. I created drawings for two ads. The client liked the portrait of James Maritz and wanted this drawing in the same style.