Artists that influence – Gene Franks

In early 2000’s I bought this book from Texas Art Supplies store – “The Art of Pencil Drawing” by Gene Franks.

Cover of The Art of Pencil Drawing. Published by Walter Foster Publishing, Inc. Copyright ®1991.

This would be my first and the only professional pencil artist book to go to. Gene’s work looks so effortless, while simplicity of his strokes and mesmerizing and complex at the same time.

Recommended step one – is roughing in shapes very lightly. Once a general outline is set, develop detailed outlines. Sketch is set – start defining shaded areas. I guess what got me is how something as simple as a pencil, could reproduced a broad range of strokes and light variations, and be so expressive.

One can tell that some of the sketches in the book are quick studies, and some are more detailed drawings. Subject matters are so simple and yet that is exactly what makes these drawings so appealing. For me Gene Franks made pencil drawing the absolute favorite media.

Here was something else in this book:

“… pencil drawing is a type of “basic training” and fundamentals to all other visual art. Whether sketching an idea for a sculpture or painting, or carrying a pencil drawing to a completed piece that can be matted and framed, pencil is the first medium that a serious artist attempts… When an artist thinks in black and white, he is thinking of shapes in their most elementary and, perhaps, most poetic form… Black and white has a beauty and importance of its own.”

Jane W. Franks (from Introduction to The Art of Pencil Drawing).

Here are couple of Gene Franks books available on Amazon

About the Artist

Gene Franks started drawing and painting at the age of 10. His work was influenced by his early upbringing in rural Arkansas. The formal education was completed at Jefferson Mackhammer School of Art in Santa Monica, California, with additional classes taken at the Art Center School in Los Angeles. Jane Franks is the wife and partner of Gene. Together they published 8 instruction books on pencil drawing.

Gene Franks – Biography (