Dick's Non-Tactical Art

Posted by Virginia Kramer on 3/8/2017
Dick's Non-Tactical Art 

Dick Kramer's tactical artwork is legendary, and his drawings are in high demand in the fields of military and law enforcement all over the world. He wasn't always a tactical artist, though, and in fact, to this day he can draw anything in front of him. He says, "If you hold it still, I can draw it!" 


In the above pen and ink drawing, Dick perfectly captures the expression of a football player intensely focused on victory. The bright highlights and subtle shadows on the helmet are no mean feat using pen and ink, and the Redskins logo is flawlessly executed. Dick uses a variety of pen techniques including crosshatching and stippling to go beyond the light and shadow on the subject and achieve further detail, such as different textures and values. The ability to realize these details is the mark of a true artist. 


Dick primarily used stippling for this intensely-lit rhinoceros, another pen and ink drawing. He reserved his linework for smaller details, like the wrinkles of the skin, and only subtly defined the edges especially on the rhino's back. All levels of shadow come together for stunning realism. 

Bighorn sheep

The Big Horn Sheep above were drawn with a different approach: scratchboard. Scratchboard is like "drawing in reverse" as the artist uses a sharp tool to scratch black India ink away from the white surface underneath. It presents unique challenges as the artist must switch from drawing the shadows to drawing the light itself. Dick's scratchboard technique is excellent, and he brought these Big Horn Sheep to life. Notice the strong lighting and variety of textures he accomplished in this uncommon medium. 

Florida Panther

Dick's Florida Panther above is another of his pen and ink drawings. The spirit of this powerful yet endangered predator shines through Dick's intricate pen work. The shiny fur hugging the cat's muscles, the paws at rest, and the pensive eyes are all details that bring life to the subject. Dick has also achieved a complex mix of textures in the ground, rocks, and foliage surrounding the panther. A print is available of this stunning cat, found here. 

Canadian Goose

The Canada Goose could not be a more different subject than the Florida Panther, and Dick's expertise with pencil and ink manifests in different ways. Birds pose unique challenges due to the complex patterns and textures that feathers can present. Dick has also conquered a subject that many artists find nearly impossible: water. Water is very easy for an artist to mishandle, resulting in the appearance of a hard, bumpy surface rather than wet, rippling waves. Dick's pencil work focuses on the goose's distorted reflection, only suggesting the rest of the surface through light and shadow (artists, take note). The Canada Goose is also available as a print, here. 
We hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into Dick's artwork from before his tactical days! A few of his non-tactical drawings can also be seen on his website in the Portraits Gallery among some of his military and law enforcement portraits. You can learn more about Dick here and browse his gallery at http://www.dickkramer.com/. 

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