Through the Void – Graphite Drawing

Graphite WIP for Through the Void

As a promise to myself to improve my figure drawing, (the male form in particular), I was surprisingly satisfied by the end of this piece. My current displeasure with my work was that there was something off about how my figures in my watercolour paintings were looking. There was a flatness that I didn’t really like, and really wanted to improve on. Therefore I went back to the basics with graphite. Obviously a much more forgiving medium, it gave me the chance to really analyze what I was missing in how I presented the male/female form in my work; taking a slower pace, and building up each layer with shadows, highlights & textures. I think the next step will be to play around with much more dramatic lighting to add more dimension to faces and figures.

It was also really fun to play around with some of the graphite shavings/residue I had saved from sharpening my pencils. So do save them if you sharpen your tools with a blade! πŸ™‚ Although scanners don’t do a very good job at picking up the subtleties in traditional work, I hope you can at least see the attempt to create more solid black planes. I’ve wanted to incorporate this technique for a while now, without using black paper or ink washes. Although easily created (as seen in the halo), there will inevitably be a visible texture no matter how dark the graphite. So this technique was quite interesting to try out, as well as figuring out whether I like graphite better on white or tan-toned paper. The verdict’s still out on than one.

Through the Void, graphite on 11×14″ paper, 2020

June – New Additions to the Shop

It’s been fun to do a few smaller works these past few weeks. I’ve added 2 new drawings to the shop section, so if you’re interested please do check them out under ‘Minis and Postcards’. As always thank you for your support, and feel free to contact me for any further info on originals. πŸ™‚

Study 01, markers & microns on paper, 6×7″, 2020

A Slow May – WIP & New Minis

Although my head’s buzzing with ideas at the moment, this month has been rather slower than I would have liked. I had been struggling with the usual artist block, which returning meant too many ideas all at once. 😫

In hopes of improving whilst simultaneously creating new artwork, I’ve decided to do a bunch of these mini drawings. Keep an eye out in the shop if you’re looking to purchase any of these upcoming small originals. πŸ™‚

Sight, markers/microns on paper, 6×8″, 2020

watercolour painting, wip.

A little peak at a new watercolour painting I’ve been working on.

Sisters Cassandra – Watercolour Painting

Sisters Cassandra, watercolours & mixed-media, 11×14″, 2020

It should be noted that procrastinating on art supply restock is never a good thing; which I’m learning all too well at the moment. I’ve shared a few snaps on the process of creating this piece below (at least most of which I remembered to do as I was painting).


prelim to painting.

The current situation with the virus and limiting shopping/delivery on art supplies of course doesn’t mean an end to creating work. It is indeed a very first world problem, but an annoyance nonetheless.

I’ve been trying to return to the habit of using preliminary drawings more, and then using a method of transferring onto watercolour paper. As I’ve been trying to improve my figure drawings, I’ve noticed that my watercolour paper does tend to get a fair bit of damage from erasing and redrawing. The fact that this can happen isn’t new too me, but in all honesty we all get lazy at times.

Happy with my drawing, I scanned the work and got ready to print. If you’re interested in the method I use, you can also check out Cynthia Sheppard’s video here, where she shows how you can go from your drawing to painting. I then realized I had run out of printer ink, as well as any graphite transfer paper…Time for the old school method. I’m talking about what we did as kids, taking graphite and going over the back of a sheet of paper covering it entirely, and then placing your drawing over it and tracing over that. Its the same concept as the ones you can buy at art supply stores. I’m a bit conservative with wasting graphite however, so I usually tend to fill my ‘transfer paper’ only on the areas I know will have outlines. Often times there’s no need to have whole sheet covered, you’ll probably end up with graphite residue on a perfectly clean watercolour paper.

I tend to use tracing paper as it’s the thinnest, but you could use whatever paper you prefer.

Once the drawing’s been transferred there’s only one thing left to do, paint! πŸ™‚ I didn’t have the same issues I did with my Sparks of Rebellion piece; again because I removed a lot of the surface on the watercolour paper during preliminary drawings on that one. This piece was mainly in watercolours but to get a more smoother gradient on the background I opted for some Faber Castell Polychromos, and acrylic paint highlights.

This painting is also available for purchase as prints and the original. You can find all the info by heading over to Shop.

When in Doubt, Back to the Sketchbook

If you’ve followed the progress of my latest painting (Sparks of Rebellion) on Instagram, I’d say you already know all about my displeasure of it. But let’s start with the positives shall we? I had (in my opinion) a rather successful sketch period following this meltdown. I needed to figure out what went wrong with my painting, and I would say some things became more clear. If nothing else, the prelim. work behind the painting was one of my more enjoyable ones.

What I had excitedly envisioned for the finished piece got ruined within the first few seconds of the initial wash due to…..a brush, that required more extractions of bristles off of paper than I’ve had to do. Lets say that brush shall not haunt mine or anyone else’s dreams ever again. As the painting started to develop I also began to notice more errors in terms of figure/ form, etc. Unnoticeable to the audience perhaps but as artists will know, GLARING for us. Frustrations piled on, this painting was beyond ‘fixing’ at a certain point. With a bit of help with some coloured-pencils it regained the status of being presentable. In conclusion, more discipline I’d say on checking my tools, testing colour comps. thoroughly, and most important of all, triple-checking line-work/under drawing. Mirrors and views from a distance are once again my best friends. πŸ˜†

Sparks of Rebellion, watercolours & coloured-pencils, 11×14″, 2020

WIP and planning stages: the parts that were the most fun for this piece.

Alexsandr Kallus: SW Rebels, graphite studies on sketchbook

Wind Waker – Watercolour Painting

Wind Waker_03_Shaima

First finished painting of 2020. I usually get impatient to finish a piece as it nears the end, because at that point my head’s already full of ideas I want to get on paper for the next project. πŸ˜… I’ve also felt the urge recently to get back into acrylics again or perhaps trying gouache. Funnily enough watercolours used to be my weakest medium, as I used acrylics for most projects in high school & uni. As I got irritated with being forced to do modern/minimal/abstract art at the time, I switched over and never really went back. Although…I can already feel the dread thinking about everything I’ve forgotten about the medium.

Shop Update

This one will be up in the shop soon, but I’ve been thinking of switching my originals directly onto this site for a while now. I’ve used other websites before, but I’d like to eventually get everything on here. Just a heads up if you see a change in the shop section (although it’ll be as basic as it gets for now).

Wind Waker_2020_Shaima
Wind Waker, watercolours, 8×10″, 2020