I’ve been enjoying all the Inktober pieces from artists on social media, as usual I haven’t been able to get into it myself. I’m fully determined to keep saying ‘next year’ however, until I get something in for the darn monthly challenge! Meanwhile, I’ve taken a little break from watercolours again, as we near the end of the month. This one being a more fun and free project, taking a character from author Nalini Singh‘s work and imagining it into a more illustrative piece.
Starting off using the same technique from my last painting (Banshee’s Wail), and layering the preliminary drawings so they are ready for the transfer stage. This time around I wanted to play with more dramatic lighting, as I’m slowly starting to get more comfortable with it for future projects. I decided to do some simple black and white lighting samples on Paintshop Pro. It’s not a really an depth study, more of an assurance really so that I’m not going to desecrate the drawing when I work in graphite powder onto the paper. Speaking of paper, I’m using Strathmore’s Bristol 100lb. (270 g/m2) in Smooth Surface. I’ve used both the vellum and smooth surface sheets from Strathmore for many years now, and I usually shift between the two if I want more texture or not; I tend to shy away from more textured paper however because I like to scan my pieces for digital use.
I tend to use graphite powder for mainly large surfaces I want to cover, and I believe you can purchase it as well. I don’t have any experience with it so I tend to just use the saved ‘residue/remnants’ of when I sharpen my graphite (using the blade method to sharpen of course). Using a tissue I then work it in, and for this particular piece adding in various forms with my Blending Stumps. I ended up feeling that the piece was a bit on the grey-scale of things and flatter than my usual work; in which I usually have some pure black elements for contrast, so I thought it might be fun to add some colour instead. Sticking to the paranormal and fantasy aspect of the author’s work, I chose to just focus on the eyes (…or rather eye) with various shades of green colour pencils. Overall, a much needed casual and experimental project; although I never want to see leopards or spots again.
Hope you all have a fun Halloween!
A CLOSER LOOK
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August has just flown by for me. It started out rather slow, and then ideas kept piling up and now I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. 😯 While I get into finishing up some newer pieces, I thought I’d share some sketchbook drawings from this month. I’ve been trying out the Strathmore Drawing Sketchbook, and it’s quite fantastic I have to say.
New Project, Kickstarter Collab.
I’m excited to also share that I’ll be joining a roster of very talented artists in illustrating part of a Tarot Deck from Changeling Artist Collective. Guesses as to which card I’ll be illustrating? 🤭 The project will be coming to Kickstarter in 2021, so make sure you follow CAC on Instagram as well to keep up to date. Here’s a little sneak peek at what I’m working on.
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! 🙂 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.
A quick little sketchbook share. Taking inspiration from my favourite Norse/folk band Wardruna, and their latest release Grá. I usually have some sort of music on while working; although usually at the painting/working stage. It’s usually Wardruna, Heilung & Kati Rán, among a plethora of other artists. I’d love to know how you work as well. 🙂
These couple of weeks, I’ve added to the long list of artistic challenges for myself by exploring design once again. I used to include a lot of in my work in my high school days, from fabric to generally…..everywhere. Feeling that I’ve lost touch with it, I decided to take on learning Celtic knots and similarly Viking designs; which I may be able to incorporate into future work. As you may know I’m very interested in Scandinavian history and Norse designs, so I thought that if I’m going to do studies I might as well make it for something I’m very interested in exploring.
There are various resources to look at, from books, videos, to good old Google. The Book of Kells is of course recommended by most tutorials I’ve come across, as well as just looking at various Viking artifacts for inspiration. For reference purposes (for myself in my sketchbook) I followed an incredibly helpful playlist from a charming gentleman on Youtube, whom I’ll link below if you’re keen on learning various knots. Looking at images of Viking artifacts came in handy as well, because I could learn the knot-work but of course Norse designs differ in that they depict more animals, and have weaves which are more fluid among other differences. I’m by no means a professional of course, so it makes it even harder for myself without having a history background to learn merely on observation. It’s challenging, but quite fun.
There are a myriad of references you can consult on the web, so I wont bore you with google searches which I’m sure in this day and age everyone already knows about. Here are a few things I’ve been looking at. 🙂