I hope you all have enjoyed The Mandalorian as much as I have; it has given me hope for the Star Wars franchise on the big screen. Although I’m not part of the fan-base that have felt rage at the new movies, I was rather disappointed at the failure to develop the characters & plot in the manner that The Force Awakens seemed to have initially been heading towards. I can be satisfied with The Mandalorian however, and continue to enjoy the animated series, games, and books that Star Wars creators do well.
Having had the benefit of growing up with 2 older brothers, I was never short of action and sci-fi/fantasy media growing up. The Star Wars trilogy was watched to death on VHS, and my generation of course enjoyed (and criticize today 😅 ) the prequels when they came out around 2000s. Other than the unforgettable introduction of Darth Maul in the prequels, Ewan Mcgregor’s Obi-Wan really got me interested in the character and continues to be my favourite to this day. (Well ok…Obi-wan and a certain red-eyed, blue-skinned, art connoisseur 😆) Therefore, seeing director Deborah Chow behind 2 of my favourite episodes in The Mandalorian has gotten me very excited for the upcoming Obi-wan series which she’ll be behind. A really good sci-fi/fantasy show also means a longer wait for Season 2, which I shall now impatiently be waiting for.
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. 🙂
A slow end of October; in terms of sharing more work here that I had originally planned. Trying to get more paintings done for portfolio updates, as well as certain personal deadlines I want to meet. Hopefully I’ll get more new work up here soon. 🙂 Until then, a little toned paper sketch from ITV’s Sanditon. Little bummed we didn’t get a proper Austen ending from Andrew Davies. 😆 Still, a huge fan of Davies and love every adaptation he’s done.
Also, you can follow me on Instagram & Twitter if you’d like a glimpse into what I’m working on, I try to get more updates for you guys on my socials anyways. 🙂
Getting back to working with graphite again. I think I had gotten a little annoyed in the past because of smudging issues. Working with blending stumps has really bought back my love for it again; and its just refreshing.
I’ve been really enjoying working in my new mixed-media sketchbook from Stillman & Birn. On the other hand, getting back into doing life-drawing studies/sketches is easier said than done, as I sometimes find myself bored of typical poses that you find online; in terms of reference photos. Aside from my general admiration of their work, artists Noah & Rachel Bradley have come out with a bunch of reference photo packs on their website (which I’ll link below) that have been quite helpful. If you’re looking for some quality references I highly recommend you check out their photography.
In between the painting I’ve been working on, I decided to take a little break – which basically meant binge-watching all 3 seasons of Stranger Things last weekend. I had some catching up to do. Naturally that resulted in some sketches; well one character in particular. I’m really looking forward to seeing the talented Dacre Montgomery in more roles in the future. As for Billy Hargrove, I knew I’d love the development of his character from the very beginning. And I’ll leave it at that for those who are still catching up. 😣
As I get set to do more paintings, I’ve been trying to use my Fabriano (5.5×8.5″) sketchbook a bit more. Trying to focus more on life-drawing with fantasy elements, I’m hoping to improve my skills; which I found had weakened somewhat since uni life-drawing sessions. The Shinhan Art Touch Twin Markers are pretty much a go to for me in this sketchbook, with a graphite lineart/under-drawing. I do find that the paper is very thin with this Fabriano sketchbook, but I don’t mind the results so I’m just putting a scrap paper on the back for any bleed-through. Anyhow, thought I’d share some snippets from this sketchbook so far. 🙂 Also a quick reminder, head over to my Instagram if you’re interested in more frequent updates on projects and processes. Instagram @shaima.art.