I had the immense pleasure of opening my copy of CODEX: Obscurus this week. This was an artist collaboration of ‘witchy’ and occult themed artwork produced by SPIRIDON; whom I must thank again for including me among such talents. The book itself is quite hefty, and I’m especially loving the texture on the cover and back ̶ not to mention it’s glittery and gold, who can resist that? Each artist has a page dedicated to their work, so you get the enjoyment of seeing the work in proper scale (no small/quarter images). On top of that you have the talents of Viktor Pushkarev with all his lettering, graphic, and calligraphy work. I’m now on the hunt for a proper frame for his lino-cut print. If you’d like to see some more of his intricate-designs, his contribution to Alex Konstad’s Artbook, Obliskura is a good place to start ̶ link here (you’re welcome…it’s mind-blowing).
If you missed out on the original Kickstarter campaign, I believe there are a few copies of just the artbook itself out there for purchase from Liber Distri.
If you’d like to see more about my piece for this artbook, The Ritual, I did a blog post (here) last year which went through some of the process. The original artwork is available for purchase; if you’re interested please check out the Shop section. Thank you everyone for your support in this campaign, it wouldn’t have been possible without you!
Starting with some brief thumbnails in the sketchbook. Going through Nalini Singh’s second installment in the Psy-Changeling series for some inspiration. Admittedly these tiny drawings look like a bunch of chicken-scratch, but it has been enough to save ideas nonetheless.
Starting the preliminary drawing on a sheet of vellum/drafting paper.
Drawing in Progress
Line drawing transferred onto a sheet of Strathmore Bristol paper, followed by light applications of graphite; slowly building up to the darker values.
For this drawing I wanted to incorporate little things here and there from the show. I’ll avoid listing them all out, so as to not put out spoilers for those who have yet to watch the series or read the books. On a side note, drawing skulls, bones and such things haven’t ever bothered me; I’ve got so say I’ve never been more troubled by nature than while studying Snapdragon seed pods.
I went on a bit of a binge-watch in February when I heard good things about Amazon’s Reacher series; starring Alan Ritchson, Willa Fitzgerald & Malcolm Goodwin. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it, dare I say it’s been the best show (live-action) I’ve watched in the last couple years (Arcane obviously did me in with its Art Nouveau & Steampunk visuals). The first 2 episodes of the show sold it for me with some seriously awesome fight choreography, and kudos to Alan all while filming through the magnitude of his injuries; I admittedly squeamed quite a bit this season with every ankle that Reacher broke. Bonus points as well for the mini Smallville reunion; I know both Alan and Kristin have been in other projects, but 2000s nostalgia just won’t let me forget.
I believe the second season will be skipping forward to book 11 Bad Luck and Trouble, so this gives me more of a push to get started on reading the rest of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. Thriller and crime novels haven’t really been on my list of things to read, as I tend to gravitate more towards Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Regency/Victorian titles. Shows like this and Jack Ryan however make me want to pick up some books in this genre. If you have any recommendations please feel free to leave them below.
EMBERS & STONES
I’ve been creating some new designs for the shop with a new toy in the form of a chasing hammer. If you’re new here, thank you for visiting, I also create jewellery and other crafty trinkets which can be found on my Etsy Shop Embers and Stones. I’m enjoying new ways to incorporate wire-work designs. The chasing hammer will definitely require some more experience, not to mention I’m now regretting not investing in a higher quality German brand I decided not to get at the time.
I’m slowly adding pieces to the shop as I get time to make them, and am grateful for everyone who has been purchasing items in the meantime. This time around I decided to go for some Norse and Greek Mythology themed Brass pieces. I’ve been giving my fingers a little bit of a break, but I have to admit I’ve been itching to attempt more complicated weaving techniques. Getting hold of supplies during this time has also been a nightmare.
SHOP | ORIGINAL ARTWORK
I’ve decided to close a few of my stores as they weren’t quite working for me. If you are interested, I now put up new originals that are available for purchase on Big Cartel and other studio clearances (as well as prints) on Etsy | Art of Shaima. A few original paintings and drawings have already found new homes, which I’m so ecstatic about. I think all artists say this, but nothing compares to packing up an order to send to a patron. Thank you very much for your continued support!
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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I’ve been meaning to get some new watercolour brushes, as the ones I’ve been using (although having served well for years) are fraying and/or have rogue hairs going in one direction. Debating on whether or not to invest in squirrel-hair brushes, I decided it wouldn’t really serve me any purpose as I like painting in a particular way; and perhaps even more impractical for those who use hot-press paper. There are definitely a wide range of brushes out there and admittedly quite overwhelming, but after watching some reviews by other artists on Youtube I settled for trying out the Princeton Neptune range. I went for the Round Synthetic Squirrel in 0, 6, & 12 (as they are the sizes I use the most) of the 4750 Series. I’ll provide links below of where I got mine, even though this is not sponsored, and I’ll be sure to provide updates on how they fare with more use. I’m loving them so far, as the handles in particular feel more comfortable than my standard ones from the art stores here like Deserres or Curry’s. If any of you have used brushes from this brand please share your experiences in the comments, or even what your favourite brushes are; I’m sure we could all glean something useful from it. In the meantime I’ll be continuing using these new brushes as I’ve done for this latest piece, and will be retiring my older brushes for inks and acrylic washes.
As usual I started out with my drawing on tracing paper, eventually transferring the finished product with a graphite backing and tracing all the lines and details. I was sharing this thought on Instagram as well but, does anyone else hate ‘transfer’ days as much as I do?! Recently I’ve been laying some scrap paper as masking (as you see on the right side), just so I have less graphite residue to erase off of my watercolour paper when I’m done transferring.
There’s no better feeling than finally getting to put pigment to paper.
You always feel ambitious with the thought of filling a piece with knotwork, until the realization sets in of having to trace said knotwork for a second time accurately. I cheated a bit with this piece as you’ll notice with my preliminary drawing as I drew in only one side; the other side was cheekily transferred by doing a mirror/flip transfer of the paper. I also decided to incorporate some cute little Robins as well; going on themes of death and souls for this painting. You might be wondering what on earth I’m talking about, and rightfully so. I often tend to come by weird articles and stories (go figure), and a few that have interested me are of Robins visiting people in grieve and mourning. One in particular was that of a woman grieving the death of her child at his grave and a robin flying and landing on her. I hadn’t known of the bird’s connection in folklore and symbolism surrounding death. Truly fascinating.