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.
I guess this really is my first finished painting/artwork of 2021; not counting the Kickstarter group projects. I wanted to start the year off with a smaller piece, before I get underway with a painting I’ve had my mind on for a while. Hopefully, the next piece will have more improvements on anatomy and hair. Speaking of, hair…the struggle. I’ve been looking through as many watercolour tutorials as possible for painting hair in this medium. I’ve grown to dislike the way I’ve painted hair these last few months; mainly the way the strands fall, making it a bit more cartoony/’anime-y’ (for lack of a better word). I don’t know though, the verdict’s still out on this one. It may turn out that I don’t like too much realism after all.
a closer look.
I’ve been getting better at reminding myself to take more progress shots. Honestly, it’s probably one of the reasons I haven’t attempted any more Youtube videos. I mean kudos to all the art Youtubers out there, but having to constantly pull out my camera is a chore in itself; not to mention having to be pulled out of the moment to record every stage. X__X
As usual I started with a drawing on tracing paper, although you’ll notice I didn’t add the flowers. Sometimes with more simpler design details, I’ll go in directly to the watercolour paper. The drawing isn’t really meant to be ‘finished’, just the line-work (the simpler the better) so I can graphite-transfer it onto the paper. I’ve learnt the hard way that detailed line-work combined with the tooth of even hotpress paper, tends to warp the transferred drawing you get. So the solution for myself anyways, is to keep the initial process simple and add details in before painting. I’ve also stopped printing my line-art/drawing, as I used to for transferring drawings. Personally, I haven’t been finding the need to waste more paper; just using sharp pencil over the tracing paper drawing works fine. I’ll usually scan the drawing before I get started on tracing with graphite, so as to preserve all the lines I originally had for reference.
washes and paint | work in progress.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. I’ll have the original painting up on the Shop section sometime at the end of the week, and prints should be up by the time this blog post goes live. Take care everyone!
Well ok technically I don’t use an easel for my watercolour paintings (or drawings), I’ve resorted to just a Masonite board propped against the table and on top of my thighs at this point. 💁♀️ Small studio spaces.
I hope I’m not giving you all whiplash with the amount of times I’ve changed the look of this site; truth be told, it’s not looking how I want it to yet. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday and a good start to the year. I wanted to start off by saying thank you for all the support in 2020, whether it was here on the site, Instagram, or through orders on the Etsy Shop. It’s been amazing to see people supporting smaller businesses/artists like myself during this time, and we’re all beyond grateful.
I briefly talked about the Woven Path Tarot months ago, and I am able to share a few more glimpses at the progress of my part of the project. I’ll link an Instagram hashtag here if you’re interested in seeing other cards from all other participating artists. There has been a slight delay, but the project will be coming to Kickstarter later on this year from Changeling Artist Collective.
If you haven’t already guessed, I’ll be illustrating Death. Going into this project I was vaguely familiar with Tarot, and so doing the initial research and learning about the Death card in particular was fascinating. The meanings, history, and symbolism associated with each card is a really interesting topic to look into if you have some spare time. If nothing else, the artwork associated with every variant deck that have come out over the years is worth the exploration. Be sure to follow Changeling Artist for all the updates going forward, and we hope you will support us on Kickstarter once the project goes live.
A piece that has been in the works since a couple months back and is now finished waiting to be evaluated, is another Kickstarter project; this time a magical collection in the form of an artbook by SPIRIDON. If you haven’t already, you have until January 18th to submit your entries for CODEX OBSCURUS. You have talents like that of Bastien Deharme and Karla Ortiz just to name a few in this artbook, so you can tell why I’m especially excited for this one. There isn’t much of the final artwork I can share yet (should it be included in the final product), but here is a little sneak peek until then.