Monday, November 25, 2013

Needle Felting: Iris

Contrary to appearances, I have been drawing – just all work stuff. Come December I have a lot of Christmas cards designs, but for now, more needle felting!

This mermaid is called Iris, and she's from the marvellous Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, which I recently got my hands on. I ordered it mainly because I love a good kids' adventure story, and I love looking at illustrations, and partly for my mother to read to her class of year threes – and I am reliably informed that it is holding the attention of even the wriggliest kids amazingly well. 

I read Sarah McIntyre's blog, and when I was suddenly given just two days notice for my first-ever school visit her experiences were invaluable – I'm not sure I would have coped without her blogging about her own school visit experiences, she gave me lots of inspiration and ideas. 

So when I was thinking of what to do to push my needle felting experiments a bit further (to see if I could do something that wasn't realistic, and wasn't out of my own head), I thought of Iris the mermaid. Sarah has lots of activities relating to Oliver and the Seawigs on her website and there is a lot relating to the naughty sea monkeys – but I thought Iris could do with more love. I loved looking at the way her hair changed in every single picture throughout the book. 

Here's a look at my felted Iris and Sarah's (far better) drawn one – this is the page I used for reference. 
As it was a bit tricky to felt all the strands in her hair and her fins, I experimented with Nylon Knitting Ribbon - it's not a natural fibre, so it doesn't actually felt, but it is an open weave so it's easy to felt it in using a bit more wool on top so it's pretty secure, and gives a pretty nice seafoamy effect. 

That's Colin the crab in her hair. 

This isn't the best likeness I've ever done, but to be fair this was the first time I'd even tried to do any kind of likeness in felt (I finished her about a week before I did yesterday's Tom Baker magnet). I can can control a pencil much more, which I suppose makes sense because I have been drawing for 25 years and felting for less than one. =P

Merino and corriedale wool with #32, #36, #38 and star felting needles. 

Iris is copyright Sarah McIntyre, Phillip Reeve and Oxford University Press 2013. And if you're looking for a Christmas present, I can recommend the book, it's great fun. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Needle Felting: Doctor Who

I wanted to get something done for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who – in a more perfect world I would have found the time to finish off the portrait of the Eleventh Doctor which has been hanging around, unfinished, for far too many years. I would still like to finish that, but I just didn't manage it for the Anniversary. I don't do much portraiture off my own bat any more, which is why it has been languishing. 

But I still wanted to do something, so I felted a little magnet of Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor. It would be quite nice to do all of the Doctors, little magnets are fairly quick projects, even though I only got one done today. I did part of it while watching An Adventure in Space and Time (mainly the scarf, which was a bit time-consuming) and then finished it afterwards, so I suppose it took about three hours or so of solid felting. It's not yet an actual magnet, I'll have to hunt out my magnets...
If it wasn't for the scarf and the curly hair I might have managed Doctor 11 as well. That was certainly the plan. Maybe later the group will grow. =) Certainly Tom Baker is a good fit for the manic bug-eyed look of this type of quick felting!

Merino and corriedale wool with #32, #36, #38 and star felting needles. 

Doctor Who is copyright the BBC

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sketch: Witch

I did this little sketch last night, I felt the need to just sketch something for me, something a bit bigger than the 10-15 minute sketches I've been doing lately when I've finished working. This took an hour, so there are lots of wonky bits, but I quite like it.

She's inspired by a photo I snapped out of the car window while in Penang in 2010. I always try and photograph interesting things, they don't have to be good photos, just enough for me to get the gist of what I saw so I don't forget it. I switched the motorcycle to a scooter, as it seemed to fit the idea a bit better, while still forcing me to draw a mechanical item, which is not my strong suit. I've done a scooter before which made it a bit easier, but I need to make myself draw vehicles and architecture much more. And cats. =P

Currently this sketch is a possible for cleaning up into a full inked illustration. What do you think?

1 hour, 0.5 mechanical pencil with #B lead in a Moleskine A5 sketchbook

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Watercolour: Family Portrait

Here is the finished portrait that I showed a progress shot of the other day, now that it has gone to the commissioner. 

When I was discussing the portraiture options I had on offer – a fully-detailed graphite portrait of five people being out of the Christmas budget – they liked the loose watercolour I had done of Ann Miller, so this is similar. I like to have a number of different options for what I can do, as my graphite portraits take up to 30 hours for one person, which pushes the costs up. This watercolour took somewhere in the region of 13-16 hours, and is put together from five separate photos, all with drastically different lighting conditions. A bit more shadow or dramatic lighting might have been nice, but since the references didn't provide it, I thought it best to stick with something that wasn't likely to completely destroy the likenesses if I got it wrong! 

I used a drinking straw for the splashy background, blowing the paint around. Everything is in Winsor & Newton watercolours on Moleskine A3 watercolour paper, and (apart from the drinking straw) I used Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sneak Peek: Family Portrait

Here's a look at a loose watercolour portrait I'm currently working on finishing up.

I cleared one blackline master book off my desk today, and this is the next thing on the list, to be followed in rapid succession by wedding invitations and a lot more blackline master work. All good, enjoyable work, but I could wish that I hadn't been sick recently, it has really mucked up my schedule and everything's a bit of a rush now! I usually find November unusually busy anyway.

This is a family portrait compiled from five different photographs, all in Winsor and Newton watercolours on Moleskine watercolour paper (cut from an A3 watercolour sketchbook). I've been using Winsor and Newton Series 7 brushes. 

With luck, I can finish it off tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Invitations: Tulip Wedding Reception

Here are the seating plans and place cards I put together to match these invitations:

I did two copies of the seating plan, mounted on silver paper, and made 81 place cards, which meant a lot of cutting, a lot of scoring, a lot of folding and a lot of glueing! 

The seating plan is typeset in Americana BT, which is easy to read and matches the invitations, and the place cards are in Recherche, which did mean that I had to individually manage the glyphs on every one – something that almost certainly won't be noticed, but it adds to the overall feel of the cards when each name is arranged to look as good as possible, instead of relying on just 26 letters. 

The backgrounds were put together in Adobe Photoshop CC, and the type was all done in Adobe InDesign CC. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Illustration: Colours of Nature

Here is the theme illustration I did for the 2013 SmokeFree WA Kelmscott Annual Show. The theme was 'Life on the Land: The Colours of Nature'.
 I provided them with five different concepts, and they chose one this one, a continuation of the 2012 theme of 'Mother Nature'.
This was done in Adobe Illustrator CS6:

Here's a closer look:

I'd put up a colouring page, but my website host appears to be down, so that will have to wait. 

I'm sorry to say that this wasn't an enjoyable assignment, so I was thrilled to see that it struck a chord enough for a kid to enter a lego version of it in the themed lego section. This is by someone called Xavier, isn't it fabulous? (It even won a first!)

Everything was faithfully put in, even the flag and clouds from last year's theme that were vetoed this year. Last year I included a donkey – this year I had planned to include a horse, but it was eventually dropped, so I'm glad to see that there is a horse here too. 

I also demonstrated portraiture and needle felting for one day of the show. (19th October. I know, I'm late with this post) I did about 6 hours all up, over half of which was portraiture, and the rest felting. 

Unbeknownst to me I was coming down with something that completely flattened me for the next week (and ruined my productivity and energy for the following week (and then some) as well) so I hope I didn't unwittingly give it to anyone! I thought I just had a nasty headache caused by the stormy weather (not unusual), and soldiered on. >.<

I'm indebted to my father for these photos (usually he forgets to photograph me =P). That's my mother sitting beside me, doing some knitting, and doing much of the talking for me. I am deaf in one ear and have trouble in large, echoey spaces, much of the time I wasn't even aware if someone was talking to me (when they were standing to my right) with all the surrounding noise and feedback in my hearing aid. 

At times we had quite a crowd, generally there were at least one or two people watching:

And did I ache after that uncomfortable plastic chair and desk!

My portraiture demonstration was Gene Kelly this year. I didn't have time to prepare a new portrait, and found this, barely started, in an abandoned sketchbook. By the end of the day it looked like this:

My reference was a publicity shot from Anchors Aweigh

And about 2 to 2 & 1/2 hours furious felting resulted in a semi-complete duckling:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...