Thursday, March 27, 2014

Galileo's Daughter

About ten years ago I listened to Dava Sobel's Galileo's Daughter on audio. I don't remember much of the details, but the idea stuck with me. Midway through last year I worked up a rough sketch on the topic, which sat on my desktop until about a month ago, when I found I had some free time to work on my portfolio. 

Galileo had three children, the eldest of which, Virginia Gamba, corresponded with him from her convent in Arcetri (she and her sister Livia were placed in a convent as Galileo could not afford to raise them or pay their dowries) until her death. There is apparently some evidence that she prepared some of his manuscripts for print, and there are references to his work in her letters, and she appeared to be fairly well educated. The idea that Galileo must have shown her what he was working on seemed to me a nice topic for a portfolio piece, and I plan to do a few vignette illustrations to go with this full-page piece. 

This illustration is set in April 1610, when Virginia was 10. She would enter the convent when she was 13 and take the name Marie Celeste.

Here's a detail of the faces:

And here's an animated gif showing the main stages of my process:

I started off with a rough digital sketch. I used pose mannequins and the perspective rulers in Manga Studio to get the rough basics down, and elaborated on that in Photoshop. I then did a rough tonal study to get an indication of whether or not it would work in black and white. 
I refined my sketch in pencil, and then inked it and added watercolour and black pencil. I converted it to full black and white in Adobe Photoshop CC (it was painted in black and white, but there are variations in the tones of the different paints I used)

Winsor and Newton watercolours, Ecoline liquid watercolour, Copic Opaque White, Pentel brush pen, Prismacolour pencil on Moleskine Watercolour paper. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

iPad: Emma

I was feeling rather low the other day, and thus couldn't think of anything to draw. The DVD case for the 2009 BBC Emma, which we'd recently been watching, was to hand, so I grabbed that for some iPad portraiture practice while watching the tv, and here is the result:

This could definitely stand some touchups in Photoshop, certainly it's got a lot of things wrong with it when you put it side-by-side with the original photo, but I think it does look like Ramola Garai. I'm still getting used to having such a small area to work on, and such a large stylus, which I think is why there are fairly large alterations, such as the tilt of her head. It's possible that one day I might edit it on the computer, but for now I'm calling it done. It is at least a big improvement on previous iPad portraiture attempts, and I put a lot of that down to my being given an Intuos stylus for my birthday, with its wonderful pressure sensitivity. It's awfully hard to go back to no pressure sensitivity when you've had the benefits of it for so many years!

About 5 hours or so, over several days, on an iPad Mini (using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro) with a Wacom Intuos stylus.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Illustrations: Educational Publishing

I've been very busy lately creating blackline master illustrations for ReadyEd publications. Over January and February I did nearly 88 illustrations, most of those in January so the books could be ready for the start of the school year here. Working in Educational Publishing is very interesting, not least because you never know what you might be called upon to draw from one day to the next, although it's often tricky to fit in all of what has to be shown in the one picture. Here's a small selection (the more interesting ones. Several of the books I worked on were on Civics and Citizenship, so I drew a lot of voters and a lot of politicians =P)

A Japanese greeting:

A local Library:

A run-down park:

Fair-Trade coffee:

Grecian Democracy:

A selection of faces (not related):

Pollution in India:

All done in Adobe Photoshop CC with a Wacom Intuos 3.


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