Saturday, January 30, 2016

Castle Invasion

The Colour Collective colour this week was 'viridian'. Obviously a good choice for a fadeaway girl, but I went with something different this week. I don't know why 'viridian' should make me think of medieval dresses and chickens..... but I just went with the flow....

Of course, how can I resist red hair with viridian? It's such a lovely juxtaposition of colours.

I had fun being loose and painterly with this. I've been doing a lot of solid, precise, black and white linework over the past two months so I didn't really feel like being precise for this as well. I rather overworked her face, which I struggled to get right, so I should probably go back in and tighten everything else up as well to match, but for now, this is it. (I might have tightened everything up anyway, were it not for the fact that I was squeezing a few hours away from work, an equally small number of hours before the CC deadline

You never know but that I may eventually turn this into a portfolio piece though.... it has potential (probably better potential if I up the number of chickens, what do you think? Would it be better with chickens everywhere?)

Here's the original sketch. Somewhere along the line I flipped the image round and decided I like it that way. 

Adobe Photoshop CC2015 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2.
Somewhere between 4 and 5 hours in total.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ah, the Moon is Here

Colour Collective has started back up on Twitter. I'm currently flattened by the January rush, but I couldn't miss out on the first one, so I squeezed in a quick little fadeaway girl. 

This week the colour was Rose Quartz and I chose an esoteric little song from 1933's Footlight Parade - one of my favourite movies. It doesn't get a big production number, and they don't even sing the whole song, but Dick Powell (who sang it in the film) recorded it fully to coincide with the film. The song was written by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal.

Ah, the moon is here
Ah, and we are here
Love is off to a beautiful start
I'm sitting pretty
You're by my side
I'm well supplied
Plenty of you
Plenty to do

Ah, it feels so grand
When I hold your hand
There's a hop, skip and jump in my heart
What is this funny thing I can't get too much of?
Ah, I've got a feeling it's love

Here we are at last
With the day fading fast
Like a boy and a girl in a storybook
Here we are alone
In a world of our own
Like a pair in a love song sweet

Here's the note, dear
As in the song and book, dear
Take a look, dear
The picture is complete

Ah, it feels so grand
When I hold your hand
There's a hop, skip and jump in my heart
What is this funny thing I can't get too much of?
Ah, I've got a feeling it's love

Here's Dick Powell singing it:

I went with a 1930s beach-pyjama look, because who doesn't love beach pyjamas?
There are so many things wrong with this that it's not funny, but overall I like it - eventually, when I have some Spare Time (I know, I should be on the comedy circuit, I'd have them rolling in the aisles with lines like that =P) I'd like to take my favourite fadeaway girls and spend a decent amount of time making them all really nice. Most of them are pretty rough and ready. 

Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2
2 hours (i.e. Totally not enough time)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Meet the CC Artist

While Colour Collective has been on a holiday break, it was suggested that everyone do a Meet the CC Artist submission - and here is mine:

I decided to do two versions of myself - one for summer and one for winter, because in summer I am almost always to be found in huge 50s skirts and in winter I am 100% guaranteed to be in a chunky winter knit, probably from a vintage pattern, because my mother is a fabulous and generous knitter. 

That quilt over my chair (a high drafting chair because I am short in the body and need the extra height) was also made by my mother. In theory it is to wrap over my legs when I'm cold, but as it is made up of squares of leftover 100% wool fabric, it is also fabulous for eliminating the static shocks you get from sliding off a foam-filled, polyester-covered, plastic chair. And it's bright and cheery too, I love it. 

Yes, I am deaf in one ear. Not totally deaf, but the hearing quality is reduced drastically as well. I was born deaf, and have worn a hearing aid when out and about since I was 15. But it accounts for my general what on earth is going on? default state. (No, I can't 'just listen harder'.) Wearing a hearing aid also means I am paranoid about it raining on me when I haven't got a hat or umbrella, and can't bring myself to lean out over bodies of water in case it leaps out, like a contact lens magnetically attracted to soup. It does mean I have a legitimate reason to collect pretty hats, though, so I suppose it's a win overall.... 

I love to have my nails painted - it's my Wednesday downtime, while watching comedy on tv. A legitimate reason to do nothing at all with my hands while the polish dries, and for someone who spends all day drawing/felting/playing piano/typing a bit of downtime for the hands is nice! A lot of people use the fact that I have nailart as a reason to tell me to 'get a job' - clearly I have too much time on my hands... but in reality, an hour a week for a hobby I enjoy is not excessive! 

I do play the piano, and have done so since I was eight. I'm not particularly musical, I never did exams and I'll never rise to concert-pianist heights - but I don't want to, so that's just fine! Piano has always been a nice hobby for me, without the stress of exams. I learn whatever pieces I feel like, and often play quite complex music, often from the 30s. Currently I am playing The Merry-Go-Round of Life from Howl's Moving Castle, Daddy-O (I'm Going to Teach You Some Blues), Remember My Forgotten Man, My Foolish Heart and It Could Happen To You, which is a nice mix of various styles. I often decide I want to play a particular piece that I've heard in a movie, and have to track it down through old sheet music sellers, like a particularly persevering sniffer-dog. I did that with Daddy-O and also with another favourite, Shanghai Lil. In general I take a bit of time out of every day to practice, although I don't always manage it. 

I'm pleased to see that my 'Loves' list is much bigger than my 'Hates'. Technically I have a number of hates (such as people who don't indicate and nearly run me over while I'm walking the dog. And people who drive up behind me while I'm walking on the footpath. And people who yell abuse at me for no reason other than that I'm walking past), but they pretty much all come under the umbrella category of 'Nastiness'. It's not the individual things I hate so much as the overarching lack of kindness and respect. I could have included a lot more 'Loves', but I thought it might be getting a bit excessive....

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Little Red Riding Hood

Here's an illustration I did last November, but have only just got around to posting, because things got busy. I did it for the SCBWI Tomie De Paola Award (I didn't place, but I wasn't expecting to. But you've got to be in it to win it, and anyway, it gave me something for my portfolio and an excuse to paint!). The brief was to draw Little Red Riding Hood 'as if he was meeting her for the first time', to have a unique visualisation of the character without being too 'designed' and without copying the images that are already out there. We were also given text (up to the point where she first meets the wolf) from Phillip Pullman's Fairy Tales From the Brother's Grimm – which rather precluded setting the story somewhere exotic, or anything like that, which was a pity, as I enjoy doing that. 

So I went back to the roots of the story, which has been traced back to 10th Century French peasants, and set it somewhere in the 10th to 12th centuries. The line I chose to illustrate was 

"Her grandmother, who loved her more than anyone, made her a little cap of red velvet that suited her so well that she wanted to wear it all the time." 

I thought it would be nice to show the relationship between Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother, as often she doesn't really feature in the story. I wanted to give a glimpse of their lives through the details in the illustration, and decided that the grandmother created fine fabrics for the nobility, thus solving the problem of what a peasant is doing with red velvet. I researched medieval peasant cottages, looms and spindles so that I could cram as much in as I could. I really wanted to put chickens in as well, but thought it might be too busy if I did. 

Here's a progress animation showing the stages I went through:

I started with a digital sketch, which obviously went through a few hideous and messy stages before I ended up with the clean linework shown here. I then did a digital colour study. I like to do my colour studies before I start the traditional linework so that I can check that everything looks okay. I then inked the linework over a lightbox, using a brush and sepia ink. After that it was time to paint, and finally I scanned it in and did a bit of digital adjustment to enhance the lighting and generally clean it up. 

Winsor and Newton watercolours and FW Artists' Acrylic in Burnt Umber on Moleskine watercolour paper with Winsor and Newton Series 7 brushes. About 25 hours. 


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