Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sketches: Poodle

A very random sketch. I saw a poodle on tv, and started sketching one (with a blissful ignorance of exactly how poodles are clipped, resulting in a poodle that may possibly actually be a whippet disguised in soap suds). And then I had a very poofy poodle all alone in the middle of the page, so I added an owner. Who is hopefully taking her poodle to be clipped into something that reminds me less of a pompom. And then I had blank space, so I added circles. This is the result. =)

I have a feeling I should do something with this sketch, but I have no idea what....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Design: Wren Recipe Book

I designed these two little splendid fairy wrens for a recipe book I put together for my friend Tilly, who's getting married on Saturday. Today was her bridal shower, and I got everyone coming to contribute a few favourite recipes, and typed them up into a book, which I then got bound up.

I chose to do wrens because I did the Wren Wedding Invitations for Tilly, and thought I'd just carry on the theme. 
The male blue wren was part of a blue layout, for savoury recipes, and the brown female wren was part of a pink page, for sweet recipes. And I had one drinks recipe, so put both of them on that, with a purple colour scheme. 

Wrens and page design were done in Adobe Illustrator CS4, and the text was done in Adobe InDesign CS4.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Illustration Process: Ellie's Day

I decided my portfolio was seriously lacking some character development imagery, which was something that really had to be remedied. I've just completed the image, and thought I'd share my progress shots.

I dig out my sketchbook, and started sketching. It started with the sketch of the little girl sitting in the top left. I decided that she was called Ellie, and kept sketching.

I didn't end up using all the sketches (I hated the one with the dog =P) but most of them I scanned into the computer, digitally outlined so that I had clear lines, and did some colour studies:

I knew most of the image would come together once I'd worked out Ellie's costume, so I did a series of different trials to see what worked. She was always blonde in my imagination – I did try other hair colours, but they just didn't seem to work.
I chose the mismatched pink/green/purple, after discussing it with a few people. 

I find digitally outlining images, though tedious, is helpful. It's too easy to fudge a line while I'm sketching, which doesn't become obvious until I start to ink. Using photoshop, I can do a preliminary trace and make sure everything is in the right proportion, and looks okay – and if it isn't, it's easy to fix. 
Also, Photoshop makes pulling all the sketches together into a cohesive composition nice and easy. 
I printed it out on 2 sheets of A4 paper ready for tracing, refined my pencil linework a bit, washed over each vignette with watercolour, inked them with a dip pen and brown ink (I find if I don't want such perfect linework, it helps if I paint first and ink later – I'm less tempted to draw every single line) and then added some shading and texture with coloured pencil. 

To see the finished painting, go here or to my colour portfolio here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Quotes: In The Reign of Terror

Every now and then I get the urge to go all over the top and 18th Century in my pictures. And here we have some of the results. 

These first two were done over a month apart. The heroic couple on the right were very loosely based on a photo of Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, and originally started out being a 40s Noir couple – however, my hand (or something) obviously had other ideas, and they morphed into c.1740s. 

The sketch on the left was done the other night. I had been reading G A Henty's In The Reign of Terror: The Adventures of a Westminster Boy and decided to do some sketching based around bits of it – and chose this blank page because the two would, I thought, suit fairly well together. For my first sketch from this book, I chose the soppy 'declaration of love before we all die' moment. It was a good excuse to be dramatic and draw lots of people, which I tend not to do, and I try and stretch myself in my sketchbooks. No refs, and done pretty quickly.

"We may not succeed; an accident may betray us. At anyrate, dear, we shall live or die together."
"I am content," Jeanne said quietly.
"You know, Jeanne," Harry said, putting his hands on the girl's shoulders, "That I love you; I should never have told you do until I got you home if it hadn't been for this. But though I never said it, you know I love you."

And this quote I chose because it amused me, and I like to sketch from quotes that make me laugh – that way I remember them. This is full of flaws – again, no refs. (except for the clothes. I'm not in the habit of drawing fashions among the poorish during the French Revolution =P)

"Could I not take Victor's place and help you to seize Marat? I am not strong, you know; but I could hold I knife, and tell him I would kill him if he cried out. I don't think I could, you know, but he wouldn't know that."

And now I've done with that book – time to move onto something else, I think. =)

And finally, a dash of colour – a speedpaint I did of a section of the couple above; I was bored. =P

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Illustration: The Minuet

A little watercolour I did of a bunch of mice dancing the minuet. I had been seeing a lot of posts about Brambly Hedge and other mousie things around, and of course I just love mice, so with such things in my mind, mousie sketching was the inevitable result.

This is the sketchbook page that started it off. Two mice in wintery clothes, because I was feeling chilly, and then four mice dancing, based on Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer's painting The Minuet, which is on the cover of my The Regency World of Georgette Heyer which happened to be to hand when I realised that it is all very well deciding to draw a dance, but it helps to know what they look like.

And, for your perusal, an animation of the progression from original sketch to finished product (around 6 and a half hours of work distilled into about 10 seconds. If only it were that fast in real life! =P)
I used pencil and watercolour, and tried to stay away from using the bold outlines and strong colours that I usually use.


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