Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sketch: Spatuletailed Hummingbirds

I was watching the BBC's beautiful Life on tv  – the 'birds' episode, which had beautiful footage of the lovely spatuletailed hummingbirds (Laddigesia Mirabilis). So of course I had to draw one.

I found the footage on the BBC website, so I was able to replay it and see them properly so I could get some down on paper.

The quick sketches on the left were done in pencil, as usual, but the picture on the right was me mucking around with various pens that were lying around in my desk drawer – two COPIC markers that have been hanging around since I had to do greyscale layouts in uni, some ink pens, fineliners, metallic gel pens and highlighters. Good fun. =)
This of course means the colours are not quite accurate – but they're vaguely right. They're a sort of greenish-grey/blue/black/white combination, it's just a bit more earthy than I have here. ^.^

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quotes: Yolanda

I was scrolling through my reference files, in search of a pose (which I didn't find) and came across this picture of Marion Davies in the 1924 film Yolanda.

That, thought I, is a fabulous hat. 
So I decided to use it as a basis for a sketch, and see if I couldn't make it look a bit more dramatic (which I know is something I need to work on).

I was halfway through when I decided to look up the book that the film was based on (Yolanda; Maid of Burgundy by Charles Major, 1905) and see what the actual scene was. 
It was at this point that I realised that a) the girl should technically be kneeling on the ground and b) it would have been more dramatic if I'd done the scene immediately before, when it was our handsome hero on the ground, instead of the villain, and Yolanda casting herself over him to protect him from a blow from a battle-axe (ah, the joys of turn-of-the-century novels with no regard for historical correctness and no compunction at being cheesy! =P

Since I wasn't too happy with how dramatic I made this, I sketched over it in Photoshop in intervals throughout today, and ended up with this:

A bit better, I think.

By the by, it's perfectly acceptable for everyone in the novel to be seized with that amazing blood-lust, as the man on the ground cheated in battle by getting someone off to shoot his opponent. =P 

I hope you can read my writing at this size; if not, and you're curious as to the quote, let me know and I'll add it to this post. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Illustration: Tiana

Whee! Shameless fanart! ^.^

This is my interpretation of Tiana from Disney's The Princess and the Frog. I liked her design in the dream sequences much better than the rest of the movie, plus I wanted to paint all those golden colours. 

This started out as a sketch in my sketchbook, with absolutely no reference, so we're not talking extreme character likeness here. And today I was waiting for some job info to come in (bit hard to create ads without the text =P) and I had a headache, so I amused myself by taking it into Photoshop and painting it up. 

I think we're talking about 5 hours all up, including the sketch. That text took longer to arrive than I was expecting, so I was able to get a bit carried away on what was intended as a speedpaint.

No reference for Tiana herself, but I did take a look at some screenshots to get a general feel for the background. Textures from 

I do not like the fountain. I do like her dress, however; I had fun playing with what was essentially negative space. =)

Tiana is copyright Disney. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Illustration: Lady

I did manage to grab a few hours to paint her up. It is Saturday, after all; I should be able to do something that isn't work!

This was great fun, and I'm pleased with the result – pretty loose, which is something I keep trying to attempt, but am not so good at actually managing. I managed not to get hung up on details tonight. =) 

To save time, I adjusted my sketch in Photoshop, and printed it out on 300gsm watercolour paper (We're using an Epson printer, so the ink doesn't run), so that I didn't have to trace or refine pencil lines or anything. Much quicker. So basically I had a very pleasant colouring-in session.

Winsor & Newton watercolours on a print-out of this original sketch.

Illustration: Mousin' About

Finally got around to replacing my horrible blog banner. =)

I did the original sketch for this some time in late June, and started painting at the same time I did the Bluestocking Firefly Banner, but I only just got round to finishing it this afternoon:


I think it looks much better than the quickly-thrown-together one I had up before. 
This was inked with a brush and Art Spectrum sepia ink, and painted in Winsor & Newton watercolours. The text and the sketches (from my sketchbooks) on the papers were added using Photoshop

And for your amusement, here is an animation of its creation:

Original sketch > Digital Sketch (Photoshop) > Pencil Layout > Colour Study (Photoshop) > Linework > Various Stages of the Painting > Adding Sketches and Text

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sketch: Lady

A fairly mindless sketch, of my default subject of 'people in pretty clothes'. =P I wanted to do something relaxing and fun, and was in the mood to draw a boofy dress.

This is based off a screenshot of Natasha Pyne in the 1967 The Taming of The Shrew, which I happened to be watching. I liked the pose and dress, but made no attempt to capture her likeness (even had I been able to see her face properly in the screenshot) or the scene as it was in the movie – instead of a flirtatious Bianca pretending not to notice her suitors, I drew a more pensive nameless woman, and ditched the suitors and background, and came up with my own setting. She probably isn't even reading Latin any more....

I'd quite like to watercolour this. Maybe I'll snatch some time to do so on the weekend. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Design: Schedule Cover

I recently designed the cover for schedule for the 2010 Kelmscott Annual Show – for the theme of 'Year of Biodiversity'. 
And yesterday I got my hands on a printed copy, which I think turned out pretty well. 

I designed the main image in Adobe Illustrator. There's a bit of a push to 'modernise' the show at the moment, I think, so I tried to keep it clean and modern, and kept colours to a minimum, just adding yellow to the two logo colours of blue and green:

The plants and animals were grouped around the logo (The KAS with the circle below) with the jumping horse inside the circle being an image they've been using since, apparently, 1995. The image had deteriorated badly through repeated copyings, so I got hold of the earliest possible version and vectorised it (which was, I must say, very tedious)

I added a background and text:

And here's the final result:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sketch: Little Dorrit Characters

Phew! I've never done anything with this many characters in before! 
I've been reading Dicken's Little Dorrit aloud to my mother in the evenings (we read a lot of books like that) and Dickens is annoyingly visual, so I wanted to draw some of the characters. 

This started out as just the protagonists – Arthur Clennam and Little Dorrit  – but then I decided that I always draw either solitary or couple pictures, occasionally stretching to 3 or so characters; perhaps I should stretch myself a bit, and add other characters. I may well be mad. 

Click for a larger view, please. 

From left to right, in two rough rows, we have:
In the back:
Tattycoram, Miss Wade, Daniel Doyce, Flora Finching, Mr Casby, Monsieur Rigaud, Edward (Tip) Dorrit, Frederick Dorrit, William (Father of the Marshalsea) Dorrit, Arthur Clennam, Mrs Merdle, Mr Merdle.
In the front:
John Chivery, Mr Panks, Affrey Flintwinch, Jeremiah Flintwintch, Mrs Clennam, Fanny Dorrit, Maggie, Amy (Little) Dorrit, Minnie (Pet) Gowan, Mr Meagles.

This isn't all the characters – try as I would, there just wasn't enough space for the huge cast of a Dicken's novel across two pages of a moleskine sketchbook. 
If you're familiar with the book, you'll know I had to leave out a large number of characters, such as John Baptist, the entire Plornish family, Mrs Meagles, Mr Gowan, Mr Sparkler, Mrs General, Mr F's Aunt..... and probably more that have momentarily slipped my mind.  

Pencil, 26x21cm
Slight personal reference for a couple of poses.
Full of errors, I know, but considering I didn't even plan out what I was doing beforehand, not too bad. =P

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Illustration: The Bluestocking Firefly

A blog banner I did for my friend Makenzi. I was doing a new banner for myself (currently still awaiting completion) and since her birthday was coming up, I thought I'd do one for her at the same time, as her blog was bannerless. 

Her fabulous (but currently far too lonely) blog The Bluestocking Firefly is filled with excerpts from her lovely stories. (Go read them!) Many of them have an historical or olde world flavour, which is why I went with a bookish regency maiden, rather than an earlier concept of a firefly (suitably attired in blue stockings) writing on a scroll of paper. 

Below you see an animated progression of this piece. Stages shown are as follows:

Initial Concept Sketch > Pencil Linework > Digital Colour Study > Linework traced onto Watercolour paper > Painting Stage 1 > Painting Stage 2 > Painting Stage 3 > Finished Painting > Adjustments & Text in Photoshop.

I had a lot of fun painting the dusky light (a lot of Payne's Grey was involved) but although in person it looks dark enough, I adjusted the scan so that the text and firefly glow would stand out more. 

Winsor & Newton watercolours and Adobe Photoshop CS4.
The font used is the lovely Recherche – with additions by me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Design: Stickers

I recently designed some bumper stickers, to go, if I'm not mistaken, on kayaks at the upcoming Avon Descent. My client wanted something based around the banner of the RatherBePaddling website, so I took that as my starting point, and tried to make it look speedier and shinier.   

I got them printed up at CJKing's, who did a fabulous job. They aren't large stickers (21 x 5cm), but I think they're quite striking. And being printed on UV coated vinyl, they should last the distance, I think.

Adobe Illustrator CS4


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