Saturday, December 31, 2011

Illustration: Dancer

I saw this girl busking in town today, and wrested my father's phone from him so I could snap a few reference photos (my own phone is so old that it doesn't even have colour, let alone a camera =P) and used one of them to do this tonight.
I'm not at all sure what type of dancing she was doing, certainly something Asian, but it was pretty, and she was so gorgeously happy while she was doing it. This is based heavily on one of my photos, but naturally not completely. I wanted a little illustration in my usual watercolour style, not a realistic piece. 

It's quite heavy on the gold paint, so here's a photo as well, to show off the shininess:

Winsor and Newton watercolours, Artline Drawing System Pens, Reeves Gouache in Moleskine Sketchbook, about 2.5/3 hours.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Progress: Wrens on a wire 3

A bit more progress. I've also been pencilling in some texture on the background around the wrens already done, so progress isn't quite as slow as it looks. Two and a half wrens and a butterfly to go, and hopefully I'll get more done in the next few days, when it isn't 40-odd degrees. Weather like this is not only flattening, it also isn't at all good for attempting to use the watercolours until the cooler evenings. >.<

And as a bonus, here is my warm-up painting from tonight. My friend's parents are holidaying in Slovenia, and we're enjoying seeing the photos they upload (and being jealous of all the snow =P). John takes some of the most gorgeous pictures, and I based this on one of them. I did it no justice at all, of course, but I quite like it for what it is; Winsor and Newton watercolours in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook, 30 minutes. 

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Illustration: Trouble

A quick little spot illustration from a small sketch I did on the one morning I spent lazing around in our hotel room and by the pool when we were on holiday in Penang. I like the original sketch, which was tucked into the corner of a page full of gesture sketches of the hotel cat, so spent an hour or so tonight transferring it to my watercolour sketchbook and painting it.

Here's the original sketch:

"Trouble" in Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook with Winsor & Newton watercolours and Artline Drawing System pens. 
Sketch in Jasart 'My Memoirs' sketchbook with #B 0.5 mechanical pencil.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Illustration: Reindeer

Merry Christmas to everyone in a Christmassy frame of mind! And for anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas, just have a generally merry day anyway. =) 

Here's a Christmas picture in a Christmas post. I forget where the idea for this came from, but it popped into my head the other day, and I reprehensibly ran with it, instead of working on wrens. It's the holidays, after all! And I've naughtily stayed up to finish it, when I should be in bed.... but I like the result. I haven't drawn a reindeer for years... probably not since primary school. o.O 

I may go back and touch up a few areas, but for now I'm calling it done.

Winsor and Newton watercolour and Artline Drawing System 0.1 & 0.4 in Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook; about 4 hours, including initial sketch.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Portrait: Tilly & Ashby

A smallish coloured pencil portrait done for my friend's parents as a joint Christmas and 25th Wedding Anniversary present. It's from a truly beautiful photograph my friend Tilly's father took of her and her brother on her wedding day. It wasn't quite as sunny, Tilly was in shadow, and there was very harsh light on Ashby's cheek, so I improvised with the lighting, and I think it came out rather nicely. It's nice to be able to alter what's in the photograph (beautiful though it may be) so that the portrait is different. Some things you can't do with Photoshop. =P 
They opened it before they went on holiday, and seemed to really like it, which always makes me happy. =)

It's a bit looser than some of my other portraits, mainly because although I started several months ago, I didn't have enough time to spend 40+ hours on it. =( It probably took somewhere around 20 hours, perhaps a bit less. 

Prismacolour pencils on bristol board, 18cm diameter. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sketches: Princess & Christmas

A couple of quick digital sketches, just for purposes of fun and relaxation. Playing around with different styles, as well.

I read an article while waiting for my allergy jabs at the doctor's today, in which the writer bemoaned the fact that after starting daycare her daughter relegated Thomas the Tank Engine to the back of the cupboard, and started being obsessed with princesses, which her mother had been trying to avoid. I said to my mother that she could have tried explaining that it's okay to like trains and princesses (I know I certainly did =P) rather than getting upset that a chance remark from a small boy had changed her daughter's tastes so much. 

So then naturally I had to draw a princess driving a train. And lots of pink, to see how I could manage with a limited palette. Pink is not a colour I use a lot of.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 with a custom brush, Wacom Intuos 3

And here's a very rough sketch I did on my father's iPad while watching tv this evening. I don't have a stylus, so this was done with my finger in Sketchbook Pro, which I'm still learning my way around.
This started with no plan at all, I think I've ended up with a character who looks like she belongs in the film White Christmas. =P

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Progress: Wrens on a Wire 2

No, I'm not as slow as it looks, truly! 
In addition to these wrens, I'm working on two posters, a bunch of BLM illustrations due the 20th, and a portrait that should be done by Friday if I can manage it. And somewhere in there I need to put up the Christmas tree and actually get to some shops. o.O 
But I'm busy, and that's a good thing!

So to prevent blog stagnation from lots of private work, here's some progress on the wrens – I am now halfway through; three wrens and one butterfly to go. Plus I want to work some pencil and stuff into the background and make it look a bit more leafy and lush.  

Winsor & Newton watercolours, Reeves Gouache, Chromacryl acrylic and Prismacolour Pencils on watercolour paper. 

Oh! And hello to new watchers! =)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Progress: Wrens on a Wire

Here's some progress shots from a current commission from someone who likes the little wrens I do. These wrens are watercoloured, not digital, which is a bit trickier, and the painting is pretty huge (26" across) but I think it's coming along pretty well:

This is the original concept sketch:

Which was then, after approval, developed into this refined layout. 
I drew all the wrens separately, and compiled the image in Photoshop. (Yes, an extra wren was added, as originally the image was not supposed to be so large =P)

And a fresh colour study:

After that had been approved, and I'd waited a couple of days for the weather to cool down sufficiently to make watercolour washing not a completely idiotic idea, I could start. I'd purchased a large sheet of watercolour paper, and trimmed it to size, and I printed out the layout on several sheets of paper and stuck them together so I could trace it:

And I then did the watercolour wash. Which for some reason, like every wash I ever attempt, did not work. I always end up with blotchy areas that just don't cover properly, no matter what paint, brushes or paper I use. Arrg!

I soaked the whole thing in the bath and then did a new wash over the top, which fixed it up a bit (I did stretch it out on my desk and tape it down, but the darn thing escaped bondage while I was out of the room, so it's a bit wrinkled, too >.<)

And then, since my mother had brought a spatter tool home from school so I could practice before helping with her art, I did some extra salvage work by spattering gouache over the whole thing:

After which the background was much better. Phew!

And now I'm just down to painting wrens and butterflies. Even with a painting this size, most of the work is done with a #1 brush, along with a #00 and even occasional touches with a #000 (for the butterflies), so it's not the fastest of work. Extra work is done with coloured pencils and a touch of gouache.
The wren pictured above is 9cm from beak to wingtip. 

Tomorrow I start on the cuddling wrens. =) 

Covering Books

Yesterday I went into my mother's Year 3 class to help with art. Every now and then she does a fabulous activity day called 'round-and-round-the-classroom' where the kids go from table to table doing subjects in the order of their choice. It gives them some autonomy, and they love it – every two conventional subjects they do (like literacy and number) they can go to a 'fun' activity. It being almost the end of the school year here she wanted some nice covers made for the Memory Books they've been constructing. The kids hear all about me over the course of the year, and wanted me to come in for a day, so I joined them to make sure the art table stayed under control. 

The original activity was to spatter the covers, but we had a small crisis – possibly due to the staticy weather, the acrylic paint (however much watered down or not) refused to spatter, and just dropped on the paper in huge blobs. >.< However, I haven't spent years having various artistic accidents for nothing, and instantly changed the activity to make stars out of the blobs using a matchstick to drag the paint around. 
Later on I found some different paint in the art cupboard, that allowed us to spatter and then add blobs of acrylic to make stars. 

I think they came out fabulously, don't you?

There were six paint colours for the kids to choose from, and I let them do almost everything by themselves, except for putting on the blobs of paint – because year threes, however well behaved they are (and they were gorgeous) can get quite silly with really wet paintbrushes and blobs. =P

After school my friend Tilly (who has been helping out at various schools since finishing her teacher training) and I covered all the books, and we were done! =)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Challenge 4

Made it! It hasn't ticked over to midnight yet, so it's still November, and I'm done with the challenge. It would have been nice to do full-blown illustrations, like some of the other people in the challenge, but I just didn't, alas, have the time. November has been far too busy!

#27: Someone You Love
I love lots of people – my family, my friends. If I'm in a good mood I love practically everyone. =P However, I already have some family and friends in this challenge, and wanted to do something different. But I don't have a fella, so here is a Mystery Man. (Don't think I'm a sad lonely person, I'm quite happy as I am, truly! ^.^) 

#28: Anything You'd Like
Here's the start of a sketch for what will hopefully turn into a small ink-and-watercolour. Inspired by a little girl I saw in Dunsborough – she was rollerskating, and fell over. She didn't cry, she just looked really shocked, with her mouth forming a perfect 0. ^.^

#29: A Place You'd Like To Go
I visited England four times when I was little – once when I was 6, again when I was 7, 9 and 11. I'd love to go again, I really loved it there. I couldn't decide on one specific place in England, so we have a freehand sketchmap of the England, Scotland and Wales. 

#30: A Congrats Banner For Finishing The Challenge

And your bonus sketch for today is an Egypian shadouf that I knocked up extremely quickly for my mother, who has been doing getting-water-in-harsh-environments with her year 3s, and needed a picture that wasn't breaking copyright. 

Clearly it could be much better, but she wanted 24 of them on one A4 page, so I wasn't going to go into much detail. =P This was done freehand in Photoshop CS4. 

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

November Challenge 3

No, I hadn't forgotten the challenge. I just got rather swamped. I was down in Margaret River from Saturday to Tuesday (leaving just before the awful fires, which was fortunate for us. It's so awful to see that so much of the area right around where we were staying is now obliterated. =( ) When I got home I found work waiting for me, and this week I also wrote in our mammoth pile of Christmas cards, which took me quite some time. 

However, without more adieu, we resume the broadcast of the November Challenge: 

#13: Comic
This is based on an incident last week where I'd just washed the dog. For the first time in ages he forgot that he's ancient (16) and rather decrepit and did the classic crazed running round-and-round the house. I was actually playing the piano while he was doing this, and he was running in and out of the room around me, so you can imagine the theme music from The Saint to go with this. 
And after all that he put himself to bed, poor thing. =P 

#14: Favourite Fairytale
Beauty and the Beast, despite the fact that I've now done 3 illustrations for various versions of Cinderella, and two for the Little Mermaid, and none for this one. =P

#15: Family Portrait
Based on a photo taken in Penang earlier this year.

#16: Inspiration
Uh.... everything? 

#17: Favourite Plant
I don't really have a favourite plant, so I went with the orange tree in our back yard, which produces the world's best oranges. 

#18: Just a Doodle
 My ground state of sketching is faces.

#19: Something New
This is a scarf I bought myself recently. It's white with navy stripes and a red trim. 

#20: Something Orange
Voila.... an orange. I am so original. >.<

#21: Something You Want
A personal laser cutter is high on my list. I covet them. 

#22: Something You Miss
My Grandmother, who died in 2006. I knew her the longest and best of all my grandparents.

#23: Something You Need
My sketchbook and basic sketching tools. I carry them pretty much everywhere.

#24: A Couple
A bit of a cheat here; this is a sketch I did about a month ago, and never posted. It's based on some publicity photos in the programme from the WA Ballet's Taming of the Shrew; Bianca and one of the suitors.

#25: Scenery

#26: Something You Don't Like
Spiders! *shudder*

End of broadcast, with four sketches to go!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Illustration: Wedding Card

Here's something I put together for my cousin's wedding, which is tomorrow. I doubt there's any chance she'll be seeing this here, that being the case, so I'm posting it tonight. ^.^ 

My cousin is a graphic designer, and put together a fabulous folded invitation, themed around 'our journey', so I chose to echo the colour scheme of that (which was actually salmon and blue, not mauve), and include suitcases to continue the journey theme. Last I heard the plan was to have a vintage suitcase as the 'wishing well', so I thought it fit. 

She had a very graphic invitation, in that sort of retro-modern style, with 50s fonts and graphic patterns and icons, so I thought I'd attempt retro-modern with the card. I like to tailor cards to the weddings themselves, if possible. Not that this is a duplication of the invitations, by any means, but a nod to what I know of the theme is always nice, I think. It was tricky to be so unrefined with my edges; I'm not used to that! 

Here are some photos of the final product:

Parts of the card have clear embossing powder on them, so they're raised and shiny – not that that comes across too well in the photos. My mother likes me to use glitter, but this really isn't a glitter card, so I compromised. =P

And there's a small motif inside the card as well: 

Adobe Photoshop CS4, with a Wacom Intuos 3. Printed on double-sided Epson Matte Heavyweight paper. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

November Challenge 2

Plus random sketching.

This should have been posted on Sunday, but I was at a concert. I was also out all Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, so there was no blogging time.
However, to continue with the November Challenge hosted by Shealynn:

#7: Favourite Word
I don't really have a favourite word. I like lots of words. So in my mental search for a word that I liked the sound of, the first one that came up was 'spaniel'. I may be a bit odd, but go on, say it. Spaniel. Isn't it a fabulous word?

#8: Favourite Animated Character
Okay, two of them, you can't have one without the other. Bernard and Bianca from Disney's The Rescuers, which has to be my favourite Disney movie. Plus, they're mice! From a screenshot. 

#9: Favourite Tv Show
The Avengers, represented here by Steed's bowler and umbrella. 
For more Avengers on my blog: 
One day I want to do a proper illustration of all the characters, because they're such fun. At the moment that's not happening any time soon though.

#10: Favourite Candy
'Candy' isn't really a word we use in Australia, and I'm not sure if chocolate counts. Not having much of a sweet tooth, I chose Malaysian Kueh Lapis (a steamed layered rice and tapioca flour confection), which I'm currently trying to learn how to make myself. My first attempt was not a complete failure, but did not, alas, look even this good. =P

#11: Turning Point in Your Life
A definite candidate would have to be when I decided I wanted to be an illustrator. Which would have been about year 10. I don't remember the exact moment, though....

#12: Most Recent Accomplishment
I'm going to cheat here, because my most recent accomplishment is finishing Bawang Putih, and I ain't drawin' that again

If this prompt had only been a week or two further down the track it would have been 'finally mastering the theme to The Avengers on the piano'.... but I haven't quite got there yet.

And now for some random sketching:

Practicing children, based on some photos in the latest David Jones catalogue, but simplified down to my style:

And I did some gesture drawing today, and thought I'd share some. I was using the pose videos provided by ClockSketch on Youtube.

These blue ones are one-minute sketches: 

And these pink ones are three-minute ones. 

All done freehand in Uni-ball Eye pens, so no rubbing out (and even if I'd wanted to, I do my gesture stuff in my most vile sketchbook, which clogs up ballpoint pens and coats erasers, the paper is so revolting =P It's great for not being too precious about what I do in it, if nothing else.)

And finally, last night's concert was the music of George Gershwin. Bramwell Tovey conducted and played the piano, and at points was almost completely curled up while playing. Couldn't sketch at the concert, the lights were too low, but I found him playing on YouTube, and quickly sketched this out, to remind myself to take it a bit further some time in the future. 

This time it was a brown Artline, 0.4, in the same horrible sketchbook. 

End of broadcast. =)

Previous Posts: November Challenge 1


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