Sunday, February 27, 2011

Portrait: Murray & Lintilla

You may recognise parts of this from an earlier sneak peek. It's been finished for almost two weeks, but it's been at the framers in that time, and I was also waiting until I could give it to the couple, before uploading it anywhere. 

This was my wedding present to two of my lovely friends, who got married in July last year. I said I'd do them a portrait from their favourite wedding photo, and get it framed for them, and this is the result. Aren't they just gorgeous together? =D 

This was based mainly on one photo, which was originally a full-length-and-scenery shot – it was a good choice for a portrait, as it would never have blown up well into a head-and-shoulders photograph, but I could use a number of other shots to make up the details that couldn't be seen in the original photo, and get it as clear as possible. 

This is just slightly under A3 in size, and I used a 0.5 mechanical pencil with a #B lead, an #8B solid graphite pencil, blending stumps, cotton buds, tissues, and kneadable, plastic and electric erasers. 
For more information on my materials, please see this tutorial

Some details:

Tilly's hairpiece:

Embroidery and part of the bouquet:  

Murray's buttonhole (almost entirely made up - one too many hugs from friends and relations meant that the real one had collapsed by the time the photo I was using was taken =P) 

The whole thing took me 46.5 hours (between other work and over a number of weeks). Here's an animated progression so you can see how it came together:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quotes: Monstrous Regiment

Trying to branch out into drawing different sorts of people, and Terry Pratchett's wonderful characters are marvellous for that. So here we have a few from Monstrous Regiment, which is one of my favourites: 

First up we have Lt Blouse
He must have padded it, Polly thought. One cough and it would be over his eyes.
Sgt Jackrum
He was one of those people who didn't have a waist. He had an equator. He had gravity. If he fell over, in any direction, he would rock.
 and the Duchess
It was of a plain, middle-aged woman whose sagging chin and slightly bulging eyes gave the cynical the feeling that someone had put a large fish in a dress. 

And then sketches of Shufti, Tonker, Wazzer, and Maladict
He'd cut a hole in the centre of his old blanket, and the mud and grass stains on the mildewed greyness had turned him into part of the landscape until he'd saluted. He'd also stuck leafy twigs all over his hat.

For Shufti and Tonker I was looking at Mark Simon's Facial Expressions: Babies to Teens, but of course that doesn't contain things like 'crazed vampire' so everything else is without reference (apart from looking at a few 19th century uniforms.
Of all these, I think Jackrum is my favourite. 

And tagging along, for a bit of colour, we have a not-overly-successful digital sketch of Rapunzel. 
I was feeling a little sorry for myself (being jabbed in both arms for allergy desensitisation will do that to you, I find =P) and was playing around in, just for the fun of being able to watch it play back my sketching. As I'd just been looking at Rapunzel fanart on deviantArt, I decided I'd sketch her myself (saved me having to think of a subject).  I didn't have a reference at all, however, so it didn't turn out looking at all like her. I then took a screenshot and moved into Photoshop, where I made her better, but by no means perfect. I spent far too long fiddling, and then decided to call it a day, perfect or not. 

So here she is.   

Monstrous Regiment sketches are mechanical pencil in a Moleskine Sketchbook, and the characters are Copyright Terry and Lyn Pratchett
 Rapunzel is in Photoshop CS5, and is copyright Disney. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ginger Rogers Miniature

I came across this today, and thought I'd better finish it off. I started it when I did the Kathryn Grayson Miniature, but then I got busy and left it unfinished. 
So here we have Ginger Rogers, from a very early 30s publicity shot:

This was done on Bristol Board using a 0.5mm mechanical pencil with a #B lead and two small blending stumps. The reference was from

I can't remember how long I'd spent on it before today, but it can't have been long, as I hadn't got very far. It took me about an hour today, so overall it was probably about 1.5 hours. Not as long as Kathryn Grayson, but also nowhere near as detailed. I don't feel I've quite caught the look in her eyes, but I'm not sure what's missing. Maybe I'll work it out eventually, but for now I'm calling in done. 

Finally, here's a photo to show scale. The whole thing is 5cm in diameter. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Illustration: Caravanning

And here are the finished shrews:

I think they came out rather nicely, myself. 

I'm quite pleased that I managed to do all of this in watercolour, without resorting to the coloured pencils. And that I persevered with all those leaves! =P

I took a few progress shots while I was working, so if you're interested in seeing how it came together, here you are (click to enlarge):

I discovered the fabulous Simon's Cat last night, and when I showed them to my mother, she demanded why I couldn't do animation, and suggested I tried my hand at it. So I opened up Adobe Flash, which I have never used before, and doodled a shrew, on the basis that it was a nice simple shape and I'd done quite a lot of them lately, so it wouldn't be too tricky. 

And here it is. Don't expect Great Art here, I had very little clue what I was doing; I think the last time I actually tried to animate anything was about 15 years ago, in the corners of a notebook. =P That being said, I think this is quite an achievement! ^.^

'Caravanning' done in Winsor and Newton watercolours and a sepia PITT Artists Pen.
The animation completed in Adobe Flash CS4 with a Wacom Intuos 3.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sneak Peek: Shrews

This was supposed to be a little weekend muck-about-with-the-watercolours piece of fun, but I liked how it was coming along so much that I decided to do it properly. The result is that it took a bit longer than planned, but I think I'm finished now. I'm leaving it until tomorrow, however, in case I see something that needs fixing. 

In the meantime, here's a sneak peek:

It's a watercolour (or rather, part of it) of the caravanning shrews from my last post. I liked the sketch so much that I wanted to take it further. I had fun pretending I was illustrating a children's book (one day it shall not be pretend. I shall get there!) and working out ways to draw up-close foliage without overwhelming everything with detail.

PITT Artist Pen in sepia and Winsor & Newton watercolours. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sketches: Shrews

Still working my way through episodes of Coast, I came across a section that had a tiny bit of footage of a field mouse and a water shrew. Usually I only get to see fish and other beachy creatures on Coast, and I'm a sucker for anything small and rodenty, so sketching was obviously required. 
I took a couple of grainy screenshots (these not being discs that are the same region as my computer, this involves photographing the tv, which never results in the best of quality =P) and since I was slacking off in the heat today, sketching is exactly what I did:

We have here three water shrews (the two on the left are from random pictures I found on google), a field mouse and a mole. 

I'd had such fun doing these, and talking them over with a friend tonight, I pulled out one of my old Farthing Wood Friends magazines to look at some more photos, and came across an illustration by Graham Allen (unfortunately I can't find this particular Graham Allen on Google) of a bunch of common shrews out for a walk. Apparently they sometimes all hold onto the back of the shrew in front with their teeth.

So I sketched a family of shrews 'exhibiting caravanning behaviour'. The one at the back had better not be distracted by that skipper butterfly for too long! 

I'd really like to take this further... maybe watercolour would be a good option, what do you think? 

Mechanical Pencil in A5 Moleskine sketchbook. Not sure how long the top sketches took, but the line of shrews took about 45-50 minutes. 


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