Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Progress: Dormice 2

I should, by rights, be much further along with this.
I was happily working away when my father completely killed the printer, which necessitated taking several hours to try (vainly) to fix it, go and buy a new one, and, of course, set it up. Eww. 

However, we're back up and running now, as evidenced by the fact that I could actually scan this image! =) 

As you can probably see, I build up my paints on the paper, rather than mixing the paints to start with (partially that's because I have a lot of pan paints, which don't really lend themselves to mixing, partially because I don't much like mixing paints, and partly because this way works like coloured pencils, which suits me just fine.) After laying down a lot of base colours (which, to my credit, I did mix =P) for the foliage and nest, I've been working in from the corners, mainly using layers of Sap Green, Burnt Umber and Payne's Grey. 

My dormice really need some whiskers, but they're reserved for the last step. 

PITT artists' pens with Winsor and Newton and Reeves watercolours.  
About 4.5 hours so far, including sketching.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Progress: Dormice

Sketch and colour study for an upcoming painting.
This is in the way of a companion piece to Caravanning – It's the same dimensions (albeit in portrait rather than landscape) and a similar subject, only this time it's dormice, not shrews.

As you can see, my sketches and colour studies are usually pretty scrappy (not like the nice tidy one I did for Fred just recently =P) ; I just want enough to tell me vaguely what I'm doing.

This image wasn't always going to look like this. Yesterday it was a square format image, and I'd got as far as the colour study before I decided that I didn't like the composition much at all:

Something about it just bothered me, so I started again from scratch (barring the sleeping baby mice) today. I especially wasn't happy with mother-dormouse, and the hawthorn was a bit distracting, and a bit spiky. I think switching to an elongated format and blackberries was a move for the better. =)

Sketch is mechanical pencil on layout paper. 
Colour studies were done in Photoshop CS4. 

Monday, March 21, 2011


I actually finished Fred last week, and he was collected on Wednesday – I just haven't got round to posting him until now. 

I'm happy to say the commissioner was very happy with the result; I hope the person this is intended for will like it as much. =) 

I enjoyed doing this portrait – most of it was very relaxing, just colouring in! =P Since my last posting, I finished off the coloured pencil work, and added considerably to the inking. I also added a white spot on colour-Fred's eye; not quite true to the Franz Marc style, but it made him look much more alive. 
The abstract squares were a little challenging, as I've never done anything like them before, but once I worked out what I was doing, I think they worked quite well. I based them on Marc's Piggies (no idea of the date) because they added a bit of the abstract qualities of Marc's later work without being too overpowering of the linework, or being too difficult for me to execute (with a view to the facts that I have never been very good at abstracting things, and I was using coloured pencil, not paint.) 

All things considered, I'm pretty pleased with this. I hope you like it! 

Winsor & Newton and Reeves watercolours and Prismacolour pencils, Carbon Black Atelier waterproof drawing ink on Bristol Board. 

About 23 hours.

Previous Fred Posts:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sketch: Sergeant Jackrum

A follow-on based on my previous sketch of Sergeant Jackrum (From Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment).

This has been on the go for some time – every now and then I'd go back to it and scribble away for five minutes, and I finished it off today waiting for my allergy vaccination at the doctor's surgery. 
I didn't want to define the scenery too much, so it's very scribbly. And I got the shako right this time – the advantages of starting a sketch with resource books and google easily to hand. =)

Click for a larger view!

0.5 mechanical pencil with #B lead in Jasart 'My Memoirs' sketchbook. 
I have no idea how long it took. =P

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sketch: Lady Catherine

A sketch of Lady Catherine DeBurgh from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
I came across a bunch of C E Brock's illustrations for the novel and was hit with a desire to do Austen sketches. Why I then chose to do Lady Catherine, who I feel would not approve of the regency fashions and would not wear them, I know not. Her dress was fun, anyway (c.1780s), and gave me something to do while I was beating my head against brick walls coming up with unrelated concepts for work-art. And yes, her head is too big... but that's apt, right? =P

0.5 mechanical pencil with #B lead in Jasart My Memoirs Sketchbook. 
About 1.5 hours. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sketch: Linda Thorson

Finished the coloured pencil work on Fred today, so rewarded myself with sketching in the evening. Tomorrow, all being well, I'll finish inking Fred, and then that shall be done. =)

Here we have Linda Thorson, as Tara King in The Avengers. I love that show, and recently we got a book (Marcus Hearne's The Avengers: A Celebration) which is just full of gorgeous photos. 
This is from a really tiny one, so it's not the best likeness, but considering I was working from a face that was 1cm in size, I don't think I did too badly. Could be much worse, certainly! I think the main problem is with the eye on (our) left. Ah well, things in sketchbooks aren't meant to be perfect, right?

0.5 mechanical pencil with #B lead in Jasart 'My Memoirs' sketchbook.
About 3 hours while watching tv.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Progress: Fred 2

Moving right along!

Further progress on Fred, who I think is coming along quite nicely.

Winsor & Newton and Reeves watercolours and Prismacolour pencils, Carbon Black Atelier waterproof drawing ink on Bristol Board. 
About 11.25 hours so far.

Previous Fred Posts: 
Franz Marc Studies
Progress 1

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Progress: Fred

This is the project that those Franz Marc studies were for. I'm moving a little more slowly with this than I would like – it just hasn't been my week. I was down with a cold, bounced back for an unexpectedly social weekend, and then went down with a 36 hour migraine. These things I could seriously do without!
However, progress has been made, so I thought I'd post some pics:

Here's the final approved outline-and-colour study. I don't often have such detailed colour studies, but since this is as unfamiliar style, I wanted to get all my experimenting done in Photoshop, and give myself a detailed guide for the final piece.

I chose to put a detailed ink-work portrait of Fred The Horse on the right, as it's not really possible to draw any one specific horse in Franz Marc's style and this is supposed to be a portrait of Fred. I based the pose of the background Fred on one of the horses in Marc's 1911 painting The Large Red Horses, to get a properly Marc-like feel.

For those interested in the hideous-ness of my thumbnails, this was the original concept. 

The Stages So Far:

I removed the colour layers from my study and printed out the linework on two pieces of A4 (after first altering the position of the background horse's legs, which were bothering me) paper to give me a ~35 x 22cm copy to trace, and cut out an appropriately sized piece of Bristol Board.

Traced the outlines using my lightbox, and then refined them.

Completed most of the inking (until I got tired with it, and decided to play around with some colour for a while =P) with Carbon Black Atelier waterproof drawing ink, a small brush, and a dip pen. 

And started adding the first of the colour.

What you see here is a combination of Winsor & Newton and Reeves watercolours and Prismacolour pencils. 

About 7.5 hour so far.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Studies: Franz Marc

A couple of studies in preparation for an upcoming commission. 
The commissioner wants a horse, and would like it to reflect the style of Franz Marc – so practice is needed to emulate Marc's paintings using watercolour. 

These are studies of Horse in a Landscape (1910) and The Large Red Horses (1911)
Click on the image to get it larger, if you want to read my scrawled notes. And yes, I usually leave my studies unfinished. =P 

I've come to the conclusion that using coloured pencil over my watercolours is the way to go – it gives a more solid result which fits better with the style. However, I'll need to do the final on Bristol Board; I used Eraldo di Paolo medium tooth paper for these studies, and it's much too rough to take pencil.

Winsor & Newton watercolours, Prismacolour pencils (on bottom study) 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sketches: Singin' In The Rain

I've been in a musical mood lately, especially nice bright 1950s MGM technicolor ones. 
And here we have two sketches of Gene Kelly and Jean Hagen hamming it up for the silent screen in Singin' In The Rain:

"You rattle-snake, you got that poor kid fired."
"That's not all I'm gonna do if I ever get my hands on her." 

"Tonight, the world is ours, tonight, we are alone." 

0.5 mechanical pencil with #B lead in a Jasart 'My memoirs' sketchbook. 
The first sketch worked better – this is a new sketchbook, and I haven't quite worked out how to make it take darks well yet. =P Also, I was sick while I did the second – it just wasn't a lucky sketch, clearly!


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