Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sketch: Annette Andre

Having spent pretty much all day alternately typing and playing the piano, I really needed to do something that didn't involve fingers and keys before bed. 
Here's the result, a 1.5 hour sketch of actress Annette Andre, from a screenshot from "The Saint Steps In", from season two of The Saint.

It's not perfect, by any means, but it does look like her, so it's not a failure either. I usually grid-to-enlarge my proper portraits (and spend a huge amount of time on them to boot) so I can get some wonky results when just sketching. =P 

1.5 hours in a Jasart 'My Memoirs' sketchbook, with a 0.5 mechanical pencil, #B lead.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Illustration: More Christmas cards

Here we have another Christmas card design – for a client this time. (Yes, it's rather early, but they do recommend that international Christmas mail be sent by the end of October) 
I was given absolute free reign as to the design itself, so since I have some splendid fairy wrens to do shortly, I thought I'd practice plump birds by putting a scarlet robin (native to south western and south eastern Australia) on the cards.

Here's the original sketch. This is heavily influenced by the fairy wrens I did on some wedding invitations last year, as I like the way the flat black branches contrast the fat little birds.  

It came out looking quite Japanese in style, so I added a faint fan pattern behind, using a texture from here. I'm not quite sure if I like the effect; I may remove it later. 
When I turn these into cards there will be gold glitter on the bands of the bauble (hence my deciding to preserve my sanity a little by simplifying the bauble design =P)

Adobe Photoshop CS4 with a Wacom Intuos 3, somewhere in the region of three to three and a half hours.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sketch: The Taming of the Shrew

Yesterday we went to a matinee of the WA Ballet's Taming of the Shrew, which was great fun. Shrew ties with Much Ado About Nothing as my favourite Shakespeare play (I don't go for tragedy much =P) and although there were of necessity plot changes to allow the story to flow freely without words, the ballet did retain the spirit of the original. When we came home we rewatched Kiss Me, Kate, and having already refreshed our memory of the play with the 1980 BBC version of the play with John Cleese earlier in the week, the characters were naturally in my mind.

So I splashed around with the paint a bit, trying to be much more loose and less precious, which was a nice change after so many hours in Adobe Illustrator earlier in the week.

This started with a pencil sketch, which I didn't even clean up before sloshing the paint over it. Once it was dry and went over it with a Uni-Ball Eye Needlepoint pen in as sketchy a manner as I could manage. 
The costumes are not entirely accurate, as I couldn't be bothered researching Italian costume of the early 16th century – so I went with German fashions, which were to hand in one of my books. 

Winsor and Newton Watercolours with Uni-Ball Eye 0.5 in Black, in Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Illustration: Mother Nature

Client work, for the Kelmscott Agricultural Society.

The Society's 2012 theme is 'Life on the Land: Mother Nature'. I've done several themes for them before, but never this early; the illustration was needed for inclusion in an ad featured in a year-long tourism publication that is to be released next month. I'll probably do a few tweaks before this is used in the rest of the Society publicity next year, but the deadline was short, so for now it's done.

This is the original concept (I did five) but it was requested that I change the globe to animals and farm produce. Given the short deadline, this was a bit of a struggle, but I think it came out all right. I quite like the ducks.

Given that this has to be used in a large variety of applications, I did it in Adobe Illustrator. This is the outline map, and a detail of Mother Nature herself.


Adobe Illustrator CS4, 20.5 hours.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Illustration: At the Window

Finished this off yesterday, and I think it came out pretty well. =)

I still yearn for a watercolour paper that works for me properly, without randomly not letting the paint (especially my favourite payne's grey) cover it, or drying unevenly, but nothing too major happened here (despite large quantities of payne's grey =P).

And now I can forget about Christmas cards for a while again. I think one makes for a nice change – I haven't done a blue card for years, they've all been dominated by red.

0.1 Artline Drawing System fineliner, Winsor and Newton watercolours.
Previous post: 2011 Christmas Cards 1

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2011 Christmas Cards 1

Since I've a bit of time while waiting for clients to work out what they want, I'm starting this year's Christmas cards. If I don't do the family Christmas cards, they just don't get sent – so any time after June I start thinking about them, since I never know when I might be swamped with work – and knowing my luck, that will be right when I need to work on the Christmas cards. Last year I had the card design done by July, and put them together in my next block of free time, in November. So this year I'm actually running a bit late! =P

Originally I intended to do a third musical angel design (you can see the previous two here) but I have decided to be lazy and work from an already done sketch.

This is the final colour study, preparatory to painting tomorrow:

Here's the original sketch, done in January, when it was so hot (on that particular day the minimum didn't even drop below 25C), and I just wanted to think of snow. 
 I liked it, so it languished on my desktop for months, until I decided that it could work well on a Christmas card, and did a pencil version:

And then I inked it. It's annoying, but you never get quite the same expression on characters when you ink. I could have varied my line weights a bit more, but I'm planning on fairly flat, slightly Deco colouring; They won't be big cards, I don't want something overpowering for such a small space. Once the paint is on I'll touch up the lines that need thickening.

Tomorrow the plan is to paint it (unless the clients make up their minds in the meantime).

Monday, September 5, 2011

Illustration: Wonder

This was a commission for my Great Aunt. She lives in a nursing home in a country town, and was brought an enormous Mr Lincoln rose – a small boy was completely amazed by it, and she was very taken by his expression. So she wanted two pictures, identical (which makes one feel rather as though one is regarded as a Xerox machine). I think one is to go to the boy's mother, and the other to his grandmother. 

However, there was a slight problem: I have never seen this little boy, I had no reference photo, and only the information that he was about three, sturdy, and blond. In addition, while I can render a photo very accurately, my illustration style is completely different, and who knows if the recipients will appreciate such pictures – of a small boy that probably looks nothing like the one in question? His expression is probably nothing like the original either, but I'm afraid I can't help that. 
But one does not argue with 92 year old ladies. 

So here we have the two images, as close to identical as I can get them.

I actually ended up doing two and a half pictures – I was halfway through painting the first one when I realised that I'd given him five fingers. Arrg! I'd never done that before, and no one picked up on it when I was begging to be told if the sketch looked okay – so I just had to start all over.

The rose was painted in Ecoline, which never scans at all well. Here's a photo which shows the nuances of colour slightly more effectively.

Artline Drawing System pens (0.1 and 0.4), Winsor and Newton watercolours, Ecoline liquid watercolours, Prismacolour pencils.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sketch: Dr Who in a Tux

Watching the Dr Who episode 'Let's Kill Hitler' last night, the Doctor appeared in a tuxedo. Now, I watch so many 30s movies that a tux is likely to make me go slightly weak at the knees. We don't see enough of them these days. =P Matt Smith is so gangly that I was reminded of Fred Astaire, and whipped this up. 
Doctor 11 and his sonic cane: 

This is in no way marvellous, but I had such fun doing it, so I don't mind the mistakes too much. The pose is inspired (although no longer bears much resemblance to) Fred Astaire's 'I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan' in The Bandwagon.

Here's the original sketch, done while watching Silent Witness

Original sketch in Jasart 'My Memoirs' sketchbook with a 0.5 mechanical pencil with #B lead. Colour done in Photoshop CS4 with a Wacom Intuos 3.

Dr Who is copyright the BBC. This picture is copyright Alison Mutton.


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