Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Needle Felting: Mouse

I find needle felting to be very cathartic – I'm not allowed to stab people, however infuriating they may be, but I am allowed to stab wool, and it releases a lot of tension. =P I started this little mouse for that very reason. I already had a teddybear well underway, but after some clients metaphorically pulled the rug out from under me and slapped my face, I was too grumpy to do fine-detail work, and started on a nice solid shape that I could basically attack without inhibitions. 

And I quite like the result (and I'm a lot calmer! =P):

I was using some mystery wool, probably merino. My mother grew up on a farm and sometime in the 80s her father gave her some unwashed wool straight off various sheep, so she could see which were good for spinning. That.... didn't happen, and most of it is still sitting there, still very much unwashed, but we've been washing and combing bits of it so I can use it for felting. 
The pink, however, is definitely merino. And it was probably bought in the 80s too... 

The whiskers are made of monofilament (invisible quilting thread) which I think works very well!

Here are some more shots:

I think it took about 10-12 hours, over about a week and a half (but I was doing it while watching tv and it's not actually possible to felt and watch tv at precisely the same time). A lot of that time was fiddly paws and tail; the photos don't really show it, but there are individual toes on all the feet. 

Merino wool, 'fine' and 'coarse' felting needles, black plastic beads and monofilament. No armature. 

For more needle felting, there's a label to your right >

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Portrait: Horseriding

Here's a portrait I completed a while ago for a lady who does riding competitions. She provided the photo and I drew from that, removing the background so they stood out more. 

Here's a detail of the horse:

Here's an animation of the various progress scans I made as I was working. It took 24.5 hours all up:

You may notice her face change on the very last stage – I sent along a scan of the finished piece to check that nothing needed to be changed, and my client realised that the photo she had sent me wasn't actually a good likeness at all, and sent me another photo so that I could adjust her face.

For this portrait I used a #B mechanical pencil and an #8B solid graphite pencil, along with various blending tools and erasers. For more information on my portraiture materials, you can look at my tutorial on the subject.

Previously posted:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Illustration: Fairy

This is a submission requested by a publisher. I didn't get the job (story of my life) but I do like how she looks. It was requested that I do a cover from a sketch they sent, which is why there is a little girl up the top. The whole process was rather rushed, as I was asked for the sample mid Tuesday, for Thursday morning. And I managed to finish off the job I was doing before I started, as well. =) 

The first version I did in watercolour (with some sparkles added in Photoshop), but as it didn't sound as though they were particularly enamoured of the medium (they said they 'didn't mind watercolour if it wasn't too pastel'), I also did another version digitally, using the lineart I'd scanned before I started painting. I don't usually like to have such shiny digital work, but looking at other things the publisher had produced I thought it was the best way to go.

Since I could only show half of the fairy in the final artwork, I also sent along a the sketch I did when working out the basic look:

I may clean that sketch up and colour it for my portfolio, I quite like her....

I hadn't drawn a fairy in something like 10 years, and I'm pleased to see that they've at least got more graceful since then. I remember drawing a fairy when I was about 8, in an after-school art group, which the art teacher and my mother dubbed 'The Pragmatic Fairy'. I think I've at least escaped that moniker here! 

Altogether (initial sketching, draft, colour study, linework, watercolour and digital) about 13 hours. 
I used Artline Drawing System pens for the linework, Winsor & Newton watercolours for the painting, and Adobe Photoshop CS6 with a Wacom Intuos 3 for everything else.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Design: It Girl

Here's a mock book cover I've put together for my portfolio: Fictional book, fictional author, fictional character. 

Here's a closer look at Cecily:

I put all this together in Illustrator, playing around with using outlines in my vector work, which I do't usually do. I quite like the effect. 
The "Publisher" is the one I used to use when putting together booklets for school projects – named after a pet mouse I had when I was 12. I gave it a new logo for the purposes of this cover, but kept the original name. 

I started out with a sketch I drew while watching The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, which is where the idea for YA detective lit came from when I decided to turn it into a cover instead of a stand-alone image.

Adobe Illustrator CS6. Not sure how long. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Needle Felting: Wrens & Rabbits

My second needle felting project was a little wren-like bird, that definitely being a form I'm familiar with. I'm trying to try at least one new thing with every new item I felt, and this project experimented with attaching polymer clay items (the beak and feet are both stitched and glued on), basic wire armature (in the tail) and creating a base from plain wool rather than building the whole thing from coloured wools. There are things I'd do differently next time, but this is all about learning what I'm doing. 

For the purposes of this photoshoot the wren is sitting on some blutac - there's a brooch fastening stitched into its base so that it can be attached to a shoulder, which means that while sitting down it's got a list to one side. If I made another I'd make an indent in the bottom of the wren to house the clasp. Previous to the clasp being attached it sat very straight and stable indeed. 

As a very quick project, it being the Easter Weekend by the time I'd finished the wren, I made a little rabbit brooch (experimenting with making a flat-based object)

Dyed and undyed merino wool with fine and coarse needles (no, they didn't come with any numbers). Black beads, black Sculpey, copper wire, lace and brooch clasps. 

I think the wren took about 4-6 hours and the brooch about 1.5 all up. 

Like wrens?

Previous Needle Felting:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Illustration: Saskia

Anyone looking at my blog might think I've been being rather lazy – quite the opposite is true, in fact, I've been very busy, but I don't really have anything I can blog at the moment. 

So here's a little picture I did about a month or so back, of my friend's D&D Character, Saskia, from a French-Revolution-Esque scenario. She's a Bard, and dances, and is a bit of a rebel, but comes from a wealthy family. So, not actually going for historical accuracy here, just a general 1790s flavour. 

I did an initial sketch with my friend sitting beside me, and then spent a few days turning it into a more refined painting 15 or so minutes at a time, either as a warm-up exercise or a reward for doing something boring.  

Photoshop CS6 with a Wacom Intuos 3.
Probably about 4 hours or so.
No references except for the jewellery. Frame from cgtextures.com, lace pattern from an ancient crochet pattern I found somewhere.


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