Spoopy

Spoopy” is an Internet slang word used to describe something that is comical and spooky at the same time. Originally seen on a photograph of a misspelled Halloween sign (source: Wikipedia)

Not sure if all of my Drawlloween submissions come under that but I like the word and that cute sort of humour, so spoopy it is. I guess disaster might be a good descriptive word for some of them – weirdly most of the ones I hated were the most popular. Pity points? Maybe?

My favourites and potential redraws are the Little Witches, the Spider Bride (bottom of this entry),  Plague Doctor and Crypt Creep. I learned that the Windsor and Newton ink I used is a little like water colour in application and a bit of water will keep it wet for longer leaving you ample time to make an absolute mess of it before it dries in to rancid streaks of bleak. Happily you can add another layer and pray it masks all that heartache or develops into an accidental masterpiece.

 

I did learn to like the fineliners, a little. The very fine pens (my finest being 0.05) aren’t too much trouble and I used mine as I would a pencil – working out the details and lines, and lightly adding fine marks to build up the lights and the darks. I also realised that, though it may be frowned upon by some, lightly drawing out your piece in pencil will actually help build confidence as it prevents mistakes and despair. I simply drew my idea, erased my mistakes and worked away until I was happy. I rolled a putty eraser over the pencil work to make it even lighter (and pick up any graphite dust) and then drew over the work with my pen. I realised that I could actually use the pen and come away with a decent line drawing – all ready and waiting for pen marks to create the form, shadows and little details. Maybe even mess it up! But at least it had a fighting chance.

 

Drawlloween31_edited-3

Days 1 to 16

Drawlloween31_edited-4

Days 17 to 31

Bibliography and Inspiration

A lot of inspiration was found in fellow Drawlloweeners and spooky movies.

My slowly growing Spectrum book collection – Spectrum 24 is out this month!!!

Music

I have pretty much spent the entire month listening to Deftones. I recommend ‘Rosemary’ – its subject matter is very sci-fi, and ‘Tempest’.

 

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Endangered Animals

Art work for Endangered Species

I have participated in Twitters Animal Alphabets community for a year now and its been so rewarding! Its also been a little heartbreaking this time round.  The latest prompts were all about endangered species, a joy to draw but so sad to find so many amazing creatures that are at risk because of the human impact on habitats and animal population.

It finished a few weeks ago and this is the complete collection.

First 16 AA2Template Last 10 AA2_edited-1

I managed to make every single one and learned a lot on the way. Both on creative techniques and, sadly, on the horrors people inflict on animals.

The illustrations can be viewed individually here.

The next round will be about monster movie/book characters! A more palatable kind of horror,  I have to say, and I’m excited to have spent a whole month practicing! I took part in Drawlloween/inktober. So exhausting and so worthwhile. I’ll update my journal with the collection (and what I learned) shortly. Even the really bad ones. I don’t care – 31 drawings in 31 days is immense and I seriously don’t think I can expect to be happy with every single one.

In the meantime: Animals. I’ve singled these two drawings out as the numbat was my absolute favourite to draw, and the cranes were made at the request of Animal Alphabets to use as the reference art for week W (I’m so proud!).

 

I’ve included my inspiration, books and music below but it was over such a long period of time its all I can remember!

Bibliography and Inspiration

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Terryl Whitlach

I would really like to own all her books but for now I am pinning and following on Instagram:

Bobby Rebholz

I also follow on Instagram, and pinned:

 

Music I listened to

The Raveonettes

Queen of the Damned Soundtrack

My Chemical Romance

As I Lay Dying

Nine Inch Nails

 

 

Funeral Pyrate and the Animaloonies

I have joined in with another drawing collective on Twitter. It seemed the perfect opportunity to get Funeral Pyrate out of the house. Each month a different animal is chosen to be inflated like a balloon. Its pure silliness and a lot of fun!
I am grouping all of my balloons together. Each month I will add the new balloon.

Eventually Funeral Pyrate will fly!

Animaloon gopher

Funral Pyrate and his balloons

 

So far we have done a cat, a dog, a sloth and a gopher. I will re work this design at some point and make it with watercolour, for fun/practice. I have to say it though, my heart has been stolen by the Polychromos pencils. Perhaps the two can be a team!

 

Bibliography and inspiration

Sci-Fi Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Anatomy for Fantasy Artists – An essential guide to creating action figures and fantastical forms, Fabry, G., and Cormack, B., David and Charles Publishers, 2006.

Animaloon Collective – @animaloonies

Music I listened to

Logan Soundtrack

Warm Bodies soundtrack

Interpol – The Undoing, Always Malaise, etc

The Endangered

First 9

I have completed the first nine animals for the endangered species Animal Alphabets project on Twitter. It’s really keeping me on my toes, as I have a mountain of other things to do and to learn. I’ve got to say it; we are very bad for the planet and its inhabitants. Every animal I have researched for this so far is dying because of us. Every single one!  I am sharing all the reasons on my creatures page and on Instagram so I can explain this in my own way.  It’s a great project though, an eye opener – but it is also very, very sad.

As for the illustrations, I have leapt out of my comfort zone and made a lot of these works with watercolours. I think I am gaining confidence and that only comes with practice! I wish I could post some of the other watercolour illustrations I am working on right now but this work is for the two children’s books that are keeping me so busy, so I must keep that under my beanie for now.

I think the key thing I have realised recently is that as well as putting the time in to develop you must have decent tools. There has been a sort of artistic cull spurned on by the acquisition of three good quality paint brushes and two artist quality tubes of paint. Five items. And they put the rest of my materials to shame.

Bibliography and Inspiration

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Terryl Whitlach

I would like her books so much but for now I am pinning on Pinterest and following on her on Instagram.

Bobby Rebholz

I also follow on Instagram, and pinned a board on Pinterest.

All of my Pinterest inspiration.

 

Music I listened to

The Raveonettes

Queen of the Damned Soundtrack

My Chemical Romance

As I Lay Dying

Protector

Mermaid Protector

Protector ~ she protects the dugongs and manatees; only feeding on seagrass and the souls of those who harm the seagrass meadows.

She is based on my recent drawings of dugongs for Animal Alphabets (Twitter).

Inspired by a fun mermaid challenge during  May on social media this month, because its May. And why not? The challenge is to make a mermaid piece every day and hashtag it ‘#mermay’  so you can share it with the  world (on Instagram and Twitter). I have failed miserably since I have only managed one so far but I got to practice my watercolour painting  and that’s pretty important. I might do another, who knows. The “problem” is I have got a lot of work on right now – my own project – Funeral Pyrate, and two book commissions (yay!) which I am pretty excited about!   I feel incredibly busy right now and my blog is suffering as usual, but my watercolour practice is not – I have found some brushes that suit me and I’m slowly investing in some good paint (Windsor and Newton Professional/Artist quality) both of  which has made a massive difference to my results and enjoyment. It turns out cheaper paint is actually quite hard to manipulate compared to the better quality stuff. I still have a lot to learn but my confidence is slowly building with this gorgeous, unpredictable medium and I will continue to use it every day to make sure I improve.

Bibliography and Inspiration

The Art of Loish, A Look Behind the Scenes, Lois Van Baarle , 3DPublishing, 2016

ImagineFX

Instagram

Twitter

Pinterest

 

Music I listened to

Turbo Kid Soundtrack (I am obsessed)

The Birthday Massacre (still obsessed)

Miss May I – Monument

 

 

 

 

26 Fairytales later

It is a proud moment when you complete a drawing challenge! This has been a lot of fun and I think I have learned a lot from it – not only in creating characters and settings but also in meeting a weekly deadline on top of all the other projects I am working on.

26 weeks later – the next round will be about endangered animals. Challenge accepted! I will continue to collect them on my page dedicated to creatures.

Bibliography and Inspiration

This was over a long period so it covers a lot of reading and research – I usually use at least 2 or 3 of my books for reference and inspiration for each drawing. So. Pretty much all of this.

Music I listened to.

I always listen to music when I draw. Again, this was over a long period and I have probably forgotten a lot of it but I can safely say it was:

Mozart – Requiem

The Birthday Massacre – especially Superstition

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Westworld Soundtrack

Echo and the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain

The Devil Wears Prada – Space EP

Interpol

Turbo Kid Soundtrack

 

 

Vasilisa the Fair

This illustration pretty much demanded some kind of paint – I tried in vain to make a night time scene with coloured pencil. What a stupid idea, that was! It just ended up looking so dull and messy – I think its possibly problem with the polychromos as they are not very blendable but I’m not really sure that if I owned a coveted tin of prismacolour I could have achieved the shiny brightness I had in mind –perhaps on a large scale that’s a big ask for a coloured pencil. But since I don’t have those pencils to test that theory I was forced to turn to the watercolours.

I am glad I did because even though lots of the expected watercolour problems did occur (e.g mud and cauliflowers blooms) I seem to have learned to either welcome them or fix them. Patience is the most important thing but knowing a little about how watercolour behaves on the paper is also very useful. I think what annoys me those most is the tests I make before I commit often looks better than the piece. And I always use the same paper for the test – always! Vasilisa the no fair!

I guess small tests don’t always help predict the larger outcome but one positive is that my tests used to look pretty bad and now most often they look pretty good. It’s perhaps these little things that show progress with watercolours will be made. Even if it is slow. Which is sort of my fault as I should spend more time on it than I do; watercolour paper is expensive!

Bibliography and Inspiration

www.artistdaily.com

Dreamscapes Fantasy World, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Impact Books, Cincinnati,Ohio, 2014.

500 Manga Villains and Heroes, Yishan Studio, 2010

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasilisa_the_Beautiful

Music I listened to

The Raveonettes – Pretty in Black

The Birthday Massacre

Funeral Pyrate

funeral-pyrate-and-bartholomew-grim

Funeral Pyrate and Bartholomew Grim

I have a personal project on the go – loads to do but I have produced some initial drawings and I have a plan, so I figure why not blog about it and share his adventures with the one or two people who bother reading this nonsense.

He is called Funeral Pyrate and he is a strange one. Initially my idea was to use the poor guy as a drawing tool – a way of practicing poses, textures and scenarios – to help me improve and to make it fun.

Because I am self-taught I constantly look for interesting ways to explore ideas and techniques. I decided to create strange people to move around the strange world we live in, and dream about. Funeral Pyrate is the main protagonist who I originally conjured up to assist me with depicting different adventures from dreams and the imagination, and from everyday life.

But I got this really cool book called “How to Draw Sci-fi utopias and distopias” by Prentis Rollins, and it occurred to me that I could use this book alongside Funeral Pyrate and work on my environments at the same time. I think it might be fun to tell this story in pictures. I have drawn out a few pieces – exploring his appearance and personality – and some of that has changed from my initial idea already – just from redraws and daydreaming. I have a picture in my head right now – of Funeral Pyrate and his recently rescued (read ‘dug up’) pals carrying their belongings, heading towards a cityscape, under a dark sky.

More drawings for funeral pyrate

Bibliography and Inspiration

Martin, Justin.,  Poses for Artists, Vol. 1 and 2,  Eagel Ink Factory, Justin Martin, 2016.

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Sketching from the Imagination: Sci Fi, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015

500 Manga Villains and Heroes, Yishan Studio, 2010

How to Draw Sci-fi utopias and distopias” by Prentis Rollins, The Monacelli Press, 2016

Music I listened to

Chronicles of the Wasteland/ Turbo Kid Original Motion Picture Soundtrack  –  Le Matos, 2015

The Expanse Soundtrack (Youtube/spotify)

Warm Bodies Soundtrack (Youtube/spotify)

Paper

q-is-for-the-queen-of-hearts

Q is for the Queen of Hearts

I really love paper. It’s so important to how a drawing comes out and I have been spending some time working on a few different types of paper to find out how different the results can be.  I like different types  for different reasons.  The smoother paper is great for a drawing with a smooth and bright finish and the blending of the pencil is cleaner, however it doesn’t allow for too much layering as it doesn’t have enough tooth for the pencils pigment to grip to. A rougher paper has an interesting texture that can work with the drawing. It allows a lot of layering which is good for building up colour depth – the colour is not flat and colours in the lower layers provide a deeper finish so the drawing looks vibrant and less flat.

p-is-for-pinocchio

P is for Pinocchio

The Queens of Hearts was made on 200g/m

Pinocchio was made on smooth 140g/m

Rapunzel was made on printer paper and she suffered badly for it!

r-is-for-rapunzel

R is for Rapunzel

Rapunzel is a mess – the drawing became damaged very easily as I needed to erase and rework an area – this paper does not take a lot of abuse. It was harder to build up layers of pigment, too.  I got quite angry with it, actually! However, I have learned something important. If you run out of your nice paper don’t be lazy and go to the damn shop!

All of these drawings were made for the Twitter challenge I joined. Previous drawings are here – creatures

Tooth – texture, rough or smooth – the more tooth the paper has the rougher the texture; the less tooth, the paper is smoother.

http://helloartsy.com/how-to-choose-quality-drawing-paper/

Bibliography and inspiration

http://helloartsy.com/how-to-choose-quality-drawing-paper/

ImagineFX Future Publishing

500 Manga Villains and Heroes, Yishan Studio, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel, Austen, J. and Grahame-Smityh, S., Titan Books, 2009.

Martin, Justin.,  Poses for Artists, Vol. 2, Standing Poses, Eagel Ink Factory, Justin Martin, 2016

Music I listened to

The Birthday Massacre – Superstition (I am addicted to this album – 3 weeks and counting!)

New Shanghai

new-shanghai-graphite-and-digital

New Shanghai – digitally enhanced

A while ago I was invited to collaborate on an e-book- Engella – with the super author/scientist Paul Ian Cross and I’ve had so much fun with this project! It’s set across multiple universes -a sci-fi geek’s dream come true! It included bonus illustrations, and this one is my favourite. I like working traditionally – it makes me happy, but sometimes sci-fi kind of demands a bit more – I really wanted to have a dusky cityscape with lights and rockets launching; and that meant trying digital.

Learning to draw digitally and using it with my traditional works is a great ambition of mine. This is my first attempt and I am really proud of the outcome. It has given me a huge desire to do more.

I worked on the cityscape in graphite and then used the fill function on Photoshop Elements (PSE) to create the dark city sky, add all the lights and enhance the chem trails.

new-shanghai

New Shanghai – original graphite

 

http://www.pauliancross.co.uk

Bibliography and Inspiration

Sci-Fi Essentials, Sketching from the Imagination – An insight into creative drawing, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015

Sketching from the Imagination: Sci Fi, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015

Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Music I listened to

Some space music on you tube –it’s a thing!

The Devil Wears Prada – Space E.P

Mozart – Requiem

Faith and the Muse

The Birthday Massacre