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

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

Red

l-is-for-little-red-riding-hood

Little Red Riding Hood

I drew Little Red Riding Hood walking through the woods – she carries her axe for comfort and protection. Still, she startles at shadows as she sees the terrifying face of her enemy, the Big Bad Wolf, lurking among the leaves and branches of the trees.

Any excuse to draw trees. It’s been a while!  I really like the tree silhouettes in the graphic novel  Pride and Prejudice with Zombies so I took some inspiration from there, and  for Red, my Poses book has proved invaluable. I can’t recommend it enough – for me it really helps me double check my angles and gesture and its such great practice.

I am continuing my exploration with the polychromos pencils. I wish I had more! They are lovely to use and you can buy 120 of them! I have about 30; and a mission to buy them all!

Bibliography and Inspiration

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 Devil Wears Prada – Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord

The Birthday Massacre – Superstition

Jack

I have been busy working on more fairy tales. I especially love my attempt at Jack and the Beanstalk. I think it is because I had the time to work on the environment for this one.

j-is-for-jack-and-the-beanstalk

Jack

It’s  a very simple environment and  I am keen to practice and develop my ideas with more depth and textures – they just add so much more to the  story. I have collected a huge amount of inspiration for this idea. My ImagineFX subscription is probably the best thing I did this year! So, as usual, no new year resolutions except to learn something. Last year I wanted to practice my figures and character design. This year I want to continue with that but take it a step further and give them a place within their story.

Some of my other illustrations (up to K, so far) are here – Creatures.

Bibliography and Inspiration

Fairy tales!

ImagineFX Future Publishing

500 Manga Villains and Heroes, Yishan Studio, 2010

Fantasy Underground – How to Draw Zombies,  Butkis, M, and Destefano, M, Walter Foster Publishing Inc, 2010

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

Music I listened to

Warm Bodies Soundtrack

The Birthday Massacre

A is for Alice

I have been so busy making things; other things have been left behind (this blog, for example!) and that annoys me.  Saying that, I think if you find the motivation to make something then you should embrace it, as it’s not always guaranteed! One thing I’ve come to realise, though, is that waiting for inspiration to come your way could mean you are in for a very long wait – actively seeking out ideas and inspiration will most definitely help you find your way – or another way – eventually. Sitting on your arse probably won’t.

a-is-for-alice

A is for Alice

This lead me to the fact that I needed a change so I started taking part in a fun weekly drawing challenge on Twitter called Animal Alphabets https://twitter.com/hashtag/animalalphabets

It’s a lot of fun , provides a weekly source of inspiration and its amazing how so many people take part in the challenge yet each submission is so cool and unique!

Currently it’s up to E and I have encamped the rest of my progress (so far) on my Creatures page.

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

Music I listened to

Queen of the Damned Soundtrack

The Raveonettes

Interpol

The Zombies in the Wood

I am teaching myself to draw and someone (not a zombie!) asked me if I had any advice on how to go about it. I think, for me, there are many answers to this and I decided this question might be something I could write about here.  I think it worth noting that you should never stop experimenting and pushing yourself – otherwise what is the point! Whenever I have the time I like to look back at old work and try again. Like this project – The Zombies in the Wood (the original piece is included further down)

img_20160906_0001

Work in progress – The Zombies in the Wood – graphite (2H, H, HB)

For me, drawing things that interest me is very important. The few structured art classes I did years ago were pretty uninspiring and I think I have figured out why. I like fantasy and Sci-Fi. If someone asked me to draw a chair (which they did) I could see that the task was useful but not ever so exciting. If someone asked me to draw a pirate king’s throne then I think I would have been all for it. Clearly I didn’t have the imagination to see that back then, but I guess better late than never. I also get that the chair is totally necessary – it’s really important to use reference material and if you are drawing people or animals then it’s a good idea to consider the anatomy and think about what lies under the skin. This really helped with my figures and characters.

I use all kinds of things for reference – I collect objects ,  catalogues with pictures of vases and clocks, fabrics and furniture  or just stringy people in jeans! Every autumn I go to the park and collect Autumnal things. I decorate my home with Autumn.  It helps with the arduous task of getting through summer.

I draw every day if I can and I always listen to music – that is important for me but not compulsory. Maybe.

If I don’t draw I look at my books (see Inspiration) and plan what I am going to draw. I have collected a lot of books. I have learned so much from these resources so far and I haven’t even scratched the surface!. Perhaps I buy too many.

Ask yourself what you want to draw and then make it your mission to find out how.  It’s important to look at the larger shapes and negative space – once you’ve established these you can then look at the smaller shapes within.

When I first began learning I tried a lot of different media. It helped me discover what I wanted to use. I think it’s important to experiment with different media but ultimately use materials that you enjoy using so you can be really good at one or two things instead of OK at lots of things. My favourite is dry media – especially graphite. I’m starting to really realise how much – I always come back to it.  I am desperate to try the coloured water soluble graphite pencils from Derwent. Maybe I will get them for Halloween!

I also love watercolour although I am not sure that it loves me! Some advice I took without regret was to buy the best materials you can afford –  cheap materials can be frustrating and the results disappointing no matter how much skill you have.

AgfaPhoto DIGITAL CAMERA

My favourite pencils and my home made drawing board (incline fashioned from ImagineFX magazine cardboard packaging)

I think what I have learned the most from is making a finished drawing – not a sketch – but a complete illustration.  Drawing individual subjects in a vacuum is great for practice but actually planning, researching, sketching thumbnails, practicing key elements and then making a piece – a finished piece – is by far the most exciting way of learning how to draw – it forces you to look at so many different things and bring them together and make them work.  You can look at what you made – see what worked and see what didn’t, and then start again. I am going through this process with The Zombies in the Wood. I did this in a rush last year and I have developed a keen hatred for it. So, I am starting again. I will probably look at it in another year and do it again. In fact, I am counting on it!

 

Bibliography and Inspiration

Fantasy Underground – How to Draw Zombies,  Butkis, M, and Destefano, M, Walter Foster Publishing Inc, 2010

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

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

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

 

Music I listened to

Miss May I – Monument

The Birthday Massacre-  various