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.

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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!

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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!)

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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

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

2B, or not 2B

Finding time, when you have no time.

Summer holidays and there is no time to draw when I feel the urge. Luckily, I have no idea how to just stop and be still these days so when I do get a spare minute I usually grab it. I decided to just relax and sketch and look for inspiration from other artists and illustrators (there are lots of examples in my Sketchbook). It’s also a great excuse to enjoy all the books I collect – so far I have worked from A Brain is for Eating, Poses for Artists  1 and 2,  and ImagineFX (bibliography below).  I concentrated on gesture but didn’t try to use the media they used – I love working with graphite and it’s a chance to practice!

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Working from A Brain is for Eating, by D and A Jacobs, illustrated by Scott Brundage

I am really enjoying the light touch of the harder range of pencils in my pencil box.  I remember being criticised by a well-meaning advisor an age ago – asking me if I thought that was correct? Weren’t they too hard? I took it to heart and listened to this advice. I really shouldn’t have!! The hard pencils are perfect for lighter tones – you can build up tone and you can use them to figure out the initial line drawing without messing up your paper – lightly done pencil work will leave very little evidence of initial errors and, if you want to add watercolour later, hard pencils don’t dissolve into your paint like the B’s will.

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Dynamic figure practice – from Poses for Artists (Justin Martin)

I think learning from other artists and other peoples methods is a very useful approach – trying to make what they make really makes you stop and think about the how of a drawing and, personally, it makes me look at other drawings differently, too.  Saying that, it’s important to remember your own voice because what works for other people may not be right for you.

All this book worming is making me want to make something. Anything!

Bibliography and Inspiration

A Brain is for Eating, D and A Jacobs, illustrated by Scott Brundage, Pale Dot Voyage, 2013

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

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

 

Music I listened to

Really bloody annoying Minecraft songs from YouTube.

Engella ~ On gesture, Chinese lanterns and swirling cloaks.

I have been practicing gesture. It’s something I really wanted to focus on for some of the illustrations I made for the sci fi story, Engella, by Paul Ian Cross.

I began by seeking out reference material.  I examined how clothing swings when you suddenly turn, and what it does when you walk and are caught in the breeze on a balmy beach.  (Since I didn’t have a balmy beach nearby some of this took place in my head and in my living room).  I made about a million colour studies with pastels to find the right mood for the final painting and then I moved on to making watercolour sketches to decide how to make the watercolour work for what I had in mind.

Part of the story takes place in the future so for inspiration and the pure joy of it all I researched cyber punk and Chinese lanterns, and dark alleyways. I made a cyberpunk mood board on pinterest.   This is something I like to do! A lot. I have collected a huge amount of reference material and inspiration there for other projects and for safe keeping.

Engella

Engella  (graphite)

I sketched out lots of ideas to find Engella and this is who emerged. I love adding energy and movement to my drawing – its so rewarding making the subject come alive and tell a story!

Kindle cover

The book cover (watercolour and watercolour pencil)

 

Bibliography and Inspiration

http://www.pauliancross.co.uk

https://uk.pinterest.com/abakerrasmussen

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

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

Music I listened to

All about Eve

Cocteau Twins

I love you but Ive chosen darkness

Radiohead

Engella

Kindle cover

A preview for the new book cover I painted! I was invited to collaborate on this e-book recently by the super author/scientist, Paul Ian Cross, and I’ve had so much fun with this project! It’s about a girl called Engella and is set across multiple universes – not only did I work on the book cover but also on some illustrations for the story itself. It’s been such a pleasure – and totally appeals to my Sci Fi geek.  The book is due to launch on Sunday 31st July and it’s free!

http://www.pauliancross.co.uk/home/engella-previewCover

Bibliography and Inspiration

http://www.fontspace.com/indian-type-foundry/rajdhani

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

Sketching from the Imagination – An insight into creative drawing, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015

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

Sci-Fi Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

 

 Music I listened to

The Devil Wears Prada – Space E.P

Mozart – Requiem

Switchblade Symphony

I turned my son into a zombie receptionist.

The Book Cover

I have explored many avenues for making this thing. Some of the twists and turns lie festering on Growing Paynes  and show a few ideas I explored. One idea actually turned into an illustration for inside the book so all that work was pretty useful!

But here I am – not the final destination because a.) That never ends well and b.)  I am sure the next one will be completely different again, so it’s a temporary solution to an ongoing problem.

Working in my sketchbook, I came up with an entirely different idea from what I had first imagined it would be. I wanted to represent the protagonist and her post apocalyptic world.  I decided to work in graphite and only use colour for the eyes – the eyes are important as there is a lot of tech involved in the story so I wanted the viewer to be drawn to that – and it looks interesting to me. I really love working in greyscale with just a hint of colour!

I also worked on another drawing for the back. Its a zombie receptionist. I used my son as a model for this drawing and I cannot quite decide if he is more annoyed about the fact I turned him into a zombie or if its because I turned him into a woman.

Next I began to think about the cover design.  I wanted to find a font that would work for a book cover – so I did some research on designing a book cover. An internet search brought up a wealth of information. I’ve included a link or two.  I used Photoshop Elements to put it all together – I am an absolute novice with that – I had to get a little help – but it made me realise that I would love to make some digital art and this is definitely something I am going to explore.

But, anyway.  Here it is. The book cover. I hope it says something about the characters, what they are up against, who they are – I hope it invites Alistair’s readers to want to look inside and see more.

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/08/5-great-fonts-for-book-covers/

fontsquirrel.com

Biblography and inspiration

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Beginners Guide to Sketching: characters, creatures and concepts, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015

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

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

Sci-Fi Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Music I listened to

Doom:VS – Dead Words Speak

Cranes – Wings of Joy and Inescabable

Miss May I – Monument

Our Rats are Low

I have been dreaming about rats, although thinking about it, it might have been a very large gerbil, but its probably because I have been drawing rats lately. I think it is true that we often relive or make sense of our waking experiences in our dreams and I have produced a few illustrations involving rats so far, so I decided one more couldn’t hurt.

I rather like rats – there are, perhaps, way too many wild ones for us humans but I think they are inquisitive and intelligent, if a little blood thirsty , gnarly and low. And they are part of the clean-up crew so need fair representation.

Rat

I experimented with pastel pencils, watercolour, watercolour pencils and ink. I don’t want to talk about the ink as it didn’t end well, but the other experiments paid off and I drew (using watercolour and watercolour pencils) a rat that had clearly been up to no good.

I worked with damp paper, dropping in a background wash and then, once dry, I added details and textures with the watercolour pencils. Some of this was blended with a damp brush and then sharpened up again with the pencils.

These are other rats I have worked on. I am especially proud of The Feast (one in graphite) – it married very well with my mission to draw hands and practice gesture. The bonus of the hand being consumed by Low creatures is that wonky bits can easily be blamed on the little nibblers!

Bibliography and Inspiration

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing.

Beginners Guide to Sketching: characters, creatures and concepts, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015

Music I listened to

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

The Devil Wears Prada – Space EP

Faith and the Muse – various

Murderous Abbie

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Murderous Abbie

 

I’ve had a bad cold and I’ve been in the doldrums, thinking a lot about what I am doing. I have been working on some of my character portraits. I wanted to spend the week finishing and refining some ongoing projects (they must be deemed finished at some point and the deadline for that book is approaching!)  I think that is the hardest part – knowing when to stop – I heard someone once say – stop when it cannot be made any more beautiful – but what if it isn’t beautiful? What if all I see are the flaws? The things that frustrate the hell out of me?  The things I want to do better? I think stopping when things are barely adequate is crazy but you can take the thing too far and destroy all your hard work, too. I think I did that when I first decided I needed to draw a face. I remember being really happy with  a lot of my early attempts and so I didn’t push myself enough perhaps – and then when I realised that the drawings could be a great deal better  I often found I kept pushing it until it looked overworked and seriously lacking in spontaneity. I think there is a vile fine line between the path of inadequacy and that of the destroyer!

I hope the things that I am making now are heading in that direction.  We never stop learning so it would be insanity to stop and say that will do, but I guess equally important – we mustn’t give up when we realise we could be more.

I’m going back to bed.

Oh, wait. I guess I should explain about Abbie. She’s a new character I am illustrating. She is a slightly murderous, post-apocalyptic badass, and scarred. Inside and out.  I hope she stays for a while as I really enjoyed drawing her – from her wild hair to her scarred, pretty face.

These images show the stages of my drawing – I will probably try to remember to keep a record like this in the future. I can then look back and find exactly where it all went wrong!

 

 

Bibliography and Inspiration

Turbo Kid – Directed by Anouk Whissell, Francois Simard and Yoann-Karl Whissell – 2015

– because it’s a post-apocalyptic masterpiece!

Anatomy Essentials, Imagine FX/Future Publishing

Faigin, G., The Artists Complete Guide to Facial Expression, Watson-Guptill Publications, 1992

Beginners Guide to Sketching: characters, creatures and concepts, 3dtotal Publishing, 2015

3dtotal.com

 

Music I listened to

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

Because it’s a post-apocalyptic/80’s/synthwave masterpiece!