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)

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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!

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!)

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

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.

The Gnarly Knuckle

I’ve been doing some work on hands – it’s something I’ve really started to love to draw – they are not that easy and just to make life even harder I like to choose really awkward poses – it’s rewarding to draw, more interesting to look at and sometimes a gnarly zombie hand emerges from the graphite dust just begging for some rot to be added to its suffering limbs, and what’s not to like about that!?

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Hand drawn in graphite

The first drawing was done from some photos of my hand and arm in tense gestures. I wanted all the tendons to show so I could try getting the tension down on paper. I think I succeeded and the next step was to re-do the piece in watercolour pencil, like another zombie hand I made recently.  I used tracing paper to transfer the image and I did a little research (see bibliography) to figure out what level of rot and bone exposure I would be going for.

I traced it onto a watercolour background I had painted previously – I like practicing washes and trying different colour mixes to create atmosphere, and I always try and make them with possible backgrounds for drawings in mind – it’s less wasteful!

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The Gnarly Knuckle – gnarled with watercolour pencils

For this drawing, I intentionally used a lot more watercolour pencil than I would normally go for as I wanted the hand to look like old, rotten, dirty skin – perhaps a little too much in retrospect as there were some areas that looked a little too muddy even for a dead thing – so, I re-wet the areas I wasn’t happy with and lifted some of the colour off with some clean kitchen paper. I then used a clean, wet brush to blend and pull the colours around until I was happy. Once dry, I went back in with the watercolour pencil and tidied up any lost lines or little details I wanted to keep. I will probably do more pieces like these – it’s excellent practice and seriously good for ones calm.

Bibliography and Inspiration:

Leonardo da Vinci, Anatomist , Clayton. M, and Philo, R, Royal Collection Publications, 2014

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

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

3dtotal.com

Craftsy.com

Music I listened to:

The Zombie E.P – The Devil Wears Prada

Siouxie and the Banshees-  Hyaena

The Chameleons

Requiem in White

My Dead Hand

This is the first instalment of my art journal. One of the things I always find daunting is drawing realistic hands and I want to address that because it is one of the main reasons I am nervous about drawing actual people. I decided I needed to learn about anatomy so that my attempts do not look so wooden and they look believable.  Besides, to draw a good zombie one must be aware of its innards!

This is My Dead Hand – it’s actually my hand and I have zombified it. I used watercolour for the background and watercolour pencil for the hand itself.

 

 

These hand sketches are the result of gesture exercises from a class I bought on Craftsy – a very useful online resource which provides tuition videos and feedback on many creative endeavours. I have also been looking at Da Vinci’s “Anatomist” and some of the Fantasy Underground books for some clues and inspiration.

 

I have been practicing drawing hands with graphite on rough paper, as you go through a lot just finding the movement and shape to begin with, and it seemed less wasteful than using up a good sketchbook.  I get a little precious over nice paper so this approach helped me loosen up and throw caution to the wind! My aim is to show the gesture and energy in the hand and I think these sketches are good examples of the stages and the progress I have made so far. The more polished piece (dare I say finished?) is for a zombie story a friend of mine is self-publishing. He asked me to do some illustrations for his book – a task which has been hard work but motivating, and one that has helped me to focus on some of the goals that are important to me; improving my knowledge on anatomy, and developing my skills using gesture. I am now working on the second volume and this drawing is one I hope to include.

The zombie hands were rendered using watercolour for the background and watercolour pencils for the hands. I have always wanted to make a decent water colour piece but I have had very little success. I don’t think I have the patience. Water soluble pencils are great because you can make the drawing and then use water to make it look more painterly. They appeal to me as I am more of a drawer than a painter. I have realised through trial and error to move the water away from the light area to the dark – otherwise flat or even muddy nightmares result.  I’ve included some of my favourite sketches here and the rest of them are on my sketchbook page – a sort of gallery of efforts  and progress.

Bibliography and Inspiration:

craftsy.com

Leonardo da Vinci, Anatomist , Clayton. M, and Philo, R, Royal Collection Publications, 2014

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

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

3dtotal.com

 

Music I listened to:

The Zombie E.P – The Devil Wears Prada

The Powerless Rise – As I Lay Dying

Requiem – Mozart

Ocean Rain – Echo and the Bunnymen