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

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!?

AgfaPhoto DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

AgfaPhoto DIGITAL CAMERA

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