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

 

 

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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

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

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

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