Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Paul, London '07

Not the same Paul as the last drawing, this is my brother. Drawn with Cretacolour Aqua Monoliths on Daler Heavyweight cartridge paper (220gsm) and is quite large for me - 12 ins high.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Paul, Dubai '97

Trying a slightly larger portrait from a photo. I kept adding to the colour in the face and then felt the tee-shirt would have to have a similar amount of work so it become more finished than I originally intended. I used a combination of Cretacolor Aqua Monoliths, Prismacolors and Supracolour Soft.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New year, new direction

Over the Christmas period, inspired by the illustrated carnets de voyage I bought myself (such as Madagascar by Claire and Reno Marca and Mali Secret by Stefano Faravelli), I got out my watercolours. News of a possible trip this year had spurred me into action - I'd love to be able to add colour to my sketches, if not this year then sometime in the future. However, the inspiration wasn't enough, it was still a struggle trying to get my brush, paint, water and paper to play nicely together and I felt a bit despondent.

So I went back to basics, back to what I used to do for many years - draw from photos, keep it small and don't practice, do it for real. Doodling, scribbling, making thumbnails, doing little studies, call it what you will, that never works for me and that's what I was doing with the paints. Using my cheaper paper, trying washes, mixing colours - it just wasn't working because I didn't have a real purpose, a 'final destination'.

So I want to do travel sketches, that's the purpose. I learned to draw using photos and I have a whole load of travel photos. I would use those and try to imagine how much time I might have, which situations would inspire me or give me time to draw and give it a go. I tried the watercolours to start with but pretty quickly found that the whole set-up, balancing paper, water and paints was not going to be practical for me even if I could get a decent result (which I couldn't!). So I tried my watercolour pencils and finally, a breakthrough, I felt at home with them! I guess they didn't work for me the times I tried before as I didn't really have a set purpose other than to use colour.

The first two drawings above were done with Caran d'Ache Museum watercolour leads. I like these are they are quite hard. However when I was drawing the quokka above (photo taken on Rottnest Island, Australia and contrary to the info on the Internet, the guides allow them to be fed or given a drink) I found that they go blunt and wear down pretty quickly so for the portrait of Alex I used Cretacolour Aqua Monolith as well. These pencils are even harder and feel like graphite sticks so they keep a sharp point.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

This is not what I was hoping to show for my first post of the year but a virus kept me away from my pencils and I'm just glad it's finally finished! I haven't been feeling sorry for myself since I was so thrilled and surprised to see that one of my drawings, Cream Burmese, was nominated by Robyn on Katherine Tyrrell's Making a Mark blog for the category of 'best overall artwork completed and posted on an art/illustrated blog in 2007'. As if that wasn't enough, it then got through to the final five and was also entered into the category for best animal in an illustrated blog! There are so many beautiful works of art on blogs, I'd never believe mine the best or even near it, but it's an honour to have my work acknowledged and it's a wonderful way to start the new creative year! Thank you Robyn and Katherine and for everyone that took time to vote, I appreciate it very much. I highly recommend that if you haven't seen Katherine's blog, to go and check it out not only for the amazing artwork of the nominated artists but for one of the best art blogs out there!

H - 4B pencil, Winsor & Newton cartridge paper.