Apr 30, 2010

Gnomes, Gnomes & more Gnomes

Hello again all (all 3 of you that actually read this, that is!).
Below is a bit of work produced just last night. On first glimpse, it could appear that all of these Gnome fellows are members of one family, but no, it is, in fact, the same character drawn over and over again, in an attempt to try and get the facial features to how I envision him.
The character's name is Willow the Scribe Gnome, and is the lead character in the book I have been writing for much too long now. He's sort of not your typical Gnome (nature guardians mostly), wherein he is rather grumpy, shuns company and likes books (sounds familiar).

Anyway, this is only the first attempt at capturing his likeness. None of these versions are quite right in my mind, but I'll keep plugging at it until I nail it!

Apr 24, 2010

Sketchbook work

I've been drawing quite a lot lately, and I have a few more refined pieces still in the works, but I thought I should post a few sketchbook odds & ends just to keep the blog ticking over. So here's a few things completed in the last few days.

This one took all of 45 minutes to from start to finish. It is really only another one of my seemingly endless experiments, this time to see how a glossy thin paper would take watercolour. The answer... not well! I was just slapping paint on by the end of it, just to see how it moved on the paper, as can be seen by the figure's hands. The figure itself is just something I drew on spec, with no thought beforehand at all.

This was originally just a pencil piece, which I wasn't really happy with, so I decided to slap on a bit of watercolour.

As long as I've been a fan of Faerie art, I've noticed that a lot of artists do images somewhat like this. It is a sort of mashing together of faces to create something more aesthetically pleasing. This is my first attempt at replicating that design. It is a fun thing to do, but I think my version suffers from a few things- the scale of the heads is too varied, it isn't dark enough and some of the heads are bad. But it is just a first attempt, so hopefully I'll address those issues next time.

This one is hot off the presses. I can feel myself getting more confident as I draw more and more. I do try and curb it where necessary, because there have been some pretty messy consequences to a few instances of getting out of control.

More to follow soon.

Apr 16, 2010

Stone Study

I have a lot of planned paintings in the works at the moment, but I am trying to push up my watercolouring skills as much as possible before I start on any of these pieces. I've never really had any formal training with watercolours, so I'm sort of stumbling upon techniques as I go along. The reason I haven't just jumped into these pieces is because several of them are what I consider portfolio-worthy pieces, and I would rather produce them to a quality that I am happy with rather than do the work, produce the scene, use up that particular inspiration and not be happy with the result. The way I look at these particular scenes in my head is somewhat different to how I look at other work. For instance, with a story, you can write it, re-write, edit, patch up and generally polish it up to a point you are happy with. With my view on art and watercolours specifically, this same approach is not always possible, or desirable in this case. I do not want to have to re-paint an entire scene, because the original spark for it will have been used up on the first attempt.

Am I making sense? To simplify the whole thing I guess I would say that I am not technically proficient enough to produce a watercolour piece to the standard I would be happy with yet, and do not want to waste a scene I consider worthwhile of waiting on by painting it prematurely.

Saying that though, apart from the watercolour technical work I have been practising, I am still working on other projects with other media. I have a few ink-line pieces in the offing and still hop out into the field to play around with other styles and techiques. For instance-
I drew this particular item yesterday, with a Nut Brown ink used as both a wash and line. The line detail was drawn on with a quill pen as an attempt to move on from the unvaried line of a techical pen that I am more accustomed to using. I think it is a step forward...

Apr 11, 2010

Stretching the limits

Here are a few new experimental pieces I produced today.The first is a piece created with the idea of testing the limits of what a 0.05 pen can do. I wanted to get an idea if producing a scene with solely the finest pen I own would be successful or not. I think it is pretty clear that line width variation adds depth and focal points, things I believe this drawing does not have. But still, that is what experimentation is for and the lesson has definitely been learned. Oh, and I popped a little faerie in there just for good measure.

This next piece is another experiment to see if I'm capable of producing a good landscape with just a single colour, in this case burnt sienna in ink form. This is by no means a finished piece, more a rough study than anything else. I used a variety of painting implements on this, including various brushes, a toothbrush, moss, a flower and a sponge, just to mix up the foliage more than anything else. I also added a bit of highlighting with my new white ink pen, just to create a bit of contrast and layering. Again, not a very successful piece, I feel. The single colour idea is probably achievable, but I'd rather play around with colour and light with a full pallette. Still, another lesson learned.

Apr 9, 2010

Don't you just hate bad drawing days?

I went off to a place called Coole Park today, it is about 30km south of Galway in Ireland, and is pretty much just a massive forest that was once owned by Lady Gregory- writer in her own right and close friend of W. B. Yeats, who visited Coole often.

I had intended to draw and paint loads today, and I certainly did that, but unfortunately today was just one of those days when nothing was going right or looking good. The only thing that looked half decent was this little drawing below, which is of an old gate pillar that has got to be, at the very least, 100 years old. It is drawn entirely with a 0.05 pen.

As for other work, I have a pretty detailed pen & ink piece in the works, as well as a watercolour scene and hopefully both will be done in the coming week.