Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Cables, Birds & Triangles

Frustratingly, I have done some new work but have neglected to bring the computer cable with me, so I'll have to leave updating until new years! uff!


Have a good holiday!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Tea Time, Scanning & Inspiration Book

Ok, no new drawings or paintings today, thats because... number one, I've been rather lazy. Number 2 I've been out drinking tea and marveling in the wonderful aesthetics of people with hail in their hair, braced against the cold. Number 3... I've been working relentlessly...this evening on scanning in images from illustration contact books and popping them onto my computer so as I can start compiling my very own 'Inspiration Book'. I'm going to put into it any artist that I admire... for whatever it may be about their work.
It may be the colours they use, the media, the subject matter, or all 3 wonderfully combined to make me drool.

I find it hard to sift through all the wonderful artists I find and have locked away in a file within a folder within 8 million other folders so that naturally I can't find them again. What I really wanted was a physical book of artists I admire, without having to sift through all the garbage that invariably comes in some of those illustration contact books. So, its a refining of sorts, and I'm sorry that it comes at the cost of paper and ink. I'd love to find a miraculous system that would organize all the artists into a book online that I could flick through, but I guess in the absence of that then the physical will have to do. I know you can make books online with booksmart etc, but I like to be able to open a book, and take it around with me without the requirement of electricity. So perhaps in some round-about way I can cancel out my paper usage by not having to be on the computer so much. 

Does anyone have any good ways that they keep their inspiring artists around them? Please share your ideas here!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Day of blissful peace, The Mission & Using things around the house

What a wonderful day! (The weather has been terrible outside, so I have been rather content in the confines of the house, all alone, not a soul in sight, not a soul haranguing me on my telephone, just bliss.
So what did I do with all that time and all that space to myself? 

The first part of the day was mainly spent cleaning myself and the kitchen. Then there was a rather large part of the day dedicated to drinking tea, and reading a book about it while taking notes which are largely useless. But that was an enjoyable part of the day nonetheless. Next part included making a delicious curry, the second part, eating it whilst watching 'The Mission' starring Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro. 

Last half of the day has been spent painting a plant in the house (Geranium maderense) and making it look like palm trees on a faraway island. Much fun! I'm going to try taking normal household objects and using them in studies, yet turning them into something else. 
Its good practice, and keeps your imagination working at the same time so you don't just get bored with the same old... 'ah, well now i've painted a jug. Lovely.'

So here it is, with its life counterpart



ta-da!
Go try it for yourself! 
Normal object-abnormal situation

*in gouache - colours used:
Cadmium Yellow,
Permanent White,
Burnt Sienna,
Olive Green,
Primary Blue,
Payne's Grey

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Natural History Illustration, Techniques & Materials

I was recently given a tutorial by Professor Alan Male at University College Falmouth on how to achieve a realistic outcome when tight rendering. This kind of method is applied for use in informative materials such as field guides for identification of animals, and other informative text.

So I thought I would relay a little of what he showed me, and some of the advice. 

So lets start with the materials-
suggested papers, paints and brushes include:

PAPER- Schoellershammer 6R paper

PAINTS- Winsor and Newton Artists' watercolour series.
BRUSHES- Winsor and Newton Series 7 Kolinsky sable size 2 & 3
These brushes are superior in quality to most other brushes, and also carry far more paint as opposed to getting smaller sized brushes, and yet you can still achieve a very fine point with the brush. Hair thin lines are very achievable and the paint flow on the brush allows it to keep on laying down lines for far longer than I ever thought imaginable.
Ok, so onto the method:
This time I have chosen the Himalayan Cicada- Pycna repanda

First you get a piece of tracing paper, fold it in half, and then draw one half of the insect right up to the line. Next, fold over the tracing paper and trace the side you have just drawn, onto the other side so as you now have a complete, symmetrical insect. Of course, this doesn't work for all natural history illustration... it is very rare to only do birds-eye views of creatures. Nowadays we show the animals in a posture that would give away more information about the behavior of the animal; such as eating, or hunting or building a home. Many things can be told about the animal just by adding in the correct vegetation/background/prey animals/surrounding/time of day to the scene.
For the moment though, I am just going through a traditional cut to white illustration...most commonly found in identification guides.
Tracing Stage

Next step is to transfer the image once you are happy with it. I decided that the forelimbs on this did not look right, and so changed them after in the tracing paper stage. 
Buy some graphite tracedown (from most art stores) a.k.a carbon paper.
Then we take the watercolour paper, and attach it to your work surface/drawing board etc.
Then align the trace with where you want the image to be on your paper. Stick this in place with masking tape. Then get your carbon paper and slide it under (check that it is the correct way up! do this on a spare piece of paper quickly to save any wasted effort of tracing...only to find the image hasn't been traced down!)
Once the carbon paper is in place, correct way up, then you can start going over the drawing with a fine point pencil. Its a good idea to check how light/heavy the graphite is being traced down, so check several times until you are happy and know the amount of pressure to apply.

Once you have finished, your image should now be transferred to your watercolour paper.


Next time I will start painting and keep you guys informed at each stage.

Hope this helps!


Monday, 13 December 2010

Week alone in Fal, Patch & New Small Paintings.

Back from my 1 day visit home to meet the new dog Patch. I have no photos as of yet, but can assure you he is adorable. 18months old, black lab collie cross, loves to sleep on my bed, snuggled into my side. I read my book while he dreams frantic dreams of chasing rabbits. What more could a girl want?
I wish I could just bring him back to Falmouth to live. That would be lovely.

So I'm back in Falmouth until Saturday, and I'm all alone in the house. Which is nice, and altogether not nice at the same time. I'm jumpy at the best of times, so being in a big dark deserted house at night isn't the most relaxing place to be when you're on your own. Anyway I'm sure it will be fine once I get into the swing of things.

I've started painting small postcard studies of things, as I find this helps me get a better feel for putting things together before I attempt anything big. At the least, its a good way to pass the time, and I get some fun little cards out of it. 
I might set up an etsy shop once I can get my head around perhaps printing them on good card in good quality... might make a nice present for someone.
Anyway, here's the second one I did... for David and Kathy Collen down at 'The Essence of Tea' in Falmouth. 

And a bluer version... because I can't do colour matching very well.


I should hopefully be blogging regularly this week with bits and bobs that I have drawn. Hopefully once a day... but we'll see how that goes! 

Finally got my mits on James Gurney's Colour and Light... went home and collected it...now time to devour it this week!

All the best,
Steph

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Four Brothers, Neutral Norway & James Gurney's Colour and Light!

It's finally here! And altough you may be dreading that the next line in my blog is christmas related, I can assure you that it is not! There shall be no more mention of that word just yet. But lo! James Gurney's new book 'Colour & Light' graced my doormat with its presence! (my doormat at home unfortunately.) Still, I'm going back this weekend to pick it up and also to see my new dog Patch! Pictures coming soon! He's a labrador collie cross, 18 months old and adorable. 
Check out Colour & Light and order it immediately! Its on amazon, or you can order from James Gurneys own shop. Its a must have for anyone who is serious, or very un-serious in their painting! I can't tell you enough to go and buy this book, it is the next part in a painters bible of sorts! 

My oh my this childrens book is coming along. I'm just starting to get into the swing of it, and its all winding down! Typical. Oh, and I managed to figure out how to use foreign script on here accidentally! So here is 'The Four Brothers' in what I hope is hindi. थे फौर ब्रोठेर्स! 
Here's a few of the paintings I have done for it.

The King 
(a little too orange faced and beard is a bit too messy. If I have the time, I'm going to go back and correct this!)




Peruvian Lily... 


 The tracedown sketch of one of the pages

 The final completed painting (uncropped to show you guys that I never really work with a clear edge as I prefer the look of it this way. Either way, if it were to be reproduced it would be put onto a computer and cropped that way)

 My new desk in my new room in my new house! Desk and set of drawers are from Ikea... sadly just a tad too small to fit some of the larger format paper I have in them! But still, extremely good. I'm a rather messy person (on my walls at least) I like to have my inspiration just strewn around me. I have a rest wall, that when I'm tired of looking at beautiful imagery all day, I can just stare at a nice white space and a wall hanging with the symbol om on it.

Our entire house participated in Neutral Norway... which I think was an amazing feat considering most days we can't even get the entire house in to university, let alone make them prepare work for an exhibition. Nevertheless, we achieved it, and here are a few photos from the night.

 A selection from the house
Top left- My painting of max
2nd Row left- Will Grill etching
2nd row right- Finn Clark digital portrait
3rd row left- Will Grill lino cut of Barney the dog.

 Mr William Grill himself, and at the very top, 2 handmade (collages?) using cellulose thinners and own drawings by Harry Tennant.

 Oil Painting rub back by me, and the 2 pieces above by Arthur Hamer.
I sadly didn't get any photos of Gillian Hibb's work, but I can assure you they were amazing!

Afterwards, this man played us a few ditties on the piano. However, I think this was a picture of him playing the piano and the violin...at the same time...while singing. The evening was pretty special, and that just capped it all off! Hats off to the Neutral Norway organisers, and all the other artists,
including all of us at No.9 Wellington!

This is Scruffy... not my dog, but Harry's. Gorgeous little fox terrier came to stay for the weekend and we took her to the woods in Flushing where we found a tree swing!

 Monkey boy Will
with fascinated onlooker Arthur
Arthur having his very own go, and Harry (the hat) Tennant looking on!

and to end on a random note...
 Have you ever seen two boxers driving a car?




Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Life Drawing, Andy & Bethany

 Some life drawing from the past few weeks, and a bit of a rant at the bottom of the page about the changes that have happened in relation to life drawing and the budget cuts.

























So it looks like the administration in our university are now in charge of what life drawing models. Not to mention that also, this year the life drawing room is so small you can't comfortably fit in 30-40 people, and make them draw without it somehow breaching human rights.  Fashion took over the illustration life drawing room to use it as a classroom. Admin tried to unfairly dismiss the wonderful Gary Long, as he came to retiring age at the end of the last university year. I know there are budget cuts, and things seem to be on a knife edge at the moment, but admin seem to be doing some very strange things. I don't know what purpose sacking Gary would have, as they would need to hire another person with less experience and knowledge, and they would probably have to pay them the same rate. I thought that all the courses that did life drawing also used our life drawing room, and therefore it was beneficial to keep it. It appears that we will now only ever have 2 life drawing models... one man named Andy, and a shy girl (new to life modeling). I don't really understand why we aren't using any of the models from last year, as they have experience, and it wasn't as if we didn't have a good few to choose from. Im glad for the new man, he seems to have experience, and holds really interesting poses. The girl, (I wish her all the best, she seems lovely, and what im about to say has no reflection on her at all) is new to life modeling, rather shy and self conscious, and because of this, it affects all the poses. I can appreciate it is hard for her, but at the same time, I don't know why they have hired someone with no experience when we had a good run of women for life modeling who had experience. It all seems counter productive, and detrimental to our education within illustration. The size of the room means that we now have to split into 2 groups, and have half a day each. We have been invited to stay, if we wish, for the whole day, but the exercised would simply get repeated again. This doesn't then allow for longer poses, and I struggle, even with my passion for life drawing, to haul myself to the afternoon session when I know it will be the same again. It is a shame, and I hope other people feel the same way. I don't know how we are going to tackle the problem of when we get to what would have been full day oil paintings.  I really hope Gary Long will set up his own life drawing classes, but even then, I doubt it would allow for a full 6 hour painting session. Life drawing underpins all drawing related to figures, even if in a naive style, you still need to know how the body moves and looks in different poses otherwise your work won't be so believable.  It is essential to our practice as illustrators, and a damn shame that it is suffering so much.

Sorry about the rant, and I hope you liked the life drawing!
Support the Arts!

Halloween, Tea Classes & Pantone Mug

Yes I know Halloween was now a while ago... but here is one obligatory picture:
Me and my boyfriend for the night (the fetching one in red)... Eduardo.
Happy day of the dead! Feliz Dia de los Muertos!

ok, so now that thats out of the way, we can get back down to business.

Our lovely house this year has about 4 apple trees in the back garden... 2 eating apple trees, and 2 cooking apple trees. All of the eating apples are now gone, but the cooking apples remain. We can't make apple pie or crumble all the time, as we'd all end up as tremendous fatties! So I made a little basket (or sign), and I fill it up with fresh apples most days when not raining, only ones that haven't started to be eaten by little creatures... and then I put it outside the house! It certainly makes me feel good... they don't go to waste and people get free tasty apples to make into yummy winter warming desserts! 

Outside our porch :)

The sign reads- FREE! cooking apples (fresh from the tree) (Please don't take my basket!) Enjoy your apple crumble/pie etc!

My good deed every now and then.

I have started attending tea classes at 'The Essence of Tea' every Monday night at 7-9pm... they also do a class at the same time on Wednesday nights.
This time we were given an introduction, and we tasted 8 different teas several times each. Some really beautiful teas. I was surprised to find that hot water tasted really sweet after tasting the teas!

I am taking many notes as I go along, and have handmade a book, and done a small watercolour painting for the cover. In the end I hope to condense my notes and add illustrations to it, as a tasting guide to teas in the shop, or as a general overview to tea with some interesting facts. Just to please myself really, or perhaps I will in future use it as the founding for my information illustration project.



The book, along with some sweet little gourds/squashes/pumpkins that I bought to use as still life subjects.


I highly recommend going to have tea (and now sushi) from 'The Essence of Tea' in Falmouth run by David and Kathy Collen. A lovely couple, absolutely beautiful shop, and great tea!


Last but not least... I bought a pantone mug today! Lovely olive green! Gorgeous! I shall forever drink in style now. They have a range of colours, though not as big as I had hoped really! You can find them online at various places.

Ok, thats that, next post is lifedrawing from the past 3 sessions.
Cya in a bit!
x