The full title of this piece should be “The Fungus Fairy and the Unfortunate Phallus”. It is a cautionary tale about going straight to ink when drawing and not taking time to think things through.
The Art Journal Adventure prompt for last week was the letter “F”. Don’t enquire why I thought to draw a Fungus Fairy as a result because I actually don’t know why. Let’s call it a flash of inspiration. I know that I was feeling in the mood to draw something whimsical. In my early teens, I decided to draw my own versions of the classic Flower Fairies. I think I got about twenty illustrations done before I packed in the whole enterprise because I loved drawing but hated colouring in (I was using pencils). Maybe I should start over now that I actually enjoy adding colour to my illustrations. But I digress. Short on time (as always) I decided to commit to drawing straight away with pen. No pencil guidelines. No preliminary sketching. Just straight from my brain to my hand to the ink pen. The way I drew the Fungus Fairy a lot of the line work was over on the right hand side of the page so, to fill in a bit more of the left hand side, I came up with the bright idea of giving her a toadstool as a sort of magical wand. Yeah, I don’t know what on earth I was thinking either. In the very instant that I lifted pen from paper I realised that the fungus wand looked like a phallus. Great. So, yes, this is a cautionary tale about maybe taking some time to plan things out before committing ink to paper.
When it comes to subjects for my art, I am always drawn to faces and figures or monsters or anthropomorphised animals. What I really don’t tend to touch upon is botanicals, still life, or landscapes. I decided, therefore, to challenge myself to produce a landscape in the orange section of my Rainbow Art Journal. Having grown up in Fife, I thought of the orange pantiles that adorn the roofs in villages like Culross – a result of the tiles initially being imported as ballast. I grew up in the post-war new town of Glenrothes but always enjoyed visiting the fishing villages of the East Neuk so I decided to illustrate a harbour village in my art journal. There is zero verisimilitude in my illustration and I didn’t use any photo references so my buildings are all a fusion of memory and imagination. Landscape is definitely not my thing but I really enjoyed creating this page. I don’t even care that the scale is bonkers, including monstrous seagulls. Maybe I will force myself to do landscapes more frequently.
I decided to tackle an Art Journal Adventure prompt in my art time. The prompt I chose from the ones I have skipped was the letter J combined with “something that shows half”. Frequent readers of my blog will know how my mind works and understand why I immediately settled upon illustrating Jekyll and Hyde. I interpreted “half” was being about duality but also chose to represent it literally by splitting my illustration in half and making one side more Jekyll and one side more Hyde. I think I just about got what was in my head onto paper.
Since I returned from vacation, I have been mainly using my little gobbets of free time to participate in the #drawthisinyourstyle challenge on Instagram. I have been sharing my results there and on my other blog. Yesterday, however, I managed to find enough time to open the pages of my art journal. I chose to illustrate Ligeia, the eponymous character of the Edgar Allan Poe story. I am a Poe fan and have been visiting his houses but I have not really tried illustrating the stories since I was in High School. ‘Ligeia’ is a story involving death, duality, resurrection, possession – and an unreliable narrator. My Ligeia is probably a bit too vampy to be the emaciated, sickly, wasting Ligeia. She is probably a bit more Morticia Addams to be honest. I enjoyed working on this illustration, however, and that is the important thing.
If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you will have seen this illustration as my response to this month’s Art Snacks challenge. I received two red products in the box this month and that immediately inspired me to draw a Ladybug Woman. I drew it on a sample pack of watercolour paper, also in the box, which means it is in that narrow format that I used recently for my Frankenstein’s Monster. I am enjoying working in this restrictive space as it really forces me to be creative with my composition.
This weekend, I grabbed some small parcels of time and used them to create an illustration in my art journal. I used last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt, which was to use an element and repeat it at least three times, and combined it with a prompt I had missed that involved the number 5. The idea of repetition made me think of clones and that made me think of the pod people from the movie ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ and then that segued in my brain to thinking of the book ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ and thus I arrived at a decision to draw five clone children with expressionless faces and soulless eyes. I did the grey and black inkwork first and had intended to leave the hair white as a nod to the movie adaptation ‘Village of the Damned’ but, on a whim, I decided to add a splash of colour with red ink. I am undecided as to whether that was a smart move or not and my children – who I use to judge my art work – are split 50/50. What do you think?
Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to use black and white with one colour. By coincidence, my Art Snacks box had just arrived and it contained a black fineline pen and a green alcohol marker. I, therefore, decided I could combine the challenges while giving myself the additional challenge of working on a narrow piece of paper. A childhood spent watching classic monster movies means I have a Pavlovian response to black and green. The combination always makes me think of Frankenstein’s Monster. I, therefore, set about drawing the Karloff version of the Creature in the narrow space of the paper. I was very happy with the ink illustration but then worried I would wreck it when adding the green. I have never been much good at “colouring in” plus I have never used an alcohol based marker before. I rubbed some of the marker on a piece of wax paper so that I could dilute it with water and brush it on as a light wash first. That then gave me the confidence to go in directly with the marker to create darker green areas. I am pretty pleased with how the illustration turned out. I had envisaged using it as a tip-in for my art journal but two of my kids want it as a bookmark so I guess that’s its destiny.