Blue Sisters

Last week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Tamara Laporte and involved drawing two figures.  I had not gotten around to working on Life Book lessons for a few weeks so I was keen to tackle this one over the weekend.  I find drawing more than one figure in a piece to be fairly challenging because of the need to make them cohere and keep proportions and angles of light consistent.  That was another good reason to complete the lesson.  I had to improvise a lot with the lesson because I don’t own the markers that Laporte demonstrated.  I, therefore, used ink and watercolour instead.  I tried to stay true to one of the focal points of the lesson, however, by working on creating a range of skin tones.  This is a skill I definitely still need to develop but I was nevertheless reasonably pleased with the flesh tones I created in this piece because at least I avoided making them too sallow or adding too much ochre.

9b Blue Sisters

A Bunny Timeline of European History

This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was Time which was ironic because it took me the entire week to find the time to even sit down at my art table.  I was, however, thinking about the prompt all week and had all sorts of ideas running around in my head.  I initially thought of time travel and HG Wells.  My 9 year old Steampunk fan was very keen on that idea but just the thought of drawing all sorts of cogs and gizmos made me feel stressed.  After that, I had all sorts of different ideas.  It was, however, a chat with a friend about our shared love of ‘Blackadder’ that led to what finally appeared on my journal page.  The idea of taking a character and plonking them in different periods of history combined with my habit of drawing funny bunnies.  I decided to limit myself to eight drawings and to European history so that it did not become a crazily big project.  Once I had the idea and some time at my art table, I was able to whip through the illustrations really quickly as they are just ink and watercolour.  I chose to depict a bunny as a neanderthal, Roman, Viking, in a Medieval costume complete with codpiece, as an Elizabethan with a large ruff, as a Regency dandy, as a Victorian gent, and as a World War One Tommy.

7a Bunny European History Timeline

7b Bunny European History Timeline

7c Bunny European History Timeline

7d Bunny European History Timeline

 

Oscar Nominees – Art Journal Page

This Sunday the 89th Academy Awards Ceremony will be held in Hollywood.  As a movie nerd, the Oscars are a big deal to me.  I rarely manage to catch any of the other movie awards ceremonies but I do my level best to watch the Oscars each year and now my movie nerd kids are old enough to stay up for at least part of the ceremony too.  Of course, by virtue of having kids and only making it to the cinema once or twice a year without them, these days I have rarely seen any of the movies in contention prior to awards season but I still enjoy the whole thing nevertheless.

A few weeks ago I had a lot of fun with an art journal page filled with illustrations of vintage mug shots.  I was keen to repeat that experiment and thought the Oscars posed the perfect opportunity to try out the not-quite-blind-contour approach once more.  Obviously once I had the basic outline and interior shapes mapped out in pencil through sideways glances, I refined and modified the sketches but only a little because I wanted to retain the looseness of my initital mark making.  The results were entirely mixed when the outcome is considered – and the likenesses are actually woeful – but I had a whole lot of fun drawing these and that is actually what is more important.  These were also relaxing to draw because I could work on them, using pencil and fountain pens, while tucked up on the sofa watching a movie.

Initially I was intending to work through all the nominees in all the major awards categories.  However, I realised I was over-extending myself so I limited myself to the four acting categories only.  The text accompanying each portrait indicates who the portraits depict – or who they are supposed to depict since the likenesses are not exactly accurate.  Some are better than others, of course, but some bear no resemblance whatsoever to the actual person.  I don’t think Natalie Portman or Denzel Washington are about to sue me for insulting their faces and I am not a portraitist so that’s OK .

Oscars - Best Supporting Actress

Oscars - Best Supporting Actor

Oscars - Best Actress

Oscars - Best Actor

 

 

 

Rainbow Art Journal – Faun Among Vines

I go along to an art journaling group once a month where we all work in our art journals while chatting and relaxing.  The coffee shop setting, however, is a little restrictive in terms of what sort of art dabbling can happen.  I am limited to things that dry quickly and don’t make a mess.  I, therefore, often resort to just drawing with pencils and pens.  This page was the result of one such meet up.  I had passed a deer as I drove to the coffee shop so I guess that was the germ of the idea that turned into a faun as I sketched on the page.  I added the vine frame to fill more of the page.

4 Fawn among Vines

The Beatles – Art Journal Page

This week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “Here comes the sun”.  I wish!  This Winter has been so grey and dull that I am longing for sunshine.  The intention of the prompt was to create an art journal page featuring the sun.  However, as a Beatles fan, I just had the song lyrics playing over and over in my head and I decided to go down that path and create an illustration of The Beatles in my art journal.  My 9 year old is a huge Beatles fan so I let him choose the “era” that I would depict.  He chose the Sergeant Pepper era and I am glad he did as it made for a brightly coloured page.  I drew the illustration with fountain pen and added colour with watercolour.  It was fun reducing Ringo, John, Paul, and George to simplified shapes and trying to capture something of their looks and personalities.  I must admit I am rather pleased with how this drawing turned out.

4b The Beatles

Rainbow Art Journal – Monochrome Beret Girl

This year I wanted to try working in an art journal dedicated to one theme.  I have worked in themes before, of course, as with my Greek Mythology drawings and my altered book that was full of monsters.  Even my first time participating in Inktober became thematic.  The difference with those, however, was that I was utilising the same techniques and deploying the same media over and over.  What I wanted to do was practice using a wide variety of media, combine them to revisit and practice the mixed media techniques I have been learning over the past few years, and challenge myself to create a coherent journal full of connected pages.  I decided to work on a really loose theme which was colour.  Easy peasy.  I bought a new journal (I like the spiral bound Cansons for their flexibility) and worked out how I would divide it between all the colours of the rainbow plus a few additional colours and black and white.  I do not have a timetable for working on this journal or a deadline for its completion.  No pressure.  I will work in it as and when time allows, maybe adding bits here and there while working on other projects as a good way to use up excess paint or bits of collage paper.  I will share each page as it is completed.

I am starting with black.  My first page was pretty simple because I grabbed the journal and worked on it while watching a movie with my kids one afternoon.  I just tucked up on the sofa with my fountain pen and drew the figure and didn’t worry about perfect proportions or angles.  It is an art journal so it is just for fun.  I added the wash of ink later that evening just to eradicate more of the white paper.  Simple.  And relaxing because it was simple.  Maybe this particular art journal will become a useful tool for decompression for me this year.

1 Monochrome - Beret Girl

Ink Mug Shots

I was very happy when I read that this week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “Mug Shots”.  I am into the history of photography and am also a family historian so I instantly thought of all those characterful vintage mug shots of criminals and workhouse inmates.  I decided, therefore, to use those as my inspiration but almost as soon as I started pootling around on google images I decided to use some of the images not just as vague inspiration, a jumping off point, but as direct inspiration, scaffolding for a group of portrait sketches.  Now, I am not a portraitist.  I do not possess the degree of accuracy required plus I am actually not that interested in verisimilitude.  I, therefore, had no intention of even attempting to create faithful likenesses to the individuals captured in the vintage mug shots.  I just wanted to capture some essence of them, some details, and go from there.

Deciding to challenge myself a little, I undertook to draw these in an “almost blind contour” approach.  I did not completely cover the page or my drawing hand, which would have made it properly blind contour, but I kept my art journal and hand off to one side and tried not to look very often while I focused on observing the details on the computer screen.  That approach meant the drawings did not go completely wonky but the proportions did go skew-wiff enough to add some interest and character in my drawings.  I initially drew in pencil – just in case – but then tried my best to stay true to the original line work when going over it with my trusty fountain pen (a Lamy Al Star with a Fine nib and filled with Noodler’s Bulletproof).  I added a few more details and some shading using another pen filled with Lexington Grey ink.  I used that same grey ink in a wash for some areas of the drawings.

2 Mug Shots

In the top left is my depiction of Walter Smith.  According to a blog entry, Smith was a burglar in New South Wales sentenced to 6 months hard labour in 1924.  I chose his photo as I liked the defeated slouch.  Top right is Dorothy Mort who, in 1920, shot dead the chap who she was having an affair with.  I chose her photo because of her interesting profile and her sad sack stance.  Bottom right is a mugger named Charles Money.  There was something about his calmly defiant facial expression and relaxed pose that appealed to me.  Finally, in the bottom left, is my drawing of one Lamar Warter whose mug shot came courtesy of a drink driving rap.  When I saw that image, I knew I had to draw that profile with that really prominent adam’s apple.