These illustrations were created with the contents of my April Art Snacks box. It has been a while since I completed a proper illustration of my zombie critters, as opposed to a doodle. I have drawn zombie bunnies in any number of compositions and colours but I think this is the first time I have drawn a tower or stack of zombie cats. I used the warm colours (two watercolour pencils and a water based marker) for the zombie cats and coloured the zombie bunnies in shades of blue using different dilutions of ink from the blue marker. The darkest blue right at the top of the illustration is the colour straight from the nib. These were fun to draw. I hope they are also fun to look at.
This was the other art journal illustration I created at the coffee shop when I met up with my local art friends. Again, I was limited by whatever portable art materials I had in my travelling art kit, things that won’t make a mess or require a lot of drying time. I had not drawn zombie bunnies in quite some time so I thought it was time that they made a reappearance. I did the outlining with my trusty micron pens and filled in the colour with watercolour pencils. Although I am not a massive fan of watercolour pencils generally (because I am not very adept at using them) but they do come in handy for drawing on the go. I activated the pigment with my water pens. The process doesn’t replicate the look of actual watercolour but it does the job.
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.
The first of two Life Book lessons this week was taken by Donna Downey. The object of the lesson was to work in black and white. I often work with a limited palette including often just working in black and white. I decided, therefore, that I should apply a monochrome approach to a subject I have only ever tackled in colour before: zombie bunnies. Pretty much any excuse to draw my zombie bunnies, I will grab. I used India ink for this piece, diluting in order to create the different tones of grey. It is interesting to see how different the zombie bunnies look when not in vibrant colour. My oldest son declared that they looked creepier, more menacing. My 10 year old said it looked like they were auditioning for a Universal monster movie.
My 6 year old was home sick at the beginning of the week so he was arting alongside me. He decided to use watercolour to paint his own zombie characters, a zombie jungle scene apparently. I love the detail of the lion’s eyeball dangling out of the socket.
I had a boost to the creative side of my ego recently with two people liking my work so much they commissioned me to produce drawings for them. I have not made any art for anyone other than myself and family for well over a year since the whole immigration and relocation thing gobbled up my free time and sapped my creative energies. I have, however, been gradually building in a bit of time here and there to devote to creativity. It was, therefore, a real pleasure to spend a whole lot of time on art last week in order to design, create and complete both commissions. Of course, the house went to wrack and ruin as a result but meh! You will need to forgive the quality of the photography in this blog post. Last week was incredibly hectic so it is actually a wonder I thought to even grab a quick snapshot of the work in progress and the completed work. Suffice to say they look much better in real life than they do in the photos.
The first commission was for a doodled tree frog. I have done other doodle animals before but this was my first frog. It was a really fun shape to work with and the silhouette was so very clearly of a frog using its sticky feet to clamber up something that I had complete free rein to fill it with whatever doodles struck me. I started by sketching out the external and internal shapes. I then started to fill in the interior shapes with lots of doodles, working in different areas so as to avoid the ink running or blotting or my fingers accidentally smudging anything. It was very therapeutic and restful to just sit at a table in a pool of sunlight and doodle away. I aimed to balance out more geometric patterns with more organic ones.
And here’s the finished doodle tree frog:
In my family, we are a tad obsessed with zombies. I have been crazy for zombies since childhood when I first saw ‘Night of the Living Dead’. I have watched everything I can featuring zombies ever since and have read a few zombie novels too. My kids have inherited my love of zombies though, of course, they don’t get to watch those movies or read those books – since I am not as permissive in such regards as my parents apparently were. They play ‘Plants V Zombies’, dress up as zombies and play zombie-themed make-believe games. They also inspired me, a couple of years ago, to take on a weekly drawing challenge whereby I had to draw a different zombie every single week of the calendar year. Emerging from that personal project, I also sold a few zombie drawings. The other of last week’s commissions was for a version of a Zombie Bunnies drawing I sold a couple of years ago. My eleven year old has yet another version in his bedroom. As you can imagine, I took great pleasure in drawing zombie critters again because it has been a while.
I started by mapping out where the zombie bunnies should appear on the paper. I then applied the colour. I work in quite a graphic way with the detail coming from the drawn line so this stage was all about blocking in chunks of colour to create separation and contrast between the members of the horde.
The final stage is the most intricate and time-consuming as it is about using the ink dip pen to add all of the detail of shape, line and pattern. It is these elements that ultimately give the zombies their unique characteristics and personalities but which also tie the drawing together as a whole, unifying the image.
I had a great deal of pleasure in producing these two very different art works. They were both fun projects. It was also a real joy to be justified in devoting that much time, energy and focus into art again. It made me realise how much I was missing art in my life. My goal, therefore, once we move into our permanent house, is to find a light space in the house that I can “borrow” on a regular basis to act as my art studio. Furthermore, if I can find the time in my schedule to allow me to be productive then I might even explore the possibility of actively selling my art again. But that is getting ahead of myself for now.
Thanks for looking.