Friday, 26 December 2008

Puppy in pastels - finished

A quiet boxing day has meant time for me to complete my first attempt in pastels, working from an online demonstration by Colin Bradley. I like the softness of the result though it wouldn't suit all subjects - I still prefer the precision of coloured pencils but I can still see that I will use pastels again for some pieces. The colours haven't come out that well in thus scan but good enough to get the idea. The finished picture is approx 11" x 8".

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Puppy in pastels

More on my first pastel attempt, it is progressing quite fast. I like the blendability of pastels but it does mean I have to be very careful where I put my hand! I would certainly get in a dreadful mess with pastel sticks, though they would be useful for backgrounds - I might get a few just for that. The demonstration I am following (by Colin Bradley) is very useful, I wouldn't have been as successful had I just been starting from scratch without any help. Not that the puppy is going to be perfect, far from it but not bad for my first attempt. Here is the update scan.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Playing with pastels

I have taken the plunge and begun a practice piece with my new pastel pencils; this picture is from an online demo by Colin Bradley. I'm liking the pastels so far, very different to coloured pencil and I won't use them all the time but nice for a change. This little dog is in the very early stages but I'm happy with how it's going, also I'm pleased that I did the initial line drawing freehand!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Drakkar - finis!

A couple more hours today did it and I'm happy (well reasonably) with the final result. After erasing yet again I remembered the first exercise in my drawing book (yes, the one I'm meant to be working through) and turned both the reference photo and my drawing upside down, vbg. Ok, it isn't perfect but is better than I expected yesterday when I was almost ready to give up. Amazingly it helped quite a bit, at least I think so! Feedback is appreciated as always. It will probably be after Christmas before I get started on my next piece - if I can stay away from drawing that long - after so long not doing anything I'm now wanting to draw all the time! I'm just about to order some pastel pencils so it is just possible that I will be brave and post my first attempt, then again, maybe not. Here is Drakkar, as good as I can get him. Edit, after some feedback in my UKCPS group I have darkened the shadowy area under his chin, I think it is an improvement.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

A difficult kitten!

Today I erased, redid, erased, redid again - and I've still not got it right! I am really struggling to get the fur just above his nose correct. I'm almost tempted to leave it as it is but I think I will try just once more, then if it is still wrong it will just have to be one to put down to experience.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Here we are again

I sneaked in an hour or so this afternoon when I really should have been writing Xmas cards. It was such a dull afternoon that I drew under artificial light - never a good idea. I'm not happy with how this drawing is going, I have a feeling that when I look at it again tomorrow a large part of today's work will be erased and redone. Posting it always helps, I can be more objective when I see the picture on screen. I ask myself what would I think if it was someone elses work? Now I can already see there is a lot wrong but I will leave it for tonight - but expect changes tomorrow!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Drakkar's progress

There is not much to show since the last upload but I'm posting anyway! I don't want anyone that checks to think I've given up, lol. This scan is with black paper behind the drafting film instead of the pink, at least now you can see the beginnings of his pale fur and it will also be easier for me, being able to see where I'm drawing is always helpful! It is only the very beginnings - lots more time and work needed. With Christmas looming ever closer I may not get too much done over the next few days, lots of cards to write and present wrapping to be done. Today I did my last ever dog club Christmas party, I am giving up my class after 16 years. It will seem strange to have my Wednesdays free after so long but more time for art and photography, I hope. Time to cook dinner, so here is Drakkar.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

birman kitten update

A lot more work on my kitten today - his name is Drakkar and I must thank Alice again for letting me use her beautiful photo as a reference. Hopefully it will look like him when finished though as I've said before, I am a long way from being able to achieve photo realism! I have spent a long time on his eyes today and I think they are a vast improvement on yesterday's wip post. I worked on the reverse of the film as well as the front and have smoothed out the colour and deepened it, using both Prismacolors and Derwent Coloursoft pencils and lots of blending with a Lyra Splenda Blender. The initial colour that I used for the fur around his eyes didn't look right so that all had to be erased and redone - with Derwent Studio, Artist & Drawing pencils - so to date he is a real mixture of different pencils. His dear little nose was also done by working on the front and back of the film, it's one way of getting around the lack of layering that I can do on film, though hard to work out what colours to use where! I can see that the scan hasn't picked up the pale fur around his eyes very well but it is there! Maybe when there is a little contrast with adjoining fur it will show up more. Today's work has taken about three hours. Here he is - I think he's coming on quite well, hope you think so too!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

eye eye!

It has taken a while but today I found some time to make a proper start on my little birman kitten. He is soooo cute. I decided to work on the eyes first as I expected them to be difficult - as indeed they were - so I'm quite pleased with the result. I also experimented with using a masque pen for the whiskers & eyebrows. Not very successful as every time I brushed away pencil debris it caught on the lines of masking fluid and made a mess and if I brushed harder it took away the masking fluid as well! I will try again though and just be more careful of the direction I brush as I think it should be easier than putting in the whiskers first and having to work around them. The scan isn't brilliant, the eye colour is darker in reality, it may look better with black paper behind rather than the pink but I chose pink as the little kitten is resting on a pink cushion and there is a lot of relected pink in his white fur.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Birman kitten line drawing

Not much to show for this week, every day I have been stopped by more pressing things from getting on with a new picture. Today, despite an awful dull day I have just managed to get the line drawing of a birman kitten on to the drafting film. One of my Flickr contacts has kindly given me permission to use her beautiful photos as a reference, thanks Alice.
This picture will be a close up of the kitten's face. I've worked out how to get the line drawing on the reverse of the drafting film so it's the right way when I turn it over. This means it will be much easier to erase the lines as I go along and is one of the good things about drafting film! Looking at it on screen, I can already see that the whiskers need repositioning.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Christmas Robin

A success story this is not! I was reasonably happy until I started the background and then things started to go wrong. My plan was to use a Derwent studio pencil and smooth out the colour with a tissue - it is a technique I've use before with good results but this time it wasn't working. I resorted to using a watercolour pencil and blending the colour with damp cotton wool, scary getting the drawing damp! At least it has rescued it from going in the bin.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Back to my robin

As some of you will remember, back in January I began a drawing of a robin, which I've dug out, dusted off and restarted work on. I actually got on quite well yesterday afternoon and the robin is complete. However I'm now going to attempt to add a tree stump from a different reference photo and a soft background. I hope it works and that I don't ruin the whole thing, I want this for one of my Christmas cards this year and I also hope to put it in my cp group's Christmas theme. If you want to see the other works in progress for this piece look in January.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Honey - finished take two!

After some feedback in the UKCPS group I've made some minor adjustments, I think she looks better now.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Honey ~ finished!

Yes, she's finished. The fur on her neck isn't right but it's as good as I can get it. I'm still not sure why I have so much trouble with it and what it is I do wrong. If anyone who reads my blog has any suggestions I'm happy to hear them - I need all the help I can get!
Next I shall try and finish the little robin I started back in January, maybe in time to print off a few Christmas cards. After that, maybe something a little different; I'm thinking of trying pastel pencils. Just a possible at the moment - I will have to buy some - but I've seen some demos recently that are quite inspiring and I'm quite keen to have a go.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Honey's progress

I had hoped that I would be posting my completed picture today but as you can see that hasn't happened. Not too much progress in fact which is a shame, the light today was perfect but I had to catch up with paid work - I have to do something to pay for all my art materials! I'm comingto the bit I like least, the soft and fluffy looking fur down her neck. I always have difficulty making it look realistic; more so than anywhere else - at least I think so. I am going to try and do my pencil strokes really carefully, studying the way the fur curls and the darkness of the shadows. Fingers crossed that it will at least be a little better than previous pictures!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Foxy lady

Another update on Honey, I did an hour or so on her this morning. Then as you can see I revamped my blog, I hope you like the new colour scheme. I had planned to draw again this afternoon but that idea came to nothing! I had a deadline to meet for getting my response to our National Park Authority's plan for the beautiful New Forest that I live on the edge of. As their plan includes restricting dog walkers, amongst many other undesirable things it was important that I laid my art aside for a few hours! Enough of that and back to Honey. I feel she is really beginning to take shape and even though I can see there are areas I should have done differently I am quite pleased. The colour on the lower half of her face is much more realistic but I can't remember exactly which colours I used - I really must write these things down in a little black book, vbg. So here is Honey - stage four.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

More on Honey

A beautiful bright November morning gave me a couple of hours to do some more work on Honey. The sun streams through the windows in the morning so it's pleasant to sit and draw. Here's the latest scan, I'm still struggling with her fur!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Slow progress

I have spent quite a bit of time on Honey today, without much progress. First I made slight adjustment to the fur to the right of her left ear (as you look at her). I knew from Tuesday's scan that it wasn't right, it's funny how scanning it and looking at the picture on the pc can show up the mistakes that I can't see when it's right in front of me. I really struggled with her eye, I started off with much too pale a colour, then of course because it's drafting film I couldn't get the layers to darken it. But I persevered and used the blending pencil and the result is just about ok. I'm still having problems with the fur colours and the fur direction, when I look closely at my reference pic I can see there are so many different colours and the hairs are changing direction here there and everywhere! - I need to be much more patient and precise to get it right - not something I'm good at, bg. Having said all that, I'm still fairly happy with my little vixen - here is stage two.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Foxy beginnings

Today I had a couple of free hours without a hovering husband, lol - that makes it sound as though he wanders around in mid air - but I'm sure you know what I mean. So I have begun my next cp project, one of the delightful foxes from the British Wildlife Centre - I think this one is Honey, the vixen. This piece is another on drafting film and once again I'm finding the colours very difficult to get right but other than that it's going quite well - though there's plenty of time for that to change! Here she is so far.

Monday, 3 November 2008

A polar bear in graphite

Another 'upside down' effort - this one copied from a coloured pencil book I have by Lee Hammond. I quite like how he's turned out, bearing in mind it only took about 30 -40 minutes to complete. I really want to get on with my fox in cp but the light has been dreadful the past couple of days so he will just have to wait.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

More upside down drawing

I have been practicing some more of the 'upside down' technique. These drawings aren't from the book but the author does encourage students to do extra pieces. I'm finding it so fascinating I shall try and do one a day until I feel really ready to move on to the next chapter. Obviously these drawings are again copies of someone elses work and by no means perfect, however I'm still astounded by the results and the difference that is made by doing the drawing upside down.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Learning to draw

It may seem a bit odd for an artist but I have just bought a book on learning to draw. I've always said I have no natural talent and when I do a line drawing to do a cp picture I use either a grid method or a lightbox. If I draw freehand it's a disaster, doesn't even look like the animal it's meant to represent. It was with some trepidation that I ordered this book, which came highly recommended, it's called 'The new Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' by Betty Edwards. I've only just started it but the results so far are remarkable and already I would recommend this book to anyone that thinks they can't draw but would like to. I'm going to post one of the drawings I've done from the first proper exercise in the book, which involves copying a line drawing taken from a 16th century drawing by an unknown german artist..........but upside down! Now if I'd tried to do this the right way up it would have looked dreadful. Ok, I know it isn't perfect but as this is the very early stages of the book I'm so impressed with the result.

My next coloured pencil project is nearly under way, I'm going to do one of the delightful foxes from the British Wildlife Centre, I got some great photos of them on the photography day back in May. Maybe one day I'll be drawing them from life!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Scottish Wildcat ~ finished!

I can't believe how quickly I have finished this drawing. Ok, it's not anywhere near perfect - I really have to be more careful with my pencil strokes as I have tendency to work very fast - but on the whole I'm happy with it as my first piece after a long break. Drafting film is certainly interesting though I think it might work better for me on a subject with a smoother coat. I don't feel I've got the texture of her coat and without being able to layer I don't know how to achieve that. Anyway, enough waffle - here she is.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Taking shape

After today's work I feel that she is beginning to take shape, though I'll admit it's only an approximation of my reference photo. Today I made a direct comparison on the pc (overlaying the photo onto my drawing and shape wise it's pretty good, with just an error in the depth from under her nose to her mouth however the colours aren't good. Photo realism is something I would love to achieve but I'm a long way from there! Considering that this is my first drawing for about 9 months (and that I never finished the last one), I'm reasonably happy with my progress.

Monday, 20 October 2008

A wildcat evening

I wasn't very happy with this morning's scan, I knew there were bits that really weren't right. So here's an update with some changes and additions. It's a little better, I think. How I wish I had someone to stand over me and say what it is I do wrong when I am attempting to depict fur! Working on drafting film is certainly very fast, simply because I can't add many layers. I know from the work of other artists that this needn't be a disadvantage if you know what you're doing, trouble is I don't, lol.

Wildcat progress

As you can tell by two posts in two days, I am spending a lot of time at my drawing board. I wouldn't say I'm entirely pleased with how it's going, I'm already struggling with the fur both rendering and colour choice. I will keep going, this is after all a learning curve and I must expect difficulties after so long without practice. I am happy with her eyes and nose! Here is scan number two. There are bits that I will almost certainly have to change, one good thing, erasing is easy on this surface but it also smudges horribly if I get my hand on what I've already done.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

I'm back, with a wildcat!

Ok, I know it has been many months since I've posted and even longer since I've done any drawing. I finally decided to have another go, this time attempting a scottish wildcat, done from a photograph that I took back in May on a photography day at The British Wildlife Centre. I'm doing this drawing on drafting film, my first time using this surface. There's things i like about it and others I don't. The surface doesn't accept many layers and I'm used to adding loads of layers to give depth and definition. On the other hand the pencils (I'm using prismacolors) glide on effortlessly so it isn't as hard on my hands. Anyway, here is the first scan, I've done it with black paper behind though that may not be how I finally present it.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

bird watching

I have been doing a fair amount of bird watching recently both in the garden for birdwatch weekend and elsewhere. After the disappointment of putting feeders up in the garden last year and not getting any birds I bought another multi feeder and sited it in a different place and quickly the birds have started coming, with more arriving everyday! I've also been to Keyhaven Marshes, Blashford & Lower Test. Here are some of the many photos. The turnstone was a bird I'd never knowingly seen before, also the snipe at Lower Test was a first. It's exciting for me to have siskins in my garden, six weeks ago I'd never even seen one. Also, although I've seen a nuthatch before, yesterday was the first time I'd managed to photograph one.

Friday, 18 January 2008

A little more drawing

The next stage of my robin, just a little more done - deepening some colours in some areas and beginning on others. Again the light is poor today and half an hour was enough to give me both a headache and backache. I can't say I'm happy with him at present but will continue plodding on in the hope that he will improve!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

A little work on my robin

Just a quick post to say I have begun the robin at long last! Not much, the light has been dreadful today and an hour was enough to give me a bad headache - I really must get the lighting situation sorted or I can see me giving up again. I'd also like to know if anyone reading this has any experience of optivisors (magnifiers which you can wear over your eyes). I have been thinking of one for a while but good ones are quite pricey & I don't know if one will help me. I do know that many crafters and artists use them but that's about it. Meanwhile here is the little robin after todays effort, obviously still a long way to go.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

So here we are............. 2008, Christmas has been and gone and I am feeling very flat after all the festivities. I'm really hoping to get back into my art - I got some new pencils for Xmas - Derwent Coloursoft, so I'm eager to try them out. I've also ordered some drafting film, I've been keen to try this for a while. Just have to decide on a subject!
Had a couple of nice walks recently and also popped up to Hatchet Pond where we were surprised to see three swans (two adults & a juvenile), two cormorants and a pair of grebe. Only the swans were in photographing distance though. Also will post a couple of pics from our last visit to Blashford, where I saw my first siskin & was lucky enough to get a pic of that and also of a great spotted woodpecker. Although I took the woodpecker through glass, it has come out well.