Archive for the ‘watercolour’ Category

While getting my journal through design and to press at the end of a cycle, I am usually wanting a bit of down time. Time without a screen and time without a deadline or responsibilities.

This time I threw some watercolour around on a 12×16″ piece of Cason XL paper. I allowed both hard and soft edges and used a bit of Indian ink too.

loose wc background

Seeing as how nothing jumped out at me to turn it into via negative painting, I then decided I would sketch a lady and flower and cut a stencil from it. I managed to preserve my fingers (I’m useless with a scalpel!) and placed the stencil over the background three times, moving it around and taking a photo each time, and this is the result.

three wc ladies

I rather liked all of them for different reasons. But not wanting to waste the bits I’d cut out, I traced round them onto the watercolour paper, and stuck them on black paper.

collaged lady and flower

And finally, before chucking the stencil out, I placed it on some mid-grey Strathmore paper and pressed white pastel through it.

pastel stencil lady

This proved somewhat messier, but there you go – I had completely unwound and satisfied the itch to create something!

 

I spent some time last week doing pen and wash sketches of various kitchen items and various foodstuffs – mostly cakes and pastries. They are not meant to be accurate, rather an indication. And in the case of the kitchen items, I tried to remove mention of any branding but keep colours close enough that they would be recognisable for what they are.

I owe much to Yasmina Creates for kicking me off on this path although, as she told me, this is the first time she’s seen anything but pastries done in this style! Plus, I imitated her trademark flowery offerings by trying an image in similar style. Is this a style I want to pursue? Who knows? It could come in useful for illustration purposes. I certainly take to watercolour more when it’s used like this. We’re maybe not quite friends yet, but me and my pan sets are getting more of an acquaintance relationship recently 🙂

Eleanor Patrick cakes and pastries

Eleanor Patrick kitchen stuff

flower and wash2

My mother always said I was a fairground child. She had reason – I used to like trying my hand at all the stalls. Not that we went to many fairs, but the Girl Guides and the Scouts had them and occasionally one came to town from further afield.

I think I frustrated her because she could see that I had some talent of sorts but that I squandered it (her words!) on getting to grips with many things instead of mastering just one.

Actually, I think this enriches my life. I love learning all sorts of things and getting fun from doing all sorts of activities. But – and it’s a big but – it does mean that while I’m illustrating (and in the zone), I’m fine. Same with writing. But if I’m casually doing one or the other (not in the zone) then I can get seriously distracted . For instance, I had just finished an article illustration done digitally, about the financial sickness of a particular country’s banks, when I decided to do some watercolour! Not for any reason in particular; just some vegetables and fruit for fun. Miniature ones. I’ve assembled them here for you.

wc-fruit-and-veg

White Nights watercolours on Khadi handmade paper

It’s not that they’re bad (for my lowly ability, they’re quite reasonable – and each is only two inches tall) but I know I won’t continue to practise watercolour: my oil pastels are winking at me. And my alcohol inks… So – fairground child indeed!

What I’m thinking of doing is rationing some of my time. Work is work and I must concentrate, then allocate myself some hours or days to simply do whatever takes my fancy among the fairground stalls. For that, I shall call myself Wandering Ellie.

Every now and then I remember to practise drawing the same character from different viewpoints doing different things. You may remember this attempt. I was at it again in the last couple of days, only this time I gave him (or is it a her with shortish hair?) some huge objects to manhandle. I was just being whimsical. But then some ideas came to mind.

Maybe:

He feels little in his family. Maybe he has a skill no one really notices. Maybe there is some incident when he knows he could help but no one even glances at him.

So what happens? *shrugs* Well, maybe he has to surreptitiously assemble the things he needs, in order to do whatever he needs to do to sort it out! So, stretching my brain a bit… he, um, steals the sharpener to sharpen the pencil, then draws the image and finally paints it.

That latter image was meant to be pastel sticks but looks more like watercolour paints – except for the lack of a mixing lid! He struggles to lug this one to his bedroom…

So yes, I don’t have time right now because a 400-page book has to be proofread this week for a publisher. But this is how a story could grow in my head, needing many revisions obviously, but perhaps it could be made to work if I really wanted to.

Nice to have conjured up a spark on a cold, icy day 🙂 Happy new year to you all.

dragongirl-pen-zigbrush-boy

You never know what will set you off writing. This morning’s combination of triggers was a surprise.

I had sketch-painted a conker in its shell last night while drinking my last coffee before bed. It was only a quick one and could be improved if that were my main aim, whereas it’s only for relaxation and mind-emptying ready for sleep.

But I got up this morning and thought: ‘Must look up the disease that’s killing our conker trees.’

This gave me information just before I finished off reading about the Mad-Song Stanza that rhymes x a b b a. This info was in an article in Writing Magazine – and the only reason I had a copy of Writing Magazine was on account of having noticed a very cheap year’s subscription from iTunes on the PocketMags platform. [Wow – hasn’t this e-platform become brilliant since I last used it. Thoroughly recommended, for WM at least.]

And the only reason I noticed the subs offer was that I had won a competition WM runs (as I mentioned in an earlier post) and wanted to read the judge’s crit of my story! Strange how life happens 🙂

Anyway, the end result of this trigger chain is a little experimental image with a little experimental stanza underneath it. Food for thought too – nature trying to right itself.

conker

TREE SKIRMISHING

The conker tree’s at war

with moths that mine its leaves.

But friendly mites

take killing bites

inside the pupa thieves.

Into the forest

Posted: January 26, 2016 in art style, watercolour
Tags: ,

Well, a girl has to have a bit of downtime! Over the last few days, I used up some Hahnemuhle 425 gsm watercolour paper doing a couple of figures but in different positions, sort of sequentially. Much harder in real media than digitally, where you can tweak to your heart’s content. So many things could be improved (pink legs anyone??) but it was a learning exercise. Watercolour is not really my thing. I did want to imply story, though. Writers always want story 🙂

One thing I do like is the brush I used throughout – an Escoda versátil sintético size 16 – what a fab point and water-holding body. Couldn’t agree to change to a smaller one, hence the slips occasionally.

Acknowledgement: It’s possible I got the basic idea for a long thin guy on his own from somewhere a long time ago (it came to light from one of my old sketchbooks so I can’t tell now, but maybe I did), but all the rest is entirely my own work. However, if you think you inspired me, thank you.

forest fantasy pt1 blog

forest fantasy pt2 blog

fantasy forest pt3 blog

 

I never thought I would prefer solid paints to tube paints. But then, I never thought I would prefer small illustration to large masterpieces! My tube paints are all W&N Artist quality (hollow laugh, but they say we should use good paints) plus a few Terry Harrison ones. These are great for large areas of wash. Here, I’m going to introduce my three favourites field boxes which have pans not tubes, in case you fancy giving one a try.

First off, I acquired a tiny travel box from Daler Rowney – with quarter size pans. Not refillable with blocks but I could replace the paint from tubes. These have entranced me. With a cut-down, decent-size brush together with the given small one, they are my go-to set, at home or out. The colours come off onto the brush well and, strangely, the one mixing area is mostly enough.

Daler Rowney quarter pans

Daler Rowney quarter pans

I then found out about St Petersburg White Nights – a set of block paints from Russia. Very reasonably priced and nice to use in a different way. Also soft. I wouldn’t take these out for a quick sketch because the folding out palettes make it a little bulky to hold in one hand. But definitely if going away for a week to a relative or a hotel. The front tray can be removed. There are some great colours in this box. I confess I was a little lured by the fantastic write-ups and the rather romantic-sounding name, but I haven’t regretted the outlay once. The names on the wrappers are not repeated elsewhere so I quickly made a chart to keep.

St Petersburg White Nights

St Petersburg White Nights

And then, just recently, someone on ArtTutor asked about Koi paints. I was probably stressed out with work and vulnerable to shopping therapy, but OMG what superb paints they have turned out to be! It’s a travel-sized box again with a removable additional palette that can be fixed left or right, plus two little sponges and a water brush. The paints come off easily and are transparent. What a gorgeous set!

Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box

Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box

I might or might not take these out for a spot of sketching but they are certainly fit for purpose – they won’t look this new for long. I’ve no idea how I would refill these particular paints, but I think the W&N box has proved how long little blocks can last for illustrations, so I will worry about that in a decade or two!

I think I should abstain now from buying any more field boxes. But if you’ve used any of these boxes, I’d love to hear what you think of them.