Dreams of Ink and Watercolour

 

 

Following on from last week’s ink sketches I painted a new picture of Neil Gaiman‘s character “Dream” (from the Vertigo Comic “The Sandman”).  I wanted to combine fairly standard comic ink drawing with the looseness of watercolour for the background and some highlights.

So I began by adding some masking fluid in a few places to add some texture to my background.  Then I laid down an initial wash using Ultramarine, Paynes Grey and Alizeran Crimson wet into wet…

 

Once that had dried I wet the whole canvas again and added to the initial colours…(The colour is a bit darker in this photo because the paint is still wet.  Watercolour paint always dries lighter than it is when wet.)

 

 

Then I sketched in my figure and laid down some basic ink lines… (Shout out to the lovely “Peter Draws” from YouTube who talks a lot about his love of lines.  Whenever I think about lines now I find myself thinking about him and his work. It’s nice because his videos are really relaxing.)

 

 

Then I used my brush pen to add some deep shadows.  I love adding the darkest darks because it sets the tonal range for the picture in my fuzzy little art head.

 

Next I gave his hair a lot of ink texture with a 0.5 Micron pen.  This particular pen has been a bit squashed on the nib so I can get a range of widths and textures out of it.  Then I began adding some Paynes Grey to Dream’s coat…

 

 

I finished off by shading his face and neck, and colouring his hair, coat and T-shirt.  His face in the comics is always white so I used a mixture of Lamp Black and Paynes Grey to get a really neutral grey colour.  The hair was done using varying mixtures of Ultramarine and Alizeran Crimson to get a range of purples, violets and blues.

 

Here’s the final painting…

 

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Ink Dreams and October Fun

October Fun

I’ve been thinking about next month and the whole Inktober thing. Now I’d quite like to do a small ink drawing everyday for a month. I think it would be fun. But I had a look at the list of prompts for this year and didn’t relate to most of them. I prefer prompts which are more definite – nouns rather than adjectives. I guess the original list is made up of adjectives to give artists more freedom but I can’t really follow it. It’s just something which makes little sense in my autistic brain. So I decided to make a list for myself.

Here it is…

If anyone wants to use this list – feel free – no rules – no stress – just enjoy doing what you want. I suspect I’ll take more than a month to do it, or skip some when I’m too busy or too tired, but I’m not going to let that stop me having a go.

Ink Dreams

Also this week, I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman Comic series. It’s really excellent! He’s a wonderfully imaginative author. I really love his character “Dream”. Dream is a quiet reflective sort of guy who occasionally seems melancholy in a modern, hipster sort of way and yet at the same time is an immortal with his own realm. The comic artists who worked on this Vertigo series were Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, Shawn McManus, Marc Hempel, and Michael Zulli.

I wanted to have a go at drawing this character.

I began with a basic drawing and played around with his hair colour-wise…

However this version seemed a bit generic and Dream is definitely not generic. So I did a few more sketches…

I think the top one ended up looking more like Professor Snape than Dream!!! But I liked the bottom one. I was especially pleased with the way my Pentel Brush pen was behaving as it ran out of ink. It gave me some lovely textures to use on Dream’s coat.

Then I began a different pose in pencil…

I really liked this look where Dream’s eyes are shadowed. Here’s the same image inked…

This time I used a shading technique where you hatch the shadows but also outline them. I really like the effect it made.

My portrait adventures with a Princess and a Superhero.

 

 

This week I first attempted a portrait of Carrie Fisher in her role as Princess Leia Organa in the Sequal Trilogy of Star Wars.  I wanted Leia to be older as I think Carrie got even more beautiful as she aged.  I also wanted her to look battle worn and tired after being so long in the fight.

I began with a sketch…

Then began to paint…

 

And this is the final painting…

 

In terms of how the painting went I think I struggled a bit for the exact likeness I wanted.  It’s almost as if my own knowledge of her from when she was younger overlayed what I painted.  I think studying the Loomis Head Construction Method helped a little, mostly with the shadow line which runs down the edge of the face but my best portraits have always been done using a grid method.

Here’s a pencil portrait I began using a grid which I haven’t had time to finish as I’ve been back at school this week with a new class!  The portrait is of Edward Norton from the days when he played Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk (2008) who has a very iconic look.  I begin by printing a reference image that will fit my home made grid.  This is made from an A4 paper pocket with the grid ruled on in permanent marker.  Then you can draw what’s in each box on any size paper of the same proportions.  It’s easiest to do using paper which is the same size exactly, as I’ve done here, but it’s really not much harder to do it on any size you like, so long as you set up a proportional grid on the paper on which you are drawing.

 

 

Here’s the pencil drawing up close as far as I was able to get…

 

The thing I like about the grid method as opposed to the Loomis method is that I don’t have to imagine anything.  I just draw the darks and lights, lines and shapes, as I see them and it just works.  Maybe the secret to all of these methods of drawing is really just to choose or find a method that works for you.  For me using a grid is much better as I struggle with imagination.  Whereas someone else might find the Loomis method better.  I think Loomis’ work is especially good for drawing characters without any reference.

 

 

+  Rest in Peace Carrie +

 

Playing Around with Loomis Head Construction and a Sketch of a Wonderful Woman!

 

 

This week I began work on the Loomis book on drawing and had a play with the Loomis head construction.  Here are some of my working sketches…

 

 

Once I had the method I started making up my own variations.  At first I looked at common differences between male and female shaped heads and came up with some imaginary men and women…

 

Then, taking my cue from Loomis’ book I began to alter the basic form to make different shaped heads.  These were drawn in more of an illustrative / animation style and then inked with pen.  I tried to do my own version of some of loomis’ heads…

 

As you can see from these sketches I had a lot of fun playing around with this, especially with the front and profile illustrative inks.  Also, I think you can probably see that I struggled with the placement of the furthest eye in three-quater views.  Although the Loomis construction gave me boundaries I think I set each furthest eye too far away from the nose which makes all the 3/4 views look ‘off’.  After all of the work I did on bone structure and anatomy I didn’t take into account some basic anatomy facts…

  1. The eyes wrap around the head with the outside of each eyelid being place further back from the very front of the head than the inside of each eyelid which changes the angle at which we see the furthest eye.
  2. Because the curved plane of the eyes  is going away from the viewer there will be a small amount of foreshortening which will seem to bring the most inside point of the furthest eye’s eyelid closer to the nose.

So, I put all of this learning into the mix, and then made a quick (10 minute) portrait sketch of someone who will always be my princess – the wonderful, funny, beautiful Carrie Fisher.

 

Next week, I’ll use this sketch to paint a proper watercolour portrait – if I can!!!