October Illustrations – Graphical Illustration “Japan in Black and White”

My last October Illustration is a graphical respresentation of some aspects of Japan.

During the Easter holidays, while the lockdown was happening, I found a couple of brilliant YouTube channels about Japan. (The Japanese culture and it’s beautiful islands are an interest of mine.) The first is Life Where I’m From and the second is Abroad in Japan . Both of them are interesting and informative and often charmingly funny.

While watching these I decided to make an ink illustration of some of the places and objects which captured my interest. I wasn’t sure how I was going to approach this so I began by making some rough sketches in my sketchbook…

Then I decided to make it into a black and white poster. I found some old A3 acrylic and oil paper which is really heavy and takes ink very well and taped it onto my board. I wanted to make a big tai chi in the centre as it would draw the eye from further away which is something you want when illustrating a poster. So I made some basic construction lines and then began to draw…

(Apologies for this image. When I start drawing I use my pencils really lightly, so I had to really push the image in photoshop to get the pencils to show up.)

I went on to make a simple outline drawing of all of my quick sketches and then added a few more…

Once my outline was done I first filled in all of the solid black areas so that I could make sure my picture had a good overall balance and looked interesting from a distance.

Here is the drawing once all of the black ink was done…

After that I put in my textures. I was still near the beginning of working on texture so there are fewer textures than I would necessarily like if I redrew this picture over the summer, but I was slowly improving.

Here are a couple of close-ups of the differing textures I used…

Once my textures were done I then added a few areas of midtone ink (made by mixing water and regular ink in a waterbrush.) Here is my final illustration…

Over all I’m really pleased with it. It has the strong graphical quality around the central tai chi which I was looking for.

 

October Illustrations – Using Graphical Patterns to Draw a Squawking Crow

This was also drawn during the summer holidays.

I live on the very edge of town next to a local common and a small wood. We have a small colony (or “murder!”) of crows living in the wood. Occasionally they fight with other birds (mainly magpies, but also seagulls if the weather is turning bad offshore). They make a huge racket when this happens. This is what was going on when I began to think about this drawing. I wanted to see if I could make a drawing of a crow using nothing but patterns. I also wondered if I could somehow show the crow squawking really loudly in indignation in a visual way.

So I had a try. I began by sketching out a quick basic crow…

Then I developed some simple filigree type patterns over the top of the basic sketch. I kept the beak more realistic as I felt that it was an essential feature which is didn’t want to change.

Once I had a basic outline I filled in some shading, added a half tone ink wash to some of the bird’s body and head and then built up a background using similar motifs trying to show visually the huge noise these birds can make when they are annoyed.

Here’s the final drawing…

I think the drawing captures the essence of my shouty little friend sqawking his little black head off quite well. The mid tone ink wash doesn’t photograph very well unfortunately but it’s patchy quality when photographed adds to the general scruffiness of the crow in question so it’s still in character! I do wish I’d taken a photo of this image when all of the black ink was done before I added the half-tone wash because I think adding tone digitally might have been a good option for this design.

October Illustrations – Cartoon “Emissions Test”

This week’s October Illustration is done in more of a cartoon style. Unlike my sister, who is naturally hilarious, I have quite a weird sense of humour. To me, my jokes seem funny, but it’s quite rare that other folk see what I’m getting at.

So last year around Christmas time I had a go at creating a cartoon with a slightly sideways take on the subject of pollution. I used a fly as my main character in this design because flies are creatures we, as humans, see as dirty, and so they can act as an icon for all kind of corruption including pollution.

In playing around with this theme I first drew a rather odd-looking anthropomorphised fly…

This image didn’t really go anywhere, but was useful to get my brain warmed up to my task. I kept playing around with the idea until I came up with another fly. This time I broke the normal insect biology of head, thorax and abdomen to get a creature that looked a little more cute. Then, to tie the fly image into my theme of pollution, I added an engine, an exhaust and had him smoking a cigarette.

Here’s the idea sketched in pencil…

Next I worked this up into an ink illustration and added a caption…


October Illustrations – Realistic “Dog Days”

During October this year I am going to post some ink drawings in a range of different styles. These were done at various stages over the whole of the last year. As I collected these together I was looking for:

  • a realistic illustration
  • cartoon illustration
  • an illustration focusing on natural patterns
  • an illustration focusing on more abstract patterns
  • a graphical illustration

This week, it’s simple realistic illustration. This is a drawing of a labrador dog in a fairly old fashioned realistic illustration style.

Over the last year I made a book for my mum. It had a collection of excerpts from her favourite poems which I then illustrated. This was one of the illustrations I made.

Here’s how I worked out the basic shapes…

Here’s my pencil drawing…

And this is the final illustration…