Fire Salamander Inks and “The ugly stage”

This week’s drawing began as a doodle of some water currents. I then decided to redraw them and add a fire salamander larva (which looks a lot like an Axolotl).

Here are some process photos…

“The Ugly Stage”

The photo above captures really well how most of my artworks go through a horrible “ugly stage”. This is the point at which I start to think I am kidding myself about being an artist and I should just give it up and watch Netflix instead! As it happens with this particular drawing I was tired and asthmatic while drawing the above. I had pneumonia. My Ventolin had given me an essential tremor in my hands and for some inexplicable reason I had persevered with the inking anyway. Thankfully I stopped before I completely ruined the picture.

The next day I picked my drawing time carefully to avoid problems with my breathing and things were much easier. I tidied up a lot of the errors and began the process of trying to find creative solutions to the difficulties I’d got myself into.

Here is how the drawing turned out in my book…

Here it is close up…

One of the things I was unhappy about with this picture was that I wasn’t able to fully make the salamander larva stand out from the background. Normally I would do this by making the contrast and dark black lines strongest in the subject, but I had made the water currents really dark already so that wasn’t possible. It would also have been good to have put part of one of the water currents over the top of the animal to make him appear to be floating amongst them.

I did play around with adding some digital colour to push the subject/object contrast through colour, but in the end I think I preferred the ink drawing…

4 thoughts on “Fire Salamander Inks and “The ugly stage”

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