“Young Adults” Part 3 # 3 – The young man who loves to cook insects.

This is the last in a series of three ink portraits of young adults. This young Japanese man is an expert at cooking insects. I saw a video about him and was impressed by his knowledge, skills and enthusiasm. I paused the video just as he was serving a plate of insects and looking really thrilled at what he had made. His face was full of joy. It was such a beautiful image, I had to draw it.

Here are my pencils…

And here is the final drawing, following the same technique that I used in the previous two attempts at this particular exercise…

With this drawing I worked quite hard to put this young man in his commercial kitchen. It was an interesting place with many different tools of a chef’s trade. This drawing turned out a little looser than the last one. I think that gives it an immediacy which I almost like, but I still find my heart wanting tighter line work (even when I am actively trying to loosen it up a bit!)

“Young Adults” Part 1 # 3 – Eat…Drum…Sleep…(repeat)

 

For the next three weeks I’m doing a series of simple traditional ink sketches, based loosley on the theme of “Young Adults”.  Apart from scanning the images to get them onto the internet, they will be done entirely with traditional materials.

This week’s sketch is, ostensibly, of a fantastic young drummer I know, although I actually used three different references for the drawing.  He does do a LOT more than just eat, drum and sleep, but it still feels like a good motto for this particular drawing.

Here’s a photo of the pencils…

 

This is the final ink drawing…

 

It was done on Daler and Rowney cartridge paper in an A4 spiral bound sketchbook which I am really enjoying.  It is really liberating to have a bigger sketchbook!  I used Pigma Microns for the main drawing and then some “Calli” India Ink (made for calligraphy), diluted with tap water in a brush pen to add some mid tone.

While working on this I didn’t actually have a photo of my subject in this position, although I have seen him sleep like this on many occasions!  So I used three references to make this drawing, a portrait of my young drummer and 2 photos of different men lying on a couch.  One of the men was actually sleeping with a newspaper lying on him so, wanting to keep the theme of my subject being the young musician that he is, I changed it to the New Musical Express (even though the NME went digital a long while ago).  The other male reference was for his body sinking into the cushions since the first picture didn’t really show that.

With this set of drawings my aim was to try to ink in the same way that I draw, to give the drawings a looser feel.  I also worked on having my figure sink into his surroundings.  I pretty much managed it with his body, but forgot to really push this effect with his head!  I think if I’d have shown some of the cushion overlapping with the bottom of his face and changed the line of his hair to take account of it falling on the cushion it would read a little better.

 

“After the Game” Character Illustration – Part 2 of 2

My second attempt at a character illustration is again of an older man.  This time he has just been to the gym is having a bit of a sit down before hitting the showers after working out.  I wanted him to be in reasonably good shape for his age but feeling more tired after physical exercise than perhaps he used to.  Maybe he’s reflecting on this as he rests?

 

I began with a sketch…

It was done very quickly using a Pigma Micron ink pen and brushmarkers to add tone. At some point it also got wet and the edges all got a bit smudged.

I took a photo of this and reworked it digitally. My first job was to re-draw all the line art. At this stage I also corrected an error I could see with the man’s right leg (the left as we look at him) which appeared to be out of position.

 

Next I filled in some basic tones…

 

Then I added cell shading.  I do really enjoy the simplicity of this old fashioned way to partially give shape to a 2D image…

 

Once that was done I worked on the bench he was sitting on…

 

My last job was to draw in a painterly background. I imagined my subject was quite well off, so the place he was in was more of a private health spa than a regular gym, with the kind of generic paintings on the walls that I imagine might be in places like that.

 

Finally I adjusted my levels, made some tiny detail corrections and added some shadow to the area immediately below his feet so that the viewer can see the connection between him and the ground. Here is how it turned out…

 

Looking back I think the linework on his arms is a bit janky.  If I redrew it I would de-emphasise the changes in his outline due to different muscle groups.  Overall though I like the pose and the effect of a more painterly background agains the stark 2D cell-shaded figure.

 

Next week I have post all about a magical creature I drew in ink.  After that I will begin a series of three traditional ink drawings of young adults which I drew during the Witsun holidays.

“The Boatman” Character Illustration – Part 1 of 2

This week and next week I am working on illustrating people and endeavouring show something of their character in the illustration.  For my first illustration I drew a boatman on a canal barge.    I began with a very basic drawing I made in my sketchbook.

Like this…

And here is my ink ouline…

 

I transferred the this outline to my tablet and then loaded the ink drawing into Autodesk so I could work on it.

First I filled in some basic local tones. I did this in the normal way by opening a new layer underneath my line art and setting the line art layer to “multiply”. This is a blending mode which adds the tones of both layers together. I could then, easily, shade in different parts of my picture…

My next job was to add some cell shading to the image, like this…

In line with what I learned about my art from the Art Professor I wanted to add a digital background so that my character wasn’t just a single subject in a white field. Since the picture is of a boatman on his canal barge I decided to paint in the river and the bank behind him. The effect I was aiming for is the same one that Studio Ghibli use, where they have simple cartoon style animation for the people and looser more painterly images for the backgrounds. First I just put down a gradient for the river…

After that I painted in the rough shadows of trees and bushes along the riverbank, gradually building up layers and tones…

Finally I added some textured details to give the viewer the feeling of leaves on the plants…

So here is my finished picture…

In terms of evaluating how it went I’m generally quite pleased with it.

I enjoyed painting the river and bank in a looser , more impressionistic style. I usually find this quite difficult but doing it digitally helps a lot since I can easily undo something which doesn’t turn out well. I also enjoyed drawing this older man.  He seemed relaxed, experienced and a little tired.

If I did it again I would try to improve the overall quality of my ink drawing and work on cleaning up the photo of it a bit more.

Mud Man in Gouache – Pushing the Envelope

Following what I learned from the BB8 painting when I ran it through some photoshop filters, I decided to “push the envelope” with this next portrait. It is inspired by one of Kevin Millet‘s brilliant photographs of the model Matt Blouin in his series called “L’Homme D’Argent”. It was a beautifully lit photograph of Matt with paint or mud or some other dark material all over his face and upper shoulders. It had this contrast in the picture between a wild man and a bookish man. Th model’s glasses make him studeous but the mud pushes that image right into wildman territory. It’s a great photo.

So I began with a sketch…

I tried really hard not to worry about the details too much as I wanted the final effect as a whole to work rather than each pencil line.

Then I set out some colours on my palette…

Finally I began to paint – really freely without expecting too much…

At first it looked pretty far from what I wanted but as my mind switched off and my quiet inside self took over it began to come together. Here’s the final painting…

I am pleased with this because it has in it, for me, the free feeling I was reaching for.

I used my canon Powershot camera to photograph the painting as I worked on it but, although it was fine for the browns and creams of the early stages it would not pick up the purple background – at all. I don’t know if it’s failing or broken but everything came out blue and not even french ultramarine but more cerulean blue. So I had to scan the final painting to get anything like my original colours.

PS: If you want to see Kevin’s original photography you can look it up with the search terms “Kevin Millet” and “L’Homme D’Argent”. I’m no longer linking to other websites as there is a possibility of a new European law which will not allow someone to freely link to another artist’s work without legal issues. I would encourage you to have a look though as his photographs are amazing.

Days 57 and 58 – Hooded Manga Man – Watercolour Vs Digital Colour

Originally, all I wanted to draw in this image was a man in a hooded robe.  Inevitably, for me,  he turned into a Jedi!

So here’s my lineart…

hooded-manga-maninkfinweb

Originally I planned to paint this in watercolour.  My first draft of the watercolour looked weak and uneven…

hoodedmangawatercolour1_finweb

So I painted over it with a second layer – evening out the colour and generally trying to save the picture.  He’s how the second draft looked…

hoodedmnaga-watercolour2finweb

It still wasn’t how I wanted it to be, so I coloured it in Manga Studio.  I think it’s better coloured digitally, even though I rushed the digital colour work in about 20 minutes.  I just have to work harder and practice more with watercolour I think.  Here’s the final digital picture…

hooded-manga-mancolwebfin2