Mixed Media – Vintage Diving Helmet

I had a go at mixing Ink and Charcoal in the same drawing this week. It was really good fun. I really enjoyed the way I could add textures with the charcoal that I could never achieve with ink.

I began sketching in pencil, then added an ink outline and then added some deep shadows in ink too, like this…

Once I had my ink drawing I began to add shadow using a charcoal pencil and some charcoal sticks, like this…

Above was my first work through with the charcoal. I could see I needed to go darker in places and that I needed also to smooth things out with some blending stumps and tissues.

Once I’d completed the charcoal work I photographed the picture and brought it into Photoshop. I added a black background and then adjusted my levels. I did quite a bit of adjustment to get it to look right with the black background and to get rid of some reflection from my black ink brush pen which sadly has a shiny finish.

Here is the final image…

I like the textures and the strong contrast. It also made me smile to have things around the wrong way, with the water and fish inside the helmet and us humans looking in from the outside! While I was reviewing the image I thought it might make a big difference if I added some halftone reflections on the glass in the front window. So I quickly opened up Photoshop again and added them in post production!

Once everything was complete I also had a quick play with adding some digital colour…

I think it turned out OK, but I prefer the black and white image.

Which one do you prefer?

🙂

Jo Kenobi

This week’s art is a little fantasy sketch of what I might look like if I were both young again and a Jedi!

I took a picture of Lucasfilm’s character Obi-Wan Kenobi…

 

…and a picture of myself when I was about Ewan’s age in this promotional shot from Attack of the Clones.  Then I attempted to make a sketch of the two faces mixed together!

 

I began with some basic measurements.  Luck was on my side with this as mine and Ewan’s face proportions were really similar.

 

Then I sketched out the basics…

I expanded the eyes to give the whole picture a hint of manga styling and then put in some basic pencil shading…

 

I had this drawing like this in my sketchbook for a while.  Then, when I got my Mars Lumograph Pencils, I thought I would have a go at inking the picture and shading it with pencil.  Here are the final results…

 

I wish I were a Jedi!!!

 

 

Natural Cycles – Mixed Media

 

I’ve been thinking about a new start in life.  Given that I can’t teach anymore due to my medical issues I am looking into the possibility of working as a freelance artist or as a private tutor or perhaps even an art tutor which would be a dream job!!!.  This would be a whole new adventure.  So my plan is to try to get some contract work when I am well enough to work again.

This week’s art was done in early December.  It’s an extension of my thinking on the Tree of Life motif with the additional idea of natural cycles.

I began with some sketches on the back on envelopes which I “helpfully” threw out while tidying up!  So the earliest process image I have is of the main outline done in pencil…

I then went on to ink this outline and use my new learning on texture to fill it in.  Here it is part-way through inking…

 

Once the ink was complete I scanned the image into my PC, tidied up the scanning artifacts I tend to get from my scanner and balanced my levels. (This is the light and dark levels picked up by the scanner and translated to tones in the digital image.)

 

This is the finaly line art…

 

Once that was complete I toned the line art digitally to make a finished grey-scale, mixed-media design which looks like this…

 

 

Update:  Thanks for all your kind wishes with respect to the pain problems I’m having at the moment.  I started the new meds from the pain consultant yesterday.  I’m dealing with side-effects right now, but I expect them to settle down a week or two after the dose is put at the final level the Dr want’s me to take.  (This will take about 6 weeks since the old meds have be reduced slowly and the new ones introduced slowly.)  My pain is still pretty bad, but I am starting to get there.  I’m not allergic to the new medicine and, although there are side-effects, I can tolerate them, all of which is very positive indeed! It’s amazing how different I feel when I have some hope!  I’m also looking at getting carers in a few times a week to help with some of the normal day to day living things I can’t do at the moment.  This will start when my son goes back to Uni.

 

Anyway – I wish you all a very happy new year!!!!

Dormouse – Ink and Staedtler Mars Lumograph Pencils

This week I used my Rapidograph ink pens and some new pencils. They are made by Staedtler and are particularly black. They also have much less shine compared to normal graphite pencils which burnish really easily. Staedtler call them Mars Lumograph Black

Previously I have added midtone to ink drawings using a wash of ink and water. It can be done like this quite effectively but to get a nice gradient it’s much easier to use pencils. The problem with pencils is that the graphite easily burnishes to a bright shine which makes them difficult to photograph. When I saw these pencils I thought I would see if they solved the problem.

Here are some process photos…

I made an initial sketch using a range of different references. I used three reference photo’s for the mouse, 2 photos for his or her home and a range of photos for the Blackberry bushes.

Once my sketch was complete I inked the outline (above).

In the next photo you can see where I started adding some shading using the new pencils. Using them felt more like using a black coloured pencil, but, unlike regular coloured pencils, I found I could easily erase my marks…

Once the shading was done I sprayed my picture with fixative and then began to ink over the top…

At this point I took a step back to evaluate how I wanted to move forward. I was thinking about blacking out all of the white areas of the paper, but I felt unsure about whether this would work visually so I tried it out digitally first. I photographed my picture and pulled it into Autodesk Sketchbook and had a play…

Above is the scanned drawing and below is a very rough rendering of what it might look like if I coloured all of my background black…

I could immediately see that having a black background gave me some really good contrast but it was at the expense of being able to have any sense of depth in the drawing. So I tried to see what it might be like with some mid-toned leaves behind the leaves I originally drew in ink…

This didn’t feel right to me but after playing around with it some more I came up with this…

If I put some light mid-tone leaves with less detail behind the main drawing I could get the feeling of depth and the image began to feel right.

So I put some leaves in using traditional graphite pencils, edged them very minimally with a thin pen and then sprayed the image again with fixative. Once that was dry I then went over the whole image again with ink putting in detail to my heart’s content! (It was bliss!)

Here’s my finished drawing…

I think the new pencils worked well with ink – I had no trouble getting them dark enough and no issues with the ink and pencils affecting how well the marks stayed on the page. I did have some minimal issues with my paper. Where I had worked the paper quite hard the rapidograph pens started to break the surface down. However I drew this picture in a cheap A4 sketchbook which only had 160gsm paper. I think more detailed drawing like this might need a more robust paper.

It was a fun exercise. I will do some more experimentation with these new pencils in the future.

Heron – Mixed Media

I do really love herons! I know they are the bane of many Koi enthusiasts due to their tendency to snack on much loved fish but they do have a certain predatory beauty. This week I drew an ink drawing of a heron and toned it with smudged pencil. I am continuing to work on integrating my textural studies into actual artwork.

Here is my rough pencil sketch…

This shot was taken once I’d refined my pencil work…

This was taken in the middle of inking the drawing…

Here is the completed picture…

Once I had my inks finished I felt I really needed some greyscale tones to help give the viewer the feeling of looking at water. Previously I’ve either done this digitally or with a range of grey brush markers. For this drawing though, I really wanted to add some smooth grey gradients so I decided to mix up my media a little and use pencil for this. Rather than drawing the graphite onto the paper I used the graphite shavings from a mechanical pencil sharpener…

…and rubbed them on with a tissue. I had to practise this technique on some scrap paper a few times but I found I could get a lovely smooth gradient this way. Then I use my putty eraser and a fine mechanical eraser to remove the shading from the places where it went over a line. I am really pleased with how this turned out. I will use this technique again.

Reviewing this particular picture, I can see that my textures are very gradually improving. I would still like to develop more range and finesse with this. I am also quite pleased with the way the water ripples around the heron’s feet read. I think the smooth gradients really help this effect.

I also keep wondering if I should have added some indications of lanscape in the top left corner. It might look good to see a vague sense of a horizon line. Just a few marks to give the viewer an indication. At the time, I refrained from doing so because I liked the striking outline of the heron’s head and I thought putting in some landscape would detract from that. Sometimes drawings seem to ask for a change but I don’t always know exactly how to handle it. In the end I decided to leave it and just sit with the picture as it is. Sometimes, when doing this my unconscious mind seems to keep working ont eh problem in the background and days or even a few weeks later I figure out the answer.