Watercolour Elephant

Today was a good day.

  • Firstly my wonderful son is feeling better and will probably go back to school tomorrow or the next day!  🙂
  • Secondly, for the first time I’ve painted a watercolour which looks something llike the image I had in my mind.  I feel happy!

It began when I decided to paint an animal using a pure watercolour technique.  Last night I watched this brilliant, brilliant video of a real watercolour artist doing a painting of an elephant.  The video I watched was this one:

I thought it was absolutely fabulous!

Elephants are such graceful, sensitive animals  I couldn’t resist having a try at painting one, especially having watched Fiona Clarke make such a fantastic job of a similar picture.  I have loads of animal books at home (typical biology teacher!), everything from a collection of ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ books to invertibrate textbooks so I found a photo that I was happy to use as a basic reference.

ele_referencephotoSome of the trunk of the  elephant I wanted ot paint is covered by her calf but, with other reference photos to look at too, I thought I could fill in the missing part.  I made a quick sketch while I got dinner cooked (spicy chicken wings, boiled potatoes in a herb sauce and corn, carotts and brocolli).

ele_sketchThen after dinner (and the ironing – groan) I was able to paint it.  I worked from light to dark and from big to small as lots of people seem to recommend on the internet and it turned out well.  Two things really helped – (1) I worked on one a small area at a time so I could play with the paint a little and use the water to make it go where I want without it drying out too quickly and (2) I took it slowly letting the paint dry out between layers.

So this is how it turned out:

elephant_FIN_WEBIt’s not as exciting as some of the wonderful work I looked at last week but I am happy with it.   😀

(All Images unless otherwise explicitly stated are © Jo Fox, 2015)

Using Gestures in Cartoon style Work

Well I had some fun today playing around with how to use gestures in cartoon-style figure drawing.  I was planning to look at a comic book style but I think the cartoon type of figure drawing is more loose and will help my comic book style in the long run.

I looked around for some examples but couldn’t really find what I needed so I just started making them up, while lazying around on my living room floor.


Next, I made a collection of the ones I liked best and drew them again in ink…


Then I scanned them in (yes, scanned!  My printer is online again!!!!!!!) and put a border around them.


Well, this is the end of my Gesture Drawing series.  I think it’s been a good journey so far.  There’s still a lot more I can learn from Gesture Drawing, especially since it challenges my autism as well as my artistic abilities.  It has also been really helpful because it’s enabled me to draw figures better and more easily and eased me into ways of making figures more stylistic if I want which I have never felt able to do before.  I’m sure I will work on them again but I’m kind of ready for something new and fresh and fun.  I think I’ll make a short fan-art comic strip based in my favourite galaxy far far away….

…and, since I don’t know how to do that, I’d better see if there are any comic art or cartoon art tutorials on YouTube!

(All Images unless otherwise explicitly stated are © Jo Fox, 2015)

An adventure in Gesture Drawing

I have been wanting to improve my figure drawing for a while, especially the initial sketching.  I’m pretty good with shadow and light and I love drawing details but often I find my initial sketches are letting me down.  Sometimes they’re accurate enough but have no life and sometimes they’re just wrong and I don’t see it until I’ve worked for ages on a piece which is really frustrating.

I discovered this type of figure drawing called Gesture Drawing.   The idea is ‘to sum up the figure in it’s totality showing it’s rhythm and movement quickly with a limited number of marks on the paper.’  Seems easy, but when I first tried I saw how hard it actually is to do well.

I began by watching this excellent video on You Tube:

This way of drawing is just thrilling to me.  It looks like magic!  I really really want to learn to do this.

So my plan is to watch a tutorial on gesture drawing from the internet each day and then try out what I’ve learned by making my own gesture drawings from photo’s of models in my Art Models books (I’ve got #1 and #8)…

Once I’ve had a go at each approach and technique I’ll post my efforts (such as they are) up here so I can review them.

It’s going to be fun.