Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Cherry tree

Next exercise is simply "draw a tree". I usually draw trees quite abstractly, focusing on the trunk and big branches and just roughly describing the foliage, but this time I tried to draw all the leaves and small twigs.

Monday, 20 September 2010

New weekly challenges: Draw water surfaces

I feel I need some input in order to do a weekly drawing. I should like to try to make a set of illustrations for a story, but I don't have the time right now. Instead, I have thought of reviving the weekly challenge. At the end of the Exploring Illustration course, Ann gave us a list of exercises. I have added a page with the list, see link in the top left corner. Some of exercises are pretty weird, so I don't think I will do them all or do them in order. Instead I will just do the ones that inspire me, or fit with whatever I am doing that week.

This weekend I looked at the first exercise: Draw water surface: reflection, depths, and movement. I live very near the river, so I went down there and studied reflection and movement without drawing. Then I tried to make some drawings on the spot, but I also took some pictures and made the drawings from the pictures. I tried to paint small and larger waves at the same time, to show movement. There are a couple more water drawings on flickr.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Observing the observer

Some months ago, I got into a habit of taking a couple of scienticfic papers and go to a nice little cafe here in Oxford on Sundays. It almost don't feel like work when you sit with cappucino on a cafe and it allowed me to read up on topics that were only borderline work-related. However, there was this middle-aged man who would almost always sit and draw people at the café. He only drew young women and only their faces. He didn't try to hide that he was drawing, in fact, when he had finished the drawing and he would come up to girl he had been drawing and show her the drawing. I didn't particularly fancy been drawn while I was reading, so I usually sat myself with my back against him. Then one day he came later than me, sat down at the table in front of me and began drawing. He sat there staring fixedly at me while drawing; it was extremely uncomfortable. I tried to hide behind my hair and otherwise express my discomfort. He nevertheless continued, for perhaps 20 minutes and then came over to me to show the drawing. It was a cartoony colourpencil drawing and not very good. I didn't know what to say.

As a kind of revenge, I made a sketch of him, and since then I have made a couple of other drawings of guys I have caught drawing people on cafés. They are not very good drawings; they were quickly and secretly made and you would never be able to recognize the people from the drawings. Still, I think they make a funny set of drawings. Because I drew the men while they were focusing on their drawings, they appear withdrawn and unaware of their surrondings while they are actually observing other people.

I must admit that I have stopped coming at this particular café. On the other hand I also like to draw people in public places (like these old drawings on flickr). What do you think? Is it okay to draw people in public places? Should you ask permission? Or is it okay, as long as you do it discretely?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Chomerac - Assignment: Mixed Media

This is the final assignment with a small selection of my plans for the piece above it. I wanted the building to be the focus so have concentrated most of the detail and colour there. The open red doors, v.p. and mountaintop are on three of the four points of the Golden Mean (the image is slightly zoomed so that may not be immediately obvious).

I've used drawing inks, Derwent Coloursoft, Caran d'Ache Neocolour II, Onyx Medium and Dark and pen, amongst other media.

Chomerac - Preliminary Sketches 2

The pencil images above have been worked up underneath in Pentel G-Tec C4 gel pen, various W&N drawing inks, Neocolour II wax pastels and Derwent 'Onyx Dark'. I couldn't bear to tear pages out of my Moleskine books so have photocopied the pages - I wait to see if that's 'allowed'!

Chomerac - Preliminary Sketches 1

Apologies for the shoddy photography - I had to photograph both sketchbooks really quickly before posting (just to have a record of what I'd posted); when they are back, I'll photograph them properly. I've finished this particular course now and the two assignments have been posted to my tutor. (I worked on both whilst in France in August.) I really, really miss the course!

Again, we had to focus on landscape and mixed media so I have tried to use a different medium on each page.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The rabbit story

Sharon asked in a comment, what I did with the clay rabbit, so here is a little 6-page picture book story using the clay rabbit. We also made another 6-page story in pairs where we used the two clay rabbits together. I think having an actual model was useful for character development.


One of things I found most useful on the children's book illustration course was exercises with storyboards. I could have used more of that kind of exercises. This storyboard was from a simple exercise where April told us to think of a simple everyday action and brake it into small bits. I tried to draw "being late" and it developed into a little story.