After much work, the Rhino is finished. It's approx 66 x 100 cm in size and it's approx 20-35 hours work... again I haven't kept count, which I certainly need to start doing.
This rhino was drawn to raise awareness for an anti-poaching campaign. And as my facebook friends would know, I gave them a task of coming up for a title for the drawing, as well as encouraging them to like the "Stop Rhino Poaching" facebook page.
I've done a complete blurb on my intentions with this piece, which sat alongside the request a title. And someone did indeed come up with a good title - Larger than Life... I liked it so much I decided that one was the winner.
Markers - I rarely use markers, mainly because they take a fair bit of time to get used to. However, for this illustration of the Northern Pike, I felt a grey scale marker illustration would be best. The objective was to focus on the use of the marker to produce a variety of textures. I have yet to put the final touches on the work, but above is the process at least up to where I'm at.
I used four markers only - keep it simple, don't confuse yourself with too many, and keep the marker brand consistent. Consistency is the key with marker use. Practice before hand, know how you are going to use each layer, and how you are going to use each marker to build up layers before moving onto the next/darker marker. I used TRIA NG04, NG06, NG08 and NG10... these have a slightly warmer look than the COPIC markers I have (the CG - cool grey - series)...
Marker paper is specific to the medium, bank layout it what I've used, but I'm sure there must be a better quality paper out there, specifically for markers.
I did this exercise over a couple of nights, to allow the pooled marker ink to dry before going over it - when I wanted blending, I worked in one sitting and just allowed the wet inks to mix. I worked slowly and practiced each step on a second piece of bank paper before moving on. With markers, the lighter you manage to keep the inks, the better it looks, so I worked patiently and slowly.
My initial work was in pencil, and then I used the lightest marker NG10 to fix the pencil. This allowed additional texture to surface as a semi transparent layer. At the end I used the NG4 to go over the outline of the bark and the fish. Using the NG4, allows the black to be part of the work, and not stand out because of it being too black or variation of line because of the nib difference standing out from the rest of the illustration.
The markers need you to work with more thought - unlike digital media or even the drawing and painting, the undo or 'fix up' is even less likely to improve on the area you've made a mistake in.
Over all, I think I'll do a few more fish and then try another form for texture making.
What do you get when you cross squiggles with circles? You get Squirkles!
Squirkling is a method of shading where you apply curved lines to create textured values. We've all done drawing excercises, with dots, lines and then squirkles... these are loosening excercises, which can add a wonderful depth to your textures as well as enabling you to get really deeper levels of tone in your work.
If you're looking for ways to work with this, make four or three squares and then experiment with squirkling, as above... change the scale of the frame, or make it round. Experiment in a very loose form, making larger loops, and then try small squirkles, closer together, which deepens the tonal value.
This is a technique I use in my workshops for 1. loosening wrists and brains and 2. teaching tone and form techniques - it can be used to make your work look more engaging than just line work on its own.
Give it a go! Squirkle on!
I have finally finished the fourth drawing for the animal series - of 33 x 100 cm. I've got the rhino I'm working on, but that's a double sized image and is at detailing stage...
I chose not to put this deer on a mount/shield. I had decided not to add, when I was working on composition. I was a little concerned that it wouldn't really gel with the rest of the series, but through subject and technique (and scale etc.) I don't think there's an issue there. The fur came out particularly well on this drawing, which just proves, practice makes perfect!
I was working on 'deer III' alongside the rhino, so my technique did some serious improvement between the two... perhaps I should be working on two unrelated texture types at once.
I am having my works professional scanned and framed in the coming week, so hopefully people who have ordered prints can expect them during July. Thanks for your patience!
I've had the wonderful opportunity of attending a six week workshop with realist oil painter, Marcel Desbiens. After six weeks I completed a grey scale egg, and clouds - the photos came out pretty badly, however, the fact is in those weeks I learnt a bit about:
2. Respect for Oil painters
3. An understanding and appreciation of Realism
4. Taking risks/moving out of my comfort zone.
I'm usually pretty comfortable with moving into different areas and not being too precious about one medium than another. For me it's about getting the point across. So, I guess you could say, at the moment, my medium of choice is graphite...
For some reason, I have always felt at odds with painting, specifically acrylics. And I've always wanted to try oils, so after a friend handed his oil kit over to me, I decided to have a go. Well, I am more than satisfied that I did. And yes, I'd like to have more time to experiment with oils.
Marcel runs beginners, intermediate and mentorship workshops all year round. http://www.marceldesbiens.com/
As part of my animal series, I am working on something a little different. No fur, just major skin, and so texture galore. I have laid down my first few layers the same way I would usually work, and on a separate piece of paper, I'm experimenting.
As you can see, I always work with reference. There's no way I'd want to try to make up these brilliant creatures without it!
Also, I've cut myself out a view finder. This one is cut out from the back of a bright thick magazine cover... and it's about 6 cm x 6 cm with an inner window of about 4 cm x 4 cm. Once I've drawn out the image using the graph system and then putting a layer of 'tone' down (using 2B and 4B pencils), I generally use the view finder to work on isolated areas of tone and texture.
This drawing is approx 33cm x 100cm in size and had a special message, so watch this blog for an update.
A paragraph or two taken from the fantastic book "Design - Intelligence made Visible" by Stephen Bayley and Terence Conran.
This is the note/preface written by Stephen Bayley....
"In te Renaissance, draughtsmen did what was called disegno. For Leonardo da Vinci, the greatest draughtsman of them all, disegno meant not just the art and craft of drawing itself, but the ability to communicate ideas graphically. Leonardo's boad interpretation of disegno was very close to what we call 'design': an ability co concetpualise a idea, express it in materials ad prove it by demonstration. When the word disegno migrated into English in the sixteenth century, it came to mean not merely 'drawing', but intention.
Today, design has both these senses: a useful mixture of creative expression and intellectual purpose. Leonardo knew that already. In his letter of application to Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, he listed hi talents and acheivements, putting the design of useful canals far in front of mere decorative painting or sculpture. Design is an art that works."
I have been working on the animal series for a couple of months now, and I'm always amazed at how much my technique has changed. I am spending more time and effort on learning new techniques, from technique videos, professional artists process videos, copying old masters and from spending time just going back to basics (tone, form, perspective etc.)
Today I had to write an Artists' Bio and process statement. The animals series were the focus of the process statement, and since I've not done one for a while, I took a fair amount of time on it. I researched and found good artists' and academic websites dealing writing and self promotion. I recommend looking at others for how to structure both the bio and process statements. One site I found to be informative: http://www.cgu.edu/pages/7483.asp
Here they focus on intent and say when you're working on a piece or series, be able to really sell the 'why":
Consider asking yourself these questions:
What am I doing?
How am I doing it?
Why am I doing it?
What influences me most?
How does my art relate to the art of my contemporaries?
What do I want other people to understand about my art?
Am I unwilling to discuss any aspects of my work? If so, why?
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I found that my views on why I chose the animal subject matter and technique had matured/evolved. Creatively, it's lead me to more and more ideas, which I've put into the Visual Diary for future projects.
So, with my current experimentation into realist drawing (my 'passion project'), I never forget my roots. Abstract drawing and fine art.
Part of my practice is to investigate form, tone, shadow etc. through my drawing and printing - every now and then they cross over... the outcome is abstraction.
Over the years, my love of textures, materials (especially concrete and decayed metals!) has moved from medium to medium. Often I get back to them in whatever technique I'm working with at that point in time. At the moment, I'm working in graphite/pencils and liquid graphite... so, challenge number one, is to spend time revisiting all the drawing fundamentals, but rather than just rendering perfect spheres, and cones, etc. this time I'll be working abstraction and textures...
a. it's like going back home... every now and then, I want to just move away from the realism for a day, and make abstract images.
b. I have always wanted to work really big with textures, and just in black and white - not printed textures this time.
c. I'm preparing for a course I'm presenting called Drawing: From Form to Abstract through bright learning.
Bright Learning is a group of inspired people who want to make a difference to the way we learn as adults... these people are serious about moving adult learning from 'boring chore' to a socially, engaging and fun experience. I like that. And I'm pretty proud to be presenting with them.
I hope to bring my enthusiasm for the subject of Drawing: From Form to Abstract through bright learning. to those who decide to take the course!
I've been dragging out all my old books and e-books and drawing blogs from the proverbial 'shelved' section of my library as part of the syllabus. A couple of gems are old books from the 60s I picked up at sales, and of course my old 1964 reprint of the drawings of Leonardo daVinci... always exciting to revisit!
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Tanya is a traditional and digital artist, living in Brisbane and inspired by all that is 'Art'.