Tag Archives: altered books

The Bird Lover (take 2)

Here’s the same subject in a very different style. I couldn’t decide on the two skirt patterns you you can make up your own minds :-)

Bella will even be able to tell me what the fabrics are called. Is my girl a soft autumn Bella? I started off going for warm autumn and then my colour palette morphed…. (obsessively drawn to soft autumn it seems)

The fashion derives from circa 1840 and the applications of partial derivatives in differential and integral calculus.

Happy Friday!

bird lover blue pattern skirt judywatsonart lores

The more demure, blue skirt print.

bird lover light floral skirt judywatsonart loresThe lighter floral print skirt echoing the snowy overlays elsewhere in the scene.

 

Continuous line drawings in French

The 52 Week Illustration Challenge theme this week is LINES. 

new hat judywatsonart colour loresThese are some line drawings done in the car during a rainy soccer training session in half darkness. I am quite pleased with them because they were done from the imagination and without any visual reference. I let the words of the french lesson lead the direction of the doodle. I tried to do them almost completely using a continuous line, except where my pen fell off the page. And above, I did some rather crude scribble in the speech balloon as well.

the amusing dog judywatsonart lores

the boy she likes judywatsonart lores

And below is one of my Calculus Fashion ladies with a bit of colour added. I am quite liking the effect on the parchment and print. calculus fashion5-colour judywatsonart lores copy

Sometimes I draw quite complex continuous line drawings in my mind, while lying in bed at night. It’s very relaxing, and the resulting drawings take up very little storage space.

Occasionally I forget where I put them, because I fall asleep :-)

Calculus Doodles in Bed

These were all done using a historical fashion book for reference and a differential calculus book as a canvas.

I first looked for interesting mathematical lines and diagrams, then found fashions that seemed to meld with them. The rest was a bit of swift improvisation. The women in the fashion book are (deliberately) bland and faceless. I added some life to the people, and altered poses, and fashion to suit the squiggles of my pen.

I do seem to find this kind of squiggling very relaxing. And it can be quite suggestive of all sorts of things… Astrakhan, embroidery, hedges…

calculus fashion judywatsonart lorescalculus fashion2 judywatsonart lores calculus fashion3 judywatsonart lores calculus fashion4 judywatsonart lores

calculus fashion5 judywatsonart lores

The writing/drawing process July 2014

At the start of the school holidays, I was invited by artist Rosalie Street to participate in a blog tour… which means answering some questions (below) and getting some other people to do the same next.

Here is Rosalie’s interview response. A visit to her blog to enjoy her lush canvases and delightful merchandise is well worth your while.

gold leaf by Rosalie Street

Gold Leaf – by Rosalie Street

The blog tour topic is The Writing/ Drawing Process. Since as yet, I have found little time to work on my writing projects and instead have been madly drawing, I’ll answer the questions in the context of my artwork.

The first bit (the questions)

1. What am I working on ?

Thunderstorm Dancing, a picture book by Katrina Germein

At the moment I am in the late stages of final art for a picture book by Katrina Germein to be published by Allen & Unwin. The book is called Thunderstorm Dancing and it has been over two years since I first starting mulling over the project.

As soon as I read the manuscript, I thought it would be both a great text and a very difficult text to illustrate. It has indeed proven difficult for me, but I also realise that I suffered from the internal pressure that comes from winning an award; this will be the first of my work to be published since that award and my inner self told me very sternly that it will have to be good. But I now move towards the completion of the book and I’m looking forward to seeing it in print.

An unused sketch for 'Thunderstorm Dancing'

An unused sketch for ‘Thunderstorm Dancing’

There have been many sketches made for this book. A decision on medium was elusive for a while. But it came along in the end, and I’ve really enjoyed the layering and scratching in PhotoShop combined with the earthy texture of the real paint and pencil on Litho paper.

A small fragment of one final illustration from Thunderstorm Dancing

A small fragment of one final illustration from Thunderstorm Dancing

Altered book art

Last year, while struggling to progress with the picture book, I almost accidentally began sketching in old books as a form of relaxation. I say almost accidentally, because I have admired altered book art and found poetry for quite some time, and had always intended to try it. But starting was not a deliberate step into something new. It was a gentle bit of play, while watching my children in their swimming lessons.

drybrush sketches in the bombing zone of the local swimming pool. Ink on vintage book page.

drybrush sketches in the bombing zone of the local swimming pool. Ink on vintage book page.

I began sketching them and other children. And I really loved the effect of the drawn image on the printed page. It also helped me with Thunderstorm Dancing, because I had decided early on that the family in the story would be at a beach house, and the main characters all in swimming cosies.

Altered book art continues to be one of my favourite activities, and I intend to do much more of it, and to explore new ways of using it in art projects.

52 Week Illustration Challenge

The 52 Week Illustration Challenge, dreamed up by Tania McCartney, was something I joined early this year. It requires participants to produce artwork to a given theme that changes each Wednesday, and then post them on the 52 Week Illustration Challenge FaceBook page.

Week 14: simplicity. This was a really enjoyable experiment with ink and watercolour

52 Week Illustration Challenge: Week 14: simplicity.
This was a really enjoyable experiment with ink and watercolour

One of the things I loved about it was that the community of people involved were from varied backgrounds and were supportive and kind to one another. Since early this year the group has grown to over 2000 members, many being expert practising artists and the standard of work has I think, sadly frightened many of the less skilled artists away, but the mood of generosity remains. And it is surprisingly good to have a theme to work to each week… often themes that I find very unappealing until they lead me off into some fun experimentation.

I have deliberately kept this challenge as a low-profile task for myself. I never spend long on anything I do for The Challenge and never worry too much if the work is imperfect or not my best. This, along with blogging imperfect work, has been a really healthy learning experience, and a great way to keep producing lots of other work and exploring as an artist, as well as doing my book project.

Clive Hicks-Jenkins’ Puppet Challenge

This is an on-line exhibition organised and curated by Clive Hick-Jenkins along with Peter Slight. I’ve not done so well with this one. In contrast to the other challenge, I have allowed this to become larger than life and daunting. I also failed to come to a decision over subject and medium, although my lightbulb moment came today in the shower (they often do happen there) when I may be too late to make it. So I’m not sure if that counts as something I’m working on or not…

Appropriately perplexed looking sketch of Greyfur the kangaroo who was my original subject matter for the puppet challenge

Appropriately perplexed looking sketch of Greyfur the kangaroo who was my original subject matter for the puppet challenge

Graphic design work

Periodically I take up graphic design work if it is not too time consuming. I enjoy this work very much, but too often lately I have had to decline offers of work due to the unfinished book and lack of time. Some of my favourite work is with the Australian Children’s Laureate support team who produce various publications and branding items every now and then. In this context I enjoy using other artists’ work and modifying it to use as part of a design. Ann James drew the magpie who became the Australian Children’s Laureate logo and I have used him in lots of ways.

The Australian Children's Laureate logo in one of its formats

The Australian Children’s Laureate logo in one of its formats

School children from around Australia made artwork that I used in silhouette for the pitch for Boori Monty Pryor’s Storykeepers documentary.

storykeeprs sample page storykeeprs sample page2 storykeeprs sample page3

Family life

This project of course doesn’t belong down the bottom here. It’s a very big part of my life – too big to summarise here. So I’ll simply say that I keep myself busy with two much loved youngsters Arthur and Hugo, husband Scott, the dog Dexter and chickens Hilda, Emily, Poppy, Storm, Stella and Vita.

Vita - Queen of the Backyard

Vita – Queen of the Backyard

My own writing projects

This gets a wee mention at the bottom. In fact there are several projects I’m very keen to get on to, that are waiting in line for me to find a bit of space and time. I look forward to launching into them.

2. How does my work differ from others of this genre/ style?

Watch this space

3. Why do I draw/ paint what I do ?

Watch this space too

4. How does my drawing process work ?

Hmmmm…

I have taken waaaay too long answering the first question, so I’m going to split this up and post my answer to the other questions later. Cheerio for now!

Pinterest

A few days ago I got around to joining Pinterest and have started to organise some of my work into boards. It is really quite a useful thing to be able to view a set of work at a glance. I’ve put some Thunderstorm Dancing fragments and working sketches on there too. Nice to bring it together and see what changes have occurred over 2 years!

Here I am if you want to visit me.

pinterest Thunder sample

My altered Book art is there too. But there’s a lot in my cupboard! Only some of it is on Pinterest. I’ll update it over time.

Judywatson Altered Book Art Pinterest sample

Some Fishes

I recently looked up the correct usage of fish vs. fishes. I was pleased to see that fishes is the correct term when referring to different varieties. There’s something nice about the word fishes and it goes nicely with swishes and wishes.

If you happened to be a fisherman and you caught 25 fish they would all have to be  of the same species.

These fishes are not of the same species. Some might say they were not drawn by the same artist.

Sometimes I worry that I should have a single, recognisable style; that all my work should be instantly recognisable, like a trademark. You can always recognise a Quentin Blake, a Mondrian, a Mitch Vane, (to take a more local example).

Other times, I say to myself… whatever comes out, comes out. Art is a lot about the process of discovery, the process of play, imagination, exploration, invention. And when I wander into new territory, with an insatiable curiosity for (and delight in) new artistic approaches, I am glad to be a wandering artist… I learn new things all the time and that is a great thing to find in life.

Image

Detailed, or static styles are not, and never will be my strong point. I’m too impatient (and ambivalent) to invest much time in details, so my ‘detailed’ work never stands up by comparison with the work of those who specialise in that area. But every now and then I come back to it, and play around and there’s something satisfying in the process, even if the result lacks both the liveliness of my quicker work and the detail that would seem to be required. Often the honesty of the piece redeems it.

In this case, the vintage Collins Dictionary (with pages disintegrating and falling out) seemed to ask for a static approach. I think the single artwork above is unremarkable. But if I were to fill the book in a similar manner with various artworks, the book itself may become a thing to treasure one day. The fish will be swallowed by the larger beast.

Image

Here is a return to my much quicker approach. The prismacolour artstick strikes again. It may be partly inspired by political weariness… the idea of the dangling lure… leading to what?…

But mainly it was a very rapid experiment in the power of transforming a sketch with PhotoShop colour. I’ll be using this technique in my next book, so why not?

Image

Finally, a very quick sketch with watercolour. The first watercolour experiment I did (not shown here) was deader than a doorknob. This was a 10 minute exercise in proving to myself that I could do the same fish with a bit of life. Not sure what he is up to. I think he may have the same kind of determined expression I adopted when drawing him…

Equine Soliloquy (continued)

I haven’t touched this project for a while. But the 52 Week Illustration Challenge theme for this week is ‘horse’ so it seemed a good reason to do some more doodles in the horse book. Most of these were done in brush pen during the hour of the kids drama class, but I’ve worked them up a little more at home today.

Horse alive, horse dead

Horse alive, horse dead

snowy squiggle horses

snowy squiggle horses

The front horse was drawn with photographic reference in front of me. The rear two emerged on their own. I like the freer, more pattern-like quality of the rear two horses, but quite like the very typical attitude of the foreground horse’s head. The two types don’t really go together but it’s a point of interest for me.

I enjoy this squiggle style of drawing. I find I do it more and more. It’s fun to let my hand (seemingly) control itself and wander very rapidly all over the page.

equine soliloquy hunched horse

Little scraggy wild horse

This is the brush pen I used quite a bit for the Cornish Soliloquy. I must buy a couple more. They are very interesting to work with. The ink doesn’t flow very quickly so they tend to get a bit affronted by my drawing style. I draw pretty quickly and the ink flow goes on strike and demands a breather every minute or so.

wild horse, captured horse

wild horse, captured horse

I was really pleased with the way this little sketch worked out. I strangely like the way the gutter interferes with the horse’s hind quarters, and I  liked the cream, blue, burnt umber colour palette.

Anzac Day war horse

Anzac Day war horse

This was an accident really. I was dissatisfied with the original sketch on the left hand side of the skeleton horse spread, and cut this black horse silhouette out very quickly to place over it. In the meantime, I painted out some protruding bits on the other page to give myself a fairly blank canvas. But this led to a new sketch on that page, and hence no need for the cutout horse.

So he went onto a new page, and I started randomly embellishing him. I started with the halter, but war horses and Anzac Day were at the back of my mind and I started putting tassels and other structures into the picture (from an outdated botanical diary). Before I knew it the background had gone smokey, fiery and the final touches were some poppies and botanical bombs in the air. The bombs also remind me of a holy trinity of sorts, but since I am not religious, they are primarily bombs… or just fruit.

I seem to have returned to muted tones for the time being.