Tag Archives: blob

ATTEN….SHUN!!

ATTEN--SHUN

ATTEN–SHUN! (Even Lassie came to see me. It must be an emergency.)

I have received a few nudges lately.

Yep. I’ve been lost in a world of moving house; a barrage of bills and boxes; a wilderness of wrapping. I’ve been so pooped, I can’t even alliterate for more than one sentence and ‘moving house’ doesn’t count.

squirrel dog

Inane Squirrel Dog running hither and thither. This is not me, you understand. NOT me.

But I’m paying attention now. I’m here. Thank you to the nudgers one and all, for hauling me out of my box… or boxes.

I visited a friend the other day and sat down to do a few harmless blobs over a very nice G&T. To make it even easier, I made them dog blobs. Dog blobs are the easiest blobs, unless you count stay-as-they-are blobs. (Chickens can do those without even trying, so with all due respect to chickens I don’t count them as proper blobs.)

In the spirit of the whole blob thing, where the blob leads the whole story every inch of the way, I promise to include each and every blob in this post, even the ones that are SO WRONG!! All blobs measure around 2-3cm across so it’s really quite impolite to be enlarging them this much. A bit like looking up somebody’s nose.

Okay, I need to get this one out there. It’s hanging over my head and it is SO WRONG!

so so so so wrong!

So so so so wrong!

Phew! All I can say is

THE BLOB MADE ME DO IT!

irish terrier x bull terrier

Irish Terrier x Bull Terrier in a bad mood (from a very nondescript blob.)

Dog breeders would say that this blob is all wrong as well. But I don’t mind him. He has a muscular, hardy look and may be useful carting boxes.

blue dog

Perplexed Irish Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier born on the wrong side of the breeding box.

Being Blue-with-Brown-Spots has proven challenging for this Wheaten Terrier. It reminds me of studying the theme of ‘between cultures’ when I was at school…

hip dysplasia dog

A victim of perspective

Reminding us all that one’s situation in life is all a matter of perspective is this young Springer Spaniel x Staffordshire Bull Terrier. With his back half shown from above in the Stafford position of repose and his front half shown from the side in full Springer Spaniel spring, he could see himself as either getting somewhere or going nowhere.

what the

Reg, the Space Dog

I have never seen a flop-eared dog do this before. His ear defies gravity. But perhaps Reg is in an anti-gravitational chamber and is practising to become a space dog. Luckily these days space dogs get to come down to earth again… I think.

Quite wrong. Pretty wrong. Almost certainly wrong.

Quite wrong. Pretty wrong. Almost certainly wrong.

This is Graham. Graham is undergoing hypnosis treatment, but not the kind you pay for. The hypnotist is an alien who has landed in the back garden and Graham was in the process of confronting him when an eerie light was switched on and began to swing slowly backwards and forwards… After that it was all up for Graham. I hope the alien is just going to take botanical samples from the garden, and not canine samples.

lick lick lick

lickety-split

Lickety-split means fast, pell-mell, gangbusters, like a bat-outa-hell… well maybe not quite as fast as a bat-outa-hell. So I think these two dogs are engaged in a contest to see who can clean themselves more quickly. They are fairly evenly matched for size and white areas, but my money is on the brown and white dog because his tongue is larger. Stands to reason. Also the black and white dog looks like he is losing his cool a bit. He may be trying to wash his tail. If I were he, I’d leave it until last and trust to it’s being black. Nobody’s going to notice.

 

 

The Blob Dog of Discontent

Emerson, the Blob Dog of Discontent

This blob dog is the smallest of all the blobs. Emerson was squished into the top left corner of the page. Perhaps that accounts partly for his disposition. Or, indeed he may be suffering from worms. (His posture is suggestive). But in fact, I suspect he was born this way and has been inflicting his testiness on everyone around him since puppyhood.

Even a dog biscuit would not help here.

Leonard Chooses His Hues

I have given the medium for Leonard Doesn’t Dance a lot of thought over the last few months. I knew that I wanted the style to be very different from Thunderstorm Dancing, quicker, looser, lighter in touch and for some reason sherberty… Ahem. Don’t ask me why.

And during my time in Italy, I was immersed in so much illustration at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair that it was the perfect time to consider what I did and didn’t want to do, and what was already done too many times elsewhere.

Ann James and I talked about illustration styles, strengths and weaknesses too. She told me that the key to good illustration is authenticity. When she looks at a folio of work, if the expression of line or character feels genuine, as though it really comes from the illustrator’s inner self, then technical weaknesses don’t matter so much. You can see the kernel of the artist in the work and it’s good. I’m re-phrasing of course, because I can’t remember the exact words that either of us used. But this is the gist of it.

So where does that leave me as a wandering artist, prone to changes of style? What is my kernel?

I came to the conclusion that I am very comfortable with my pencil, and my line is probably most expressive of my style or styles. Most me. I had decided that I would use pencil or fine liner (for the lightness of touch), white backgrounds on most pages, and colour the drawings swiftly and joyously in bright, (sherberty) digital colour.

Here are some old artworks for the sake of discussion of medium. None of them were drawn for Leonard Doesn’t Dance

parrot purr judywatsonart lores

fine liner with quick sherberty digital colour. (originally drawn for 52 Week Illustration Challenge – theme WORDS)

Perhaps this parrot cartoon isn’t a perfect example of what I had in mind, but it’s me, and it has the fine line that I want, the simple, swift colour and the white background. And it’s playful. Playfulness is key to this book.

new hat judywatsonart colour lores

loose lines with digital colour (originally drawn for 52 Week Illustration Challenge theme – LINE)

This continuous line drawing is a little heavier in line (a thicker fine liner) and heavier in tone too, on the cream background of a vintage book which was the very thing that inspired the work for Thunderstorm Dancing. But even so, it is me at my most comfortable with a wandering line… making it up as I go along.

So there I was. All decided.

Then the discussion of clothes came up with the Frances Watts and the publishing team.

Do these birds wear any clothes? Should Leonard be wearing those breeches? Or should he not?

During the course of this (somewhat cheeky) discussion I whizzed through some ‘Trouserbirds’ as evidence of the way my bird drawings had been going in recent times. Most of them were wearing trousers. The examples I sent were from my series of blob birds; all painted by starting with a pale grey washy blob, and then transforming it into wacky creatures with watercolour.

stork seaside 2

Fine liner, white background, sherberty. Paint instead of digital colour… (a blob experiment from 2014)

blob birds lores

fine liner, watercolour, trousers… why not? (These blob experiments from last year are darker in tone, but that is mostly about the shade of grey used in the original blob. Partly too about their wintery clothes which seemed to ask for deeper, more tweedy tones.)

Frances Watts was taken with the watercolour. Which gave pause for thought. Because I really enjoyed making these blobs and was already planning a book for them of my own. But there’s no reason why they couldn’t launch with Leonard…

More soon.

Leonard Doesn’t Dance: A Bird of Character

In between racing around madly organising for our auction this coming Saturday, (I refrained from using hysterical capitalisation there. Did you notice?) I have REALLY enjoyed (emphatic, enthusiastic capitalisation) doing a few character sketches for Leonard.

Leonard is the main character for my upcoming picture book with Frances Watts, to be published by HarperCollins next year. Just to put you ever so quickly into the loop, Leonard started in my head as a little fellow with a disastrously swishy tail, inspired by our Australian Willy Wagtails, who swish their tails from side to side constantly.

Leonard Doesn't Dance

The colour sketch I drew for a spontaneous cover, the first day I received the manuscript

Leonard doodles2 judywatsonart lores

further tail wagging doodles drawn during a HarperCollins Author workshop

Then I found out that Frances had only one request: that Leonard be a bigger, galumphing kind of bird, and not a little tweety-bird type. So this sent me off in other directions and I did some galumphing doodles over a period of time while I was finishing Thunderstorm Dancing.

I continued with my doodles while I was travelling in Italy during April.

In the back of my mind there was a memory of a wonderful, lanky bird from Africa called the Secretary Bird. I looked him up and found him to be wonderfully elegant, wearing short black breeches to below the ‘knee’ and a fancy headdress (from which he got his name) and a wonderful set of wings for flying to bird parties.

His beak is quite different from the one I had imagined. I thought I might alter him to make him a unique bird bearing only a partial resemblance to the Secretary Bird. But as sketches continued, I found I enjoyed him very much, just the way he is.

Leonard

Leonard  1 Leonard  2 Leonard  3 Leonard  4 Leonard  5 Leonard  6

If he won’t work on the page for me with all those smaller birds, I may have to re-think him, but I am quite attached to him already.

More on this process soon, and I will tell you about the decisions about my medium.

Blobs on a moving vehicle (again)

Another journey on the train to the city. More blobs. People at the moment.

Scanning is too time consuming at present, so here we have quick photos of the two pages. Colouring will come bit by bit. Apologies for the low quality.

IMG_0408.JPG

IMG_0404.JPG

For tonight, a coloured threesome. I like the girl journeying in the snow best. I will have to think on her story and add it later.

It’s interesting how this process has slowed down my hand to a more deliberate, less impulsive sort of line. And yet, because of the random blob shapes that form the starting point, the figures seem to retain a little of their energy.

IMG_0407.JPG

IMG_0405.JPG

IMG_0406.JPG

Holiday doodles

Here are some little watercolour blobs done while on holiday in Portland. Our holiday was short but very sweet…unlike Blob Bird No 3 who is short and short-tempered. These blobs are all just a few centimetres across. I forgot to take a fine brush with me, so I couldn’t get any fine feathering to work. I did birds first, as the 52 Week Illustration theme of the week is ‘feather’ and then I played around with dogs, monsters etc.

After we got home, late yesterday I did some more drawing in bed. I remembered that the shaggy hair on the lower legs of some breeds of horse (like the Clydesdale) are called ‘feather’ so I drew some Clydesdales, and then found myself drawing a Rebellious Teen Pony With Attitude, who also has feathered legs. I rather liked her.

feather blob 1 judywatsonart lores

Blob Bird 1

feather blob 2 judywatsonart lores

Blob Bird 2 – what a cheery fellow

feather blob 4 judywatsonart lores

Blob Bird 3 – a foul mood. He was drawn at the bottom of the page, and no room for a decent pair of pins.

feather blob 5 judywatsonart lores

Blob Bird 4 – Also in a foul mood despite his fancy trousers.

red bird judywatsonart lores

Blob Bird 5 – a bit mad I suspect.

We met a pair of swans in a park with a pond and little hire boats with outboard motors that the kids were able to steer. The swans were crazily gorgeous in a bizarre way, and very grumpy. I was watching them for a while and then drew them from memory later. We also saw Mortimer the Raven at the park, with his friend Edgar. I fed Mortimer from my hand and I saw up close that he really does have a hairy beak! Joan Aiken did not lie.

swan judywatsonart lores

This is one of the cross swans, drawn from a blob. (Also cramped at the bottom of the page with his toes falling off the edge. I’ve added a bit of digital depth of tone to this one. He was pale grey)

swan blob

One of the swans, from a blob. But he looks quite cheerful here, but I think he may have some goose blood in him.

page of dog blobs judywatonart lores

A page of dog blobs. These worked better than the birds I thought as I had warmed up. (Maybe it was the champagne, or maybe it was the log fire…. hmmm)

felt tip swan feathers judywatsonart lores

Here are the Cross Swans again. These were drawn in bed last night after we came home. I’ve scanned them and coloured them digitally.

clydesdale judywatsonart lores

This is one of the bed sketches of a Clydesdale. Below is the Teen Pony.

Teen Pony feathers judywatsonart lores

Scribble Blobs (experiments with blobs part 7)

Just so that you know what those mysterious scribble blobs look like… here are a few.

One of them is caught in mid-mutation; turning into a poodle.

Not sure what I’ll do with that blob at the bottom of the page… Man! That’s what I call a tricky-messy-multi-scribble-blob.

scribble blob sample

 

poodle scribble blob judywatsonart lores

Here’s Miss Poodle. She likes red.

She’s a digital sketch working from the scan at top. I like the effect of watercolour, but sometimes a quick doodle poodle is a good doodle poodle.

 

Cloudy Days in Melbourne

Winter has finally arrived in Melbourne. And the 52 Week Illustration Challenge theme is clouds.

grumpy dog cloud lores judywatsonart

I didn’t have to do anything extra for the Challenge this week really. I am working with clouds all the time for Thunderstorm Dancing, and although I can’t post an entire image until the book is published, I did post a fragment of the spread I was working on, which features approaching storm clouds (below). Froth, spatter, roar and hum.

JudyWatsonthunderclouds

This spread was finished until my Beloved told me that the veranda perspective needed alteration… the same veranda that the Cat Called Thunder is trotting across. So I will finish it (again) today.

I’m not saying I relate to that cranky terrier up the top. Not at all. Nope. And I do appreciate the help with perspective.

I did find myself wandering off to do cloud blob doodles to cheer myself up though.

big and little cloud monsters lores

Monster cloud blobs…

wolf cloud blobs lores

Wolf cloud blobs, crossing raging rapids…

bird cloud blobs lores

Bird cloud blobs… one of whom just might possibly be a vulture cloud blob… (Should that be who or whom?)

bizarre cloud animalsAnd lastly this rather bizarre Cloud Blob Doodle which in fact I had done a week or two ago as a variation on the blob improvisation idea. Wherever that photo was taken, it wasn’t Melbourne this week.