Tag Archives: indian ink

A Field Guide to Birds of the Universe

I finished a spread for Thunder today, so it was fun to sit down this evening and splash around some watercolour paint to create a cheerful parrot (not of this world) and put him onto a book cover for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge. The theme this week is BOOK COVER. It’s a subject close to my heart, and normally I would spend longer than this on it… lovingly tweaking and twiddling each letter and feather. But a quick job is a good job until I am up-to-date in all areas. So here it is.

ImageI don’t think I’ve got that craving for colour out of my system yet… who knows where it might lead…

 

 

washy people

washy little girls

washy little girls

I painted these figures loosely, intending to add detail afterwards. It’s a thing that Alexis Deacon likes to do in various ways. It’s a great idea and I’ve been meaning to have another go at it. But once sketched in, I felt they were finished and didn’t want any more detail. So here they are.

School information session (Level 3) on a hot night

Info night level 3 Susie G lores

Sue Grisdale talking up the front. From this sketch you will see that the teachers put more effort into their attire than the rest of us. They had been looking after our children all day. We somehow managed to look more hot and exhausted than they…

These sketches might not be very interesting. Most of them are people’s backs. Sorry about that:-) But here they are anyway. True to my own school days, I was up the very back row drawing people… After years of practice, I may not have perfected my drawings, but I have become pretty good at drawing and listening at the same time.

Info night level 3 singlet top lores

Info night level 3 nightdress lores

This woman did not remotely look like she was wearing a night dress in real life. But in my drawing, she does. My apologies to her.

Info night level 3 narrow frame lores

This woman was not thin. She was simply of a strikingly narrow frame. If she were a dog, she might be a Saluki. A well behaved one.

Info night level 3 button back lores

Ponytails and buns were the in thing tonight. I think it’s due to the heat and keeping hair off the neck. If I were able to arrange the back of my own head, I might have worn one too. Unfortunately I find that a bit too tricky.

Cabinet Card Faces that tell a story

Young actress wearing a hat

Young actress wearing a hat – This was my warm up sketch. Fast and loose.

Waiting for the kids while they are in their drama class on Wednesday afternoons, I am in the lap of luxury for an hour in a big leisure centre. There is a huge room with large tables, very few people and a nearby change room with fresh water for painting. This week I took my altered book sketching back-pack (have ink, can travel) and did some sketches there.

When I want to launch into something without thinking too much or wasting limited time finding a subject, I sometimes like to look at vintage cabinet cards, featuring studio portrait photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries. The faces are intriguing, the costumes often more interesting than today’s garb and usually the poses are wonderfully contrived. They are in black and white so the tonal values and detail are usually good for my purposes.

gentle faced woman

Italian ballet dancer with smiling eyes.

Italian ballet dancer with smiling eyes. This one was done after I got home and she has a touch of collage. I cut the face first, loosely without drawing an outline, to avoid getting caught up in detail.. 

This woman looked like she was having a ball being photographed. She had a confident pose, uplifted chin and laughing italian eyes with Audrey Hepburn style eye make-up and brows.

sad-eyed woman

There was something rather sad about this woman’s eyes that touched me. My sketch looks very little like the original woman, but it has retained the inward gaze. Although it’s not a particularly good picture, I find that I like her in a personal way, so she’s going up.

selfie lores

Another for the 52-week Illustration Challenge.

Theme for this week, ‘selfie’. I am looking a bit Holly Hobbyish here with a large, collage head of differential calculus hair. It would have looked better with darker hair, but I didn’t want to lose the lovely calculus curves under a heavy load of ink. So I’ve left it lightly tinted.

I liked the way the little numbers and mathematical figures here and there remind me of insects or seeds that the chickens are constantly seeking.

The smooth paper of a vintage book reacts completely differently from the way proper watercolour paper should react to paint. But there’s something rather nice about it. It  sucks up the ink in a thirsty way, remaining very smooth and composed all the while.

Scott discovered the word ‘groke’ the other day. We all like it in this house and think it deserves constant and affectionate use. It reminds us of Tove Jansson‘s Groke and it means this: to ‘stare at someone in the hope that they’ll give you some food’. (The Groke in Jansson’s  Moominpappa at Sea visits Moomintroll every night to beg him to show her his lantern flame, because she is a lonely creature craving warmth and light but unable to get either. So it’s a poignant form of groking after all.)

With six pampered chickens and a dog, we get plenty of groking around here. Speaking of which, better go and lock the girls up.

Monotypes with Dad in the garden on a Sunday

Lovely to have a day off yesterday, and to spend it with Dad and the boys, (as well as Scott when he wasn’t on board his yacht admiring seals in the bay). Dad suggested we do some monotypes, and we finally got around to it in the late afternoon.  It was really pleasant in the garden, and we could use the hose to easily clean off our plates without messing up the bath as I usually do at home. Boy, you should see it after a printing session!

We didn’t get too fussed about what we drew, and we were mostly messing about trying to find a paper that would take the monotype process and a bit of ink added afterwards.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of Dad’s pictures, but he probably wouldn’t have let me post them anyway!

little dark girl monotype lores

This little dark girl was taken from a photo and was an experiment in drawing with big, angular shapes and using high contrast. It’s so tricky to draw children without the results looking sentimental, because the subject of children is so heavily laden with very strong human emotion, and many pictures of children actively seek to communicate those emotions. This drawing probably looks sentimental too, just because the child is thoughtful or pensive. She certainly wasn’t meant to look like she’d left her favourite teddy in the park. I just loved her blocky haircut and the shapes her interlocking arms made. Oh, and the reason I was drawing a child (on my day off, ha ha!) was because I decided to join in a Facebook group with a weekly illustration topic, just for fun. This week’s topic was ‘children’.

The paper was medium weight, and was fine with the monotype process, but didn’t cope with the ink wash afterwards. Buckled all over the place. Earlier, we tried with 300 gsm watercolour paper and couldn’t get an ink impression because it was too stiff. Wetting the paper didn’t work too well either, because our block printing ink is water based. (I think the ink used in intaglio printing onto wet paper is oil based. Somebody tell me if I’m wrong.)

monotype altered book cat lores

The cat was a bit of fun for me as I suddenly had the happy thought that I could combine altered book art with monotype. Although the page was rudely removed from the book, as you can see, it did cope perfectly with the ink, and also coped rather well with the wash afterwards. Strangely, it has a fine, sparkly thing happening in the dark areas when I hold it to the light. It must be to do with the paper, as it isn’t the ink, I’m sure.

monotype blue boy lores

This little guy was done on very lightweight paper and the monotype line is rather delicate because there was not a heavy load of ink on the plate. I added chinese ink, Prismacolour artstick and soft pastel afterwards to give him a bit of contrast, and the original monotype line is barely there. The paper of course, buckled.

Thanks for an enjoyable afternoon, Dad!