I'm still trying to get a sense of atmosphere for Baba Yaga the Russian witch, so have been playing around in my sketchbook, just having fun and pushing away my inner editor as I'm not concerned right now with having things perfect but with feeling around for the right amount of gruesomeness mixed with dignity, power and fear that this goddess-crone seems to emit. Also a healthy amount of respect thrown in for her, as the more research I do, the more I'm beginning to quite like her ... and of course the idea of merging her with the raven:
Not sure of where that final image came from but I'm just putting it all out into the sketchbook as it flows through. Lots of skulls and bones and things coming up soon as well, so if you don't care for those I suggest you look away next time I post something! Then again I may put up something cheerful for Christmas instead, just for a break from glorious grimness.
I've been drawing and painting on bits of watercolour paper and rice paper, and of course into my Pink Pig sketchbook, the A2 large one I'm using for college work. Using watercolour, acrylics, ink and whatever else comes to hand. Cheers.
Life is full of hiccups and I've had my fair share these past couple of months, so huge apologies for not blogging for so long! But everything is finally sorted out for now and it's straight back into work and studies. Happily so, too. I'm working on my Negotiated Studies for college this year, and exploring the shadow and self-identity in fairy-tales (well, that's the plan) and have done tons of research -- and in the process have discovered Baba Yaga and her refreshing ambiguity ... a perfect 'shadow' character. She has much to teach me.
I'll write more later on about why I'm acquiring a fascination for this crone witch, the 'bogeyman' for Russian children -- although she's apparently now quite famous worldwide. She's also just right for my project, flying around in her mortar, wielding the pestle in one hand and a broom in the other to sweep away her tracks, and lives in a hut that stands on one or two chicken legs and dances around, how cool is that?
I've started on exploratory sketches of my interpretation of Baba Yaga and of course I've managed to merge her with my love for the raven trickster. Here are some of the in-progress sketches:
I'm using Shmincke watercolours for the first time, and they're wonderful. Experimenting on an Akvarel watercolour paper block from Tiger. One of these days I'm going to begin videoing the process, but for now it's photographs. As always, I'm thoroughly enjoying myself and it's so good to be back at my 'Mission Control' desk at home, working on my art. Cheers.
Settings and landscapes are another subject I don't paint very often, so these Make Art That Sells course prep assignments are really pushing me out of my comfort zone. Seems as though everyone is conspiring to do so recently! Well, I'm welcoming challenges, so I took this one up with much amusement and a good heart, and did a couple of rough sketches. Above is one of them, and below is another:
And I finally remembered to take some photos of the process ... well, of the second one anyway. Here they are:
I'm going to declare myself quite satisfied with my rough attempts, for now at least. If I intend illustrating for children's books I shall have to practice loads more I suspect! Well, am certainly not scared of trying out new things, or of change in general, so we shall have quite a pleasurable ride ahead ... Cheers.
I'm not very adept at drawing human characters, so I normally try to avoid doing so. But of late I'm learning to face my fears (yes, ouch), to explore them and embrace them. The result has been surprising ... I'm discovering a new world full of creative expression and, dare I say it, joy. So when I saw that one of my favourite online 'schools', Make Art That Sells, was offering a children's illustration course, I jumped at it. They've started us off with 5 days of preparation, beginning with character exploration. Well, below you can view a few of my tentative sketches -- and above is, I hope, my final result. Minette ended up finding me, and I think we're both fairly pleased at ourselves and looking forward to getting to know each other better.
It's only a beginning and I'm aware that I have a lot of work ahead of me. Clearing the dark, scary corners of my inner world is not an easy task. But if these are the discoveries I'm going to be making because of it, well, pass me that broom as I'll be sweeping away quite happily no matter what I find. I'm in this for the long haul, so I welcome all challenges that come my way. I hope Minette and I will remain friends for a while ...
I love exploring. Here, I'm getting to know my animal friends better. Drawing them, and drawing them, and drawing them again, in as many ways and mediums as I can think of, until I discover their true characters, what lies behind the bare sketchy bones, and they finally allow me to truly see them so that I might place them on a page in a style that they're content with. I think I'm getting there, finally. It's a slow process but full of fun. Below are some of the stages I went through, and close-ups of the sketches of my little panda and his friends, the red panda, golden monkey, Temminck's Tragopan bird, and a mouse ... I still have to add the leopard cat, he'll be along soon. I'm learning patience ... but in a positively joyful way.
I think they're beginning to trust me now! We seem to be enjoying ourselves superbly, which is good news as we have a long journey ahead together. More coming soon. Cheers.
I'm meant to be doing rough sketches of animal companions for my baby giant panda, but keep getting carried away and distracted. Story of my life, really ... quite amusing, except when I have a deadline to work to. My excuse here is that I'm getting to know these animal friends better, as I should. So here's a little red panda that I originally sketched in pencil and then coloured with watercolour pencils and finally, above, popped into Painter and then Photoshop to finish up digitally, curious to see how it would turn out. I'm growing quite fond of it.
I have to admit that I prefer the slightly rough watercoloured version to the too-clean digital one. This seems to be a new trend of mine, preferring the untidy sketchy outlines to a far more detailed and perfectly (technically I mean) finished end result. Slight difference to the way I used to draw, but then life has been chock-full of changes recently and I'm going with the flow now, remember?
My preparatory sketches are far 'rougher' than they used to be, in fact I never actually drew preps before, instead setting pencils to paper to produce a finished product that I'd already seen completed in my mind. I'm now told that these are actually still too 'finished', funnily enough. Still learning, folks, and enjoying the lessons as I go.
So, which panda version do you prefer? The paper or digital one? I'm off to get acquainted with more animal friends and will keep posting those experiments here so please do stop by again. All and any comments, criticisms and suggestions are always most welcome. Cheers.
PS: According to the Red Panda Network: "The Red Panda, or “firefox,” is often referred to as the “lesser panda” in deference to the better-known giant panda."
I started a creative journal, just to jot down ideas and thoughts and anything else that might meander through my mind while I sort through my life and art (a lot of re-organising going on here in the background, long overdue!) and scribble down processes and connections and inspiration ... well, you get the picture.
Somehow the little panda managed to quietly slide his way into the pages, and he seems quite content to remain ... which is fine as he and I are going to be sharing quite a lot of humour, laughter and joy in the foreseeable future. He's right where he belongs. Let's hope you like him too. Here's a very roughly sketched peek at him dancing for joy:
We both wish you a very pleasant day. Don't forget to take your sense of humour with you wherever you go. Cheers.
Committing myself to learning, exploring, going with the flow, and enjoying the journey. Immersing myself back into the creative process and loving it. I'm now sketching out certain animals for one of the projects I'm working on, and at the moment its the golden monkey with its amazing turqouise coloured face. I'll be monkeying around for a few days now ... ouch, sorry about that. Below is the pencil sketch, before I used marker pens (on the monkey on the left) and watercolours to brighten them all up.
I'm thoroughly enjoying the therapeutic pleasures of paint, now that life seems to be back on the right track and creativity has returned ... This was done in my Stillman & Birn zeta sketchbook using Faber-Castell Pitt pens and Winsor and Newton watercolours. Cheers.
I've fallen quite unashamedly in love with my panda. He's just so full of joy that it's contagious and when I draw him (which I am doing so often that it's surprising I'm not sick of it) it fills me with pleasure. Therapeutic just doesn't begin to describe it ... At the moment I'm trying to define his lines, unsure still of what the end result will be, but extremely happy with the process of exploration. Above is one of my experiments but it might be too clean, I'm not yet sure. Here's the original sketch:
I quite like the rough edges and marks, and would really love to incorporate them somehow into the final ... we'll see how it goes shall we? I have a feeling that this little panda will let me know exactly what he wants and needs eventually, and that I won't have much choice but to happily go along with his wishes.
I'm also exploring the construction of a picture book -- layout, dummies, etc, so I thought I'd share a few links with you that I found useful:
I'll be doing tons more research and will keep sharing and posting what I find. If you're exploring doing picture books for children you'll find them useful in some way I hope. I'll also add links on the side of my blog as I go along, so keep an eye out for those as well. Cheers.