Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Colour seascape from an old graphite pencil drawing: Derwent Artbars and Derwent A3 hard back sketch pad

Detail of the rocks and grass

I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms, not having been to the coast in ages due to family health issues.  So I got out some pencil drawings, done in a sketchbook last year, and decided to work from them in colour.

I've sketched and painted in the area a lot over the years and  so have lots of memories of the changing colours - the turquoises and deep blues of the sea on a fine day, the jade/viridian of shallow water, the pink and mauve reflections on the wet sand, the misty soft colours of the far off rain clouds and the currents, movement and drama of the sea.

The rocks here are sort of warm honey colours, though they change in less than  a mile to deep dark granite.

detail 2

The finished image - which loses something in photographing it - the very  softest, palest colours never pick up well.  There are more pale, cool neutrals in the sand than show here.

 Finished piece

It's worked entirely with DerwentArtbars, with just a very very little touch of Winsor and Newton white gouache in some of the surf.

I used a Derwent 110lb A3 sketchpad -  which is really nice, with an elastic loop to keep it closed and protect your work as you carry it about. This is good, as pages chafing together in movement can smudge drawings and spoil them.  The paper has enough tooth to hold media well, without being insistent and dominating the finished piece, something I don't like.   It copes fine with wet media as long as you don't get it too wet, which will make it buckle.

It's a mix of techniques; initial scribbles washed out and then glazed over with further washes of colour and finally layers of dry crayon, using the speckled effect given by the texture of the paper to create a sense of sparkle on the water or texture of sand and rocks.  There is a little scratching through to expose lower layers of colour and some rubbing with fingers, to smudge colour.  This nifty little tool gives you lots of different edges to scrape with .  In this I didn't pick colour up from the crayon with a wet brush - but that's something else I like to do with them.   I often use their Spritzer too - a really useful slimline design - great for when I want colour to blend and mix softly without touching it - one of my favourite tools, which I use a lot with watercolours as well.  The triangular shape allows me to always find a sharp edge for finer lines or lay down broad strokes with the side of the bar.  It also doesn't roll away :>)

What I like about the Artbars is the ability to make drawing a key element in the work if you want - or use it to create floods of wet wash  as needed - or combine them as I have here.

Link to Artbars and Accessories

Link to Artbar review and more details of techniques and mark making possible

Now back to painting .................

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Illustrations and absence

 Quick doodle, planning for illustrated book, Sam doing his tables, watched by Lucy, pencil in S&B sketchbook

Sam is nearly 5 and addicted to maths (I'd think he must be a changeling if he wasn't the image of his father!)  so I thought I'd do a times tables book for him with illustrations.

He was working out the odds on horse racing with his grandfather last week - having asked what the numbers 10:1 onscreen meant.  We were working out what happened if you put £3, £8, £10 etc on instead and what your winnings would be - he rattled off the answers.  Maybe not quite the way his teachers intended tables to be learned!

This is a preliminary doodle, thinking how to go about designing the book.

And these ............

........... are ideas for showing the multiples for 5x and 3x - the problem is by the time you get up to 12x12, that's a lot of little images!  So how to solve?   Go for simpler shapes?  have fold out pages?   Things to doodle and work out before embarking on the final book.

Then - to work in watercolour? gouache? coloured pencil? a mix of all?

I'm planning to continue the essential elements series - but life at the moment is rather hectic with family health issues and hospitals, so not much time for either that or large paintings hence the shortage of posts here lately  :>(    These I can work on anywhere.