Monday, January 31, 2011

The Erl-King's Chorus

I just finished this!  It is a piece based on a short story by Angela Carter called 'The Erl-King', from 'The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories'.  The Erl-King is king of the forest, and likes to keep the song-birds he catches stacked in cages that he weaves from branches.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Straight forward sketching is very therapeutic for me.  It's like I become a machine, like a photocopier.  But if I were a machine I'd probably rather be a bicycle (no 'village bike' jokes).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Image Hoard 6: Monochromatic

I am doing a lot of admin-type work at the moment, so not a lot of drawing is getting done but compulsive image collection continues as normal.  Here's some monochrome inspiration for your Monday blues.

1- The Wave, Coyote Buttes, Arizona
via The Vamoose blog

2- Film still from Full Metal Jacket
The bombed, collapsed, shot and burning Vietnamese buildings that feature in the second half of FMJ are really beautiful.  I couldn't help admiring the chaos in the background as I watched.

3- Sharks
They are so dark and serene.  I'm glad I'm not the one taking the picture.

4- Elie Saab
I don't know much about Saab, having just been introduced to his work, but the colours used in recent collections are the most beautiful, natural and subtle.  Just look at these dresses.

5- I really wish I knew who made this necklace.
My guess is one A McQueen; for the skulls, the statement.  But I have no proof of this.

6- Victor Hugo's sketch pages
The famous French writer was also excellent at drawing.  He was almost a famous French artist, until he decided to focus on writing.  His use of ink is so natural yet accomplished.

7- Ella Buter's home
via Eendag Op 'N Reendag blog
I love the curation of this display.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Image Hoard 5: Grit & Grime

1 - Fuck Halloween by Ashley Wood
Halloween's long gone, but still...  

2 - Random Image
I found this in some random stream-of-consciousness, image-association-type blog.  It's quite creepy, but kinda cool.

3 - The Coloured Mountains of Landmannalaugar, Iceland
Different minerals show as colours in the landscape.  Iceland looks a bit like a Never Never Land to me; I'd love to go there. 
This is an inspiration image posted by The Vamoose; a label that makes beautiful jewellery.  I urge you to check out the blog and the website.  Buy pretty things!

4 - A sketchbook page by Stella Im Hultberg
Stella is an artist who draws a lot of faces and sometimes uploads sketchbook images onto her blog.  This spread is so dreamy and expressive.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Hazards of Love

I finished this today.  It's based on a Decemberists song.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

From A to B: Leo illustration in progress

This is how a recent horoscope illustration came into being; step by step. 

I always start with a rough sketch (not shown due to technical difficulties) and some idea of what I'm aiming for.  It can be fairly vague often changes along the way.  

I lightly map out the drawing.  This is on Bristol Board because it's perfectly smooth; I wanted to be able to get really straight, fine lines.  I'm using oil-based Pitt pencils.  I like the black colour and the feel of them.

The drawing is finished and ready to scan.

My girl is scanned in to Photoshop, hard cropped and layered on top of an ink splashed that I made and scanned separately.

Here, I have drawn the mane as a vector on a layer between the ink and the girl.  This is my first try and I felt it didn't look leonine enough; more like a halo or a hubcap.
I have also applied gradient overlays to the other layers.

About 7 tries at a more mane-like mane later, I decided that a small change would do.  After all, the illustration will always be paired with the word "Leo".

Happy New Year!

I spent Christmas with friends and family in South Africa.  We had a blast soaking up the skylines and the sunshine.  I made a lot of origami birds on Christmas day.

And now the New Year is here!  Time for resolutions, quitting smoking, joining the gym, and Special K.  Though most of my resolving started last year when I quit my 9-5, the last few months feel like they've been a trial run; for ironing out the kinks and getting my plan straight.  2011 will be a good year to begin again.