Sunday, 8 May 2011

My process

I have been thinking about my blog posts going forward as I was sat working in the garden on a sunny Friday afternoon and I thought about things that i like to read about on other artists blogs. I thought I'd tell you a little bit about my working process, from initial inspiration for an idea to getting it down on paper and coming up with a finished piece of work....


 A couple of weeks ago I went out for a few hours sketching with a friend of mine, and I came across some lovely 'tropical' looking trees in the gardens at Newstead Abbey. I took a few snaps and came home, thinking about what i could do with them and how easy/difficult it would be to simplify such a complex shape into something that would fit in well with my range.



So I set about in a cruddy old cheap sketchbook (one of those where you don't mind ruining the gorgeous white pages) just roughly sketching the general shape down and playing around with it. I also had been thinking about how I could change my bird character to fit in with a more tropical theme so decided to research 'parrots'. I usually like to work from 'real' primary objects, but as we haven't many parrots flying about in this part of the world I had to resort to 'google' and did a search on parrot images.



After a  bit of playing about with the general shapes and again trying to simplify the shapes I came up with Percival the little guy two pictures above that I told you about last week....



But I still have the problem of the palm tree. Because of the way i work I need to keep shapes really simple and very 2D so I find that if I try to really go back to basics and just use plain line drawings this works really well and helps me to find a way to get what I want...


Once I know what i'm going to do and how I'm going to put the piece together I either go for it and get brave and start with black ink (that is a bit of a leap of faith) or if I'm not feeling 100% sure of how it's all going to pan out I sketch in the general outline in pencil so I can make sure that the image fills the page the way I want it to and that I like the look of the composition. I usually start with my smaller A4 book of 'decent paper' to begin with and off I go.... drawing the outline in ink and once it's finished going over it to make the solid black lines....


In this case. impatience led to several bouts of swearing as I smudged the original (***!^#%s!!), but I thought I'd finish this one off anyway as I can use it as a print image and clean up the smudges in Photoshop...


When I'm happy with the image I then tend to scale-up and go bigger, this time working on A3 of the same watercolour or aquarelle acrylic paper (which has a gorgeous texture although it can be a bit of a pain when I'm trying to get the lines straight!!)


And this is what my sketchbook looks like after a couple of hours in the garden in the sunshine... I'm quite happy with how this one is turning out! I'll be sure to show you after the parrots have been added...

So there you go, that's how I tend to work through an idea, from start to finish. I always love to hear how other artists work, so if anyone else wants to share how they work, please feel free to add a link in the comments section

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