art, drawing, illustration, inspiration, sketching

Old Projects, New Projects and a Kick of Motivation

So once again I seem to have found myself in that end of project blues. You know, that feeling when you’ve been working on a project for so long, any spare moment you have, you’re working on it, and then even when you’re not working on it, you’re thinking about it. Literally, all the time. And then suddenly, you’re almost done, and your brain’s like ‘whoa, hang on a second, what the heck am I meant to do now? I’m staring into this black hole of nothingness, come on, you’ve got to give me something!‘ Anyone else get that? Or at least know what I’m going on about? It’s annoying right?

I have to say this isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s happened pretty much every project since university. Except at uni there was always another project round the corner to get me going again. But now it’s all just me.

Buuuuut, I have a cunning plan to try and kickstart my brain before it falls too far into the black hole of nothingness. I tried and failed with Inktober again this year (I’m going for next year as 3rd time lucky), so to make up for that, I’m going to give myself a new challenge. It suddenly hit me as I was flipping through some old sketchbooks earlier, searching for inspiration. And I came across this:

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I did this sketch over 3 years ago when I was trying to fill up a sketchbook to take to my interview for my art foundation course. Along with this sketch were a load of other animal drawings, and I suddenly realised something- whenever I’ve had a motivational slump, and for whatever reason can’t figure out what to do next, animals always seem to get me drawing again.

So, for my new challenge, I’m going to try and draw a different animal for the next 30 days (I already have a mental list of some of the animals I want to try and draw, but if anyone has any suggestions please let me know!) I also want to try not to use the same media for 2 days running. Basically I want to experiment, but I also want to get my productivity going again. They don’t have to be big or complex pieces (actually I really seem to struggle with just staying simple, so the simpler the better), but mostly I just need something to make me sit down and draw (it’s weird, you wouldn’t think it would be so hard to do something you love!) But I’m hoping this will be the kick I need. And hey, it might even be a useful starting point for some character development and a new project!

As a starting point I’ve got these sketches below, which I did when we visited an animal park over the summer. It was so refreshing to draw from life because I didn’t have any other option but to draw quickly (hence I stuck with the rhinos for quite a while!) and everything felt a lot more natural (I always fall victim to over-working my drawings, trying to make them ‘perfect’ and often lose some of the original character and energy of the drawings) so I guess the images I’ve got here is kind of what I’m going to be aiming for with my sketches over the next 30 days. Although, if I feel the urge to develop an image into something a bit more finished, I don’t know if I’ll be able to say no…

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(Okay, so this last one was drawn from one of the photos when I got home, but doing some preliminary sketches from life first really helped).

Right, let’s do this!

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art, digital art, illustration, inspiration, Uncategorized

On A Roll

So it looks like I’ve finally caught some kind of ‘super-productive-producing-art’ kind of bug. Now I know it’s quality over quantity, but for the last year or so I’ve really struggled to create something without over thinking it and spending weeks working on it. Again, I know this can be useful, but working in that way I didn’t feel like I was progressing and learning new skills as quickly as I would like.

So last weekend I had a look through some of my old photos (well, old as in maybe 3 years old?!) and it suddenly hit me; I’ve been desperately trying to create scenes based on my imagination and I just wasn’t getting anywhere. Because I was lacking the initial inspiration that has always kickstarted my art. And looking back at some of the original scenes that made me pick up my camera and shoot, I found that inspiration coming back, with the added bonus of a ready made scene (with  composition and lighting decisions already made), which meant that all I had to focus on, was painting.

Anyway, enough waffle, here’s what I managed to come up with:

Thirlmere finished

art, digital art, drawing, illustration, inspiration, Uncategorized

Latest WiP- fantasy landscape painting

So continuing my digitally painting journey I’ve decided to have a go at my first landscape painting. Over 10 years of being far too snap-happy has meant I’ve gathered a huge amount of reference images (it’s almost like I knew they’d come in handy some day!)

I still have a long way to go but I’m having so much fun with it-particularly learning new techniques (this tutorial was really helpful for the grass: http://ehkindred.deviantart.com/art/Painting-Grass-the-Lazy-Way-330837080 ). Next up to learn, waterfalls, lakes and rivers!

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 18.36.05Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 15.34.44Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 15.51.19Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 21.05.44Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 22.10.24

art, digital art, drawing, illustration, inspiration

Harry Potter Book Night

So I don’t know how many of you know but a couple of days ago  (Thursday 4th Feb) it was the second Harry Potter Book Night, an occasion created by Bloomsbury last year, with events held in libraries and bookshops up and down the country meant to inspire a new generation of readers with the Harry Potter series.

Now I was lucky enough to be just the right age when the first book was originally published (I was 9 at the time) which meant that as every subsequent book came out I was roughly the same age as Harry, Ron and Hermione. For me this made the stories extra special (and possibly even a little bit more real), and re-reading the books again now, especially the earlier books, always takes me back to feeling like I’m 10 or 11 again. So now every time I read the books I get hit by the same sense of wonder and imagination as I did all those years ago.

The difference now is, as soon as I get a whiff of inspiration, I feel like I have to capture it in some way; it makes me want to draw. And the thing with Harry Potter Book Night is, working in a library I’ve had the chance to be involved in 2 Book Night events now and through some of the work I’ve done for displays, it’s given me the opportunity to go back to the books through new eyes. More specifically, since I’ve spent a serious amount of time drawing and making over the last few years, I’ve had the chance to be inspired by the magical world of Harry Potter all over again, but this time through my new illustrator eyes (if that’s actually thing).

So, after all that preamble, these are 2 of the digital paintings that I created for the event* (and also because having re-read the Chamber of Secrets I suddenly really really really wanted to paint a basilisk, and a phoenix, and a flying car, and…well actually all the magical stuff described in the books because it just inspires something in me. But on this occasion I had to restrain my self…

Chamber finished

Photoshop and intuos 4 pen & tablet

Flying Car finished

The background is a photograph I took in northern Scotland, but the rest is painted as above. I should also probably explain- there’s obviously no-one driving the car, but that’s because this was designed as a photo opportunity where the windscreen area was cut-out and the kids stood behind so it looked like they were driving the car.

art, drawing, illustration, inspiration, sketching

Back to Basics

Over the last few months I’ve been working at improving my digital painting skills, and quite often I would find myself thinking ‘how would I do this if I were using traditional media?’ And particularly when Photoshop was on the go-slow I would think ‘Could I just do this quicker by hand?’ But at the weekend I went for a walk on the beach, and the sky was so dramatic, the lighting was just awesome, and I just got that ‘I have to draw this’ kind of feeling.

So, when I got back, armed with a good number of reference photos I sat down and started to thumbnail a few different compositions, and then having seen one photo that caught my eye I just got out my water soluble pencils and started to draw. And as I drew I felt so much more connected to what I was doing, watching the image evolve in front of me (without constantly zooming in and out and waiting while the brush strokes on the screen catch up with the pen in my hand). I found that I’d really missed it. But the interesting thing is, I also found myself thinking ‘how would I do this on photoshop?’ ‘What kind of rendering style would I go for here?’ It’s like switching between digital and traditional really made me think about the basics all over again. Having not completed a piece traditionally for probably over a month it was like starting all over again. Now I know these aren’t the greatest sketches I’ll ever do, but the best thing is, despite the differences between digital and traditional, swapping between the two has really made me think about what it is I’m creating, and between them, they’ve helped push and improve my drawing skills as a whole.

Beach B&W 2

Watersoluble pencils

Beach colour

Watersoluble pencil and inktense blocks & pencils

art, digital art, drawing, illustration, inspiration

When the image in your head actually makes it onto the page…

Magic Library re-sized

This painting is a bit of a first for me; it’s one of the few times when the blurry image floating around in my mind throughout the planning stages, somehow materialised in the final piece. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it is that did this for me (as it could quite well be useful again!) and I think what it comes down to is not the actual layout or details of the work, but the atmosphere and feeling about it. While I was working I thought a lot about the perspective and lighting set-up, and it wasn’t until I put the final lighting in that I began to see it.

Of course, whether it conveys to you, the audience, what I was intending, I’ll leave up to you to decide… (and if you want to give me a shout about what you think I’d be very happy to hear!)

 

inspiration

Finding inspiration in reptiles

IMG_0689 converted landscape-13IMG_0658 converted-10As I think I mentioned in a previous post, when we were in France a couple of weeks ago we visited an Insectarium, and one of the creatures I didn’t realise they had there were geckos and lizards. I’ve never really thought too much about them in the past, particIMG_0647 converted-9ularly when looking for animals to draw- I’ve always gone with the more fluffy varieties, the sort you would probably call traditionally cute. But after 5 minutes or so of watching these little guys, I found myself hooked. I don’t know what it was exactly, whether it was the way they moved around, keeping an eye on me at all times, or their slightly ungainly interactions with each other, or just the details of their bodies up close…I just found myself wanting to learn more about them, to study them, to draw them. I was, I guess, inspired! The day we got back from the Insectarium I started sketching around some of these images, and I just loved exploring something different. There’s definitely a challenge to them, but at the same time it’s nice to be able to see a clear structure, and also not to have to draw fur! The final piece I worked on was a colour pencil sketch (again something I wouldn’t normally do) of the gecko at the top, and I’ll be posting it as soon as it’s finished.IMG_0741 converted B&W 2-15