I thought this was a great Illustration Friday topic this week; I had fun :) I’d love to design a tattoo.
‘No Fear,’ Pen and ink and Sakura Microns on Bristol Board, 6″ x 9″
Here’s the pencil drawing I started with. You can also see some of my reference material for this image. I had a lot of fun researching tattoos and knew that my tattoo had to have flames and a skullâ€¦
‘Super,’ pen and ink and photoshop. Another personal poster project for the band, Super Furry Animals.
This started off as a pen and ink drawing. However, I wasn’t at all happy with the original drawing so I coloured the pen and ink image in Photoshop. As soon as I started the drawing I knew it wasn’t going to turn out wellâ€¦so of course it didn’t.
Here are some photos that show my inking process, tools and work space for my latest pen and ink drawings. There are also some photos of a great Play-Doh penguin that Angie made for me :)
Here I am working on the Ysbryd drawing with Angie’s Play-Doh penguin keeping me company. I’m adding the fine background lines with a 0.1 Sakura Micron.
I start my pen and ink drawings with a pencil drawing to lay out the forms and composition. Here you can see the pencil under-drawing. I use a click-pencil for this part of the process and the red one pictured here is a Niji Grip 0.5mm. The paper I have been using is Bristol Board which is a lovely smooth surface for pen and ink.
After the pencil drawing I ink in the main forms with a small nibbed pen and you can see the result of this step in this photo. The pen to the right in this photo is an amazing Japanese brush pen that my parents bought me for Christmas. It makes the most wonderful brush like marks and the ink flows really smoothly. I love this pen. You can see a close-up of its synthetic brush head below.
Here’s a photo of my workspace while I work on the insect pen and ink drawing. I work on a flat Ikea table that has a white laminate finish (it was really cheapâ€¦I think only $30). For the insect drawing I referenced National Geographic’s January 2006 issue that had a great spread on mantids and that helped me with the main character’s design, Trychfil. Usually when I work on a drawing or painting I work on character, prop and environment designs/poses in a ‘design’ sketchbook that I use solely for this purpose. You can see this design book underneath the National Geographic magazine with some designs for Trychfil and the tree branches. You can also see the pocket sized moleskine that I carry around to doodle in. This is where most of my characters usually start. Once I pick out the characters from one of my doodle books I usually play around with their designs in my design book. I try to keep my character doodles pretty simple and I draw them all in pen.
Here’s Angie’s Play-Doh penguin. Hope you like the photos and have a good weekend :)
‘Ysbryd, Prince of Animal Ghosts,’ pen and ink, brush pen and Sakuras on Bristol Board, 6″ x 9″
Like a lot of people I like films, literature and art that tell the stories of dark heroes. I wanted to figure such a hero in one of my pen drawings, so the above drawing is about Prince Ysbryd who roams the animal underworld. I think pen and ink is a great medium for creating darker images.
I may have been inspired to go darker after reading the great article on Camille Rose Garcia in the March issue of Juxtapoz. The interview with her is good and she talks a little about her process; her explanation of her characterization process is briefly explained, but very interesting.
Angie and I also saw two rather dark movies both of which I would recommend: ‘Memory of a killer’ and ‘North Country.’ ‘Memory of a Killer’ is a Belgian crime-thriller that tells the story of Angelo Ledda, a vigilante style dark hero (see Wikipedia reference). Angelo is an elderly hit-man suffering the onset of Alzheimer’s who takes on a hit job that prompts him to turn on his employer. The characters are somewhat typical for this genre, but they have enough twists to become compelling. To find out more about “Memories of Killer,’ visit www.imdb.com and to find out more about ‘North Country,’ visit www.imdb.com.
Angie and I went to see Joe Batt’s exhibition yesterday. I was really excited to see his work as I had seen a flyer for the exhibition that had depicted a whimsical ceramic hare in a bright yellow life-jacket. The show was small, but there were more of the wonderful hare figures. My favorite piece was ‘Traveling Hare’ which I drew above. These pieces were also very colourful as Joe had added coloured highlights with coloured pencil; the ‘Traveling Hare’ had a very fetching bright green backpack and pale blue belt.
To learn more about Joe Batt and his work, you can visit his web site at www.joebatt.com.
‘Brethren and Ms.’, pen and ink and Sakura Microns on Bristol Board, 9′ x 6″
These pen and ink drawings are coming together a lot faster than my paintings and I like the change of pace. When painting, I usually get to a point where my original colour intentions just don’t seem to be working so I begin to paint over large areas. From this re-paining the paintings start to come together. With the pen and ink drawings though, my process is more straightforward. The pen and ink drawings start with an image and narrative in mind and then I draw a scene in pencil with characters and props derived from my sketchbooks (although for ‘Hello Sunshine‘ I couldn’t wait to do the preliminary pencil sketch so I drew it all in pen in one goâ€¦it was sort of like a big adrenaline rush). This image, ‘Brethren and Ms.’ started as a very similar looking image in my sketchbook, as seen below.
After setting the composition and roughing the outlines in pencil I lay out the major forms in a small nibbed pen (size A-6) working from top left to bottom right so as not to smudge any wet ink. Then I go over some of the lines with thicker nibs (size A-5 and A-4) and after this stage is dry I then add detail with both the A-6 nibs and 0.1 and 0.5 Sakura Microns. At the detail stage I usually just make the detail up as I go along to retain some spontaneity.
Sometimes I like the instant gratification of finishing something quickly. At times I don’t really want to paint because I don’t feel like working 3 days on a painting. Usually when I feel this way I still work in my sketchbook, but now I can also create finished pen and ink pieces which feels different than working in my sketchbook. I find that the more I create the more I want to create. When I stop it seems that there’s a certain amount of inertia or something that begins to build up which makes it harder to start creating again. Anyway, if you’re like me and sometimes like to read inspirational article’s to help get you going there’s a good article I read by Keri Smith that talks about recognizing our weaknesses/limitations and how to turn them around into strengths. You can find the article at www.kerismith.com.