Sunday, 4 December 2011

Cheer up Old Willie

Artist study kicking my ass... But I'll keep coming back for more.
'Old Willie - the Village Worthy, 1886' by James Guthrie - Oil, copied in Photoshop CS3.

I really appreciate the work of the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists. It was so disappointing that I missed the RA showing 2010/11, but the library has helped me out here.

Some rules I adhered to:
One brush, one layer, no colour picking, painted without zooming in, set to 'fit screen'.

Stopping as it's time to move on.

Critique for future reference:
  • Start with much larger brushstrokes, achieve that 'painted look' due to marks slowly leading towards refinement - the image is being 'painted, not drawn'.
  • Paint 'thicker'/more opaquely. Once I began to add darker/lighter details and highlights, I found my underpainting was not deep/rich enough in tone to allow for a strong contrast or completely obscure the background tone. This impacted depth and richness in the details, like in the tactile original.
  • Unify and simplify - it shouldn't be a 'struggle' to make a feature emerge - if approached correctly, it should resolve from large-small brushstrokes. Very important to avoid any 'questionable' mark making.

Look forward to more of these.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Time to move on

Slight changes, but I think I'm beginning to just fiddle with it. Put it down to lack of knowledge/practice.
And that needs to be a direction to push my learning, not an excuse.

Definately need to do some studies... and more, more, more...

This was a study from some stills taken from the current series 4 of 'Masterchef: The Professionals'. Inspiration comes from all places, eh? One of the chefs, Claire Hutchings, is very skilled and has an endearingly powerful passion for her craft. Driven, and portraying strong emotions, I wanted to try and capture something of her.

Friday, 18 November 2011

A wee WiP

A work in progress that I'm really enjoying.
I was influenced by the style employed by Zhang Lu in his portraiture.
I will take a break to come back with fresh eyes as I'm worried I may start to focus in without being happy with/fully considering the whole.

Some things I [will] need to bear in mind:

  • Focus on the big shapes - the relationships of the major features, masses and shadow shapes.
  • Work on the whole - must not allow one stage/feature to become over developed, drawing it away from the rest of the piece. All elements should advance as one, so this means watching out for areas of too high/low contrast due to neglect or over attention.
  • The piece should have the potential to look 'complete' at any point - currently this is not applicable.
  • Do not be afraid or precious - if it just doesn't look 'right', or is clearly wrong by the reference, fix it. In the words of Lavender Hill - "If in doubt, eliminate."

And of course, with those in mind :] ...

"Conscious effort inhibits and 'jams' the automatic creative mechanism."
-- Maxwell Maltz

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Kaizen through Shoshin

A little more Summer work and a recent visit to Degas at the Royal Academy.

A comment in a recent lecture, regarding working on a production where you are always learning, like a child, reminded me of a Japanese word/ideology and a term from Zen Buddhism.

Kaizen - "...continuous slow improvement..."

and Shoshin - "...beginner's mind..."
Both are things for me to remember, the latter especially in the pursuit of not hindering myself through thought.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Making up for lost lines

"If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate."
-- Thomas Watson.

Over the next couple of posts I just wanted to update the blog with some Summer sketches.

A guy in Guy's house. A study of an unknown sitter and artist.

A scene near the coast in Connemara.

Coach passengers.

...and PC Brother practising his Guy Fawkes night procedures.

[So no one feels hard done by, something from today ... ]

Monday, 14 November 2011

A little background...

'The only bad drawing is one you don't draw.'

Had the opportunity to attend a fantastic lecture today arranged by the NCCA. Thanks go out to Fraser Maclean for presenting the talk on 'The Art and Evolution of Animation Layout', and to layout and background artists Scott Caple and Roy Naisbitt for their presentations.

Very impressive work shown from 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' (1996) and 'The Thief and the Cobbler' (1993), among others.

An entertaining lecture, and sketching opportunity.

Now I just need to work out what to get for Christmas...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Green with...

One down... Infinity to go!

Trop petit! Rendre plus! Ok!

Belated Huiles

I wanted to post up something of my Summer work.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time studying at the wonderful Lavender Hill Studios. This was my first opportunity to try oil paint, and man, had I been missing out. As the studio professed, why anyone would be encouraged, or choose to start with a (frankly, more difficult) medium like acrylic or watercolour, over something like oil, when your intent is to capture tone/light and work in pure mass, is beyond me. No medium is as forgiving, as eraseable, or appropriate for structured learning, as oil paint.

I spent some time working in charcoal to begin with, working from boxes, simple objects, and then the live model, beginning to work in mass and then translating that to paint. Here are a couple of examples of working on landscape en plein air, and a still life and figure done outside of the studio, trying to adhere to certain principles.

[Left figure - attempt from a photo, in acrylics, before my studies into oil paint over summer, compared to a session with the life model afterwards. I could go on, backed up with painting adages to highlight what was/(still is) wrong... but the images speak for themselves.]

The figure secured me a place working on a project at the Tate Modern, a preparation sketch from my photo/memory forest studies:

More posts on this in future. Once you just begin painting, it's so enjoyable, and that is a feeling to remember.

All the best!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Can't get too precious, or I'll burn out

"Great draughtsmen use only just enough* to express the form, but never to attempt the expression of tone." -- Harold Speed


*The beauty in line drawing - the beauty of contours - using light and shade.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Good Days

I went to the BFI on the London South Bank today to see the graduate animated films from this finishing year.
I want to extend my congratulations to all of the finishing third years, as well as all those people who contributed to the films. They looked fantastic, and it's always inspirational and amazing to see how those ideas begin and appear at their inception, and what they grow to become on a cinema screen. Bravo!

My friend Mark and I also attended the BP Portrait Awards. I really enjoyed sketching one of the renditions of Peter Capaldi by Daniel Fooks. The inspiration for this piece came from a fantastic documentary on Scottish painting presented by Capaldi, which had given me a similar desire to contact the man.

However, this awesome Nathan Ford painting took my public vote -

[ And just a little update - ]

Sunday, 3 July 2011

WiP... Perhaps

Thought this would be some apt fan art seeing as my last two posts highlight a need to improve at Photoshop, rendering and armour.

Have to stop at this point, so a post for progress;

Saturday, 2 July 2011

SP Time

Thought I would try a self portrait in Photoshop today. Tough to get started, but things 'went better than expected' once I got stuck in.
There are some problems with the facial structure/anatomy, due, I think, to the lack of an underlying drawing, and maintaining my position.

Chose to stop; the light's changing, I'm running out of time and to be honest, it gets difficult to take it to the 'next' level, and start refining, especially when certain facial features stick out as erroneous!

More practice :]!

Painted straight into PS, one layer, no zoom, ~80 mins, Mirror


Friday, 1 July 2011

Fancy Footwork

Putting some foot studies to use by looking at my own hooves.

And another imaginary friend.

Issues? Many, sure. Breakdown:
Clearly I have no idea what proper plate mail, or even plated armour truly looks like - further research.
Lower body too large - those hips do lie.
Insufficient knowledge of rendering once again - didn't dare to start with the metal plates, and what should be chain mail admittedly could be mistaken for hair... but better not be ¬_¬
Contrast is missing - image lacks further depth and interest for the observer due to narrow tonal range.

Further crits are more than welcome.


Thursday, 30 June 2011

Character Doodles

Wow, a month already :/

I will update more frequently now. Here's hoping the uploads spur me on!

As promised, dip pen sketches from that trip in Ireland a while ago; my Auntie and Uncle's pets, as a present to them:

And some characters I've drawn over the last few days. These are a big challenge, but it's where my studies should come into play and since it's part of what I want to do as a job, I've got a lot of junk to draw through till I get there.
They are very fun to do and a good chance to reflect:

There is a serious issue with hands and feet of course. Much more studying is needed in that department, and with their complexity, some daily studies could come in handy.
There is also a lack of knowledge in depicting light and certainly being able to render flesh. I hesitate, and need to take more chances to experiment.
I'm much happier with my construction of the figure but there is still some contour drawing going on and it spoils the balance and gesture.
A general lack of anatomical knowledge is slowing me down and the lower bodies of these characters are 'awkward'.
I need to be a bit more diverse and try more interesting and exciting posing to avoid a stale 3/4 view every time.

Also, wolves, animals, from imagination... what... -_-'

All the best!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Birthday Card for a Fillum Lover

This card represents four score in films. It was my grandmother's 80th yesterday, and I'll be visiting Ireland for the long weekend to see family.

I promise to bring back some sketches!

Monday, 16 May 2011

2nd Year Sign-Off

Now that the final hand-in deadlines have passed, officially, my work for my second year is complete. It's crazy how quickly the days seems to be passing, but it's a very exciting time looking forwards.

Here's a diverse post-hand-in update - a bundle of work from Paris; life drawings (5-15 mins), acrylics, gouache, watercolour, ink, conte and some studies from 'Figure Drawing - Design and Invention' - Michael Hampton.