Monday, December 14, 2009

Moon Dancers : WIP & Final Image

Howdy Folks! Sorry it's been so long since my last post...been building retainining walls and then rendering them, enclosing a fernery - still needs rendering! - putting a roof on a veranda - not yet finished - and planning a revamp for our front garden. Plus the usual domestic duties and work in the studio...Phew! Just writing it down has me inclined to go and have a good lie down

Right! The current picture. Again, an illustration for my personal project, Birds of a Feather. You should be able to follow the process just from the images, so I won't bore you with needless descriptions.

I probably won't post again until after Christmas so, to those of you who visit this little blog, have a great one...I'm off to the South coast for the duration, and intend to do as little as possible in regard to manual labour...reading is top of the agenda.

So...Bah! & Humbug! To one and all.

Cheers. RWS

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tango in Blue - Final

Howdy Folks! Our trotting coppers are finished - at last - I hope you like them. The bottom pic is of the paper sheets that I used to protect the illustration from paint spatters and my coffee spills as I work the image up, they also double as colour test sheets. Sometimes I think the tester sheets end up looking better as  works of art than do the traditional illustrations I finish up with...Ho hum...

I told you in the last post that these two are Australian,  Eastern curlews - I found my references for them in one of my big books on Australian birds...not sure that we can consider them as native to Australia though... they migrate to Eastern Australia in September and October, travelling from Siberia to escape the Northern Winter...Safer to think of them as Russian tourists I think...or RussoAustralian? (Let's face it, if we're honest with ourselves, we Australians tend to consider any one, or thing, to be Australian - no matter how tenuous the link - if it is thought that it adds credibility or glamour to being an Aussie. Pathetic really. The worst offendors are the news media of this country, there's always got to be an Australian link or angle to any international event otherwise it's not really news-worthy..."Train crash in Outer Mongolia! We cross live to Mongolia now, where our journalist on the spot, Kylie Muggins, interviews Australian tourist, Joe Blogs, who was almost caught up in the event...he was shopping at a Mongolian K-Mart not thee hundred miles away at the time...A close call Joe?..." " Yeah, mate....I woz in tha knitted sock section when it happened...terrible it were..." ) We are a sad lot aren't we?

And so, with that, on to the next picture. I'll keep you posted.
Cheers. RWS

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tango in Blue - A Vignette - WIP

Howdy Folks! Back at last. A decoration needs as much thought and work as a full or half page illustration I have always felt. This one of two Eastern curlews dancing is no exception. I started with the ink line drawing and then laid in a light wash of pthalo and prussian blues to establish the high-light colour and then progressively built up the mid-tones and shadows. Once I was happy with the blues I moved on to the yellows, browns and touches of red and green. The white of the trouser stripes and rank stripes I added using white body colour - someting I am usually loath to do, I prefer the white of the paper to do that job for me. However, in this case, it would have restricted the flow of brushing on all those layers of blue which took a few days to do - due to the need to allow drying time between glazes. I would normally use masking fluid to block these areas I require to remain white but if left for too long - a day is usually the limit - the fluid tends to lift the paper with it when removed. Hope you like it so far, only a little more and it's done and then I can post the final pic.

Cheers. RWS

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WIP; final of diptych - Penguin Punch-up (Well....Almost)

Hey Folks! Back at last  - and finished at last...I'll still put up the progress pics but the illustration was finally done early yesterday afternoon. It doesn't normally take this long for me to complete a wife, Julie, and I, have been busy painting and renovating the house, and the garden has come in for so much needed work I've been a little distracted of late.   

Now, on with the images... I wasn't able to photograph the progress of our two Adele penguins at left due to the very stormy, hail wracked, skies over Gawler, ( I use natural lighting for recording my pics as it is an even lighting and gives a truer sense of colour in repro). The Macaroni penguin at right shows the basic method I have employed to get colour, tone and texture in the body and head feathers of these flightless birds. As you can see from the progess pics I managed to take between the showers of thunderous hail and pounding rains, I start with a very light wash of the colour that is to be the mid-tones of the bird - in this case, prussian with a touch of pthalo blue. Over this base wash I build up the colours with successive hatching of stronger and stronger mixes of prussian, pthalo and then some french blue and finally some burnt umber added to the mix for the deepest tones in the shadows. (With the Adele penguins it was a mix of burnt umber and burnt sienna as the first wash and then on and on, as with the Macaroni, in building up the forms, texture and deep shadows.) For the white chests and torsos of all the penguins I used a combination of French blue, a very little of paynes grey and a little prussian blue. (You can see the first wash colours and how they were mixed and pre-tested on the protective paper I left showing in the first pic.)

The other two birds in this pic are, on the left (black faced), a Noisy Friar bird and on the right (Red faced...excuse the pun), an Australian Brush turkey. Both these birds - in real life - have no feathers on their on their heads but are, another pun, bare faced. Although, the turkey does have very very fine, black, hair-like feathers that are sparse and randomly dispersed.  (Wasn't going to put them in but...he looked too bald without.)

The final image is of the diptych in its may be that the two images will appear separately in the book they are to depends on the pacing of the text...editorial control of these decisions is not always left up to the creator...and a good thing too can be too close or too precious about your creations. These important aspects of book making need an objective and critical eye in the design stage.  

Well Folks, that's it for this post. Hope you like what you see...hope I made sense too...

Cheers. RWS                                         

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vulture Culture; Finis!

Hey Folks. Well, here they are, finished at last. I had intended to post these the day the illustration was done and dusted but time got away from me...still looking for it in the studio but I fear it may have escaped out the door. I'm back to the penguins in the top panel of the diptych now, so shall post the progress when enough of it has changed to be worth your viewing. Cheers for now. RWS

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

WIP - Lower Panel of Diptych - Vulture Culture

Howdy Folks! When last you visited I had just begun to lay in the various blues and some of the yellows of our vultures in the lower panel. Most of the blues are now complete and it's the yellows that I'm working on. (And that's a lie Rory! As of yesterday, I have only the cat - at left of the composition -  to complete...haven't downloaded the latest progress pics from the camera as yet...sorry....will do so later today. Won't fib in this blog anymore either...promise.)

I've never asked any of the illustrators I know, whether they tire of a piece they are working on or not. This one I'm afraid, has me wishing it were well and truly's taking too much detail and the technique I use for water-colour involves laying down glaze after glaze of colour to build the depth of colour and give a nice luminosity to it's my own fault really... isn't it? (My impatience is also fueled by a new project I'm itching to begin - more on that closer to its commencement.)

Well, hope you like it thus far and promise I'll get that pic downloaded from the camera today and posted tonight. Oh, and as our former Prime Minister would say, "It's not a core promise". I'll do my best though...okay?

Cheers. RWS.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A New Work in Progress (Penguins & Vultures)

Hey Folks! Here's the next illustration(s) in the Birds of a Feather series I've been working on. The vultures, having been sent away by the Gate-keeper of Eagle Neck House, as undesirables and uninvited guests, have crept around the boundary wall and are sitting by a broken pailing fence at the rear of the property. They are hidden from the view of the penguin caterers and waiters - always squabbling - by a low hedge. The "naughty" vultures are dreaming of all the food they are going to eat once it is laid out, in all its gastronomic splendor, on the tables of the marquees down by the lake. Hope you like what you see. (The vultures are hoping on the other hand, that they can gate-crash the party before the other birds can get their beaks into the grub.) Cheers. RWS.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh for an A3 Scanner

Hey Folks! Just sitting and wishing for that which I cannot afford...

I'd love an A3 scanner sitting here on my computer desk. It would be so much easier than the scan, cut and paste I am currently forced to do when trying to get high res copies of finished illustrations. No, I couldn't possibly draw and paint on a smaller scale, my eyes aren't up to that, not even when wearing my glasses. Enough of my scanner wishes and medical problems.

Today I'm posting some preliminary drawings of intended illustrations for my Birds of a Feather project. You've viewed a few of the finished colour pieces I've done so far, so I thought I'd give you a peek at some of the rougher stuff.

All of the following images are drawn on heavy tracing paper in pencil, so you'll have to contend with graininess and a little grey cast here and there. I've cleaned them up as best I could in Photoshop but the starting point for the clean up wasn't the best either...I've got a new A4 (!) scanner but it's no where near as good as my last, very old, but wonderfully versatile, Cannon 5000 F. It died a natural death - old age - a few months ago...yea Gads but I miss the thing!

Well, here follow the promised scans...forgive the quality please.

Cheers. RWS

Saturday, July 18, 2009

WIP Birds on a Lake. 4th & Final Instalment

Hey Folks. Back at last. No it hasn't taken me this long to finish the picture...a bit busy.

Well here we have the final in progress pic along with the finished piece. I'm quite pleased with the end result mainly because it turned from a painting problem and into a rescue mission. While squeezing some burnt sienna onto my palette, the end of the tube burst - more like exploded! - sending pigment all over the artist, the drawing table, floor and yes, all over the half completed illustration. Needless to say there were a number of words that passed my lips and they weren't sienna, burnt or raw, in colour.

Well I managed to overcome the panic and rescue the painting...just!

See more images from this project here

So here it is Folks, in all it's rescued glory. (The grotty staining still perceptible on the illustration board, is evidence of my cover up mission.)

Cheers. RWS

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

WIP - Birds on the lake; installment 3

Hey folks. Two posts in two days! A record.

The images are really self can see in an instant the progress that I've made over a couple of days. Because of the technique I use - multiple translucent glazes - it takes roughly a day per major figure's costume...Slow? Yes. The end result however, is, I think, worth the time and labour. This illustration is also going slower than is usual and this is due to the multiple lighting sources and reflections...lots to consider when laying in colour...each figure, or group of figures, is subject to light in different ways; depending upon where in the composition they are located and whether there are objects that would cast shadows.

Hope you are enjoying the journey. I know that I am.

Cheers. RWS.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WIP Continued

As promised - fifteen days ago! - some more WIP pics; sorry, A wip pic singular, of our birds punting by lantern ligh upon a "....bird made lake...". (Haven't got around to down-loading any other images from my camera as yet. I am keeping a record though, so you can look forward to some more boring images when next you visit...not many folk visiting so far tho....??? Oh well...)

Well, you ask, what's been added? Let me see...some more reflected lights, flowers and foliage painted in, cushions and some work on the costumes of the ducks in the foreground boat....Have I missed anything? Let me know if I have...Oh, yes...medium/s...sepia under drawing and acrylic gouache on on Bainbridge, cold pressed Illustration board. (The, so called, acrylic gouache, is beautifully translucent like the watercolours I used to swear by but, unlike watercolour pigments, it is far more versatile - for me at least - and I find it holds up very well with multiple glazes enabling a depth of colour that I just couldn't achieve with the traditional alternative. Shadows too, can be rendered so that they glow as they sometimes do on a hot Australian, Summer's day.

Hope you like what you've seen....Cheers 'til next time...RWS

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blue, yellow, red and green; a WIP

Hey folks. I'm back after a short absence - my PC now has a huge memory and loads of RAM; it's been a bit poorly of late...slow and some programmes not running properly.

I have continued to work on my personal project, Birds of a Feather, while my machine has been at the computer hospital, and the images with this post are WIP snaps I've taken over the past week or so. The first image is 3H pencil on heavy tracing paper, hence the rather poor reproduction - it was the final image in my preliminary explorations of the subject. Can't find any of the preliminary pencil drawings that lead up to this one - they were done back in 1990 and are buried away in the store-room of the studio. Hope someone out there likes them.

Cheers. RWS

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Progress and Finished Pic

Hi folks, I said in my first post that preliminary and progress images are as interesting to me as a finished work, here then are a couple of images for you to view along those lines. I forgot to take photos of the earlier steps, prelims etc, but I hope that for the present, these will suffice to show at least one of the steps I go through when creating an illustration.

This is for a children's picture book that I wrote back in the1990s, Birds of a Feather. I have several finished line drawings on tracing paper for this personal project and I'm intending to work them up as finished colour pieces while I have a break from commissioned work. So, you'll be seeing a few more of them in the coming weeks. (The text for this children's book is in ryhme and metre and the lines which accompany this particular image are -: ...So, as the moon rose above the great house, the guests on the lawn played, "Kitten and Mouse",....)

Hope you like them. RWS