Artwork created 13 May 2023.
"Koala Hug ~ Mother's Day (2023)"
~13 May 2023
Year of St Joseph: Birth of Jesus.
Looking back on this picture as I'm trying to write a blog post for it, I'm stuck by how (without any forethought or planning) Joseph and Mary look very, very alike to a recently married couple I know. Funny how the subconscious works, eh?
Anyhow, the 1st of May is dedicated to St Joseph the Worker, so how do I commemorate this fact? I paint the Birth of Jesus in the cave/stable.
Specifically I had in my mind how Joseph must have been after the birth: dazed and confused, in a sea of emotions.
"Alright God, now what am I supposed to do?"
And there before him is Mary, totally ensconced in the new life sitting in her arms. She is a total rock of calm amongst the swimming tide of emotions overtaking Joseph as he tries unconsciously to sit down somewhere amongst the animals, inside that cave, on that awesome, and holy, night.
A happy month and feast of St Joseph to you all. Even if it's via Nazareth.
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Digital painting, based on a rough pen sketch.
The month of June 2018 was a tough one because it contained the last three weeks of life of my paternal grandmother, and her funeral. During that month, life was anything but normal. You can read about her life here, which contains footage from an interview I did with her a few weeks before her health really declined, which I edited later.
Things went very quiet on the creative front, but I was able to catch up to the 52 weekly illustration timetable earlier this week.
The theme for Week 21 was Haunted House, for which I deliberately wanted a limited colour palette. Yes, it does have a bit of an 'Adams Family' vibe.
For Week 22 the theme was Spectacles, which this teddy bear is wearing in a haphazard way.
Cottage was the theme for Week 23, and if you look carefully you will find that a small creature has made a cottage-home on top of the much larger swamp creature.
With the Week 24 theme of Anatomy I decided to have some fun. This well dressed frog was off to a very exclusive soiree when his plans were interrupted by some students of animal anatomy, and he very much wants them to get it over with so that he can resume his evening plans.
Because Week 25's theme was Nursery Rhyme, trying to choose one out of the many was proving to be difficult, so I combined three of them. Thus we have the mouse up the clock from Hickory Dickory Dock: Little Bo Peep with some of her sheep stopping to have a look at this sight; and Humpty Dumpty also surprised by this unusual view.
If you don't want to wait for the next blog-post to see Weeks 26 and 27, Facebook and Twitter are where you should look.
Before the month of May ends I should share with you what happened in Weeks 16 to 20 of the 52 Week Illustration Challenge for 2018.
The theme for Week 16 was Splash. For this one we have a bird bath with one bird a splishing and a splashing all over the place, and another bird trying to join in the watery party.
Origami was the theme for Week 16, the Japanese art of paper-folding. Some people find it easy and therapeutic, others not so much!
Week 18's theme turned homeward bound with 'Blanket', reflecting on all the love that goes to make up a hand-sewn patchwork blanket.
Week 19's theme was 'Creek', and for this one I borrowed an idea from our friends from the Hundred Acre Wood and their game of pooh-sticks. In this one our little bear is looking for a friend to play the game with.
Would you believe that the theme for week 20 was 'Up Side Down'?
When things are up-side-down rather than the right-way-up, confusion can be expected.
Just in case you are another creative waiting for the appointed moment when everything will have been worthwhile, you might find what Alex Mathers from the Red Lemon Club wrote a source of encouragement:
The good news is that I made it, completing an image every week according to the #illo52weeks themes for 2017 as well as the bonus Christmas image - and each one was done within the weekly time frame.
The not so good news is that there's lots of doubt over whether the Challenge will take place in 2018 - although a list of themes for 2018 has been released.
So here's my work for weekly themes 48 through to 52...
Week 48 was Africa. For this one I used ink only and a photographic reference of an animal from Southern African called a gemsbok, which is a type of antelope.
The theme for Week 49 was Purple, and as it was Advent, an Advent wreath seemed appropriate.
Week 50's theme was Window, and this one has echoes from a long running ABC-TV children's show that used windows to introduce adventures.
Shopping was the theme for Week 51, and I needed an idea that would make me smile. Maybe some of you will relate to one or other of the protagonists.
And for the lucky last for 2017, the theme was Celebration. Nothing quite beats the elation of welcoming a new member into the family.
And that's a wrap for 2017.
2018 has begun, may it provide all of the open doors and opportunities that 2017 sadly lacked.
The theme for week 18 of the 52 Week Illustration Challenge #illo52weeks was storm clouds. It has been a while since I only used watercolour to produce an image:
But it did inspire me to draw this mother bird and baby bird, since it was getting so close to Mother's Day:
Those at home thought that I should develop this idea further, - and of course -make the birds bigger:
And this was the result, which I called, 'Being with Mum is good'.
went on to use this image for this year's Mother's Day cards for family.
The theme for week 17 of the 52 Week Illustration Challenge #illo52weeks was Long Haired Animal. It took a while before I came up with an idea, and I went with something from the imagination based on the prehistoric.
I mixed things up a little and did the watercolour first and the ink second.
Then I decided to find out what would happen if I tried to make this creature 3D.
With the help of Cinema4D software, this is how the skin-only version turned out:
And then I added in some hair, some lighting and shadow, and shifted the angle of view:
I'd like to turn more of my 2D drawings into 3D, but I often lack the time required to do it to the point where I'd be satisfied with the outcome.
I am still on the down hill run for submitting the fourth set of artworks for assessment to the London Art College's correspondence course D6 Illustrating Children's Books.
Of the set, the second part is a bigger project, which this time had to be bigger than A4 but no bigger than 40cm x 33cm, and landscape in orientation.
The brief went something like this:
Illustrate a single page spread from a gentle story about a cow who finally finds friendship with a bird. The story reveals what they learn and see of the world around them as they travel. Allow 1/4 of the page as a text area, and a bleed all round. The image has to be appealing, yet delicate, and in soft colours. Good contrasts of scale between bird and cow were recommended.
The following was my first concept drawing, but it got discarded because it was too similar to what other students have done.
Then I did some roughs of the cow
And played around with ideas for the bird
And then did a concept drawing I was happier with. I wanted to show the cow and bird relating to each other co-operatively.
It was suggested to me that there would be more sense of travel if they were both facing the same direction. So I took that on board.
From here on in, it is photographs because the A3 scanner does not do delicate colours well at all.
I went for a blue and white cow because I thought that black or dark would deaden the outcome, and blue and white are symbolic of milk if the average milk carton is anything to go by.
The plan was to do light initial washes with watercolour, and then add texture and softness with coloured pencil.
This is where the watercolour washes end, and the coloured pencil work starts
All the changes get very subtle here
Now for a good quality scan from our local office supplies store
And then firstly to Photoshop for some clean-up of pencil marks and other things, and then to InDesign to add some original text.
Here's how it ended up after all of that. Firstly with crop marks etc
And then without crop marks
It is nice to have this one completed.
I am on the down hill run now for submitting the fourth set of artworks for assessment to the London Art College's correspondence course D6 Illustrating Children's Books.
Of the set, the first part is a smaller project, which was an exercise in getting comfortable with drawing an animal in many different poses.
The brief went something like this:
Take a real animal and do several drawings of that animal walking around. Then start experimenting with ways of moving that this animal normally can't do, eg dancing. Put one of these animals on an A4 page, keeping it lively and well placed and add a bird. The animals should complement each other somehow. Keep the background white except for a hint of cloud, grass etc. Use soft colours and experiment with texture, but make sure the elements cohere together.
I started off looking at horses mainly, with a turtle thrown in.
As you can see, some fun was had in this experimental stage.
But I gave up on the horse, and became more serious about the turtle. The following sketches had inspiration from photographs of turtles I found online.
Then I played around with turtle ideas.
This is the pencil outline I came up with, to begin building the final artwork.
When I photocopied it, and got the coloured pencils out to do a colour test - and to some extent a texture test, it got thumbs up from the family.
The plan I had was to do some light watercolour washes, and then add coloured pencil.
The paper buckled more than I thought it would, but I knew Photoshop could take care of that.
Here's how it looked with the watercolour before adding the coloured pencil work.
This image is about halfway through the coloured pencil work.
And this is as far as I went with the coloured pencils, before scanning it onto the computer to complete it.
And here's my turtle and bird, finished.
It is a long way from the horses I started with, but I'm happy with it.
News and Other Stuff
About recent artwork, inspirations and other things I find interesting.