Portfolio Sketchblog Information Miscellany

Thursday, 31 December 2009

So I Noticed I Hold My Pencil Funny…

… and I wondered what effect this had on my drawing. Normally I hold it a bit like the tripod  grip, but with the pencil resting on my ring finger instead. I don’t know why I do, or how long I’ve been doing it for. So I read a bit about different ways of holding a pencil and gave it a go on the small cuddly giraffe that sits in front of my monitor. Not quite sure what to make of the results!


Thursday, 10 December 2009

Illustration Friday: Crunchy…

…well, almost Crunchy.


I was going to have a go at a version in oils, but other commitments got in the way [Mainly laundry…] I kind of envisaged this as a series of images, or a comic as this sad little elephant keeps popping up in my sketches.

Ironically, if an elephant stood on a snail, or anything crunchy for that matter, we wouldn’t hear it because of the fat cushioning underneath their feet. Imagine that, having an elephant silently sneak up on you!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Illustration Friday: Music


Long time no post…

After years of wanting to start doing IF, I’ve finally got around to it. Here’s to many more!

Oh, and blog thing needs redesigning desperately – I’ll get on to that shortly.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Animation Progress…

Extremely enjoyable, but devastatingly time consuming!

13 frames down…


Saturday, 16 May 2009

Can’t find a place for something? Put it on the floor.

Plus pre-empting my own retardedness and taping down the cables.

I guess this is procrastination, but this is the animation set up. I just switched the easel and camera around to get more consistent light [the desk lamps can now point at it easily, or is it easely? Haha, it’s late…] My studio is an absolute mess [most of the mess is actually behind me in the picture, on Tom’s side]. Mess normally drives me insane, but I’m obviously past caring at this point. I can’t really justify spending hours sorting through stuff.


Animation Paint Tests!

Well after many months of having my animation project sat in a folder, in a dark dark corner, lurking in the back of my mind. It’s out again. Finally got my Amazon order – a long firewire cable essential for actually shooting the animation, amongst other things.

So tomorrow I begin. I am terrified. The clock is ticking. Tonight I did some paint tests, working out colours and reacquainting myself with oils. Manage to snap a palette knife in the process? A metal one too… what on earth. I absolutely love oils, I am looking forward to the summer when I can just paint for the hell of it [this is fun too, but the pressure makes me nervous].

So without further ado, the paint tests!


 003show 004show

I’m going to go with the earthier colours, like the Greek vases I spent far too long photographing months back. I think a limited palette is going to be even more essential than usual. I’ve got to head to the art shop tomorrow morning to buy some large tubes of oils; Yellow ochre [this colour wins me over every time…], white, burnt sienna and paynes grey. Paynes Grey mainly to save myself the pain of mixing my own ‘black’, I hate black out of the tube.

Oh and a new small palette knife.

So apart from the paint and the guts to start, I’m ready. The glass is prepared with a base coat of white, the easel and camcorder are set up and aligned, I did a silly run through with an oil pastel to make sure I knew exactly how I was going to shoot and then sequence the animation [Animator DV Simple+ followed by Adobe After Effects]. I’m going to allow myself two days to do the bulk of the animation, one day to sequence and edit, and a final day to do any further animation that’s required and finalise the sequence. Sleep will be lacking, but that’s been part of what I’ve found so exciting about animation before. Spending so many hours really involved with it, it’s exhausting but so strangely enjoyable. I think I’m a masochist.

My body won’t be too happy with it, latest blood tests claim I have a low RBC count. Damn, surely they couldn’t have missed that all these years I’ve been struggling with fatigue?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Dr Sacks – Plasticine bottle bust?










Making fairly rapid progress with my comic now, I’ve settled into a way of working so I just need to keep plodding on with it. It’s quite difficult considering all the other projects I’m trying to juggle in these closing few weeks.

Was struggling ridiculously with one particular panel last night, generally to do with the perspective/foreshortening of Dr Sacks head. This prompted me to make this plasticine bust, which was a huge amount of fun – and will hopefully prove useful? Got some nice shots of it with my new camera though, so that was fun.

Will post all the finished spreads together, I think. They definitely look better as a whole rather than as separate pages. Which is lucky I guess…




Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Printing and Studio Tweaks

So avoiding printmaking for the entirety of the course  - partly because I didn’t want to become reliant on methods I couldn’t use at home, but mostly because I’m too shy to head up to the print rooms. Well I failed these past couple of weeks, I was put in touch with Charles Shearer and I’ve been working with him in his studio on one of my projects. The “Evolution: What if?” one [the one the giraffe drawing was for].

So I’ve been making etchings for it,  one drypoint and an experiment with a technique that he uses which involves using mountboard as a relief plate.  That last one is something I think I’m going to use to rapidly and cheaply produce a book as my last project.

giraffev2show drypoint1show


tigerplateshow tigershow

Also, reorganised my studio and put together a shelf made out of old MDF and some drink cans. It has solved many problems. I’ll paint it one day when I have time for such frivolous details…


Wednesday, 22 April 2009


Back in London a year older [21 now, apparently]. I bought myself a delicious new digital camera, yum yum. Just finished tidying my studio for a week alone full of hard work [that is the plan anyway]. I love my studio, and I love seeing other peoples studios, so combine that with the new camera and you get…

 Studio 1 Studio 2

Friday, 27 March 2009



Illustration one of three – I’m flooding Africa for Darwin, naturally. I’m trying to imitate the gorgeousness that is old natural history illustration etchings. I’m particularly in love with those based on drawings by Joseph Wolf [see below]. Not to mention the delicious Une Semaine de Bonté by Max Ernst, which is collaged from wood engravings. I could spend hours poring over that book, if only I had time!

josephwolf-maternalcourage josephwolf-islandsanctuary josephwolf-grantsgazelle josephwolf-polarbear

I am delayed with the other two illustrations by my tutor suggesting I get them printed as photo-etchings, to give it a more authentic feel. Unfortunately I never made use of the facilities at uni, and I can’t afford a crash course at The London Print Studio yet. Although I will definitely explore that after I graduate because their session prices are very reasonable.

In the meantime I’m going to explore my own method of making prints. Ages ago I made prints of wasps by engraving acrylic with the help of a rotary tool, which would be inked like an etching [rather than a relief]. I’ve got myself some glass engraving needles this time, to avoid the bumpiness I found with the electric tool. I’m going to make a Bottle Jack Press [although my boyfriend wants me to make it prettier?] in a couple of weeks when I go home and have access to my mum’s array of power tools… I think it will probably be more suitable for relief printing techniques, which I’ve also been having fun with recently [nothing to show for it, as usual]. But I look forward to experimenting with it.

Also, finished the design for our degree show website: This Will Kill That Just need to get on with the content, but time is very short at the moment. Currently working on the script and page plans for The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. It’s straightforward, but I’m wasting so much time not doing it.

The large project for Meanwhile Gardens is almost at a close. Two signs and the text to finish and then we go to print. I had an interesting tour around BAF Graphics in Earlsfield last week when I was finalising the printing specifications with them – there’s been a mad rush to get the Lottery budget spent before the end of the month. I came away with “printer-envy” and a big smile on my face. I’ve also been contracted to do three more commissions for the garden in the Summer - I imagine this is the only time I will ever get paid in advance…

Hmm. What else? Animation is still on hold, and I still haven’t redesigned MorbidLemon – although I did finish the smaller logo. A few bits I want to tweak, but it won’t change much from this I don’t think.

MorbidLemon - Logo Initials

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Paralysed By Too Much To Do

Why is that always the way? Need to get moving... So, this is what I'm going to be juggling over the next few months:

- Wildlife Signs for Meanwhile Gardens
- Evolution: What If? Short Project. Between five and ten illustrations.
- Prometheus: Storyboard and animation.
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. Adapting one or two chapters.
- Day In Day Out. Developing own narrative into a comic/graphic novel format.
- Macmillan. At least four final spreads plus pencils for all and book jacket.
- Degree show website.
- Morbidlemon re-design.

Definitely drawing the line now for work I'm taking on. I think I already took too much on, but I can't go back on it now. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Scenery Painting


Was pleased with how this was coming along, inspired by Greek vases and the Cabinet of Dr Caligari, for my Prometheus animation. It's gouache. Just incase you didn't know, gouache doesn't taste nice even though I think it's yummy. I should stop biting my nails.

Also, since I hadn't posted it yet here's the storyboards I'd been working with so far. The brown one is the most recent [and most focused]. I suppose they might help give the above painting a bit more context.

 storyboardshow storyboardmach1show

It has been a rough week.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Friday, 23 January 2009

Mallards are Well-hard


Actually they're not, but that's besides the point. Progress is finally being made on the illustrations for Meanwhile Gardens, at some point I'll transfer the entries for that into this blog. I re-thought my approach to painting these and I'm leaving them fairly rough - I had been getting too bogged down in detail because I've been painting them at such a high resolution, so I'm keeping the print size in mind [and so getting through it far more quickly]. It's also resulting in illustrations that I think are more aesthetically pleasing because they aren't getting too polished [like my bugs did] so they're retaining the character of the pencils.

After being ill the other week I've been set back quite a lot, and my schedule has been all over the place. But I think now I'm caught up with immediate things so I can settle back into the timetable I had set for myself. It sounds really anal but it really keeps me sane; Monday - Macmillan, Tuesday/Wedesday/Thursday - College work, Friday/Saturday - Meanwhile, Sunday - Day Off [theoretically, at least - it's more likely to be a catch up day, but it's the thought that counts, right?]

Thursday, 22 January 2009




It's a newtlet. It's a cherub. It's gloriously irrelevant.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Paintings of Greek Myths

Leda, Leonardo da Vinci, Canvas, c. 1515-16.The Rape of Ganymede by Peter Paul Rubens, Canvas, 1577-1640.The Education of Achilles by Pompeo Batoni, Canvas, c. 1770.

Thought I would share some of the paintings I've been looking at that depict Greek myths. It's so nice to be able to enjoy this kind of painting without the brutal Christian overtones that have always put me off renaissance and similarly-styled work. The importance of realism and correct anatomy reflects the Greeks well since they had such a preoccupation with physical perfection [ie. muscles galore]. It's important to me in the way I work too, I've always aimed to be able to draw things how we see them believing it needs to be the foundation for other ways of working. Although I'm less aggressive with that point of view than I was when I was younger! [Hang on, you're only twenty, you can't talk like that."]

I've included here The Rape of Ganymede by Peter Paul Rubens because of how dynamic the pose is [I also happen to love birds but that didn't come into it]. I went for a drawing day with a couple of my drawing tutors from my first year elective back in November [or was it October?] at the National Gallery as part of The Big Draw. I will admit that I never understood the value of drawing from other people's work [I never did it at school] with the reasoning, "If I copy their mistakes, and then make my own mistakes in doing so, surely I'll just end up with a big mess?!" But I really enjoyed it. I had briefly seen the three paintings we would be drawing from before I went and didn't really like the look of the first two - they were both very religious, one of them having an obscene amount of gold in it, and I thought I'd enjoy the third - Experiment with an Air Pump by Joseph Wright far more. It still is my favourite of the three we drew from, but the other two were far more interesting and useful to draw from with their dynamic figures.

I really enjoy The Education of Achilles by Pompeo Batoni because of the Centaur and how the artist has constructed the anatomy of him so beautifully from studying men and horses. It just struck me as really well done, especially since there's so much in the way of fantasy art that has no regard to anatomy. Leda by Leonardo da Vinci is partly here because I really love da Vinci's work [although his drawings more-so], but mostly because of Claude's Swan Zeus [if da Vinci can paint swans without the black bit around the eyes...] Although it seems as though the designers of the book I have decided to flip the painting over to better the page composition...

A selection of other paintings [plus one illustration] that I've picked out during my reading. An illustration from a book of Homer's tales, some more centaurs, a painting of a big powerful god [one book says it's Zeus, another says it's Jupiter] as my Zeus looks pretty weedy I thought I would get some tips for him to bulk up, and lastly a dynamic scene that I mostly picked for the Satyrs [which feature briefly in my myth]. Phew.

Illustration from Stories from Homer, 1885. Illustration by Glenn Steward, 1995.Zeus and Thetis by Jean-Auguste Ingres, Canvas, 1811.Diana's Nymphs Chased by Satyrs by Peter Paul Rubens, Canvas, c. 1670.