Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Signs of Spring

I am definitely an autumn/winter person, but even I am looking forward to some sunshine after the amount of rain we've had over the last few months.

Today I've been very excited because it hasn't rained!! There have even been patches of blue sky and moments of sunshine. Woody and I decided to make the most of it and see if we could discover any signs of life emerging from this soggy winter.

And finally, a 'hello' from Matty...
... and Gerry!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Mood Board: Dreams Unwind

I hurt my back this week so haven't been able to spend as much time down the workshop as I would like to. Instead I have been learning new skills on Skillshare (a definite favourite of mine).

I am nowhere near as confident on the computer as I am when using good old fashioned dip pen and ink, so I decided to have a go at Introduction to Photoshop: Fundamentals for Beginners. I found the course incredibly useful, particularly for creating image templates. Meg Lewis breaks things down really clearly, and the final project is to produce your own mood board and colour palette using images sourced from Pinterest.

I was inspired by Stevie Nicks' 'Rhiannon' and all things witchy and magical for my mood board. All of the images used, and their original sources, can be found on my Pinterest page. 

Monday, 10 February 2014

Recommended Read: Sketching from the Imagination

Another of my Christmas books from Harvey (he really is annoyingly good at buying presents), 'Sketching from the Imagination: An Insight into Creative Drawing' by 3D Total is a fantastic resource for artists or an insightful read for anyone interested in how artists produce their work.

'Sketching from the Imagination' features 50 different artists, working in both traditional and digital media. Each artist has written about how they use their sketchbooks and why sketching is important to them and their work.

This is the sort of book you can dip into to look for inspiration, or read as a whole. I chose to read the whole book because I find it fascinating to learn how different artists work. This was also a particularly useful book for my sketchbook challenge this year. I picked up so many tips from the artists, such as  the importance of sketching every day to develop your work, basing imaginary creatures on existing animals to develop sound anatomy, and keeping your sketchbook a 'safe place' where you are not afraid to take risks.

My favourite artist from the book was Jean-Baptiste Monge. I really enjoyed reading about how he creates his mischievous faerie characters. He has a book of his artwork on his Etsy shop, which I am very tempted by at the moment!

I thoroughly recommend this book as an excellent resource that I know I will be dipping into regularly.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

What's in my sketchbook: January

I must admit, I've found my sketchbook challenge a lot more difficult to stick to than I'd expected. Although I haven't managed to do something every day, I have been pretty close. My aim for February, is to do something every day.

My beautiful Lisa Parker sketchbook

Some of my many notes I made when reading 'S.' this month

I am completely addicted to Skillshare courses at the moment. If you haven't come across it before, it's a website where artists and designers can upload online courses to teach you new skills from Photoshop to starting a fashion business. Like most creative people, I find it hard to enjoy learning something new if a course is too rigid and prescriptive. I like to learn the basics and then have the freedom to play and experiment so I can find my own way of doing it. Skillshare is perfect for this because you can watch online videos at your own pace and complete course tasks if you want to as well.

I decided to have a go at a calligraphy course this month, partly because of the New Year sale, and partly because it will be a useful skill for one of my projects this month. I am ambidextrous, but write with my left hand, so I often find that this makes me quite clumsy. My initial calligraphy attempts in my sketchbook were very blotchy and smudged, but as I began to get the hang of it, I really enjoyed it. Calligraphy is definitely something I would like to continue practising and I feel some more reference books may be added to my collection in the coming months!

A rather messy early attempt!


I have also been drawing some very quick stag sketches for my own reference, and also to work out what I would like my next exhibition piece to look like.

Deer eye close-up sketch

Playing around with layout