So my mini project of late has been to create a small illustration for someone’s birthday. My only instructions were that it had to contain a whippet (who’s apparently called Tom) and a small pizza – not the edible, cheesy variety, oh no.. Pizza is a very loved (soggy & chewed) soft rabbit toy that Tom carries around like a child’s comforter. So the process begins – I set about sketching whippets… sleeping whippets, playing whippets, running whippets, whippets, whippets, whippets! (the word ‘whippet’ is looking very strange to me right now) Anyway, I like to look at lots of photo’s and possibly even watch a youtube video or two, just so that I’m well aquainted with body shapes and behaviours. Then come the preparatory sketches (I’ll stick a few of these into my sketchbook page) of as many different poses as I can come up with.
After this comes the fun bit for me; letting the imagination run wild trying to imagine what my whippet might be getting up to in my picture. Cue more sketches! Quite often what appears in my head doesn’t look half as good on paper and I tend to find that the more simple ideas work well, especially in small pictures – as this one is. Once the theme has been decided, I often scribble a sentence in my sketchbook that sums up the picture. Otherwise I’ll find that I get carried away and stray from the central concept. Or having left the project for any length time, I’ll simply forget what I was doing.
Then comes the composition – not my favourite bit if I’m honest. I try the characters in several different positions and see what suits best. Once this has been achieved I’ll use my light box to quickly trace the scene in black ink onto good quality watercolour paper, making any final adjustments. And then paint! When it comes to watercolour I do find that less is more. Using a smaller amount, and fewer layers, preserves the natural marks that the paint and water make as they mingle and absorb into the paper. I like that.
Et voila! That’s what I’ve been up to this week. It’s not my favourite picture ever, but it’s been a pleasant distraction as we’ve had some sad news in the family recently.
In other news, I got a large order in for my Christmas cards from a local company – someone’s getting organised very early! I can’t think Christmas 2015 yet, it’s too soon! I’ve also been keeping a close eye on the reports on the devastating floods in Malawi, it’s hard to imagine the devastation. Lastly, the Squirrel got frost-bitten today. Well that’s what he said… Admittedly he was working in very icy conditions on a cliff-top RSPB reserve today. So I do have sympathy for him, but there is definitely no frostbite. He was repairing newt fences from all the wind damage, which also robbed us of 2 fence panels and felled an old tree in the back garden. Really hope next week sees the last of the Arctic winds!
All for now. Mx