Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Hot Off The Press...

A proof of my first (to be) published children's book is here!
It's called Momo & The Totobrats, written by the wonderful Wendy Hesketh and illustrated by yours truly.


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Feast - Finished Watercolour Painting!

'Feast' was a BIG job. Some of you may already have seen the previously posted progress shots but I thought for this post I would collate everything so you can see the whole development from pencil to finished artwork.

First off I produced this detailed sketch which I extrapolated from a series of thumbnails. I'd like to show the thumbnails too but I have a habit of using them for scrap and they tend to disappear in the recycling bin well before I remember I'll possibly need them again. The sketch below is the largest drawing I have produced for the series so far and believe me, it had to be. There was a lot of erasing, re-positioning and general jiggery-pokery involved before I had a composition I liked. I always find a table-based scene particularly hard because, well, there's a table in it! They get in the way of the action, are often much wider than you think and not very exciting to draw. To counteract these issues I raised the eye-level to suggest the viewer is stood behind the mouse and hare looking down on the raucous feast (Rockwell never struggled).
A lot of the characters are taken from my previous paintings and some of them like the hares and squirrel are bound to make there own solo debut in future paintings. Also note the three distinctive social cliques formed by the guests - top left - the greedy bunch, top right - the liquid diners, and bottom - the polite company.

After the sketch was completed and approved by my wonderful client, Olivier, I moved into Photoshop to produce a small tonal study. I knew in advance how the scene should work, dark background, light middle ground and a slightly silhouetted foreground badger, but I thought it prudent to develop the study considering the amount of time I would spend painting especially if I were to make mistakes and find myself re-working the final image.
Tonal study completed and on to stretched watercolour paper. I traced down an enlarged print out and got to work on a light sepia under-painting (predictable I know). Then added local colours and started to build up and refine from there until I finally added gouache on the whiskers and highlights.
I deliberately chose a scene that contained objects and characters I had painted before so, armed with reference, I could confidently render every aspect. The next large painting might be more challenging but as this was my first I played it safe. Oh and I've always wished to depict a feast after reading so many wonderful foody descriptions in the Redwall books by Brian Jacques.
Watercolour & Gouache
50 x 40cm 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

'Feast' Work In Progress

Here are a couple of shots taken on my phone as I'm working on my latest painting.

I'm now slowly making my way anti clockwise around the painting by concentrating on each character in turn. Once I've done the badger then I will take a look at the table and then the background. After that it's a case of pushing the values.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Scribe

Some of you may already have spotted this painting on my drawing board in a previous post. This was a very simple painting to create because I have already done something very similar for my wife, a painting called 'Autumn Scribe'. The real difference in this is the backdrop which is lifted straight from Lacock Abbey cloisters (home of the Harry Potter films and others).

The Scribe
Watercolour / Gouache
24 x 31cm 

Above is a detail of the window (I know it's most of the painting) just before I started to really pile on the pale yellow gouache. I was going after sunlight illuminating the dust in the old archive and I really think it worked.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Cloth Road Arts Week 2014 3-11 May

If you happen to be in the area please come and say hello during the Cloth Road Arts Week. My studio will be open from 11am - 6pm every day except Tuesday 6th. You will find originals, prints and things I forgot I had until now.