Four Sheets to the Wind

This is the process for my last piece, which originally started as an idea of having a body submerged in rising water/liquid. The figure was holding an object, saving it from the water, the object was to be one of little relevance and I hadn't decided what is was (yeah solid concept, art directors must be falling over themselves to get to work with me right?). I think it's good to create out of emotion and myriad ideas and build narrative around a concept rather than concept around narrative - it can open up new ideas and process. I probably wouldn't have experimented with mixing media if this was a commissioned piece.

After sketching out a few times, I decided that I wanted half of the face underwater, the problem with this being that the objects in the landscape detracted from the image of the face, so it ended up being reduced to a portrait. I also then realised that it looked a little like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, so I decided to go for drowning, rather than squatting in a lake. I also tilted the head back gasping for air. And yes I was the reference for this and there exists such a photo, which I shall destroy. The water is going inside the mouth like when you go swimming and you accidentally inhale pissy chlorine water. Maybe that's my concept here.

The face is rendered in black with gouache and acrylic - Gouache is good for the softer tones, but when I wanted to lay down a solid and not have it awoken by later brushstrokes, I used acrylic. The water is phthalo blue oil and recycled turps. Final step is colouring in photoshop using soft, low flow brushes on multiply layers. I tilted the head to the side and placed it on a longer portrait canvas (the concept was originally landscape) and placed the head at the top to give it a claustrophobic feeling and give the water more depth.

Coincidentally you can buy this print and others here! (the grid on the site is under maintenance, don't be alarmed, it's legit I promise)


Inking Practice

I planned on doing some inking so that I would loosen up a bit with my lines, which worked a little. I practiced drawing with a HUGE nib and a regular sized one, I'm pretty comfortable using a pen compared to brush work. I saw this Paul Pope talk at comic con and thought I'd give the brush a go. Turns out that the brush is a bastard compared to the pen. The first drawing is done with a medium sized nib and the second is inked with a brush (Windsor & Newton series 7, No.2). The brush is a lot more sensitive than the nib, which I'm not used to, so my brush work is quite tight since I'm being really cautious with it. I'll be working on getting a bit more fluidity with the brush, until I get it I shall not be a happy chappy.



After seeing Francis Vallejo's gesture studies (more on his blog here) I felt excited enough to do some of my own. I kind of avoid gestural studies because I'm not too good at the quicker studies. I started with really quick gesture studies then moved to longer periods, but my initial gesture studies were pretty off, so I think working backwards is better for me (starting with longer studies and then moving towards quicker, looser studies) so that I get some better movement and flow in my lines. Going to do my next lot in brush and ink, I think it might force me to loosen up a bit.


Gun Crazy

Process blog for the last illustration I did. Reference for this was from the movie of the same title. I worked with a still for a majority of the pose and fabric draping, but abandoned it when it came to drawing the faces, so I wasn't just making a copy of the still. Made a lot of revisions with the faces (as can be seen on the heavily erased prelim), it was one of those days. I actually prefer the line work and feel of prelim, the final drawing was quite tight and it's easy to lose movement when your lines become more precise rather than gestural. Scanned at 600dpi, chose to keep the colouring quite flat too, going to work on colouring a bit more with the next few pieces...



In other news, my website stuartruel.com is finally up (albeit with little work on there, I'm in the process of uploading stuff to it) you should go check it out and that. Developed by the very talented scumbag that is Pedro Duarte.

Freedom & Hope

This week I drew a tattoo design for Pedro. The design is an adapted one from Russian Criminal Tattoos that I redesigned to make the mermaids hips less birthing and her boobs look less like an ass with nipples. He wanted to keep the detail and dot work of the Russian style, but make it more Sailor Jerryesque. The design was then expertly tattooed by Marcio Bornholdt, I'll post another pic when it heals!


Some drawings from this week, I've mainly been painting, doing some new portfolio pieces, thumbnailing and stuff. See, one thing that happens in uni is that they don't remind you that nobody wants to see your shitty experimental exploration projects in the real world. So I'm revising my portfolio with some new work. Trying to invest more time in pieces too, more painting, more composing!


Tata Gala Submission

This is my submission for Tata Gala, which I've been wanting to do for ages, hopefully it'll get in... it'll be sooo good to show with all the REALLY good artists that are their. Like I said before, I was messing around with mixing inks, these are FW white, black, scarlet, process cyan, process yellow and possibly a bit of magenta, which got painted over eventually. Just hope that if it get in, I have enough time to send it over! It's up in their 'Distinguished Merit' online gallery *ahem* which is kinda cool. Proceeds go towards cancer of the boob, so if you're in the area, go have a look and maybe buy some amazing art!


This Week

I've haven't been to busy drawing this week, I've been on the business side of things. BUT when I did draw, I drew this man (above). If you have seen him or know him, you will already know that this is the guy who dresses like he lives in a video game (if Zelda and Halo ever did a mashup game). I naturally stalked him and drew the hell out of him. If you know this guy let me know.
In other news, I landed the honour of being the first feature for the 'An Author a Month' initiative from Moleskine. You can read my interview here (which, mainly discusses... you guessed it. Moleskines) A big thankyou goes to Moleskinerie for arranging it!


Frank's Wild Years Inks

Some more inks from the Frank's Wild Years comic, not coloured yet, this one might be a dead project, I worked on it for my degree soooo going to start some new graphic novel/mini comics for the sake of change. It's got to one of those stages where it's stagnated a bit, so I may very well return to it at some point.



A couple drawings whilst getting the train to work this week...my sketchbook isn't too healthy after getting pretty wet a while ago, but it had loads of pages left so I'm going to finish it.



I've been messing around with mixing inks a lot lately, it seems a lot harder to get a muddy outcome than using paints for example. Anyway this is one of a few warmup studies I've been doing to test medium and mixing and stuff.



drawing of Bansi...I've been drawing a lot from life as of late, been neglecting my imagination a little, so I'm going to do some stuff off the top of the dome, mix it up, not rely on ref as much... Should have a few more bits coming up, my piece for this year's Tata Gala and some more colouring and comp studies this week.



Trying to do stuff everyday, even if it is from photo ref. Doing more digital colouring too, nothing too heavy mind, a few multiply layers and being careful not to over-colour.



Decided I don't do enough digital colouring, so this. I drew this broad and everything, looked at some other photos of her and said oh my I have larger breasts than her, then I realised it was a dude. Don't pretend that you wouldn't. (Photo credits Mert & Marcus)


Warmups III

More warm up studies in ink. Some digital colouring and bigger projects to come. No longer shall I be a bum.


Warmup II

Needed a bit of a rest after Frank's Wild Years, there's a few pages in it I'm going to redo, I think they could read a bit better and get some colouring in there. Thought I'd do some warmups to start of the day.


Frank Prelim

Prelim drawings for Frank's Wild Years. I'm trying to make this a quick one, so nothing too tight with regards to linework and detail. Working on how I'm going to draw it and character development, I'm going to stick with this. Not sure if I'm going to bring in colour except for the end, possibly black and grey for the first three quarters. I'll try and post some colour experiments before I go to colouring.



I haven't been doing much drawing, but I'm back on it, working on a comic for Frank's Wild Years which I've been saying I would do for a while, with any luck it'll be done by the end of the week.

Sketch 2010 III

I've been lucky this week and managed to sit opposite a man with a real life eyepatch and a herd of buddhist monks. Result.



Got the gig doing art direction for Cally's 'A Midnight Snack EP' of which you should download and show support to (good) UK artists. I've known Cally for a while now and those of you that know me will know that I'm a connoisseur of hip-hop and all round a-hole. So when Cally told me he was releasing an album, I didn't take much notice of his usual folderol...until I heard him that is. His writing and musical direction is accelerating at a speed that in retrospect, leaves this EP miles behind.

When you listen to music, you sometimes hear something that affects you as profound and that doesn't happen very often. A pleasant disturbance. Excuse the clich├ęd examples, but they are milestones for a reason. It's like the first time I heard 'I Used to love H.E.R.' or when the intro ended and the drums and the opening lines on 'N.Y. State of Mind' begin. I'm clearly exaggerating about this EP. I would be a dickhead to compare. But I can say, he's touched me at times, take what you will from that.

Dare I say he's going to be the next Ty. I'm not just saying that because he's a four-eyed black man either.
SO look out for the album, which should be out soon (with a beauty of a hand-printed sleeve and gold spot colour cover by me)

Download it here.

excuse me I have to go wipe the shit of my nose now.

Excursion into hair

I went for a much needed haircut and during the usual four hour wait, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some filling for the sandwich that is my skecthbook - which, is looking quite weathered these days after my successful attempt of saving this mexican wrestler mug from it's cruel life in a foreigner's bar by smuggling it in my handbag. I of course only checked to see if it was full an hour and a half later.


Sketch 2010 II

Some drawings of people I perved on during my travels this week...

in other news, I'm working on a new album cover art project, which I can't leak just yet, but will be done real soon.