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.