Wednesday, May 13, 2009

090513 ‘Quink Koi’ sumi-e style


This is my first stab at a Japanese-style 'sumi-e' or ink and brush painting in a 10 minute lunchbreak at work. The paper is a poor base for the wetness of the ink but better than not painting at all! I only have limited art supplies at work (not surprisingly) and this was executed with a size 5 rigger. I'd love to try some sumi-e at home with my size 16 squirrel hair brush and some decent heavyweight Langton paper, but will have to save that for another time. This is great practice anyway. I used a previous biro sketch for inspiration. A good start.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The long, slow road to the Sargasso


I had a dream about riding on a giant eel decades ago as a child and the image has remained with me. In the drawing a tired couple and their baby have lashed themselves to a giant eel to hitch a desperate ride home under the safety of moonlight. Not quite as unlikely a tale as you might think as the European eel is a remarkable creature. Every adult eel leaves its freshwater habitat and returns to the Sargasso sea (which surrounds Bermuda) to spawn, thousands of miles away from the 'homeland'. A bit like salmon and sea-trout, but in reverse. Incredibly, they cross damp fields by night, able to breathe for long periods out of water. I remember my local fishmongers in north London kept them alive in big black plastic trays, in a centimetre of water, so that they remained fresh. European eels are now sadly declining in numbers so perhaps this allegorical image will do it's small bit and help inspire more interest in them. Interestingly, Arisotle had his own views on where they came from. He stated that they were born of "earth worms", which emerged from the mud with no fertilization needed — they grew from the "guts of wet soil". Black and blue Bic biro and white sketching pencil on my usual sketchpad.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

090506 ‘The Trout that turned’ main drawing


Very pleased with the outcome. The sense of grievance is conveyed nicely by the trout and the surprise by the angler comes across well. Sometimes it just all gels and comes together and last night it did just that. I used the paler blue biro to ghost some lines in first to get the sizes right in transferring visually from the thumbnail sketches. Blue and black biro on the usual brown sketchbook paper. Many of the fish and fisherman sketches are done purely for the pleasure of it, i.e, not necessarily drawn as part of the sketch-to-painting process, but I will certainly come back to this one and develop it in some form or another at a later date. Any opinions out there?

090506 The Trout that turned thumbnail sketches


More ‘fantasy fishing’ sketches on last night’s train journey. I wondered how the hunted could turn the tables on the hunter. Using perhaps a very English cheese and pickle sandwich to entice the traditional fly-fisherman, the trout skilfully reels in an unsuspecting angler from his swim. With a tricky viewpoint to convey, I always employ the simple thumbnail sketch to sort out the options available. The first frame lacked dynamism, being side-on, the lower left lacked perspective energy, the top right was getting there, but was lacking something. The final lower right frame almost had it, but note that in the finished drawing, above, I’ve changed the angle of the angler ;) and by so doing I have enabled perspective to help me get his head bigger with the foreshortening and the emphasis is now on his face and sandwich, which is as good as it gets!