Practising proportions with a pencil sketch of a stone figure, from a photo of Murcia Cathedral roof snapped some years back.
Getting the mid-point (advised in Dodson’s Keys to Drawing) is very useful. From the top of the head to bottom of the plinth it turns out to be just to the right of the knee, which was surprising. Must do more of that as proportions are a major weak point. Still managed to make the cherub’s shield look like a melted ice cream tortoise.
I read somewhere that these rooftop statues were often made deliberately too tall, so that when viewed from below they would appear correctly proportioned.
This was the first time I used a normal watercolour brush instead of a water brush. By letting the paint dry before applying another glaze, shades and colours can be built up. It takes a while as you have to let each application dry completely before applying the next. A hairdryer could speed things up, but that ruins the mood.
Hergé’s clean line technique is deceptively simple. He managed to get so much expression in the hands, face and posture with just a few well chosen lines.
The colours in this copy are uneven, showing my poor watercolour wash technique, not helped by using a water brush which continually adds water to the mix. I think the original team at the Hergé studios used gouache, which makes it easier to apply flat blocks of colour.
A sketch of an old leaf kept on my windowsill as a convenient and recurring subject, this time using an index nib dipped in Dr Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black Indian ink. The paper is Bristol board which doesn’t bleed with heavy applications of ink and provides a hard, even surface over which the nib can glide smoothly.
I found the nib in Meticulous Ink (Walcot Street, Bath), and bought it as much for its wonderful design as for drawing. A reservoir of ink is kept in the palm of the hand. It turned out that it is surprisingly smooth to draw with, compared to some the smaller, scratchy Gillott nibs.
I think this figure is known as an ojime, a gift from a friend. Drawn using a Pilot 78G ‘F’ fountain pen with Lexington Gray ink and a watercolour wash. The ‘F’ nib is one of the finest, and when turned upside down gets finer still; useful for drawing the scratches in the resin cast.
This week I have been mostly using dip nibs and Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black Indian Ink (which, fear not, won’t go near the fountain pen). Much scratchy noodling fun to be had, though best to wear old clothes and have a couple of buckets of hot soapy water to hand. A Winsor & Newton palette box works nicely as a nib holder and temporary ink well, as well as providing somewhere to put down the nib and holder whilst drawing.
I bought a random selection of drawing nibs from a local art shop. One of the sketching nibs (Gillott 404) was unpredictable in how much ink it releases but you can push it in any direction, and I can’t get one of the extra fine ones to flow (Gillott 290) but apparently the 291 is similar, and was used for EDM11: some stepped-on polaroids found in a field.
More fun with the fountain pen. Seems to be weaning me off the pencil. Multiple strokes build up into a surprisingly dark layer (though these poor scans are overly dark). The paper in this Daler Rowney sketchbook (A5 150gsm cartridge paper) starts to break up if overworked with the fine ‘F’ nib but still stays dark.
The face sketch (copied from a photo by Marta Azevedo) was an experiment to see if fountain pen, brush pen and watercolour lamp black will mix when run together. Lamp black and brush pen ink look almost identical on paper, though you can see brush strokes/unevenness in the original which don’t show in these scans. Lexington Gray at its blackest feathers in quite nicely to the brush pen ink.
Corrections and photoshop liberties taken in the final one. Is that cheating? Does it matter?
EDM#10 a tough one. These are copied from Mucha posters (I thought if I drew someone else’s hands then I’d have two hands to draw with!). Instead of being stylised and cartoony it’s surprising how much anatomical detail is in his figures (the flowing, effortless lines are lost in these copies).