Winging it

The Illustration Friday theme is “wings” this week, so I thought I’d try something different and attempt a realistic illustration.  I started out with watercolor on Strathmore paper, but gave up on that (oh, well) and instead used Derwent Watercolor pencils on Canson Montval paper.  I used a photo reference — it was uncredited, or I’d credit it here — and tried to build the majority of the picture with just a red, a blue, and a yellow pencil.  (The blacks are built with layers of blue, red, and yellow.  You can see where the red’s peeking through in some places.)  This is still unfinished, but as it’s almost time for the next IF theme, I thought I’d better post it today!


I’ve tried a number of drawn-from-nature experiments recently.  None of them have been entirely successful, but they *have* gotten me to use different palettes, media, and paper!

New Shells


ETA: Here’s a more finished version of the butterfly…



So the story goes…

Illustration Friday’s theme this week is “Myth.”  I got sidetracked into fables, and  — possibly because my neighborhood is home to a flock of geese at the moment —  did a quick vignette of the goose who laid golden eggs.  (I’ve always assumed she was rather surprised by this turn of events, though the story doesn’t touch on that.)  As I’ve been reading the excellent  “Natural History Painting with the Eden Project” by Rosie Martin and Meriel Thurstan, I tried a palette suggested in the book, using only primary colors (three warm and three cool) for my watercolor washes.  I finished up with bit of colored pencil, though instead of my usual Verithins I used Faber Castell Polychromos pencils.  *And* I did the whole thing in my new Strathmore bound watercolor book, so this was quite a lot of new territory for me!  Maybe that explains why I forgot that “myth” and “fable” are different things until *after* I’d done the picture.

Golden Goose


On the edge of things…

Last week’s Illustration Friday theme was “edge,” and this week’s is “ocean,” which got conflated in my head to “ocean’s edge.”  As I’m trying out new processes and media now, I decided to sketch ideas for these themes, focusing on telling a story, and then turn one  into a finished piece on my new Canson 150# Illustration paper.  It’s hard to keep the freshness of a sketch in a finished piece — and doubly so when you’re working with unfamiliar paper and media!  I’m going to keep playing around, though, in hopes that I’m on the edge of an artistic breakthrough.

Ocean Edge Sketch 1Ocean Edge Sketch 2

Ocean Edge 4Ocean Edge 5

These are my sketches for “ocean” and two attempts at a color version of one. (The left is watercolor and colored pencil; the right is ink, watercolor, and colored pencil.)

Edge SketchEdge Color

These are for “edge.” (Better late than never!) The color version is Prismacolor marker — which I think works better than watercolor with this particular paper — and colored pencil.


Happy New Year!

My daughter gifted me with participation in the Sketchbook Project last year  — coolest gift ever! —  and I’m finishing up my sketchbook.  Though I’ve been keeping art journals for years, the Sketchbook Project was challenging for me, in part because I was trying to do a “real” sketchbook (as opposed to illustrating a story, or drawing from my imagination), and in part because the paper in the Project journal is too thin for my usual watercolor washes.  I wasn’t always happy with the pages I did, and I’m still a little concerned about my warts-and-all sketches going out into the world, but it was good to try something new; to move in a new direction.  And since “new” is the Illustration Friday theme this week, here are a few pages from my sketchbook.

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