Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sketching from Photos Provided by Mickey Phelps

There is a Facebook group I follow called Legacy Nature Trails.  It is located on the other side of Leesburg and this group is made up of those folks who live in the gated community called Legacy.  Within this area are ponds and a nature trail the residents love to walk and take photos of the flora and fauna they encounter.

Often I see photos shared that I absolutely love and I'll write the person asking permission to sketch from their photos.  One such person is Mickey Phelps.  Yesterday he shared a group of photos taken of these ducks I've never seen before.

With kind permission, here are two of my sketches of Black Bellied Whistling Ducks.  I've never seen them before and found them quite intriguing.



After I shared these with Mr. Phelps, he sent me another photo of one of their resident Bald Eagles.  A beautiful shot of this magnificent bird in flight.

This one was way more complicated due to all the detail in the wing.  My mind has trouble with a lot of detail because I want to include it all......having trouble seeing past all the detail for general shapes.  Being the case, this next one I thought best to use the grid method.  Even with that I found myself getting lost with wing detail and what went in which one inch square.........lol.  BUT, I stuck with it taking four hours to complete.


Using grid and 6B for line work and "color" 



Adding a background on separate layer should I decide to print off just the eagle to glue in one of my journal books and print of my digital work I keep in an Itoya presentation book.


The process:



Working with Hands

One of my dearest friends mentioned hating to draw hands and it got me to thinking about the fact I tend to hesitate in wanting to draw them too.  Not as much as she does and that's only because I've practiced in the past and not as intimidated by them.  Thought it was time to practice some more with various hand poses.

I first sketched these on the Ipad......




Then I decided to make a little pamphlet using newsprint paper and will dedicate it to 24 pages (front and back with more hands).  May also do this for feet which I've not had much practice with.

I'm using the Wolff's Carbon pencil B grade.






Thursday, September 20, 2018

Gift - Set of Wolff's Carbon Pencils

This week we had a sketch outing and one of the gals gifted me with a set of carbon pencils - B, 2B, 4B, and 6B

I've been playing with them and find I really like the wash ability they provide as they are water soluble although I don't recall seeing any reference to that.  I always test so that no surprises if wanting to take watercolor to my pencil sketches.



Initial findings as I compare each grade of pencil.........they all can go very dark in value to include the B.  What makes each different (at least to me at this point) is that it takes less pressure to obtain those darker values the softer the grade.

The darker, of course, smears more easily and I'm one who doesn't think to lay a piece of paper down or tissue to keep my hand/fingers from hitting areas already drawn and making smudge marks.  Example of that is evident below.


The bottom of the above example was my taking the 6B pencil and scribbling a dark block on a piece of cardboard.  Then took a damp to wet brush mixing that block and then to paper.

This next example is using the 6B and working a line sketch first and taking damp brush to create the wash on paper.  Some areas were still damp when I penciled back over and other areas had already dried providing a nice textured look.


When posting in a Facebook group I'm in, someone asked if the carbon still smudged after taking water to it.........so of course I had to give that a test run as well.  Here are my results:



Exploring that further, I wanted to see how it would work taking water to the carbon and then applying watercolor over it.  Although colors are muted due to the under lying wash tones, they still remained what I would consider clean.  Best area to show that is the yellow flower on the hat. 

For this example I only used the B pencil.  I worked the line drawing to include some hatching and then took the wet brush "painting" with water.  I allowed it to completely dry.  Then without fiddling, I brushed over with watercolor. 

Not sure I'd want to use the softer grades but I may later test that out as well.  I normally don't like going too dark with pencil lines anyway if I'm going to ink and/or add color.  And even with regular graphite I have found I need to take care on how dark because even graphite can dirty colors like yellow when applied.





All examples were worked on Bee Aquabee Super Deluxe paper.


Monday, September 17, 2018

This Past Week's Sketches

Although I've been trying to sketch every day, I was also glued to the TV watching weather news on Florence since I have family in the areas that were hit.  Talk about a long weekend and I wasn't even the one going through what all those folks faced and still facing with all the flood waters. 

Sketch to the left was worked in the Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.  One on the right is using Procreate using a bit of imagination.  Source is from a photo my middle son took when at Universal April 2017.


This one is from a figurine our neighbor gifted us last week.


Using a photo a member in one of my Facebook groups shared with me, I worked this next one using a Kuretake Brush Pen.  I find using brush pens very awkward.

Because I hadn't used the pen, it was dried up and I had to take it apart and clean it.......first soaking the brush end in warm water and then flushing.  It took me near 40 minutes to finally get the dried up ink to "give" and start flowing with the water flush.  I never did get a clear stream of water through the brush end though.  Maybe I should have just let the tip soak for a day or so before attempting the pen cleaning.


This next is where I'm impatiently waiting for some cooler weather.  I miss four seasons living in Florida and definitely miss seeing snow once in awhile.  I'm not one who really likes the hot weather......although I do love and appreciate the sun shine nearly year round.  


This was worked last night......bringing out my autumn favorite figurines/shelf sitters.

September Challenge Between Friends

For September, the challenge between my friend in the UK and I is working with darks only.   To make it even more of a challenge, we were to do so with hatching rather than solid areas.

To practice, I first worked with solid inking with the buildings.  I found working these took even longer than if I were to just sketch what I saw lights and darks alike.




For the actual challenge, I chose to work this portrait.  To help with placement of facial features, I also used the grid method so this was a dual challenge.  And in hatching, I decided I wanted to use a single directional stroke.  I had no idea if it would work out or not but I'm actually pleased with the results.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Another Crazy Fantasy Sketch

This one is from a squash or some type of vegetable our neighbor gave us last week.  He's from Taiwan and calls it a pumpkin. 

I chose to work the sketch using a bit of imagination but this time with more thought as I worked as follows:

The hat idea is from where I have been sketching wilting daisies from the flowers Terry brought. 

The head came from thinking of a garlic bulb or strawberry.

The worm or snake from where we like to fish plus we have a few little black snakes out front under our shrubs. 

I think the spider idea might come from all the jumping spiders I see when I take Miya out back.  Plus I like certain spiders thinking they are cool (like the Orb Weaver).....especially their webs.

As for the pocket and little squash .......... I remember thinking I wanted to add "something" to the body of the squash to dress it up a bit.  I was stuck for a little while wondering if or what I wanted coming out of the pocket.  To keep it simple, I just copied the shape of the squash.

And for the stem looking arms added (arms or legs thinking about the fact fruit and vegetables are often plagued with insects while growing), I wanted some of the hands to be holding something.  I wasn't sure for awhile just what that might be until it came to me we eat vegetables so why not add the utensils.


Quick Sketch of our "Baby"

Miya is a Yorkie-Poo with quite a unique personality or character.  She doesn't quite take to other animals but loves people.........especially children.  And she's definitely one spoiled little dog!!!  We picked her up at 7 weeks old almost 10 years ago.

Her mother was a Silver Poodle at 12 lbs and her father was a Yorkie at 4 lbs.  Miya weighs right around 11 lbs.  She was almost totally black when we got her but then shortly thereafter the other colors started coming in..........silver, tan, light brown, white, etc.  Her fur is silky soft and wavy and she likes sitting in my lap as I trim her fur with scissors to keep short and on her face to keep out of her eyes (I do her grooming).  It's our special bonding time.

She's definitely Terry's and my little "baby" :-)


Testing BEE Aquabee Paper

A dear friend of mine here gave me some Bee paper to try out when we met up for our sketch outing Saturday.  It's 93 lb paper but feels thinner than 90 lb watercolor or Stonehenge drawing paper.  It is  for pencil, pen and ink, and also claims for light water media applications.  Of course I had to do some testing to see how different medias behaved on it.

So far I have played a little with Zig Brush Markers (water soluble), Sharpie Pen, Fountain Pen with an Extra Fine Nib, Daniel Smith watercolor, graphite (mechanical pencil), carbon pencil, and watercolor pencils.

Personal Findings:

1)  The tooth grabs the color so not easy to lift without the paper scarring a bit.  I found blending the zig markers not easy to do either for the same reason where the color is absorbed into the paper.  It WILL bleed a bit with wet brush but not like it would on watercolor paper.

2)  The paper did not snag my extra fine nib on my Falcon making it a good choice for pen and ink work.

3)  Graphite and Carbon works beautifully on the paper.  It will smudge but not quite as bad as I have found on other papers.  Graphite from mechanical pencil erased with ease but not so much with the carbon pencil.

4)  Ink and watercolor did not bleed through to the back side and I was able to scan without the ghost image of the other side.

5)  Using light watercolor application (slap on and move on) did not dimple the back side bad either.  I would be able to work the other side with no problems. 

6)  If the paper was even a little damp, the sharpie pen marks feathered but I have run into that with other papers as well if not waiting until completely dry.









Would I purchase this paper for jourals?  Yes........especially for pen and ink or graphite work.  Also if I want to make journals with thinner paper.

Friday, September 7, 2018

From Reality to Fantasy

With this one I started out sketching a couple of flowers that are on their way out.......completely bent over hanging in the vase from the other flowers.  The arrangements Terry gets me I find leaves and stems give out before the actual flowers do.

After I worked the initial sketches, I duplicated and then using a bit of imagination, changed them to how my mind often sees flowers.

I'm still sketching using Procreate which makes this possible to make changes by duplicating and erasing parts I plan to change as seen below.

After the changes made, I printed off onto watercolor paper (90 lb) and then took watercolor to add a bit of color.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Why The Change These Days and Another Fantasy Sketch

What on earth is Susan doing these days and why the change????

Trying to keep this as short as I can, here is what has been or is going on...............

1)  I have felt like I've been in a rut losing interest in wanting to sketch.   Sketching the same thing that others sketch or even the subjects I tend to work all the time have become very predictable ... with my lacking desire in wanting to pick up a pencil or pen.

2)  I'm struggling with the ability to feel any excitement or find much in the way of inspiration even visiting all the groups I'm in with regards to sketching and painting.

3)  For the longest time I have felt like I had no imagination and lacked the ability to be creative.  By exploring the fantasy world I've found myself in lately, it's proving to me that what I felt was not entirely true.

4)  The illustrations I have managed have been fun to create (often making me laugh) and I find it's exciting to see what I end up with considering I am not following anything.  I haven't felt that excitement in a very long time!  It's almost like being a kid again not taking things real serious and just having fun!  Often I sit there thinking............"where on earth did that come from??!!"

5)  I'm working strictly in black and white, providing me with practice in tones values....particularly darks I tend to fear.  And instead of worrying about color, I can concentrate on the marks I make and the shapes that start to develop as I work......ending with many of the fantasy creatures I seem to enjoy creating and/or the themes I end up with.

While many who know me have been enjoying this change, there are those who don't quite feel the same .... missing what they have come to know of me producing.   I expect that and truly appreciate their feelings (hugs to those of you who don't much care for what I'm doing these days), while at the same time, I sketch for me and the joy and therapeutic value my sketches bring me.  If I lose that joy, why bother?

So changing direction for a little while is important to me.  I feel to tap into a bit of creativity and imagination is a stepping stone that will hopefully help when I decide to return to my normal that reflects who I am, what I enjoy, and places I've been.

With that said, here's a twist on nature journaling :-D


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

More of the Same - Exercising Imagination/Creativity

Here are three more I have worked exercising a bit of imagination and letting various marks help form the shapes as I work.

This one was trying to produce mirror images and/or balance in mind as well as imagination.  I love working the various little creatures.



Idea starting with a picture of a gator I saw and worked from there.



Last night/today thinking about art supplies.  My favorite is the little creature holding the coffee cup.........lol.


Monday, September 3, 2018

Where Is This Stuff Coming From??

I'm still in the doodling mode these days with this one born from looking at a photo of our downtown Leesburg.  I have no plan when I start these and amazes me what turns out sometimes.  Truly makes me question what's hidden up inside my brain..........lol

I started out with the clock which looks like an owl's face at the angle view in the photo.  From there just looked at the different components in the photo and just let my imagination go wild and hand making marks. 


This next one was worked tonight since I couldn't sleep.  I (for whatever reason) chose to start with my hand and just went from there.

Working these, I have no idea why I go with any particular shape but instead just start making the marks and seeing what comes out of them. 

My favorite is the little tassel man I ended up with mid bottom.


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