Technical pen with digital colour. Trying out colouring techniques while listening to the Oscars and suffering from spending almost two hours gardening yesterday.
When I told my father what this week’s Illustration Friday topic was, he said, “I was brave importing your mother and sister”. He also says, more often, that it was the best thing he ever did. So I thought of doing a picture of that, but the actual import involves spanish cowboy boots, a cotton scarf and a ratty Shirley Temple wig and on short notice I could only lay my hands on the wig.
So I bought a fedora… If this picture rings a bell, it is because in June last year the topic was “drifting” and I did a mock cover for this poem based on an old Piper sailing manual. This one is inspired by the cover of a 1960 Corgi edition of Alan Hunter’s Gently Down the Stream. It does not appear to be online. I decided to do a silhouette of the DI Dulac instead of the tonal illustration of Gently on Hunter’s cover, and a close-up of the corpse instead of the view of boatsheds and boats with a small and mysteriously-suspender-belted corpse in the reeds (mysterious because as far as I recall, no women or suspender-belted men were murdered in the novel). I’ve extracted an agreement from my sister that, if she won’t pose for me, she will take photos while I pose, but she went out to a barbeque so I have been running around the living room in a trench coat and fedora, sweltering, and lying down on the floor and jumping up again and trying to arrange my hair in 12 seconds, and attaching the camera to backs of chairs… After that part of the process was done, the rest of this happened on the computer, not in a vector program although if I were to do this again (or clean it up further) I would. And please note how I cleverly avoided having to spell “Shalott” correctly. Edited to add a scan of the original cover:
I’ve been reading Michael Chabon’s Gentleman of the Road and really enjoying Gary Gianni’s illustrations for it– so thought I’d try something in a slightly looser line-style (although his illustrations are anything but loose, I love looking at the lines – he’s amazing). Fine technical pen with text and background from an old book.
Here is a glimpse of Enormous Work (no longer) In Progress:
A very small pen illustration (perhaps 6cm tall) with colour added on the computer.
I am in the (final!) throes of a project that is a much steeper learning curve than I bargained for. Below is a test panel I drew (not in the final) to trial some shading. It’s drawn with technical pens but the flat tone is added on the computer. It is also the reason I have been more absent from life than usual the last month or two.
On Monday I retrieved the axe from the garage (one of those things I shouldn’t carry around barefoot) and my father’s old akubra (the headrest on the chair doesn’t let him wear them anymore, but he always had two – one work and one good) from the hatstand and talked my mother into a long-sleeved shirt and outside to pose for reference photos.
My parents left Brisbane and bought a cattle property 6 hours further inland when I was two. I am led to understand my father promised my mother a little cottage in the country, and maintains that is what he gave her. She talks about moving into the tiny house in a treeless paddock, with a wood stove, mosquito larvae in the bathtub and a party-line phone (our number was Jackson 6K) and standing, barefoot, holding me by one hand and my sister on her hip, watching her husband ride off to work on a horse. I don’t think she’d even had time to fully acclimate to living in Australia at that point.
Brush and ink (practice for a project) with colour added in Photoshop. The border is made of twigs from the branch in the blue bird gift tag.
And entirely unrelated – the highlight of my day today was going into the hardware on the way home from work and asking the rather dour, middle-aged lady who helped me if she knew what sort of weight skipping ropes were, only to have her pull out a length and execute a few very energetic turns by way of a test. I tried it out when I got home (startling the bats and cane toads) and feel appropriately inadequate.
I may have gone a little overboard with the textures here… Pen drawing with colour and texture added in Photoshop. I was drinking tea (pretty much my base state) at the computer and using an old pressed-metal coaster, so I scanned that in as well and used it for the textures.
The real boots are plain black, and I love them – they are the most comfortable shoes I have owned and I have spent a whole evening dancing in them (in these socks and a black brocade regency dress with a train) without a twinge.
And as a Christmas present, I have put up some gift tags which you are welcome to print and use.
It has been an at-work-till-10:30pm sort of week, so I unwound a bit tonight by unpacking my Christmas ornaments and listening to the Go-Betweens. This being my first Christmas with my own house, it is a very small collection, but there are now hand-painted hearts on the cords of the blinds and a wire-and-glass-leaf wreath (and a push pin) on the front door. Still, for such a small collection, I found some surprises.
There is a clean version of this picture, but I prefer it with the pencil lines and the texture of the paper. Pencil and Photoshop. Two of the ornaments are from the box, but the squid-grenade is really a cloisonne bauble, and very colourful (and, I think, empty).
It can be metaphorical, if you like. Mostly I’ve just been reading too much of The Faery Reel and think Moreton Bay Fig buttress roots look prehensile. Pen with colour added in Photoshop, and you can see a larger version here.
This may end up becoming the December blog header, which is the reason for the shape.