On a carless Saturday, I set out to walk to Paddington and was pulled into a passing station wagon and taken off to Toowong to have crepes for breakfast. Cheryl kindly took me back to Paddington afterwards, and we had coffee and fine English chocolates and in an vintage shop I found a basket of antique photograph postcards: a young couple in a buggy, a distinguished Edwardian lady, a girl with a startlingly horizontal hairstyle and a young woman with a sweet haunted face that looks like she should feature in a Tim Burton film. Apart from the young couple, who had written a letter enquiring after the health of Bert, there was no clue as to who they might be.
When I took the cards to the counter, the elaborately eccentric proprietor (pearl chokered and velvet hatted, with fabulous eye makeup and all her cash in a large embroidered bag) asked me what I planned to do with them – frame them and pretend they were my family? I confessed I hadn’t decided and she said that is what she does, and her walls at home are covered with other peoples’ wedding pictures and she creates a family for herself of all those images of people forgotten but not gone.
Comments and critique are always appreciated – I am still learning many things, including how to balance light and dark when working in scratchboard!
My father refers to himself as a “high maintenance husband”, so for this week’s Illustration Friday topic “routine” I showed my mother giving him some routine maintenance. Not, as one of my housemates thought, being tortured.
I haven’t used scratchboard since the last time I used it for Illustration Friday (Worry, in May). It was easier this time (and this is a very small image: 5.5×7.5cm), but there are many things I will do differently next time – especially the shadows and outlines. After using pen and ink so much, scratchboard is an exercise in negative thinking.
Here’s the sketch:
ETA: One of the comments made me realise that there are two possible misinterpetations: the torture; and that my father makes us wait on him hand and foot! He has MS and needs assistance to do a number of things now, including cutting his fingernails. But when he was up and about, he was anything but demanding :)
Comments, critiques and further possible misinterpretations welcome. I can learn!
Another scratchboard image. On Saturday I finished reading Pride and Prejudice to my father (his choice) and we started Sense and Sensibility. The last third of P&P is so full of anxiously-awaited letters that it seemed an eligible choice for this week’s Illustration Friday topic: Worry.
Our edition has very handsome woodcut illustrations, so I tried to echo some of those techniques in this picture and while I couldn’t manage anything approaching the level of detail and control in those, I think it is a lot better than my first scratchboard attempt.
I used upholstery needles for scratching, cross-hatched the background and scraped away the excess with a pocket knife which was ideal.
I showed this to my father and he said, “Oh. A granny reading a newspaper.” So I can handle honest opinions.
Instead of showing you the rather nasty slice I took out of my hand on the desk at work, here is this week’s Illustration Friday entry:
It is a wide angled view of people on the hill at Musgrave Park for Paniyiri yesterday. (I ate far too much but that was the general idea and happily I dropped half of my violently-blue-iced ouzo cupcake because it would probably have done me in. Also, I almost walked into Effi). A wide angled view is a novelty for me, since I usually put many little pictures on each page of my sketchbooks. The style changed both for the sake of experiment and because I drew the left page and then decided to continue on to the right.
This is a bit further removed from the theme than usual, because the piece I was planning (of Anne Shirley and her puffed sleeves) was also my first scratchboard picture and while parts of it turned out very well, others didn’t:
I’ve edited it by neatening the white background. Next time I try scratchboard I will:
(a) work larger (this is slightly larger than the original);
(b) plan more;
(c) not give her a moustache;
(d) not put in such large areas of white (or else use white scratchboard);
(e) wear a dust mask; and
(f) not work in my bedroom.