Thursday, 31 May 2012

Sea Troll

Colleen coloured pencils & Derwent Blender and Burnisher pencils on 160 gsm A5 sketchbook paper.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Derwent Aquatone Woodless Watercolour Pencil Review

 A thought happened to me one day while I was window shopping at my local art supply store, standing in front of the open stock section, that I perhaps should buy one of each of every open stock stuff this shop has, test them and review them. Derwent Aquatone woodless watercolour pencil is one of them, though I have since splurged on tins of coloured pencils and a box of pastels, all of which I have yet to test and write a review. This is the first of the bunch!

Since I am buying only one of these to test, I know that whatever picture I will paint to accompany the review is going to be monochromatic, so I chose burnt umber, because I think that it’s a good neutral dark earth tone and I can have the option of making a picture with a full range of values with it, which I can’t do with a lighter colour. I’ve heard that ultramarine blue and some other blue colours are popular favourites among artists when painting with only one colour (there’s a reason that ultramarine blue is always there whenever you buy sets of colours), but I’m biased against ultramarine for some yet-at-this-time inexplicable reason (it shall be a subject of a future post…one day) and I don’t think blue scans as well or as easy to look at in a monochromatic painting as brown.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Sun Troll

I totally got my inspiration from ...well, D&D.  At least in the name anyway.  You know like how they have sun elves and such in D&D? This is a sun troll! Though I know it's like, a paradox of sorts because trolls are supposed to burst in the sun and stuff. but whatevs :D

Colleen coloured pencils on A5 sketchbook, 160 gsm paper

Monday, 28 May 2012

One Hundred Trolls

I'm currently involved in this local project to draw 100 trolls collectively.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Traditional Art; May 2012, part II

When I made my last blog post, I really didn't think it is going to be a multi-part series.  I thought I was going to write a bit of text to accompany my drawings, about what went through my mind while making those pics and the stories behind them and such, but when I started I just realized that I had so much to say, and it turned out to this long thing!  I also wanted to have a few pieces before I post because I'm too lazy to scan every time I finish a picture - easier to scan a bunch and post them all, but I didn't even realize how much of a hoarder I am! LOL! Anyway, on to the pics. Everything but the last one are from the selected pages of my sketchbook.

Ashwin is a character from a graphic novel/comic thingie I have yet to write. I have a story for him though.  I will not share yet, but the hint is in his name.  His name is a common Indian male name, derived from the Sanskrit word for light, and also means 'brave knight' in Thai.  He really fits both meanings of the word. I used Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencils on this one, and I don't think I'm too impressed with it.  I mean, it's as good as my Colleen, except it's less colours (the biggest set I could find locally is a tin set of 36) at about eight times the price.  I ought to use the pencils more so that I can confirm this impression though.

I doodled with a white pen on my black book and cut and pasted them onto my sketchbook.  The top left is me testing two white pens.  The first one is Sakura Gelly Roll white pen (top) and Uniball Signo white pen (bottom).  The Sakura pen's a lot whiter but to be fair, that's because it's brand new, while I had that Uniball Signo pen for a few years.  I also doodled some mandala like things.  I painted on scraps of watercolour paper and pasted them here just as a space filler.

A bunny who said HI in a bunny-shaped speech bubble.  I use Daler-Rowney Cryla acrylic paints here.  I'm not sure what to think about it.  I mean, yeah it's pretty cool - thick body, lots of colour, lots of coverage, just like an acrylic paint should be.  The thing is, I don't have first hand experience of other acrylic paints to compare it to..  This is literally the first ever bunch of artist-grade acrylic paints I ever bought, believe it or not.  I am not a major acrylic painter.  I used to use it when I was in school, but they were ever only student grade, and of runnier formulation.  I can hardly remember what it's like now, but I don't remember it being less pigmented than this, but again I'm not sure.  The one thing I don't particularly like about Cryla is that the colour range is rather limited.  Its brightest blue is Azure Blue, as you can see on the centre part of the thought bubble (it's not pure though; I mixed it with Titanium White)'s just not quite...bright enough for my taste. I love super brilliant aqua-turquoise blue kinda shades and they don't seem to have it, and my attempts at mixing it, using this shade and cobalt green, just results in a darkish blue-green colour. sigh.  I spotted some Liquitex in another art store recently and I saw that they have some of the most brilliant blues...ahh..I'm so tempted!

Bunnies! Designs on the bunnies' faces are based on a previous watercolour drawing

Cyclophabbit (Thanks Stephen for the name suggestion!).  I went to the art store earlier this week and bought 3 Derwent Coloursoft pencils and 3 Prismacolor pencils on open stock.  The Coloursofts that I got are Fuchsia, Electric Blue and Blue and the Prismacolors in Spanish Orange, Hot Pink and White, and I decided to make a drawing using only these colours...and here it is! There are reasons behind the character design, two of which I'll explain here.  The blue colour represents Vishnu, and the elephant represents Ganesha.

Just an attempt to do realism in between all these colourful whimsical drawings.  Not very successful! I didn't use a reference or anything, and I got bored after a while (hence it's unfinished).  I used Prismacolor in Dark Umber and a colorless blender (I plan to write more about colour pencil blenders in a future blog post) and...well it just didn't quite react in the way I expected, but then again I didn't have a lot of prior experience as a serious colour pencil artist.

Just some doodling for my favourite poem, Robert Frost's Nothing Gold Can Stay.  I spilled some water on the ink at the top left, and it bled :(. 

Cyclophabbit, his baby brother (and a rabbit friend!) and his mother.  I reverted to my dear, beloved Colleen colour pencils for this.  I just like them so much!  The background is filled out with acrylic paint and I went over it again with colour pencils.

There might yet be part 3, who knows! Keep your eyes peeled!

Traditional Art; May 2012, part I

You know, since I started doing traditional art again, I think I've been on this unstoppable bender. LOL!  In all sorts of medium and trying out different styles as well.  I think while I was in "the flow" while I was drawing one of these pictures, something inside me just went off.  Like a lightbulb moment or something.  It dawned on me that my technical skill is at the point where i don't need to work and practice specifically for improvement anymore, and it made me feel so immensely relieved.  Not saying that I don't think there's a room for improvement in my art; of course there is always room for improvement! It's just that I'm at a point where I don't need to worry about it anymore.  It's like I have a little voice in my head giving me the permission to be truly creative and free to draw whatever my heart desires without a care for the world now that I've pretty much mastered the foundation.  So yeah, that's what I've been doing - trying out new styles, new subject matters, new colour schemes, more abstraction.

I think now that I'm creating art in traditional media a lot more often and getting to know my way around how each of them work, my own style seems to be unfolding really quickly and it's really exciting to watch!  My last batch of traditional art (which I didn't post here in this blog because they're rather embarrassing) is just a hodgepodge bunch of figure painting, weird abstract fruity things and chinese masks (seeing how thickly i can lay down colours with watercolours)...They're purely experimental and just a chaotic mess.  Well, I guess this bunch is still experimental, but there's more unity in the style and subject matter as to not look so chaotic.

Looking at them now, I realize how pretty much all of it are these twisted, cutesy whimsical things and characters.  It's not really intentional, I just seem to gravitate towards that kind of stuff.  Oh, and shiny and super colourful as well! I love shiiiiiny stufff! and more colours the better! happy, happy eye-bleeding acid bright colours!

I made these with Colleen coloured pencils.  I swear, these are one of the bestest ever colour pencils, and they're are supposed to be, like, kiddie grade colour pencils?? I have a pack of 60, double-ended and this sells for SGD$11 in Popular here in Singapore and the colours are just so vivid and it goes down so creamy.  It's actually a lot better than some of the artist-grade colour pencils that I've tried that are so much more expensive and the pigment load is so poor in comparison, feels scratchy and blends nowhere nearly as well.  For that price, I feel like I could just go wild and draw whatever crazy things I want without fear of using it up and then having to go out and buy more and thus, throwing lots of $$$ away (it makes no sense now that I typed it down...I mean, that's what they're for, right?)... and this is really important, guys, because fear...fear of making mistakes, fear of doing things wrong, etc. is what freezes you up and keeps you from being as creative as you can be!  I think this pencil is a massively underrated gem - an artist quality range of coloured pencils masquerading as kiddie grade...LOL!

I first learned of this from biffybeans' blog...and you know what, I actually have used this before when I was a primary school kid living in Thailand (the factory is, after all, located in Thailand).  I just totally forgot about it until I came across her review.  Then I immediately went to this seller on ebay and bought a pack of 60.  It kind of took ages to arrive and in the meanwhile I found out that they sell it here in Singapore too, so I bought another pack of 60. Well, they're cheap so whatever, and I like to have an extra set handy.  Only the round barreled pencils are available in Singapore, so if you don't like runaway pencils and want to get hexagonal ones, this is the place to go.

I think I've rambled on quite a bit here, and I still have more stuff to post, so I'm going to make this a multi-part post

A colourful cyclops who is a unique snowflake.

This is a pigeepoopoo based on Julia's (Stephen's daughter) design.  I love how the legs are all bunched up together! It's almost like a pig-Zoidberg.  Later I found out that what I thought was its mouth is actually its heart! ;

The happy piggess.  She's very happy because she knows what a beautiful person she is, both inside and out.  Well, I drew this in one of my cycling trips to the nearby park and I only have an oldish small notebook to draw into (hence the torn edges...I tried to remove it and collage it on to my sketchbook).  It's originally drawn as a counter to the expression, "lipstick on a pig", because I don't like the implication that pigs are something that are ugly and undesirable.

Star person.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Cute Smiley Beaver!

I did this commission recently.  It's my first ever full size, full colour vector illustration! And yes, that means the first time I made a full piece of artwork in Illustrator!  Well, it wasn't meant to be so. It's just that I was commissioned to make a billboard featuring some cute animal with a wide, exaggerated smile (client runs a dental clinic), and when I was told the size spec...well, I was stumped! I can't possibly paint it in Photoshop because if I paint it in actual size, it'd just crash my comp and I can't really have them blow it up either because it's just going to look icky and pixellated.  I counseled Stephen and he said to use vector because that's the only graphics format that can be scaled up without any lossiness.  I was like, oh but are you MAD!??  I have never done anything like this before. I mean, sure I've fooled around in AI quite a lot but at that point all I've only ever made lineart (which I'd later colour in Photoshop).

It was rather difficult! I whined to Stephen a lot and it was a lot of trial and error.  I learned a lot from this picture.  I supposed turned out well in the end because the client was happy enough with me to give me repeat commission :D

(my goodness, I really ought to update my blog a lot more often!)

Coffin design

A coffin design done for the local art contest, which is a part of a bigger event - a convention held earlier this month.  I was shortlisted, which means I was required to go and recreate my artwork live at the venue.  I was only given 90 minutes to do so, and considering how detailed this piece is, I obviously didn't get very much done at all.  Thus, I didn't win anything...ah but it was good to participate. I still love this piece!  This is also a first of sorts, as I don't think I've done anything quite like this before.

It's obviously very inspired by the sugar skulls popular during the Día de los Muertos "Day of the Dead", a Mexican holiday.

Closeups. I think this is my favourite part of the image.

I love these skulls too!