Saturday, 4 March 2017

Bartering sheep

Hi there, you might hardly believe it, but I've just completed a new post for you mere weeks after the last. I have not one, but two new pieces to show. Shocked? I'm trying really hard to push myself to spend more time on this thing I love called illustration. "But what does this mean for me?" I hear you ask. Well to answer your question, I hope it means updates more often and more work to share. Now let's get into it.

First up, I've got an illustration I completed of local Melbourne musician Ali Barter. This was originally going to be for a client, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, it was never published. I left it alone for several weeks and then one day decided it was a waste of my time and effort not to finish something I'd already spent a considerable amount of time on. So here it is!

Colourful, no? I'd never heard of Ali before, so like I mentioned in my previous post, research was key. I found myself particularly drawn to the bright colours and style found in her clip of the song Hypercolour, so I that was my main inspiration. Just the term made me imagine super-bright and high impact colour schemes. The flowers were inspired by the same clip, though in this instance they're magically growing from the guitar itself. I think it strengthens the sense of 'hypercolour:' Almost sickly bright flowers.

In terms of background, the clip for one of her newest songs, Girlie bits features synchronised swimming, so I thought, how about a pool without water as a setting? I had a tight deadline originally with this work, so I had to keep things fairly uncomplicated. The tiles I think make a for simple but very catching design. I've always loved drawing environments where nature has taken over, so expect to see more of those as my background painting skills improve. I discovered working on this, that though guitars seem like a relatively easy thing to draw, they can take some time to get right. I'm still not 100% on spot with line drawing using my tablet, so it took a few attempts to get the strings where I wanted them. I'm particularly happy with the way the eyes came out.

Up next is a personal work I've been working on bit by bit over the last couple of years. As you can probably imagine, producing a work over such an extended amount of time often leads to many changes. The lengthy production period mainly stemmed from my desire to try my hand at painting the background. If you look through most of my work, it's either got no background at all or a very simple drawn one if any. I was very apprehensive to start it once I got up to that point. Which I know is kinda silly given that in Photoshop, everything can be undone.

I'm not entirely sure what I was going for with this image...I'm guessing sheep were likely the starting point. I think I was watching The Musketeers at the time and really loved their... shoulder capes? Which lead on to considering a striking heraldry logo: I started out in graphic design, so I always like to find ways to combine it with my illustrations. All this doesn't really fit with a simple sheep farmer, so let's just say that in this world sheep farming is considered a noble profession. The idea behind the glowing gem in the crook is that it in some way hypnotises the sheep to follow her. The design of her hair eludes me and is lost to time.

Working on a piece across such a long period of time was a great way to sense my progression as an artist, there are some things here that are quite different to how I do them now. Though I did try my best to change little to keep it in line with the original. The major thing I tweaked were the colours, mainly to harmonise them with the recent idea I had for the background. I was originally going to use a textured brush, but decided against it: I'd read from a few artists that it's best to start with the basic flat default brush until you get a feel for painting.

Considering it's one of my first attempts to paint digitally, I'm quite happy with how it all turned out. I think the sense of distance is captured quite well, particularly with the foreground grass. I'm always amazed with how plain background can be to still have a good feel of the environment. The stone sign, (in an unknown language so you know it's not Earth) shows the distance to the next city. Perhaps our sheep herder is taking her flock to trade? As a bonus to the detail shots I quickly drew up a completed graphic of the heraldry shield. Sometimes these things look better flat.

I'm currently trying out a 'sketch a day' exercise to speed up my drawing skills, So I'll probably make a new section or possibly add to my sketchbook section.

Well that's it for this time I'm hoping to have something done from a galaxy far away. Thanks for reading!

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