Archive | February, 2007

fred_bear – Belle Art Nouveau

26 Feb


I thought that if anyone was going to get a picture of a naked man, it was going to be fred_bear.

So what happened?

Well, I went to Prague. I went to Prague and discovered Alphonse Mucha. I really wanted to have a go imitating (emulating!) some of his art nouveau posters and I thought fred_bear would probably appreciate his style. So, with this new inspiration, I tried out some ideas. I realised pretty early on that Mucha’s art is complex – too complex (to be honest) for my skill level and my small A4 sheet of paper. Also, he’s just much better (more experienced!) at drawing than me. For my first attempt, I decided to concentrate on a head, rather than a whole body. So I needed a face and I remembered that fred_bear had a pic she really really liked (and which she’d conveniently posted on her lj :-). She could be the face! So now I had a great face, I started trying to put it into a picture but frankly I had a lot of trouble (and here is an example). The main problem is that all you really see of fred_bear in the picture is her face and I was getting absolutely lost in working out how big her head should be relative to that. What I needed was fred_bear‘s face on a head. Fortunately I knew someone, with relatively similar hair and head, who was willing to be photographed 🙂 After some 40-odd shots (digital camera), I ended up with a head at the right angle that I could stick fred_bear’s face on. (Seriously!) This was a great help and I decided that my next draft was the one[1].

After I’d made up my final draft, I transferred it only to tracing paper, which was a genius idea cos I ended up tracing the final picture three times. I used a mixture of pen, gouache and water colour pencils. These are all difficult materials for me – much more difficult than, say, acrylic or oils or graphite – because once you put it on, it’s there for good and it’s *very* difficult to go over it without messing it up even more. I’m generally a messy person and this is part of the reason I was trying them out. One of the mistakes occurred because I didn’t realise my pen was not waterproof, once because I’d decided I was too heavy handed with pink on fred_bear ‘s face. My final picture is not perfect – I think other copies looked more like fred_bear than this final one. It’s a great lesson in how tiny change in pen stroke can really change a whole face. But the final picture is (i think!!) really rather pretty – I love the dark red and the stars and the border and the hair.

[1] fred_bear‘s hair? A complete rip off of the hair Mucha put on Music!!

planeterry: A Lunar Odyssey

26 Feb


Ironically, this is an electronic copy of a hardcopy of an electronic document (a scan of a printout of an Illustrator file :-). The only thing extra you get that’s not on the original is my signature[1]. Also, it’s a bit grey (For all my pieces, my attempts at colour matching have been absolutely non-existant). The hard copy is number one of a (very) limited edition of two prints[2]. I’m keeping the other.

Anyway, the first notes I had for planeterry’s piece were:
collage! need to buy lacquer
I think I was planning to attempt another collage like this. However, then along came andrewmacrae and his typewriter art and I started thinking about text. At first I was still thinking about doing a physical collage, but using text instead of colour (for some reason I kept imagining a shell like this). I even considered completely ripping off Andy and doing ASCII art just like his (sans typewriter, although I have one now). But then, as I was sorting out the recycling, I came across this picture (from a free newspaper from the British Library). Well! Obviously that was it. By this time I’d also started doing some of my experiments with text in Illustrator and I thought I was ready to start doing something a little more complex.

The first step was draw a line sketch that I could import[3]. This got scanned and then I used it in Illustrator. It was pretty low tech – the sketch was on one layer and I drew over the top in other layers. The main elements are clipping masks made up from different textures formed using different fonts. At first all the textures spelt out ‘planeterry’, but in then end I added a few other, lighter, textures made from other suitalbe words, like http:// and www. My favourite bit is the tiny planeterry stars. Printing it out was almost the hardest bit! Getting my el cheapo printer to print out the image in the middle of an A4 piece of paper took some trying.

I think I spent the longest time on this piece. Firstly, Illustrator is quite labour intensive – particularly making up the clipping masks. But also, if you make a mistake, you can undo and try again. And again. With the other pieces there is no undo if you make a mistake – you just keep going and try and hide it as best you can (or start again). It was great though. I think both the picture and the style really suits planeterry. And I’m definitely interested in making more art out of text.

[1] And I appear to have forgotten to put the ‘r’ in !!
[2] Not including all the scrappy draft printouts, of course. The final prints are on some *beautiful* archival quality inkjet paper, made from cotton fibres and with a velvet finish.
[3]Actually, these pics have already been on the blog… 🙂

The Art Meme

26 Feb

Some time back in October, I took part in an art meme that went like this:

The first five people to respond to this post, will get some form of art/crafty thing, by me, especially for them. I make no guarantees about quality or type, but I will assure that I will give it good effort and that the art will be individual to you, so if you get a mixed CD or some sort of painting doodle, jar or baked good, yours is the only one like it.

The only catch, of course; as with most memes, if you sign up, it is desirable that you put this in your own journal as well. And that I am the first of the 5 people you make something for, so it’s a give and take thing 🙂

I promised to make things (specifically drawing/paintings) for exp_err, girliejones, planeterry, calla_s, fred_bear, and cassiphone and lo and behold I’ve finished!!![1].

I’ve written a post about each picture and why (and how) I made it and now that I’ve had word that a couple of pieces have now been received so I can now start unveiling the posts. They’ve all been challenging for me and I’m pleased with the results. However I won’t deny it will be a *relief* when this is all over!!

[1] Actualy not quite true, but we’re getting there.

Scandal! (at art class)

23 Feb


I was shocked – nay I was morally outraged on Wednesday night when the model slipped off her robe and revealed that she still had her pants[1] on!! Entirely hypocritical given – Yo! – I’m not getting my kit off any time soon (if nothing else, the pay is crap) and she was still very drawable, pants and all. But for that split second, I was really and unexpectedly mad that the nude wasn’t nude.

Otherwise, though, great class. We did two quick 10 minutes pics (mine in oil pastel) and then spent a good couple of hours (probably) on a single sustained pose. I took the opportunity to do some more acrylic work and I’m really pleased with the result (see above). Initially the shading on the back was very patchy, as I was trying to blend the tones to get a single smooth colour, but then the tutor suggested I try blocks of tone to reflect the flat background I’d already adopted. This was much better – the body is becomes composed of shapes, which are slightly abstract (‘landscape’ was mentioned). I only changed my approach, though, in last 20 minutes so the paint work is messier than I’d like – and the tones on the leg were just wrong (so I chopped it off in the pic!). However, recent work (which shall be revealed soon) has demonstrated that I can paint neat so I’m looking forard to trying this style again.

Speaking of scandals, there’s another that I’ve been meaning to expose for months:

Models Move

Like, all the time!! Some move more than others, but they all move. It’s understandable, but it does mean that you’re never gonna get an exact representation of the model. But that’s ok because that shouldn’t be the point anyway

[1] AKA underwear, undie, knickers, etc.