Tag Archives: ink

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!!

Graeme (note doorhandle in the corner)

7 Nov


I’m really pleased with this picture and really should write a post explaining the process that got me here (it involved garden stakes). Maybe I’ll do a double whammy after tomorrow’s class – right now I’m too tired.

I’m still displaying pics around the house – there’s more of Graeme on the upstairs bedroom door. My house is becoming a series of temporary art galleries 🙂


(I can’t believe the class is into its second half as of tomorrow – it’s going so fast! I’m almost certainly going to enrol again.)

Material Acquisitions

2 Nov


That’s not a pencil…


this is a pencil!


I’m sure this pencil, from Prague (they have a lot of wood for sale in Prague), was made for the novelty value but I’m seriously gonna draw with it. One of the things we do in the life drawing class is think about the mechanics of drawing (as well as the looking). So we’ve been drawing without looking at the paper, without taking the pencil off the page, using our ‘wrong’ hand (in my case my right!), and using ‘implements’ to distance us from the page (more on that later)[1]. In this respect, I think drawing with a giant pencil is quite appropriate. Not quite so giant are the coloured pencils I also got in Prague. If the giant graphite is reaching 50 cm (seriously!), these coloured pencils are 20-30 cm tall.


I was too shy to take them to art class yesterday, but I will gird myself for next week.

Not from Prague, but these inks are very pretty and I got them today. Ultramarine, Violet, Plum. I’d be lying if I said the packaging didn’t sway me a bit, but I did want ink (more on that later too).


[1]Not all at the same time, these are separate exercises 😉