Mixed media runway illustration

Dries Van Noten – Fall 2019

The Dries Van Noten show was one of my absolute favourites from the Fall 2019 runway shows. I am a bit of a sucker for a floral print especially when it’s not a sickly sweet one; “Flowers can be romantic, but this I wanted to take out, because the times are tougher than in the past. So you see the diseases, the black spot, the imperfections.”

Rub ‘n Buff Gold Leaf

Like a Bower Bird, I am attracted to all things sparkly. I picked up a tube of Rub’n Buff in my local art store a few months ago not really knowing what I would use it for. It comes in a 15ml tube in 12 metallic colours (Gold Leaf, Antique Gold, European Gold, Grecian Gold, Autumn Gold, Silver Leaf, Antique White, Pewter, Spanish Copper, Ebony, Ruby, Patina – which looks like it would be an amazing colour!). I have the colour “Gold Leaf”. I think technically it’s supposed to be used to add gold leaf to hard surfaces like timber. There are no real instructions of the tube just; ‘apply to most surfaces, polish with cloth. Clean with mineral spirits.’ ??????

Rub 'n Buff Gold Leaf

So, after basically ignoring the instructions, I thought it was the perfect thing to use to recreate one of the Dries Van Noten gold floral looks. I started with a watercolour base for the skin and the shoes. I then applied the Rub ‘n Buff with a small stiff brush to create the gold flowers. In larger areas you can buff it a bit with the brush, however, in small, more detailed areas, it is not so easy to use as it is very thick and not particularly fluid. Consequently, I had to apply it quite thickly to get a crisp edges. I am no alchemist (or even chemist for that matter) but perhaps you could thin it with a little mineral spirits and that would make it more spreadable? Just a thought.

Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic

Another product that I purchase on a whim but have never used; Daler Rowney Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic Artists Ink. This has a little bit of a sheen to it which complemented the gold quite well. Something that surprised me (but obviously wouldn’t have if I bothered to actually test things out before I committed to the final piece) was that this ink can be painted over the gold. For some reason I thought the Rub ‘n Buff being wax based would repel the water based acrylic. It doesn’t. So all my efforts to get a crisp edge with the gold were slightly unnecessary as I could just create the edges with the black ink.

Finishing Touches

For her bag I used another shiny buy; a ‘Wink of Stella’ glitter brush pen. They are, as the name suggests, a glitter pen that has a brush tip. There are loads of different colours and the finish is sensational. You will be seeing them a lot more in my art work. I am in love.

At this point everything was looking far more “unrealistic” than I was comfortable with so I used my colour pencils to enhance her face and feet. Her hands were also really bugging me. I could live with the one dimensional nature of her pants and coat but they hands just looked too weird. I took to them with a 6B pencil to add a bit of shading and hopefully they look a bit better.

So here she is. Unfortunately Run ‘n Buff and glitter pens, like a lot of metallic mediums, don’t scan particularly well. They need reflected light to really shine and a scanner just doesn’t do them justice.

“Dries Van Noten – Fall 2019” – mixed media runway illustration

TOOLS

Eye illustrations; practice makes (almost) perfect.

A Detacher 2

This week I decided to do a couple of larger scale eye studies.  Normally when I draw portraits they are on A3 or A4 paper, so the eyes tend to be about 3cm wide at the most.  This tends to limit how much detail I can incorporate.  As a result I feel like ‘my’ eyes are getting a bit ‘formulaic’; a bit same-same.  In an effort to capture more detail I’ve scaled things up this time.  I’ve picked out a few of my favourite looks from the Fall 2018  runways to recreate in my eye studies. Next week I will break it down a bit for you and show you how I draw eyes step by step.

Louis Vuitton

Prada final

A Detacher 2

 

“Grace” in Colour

Last week I had finished the graphite part of this drawing.  You can read about the process and see some work in progress photos here.  I could have left it at that but I have been doing so many graphite pieces of late I really felt like adding a bit of colour.  I decided to break out the gouache paints as I like the opaque, flat almost ‘poster paint’ nature of them. None of that pesky, uncontrollable watercolour behaviour! I don’t feel particularly confident with any kind of painting so putting paint to paper is always a bit scary for me   There is always a high risk that I am going to stuff it up royally.  Hence it was quite a few days before I dived in but I am so glad I did.  I am really happy with the end result.

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Back to basics

I SUCK …S-U-C-K-!

Everything I do is shit…. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G

I CANT DRAW!!

Ahhhh these are the wailings of a tantrumy (I made that word up obviously) four-year old AND of a frustrated, perhaps every so slightly insecure, forty something year old artist.  My darling husband puts up with this shit about once every six weeks or so.  He’s such a champion and always responds patiently (and somewhat robotically?) with;

No you don’t

No it’s not.  

And.. yes you can 

I know I CAN draw pretty good but sometimes things just don’t turn out the way I have them planned in my head and it can get pretty damn annoying.  The more frustrated I get the more I tend to over think and jump from one idea to the next and from one piece of work to another in the hope that somehow I will have a “break through” and something will work!  Consequently I end up with a LOT of unfinished pieces of crap!  I recently had a clear out of all these pieces out and pretty much filled an entire wheelie bin!  Anyway, all this rushing around in my head, and on paper, has meant that I haven’t really taken my time with something for ages.  So time to stop, slow down, go back to basics.

I wanted to go back to the basic graphite pencil skills I had learnt over the last decade and that I had somehow forgotten in the rush of getting stuff done/trying to create a masterpiece. Step one was finding a reference picture that I liked.  I came across this amazing image by Kyle La Mere.  (If anyone actually reads my blog they might be going hang on a minute, wasn’t she banging on about NOT using reference images last week and something about a potato?!).  Yes I was. And, yes, I am not a huge fan of using reference images directly, but when your confidence is shot to shit and all your creativity has been sucked out of you, it’s time to go right back to basics.  Using a good reference image is a great way for me to practice my skills and to get my confidence back and simply rediscover my love for drawing.  (And before anyone gets their knickers in a knot about “copying”; I am practicing, not creating something for sale and I am giving credit to the amazing photographer who took this photo, twice now!  I’d give credit to the model too but I don’t know who she is.)

Jazz_meaty-2-w

I think I’ve made it clear before that I struggle with hair and for that reason I purposely chose a model without much hair.  I honestly did not realise until I started that she didn’t have eyebrows though!  I often think my eyebrows (not my ACTUAL eyebrows but the eyebrows I draw) look at bit ‘stuck on’ and not part of the face.  I wasn’t purposely avoiding eyebrows in this instance it just worked out that way.

For this drawing I used the back side of some Daler Rowney Smooth Heavyweight (220gm) paper that I had.  I figure maybe I brought it overseas, or a million years ago, as it has a price tag of $29.80 which seems VERY reasonable!  It doesn’t say how many sheets of paper it is, but there are 16 left which make it even more reasonable!  I’ve run out of Arches and when I want to my local art store and couldn’t find any the owner informed me that a new company owns it and they have put the price up $15 and reduced the number of sheets in a pad!  CORPORATE BASTARDS!!!!!  Plus she only had 300gsm.  I brought one pad at $83 which my husband reliably pointed out is $6-$7 a sheet, so “I better not stuff it up”.  Thanks.  Perhaps I should go dumpster diving in to that wheelie bin full of drawing fails and see what paper I can salvage

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I actually quite like this Daler Rowney paper.  It definitely has more of a distinctive texture than the Arches paper. It give a bit of texture to the skin that I like, particularly around the eyes and eyelids.  It naturally gives that crepe-y look that skin has (or at least older skin).  The down side is that the texture is fairly uniform and distinctly horizontal which can look a bit unnatural.  In some areas where the skin is quite firm and taut across the bone like the cheeks or the forehead, it is more difficult to achieve the necessary smooth look with this paper.

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I agonised over how to draw her hair (I told you I was an over-thinker).   My philosophy is always to draw what you SEE rather than what you THINK you see or what you think you know.  Our brains are pretty adept at translating what our eyes see so that we understand it better.  When we see an eyeball we know it to be a sphere so we draw a circle.  But if you really look at it, the top part of they eye is concealed by the eyelid, so really, what you are often seeing, is the bottom three-quarter of a circle.  My point being draw what you see in front of you (three-quarters of a circle) not what you know it to be (a complete circle).  Anyway once again I digress and once again .. am going to contradict myself.

With the hair I did the opposite.  My brain could just not compute what my eyes were seeing.  So I kind of ignored what I saw and thought it’s shaven hair and shaven hair is just short little strokes.  So that’s what I did… lots of short little strokes bit different grades of graphite.  Again the Daler Rowney paper was actually good for this as it added to that sense of texture and roughness.

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I didn’t want to have just a head floating in space so I added the neck using a combination of Tombow Mono 4B and 6B graphite and 6B Staedtler Mars Lumograph black pencils  I have probably mentioned these Lumograph blacks before but they are my charcoal “substitute”. I just can’t deal with charcoal!  It’s messy, impossible to sharpen, and ahhhgg sends a control freak like me in to a tail spin.   Lumographs contain a higher proportion of carbon in the lead than graphite pencils. The carbon creates a matt black finish.  I tend to only use the 6B and the 8B versions as the 2B and 4B aren’t particularly dark.  They are also smudge-able (again not a real word I know) as you can see around the collar of her top.  In truth they are probably not as matt black or as smudge-able as charcoal but for me they are a perfect alternative.

So I am pretty happy with the end result. I feel like I am back in the groove. Maybe I should just stick to what I know and stop mucking around with those colour pencils!!

final

final texture.jpg