A sticky situation: More colour pencil mishaps

Graphite and colour pencil fashion illustration

I realise I am such a hypocrite, nay, more a liar liar pants on fire.  “I will never draw another smiley lady in a hat”… remember that!  Ha, ha, so what’s the first thing I choose to draw of my own free will… a chick in a hat!  To be fair it is a turban not a hat and I am utterly obsessed with turbans.  I’ve actually been asked to judge Fashions on the Field next month,(I know I can’t believe no one has figured out I don’t know anything about fashion yet either!) and it is expected that one wears a hat to such occasions.  I cannot justify the expense of buying a bit of pointless fluff to wear on my head that I will wear once and only once.  Turbans on the other hand really float my boat.  Turbans are a trend I can really get behind because with a turban I don’t even have to do my hair … did you hear me? I DONT HAVE TO DO MY HAIR! In fact I can see myself wearing a turban every single day.

So I have been searching obsessively online for a turban and they are everywhere and they are all so beautiful I decide I had to draw one.  A beautiful, bright, colour pencil one.

(WARNING: Expect to see plenty of work in progress photos this week.  I got me one of those fancy new Samsung phones with the top-notch camera in it.  To be fair, I don’t know exactly how to USE any of the fancy stuff  but it is nice and I feel like a proper blogger.)

Continue reading

Random things

(Let me just start by apologising profusely for last weeks train wreck of a blog post.  This is what happens when you ask your husband to proof read something .. he just takes over and writes mean shit about people!)

I’m taking a bit of a break after all that Fashions on the Field business so thought I would share some things I did earlier this year.  These were graphite and colour pencil illustrations based on a some images from Zara.  I had planned to do a whole series of them but other stuff keeps coming up!

Both are available as prints (terribly unimaginative titles I know but I’m no good at naming my art!)

Blue-jeans“Blue Socks” – Graphite and colour pencil illustration

 

 

Red-dress-final

“Red Shoes” – Graphite and colour pencil illustration

Fashions on the Field has been hijacked!!!

So you think YOU are sick of those Fashions on the Field drawings I am freakin’ bored witless!  It has taken every ounce of mental discipline to finish this last one.  To be fair, discipline, focus, being task oriented etc, are all traits that I seriously lack.  Anyway now it is finally finished and no one need read another blog post (at least from me) about fascinators, millinery, or whatever the fuck that shit they put on their head is called. (husband here: she doesn’t really mean that)

This last one nearly killed me. I have to admit I hated every second of it!  I feel a bit bad owning up to that. It feels a bit like artistic blasphemy.  Everything should be created with love, passion etc etc … In all honesty this one came from a place of frustration and desperation … JUST GET IT DONE.

Here she is; Courtney Moore the winner of the 2016 Myer Fashions on the Field event, completed in graphite, colour pencil and digital colouring.

2016 version 2.jpg

…and here are all the rest.  These 11 drawings are part of bigger plan / collaboration project.  Only time will tell what happens with that project.  If I never speak of them again you will know that it amounted to nothing and I wasted six months drawing smiling women in silly hats!  Never again! (husband here: she really does love the hats and the smiling women)

POSTER 2.jpg

So which one is my favourite?  Certainly Chloe Moo – 2013, was the crowd favourite, smashing my Instagram account.  I think I am most chuffed with Kristy Magillivary – 2008, the all black one, only because I could not fathom how to draw an all black outfit (nor how an all black outfit actually won) (husband here: she likes black! she wears loads of black I swear!).  I did a lot of it in Photoshop and it turned out exactly as I planned.

As my personal favourite, I am torn between Emily Hunter – 2015, and Angela Menz – 2011 (aka – vagina head).  (husband here again: it was me who said it looked like a vagina. It’s not her fault).  For both of these I ventured a lot further with colour pencil than I have previously and was pretty happy with the results. It has definitely inspired me to pursue colour pencils a bit more (oh and to buy $100 worth of new fancy Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils.)

For all my wanting to be a real/ professional artist at the beginning of the year this project was a stark reality check.  Maybe it’s not all  that it’s cracked up to be.  Maybe I don’t want to be a REAL artist after all  and I am truly okay with that.  I just want to draw what I want to draw,  how and when I want to draw it, with no external or internal pressure.

Creativity is something deep within me that I just have to get out (I’m sure my husband is going to read that and say …what like a giant 💩.. ewwww),  It doesn’t have to have a purpose or a meaning, it doesn’t have to “get likes”, it doesn’t even have to be that good at the end of the day I just have to do it.

(Husband here: she really is a nice person, sometimes she just lets shit come out that should remain in her head. I guess that’s why I love her. I apologise to anyone who has been offended)

Ha ha.. he hijacked my blog post and the fact that I spent $100 on colour pencils didn’t even raise an eyebrow!!

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?  Not quite!  I managed to knock over two more Myer Fashions on the Field illustrations this week with just one more left to do.. phew!

First off, this week is the 2011 winner, Angela Menz.  Angela is a milliner and designer who created this winning outfit and headpiece for $400!!  And no my sweet but ignorant husband, she is not wearing a giant vagina on her head … it’s “fashun” darling… FASHUN!  Angela is also responsible for On Track Trend which you can also follow on Instagram if you like keeping up with all things racing fashion.

If you read last week’s post you will know I chickened out of doing a complete colour pencil portrait and ended up with a bit of half and half (graphite and colour mix).  This time I went for it and did my first ever colour pencil portrait.  I am actually pretty happy with how it turned out!

Angela-Menz-Pic.jpg

version 2

Second up is 2010 winner Jaydee Menegon who won wearing an $18 dress …bargain!

Jaydee-Paino-Pic.jpgfinal.jpg

Photo Credit 1/2

Emily Hunter – Fashion on the Field Winner 2015

final version 4.jpgwrok in progress

I finally feel like I am getting close to the finish line with these Myer Fashions on the Field National winners. Six down, five to go!

This time it is the 2015 winner, Emily Hunter.  Hands down the best fascinator, millinery, head-piece, whatever you call it on ground ever!.  Okay maybe that is a big call but it is a very pretty head piece.

I went for a slightly different style with this drawing, pulling back on the detail in her face to focus my attention on the headwear.  I had initially thought to complete the whole drawing in colour pencil but I chickened out!  I don’t yet feel confident enough with my colour pencil skills to do a complete portrait.  Anyway I quite like the finished mix of the graphite and colour pencil!

 

webf.jpg

e6cefd9d0fe229c1d6094b471136bb3e.jpg

Photo Credit: 1/2

 

Chloe Moo – Myer Fashions on the Field Winner 2013

Graphite, watercolour and digital colour fashion illustration of Chloe Moo winner of the 2013 Myer Fashions on the Field

Graphite, watercolour and digital colour fashion illustration of Chloe Moo winner of the 2013 Myer Fashions on the Field

This is one of my favourite looks of all the Myer Fashions on the Field National winners.  Chloe Moo’s dress was designed by her mother using fabric screen printed by Merrepen Arts at a community south of Darwin in the Northern Territory.  Nineteen year old Chloe matched the red, black and white dress with Valentino Shoes and a matching fascinator by Monsoon Millinery.

This piece was created using graphite pencils, watercolour and digital colouring.

Follow the links to see my illustrations of the 2017 and 2007 winners.

melbourne-cup-fashions-on-the-field-winner-2013-1

melbourne-cup-fashions-on-the-field-winner-2013-2

Photo Credit: fabulous-femme.com 

 

 

New York fashion Week; colour pencil illustration

This is part 2 of my most recent colour pencil adventures.  You can read part 1 here.    To quickly recap the most important lessons / tips I learnt at last weekend’s colour pencil class;

  1. Use a sharp pencil held upright (i.e. perpendicular to the page) in small circular strokes.
  2. Smooth paper is essential to creating a smooth finish.
  3. Three methods of blending;
    1. layering colour pencils
    2. solvents
    3. colourless pencil blender
  4. Use a burnishing pencil to “polish’ the paper to create a shiny surface.
  5. Hold the tip of the pencil against the object you are drawing to achieve the best colour match for your base layers.
  6. Create shadows using a complementary colour and analogue colours for a smooth transition.

This week I put these tips to the test on my New York Fashion Week illustration.  I took at tonne of work-in-progress photos this time to document the process.  I am a little bit reluctant to share them as colour pencil is seriously best viewed at a bit of a distance.  It looks terribly grainy up close especially with unforgiving overhead lighting.

You can read all about the process of putting these tips in to action below or, just cut to the end for a look at the final image.

Continue reading

Crikey, I’ve lost my mojo!

"Emmi" - Colour and graphite pencil drawing (detail)

I often use this blog to give a bit of the back story to each of my drawings; where my inspiration comes from and how the illustrations came to be.  I’d love to have a great back story to this piece but .. well… there actually isn’t one   I started this drawing late last year when I had four or five unfinished drawing “failures” hanging about.  Failures is probably too harsher word but illustrations that just hadn’t come together and consequently I’d lost any desire to finish them.  I felt like I had completely lost my mojo.

After taking a bit of a break I decided that the best way to rebuild my confidence was by drawing something that I am comfortable with and that I know I do quite well.  Take the easy road!  A graphite pencil portrait of a pretty girl!

I normally do my works on A3 (297 x 420mm) Arches paper but for this one I needed more space so I busted out the rarely used A2 (420 x 594mm) paper.  I find A2 a bit too large and awkward to manage.  And when you have an A3 scanner it can be a complete bitch to scan A2 and match up the two halves seamlessly.

I started with the graphite pencil face and then the hands using my usual Tombow mono pencils.  Initially I wasn’t planning on doing anything other than the face and hands but since it was going along quite well and my confidence was up I decided to add some colour.  I have no idea why I chose to draw them in colour pencil I think it was just an intuitive thing at the time.   It didn’t even cross my mind that my last effort with colour pencil had been a little painful.

Instagram-2

(Now I am going to crap on about colour pencil for a while, so you can just skip to the end to see the final image if this is all a bit boring.)

I started with an underdrawing using complementary colours; green pencil for the red flowers, red pencil for the green leaves and purple pencil for the yellow flowers and buds.  With my last colour pencil drawing I had difficulty getting sharp, crisp, edges.  Once again the colour pencil queen, Carrie L Lewis, has come to my rescue with her conveniently titled “How to Draw Crisp Edges with Colored Pencils”.  Read her blog for a more comprehensive explanation but in short; mark the outline before you start shading and ‘draw a light outline with every colour you use on that area’.  Why didn’t I think of that!

I used my Prismacolor Premier pencils to outline the red flowers in Kelp Green and then shaded in the darker/shadow areas in the same green.  I outlined again in Crimson Red being careful to travel as exactly as possible along the initial green line.  I repeated the Crimson Red outline with each layer of colour I applied.  You’d think this would be a pretty straight forward and simple process but truthfully I got better at it the more I did and my last flowers look a hell of a lot better than the first couple.  It takes a bit of a steady hand to trace accurately over the line below each time.  The more accurately you can do it the more crisp the edge will be.  Again I added more shadow in Crimson Red and Scarlet Lake for the centre.

To be honest, I really only used three colours on the flowers.  I’m seriously starting to believe that the LESS colours you use the better.  Creating ‘red’ with only three colours (one of which is not even red!) is more effective that using six different colours.  Maybe that’s just me!  Maybe a more experienced artist uses a lot of different colours I don’t know! (Maybe the colour pencil companies are a scamming us with their box sets of 72 different colour pencils and in reality you only need 2 reds, 2 blues, 2 greens, 2 yellows, 2 browns and black and white?… conspiracy?)

flowers-no1-zoom

Flower-no2-v4.jpg(The top photo is one of the first flowers I did and the bottom photo the last one.  I think I got better!)

For the leaves and the yellow petals I followed the same process of tracing over the outline carefully with each colour I used.  It really did help me get a crisper, sharper, outline.  As with the red petals I continued to use a fairly limited palette starting with a complementary colour.

leaves-

In my last colour pencil piece I liked the stage where some white paper was still showing through.   I prefer this over pushing it to the limit with as many layers as possible and removing all signs of the white paper.   This piece does lends itself well to that ‘style’ as I imagine it is a white blouse with the flowers and leaves embroidered on top so naturally there may be some white fabric peaking through.

web2

Initially I had planned to add hair.  I struggle with hair a lot so I decided to leave it until the very end.  Now I kind of like her ‘hairless’.  I don’t know. What do you think?  Am I just being lazy!?

final.jpg

 

Beauty illustration – Perfecting the smokey eye

Graphite Pencil and digital art illustration of Matilda

Last week I completed my graphite illustration of Matilda.  You can read about it here.  This week it’s time to put my Photoshop skills to the test and see if I can perfect that old classic – the smokey eye.

final-blog1

It’s pretty rare for me personally to go to the trouble of putting ANY makeup on these days, let alone taking half an hour to master a smokey eye look.  Now days it’s no makeup or my Homer Simpson makeup gun is set to whore.  Seriously I am that clueless about makeup!

makeup6

Fortunately, Emmi and the girls at Maya Organic Beauty Therapy know what they are doing and wrote me a step by step guide smokey eye tutorial.  With my guide in hand it was time to tackle Photoshop.

Into the Wormhole

Now I am only slightly more adept at Photoshop than I am at makeup application.  I have had Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom tablet and pen for about seven years but everything I’ve learnt has been through trial and error.  My skills are pretty basic but, to be honest, I have no desire to become a digital artist anyway.

I do occasionally watch a YouTube Photoshop tutorial but I either get bamboozled by the tech speak or, having the attention span of a gnat, tune out after about five minutes.  I have recently discovered Draw with Jazza who keeps it simple and to around 20 minutes per tutorial (I am yet to get past the 10 minute mark but that’s my issue not his! – New Years Resolution = learn to focus).

Photoshop is a wormhole.   I step in at 9am and then few moments later I am disturbed by a dull headache from being hunched over staring at a computer screen (without my glasses on), only to discover that it’s now 4pm!.  I sit back and look at what I’ve achieved and then….

LAYER – DELETE – LAYER – DELETE – LAYER – DELETE – LAYER – DELETE – LAYER – DELETE

….and here we are back where I started at 9am but for the addition of some blue eyes.

eyes.jpg

The ability to remove all trace of what you’ve done is kind of what’s good and bad about Photoshop.  It is brilliant that if you mess something up, it’s not quite right or for whatever reason you don’t like it… voila…  you can just hit delete and in seconds remove all trace that it was ever there.  You can’t really do that with traditional art works.  Yeah you can erase it or paint over it but you can only do this so many times.  At some point you have to call time, there has to be an end, a finish point.  The paper won’t take any more erasing or any more layering of pencil.  Any more paint and things will just turn muddy brown.  There is a point where it is as good as its going to get and you have to stop.   With Photoshop…

LAYER – DELETE – LAYER – DELETE – LAYER – DELETE – LAYER – DELETE – LAYER – DELETE

And so panned out my first three days of trying to ‘makeup ‘ Matilda.  I’d work all day long only to get to 4pm to discover that I didn’t like it any more and in a moment of frustration delete everything.

Finally I gave myself an ultimatum.  This was it.  Last day.  Wherever I get to today that is it.  Let go of my perfectionist tendencies and call it finished.

web-final.jpgStep by Step

When I was a child I always wanted to be a graphic artist (and a vet, and a pilot, and an architect, and… you get the picture) but my parents “encouraged” me to study sciences, go university and get a “real” job.  I ended up as a police officer?!?.  I am not quite sure that was what my parents had planned!

Anyway I digress… I wanted to be a graphic artist.  I love designing layouts.  I can’t explain it but something fascinates me about layouts. I am a layout nerd.  Hence I came up with several different, increasingly complex versions for my final step by step tutorial.  And when I say complex I mean complex, there were arrows, connecting lines, different fonts, close-ups, colours, shapes …

In the end the most simple version seemed to be the most effective.

step-by-step-FINAL

STEPS-CROPPED-FINAL

 

 

Graphite Pencil and digital art illustration of MatildaI also have to say in retrospect, while it was not my intention, this has ended up a very similar layout to Kimberley McCone’s beauty illustration I mentioned in last week’s blog post.  I guess it must have stuck in my head.  So I herby gratefully and respectfully acknowledge the inspiration Kimberley’s works has given me and the amazing-ness of her talent!

This project was really just for my practice anyway and I have no intention of using it in any commercial sense.  (But hey if any makeup artists out there do want a collaboration, you know where to find me!)

Photo Credits 1/