Friday, 20 February 2015

...just around the block...

Hi Everyone, and a belated Happy February New Year to you all!

OK - I know I've been rather conspicuous by my absence from my blog for some months now - well, since October I think which is quite some time - but if you don't mind, I'm going to carry on as if I'd just nipped around the block (blog?), for a moment or three and I'm now I'm back.

What I'll do is carry on in real time, and fill in the lost month gaps as I go. 

My first appearance on Ely market. there I was with my merchant's hat on in Ely market selling cards, prints, bookmarks, and of course - calendars! I'm dispensing tips and advice to anyone who'll listen - I'm easily flattered by anyone who thinks I know more than they do - when this chap comes over, points to the Eel Sculpture artwork on display, and says ' house is behind that shrub, and is the most photographed house in Ely...' 

I explained that for composition sake I had omitted the houses from my drawing, but of course still had them in my reference folder.

The original pen & ink and watercolour painting appearing as May in the 2015 calendar. 

'Could you draw my house in there for me?' 

What - but the artwork's up there behind glass, complete with a pink sky - how am I going to draw your house in?? 

OK - it took a moment for the creative penny to drop.

Of course! - Print a copy of the black and white digital artwork onto watercolour paper and draw in the houses in situ behind the sculpture and shrub, ink the pencils and paint!

Pencil layout featuring brick wall and houses.

Which is what I did. Visiting Jubilee Gardens one more time for additional reference photographs, I managed to find a printer whose machinery could copy onto the slightly heavier watercolour paper, and we were in business.

Pen & ink stage of Eel Sculpture with houses.

The new pencil composition was agreed - with a slightly greater emphasis on the client's house - and in the style of the original the pen & ink stage was completed.

Keeping an eye on the original colour treatment, I rendered the pen & ink artwork similarly in gentle watercolours laying in the sky with a brush at the last moment, having masked the houses and immediate background elements.

The enhanced view of the sculpture from Jubilee Gardens in colour.

To retain the continuity in the depth field I brought the colour of the sky into the foreground sculpture highlights.

Adding a little more pen & ink detail to the architecture I arrived at the finished work. 

A big thank you to client David for commissioning me to produce a rather unusual piece of work featuring new and original art creating a sum greater than it's parts.

Monday, 27 October 2014

A printer, a printer - my kingdom for a printer...

   Quality 5 x 7 Greetings cards? 
We don't need the technology -
 we just need Digital Colour Services! 

'Ely Cathedral' - taken from the 'Ely & Downham Market 2015 Calendar' range of cards.

Well, Digital Colour Services are a printer you don't want shout about 
- they are so good you want to keep them all to yourself! 

I'd been looking some time for a printer for my 5 x 7 card designs, and the sample service they offer and their technical advice certainly makes it easier to give them a try. I received my card delivery last Friday, and opened them on Ely market on the Saturday - what a nice surprise! 

I work in pen & ink and watercolour and the cards had excellent colours, 
solid blacks and sharp lines. And my art & design wasn't bad either. 
From the first telephone call to the final delivery - brilliant. 

Against my better judgement, I'm already recommending 
them to all and sundry.

Yep - grand architecture, furry animals, explosive superheroes...

...have I left anything out...?

For great printing - contact Ellie
01363 777101

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

...'Open Sesame'...

Ist scribble of random ideas as clocktower pops out of 'P' and off the page.

Just in case you thought the word  'OPEN'  popped straight into my mind as an aerial view of a small collection of 3D Downham Market style buildings replete with pop-up clocktower, celebratory bunting and a pub on each corner - which it did of course (taking into consideration the progressive evolution on the page as the drawing developed).

Anyway - just in case you thought the word  'OPEN'  appeared out of nowhere -       here are some working drawings...

A2 layout of traced initial idea with clock taped in place...

'Underwater' lightbox stage to refine final layout.

Final layout prior to transfer to Bristol Board.

Finished pen & ink artwork on bristol board.

And of course it's the   Downham Market Art Trail with Ryston   that is now open and well worth a visit!

Please visit Downham & Denver Art Trail with Ryston for further details.


...King's Walk?...more like King's Crawl...

- more like if you compare my speed of working, it's less like a walk and more like a crawl. 

Never a sprint, and rarely a run. Although, if I'm sitting with my easel opposite the subject I'm drawing as in the preliminary drawing for Downham's King's Walk where I'm going for fast observation, quick decisions and blocking in general shapes - often moving the outlines of buildings as the drawing shrinks and expands - not always quite sure what the finished layout will be - then it's probably like a frenetic jog or power walking.

Preliminary layout - frenetic jog or power walking.

1st pencils, clarifying shapes and details - working from reference - more like a stroll...

2nd pencils - more clarification, shape and detail - a steady walk this time.

OK - not quite sure how I want to interpret the line work at this point, so a measured gait...

I want to keep the Chapel in the background, but undecided how much detail to include - light touching in of the outline and general detail. This stage - definitely a crawling King's Walk!

Keep an eye out for my next blog to see how I bring the King's Walk to it's satisfactory conclusion. Whether I get an extra burst of energy and speed up, run out of breath and steam, or - as in school cross country - go off on a tangent, dither this way and that, stop for a fag, and generally lose my graphical way...

Where did I put the Red Bull?


Saturday, 10 May 2014

..back to nature...

Having pretty much drawn Downham's High St view Clock Tower entirely from my photo ref on the trusty mac - what a change to get out of the studio, dust off my easel and set it up opposite Downham's King's Walk!

We're not so many weeks away from the longest day of the year, and I still don't feel that it's warm enough to draw from life outside, which I find far more informative than working solely from photographs which cannot always tell the whole story. I often revisit a site to get more reference if I find there are gaps in my information. That's OK if your four or five miles from your subject, but if you need to nip into Lynn or Ely it's not so practical.

Rough sketch layout of Downham Market's King's Walk Cemetery with one of it twin chapels in view...

I made a point of drawing in a much quicker, looser, and broader fashion with 'King's Walk' and kept the drawing open - erasing elements here and there and moving it all along as I went. This meant the composition changed somewhat as the drawing progressed, but I have a strong energetic drawing as a foundation to work with. 

I'll try and retain as much of that energy as I can while developing the drawing, but I'm bound to lose some of it as my controlled inking style takes over. We'll see how it goes...


Thursday, 8 May 2014 coin - two heads...

Well, that was lucky! Having completed the Clock Tower Central drawing I now have a very strong cover to the Downham Market version of my Downham Market & Ely 2015 Calendar, or Ely & Downham Market 2015 Calendar depending on your geography. 

Two preliminary designs for the 2015 calendar covers...


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

...a fistful of clock towers...

When Peter at Downham's one and only Mackies Card and Stationary shop suggested my third 'Downham Market & Ely 2015 Calendar' should include a new drawing of the iconic Downham Market Clock Tower, my first reaction - having drawn it four or five times previously ( and enjoyed doing so on those occasions), was 'Can I muster the enthusiasm and motivation to do it again?' And perhaps, more to the point - '...was there a view I hadn't drawn before??'

Well, with a tip of my hat to Peter - the answer to that query is 'Yes, yes and of course there is!' 

Although I had to build up to the enthusiasm and motivation. I wanted to certainly choose a view I hadn't used before. Employing the one point perspective, looking up the High St past the Swan Hotel, Price Right Shoes, and on to the Castle Hotel achieved that purpose, as well as giving me a tremendous job of dealing with overlapping shapes receding into the background - my favourite.

Pencil layout establishing composition and general shapes...

Almost finished pencils, clarifying foreground and middle detail...

When you start to see too many pencil lines - it's time to start inking...

Second stage inks...

Start working my way up the High St and creating depth of field...

Ink the left hand side of  High St and clarify Castle Hotel in distance...

Final drawing and ink sweep  - adding clock face and shop detail etc...

Going back in a few days later to heavy up contour ink lines to reinforce the separation of the planes, and confirm fore, middle and background elements in their place...

It was when I began inking the buildings up the High St that the drawing came to life for me, and became much more enjoyable to work on, and I could see the anglepoise light at the end of the drawing board! There always seems to be a point in a drawing where you cross a line - no pun intended - and the drawing comes together and you're on the downward slope as it were. Although since it's now more fun your probably not in such a hurry to get off.

The thing is - I've now seen other views that are just as worthy of drawing...