Thursday, 25 June 2015

...Superhero (Demos) over Southery School...

Just to preface my recent Superhero Demos - let's step back through 
the mists of time to my first demo back in good old 2008...

My son Laz's year six teacher asked me to come into the school toward the end of the 
summer term and hold a couple of Superhero demonstrations. To pre-empt the demos and to generate excitement I drew superhero caricatures of their teacher, headteacher, deputy head 
and school secretary. So for a few days Wolverine, Judge Dredd, Valkyrie 
and Wonder Woman were on staff! 

On the appropriate day I turned up drawing board and comics in hand. 

School Secretary as Wonder Woman

Deputy Head as Valkyrie
Year 6 Teacher as Wolverine

Head as Judge Dread

Before long the pupils and I were designing various comic characters such as the Zen Dragon and Silver Warrior. I would draw on my easel while they would call out whether this or that particular character had a cape,  long hair, mask or atombuster! Working from design sheets they sat down to create their own heroes and heroines. 

I discovered that  pupils who perhaps were less able academically were way ahead in 
their efforts to capture the look of their own heroes. We live in a graphic world - most kids 
are exposed regularly to heroic figures in film, comics, Xbox and video games. 
On the second Demo day the girls were more vocal and determined than the boys. 

The theme of comics was carried over into other areas of the curriculum - writing in English, marketing and sales in Maths, production in Art - of course, and drama in the end of year play. The kids wrote a story about the school and used the cartoon faces I had drawn of their head and teachers to identify their roles.  All in all a good time was had by all.

A4 Template design sheet.

A3 Template design sheet.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

...not in Hilgay anymore R2...

Ok, I thought I'd take a break from drawing buildings and architecture and take a step closer to drawing people (and of course superheroes) - here a couple of well known robots...

R2D2 and C3PO - not in Alderaan or Tatooine anymore...

I'll produce a few more similar images and then ink them for reproduction. I'm planning to insert these images over local backgrounds/buildings I have previously drawn. That's pretty much Ely, Downham Market and King's Lynn...


Monday, 9 March 2015

...drawing from experience...

Looking back on the majority of the drawings and illustrations I've done in recent time, it's clear that the general population is conspicuous by their absence. It's not that I don't know how to draw people or don't want to draw people, it just seems that I appear to have drawn a line - when I draw buildings, architecture etc that's exclusively bricks and mortar. When I draw comics - as infrequently as that has been - it's cars, people, buildings - and the kitchen sink really.

'Who is that masked man?'

Thought I'd have a go at drawing people again. Since I'm clearly a little bit rusty - at least burnt umber - and enlisted the aid of trusty old tracing paper. 

Working with a dip pen and a reliably flexible 1950 nib, I'm drawing on tracing paper over photos of, well - myself, friends and family, and any image I think will lead to an interesting finished drawing.


When drawing buildings an architecture I tend to keep it all line work and adjust the weight of the line to create greater depth of field, or to enhance the three dimensionality of the subject, but rarely if ever use heavy lines, and never blacks. 

Carrying out this exercise allows me the freedom to introduce thick and thin cursive lines and pretty much make use of a comic book style of inking. Though this in itself represents a very broad spectrum of rendering these days, and could be any number of drawing and/or inking styles.

Andy - unmasked!


OK - me again... 

You're right. We need more masks...

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?