It’s always satisfying, not only to see a project completed, but to celebrate the progression of an idea – from initial spark through to finished work. And in this case I’m celebrating the completion of the artwork
I once bought the perfect artist’s sketch book – with a black leather-look cover and wonderful thick, acid-free pages. But when I unwrapped it and set it carefully on my art desk it would not work. Every time I opened the book blank pages stared at me – expressionless and fixedly white – until I closed its cover and placed it neatly on my shelf. There it observed life for a year or two, while I sketched happily on any other paper. Only when its spell had faded somewhat, did I open it again. Even then, I had to coax it into action by beginning journal style. On the first blank page, I washi-taped a smudged 2b thumbnail sketch (something I’d prepared earlier) on a ripped-edge scrap of lined foolscap. On the second blank page I taped a post-it note drawing of a smiling face. By the third page my drawings had escaped the additional scraps and sticky-notes – spreading outwards over the pages of that sketch book. Perhaps the hurdle was my conditioned love of …
I am Bird Lady – with camouflage of Tawny Frogmouth, and stride of a Cockatoo. Habitat range? Ever outwards from the nest. Flightless I walk. Eyes watchful as a Currawong, I stand. I wait. Snap nature, pattern, texture, life. Observe, sketch, write -share moments of illustrated life in words and pictures. This is my superpower. The extraordinary in my everyday. Today, bird lady. Next week – perhaps – cat lady. Nature, and human interaction with it, can be a marvellous source of character inspiration. ©Annmarie Scott 2017 This post was written and illustrated in response to The Daily Post prompt Superpower
An illustrator’s tiny tale in words and pictures – rough drawings in pencil, pen and ink.
So why draw birds, or other back yard wildlife you may encounter? This kind of ‘life’ sketching is an exercise in observation – getting to know an unfamiliar subject. It’s a challenge – like the changing light. And like the wind blowing your paper, birds and wildlife move – constantly adjusting your point of view. This kind of drawing requires an amount of simplification – a kind of spontaneous editing of lines before the pen or pencil contacts the page. And the more you practice sketching your subject, the more intuitive simplification becomes. From the outset, you are there to observe – to filter visual information, keeping the important bits because you haven’t time for the rest – to see your subject as a series of shapes and quick lines. And perhaps…if you’re lucky, you may capture a little of it’s essence on paper. ©Annmarie Scott 2016
Often days, I like to sketch with a brush and ink – I’ll repeat the same idea a number of times with a face – to get the expression I’m after. An adjustment to a single brush stroke makes a difference. Below, you’ll see a rough version of one of my cloud girls. The round raindrops are incomplete and the face – mouth, nostrils need some work. ©Annmarie Scott
It began in a coffee shop with a flat white and a thumbnail sketch in a recycled milk carton notebook. She appeared as a vignette.
Here’s a page from my sketch book – a somewhat stylised girl with a watering can. I was playing with a short series of illustrations that required a child actively engaged in a garden. And so, this week – a few questions to think about when character sketching for an illustration. Firstly, what makes a character? Secondly, why draw your character from different points of view? Is it the same character each time? And if so, what makes it the same character? ©Annmarie Scott, 2016 Related reading – Previous Sketch Book Friday Post
What is so alluring about tiny things? I’ve found myself repeatedly making them, and drawing them – literally, as thumbnail sketches. But why?
What’s unique about this ink drawing, is that it’s been done with a twig from the ground under the nesting tree.