The body is more or less complete now with lots of layering upto 5B to get the fabulous blacks in the darkest areas.ive now started on the cat's head with some initial application of H grade pencil and over the next few days i will be tentatively applying tone area by area building up the shape and form and attempting to capture the shine on the coat.
Friday, 26 March 2010
Still working on the body of the cat with more graphite layered in today.The darkest areas of the leopard are under the chin where i have used 2B,3B and 5B pencil to work up the tone to a lovely glossy black.The body is now starting to take shape and will gradually improve over the next day or two.I felt it important to start with the cat's body which is unusual for me because it was the darkest part of the drawing and helps in setting the appropriate tones for the cat's face.
Thursday, 25 March 2010
with this image you can see the real 'nuts and bolts' of the layering process required to get the lovely glossy blacks that i need for this cat.At this point i have layered with H grade pencils twice and further layers of HB and B have been applied and now the whiskers are starting to become clear.this will still need to be further layered with 2B and 3B and possibly even a smidgen of 5B to get the black that i want here.The eventual tone under the cats chin will be akin to that in the darkest parts of the ears.It is a very time consuming process and will take another full day in the studio to complete the cat's body.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Eventually this will be a black leopard but for the moment at least it resembles a panda!.Ive completed the ears which were just about the darkest area on the cat and so useful tonally wise to get them complete as soon as possible so that i can judge the tonal range over the rest of the image a little easier.As the cat is so dark the light whiskers will have to be in place before i start to add tone on the face and so ive added a layer of H grade graphite which will be the whisker tone and then indented the whiskers on top.
Monday, 22 March 2010
Well here we are again,back at the board and raring to go!.Ive spent 2 days gradually building up the tone in the background of this one using H,HB and B grade pencils layered several times over to create this abstract cloudy-ish toning.Happy with progress so far ive now started to add tone to the ears of the subject and will be going very dark here as the animal is a black leopard and therefore there will be lots of layering going on!.After my initial layer of H grade pencil had been laid down an eagerly awaited package arrived bearing some new pencils that ive been wanting to try out after having a brief scribble with some at a friends gallery.I used a blending stump and blended the original layer of H grade pencil before proceeding to over-layer with the H,HB and B grade pencils from my new batch.Normally i use derwent graphics exclusively but like many pencils they do occasionally(and i have to say it seems to be more now)have those annoying hard graphite bits in them that ruin any attempt at smooth layering.My new toys that i'm trying out are the grafwood range of pencils from caran d'ache which are,so far at least very smooth with no 'bits' whatsoever.they are also slightly wider with a wider lead strip than the derwents.i shall be using these for the initial layering upto 2B,softer than that i will continue to use my derwents and it'll be interesting to see how i get on.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Today has been a strange old day! I finally took the decision to abandon my zebra drawing which had not been going well for the last couple of day's.sometimes things just dont workout the way you would like and i wasn't happy with progress on the drawing or my attempts to rectify unsatisfactory areas of the piece and so it had to go.
On the plus side i went out to my local nature reserve for the day to lift my spirits and glean some inspiration and managed to get myself an exhibition booked in the visitor centre for my bird works starting in august and running thru til october!.
on returning home and checking my emails i was delighted to receive confirmation from dswf that my two entrys for the Wildlife Artist of the year had been short-listed as finalists and will be hanging in the Mall galleries at the end of may.The two images are Tigress and The chase
Monday, 15 March 2010
Still working on the stripes on the neck of the zebra.The stripes have been layered with H,HB,B,2B and 3B in order to get the lovely deep black that i wanted.Because the animal is backlit the majority of it is in shadow and so even the white areas are being layered with H and HB even B in some areas with hair details added in with a 2B pencil.I am not going to put too much detail into the neck area as i want to acheive a photographic look to the piece by concentrating on the detail in the face and ears and also by trying to depict the bright white backlit hairs around the ears and face of the animal.
Friday, 12 March 2010
Managed to complete one of the ears today and ive made good progress on the other.i always find ears very difficult to draw and am never entirely satisfied with the results and this one is no exception,very tricky trying to describe the fine inner hairs of the ear adequately.I got a little mentally tired with doing the second ear immediately after the first and so i swapped over to drawing in a few stripes with an H grade pencil just to let off steam and scribble a bit.
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Its been a while since i took on a largish piece and i'd forgotten just how time consuming the background toning can be.This one has had multiple layers of H,HB and B grade pencil and may well need more layering but ive got bored with that for now and moved onto the zebra itself.The zebra is backlit and therefore has areas of strong contrast between shadow and strongly lit areas which is proving quite tricky to pick out hairs catching the light.ive layered up the front of the zebra's mane with every grade of pencil from H thru to 3B and left the tip of the mane hairs lighter where the sun behind has lit them up,these i shall work up later,once ive worked out the best way to depict them effectively.Ive also started the base layering on the animals ears with a layer of H grade pencil.
Monday, 8 March 2010
Ive taken the brave step and posted the start of this new drawing here despite not knowing if it will work at all!.It's taken a few days of roughing out to get the head-on shot of a zebra foal in the right proportions for the task in hand.ive now traced my finished sketch onto the prepared paper and started layering around the subject.so far ive layered twice in H and HB grade pencils.It's been quite time consuming not just because it's a relatively large piece for me but i'm struggling with a strain in the muscles of my right forearm after shifting heavy planters ackwardly around my garden at the weekend and my arm keeps getting too tight.The idea here is to try and re-create the backlit nature of my reference photo which will require clean white edges to the ears and face showing the protruding white hairs backlit.ive tried scratching out in places and i'm hoping that they will stand out sufficiently once the background tone is in place although i dont want to go too dark.there are also other areas on this image that are going to give me a severe test such as the ears and the fine hairs within.i havnt quite worked out how i'm going to surmount the difficulties that i'll encounter during this piece i'm just hopeful that the solutions will come to me as i go,hence my initial comment at the outset of this post.
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
I'm calling this one finished,it is a little looser than my norm but i was happy to let it go that way,i think it captured the character of the youngster which was what i wanted from this one.This is quite a small piece and i already have an image in mind for my next drawing which will be a much larger image,so i'm away back to the studio now to work on the initial outline drawing.Hope you like this little giraffe,i'll be back in a few days with the first news on my new image!
Monday, 1 March 2010
A couple of days work on the giraffe itself now and it's starting to make sense.This drawing isnt as 'tight' as some of mine,it seems to want to be worked a little looser so i'm not going to fight it!.I have to admit to having slightly lost interest in this piece as ive got more exciting ideas taking up the room in my head but i shall complete it,ive never been one for leaving images half complete.The thing that appealed to me in the first place about this image was the rather whimsical way in which the giraffe was holding it's head and so i'm hopeful that despite my relative disinterest now that someone else will find it enchanting.