Sep 282017

I’ve been working on a picture based on several impressions I took back from Carrick Roads, the estuary of the river Fal in Cornwall.

It’s a lovely place; a long drowned river valley of distinctive round hills, precipitous patchwork fields studded with livestock and seamed with hedgerows, hanging above tidal flats that alternate between salt water and mud, beloved of waterfowl and seafarers.

Below is the sketch – I want to add more detail and maybe make it into a lino-cut.

 Posted by at 19:12
Jul 202017

pencil sketch of King Charles 1 after van DykeNo, it’s no typo, I’m making an ilustration of Charles the first and my source is a picture “after van Dyke” so my sketch is “after after van Dyke”. You should be able to find the original easily if you google it. Not having the chap available to pose for me I have to resort to online referencing. In the past I would have gone to books or even the National Portrait Gallery for the necessary information. Google certainly speeds things up, but it has its drawbacks as I find myself increasingly stuck to my chair. On the other hand it opens up a whole new landscape of paths to wander as you research your subject. Try not to loose yourself.

This sketch is for an information page for the Battlefields Trust. It’s a little rough because the line work is intended to become the shadow in a colour version, so there was no point in doing a final finishing on the pencil sketch as I have a time pressure to complete the work. It’s 4B pencil on watercolour paper with some moderate grain so that it retains the feeling of an illustration that has been drawn. I’ve now scanned it into Photoshop. The next step is to put the colours in using Photoshop. There is a mode called Multiply in the layers panel which has the effect of painting from underneath the pencil lines.

This saves time and possible disasterous mistakes such as accidentally knocking your brush cleaning water over the entire picture and having to start again from scratch. Yes, that really does happen. The other one is someone (not you), putting their coffee cup down on a handy piece of paper to prevent damage to the table, only to say, “Oh, sorry, I didn’t realise that was one of your pictures!”…

You can tell I’m still scarred.

 Posted by at 08:59
Jun 302017

In between my many other tasks I’ve been working on a 12 page A5 booklet for the Falmouth branch of the Rotary Club for the past few monthspicture of baby saying think recycle. This has been a voluntary project and has meant many hours of unpaid work but I think it’s a good idea. Falmouth Rotary club went to Uganda and with the help of local Ugandan Rotary clubs did a lot of research into how local councils might organise the disposal and recycling of solid waste more effectively.

One of the results was a “Waste Sensitisation Booklet”, written as a resource for people such as health visitors in Uganda to change ideas about waste and recycling. I was asked to illustrate it and it has also been quite a lot of fun to produce – although I wasn’t expecting to have to do the layout as well as the illustrations. All the work was done using the program Illustrator, so that at least some elements could be reproduced, resized and recycled to speed up the process.Hen with chicks sitting on rubbish

I had to be careful to use images that were appropriate to Uganda and spent time researching for instance, just what kind of chickens were commonly kept by the people there, and the cut and colour of a nurse’s uniform. I also had to get to grips with some of the issues involved in the management of waste as several of the illustrations were to show processes, such as how to make charcol briquettes out of  vegetable waste, and how to construct a compost heap.

picture of recycling skips and a man depositing vegetable waste

Although it is for a good cause and nice to have more work for my portfolio, I have had to think about whether I should allow the Rotary Club to have the copyright for the pictures. In the end I think that the number of hours I have spent working on the booklet amounts to a very large donation and I would rather keep control of my pictures.

But I did think that perhaps it might be a good idea if there was a picture library where larger charitable organisations could download clip art such as this for a small fee and the illustrators could be paid or perhaps nominate their fees to go to a charity of their choice.


 Posted by at 16:54