This week I’ve been very busy with the new Sketch challenge I’ve set myself. I don’t think I had quite realised exactly what I’d let myself in for, but I’m powering through! Saturday almost had me beat, but I did get there, even if it wasn’t quite what I wanted.
Each illustration takes at the very least 4-5 hours to do and at the most; a full day for an A4 sized drawing, anything bigger, with as much detail can take 2-3 days total. So I’ve tried to keep to ideas that wont take longer than a day at the very most. Plus, most of the time, I need to do a bit of research for each drawing, whether it is just looking up animal or plant photos to get the details correct, or to find out a bit of info on what they eat, how they live etc, which can be very interesting!
If you haven’t been following on facebook, tumblr, instagram or pinterest, then here’s the drawings so far, plus a bit of info on how I create the illustrations.
DAY 1. Monday 7th: Bicycles
In honour of the Tour De France I decided the first illustration would be bicycles!
The first pencil sketch is one of the longest parts of the illustrations. Making sure the shapes, dimensions and overall look is what I want.
Next I add the fine line pen to the sketch, which usually doesn’t take as long depending on how much detail I added previously.
I wasnt 100% sure about all three bikes being so finely detailed, so I then painted them all to achieve a different look so I could choose which ones I prefer.
Next stage is scanning all the paintings and drawings into my iMac and adapting on Adobe Illustrator. I couldn’t decide for a while what to add in the background, and then decided on geometric textures to add some colour.
Here it is finished on my iMac, recoloured.
DAY 2. Tuesday 8th: Mermaid
Day two is a new children’s print, a beautiful mermaid! I was inspired to draw a mermaid from seeing a few pop up here and there while researching trends, plus I loved The little mermaid film as a child, and apparently there is a new one coming out! We also had some friends and my God daughters to stay and they told me how much their little girl loves mermaids at the moment…and so how could I not?
Here’s the first pencil sketch of the mermaid. This took quite a while due to all the detail.
Here’s the first stage of the pen being added
And here’s the fine line pen completed, with pencil rubbed away.
Next she was scanned in and adapted on Adobe Illustrator. Choosing colours can be tricky, but I usually just go with what I like to start with, then I may change at a later date, or colours may need to be tweaked once actually printed out. I have colour charts for my printer, so I most often pick from them so as to get the colours printing out how I like.
DAY 3. Wednesday 9th: Apatosaurus.
I thought I should finally do something that is more geared towards boys. But, now it’s finished, I would still say it is a unisex print (but that’s just me maybe).
Here’s the pencil sketch
I then painted with quink ink over the top to achieve some more textured marks.
Then I added the pen on top of the ink so there is a mix of the 2 types of mark-making.
After scanning the sketch in, I then add colour and reposition the elements a little.
I have already mentioned this on facebook….. but I learnt something new; did you know Apatosaurus is actually the proper name for a Brontosaurus? Brontosaurus didn’t actually ever exist. To find out more, see this link to the site I used for research.
DAY 4. Thursday 10th: Austin Ten car
This one was inspired by my Dad’s little old cars. He has always had Austin Ten cars as long as I can remember.
Here you can see my very intial pencil sketch and then the more worked into pencil sketch underneath.
Here’s where i’ve added the pen and rubbed out the pencil
I then wanted to add some texture/pattern so I painted the car from scratch, plus some stripes to go in the background.
I added all the different elements together on the iMac and re-coloured, then I erased some of the black lines to allow some more of the colours and texture to show through. For those ‘techies’ out there, I usually use the ‘trace’ tool on Illustrator.
DAY 5. Friday 11th: Dalmatian dog
Day 5 was a dog day, I couldn’t decide which type of breed to go for, then settled on a dalmatian as they are one of my favourites.
I sketched out the shape and dots in pencil, I kept it quite detailed at this stage because I wanted to get the shape right before I started with the pen on top.
Pen added, and here’s a little video of me adding the pen (speeded up).
I purposely added a tennis ball as I really wanted to use a bright yellow as the highlight.
DAY 6. Saturday 12th: Ship
I think it’s fair to say I struggled day 6 with the time to complete it. I managed to get the pencil bit done, then when it came to adding the pen, it was very rushed as we were trying to frantically get ready for a birthday party, fancy dress, where we had to find last minute costumes! But anyway, I did get it done for the challenge, but I’m not happy with it, so I think I’ll need to revisit it.
Here’s the pencil sketch and my vintage book of ships for inspiration!
Day 7: Sunday 13th. Seasonal vegetables.
I took a different approach to this December vegetable harvest illustration.
Instead of pencilling out the shapes, I went straight onto water-colour paper with inks and painted the winter veggies. Here’s the first stages.
I would say you normally have to paint in layers, especially with water colour or inks. I’ll create the pale base first, and then add the darker layers once it’s dry, I usually add about 3 to 4 layers depending on the amount of detail I want.
When this one was scanned in, as it is painted, after converting it to illustrator program, to achieve a limited palette, it then looses some detail but I like the end effect.
That’s it for week 1 of the challenge. I’ll update this week’s drawings after weekend, once the challenge is over (last day is Sunday), or if you can’t wait until then, come over to Facebook to say hello and see some of the illustrations I’ve already posted on there.
I’ll also be selling these prints at half the normal prices for a couple of weeks after the challenge is finished. A4 prints are normally £18.00, and so will be £9.00 and A3 are normally £28, so they will be £14. All printed onto high quality archival paper. Prints can also be cut to size – ie A4 to 8 x 10″ if you already have a frame you’d like to use.
Anyway, that’s it for now, see you soon!