Sophie in Cards

In the thursday themed session this week, I continues on with the card project that I mentioned in the previous post. Things were made slightly more difficult by the fact that I had mis-printed my templates, and only had nine “full size” cards (for the displays like the one below I adjust the sizes so they are identical), so tried compacting several onto one card at the beginning. Nonetheless, It was an interesting experience to do lots of small pictures again.

One problem I found this time was my speed of drawing – on the longer, 40 minute pose I all but ran out of things to do – the last five pictures were all done during the same post. Whether this is because I am getting better, or just faster, I don’t know, but I do know that I am not happy with any of the faces that I drew – for some reason I find it very difficult to capture Sophie’s likeness, and don’t think I ever have yet.

November Project: Pack of Cards

Card Template

So, November has rolled around and that means that I have a new project to start! After a bit of flip-flopping over what to do, I’ve settled on making a pack of cards! It’s something that I have been thinking about for a while, since I started using indesign to make printable templates. The other direct idea was making bookmarks, which is still on the table as a possibility, but isn’t really a big enough project.

So, playing cards. Assuming I am going to do the whole pack, I can see doing a couple of things; Either having one model per suit, or one model per card value. At the moment, I plan to do the latter, but things can always change over the course of the month. This means that there is a bit more variation, as I can fit many more models in.

I started drawing on Wednesday this week, with Johanna modelling. I have in mind for Johanna to be the value #1, as she was one of the very first models I ever drew, way back at White Night 2010, but at this moment I haven’t marked the suits or numbers on. I actually managed to get 13 pictures drawn in one session, because of the size of the drawing I was doing. Rather than adding them all separately to the gallery, I have collated them into one image, seen below.

It was an interesting experience. Not only did I have to constrain myself to the predefined spaces (which I discovered in the past is pretty hard) but I’ve never actually drawn models on this small a scale before – it’s surprisingly different, but an interesting challenge. It was also nice to have time to move around; I drew three separate pictures for the 40 minute pose, which was interesting (This brings to mind another project idea of drawing the same multi-week pose from lots of different angles).

So, the project is off to a start, and although I have a lot of work (and decisions) ahead of me, I am greatly looking forwards to it!

Better iOS gallery interface

I’ve just updated the gallery a little; when browsing on iOS devices, the interface should be a lot easier to use – the normal interface never worked very well, and required multiple clicks to do things like open albums.

There is a little loss of functionality, but it should be much easier to browse from phones and iPads. There is a button at the bottom to switch to the normal site, if you should so desire.

Apparently, the theme also works with Android devices, but until I borrow Charlotte’s phone to test I am leaving that disabled.

Building a Colour Chart

One of the first things that I did when getting my set of drawing inks, was to make a colour chart. Although each ink comes with a sample picture, I felt that this might not reflect the ink as I actually use it, so made a chart showing all of the colours, seen in this post, above. To make the chart, and the newer one I talk about in a minute, I made a template in indesign and printed them on watercolour paper, for a good white base that would reflect the drawing papers I would normally be using.

This chart, however, was flawed in two ways; For a start, when I did this I did not understand the effect of having a high loading of ink on the brush – it effectively means the layers of ink are much thicker, and so much deeper. This is why the reds and oranges all ended up looking pretty much the same, and the yellow went a very strange colour. The second flaw is in relation to how I have since started using the inks – by diluting them down. This chart only shows full density of ink loads.

The old Dilutions Chart

I had a small interest in the very beginning of my ink endeavours about the possibility of drawing with diluted ink, so much so that I actually did make a dilutions chart at the time, but only for three of the colours (and out of them, only black I can remember explicitly). So, a new chart was in order.

The result that I came up with, is the chart below. It contains every ink that I own except the gold (which does not dilute well) from a range of pure ink to 1/64 dilution. The pure ink box for each colour is split into examples of a heavily loaded layer (top) and a light brushing layer (bottom). In addition to all the coloured inks, the black indian ink has a dilution factor down to 1/1024 – this is because of the extreme density of the ink, and I have found myself practically using 1/256 so far.

I am pretty proud of this chart, and feel it was well worth the multiple hours that it took to construct. It shall be useful in the future, I am sure!

White Night Brighton, 2011

On October 29th, there was the annual festival of white night in Brighton. This is a yearly event on the night that the clocks go back, and there are many free art installations, activities, and special events spread around the Brighton “Lanes”. This event holds a special place in my heart, as it is this event last year that I first started drawing – and had great fun, despite taking an extra five months to start it consistently.

This year, Draw (the new name for the “Brighton Life Drawing Sessions”) ran a bigger session than last year, and took over the inside of St. Pauls church on West street, with public admittance from 20:00 to 4:00 am. I was part of the volunteer team that helped set up, and we all turned up four hours before the expected start to set up the modelling areas, and generally prepare for the onslaught. Luckily, there was a wonderful quantity of food provided by one of the volunteers, Keith, and there was enough time left over at the end of setting up for us all to have a banquet before the models needed to get into costume for the rest of the evening.

The evening was a great success – and in total around 600 people came to draw – at times it got very busy in the church and there was very nearly standing room only! I didn’t get as much drawing in as I should have – there was a lot of joy for me in just being in the atmosphere, chatting to people both out in the main area and in the back areas with the other volunteers. What drawing I did get done, however, was remarkably productive – and I was quite happy with the results. They can all be seen here, but I will talk about a couple of my favourites in this post.

After a set of five minute poses, which included one I liked of Lucy, I drew a slightly longer 15-20 minute post of Sofia. Now, I like drawing Sofia (our previous drawings can be seen here), and get on very well with her, but am frustrated by the fact that I find capturing her likeness pretty difficult. But the picture I did here I am extremely proud of – and is probably my best picture to date of her:

After drawing Sofia, I stopped for a chat-and-tea break, and started chatting to Michelle

Charlotte and Michelle

in the dressing room – this was to be her first time modelling, and I love chatting to new people doing anything, and love to draw people who I haven’t drawn before! I started by drawing a couple of five minute poses, then came back to draw a medium length pose of both Michelle and Charlotte. I wasn’t entirely certain on the post length for this one, so rushed on Charlotte a bit – but am generally happy.

After this, I went to draw a 15 minute of Emma, a couple of shorter ones of Charlotte, and then drew a medium length picture of another new (or just not drawn by me before) model – Amy.

After another break, it was about 3:15am and the drawing was still going on strong, despite everyone starting to feel pretty tired. I took the opportunity to draw Otto, a model I had heard of but not drawn before – a couple of weeks previously, he had apparently been doing headstands for the short poses! We didn’t quite get that, but he did do some yoga poses – including the legs-over-backwards one shown on the far left of the inset picture. It’s interesting how you get used to drawing similar poses and body structure – I had a moment frozen as I realised that I didn’t ‘know’ how to draw this pose. I definitely look forwards to drawing Otto again.

After this, there was a final, 20 minute pose which all the remaining models took part in. After my successful one of Lucy earlier, I decided to dedicate the time to drawing her again – quite apart from anything else, I liked the composition of my view and especially liked the striped tights. I’m reasonably happy with the results, especially given the mental state I was in at the time – I wonder if the hand is a little small, something that I do often, but I don’t generally have any complaints.

This was theoretically the end of the evening – and everyone started packing up. I finished colouring in the black of Lucy’s top for a minute, but then managed to get an extra, sneaky, draw in – Lucy, Emma and Frankie all lay down on the cushions for warmth and rest, and chatted for about five minutes. They were all still enough that I managed to get a group sketch that I am also pretty proud of – especially as they dispersed about the moment that I finished drawing Frankie. The faces aren’t my best, but I think I captured the moment pretty well, especially the motion of Emma’s chatting.

In summary, it was an extremely wonderful, productive evening, and I was proud to be a part of the setting up and organisation, even if my roles were only minor. I very much look forward to the next big Draw event!

Sparse Posting, Already!

So, it seems that most of a month has slipped by and there has been no updates, at least to the main blog page – the gallery has been updated almost every week with my new pictures, I just haven’t had any time to talk about them.

This month has been a very busy one, art-wise – my circus book project was a great success, and encompassed learning a good deal about calligraphy, and I started using a new technique of diluted inks. I still plan to talk about these activities at some point, but for now I think I’ll call posting bankruptcy and try to keep current, starting with a post about saturdays white night event.

Charlotte has been similarly sparse, but for various reasons she hasn’t done much drawing this month. She has been working on a couple of other things, which I hope she shall decide to talk about soon!