My Nuts…!

I’m still getting to grips with Procreate, so when ever I’m not doing client work I try and learn something new by taking part in Skillshare classes.

The latest was ‘Illustrating in Procreate: Draw a fox!’ by Mel Armstrong.

Mel walks the viewer through her digital painting process for creating a stylised fox character in Procreate.

Having recently drawn some foxes for another project I improvised on the subject matter. I like to regularly walk around the local in-a-city nature reserve and last autumn stopped to watch a pair of squabbling squirrels. They seemed to be arguing over a pile of fallen acorns. The comical exchange had me giggling to myself most of the day. And was the inspiration behind this cheeky little character.

I’m new to using so much texture so this class took me somewhat out of my comfort zone. However, it was enormous fun experimenting with the different brushes and I learned some great new tips and tricks for using the program too. All in all a fab class and a lovely introduction to using texture. 

Words and Pictures

I took a painting Skillshare class over the weekend. Needed a break from the screen. – Illustrated Words & Monograms: Paint and Print Techniques (for Wall Art and Greetings Cards), by Illustrator Claire Picard.

Using a variety of methods, the brief was to illustrate words and letters with paint and liquid mask practises.

In the first task I used liquid mask to block out the word “j’adore”, then painted a mixed watercolour wash over the top. Adding hand painted hearts once the wash was dry. Finishing off with a small splatter of paint made with a toothbrush.

Filling the page with colour was a lot of fun. Although I did struggle with what to layer on top of the background and didn’t really take any risks. On my next attempt, I will experiment more. I lack somewhat in confidence when it comes to watercolour washes and was so pleased with how this turned out, I didn’t want to ruin it by overpainting.

I need to get over my fear of florals, so decided to use this assignment as practice. I resisted the temptation to view flower photo references and started by just painting flower shapes. Then I added detail with a black Micron fine liner.  

I wasn’t as happy with the results of this piece. I didn’t spend enough time thinking about what flower shapes would work well inside the letters or how they should be placed. It is very rudimental, to say the least. I will try again with just one big letter. Think I tried to run before I could walk with painting a whole word. The curse of being dyslexic…. my brain runs away with an idea that my physical self has no experience with and can’t keep up. 

Feel the fear and do it anyway….. Is how I felt doing this class project. Abstract, although a style I like, is something I’ve never tried before and I usually avoid florals. Especially loose expressive designs. I’ve kept my distance from such designs on account of not knowing where to start.

Claire’s class was the perfect introduction. And although my results are a little haphazard and very rough, (don’t think I’ve ever drawn so many flowers on one page), I’m totally inspired.

Neighbourhood Cats

I have been off the creative grid for a couple of weeks whilst my French cousin has been in the UK. We have had a lovely time visiting local landmarks and attractions and spending time with family. 

Feeling rather uninspired I decided to take a Skillshare class. Most of my spare time has been spent playing around with watercolours lately and I wanted to try something new digitally.  

Illustration in Photoshop: ‘Professional work from your sketches’, by licensed artist and illustrator Anne Bollman was my lesson of choice. Ann asks the class to draw their pet using various photoshop practises.

Until this class I have been using the photoshop pen tool to redraw the solid shapes in my illustrations, following the lines of my scanned sketches as a guide. However I have always been a little unsatisfied with the results. Preferring a more hand drawn look instead, but unable to recreate it. 

Ann demonstrates a technique of drawing shapes with a brush tool, then selecting outside your line with the magic wand, inverting the selection and then adding a solid colour fill. Producing a hand drawn shape. And the results feel much more like how one would draw on paper. 

My cat Boo

One evening last winter there was a terrible storm. Hail and sleet battered the window frames and howling winds tore down the garden fence. My son and I were curled up on the sofa under thick blankets watching a movie, when we heard a meow at the front door. Our cat Bruce had gone missing 3 years previous and for a split second, we both thought he was back. 

What met us at the door was actually a sopping wet, bedraggled black and white kitty. And she has been here ever since. Her name is Boo, on account of her surprise arrival. 

Having enjoyed using this new approach so much I couldn’t stop at just one moggy. So I would like to introduce you to my neighbourhood cats. Over the years we have given them all nick names, depicting their individual character traits.