Friday, December 6, 2013

Carousel Camels and Other Things

Here a few drawings from the day. Both pen and ink, created in a Banditapple unruled notebook with a Noodler’s Konrad flex pen and Noodler’s black ink, as well as Pitt brush pens for the solid blacks.

"Carousel Camel on the Loose" Copyright, Sara Light-Waller
This first drawing shows a Bactrian camel, decked out in carousel regalia, galloping through the desert. I’ve never drawn a camel before and thought it might be fun to dress him (or her) up for the occasion.

"Horse and Rider collage" Copyright, Sara Light-Waller
The next piece started out as a simple pen and ink drawing of a horse and rider, but after some happy accidents in my photo manipulation program — voila! I now have something much more interesting that looks collaged. I so love happy accidents!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I Got Rhythm

I find "The Russian Dance" from Tchaikovsky’s
Nutcracker ballet to be good music for inking

Whenever I take a break from inking, I forget how to do it. Well, that’s not exactly true. I don’t forget how to make marks on paper, I forget my inking rhythm. Tonight, I was inking a final piece for the Book I illustrations. A late addition that I wanted to add as a decoration for one of the title pages. I had already done the rough inks and started on the final inks for the drawing. But then I got a few commissions, and then I got a cold, and then it was Thanksgiving, etc. And so several weeks have passed since I last worked on this piece.

Now that I’m pretty much all better (coughing plays havoc with inking, as you can well imagine) I wanted to finish this drawing. So I inked up my favorite Noodler's flex pen and put on a CD of Tchaikovsky's ballet suites. But, I had forgotten how important music can be for good inking rhythm, especially when you’re a bit rusty as I am right now.

Generally classical music is good choice to ink to, but this was a new CD and I wasn’t familiar with the arrangements. The CD starts with selections from Swan Lake and this turned out to be a terrible choice for my inking tonight. I just couldn’t find my rhythm in the music, at all. When the CD entered into the Nutcracker suite all went better and I suddenly remembered what I was doing. Everything went along smoothly until the CD went into Sleeping Beauty. This last suite was a bit hit and miss for me once again.

As I look at the final piece now, nearly completed and sitting on my easel, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have just put on some Steely Dan to begin with. It’s a winner for me every time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Three Scenes from My Life with Percy: Done in a Paul Brown style

Yesterday, I challenged myself to do some drawings in a mid-20th century pen & ink style. Before starting, I took a close look at the works of Paul Brown (1893-1958). Brown was a respected children’s illustrator, well-known for his horse art. Brown’s line work is typical of the time. accurate but fast, with most of his lines being gestural, rather than decorative. The sparseness of his line work typifies the black & white illustration and advertising art of the 1930’s through 1960’s - very “modern” and streamlined.

from what I can tell, Brown preferred a brush to a pen for his ink drawings. This is clear to me from the variation of line widths and the types of marks he used in his drawings. His people tended to be pretty generic, but his horses and ponies showed great character. 
Horse illustration by Paul Brown
I decided to treat my drawings as if part of a children’s book called, “My Life with Percy.” All are done in brush and ink. True to the style, I left the people generic, and made my colorful horse the star of the drawings.Ultimately, I tinted them to make them look like they were from an old children's book.
My Life with Percy: Dad visits and brings a bag of apples.

My Life with Percy: Ayla takes Percy for a ride.

My Life with Percy: Percy and I go to a dressage clinic and are stars.
Having started the illustrations for "My Life with Percy," I suppose I should consider actually writing the book. Might be fun, at that. *chuckle*

Sunday, November 10, 2013

On Understanding the Works of Other Artists

A Thelwell cartoon I chose to study

My freehand copy, made with an eye towards understanding Thelwell's line work.

One of the most challenging things about drawing or painting in another artist's style, is finding the correct rhythm of the artwork. For example, I am very well-versed in pen & ink. However, every masterful artist does a pen & ink drawing a little bit differently. In order to study the work of another artist, one must try to understand how they placed their lines and other marks on the page. It's an interesting challenge, and greatly expanding of your skill set. By expanding your artistic viewpoint you can also enhance your artistic voice, making it more educated and facile. At least, that's the way it works for me. ;-)