This time a year ago, I was mostly thinking about The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Tiger Who Came To Tea, the appearance of a bright glowing ball of light in the sky on the way to work, and being bloody tired due to a shit night's sleep courtesy of the offspring. Things haven't changed much…
Yes! I'm really pleased to get this drawn, since it was pretty vivid in my head since a rough sketch this weekend and I wasn't sure I could actually draw the bounder. Turns out I could! It's worth clicking here to see it that much larger over at Flickr for a bit more drama. Drawn using Mischief, then Painter, it's my entry for this week's Illustration Friday – 'ruckus' – heavily inspired by the title track of Shellac's excellent Dude Incredible:
Obviously it's rough as allmighty hell and there's loads more I'd love to do to it before declaring it done, but there's only so many minutes in the day. Could make the basis for a more finished work in the future, perhaps?
Three double-pages for this week last year, the highlight being the sketches of a hand dissection (blogged at the time here). Then some more Edinburgh landmark drawings with some new pens and a couple of frankly-blah watercolours.
A quick sketch from this evening for IF, a day-late tribute to Mums everywhere and the strength it takes to raise a kid. Face of the older kid is probably too manic for the rest of the picture, but it's gone 10pm and I'll be up at 5:25am tomorrow so it'll just have to stay. Drawn using the really quite snazzy app Mischief, a treat with a graphics tablet.
Me again! Not a peep for months, now I don't bloody shut up? Well, if I'm going to paying for this here blog on a monthly basis (not to mention that incredibly desirable domain name) I may as well use the bounder. In an attempt to tie myself towards something vaguely approaching regular posts, I've hijacked the social media idea of #FlashbackFriday for my own nefarious needs.
Every Friday (until I forget – I give it a week) I'll look back through my sketchbook for that week a year ago and post anything I think worth sticking online to the utter indifference of humanity. As I blogged almost a year ago I've committed myself to at least 15 minutes of drawing/painting every day since the start of 2014. 15 minutes sounds like sweet chuff all, but when you're working compressed day job hours 3 days a week and stay-at-home-dadding 2 days a week, spare time and – crucially – energy and inspiration to draw can be hard to find, so such a commitment has made a big difference in getting at least a sliver of artistic activity into (almost) every day. And while there's no intention to share or publish these sketchbooks as they are, I thought it'd be nice to show what was going on a year back at any given time. Though of course I'm bound to be incredibly selective about what I do and don't release into the wild from between those board covers – daily sketchbooks can cross the line into diaries at times…
This time last year? The weather must've been a damn sight better than it's been this week, because I was out on Calton Hill sketching away at lunchtime, and daffodils were available from the local newsagent for sketching/painting purposes. Next week, perhaps.
Arrrgh! Another two month break between monthly life drawing sessions – this time, it was all the fault of a dreadful lurgee, afflicting myself and the wife the weekend I'd planned to go. Still, better late than never, I rumbled across the Forth on a ferociously windy Sunday, Haymarket-bound.
As usual, it was the 3 hour untutored session run by Jill at Look & Draw, ideally situated in a large open space in the basement of Wasps Dalry (a supremely confusing building once inside, like an Escheresque warren, as usual I wistfully daydreamed of an alternate universe where I have a studio there).
Kicking off with 2 minute poses, ignited by music (see below), I damn near threw myself at the easel, XL charcoal in hand. The joy of working large (A1 paper) and quickly is how physical it makes the act of drawing. Perhaps unconsciously aping the superbly energetic poses, I gripped the board, slashed at the paper with charcoal, legs taut. I'm sure this is reflected in these drawings, as I rushed to try and capture the figure in front of me.
The model was one of the best I've seen there, clearly aware of what a joy a good extreme pose can be to work from, especially when you're only holding it for 120 seconds (though even that must have felt like an eternity for some of those poses). As a result, I produced some of my best short-pose work in quite a while, another step or two on the long long path to discovering my inner Yan.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the quality of these poses, the model is an artist herself (here she is) and runs the All The Young Nudes life drawing sessions at Cabaret Voltaire during the week. I've heard good things about these sessions (the Glasgow sessions were featured in this month's ImagineFX) and I'd love to go along despite probably being the oldest sod there, but Bagl's bathtime & bedtime still take priority for all my evenings. I even sometimes imagine that my years – nay, decades – of life drawing would make me a good model, at least in terms of poses… then I catch sight of myself in the mirror. Best not, eh?
The poses got a bit longer – 5 mins – so I switched to ink on A3 paper. Flawed, but I kinda like how they turned out. Worth exploring further next time?
10 minutes next, so I broke out the oil paints with varying levels of success. Each one of these could've done with a lot more time, but there's still things to like – particularly this last one, which has a certain energy to it even if the proportions fall apart if you study it long enough.
For the longest pose I stuck with the oil paints but worked on a small (less than A4) box canvas. In retrospect, a whopping mistake. I'd rather not post the result, but figure I should admit my errors as well as whoop my successes. The core problem was that I was working so damn small… and I still didn't use the entirety of the canvas, leaving space on the left and bottom. When will I learn that painting a full figure at such a small size with a certain level of detail always goes to pot? When? In striking contrast to those first drawings, I worked timidly, holding the canvas in one hand and barely moving. Never again!
As usual, all of the (non-binned) artwork from the session is up on my Flickr page.
Soundtrack? Those first poses were driven by excellent poses and Torche's exhilarating new album, Restarter. Worked a goddamn treat.
Next up, Viet Cong's debut, particularly the thunderous climax of Death, one of the tracks of 2015 already.
Last of all, for that last painting, one of the albums of last year, YOB's immense Clearing The Path To Ascend. If the artwork had managed to capture even a nanofraction of the power and energy present in the music, it would've been far better, though it might've left me with a shredded canvas.
For anyone who missed the news on Twitter, Facebook or meatspace, I've been shortlisted for the Kelpies Design & Illustration Prize! The what now? It's basically a competition run by Floris Books, an Edinburgh-based publisher, for artists/designers/wannabes (that'll be me then) to have a shot at designing a front cover for a book, following a brief provided by said publisher. So I had a go (but kept quiet about it to all but the Wife, lest I make a complete arse of the thing) and my design's been shortlisted. And here it is! Woo!
Now, I've got looooooads to tell you all about the process I went through in producing an entry myself, but that's for another, much longer and copiously illustrated post. In the meantime, there's a public vote aspect to this prize – votes won't decide the eventual winner (they've got their own judges for that) but there's still £50 for the most popular runner-up, and goodness knows I could do with a new pair of shoes. So, should you fancy exercising your democratic right, go to this voting site and click on… well, click on whichever design you like the most! If it's not mine, that's okay, I'll never know…
Anyway, the results will be announced on 10 April, so a while to go yet, but there's no time like the present. Vote! Vote! Vote!