Illustration Friday: Aquatic

An unfinished piece this week, but better unfinished that absolutely naff all (as is usually the case)

I’ve admired the work of Loish (aka Lois van Baarle) for months now and, infuriated at my ongoing inability to draw the female face, wanted to use this piece to learn from her. I worked from this tutorial here – as will be blazingly obvious once you compare the faces. I’ve no intention of aping Loish’s style – not least because you can’t out-Sparth Sparth, you can’t out-McQue Ian McQue and you certainly can’t out-Loish Loish. But her understanding of what works, particularly the way she captures femininity with such simplicity and depicts women that feel real, a million miles away from the embarrassingly juvenile sex objects of much contemporary digital art, is hugely inspiring and will hopefully push my work in its own direction. A few pages of sketchbook study copies of her face drawings will surely do me right.

One of the many things to also admire about her work is the use of colour.  So, what with me being usually so timid in colour choice, I shoved myself out of the usual comfort zone and used this photo of coral as an initial palette source, using the dropper to source key colours from the coral (pink and blue) plus the sea itself. They’re not colours I would have picked otherwise, but turned out really nicely – I love how the light blue/green skin colour works against the hot pink.

I think the below could do with lots more work – it doesn’t feel finished, especially the way the coral/anemone has blended colour graduations while the rest of the picture is flat colours, and it’s embarrassingly amateur compared to the richness and character of Loish’s work. But it’s already taught me a shedload and besides, tomorrow is a new IF topic day. Word to the wise – you can buy The Art of Loish here. Wonderful stuff.

Digital, 17 November