Drawing from imagination

doll and crow version 1

Pencil in sketchbook.

This is a new and challenging exercise for me.  Usually, I find an image to paint or draw, and then work out what meanings can be read from it.  To try something different, I tried to think how to express an idea through drawing.  This is entirely done from imagination with no visual reference (can you tell?!)  It is the first part of a series which I am working on, exploring my reactions to fairy tales – and the role of the ‘princess’ in particular.

Related to this, I’ve rediscovered the old Ladybird Books ‘Well Loved Tales’.  I’ve managed to find a couple of these books which seem very familiar from my childhood – ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘The Princess and the Pea’.  Looking at them again, some of the illustrations are very familiar indeed, whilst others I can’t remember at all.  Obviously as a child, I had favourite pictures which I looked at again and again.  I plan to use this somehow – but I’m not sure how yet!

Soft sculpture and drawing practice

Remember ‘id’?  Well, I made another one.

‘id’ II

But what do you do with them?  I decided to use them for drawing practice.  Because I do a lot of my work from photographs, I need more experience drawing from life.  I did the following small sketches (about A5 size) using the dolls as still life models.  I used dip pen and indian ink, which forces me to focus on making an image using lines only, therefore thinking how to use a range of marks to suggest areas of tone.  I also drew them fairly quickly, and directly with the pen.

soft doll in ink 1soft doll in ink 2soft doll in ink 3soft doll in ink 4

Mandy and Tiger – Etching and Aquatint

Mandy and Tiger etching

I’ve been longing to have a go with etching and aquatint for some time now, despite all the scary chemicals involved.  Last weekend, I attended a one day workshop with Alan Birch , who took us through the process of creating an etching with aquatint (you can find details of these processes here).  Whilst there are things I would change if I did it again, I am delighted with this print.  It looks like something out of a book, as if someone else actually made it.  I just love aquatint.

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

Drypoint etching.  This plate was produced by scratching into a thin sheet of aluminium, applying ink and then wiping it off again, leaving ink in the scratches.  I’ve tried to get areas of tone by using steel wool, sandpaper and a roulette tool, but I feel I need to find more varied ways of applying tone – particularly to small areas.  My options are to use fine lines (cross hatching etc.); or to try adding texture such as fine sand.  Any ideas from anyone who knows anything about drypoint would be very welcome!  I’d love to find something that resembles aquatint, but that doesn’t require the use of acid.