Friday, 26 May 2017

2015 ACEOs

 Well it’s been a good long while since I blogged again (September 2015 to be specific) but this is good news for you the reader because it means I have the whole of 2016 to cover and already a fair amount from 2017 Yay :D Can I get a yay?!

Alrighty then. This is the last post I need to make regarding the work I created in 2015 about my beloved ACEOs. I think I improved quite a bit in miniature work once again this year and created an interesting variety. I’ll try and keep this fairly short since there are a lot of images but will show you two that I had the presence of mind to capture in progress to show my process alongside all the finals. Just skip the written descriptions and look at the pictures there if it suits you better!
Starting with the animal crew then and horizontal 2.5 x 3.5” pieces as shown below.
As you can see, it’s mostly cats and foxes. No surprise there!

Below is one of my tigers (not in the above montage) shown in stages with the process I used written out underneath.


I like this one because I didn’t over-work it which is something I know I have a tendency to do.
Stage one on the left is my pencil drawing. I like to use a col-erase grey pencil for this stage because it’s less messy than a regular graphite pencil, I try and keep the work light and linear and plot all the essential points. I made hollow shapes for where I wanted the darker patches of the tiger fur to be, this isn’t something I always do but it is a technique that works well. This stage takes me about an hour, sometimes less if my spatial eye is tuned in and sometimes more if I am having a bad sketching day.  

I knew the background for this piece was going to be ‘out of focus’ or rather just a blend of soft colours so a few little squiggles were enough to remind me of that fact.

Stage two in the middle is where I start adding colour and I like to use markers to do this because, especially on such a small piece, they cover a lot quickly. At this point I try to block the thicker slots and/or shapes of colour plus leave white or indicate where shadow and light might be. This stage is still quite loose and the focus is tone and colour not detail true shadow or highlights. I usually find this the fastest stage.

Stage three on the right is by far the one that takes me the longest. Now I have laid out the linear shape, ideas for tones and shadows and where patterns might be I have to go in and hone those details. For this I like to use coloured pencils and sometimes fine liner pens depending on the piece. For white my favourite go-to is Sakura white gel pen because it sits on top of the other mediums and therefore can be added last.

The pencil work here is achieved by following the guides I have set out in terms of colour and shape, repeating them in a different medium and attempting to add texture to the fur and the soft sand. So it’s a mark-making and sharpening of the image stage which requires some very sharp pencils and a lot of patience in making and repeating line after line for fur or softly swirling the colour for the soft rocks and shouting at my pencil sharpener. After that I add the whiskers :P White does go on last but since I use a gel pen I often find it needs a little refining with a pencil or sharper point once it is laid down.

So now that I have explained that here are the vertical animal/realism pieces I created in 2015:
Of course I didn’t stray away from fantasy, how could I?

Horizontals first again and yes there is a wee fox in this lot but it was a fox used in the fabulous fictional children’s story ‘Emma Jean Finds A Friend.’

The only other two notable pieces with stories behind them beyond the obvious in the above selection might be -top left- which was drawn from a shot in Jan Svankmejer’s stop-motion version of Alice. (If you have read a lot of this blog you will know I spoke extensively about that film in my BA dissertation and the story of Alice does have a special place in my heart.) On the right of that in the top row is a Cheshire ‘Panda,’ and Panda is one of my original characters who is bonkers. I’ll refrain from describing her in detail again but will say I love playing dress up with her crazy persona when the challenge suits.

Vertical fantasy pieces next and the other image showing process.

I’ll start with the process one since I don’t need to explain much. With this one I did two layers of block colouring before moving on to the finer detailing.

The only thing I really need to explain here is how this came about! I was taking part in a challenge where the theme was ‘picnic time’ and I wondered what a picnic might look for my vampiric character. This is what I saw. I also feel the need to point out his feet, they are purposefully curled up so that his soles don’t touch the floor. I’m wondering if I should have changed this to make a better image but another odd quirk of this character is that he dislikes ‘things’ touching his feet, including the blanket on floor or shoes… drawing them curled in this way then made sense while I was thinking about the character. Whether or not it adds or takes away from the quirky picnic is then up to you the viewer.

Onwards and upwards to the finale! The last things I am going to share in this post, the vertical fantasy ACEO work I made in 2015! I can count seven that relate to my original characters and yes another Alice reference ^_^

And that’s the lot to finish up 2015. Hope you enjoyed them :)