Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jónsi Project Production Diary, Part 5

Here's the next work: based on Track 9, Hengilás. I also based it on the original Hans Christian Andersen version of the Little Mermaid, where she dives into the sea and turns into foam.

Visually it has more in common with Kolniður, which I'm told means 'pitch black' or 'deep dark blackness'. But I love the slow, sweet sound of Hengilás, and the fact that it's the last track makes it feel like an ending.

Again I used Quink for the water, with bleach (see my messy setup above). I used coffee for the background, leaving out the Mermaid's body to make it glow. I used Higgins for the night sky; may sprinkle some stars on it later. I used a cup of bleach and a paintbrush to make a more directed spatter rather than the more-or-less even spray I've been using so far, to create the effect of dissolving in foam.

(Warning: do not use a paintbrush you like for this kind of job. Use a cheap nylon or hog's-hair one that you don't mind getting damaged. Because it will be. And wash the brush, and the cup, and your hands, thoroughly with soap right after doing this. Bleach is not a nice material. It eats things, especially soft things like brush bristles and your flesh.)

Close-up below. A lucky stain made it look like she was crying. I wanted her to forget the heartache she had over the Prince (worthless bastard) and just remember dancing. It was the only way she had to express herself, and even with the knifelike pain in her feet she loved to dance.

So in the dark water she can feel herself going, but the patterns of the foam are beautiful and there's no more pain. She moves her legs with perfect grace and rolls with the ocean current and watches the bubbles trail away from her limbs. Her last tears are for joy.

Painting the Mermaid next, watch this space.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jónsi Project Production Diary, Part 4

This painting turned out more like a typical storybook illustration, and I'm not as thrilled with it as I was with the other one--but I love my birds and the mother-wolf running through the trees. I don't have a lot of experience drawing animals, so I'm glad I turned out to enjoy it!

The first thing I did was add a thin wash of coffee to the 'frame' of the painting, giving it a proper storybook feel. I also laid a wash down for the wolf and the Prince's skin, to give them a lifelike glow and colour under the paint I planned to add.

Next I added a grey wash of watered-down Higgins india ink as a base for the wolf and the sky. Not pictured is the second part of this process: I painted the mountains with a wash of Prang blue and blue-green watercolour, mixed with a few drops of Quink and also thinned out with water.

I used black and brown Cretacolor water-soluble pencils for the wolf, and Prang in various saturations for the Prince.

Then I put down a dark layer of Quink for the sky, and added the bleach spray. Because of the grey under-layer, the bleach spots were murky and dim. The trees and magic birds showed up more brightly as a result.

I wanted the birds to be magical constructs instead of real birds, so I gave them a yellow glow with a white heart. Some birds (my favorites *koff*) seem to glow a little brighter.

They are pouring out like the Prince's thoughts and hopes and streaming out into the world... the song goes:
You will survive, we'll never stop wonders
You and sunrise will never fall under
We should always know that we can do anything
Go do!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jónsi Project Production Diary, Part 3

On to my second painting for the Jónsi project!

Warning: some very unsatisfactory images ahead. I didn't have a computer in these early stages, so I had to use my point-and-shoot camera instead of a scanner, which just...well, see for yourself.


Anyway, the illustration. This one's meant to go with the track 'Go Do'. I thought of the Russian fairy tale of Prince Ivan riding on the back of the mother wolf to escape from Koschei the Deathless. I thought of ideas becoming birds, spawning from our minds and flying away to do our bidding...'go, do'.

I did a lot of research for this one. I searched for images of specific birds flying (Thank you, Google!): swallow, nightjar, starling, widgeon, peregrine, kestrel, swan. I copied a few flight poses, and got the general shape of it after a while. I really enjoyed creating the variations of miscellaneous flying birds!

Here is the inked version. All the paintings are the same size--9x12--and I was afraid I would lose the detail if I kept it in pencil. I used a Staedler .005 to ink.

I specifically had the Arctic wolf and the timber wolf in mind when I was drawing this.

Hmm, the Prince looks familiar...

I knew a swan should lead the flock, but she would have overwhelmed the composition. So I nudged her up into a far corner with only a bit of her wing and her black legs showing. She's the only one with legs.

Next post will be in colour!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Would You Trust Me to Teach You Art?

Would you guys be interested in reading an art tutorial blog if I wrote one?

Those of you still following my Notes on Facebook, or this blog on Tumblr, may have noticed the first post of something I've decided to call 'Thinking with Your Hands'. I'm not presuming to tell people HOW to DO ART; I'll share some pieces I'm proud of (and maybe some I'm not) and explain how I did them and what I enjoyed or struggled with in the process.

So you'll see more posts of this kind floating in; let me know if you liked them or what other art-related things you'd like me to bring up.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jonsi Project Production Diary, Part 2

Part 1

This post has nudity, so I'm putting it under a cut. I know, the last post did too, but it was very sketchy. This one has bright watercolour female nudity, so behind the jump-cut curtain it goes!