A combination of things (including Christmas commissions) added to the 2nd half of the month not being a daily, but I still did quite a few, as well as some gesture sketching on the busy days.
Inktober was fun, and I quit worrying about the prompts, but did get a couple more in such as #15 Legend – our own local celebrity cat – Pirate Cat.
I hope to keep up the weekly sketching (not daily – way too much happening in the next 2 months, but I do not want to lose that momentum of sketching. It is excellent for studying a subject and getting to know them.)
Above- our local Cooper’s Hawk, stalking out feeders.
A bit of fan art for James and Margaret – a pair of California Ravens I follow on Instagram and Facebook. @thedailyjames
I love the little Black and White Warblers we see each year. And below is a Summit Lake Bald Eagle – reference photo by Patrick D. Conner, one of our local birders on the Facebook page, Indiana Birdography. You will be seeing more of these in various mediums, as I am practicing to do a watercolor for my nephew.
This particular week I did a couple of prompts but mostly simply practiced mostly from my own photos except on the two specified. I have to retrospectively
#7 Enchanted was some quick gestures of a Carolina Wren that enchanted me on my hike at Ritchey Woods over the weekend.
#8 is Frail – I was busy illustrating a comment on Facebook, so skipped this one and drew the hippie chicken above. However, I kept thinking of our frail ecosystem. Maybe I will revisit this word.
# 9 – did not use a prompt – Whitetail Deer Photo reference – John Baughman – https://www.facebook.com/JustJohnsNature/
#10 no prompt – Blackpoll Warbler Photo reference – Jining Han posted on Indiana Birdography
#11 – no prompt – one of our bunnies that live in our wild wood. I called him Notch.
The remaining day was spent sketching with a pencil. I worked on a child’s face and also on Christmas ornaments over the weekend. I did do some quick gestures in ink that are in a random sketchbook somewhere.
The final lesson was about fur, feathers, and creating the illusion of depth. This was intense and I have much admiration for people who do Natural History Illustration for a living!
This was a great class and I have learned so much!
This was a week of working on tones (no details) and looking at how the eyes are made, reflections, cast shadows etc.
I chose one of our local squirrels to be the subject – a little hazelnut thief. I am a sucker for them every time, though. They run around trying to bury huge walnuts in our lawn. So funny!
I find that I need more practice finding the structure and geometric shapes – then examining all the shading and light source. This has been more of a cerebral exercise than I am used to.
I need to do more of this. Nothing wrong with picking up the pen or paints and having at it, but stopping to think about the details and remembering why things look the way they do is a good practice. This has been an excellent course.
NewcastleX: NHI101xDrawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101 – EDX Link
A study in my various pencils – this is a common thing to do to get comfortable with the tools for the current project.
The Natural History Illustration course has been fun and a lot of learning is happening. Some of the homework included unfinished sketches demonstrating the learning techniques.
First activity was to work with natural items, breaking them down into geometric shapes, working their curves, etc. and this shell really showed me how rusty I am.
We then did field sketches of birds. Some people really finished them out. I need to spend time doing more of that, but part of my problem in the field is thinking things have to be perfect. I am working to let go of that and just get it down on paper first. Also, this was sketch paper and I knew better than to try watercolors, but did it anyway. It is a learning and reminding process.
I learned about studying flowers and how to turn them into geometric shapes (not pictured), measure, and make notations. This lesson was interesting, but I found it a bit too detailed for me. I love seeing these types of illustrations. I hate doing them.
This was about learning how to quickly capture form and essence of mammals. Now we are getting into my “love”.
We studied skeletal structure, which I actually found quite fascinating. I used one of our raccoons who was trying to get to our bird feeder as my model and tried 3 different gesture drawings for each pose. This lesson was real helpful and I enjoyed it immensely. I may be studying skeletal structures a bit more!
The preliminary blocking activities were very helpful. I normally jump right to this type of gesture drawing above, but doing the 2 preliminary gestures made doing this one so much easier and correct. That was an interesting ah-ha for me!
This was a practice on how to block off parts of birds using circles, ovals, and geometric shapes – which is difficult for me to do. We also looked at how their skeletal structure is made.
I am going to have to practice this a lot more and, for once, I am excited about practicing!
From The Dictionary of Sidney
I regularly try to take a course that inspires my art and creativity. I just started one from the Univ of Newcastle, Australia, on Natural History Illustration.
This morning has been an introduction to historical illustrators from the Hunter Valley area in Australia. I have fallen in love with Helena and Harriet Scott’s work from the mid 19th century.
Their work is exquisite.
NOTE: There is actually an ap of their work. Talk about making the old new again!
Day 16 – Angular – I was just starting to draw a Great Egret I photographed at Eagle Creak this month. As I was playing with the lines (in nature they so often replicate, lending a beautiful symmetry to the animal or bird), ta da – Angular happened by accident. I think it has the most likes of any on my Instagram.
Day 15 – Weak – I could not get the image to work, so I started doing my quick 10 second drills to loosen up my hand. I was flipping through Google images and when I was done, these made me laugh so hard that I shared them.
This was a hard work week, so I went off script in order to keep inking. Other than these first two, I did not follow the prompts and just had fun and used the time to loosen up.
Hispid Corbis Rat / Red-Breasted Nuthatch study (saw my first one on our feeder this past week! Had to commemorate a “lifer”. The rat was from Google images.)
Below is my first ever fan art. Then the ravens took 2 days with the first being for the initial sketch.
I love James and Margaret, who have made a backyard habitat in CA their home. The “caretakers” of that space give this loving pair of ravens food puzzles on their deck and interact with them in very fun ways. I have been wanting to sketch these guys for some time and took this opportunity. I think they would look very great in paint! Next project!
Corvids are extremely smart birds and I have learned so much from James and his only love, Margaret. It is amazing to watch their story unfold. You can follow them and their fellow inhabitants of that backyard on Instagram or Facebook.