Compassionate Artwork

Two posts in less than two weeks? Surely I’m just spoiling you? But in all seriousness, it’s nice to have things to write about again!

Last week I was asked if I would like a stall at the Compassionate Christmas Fair, held down in Halisham this December, and I’m very excited about it. The fairs aim is to promote a cruelty free lifestyle, selling vegan products and raising money for a number of different vegan and animal charities in the UK. Compassion and love for our fellow beings is something that I hold very dear to my heart, and I have been vegan for almost four years now, so it means a lot to me to finally be able to get involved in something that I feel so positively about.

I have been working on a number of artworks, my ‘Friends not Food’ series, that explores the beauty and compassion and love of the animals often overlook and exploited by many. It has been a good excercise for me, working with such varied features and shapes, animals that are certainly out of my comfort zone when it comes to drawing, and it has given me a chance to really dig my toes into the watercolours. I am a long way from mastering the medium, that’s for sure, but I am starting to understand how these paints work, and what you can get them to do!

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All of these so far have been on 5×7″ paper, a good size for prints, I figure! But I also finished this A4 piece last night. I’m not as happy with how this turned out compared to those above, but I suppose the composition is very different from what I have been working with previous, focusing mainly on the silly, characterful faces that these animals pull. But still, it was an enjoyable piece to pain.
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It also pleases me to say that all the materials I work with don’t contain animal derivatives, so that’s always a big bonus!

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Sweet Blossum

sweetrat164Today, after my office job forbidding me to come in thanks to the lack of work we have going at the moment, I decided to finish off the GiveAway prize that was given to celebrate Sweet Rattery Illustration’s second birthday!

The prize was for one of my rainbow pieces, however the winner wanted something that would fit better with their ink pieces that they had commissioned in the past. I decided that I’d use this opportunity to do some more work with the gouache, ink and promarkers combined, and I have to say I’m pretty happy with the result!

My realistic painting skills still leave much to be desired, but that will come in time I’m sure.

I Do Live!

Well, I failed somewhat at keeping this updated, didn’t I? Oh well, just means I have more things to show all you lovely people!

Now that Christmas is over, things have slowed down somewhat, which means I’ve had time for a couple of personal pieces, and to work on my FanFiction and children’s book. The latter is something that I have been wanting to do and have been working on in bits and drabs for about a year now, though I have finally settled on an artwork style that I like and plan to use for the illustrations.

I had originally planned to use promarkers, a medium that I’m very comfortable with now and that I know can produce some delightful results. I wanted something soft, fluffy, adorable. More pastels rather than any big bright colours. The book itself is about rats, and a little girl’s relationship with her first pet rat, so I wanted something that really shows off what beautiful and adorable little critters they are. And so it became that the gouache stepped up to the plate, holding a splodgy hand upwards and volunteering itself as tribute. Sure enough, I fell in love with the result.

sweetrat161 sweetrat160The first image is of the rat that the story is about – my darling Papa Zen. I’m not sure if the party hat will come as standard or not yet πŸ˜‰ Papa Zen was my heart rat, my very best friend. He changed my life for the better, of that I’m certain. I feel that our relationship was something so beautiful that it could translate so well into a story of a little girl and her best friend.

The second is one of my beauuutiful girls, Panya. She’s a sweetheart, and such a stunning girl, too, so I couldn’t not paint her.

I think perhaps I need to decide whether to stick to pencil or work with a blank ink outline, so more experimentation is needed there. But overall this is what I want, this is the exact mood I want to see.

In other news (though I’m still not sure if I’m ready to share a link to it yet because, well, is it embarrassing? FanFiction, I mean?) my little Avatar: The Last Airbender fanon trilogy is going well. I’m just about to start the third and final book, and had to knock up a quick cover photo for it. I would say be kind, people aren’t my fortΓ©, but how can we possible improve without accepting criticism? Right? But I have certainly gone wrong with the proportions of the faces, and I have no idea quite where I went wrong with Katara. But alas I did. So maybe I’ll make up a slightly better version in the future. For now though, cover those eyes folks, here’s a couple kissing

spiritworldOk, almost kissing. Lets not get too far ahead of ourselves there! Goodness. Occasionally I will break out the Tablet and do some digital work. However, I have a slight issue in that it’s almost impossible to get straight lines (hence why I ink outline and then scan in before colouring). I’m not certain if it’s because my tablet is only A5, or whether it’s the image software I use (GIMP 2.4), so if anyone can enlighten me on that I’ll be eternally grateful! Until then, that wonky shading is just my ‘style’, ok?

Twas the Night Before Christmas and … Zebra?

I finally got a chance to knuckle down and get my zebra piece finished tonight! I figured it was perhaps the only way I could distract myself from the mountain of cheese and crackers sitting in the kitchen.

I will confess I’m not 100% happy without the outcome. I think the background was, in retrospect, pretty poorly planned out in terms of the overall colour scheme. But hey, it was an experience and I’m learning to be a bit more confident with my strokes and to work outside of my usual ‘blocks’ of colour. The background itself I’m quite happy with, just think I should have perhaps used more mint green.
sweetrat153Backgrounds have been rather absent throughout the process (why yes, yes I do watch the Apprentice and yes I am now thinking in Mark’s accent), and it definitely adds a little more to the overall piece. Just need some fine tuning is all!

So, here he is, the Zebro!

As ever, gouache and ink were my medium of choice πŸ™‚

Hey There Zebro

As all the Christmas commissions have been sent of ready to meet their new owners I’ve spent this weekend working on a gift for the other half, and a personal piece that I’ve been itching to do for a while now. The gift, I’m afraid, I’ll have to refrain from showing you until after Christmas Day as he may stumble across it here (if you’re reading, go away, go play your games, shoo shoo!), although I’m both apprehensive and excited to reveal that when the time is right! Not what I’d usually do, not even close, but it was a lot of fun anyway. The personal piece, however, I can reveal to you in all it’s pixellated, poorly lit phone pic glory! But everyone loves a good WIP photo, right?

I know rainbow zebra’s is hardly a daring step of creativity, but the idea sat in my head, refusing to stop gnawing away at my brain cells until I submitted myself to it. And so, I begin the Zebro. Unfortunately I’m suffering a case of THE CLAW in my right hand from all the frantic detail work done on the other half’s gift, so poor Zebro will have to wait until tomorrow for me to do any more work on him. But I have some pretty snazzy thoughts for the colour scheme, and looking forward to revealing them!

Materials here are my good old magical squishy gouache tubes, and Langton hot pressed watercolour paper, which is definitely one of my favourites.

My First Lesson: Gouache is Not Goulash

When I first set off the University we were given a list of books and products that we would apparently find very useful throughout the course. There was the usual, books we’d never in a million years read, pens and pencils, a couple stacks of paper, but one of the items on there was something that, in my lower class upbringing, meant nothing to me. A Introduction Set of Designer Gouache. I’d heard of Goulash, but I wasn’t sure that was quite what they meant. So, totally bemused as to what I would find, I set off the nearing art store to find this goo-ash stuff.

Turns out, it was a type of opaque watercolour. I’ve used watercolour and acrylic before, of course, but this was like heaven in a tiny squidgy pot. I loved the stuff! It had the strength of acrylic with the spread of watercolour, and better even than both, and ever since it’s been my paint of choice.

However, once uni was over and those two years of mind numbing boredom passed and inspiration hit once more, I found myself addicted to Letraset Promarkers, and they were so wonderful to use with my little pet illustrations, and gouache sadly got rather forgotten. It sat in it’s little box, it’s colourful squishy magic unused and unloved for the best part of three years, until I came across it again one day whilst clearing out ‘that’ cupboard.

Whilst I only seem to have one intact brush remaining, and have yet braved Hobbycraft to get another set, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the freedom that working with paint gives over working with ink. And gouache, in particular, is such a fantastic medium to use. As it is water based, I don’t have to worry about any wasted paint and can reactivate the palette whenever I fancy, which makes it convenient as well as pretty. When using it throughout my degree it was used, alongside Chinese Ink, to paint very delicate and detailed jewellery design proposals and illustrations, so it’s very freeing to be able to work a little bit larger. I’ve still got a lot of practicing ahead, but I’m enjoying the journey.
Below are a few example of some of the pieces that I’ve been working on the past two months. Personally I think there’s a little bit of a theme going on here, but I’ll let you all be the judge of that.

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The first piece – rainbow rat with slight wash.

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One of my first attempts to illustrate a ferret in a good year or more, turns out they work quite well in … rainbow.

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Perhaps betraying another key interest and care of mine, you either know what I’m talking about or you don’t here πŸ˜‰ But everyone loves a pretty cow. In rainbow.

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By this point I had grown more familiar with the process and the paints, and starting to feel a lot more comfortable with the strength I could work at. In rainbow, of course.

There are quite a few other pieces that I’ve worked on since, and it’s an idea that I wish to continue with and grow upon in the coming year. Gouache really is wonderful paint to work with, and if you’re a fan of watercolours and/or acrylic then I very much recommend giving it a go.