Friday, 18 August 2006

Well, the WLC is finished, in rough at least.

I'm quite chuffed with it, and Lovely Mark is very happy. Even Lovely Jon said: "I love the twins. There's always creepy twins!"

So I've been working on how I might approach doing this baby up in colour. Obviously, if The Eeries was to be published, the illo would actually be in black and white, but Lovely Mark has requested a colour version for the Plum Pudding portfolio.

So here is my first attempt at Mrs. Barrett-Swann, not mentioned by name, but one of the more formidable members of the Worthing Ladies' Choir.

I got a bit disheartened with it so didn't bother to finish it off, although it's not bad for a first attempt. It's hard thinking through how best to use a new medium. Apart from the Black Arrow cover, I've not used the Dr. Martens properly. The only real piece I've done with them is the original Eeries portrait in b&w. I was never taught how to use watercolours - when I had a set as a young whippersnapper I just used them like gouche- so it's a bit of a steep learning curve. I get too impatient inbetween layers, but have discovered it gives me a bit of time to do a few rows on the old knitting while I'm waiting for the paint to dry, so it can't be all bad!

Also, the main thing I have to work on is my eyes. Not MY eyes, obviously, but the way I treat my characters'. Basically, the heaviness of the outline is losing me work. Kingfisher and Hodder both said they're put off by the thickness of the black line around the eyes in my colour work (although in my b&w stuff it works fine), and that means I have to acknowlege that Lovely Mark was right all along - he's been telling me that for months.

So, using a new medium AND trying a new approach. Blimey.

The first Mrs. B-S uses a lot of my old familiar techniques - coloured pencil to give defintion, same thickness line - but I made myself stop and do a second version just using the paint and the pen. There's only a teeny weeny bit of black pencil around the eyes.

I much prefer this version - it's much "tighter". In fact, the Gorgeous Erica (please see links on the right hand side) said:

"I much, much prefer no.2. Regardless of whether she looks dead or not the painting is far superior to image 1. IMHO

Look at the depth you have with the shading under her music sheets, and you've kept the whole thing cleaner. I know she's supposed to be dead, but maybe there is another way of portraying this other than washed out colours? Maybe try giving her a lavender coloured hat with holes, tatty edges and cobwebs and spiders coming off it?

Also...ok I'm off on one now!... ...If the final illo is to be on a white background, I think you need to be a bit braver with colour. Saying's how she's dead, how about a lavendery coloured dress with big bold black stripes? If you introduce colour in her clothing then you could get away with a paler face to make her look dead? I wouldn't give her rosey cheeks either, I'd put a nice purple wash around her eyes, not too dark, just enough to make her look suitably unhealthy."

I love her.

So, I've been working a little on the eyes, as I still don't think they're "there" yet, but I need much more experimenting time to slosh the paint about, and try a little purple outlining, before I'll give Mrs. B-S another go and post her up here.

Kingfisher turned down the Eeries, but Lovely Mark has left a copy with Hodder as well. Let's hope they are more positive.

I feel really happy with the way things are going at the mo. I didn't want to go to the library today, but stay at home and experiment. The new-found positivity comes from having a new direction to go in, even if you're not entirely sure if it's going to lead you anywhere, and a Lovely Mark to navigate the hairpin bends for you. He's doing a fabulous job.

So, up to Edinburgh tomorrow to see the Lovely Jon, who I haven't seen for nearly three weeks. I really, really miss him. It's been quite a struggle on my own this time, even though I thought I'd be fine. Things are so much easier when you have someone to bounce off.

Then back to the eyes!


lorna said...

Wonderful Em. I too prefer the second one. I always always struggle with Dr Martin's reds/pinks. You could try using a bit of winsor red watercolour on there instead. Just for the cheeks.

I know exactly what you mean about the excitement of having a new direction and you just can't put your paint brushes down! So pleased to hear you are having such fun.

Hope Eeries gets picked up soon. (I did chuckle when you shortened Mrs Barrett-Swann's name to Mrs B-S - I can't imagine her entertaining any for a moment!)

Have fun,

Tommy-Rocket said...

Aaw, bless your little heart!
Glad I could help.
It's soooo great getting motivated and excited about something, best feeling evaaa!

Have fun!

Long lost big sis,


natural attrill said...

Hello, I really love all your characters they are great! I agree about these illos, prefer the 2nd Mrs. B.S.