You might recognize this if you ever had a fish tank – well, almost. It’s a Cardinal Tetra, close relative of the Neon Tetra, which is one of the most popular aquarium fish in the world. I’ve always been a little obsessed with Cardinals and have kept plenty of them over the years. They’re hardy with a bit of care, and so incredibly beautiful. Saw a massive school of them at a public aquarium – in aggregate, they’re just breathtaking. Read more
This may be my favorite artwork of Inktober so far, if not the entire year! Now I understand why Flying Foxes are so called – fruit bats all seem to have very canine faces. Some do indeed look very fox-like; this one slightly less so. They are complex and interesting creatures I’d like to know a lot more about. Read more
This is a Lesser Short-Nosed Fruit Bat. It’s a long name for a very appealing critter! I like bats in general, and didn’t know this one had such a lovely face. Their mammalian nature is very apparent in the doglike snout and (apparently) soft fur.
So far he’s been a joy to draw. Wings and a body to come!
After so many years of trying to be a watercolor purist, I finally realized that there’s no reason not to adapt a few things. There’s nothing wrong with opaque gouache, nor is there any reason why a given work has to be declared “done” at a given point and never ever touched again. This is a very freeing feeling, and I decided to exercise my new-found freedom on That Eye.
It took a little care, but ultimately wasn’t that hard to do. The Platinum Carbon ink did most of the work, as I knew it would. So, making the eye bigger and more oval was really not the problem. Recovering the lost catch light and the light rim that defines the lids, THAT was the problem. A few minutes with gouache and the problem was solved! It matched the watercolor perfectly and other than a slight difference in reflectance, looked as if it had been there all along.
So, Inktober Oct 22: One eye, a few blue highlights, and a big sigh of relief.
We only had a day together, a day that started far inland and needed to make up for all the years we’ve missed in just a few short hours. Thanks to the magic of an old truck and a tank of gas, we accomplished all that and so much more. Time has been hard on both of us, but this is an eternal friendship: it picks up where it left off, regardless of years or miles, never a beat missed. Read more
Here’s a bird I’d never heard of before: an Azure Kingfisher. They have the best birds in Australia! Clearly my life is not going to be complete until I’ve been there. If all I did was spend a day out seeing wildlife it would be a plane ride well spent.
Kingfishers have giant beaks as a rule, so this is actually fairly proportionate to the source photo. The color was just crying out for a strong dose of PB29 Ultramarine (in gouache) and some Burnt Sienna did a nice job on the bird’s warm breast. What I am not happy with is the eye – it’s not a bad eye on its own and would be fine on a songbird. This is an Azure Kingfisher though, and they have enormous beady eyes. A disappointing lesson in minding proportions! Letting it go for today, though with gritted teeth.
About 3″ x 4″ on the Strathmore paper, with the Kuretake #40 ink brush.
Not much to this sketch – it rained for the first time in months and I had to commemorate that somehow! These blades of grass had been intriguing me for weeks anyway. They were choking out the ornamental grasses in my favorite sketching corner. All of that dancing and waving in the breeze was making me want to draw them anyway; a few sparkly waterdrops finally made them irresistible. Approx 6.5″ x 4.5″ on Strathmore Windpower 140lb CP.
The background color is one of my favorite blues ever, which I rarely use because the paint fades so badly. No clue what pigment it is, was some very old Grumbacher Academie tube that has long since been thrown away. Just one well in my palette remains, trotted out for special occasions that don’t require lightfastness. Other paints used are Raw Sienna/Burnt Sienna (PBr7), Ultramarine PB29 in the shadows on the shell, and PB60 for the ground shadow.
Switched tools and drew this with the Kuretake #40 brush pen, same Carbon ink as before. 8″ x 2.25″ approximately.
Think this sketch got a little dark! I put some keys on the drafting table and drew them, so it’s like a mini-still-life. They were reflecting a lot more light on the upper parts, which I darkened trying to get contrast between one and the next. Not the best choice, but oh well. That’s what this is about, practicing and improving.
PV23 and PB29 for the background, Raw Sienna PBr7 on the keys, with a judicious dash of PV23 in the shadows. PR101 on the key ring. About 3″ x 3.5″ with the same ink, paper, pen as the wren.