Leafy Green

Another tree for the collection.

Recently I’ve been thinking about the materials I use. I’ve got quite a few, each with their own particular purpose either singularly or when combined with another material. I’ve also tried quite a few over the years. The addition of acrylic painting has certainly made me think about whether the materials I’m using there are appropriate or not. There’s always the (very likely) possibility that I’m none too skilled with acrylic painting, but there’s also the possibility that the materials I’m using aren’t working for me.

But I’m not one to give up on something that quickly.

I’m also unsure as to where to go regarding the canvas paper (or actual canvases). Winsor & Newton have some fairly inexpensive, high quality, varying size canvas boards which could become my favoured painting surface. That said, I don’t really have a lot of space for storing canvases and the like. Hence the reason I don’t use them already.

But what I do have is paper. Lots of paper. But it’s not like you could use any old paper, you need something heavy that’s as absorbent as it is rigid so it doesn’t cockle under the liquid media. Bristol board may do it. On the other hand, I doubt either of my pencil and ink cartridge papers would suffice. So it fell to the recently purchased mixed media cartridge paper to actually become useful (for the first time since I bought it) and off I went to paint a tree. It seems like a fairly simple thing to paint. It’s also something that features a lot of layers of paint, so I was able to see how it held up to heavily layered paint and the general rigours associated with that. It went pretty well.

Closer to a balanced technique.

Closer to a balanced technique.

It also allows me to narrow down my selection of paper even further. If I don’t want to continue with my current acrylic canvas paper, I have a replacement already waiting which can easily take on the same material. It may also have some application for a textured marker style. Otherwise, I’ve got the two pencil and ink cartridge paper types and the singular watercolour paper type. So I’ve covered all of the materials I regularly use. Likewise, I’ve even invested in a new palette which is much easier to clean.

I love my old palette and I’ve had it for something like seven years.

But it’s cumbersome to clean, it’s difficult to slot together (as it comes apart), and it’s getting a bit worse for wear after all the years of painting. Surprisingly, that was among the very few purchases I made as I really didn’t need much else. Most of it was just replacements or spares for things. So that, when they run out, which they will, I won’t be without until I buy more.

It’s comforting in a way to not have to worry so much about the materials I’m using. I’ve got a selection I’m happy with. Besides the possible change to the acrylic tubes I use, I doubt I’ll be investing in anything entirely new for a while. I’ve got many more hours of learning how to make the best use of these materials ahead of me, though. It also means I’ll spend less money in the future on art-related activities. Which is a bonus. Not that, as a traditional artist, you’ll ever stop spending money on your art unless you stop doing it. Or someone invents a bottomless tube of paint. Or a pencil that replenishes its point. Such things would be amazing- but equally as unlikely to ever exist.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Failed Tree Attempt #206 – 2016 – Acrylic – click for full view on site!

I’ve lost count along the way.

To say that I’ve probably drawn thousands of trees over the course of my life wouldn’t be an exaggeration. To say that I’ve probably used every material I have in creating them wouldn’t be an exaggeration, either. I like trees. They’re green (or in this case orange-y), they’re interesting, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. That said, this piece wasn’t planned and you could even say that it was a happy accident. One that has surprisingly good textures, too.

A rare example of the scanned version swaying my decision.

Usually, it’s the opposite. The scanned version will look awful in comparison to what (I think) is an otherwise good piece. Or (most common) the colours will be misrepresented in the scanned version and you’ll need to do all sorts of colour balance magic. But, in this case, it actually helped me see some really positive points about this piece.

Like the textures. The bark has an especially delicious texture, while the leaves, albeit not as detailed, also possess a rather nice texture that illustrates the layered approach I take to acrylic painting. Something that I’m still a novice at, too. I’ve done maybe two if not three acrylic paintings prior to this point, none of which I’ve shared, and most of which are great examples of growing pains. Then again- it is a completely different process to watercolour painting. On the one hand that’s a good thing. On the other it’s very confusing. As I tend to work from light to dark with watercolours, while with acrylic I’m working dark to light. With the opaque nature of the paint actually opening up new possibilities.

Failed Tree Attempt #206 – 2016 – AcrylicI’ve always felt that acrylic painting could be useful for creating scenic/landscape pieces. It seems to fit. I’d need to learn more, though. An awful lot more about how best to use the actual paint (due to the varying levels of permanence), how best to apply it, and general understanding of which brushes do what. Again, while you would think that from years of watercolour painting I would already have established these things- it really is completely different. At least to me.

Maybe that’s where the problem lies with it.

Or maybe I’m just thinking too much about the process. I’d say that I have infinitely more confidence with watercolour painting than acrylic painting, which is more than likely the biggest detriment to success with acrylic painting. But confidence comes in time. It comes with painting yourself more than painting the canvas.

This piece also allows me to expand the number of paintings I have on the site. It further allows me to include the previously absent acrylic paintings. Or one of them at least. Equally, it allows me to create an even more diverse range of pieces on the site as there’s almost quite literally a little of everything on there now. Not that I’m upset about any of these things, nor are these things a justification of why it should be on the site. It’s just nice to see my personal site expanding a little further. I don’t really know what I’d define this style as, though. But it’s not like you have to label things for them to look neat. That, again, is just a happy accident as a result of their existence.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

How You’ve Grown – 2016 – Digital – click for full view on site!

So many meanings. So much time.

Ever have those pieces that seem to never end? No matter how many times you come back to them, no matter how many hours you work on them, no matter how much you’d like to fool yourself into believing they’re done- they’re not done. They might never be done. You can’t even tell at this point. Such are the feelings I had about this piece when I sat down to work on it as it neared completion. Now, don’t get me wrong- I’ve enjoyed working on this piece- but will it ever end?

This is entirely my fault, though.

I shouldn’t have taken such an open ended approach to how the composition developed. I also could have picked a material I had any idea of how to use. Might have helped. Still, here we are at the finish line and I’m ready to view this piece for what it is. A pain in my ass. I kid. Or do I? You’ll never know!

Regardless, it’s a great addition to the site and has helped me understand so much more about digital art than I did previously. Even if I did approach it with traditional techniques and completely shunned making a new style. Well, for the most part. The style is certainly unique compared to what I’ve done previously. Not entirely sure if I’ll ever use it again- but it’s there. This piece has also been an exercise in spamming my Twitter followers with WIP Tweets. Over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. I’m sure they loved it, though. I also apologise for dragging my feet in completing this particular piece. I’ve not been feeling well recently. I have been trying to put in the hours where I can, though.

How You've Grown - 2016 - DigitalHad an interesting time bringing this piece together, too. Played around with the composition quite a bit, cropped it differently, added some elements, took some out, and tried to balance out a decent result that wasn’t too large (or too small). It’s quite odd how difficult it is to achieve the same results with digital as I do with traditional, probably due to not having the natural textures of both the paper and materials I’m using. I do try to avoid the vanilla Adobe Photoshop CS2 brushes where I can.

I’d like it to have a little texture.

I also put a lot of emphasis on the composition as I have a lot more opportunity to add, remove, and rearrange elements with digital art than I do in any kind of traditional art. It’s a learning experience in many different ways. That said, I feel the final result could have worked out a little better.

On the other hand, it’s not really surprising that it worked out how it did. Given that this is the first full digital piece I’ve done in a while (if ever). I’ve had quite a few ideas of what I’d like to attempt next with digital art, not to mention with the working dark to light technique. That could be pretty cool with several things. Well, no, it would only really work with acrylic. Still, I hope you enjoy this piece (even if just a little) as that’s what I do this for. Otherwise I’d spend the hours hunched over a Wacom Bamboo tablet, illuminated by the light from my monitor, drinking nothing but coffee, and share the end result with no-one.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Traditionally Painting Digital Trees

It’s a thing that I (sometimes) do.

I’ve been painting a lot recently. Acrylic, digital- you name it! Well, those are the only two actually. Still, it’s rare for me to pick up my tablet and attempt to do anything digitally. Given that I’m much more experienced with, proficient in, and comfortable with traditional art. However, every so often I try to think of a particular style or technique I can develop with digital which would help it fit nicely into my rotation. This is probably one of the more successful ones.

It’s also a nice opportunity to do a work in progress post about something I’m creating.

Again, with traditional, this is much harder to accomplish unless I want to stop at certain points and scan it in. Which is more hassle than it’s worth at some points of doing a particular piece (especially paintings as they’re still wet). With this particular piece it’s rather interesting to see how the size of the piece has changed, how some elements have been added, and how some parts of it are slowly coming together. Which is one of the major benefits of digital art- versatility. You can save multiple copies of one piece, resize the canvas, create layers to toggle certain elements on or off, and you’re free to continue to experiment with the piece without the fear of losing all of the hard work. Unless your HDD explodes. Then you’ve probably got bigger problems.

Now with grass, a dirt path, and mushrooms.

Now with grass, a dirt path, and mushrooms.

Given that I started without any real rhyme or reason as to where this piece was going that’s an incredibly helpful feature. I’m also taking more advantage of layers than I would usually. I find these are, again, one of the benefits of digital art, and so should be utilised like any other inherent benefit of using a particular material.

That said, I knew I wanted to feature at least one or two trees. I’d also be looking more at the textures/shapes rather than the minor details as I continued to develop the piece. This is particularly evident with the grass and the leaves on the trees, where, individually, the detail is lacking. But they look like what they should. Took a leaf (pun perhaps intended) out of the book of the acrylic painting I’ve been doing. Worked from dark to light, rather than the reverse, and added shadows/darker areas in first.

This is completely opposite to what I’d do with watercolour (my usual painting material).

Now with a huge foreground tree to provide cooling shade.

Now with a huge foreground tree to provide cooling shade.

So I had to learn a little along the way as there as no part of this that came naturally. In fact, it’s a really tiring piece to work on as I’m always having to focus so hard on everything as it’s backwards compared to my usual technique(s). However, it’s getting easier as time goes on. While I’m not finished yet, I do believe that I’ll be cleaning up the fence and adding detailing on the barks of the trees. Then it should be finished. This could be subject to change, though. I never really know where this piece is going as I haven’t really got any ideas in mind for it. It’ll be what it’ll be. Which, in the broadest sense, would be a great addition to the site.

I’m not entirely confident about my abilities with digital painting just yet. But it’s getting there. I also wouldn’t be opposed to a few more pieces like this making their way onto the site and/or Moggie @ WordPress. In the end, this entire thing is just one huge journey through things I enjoy and things I’d like to do.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Warming up the Bird

Birds are a funny sort. They have some incredibly unique features, a multitude of textures, and are fun to paint or draw. They also require warmth for optimum operating conditions.

WIP b

I know what you’re thinking, “Moggie, you think you can just turn up after four months without so much as a peep and expect everything to be okay?” Hey- it worked for my ex-girlfriend and if it can work for her it can work for everyone. Right? Right!

It’s a little known fact that I’ve recently become more interested in digital art. Well, no, that’s inaccurate, I’ve always been interested in digital art. In late 2006 when I joined my first art community site that was my thing, but as time went on I realised that I didn’t have the tools for it and the motivations behind traditional art were much stronger.

That said, digital art has a charm all its own.

So I bought myself a Wacom Bamboo to bridge that gap of not having good tools for digital art. Not the best, nor most expensive, tablet out there but I’ll consider getting a more expensive one once I know I can actually achieve decent results with it.

Now, what’s with the bird? Wouldn’t you say she’s charming? Well, the above is the latest work in progress of this particular piece and features a striking difference to the previous work in progress in that it has a solid colour background. I wanted something rich and dark, but also warm, as the colours are fairly warm and the beak has a good level of contrast with it.

As you can see in the below piece, the first work in progress, there was less going on and it was a lot colder. It didn’t convey that same fullness and depth. It was more rough ’round the edges. It also would have proved impossible to see all the work on the white textures around the beak, so this wasn’t a purely aesthetic choice- it was functional too!

WIP a

This isn’t the only thing that I’ve been occupied with in the last four months. I’ve been looking at my art as a whole and asking myself if that’s where I want to be, and, if not as the case seems to be, where can I go to get better?

I think a lot of my personal frustrations come from lack of consistency. I was cleaning my art desk recently and realised the last time I used that regularly was 2010, I’m not entirely sure why that is or what has made it less appealing since… I just don’t use it that much. So I’ve been thinking about what I want to do.

Not “what do I have the capability to do?” as I feel every artist has the capability to do just about anything if they focus on it. But “what do I want to do?” and actually aim to get some of the things I’d love to do down on paper. Digitally or traditionally speaking.

Speaking of the traditional, I do have one work in progress (or as I like to call it “probably half-finished but unlikely to actually be fully finished so resigns itself to the corner of shame for the foreseeable future”)- Davros!

Davros.

That insanely evil yet devilishly intelligent genius behind the creation of the least emotionally inclined race of all time- the Daleks. I’ll be honest and say that besides a few old episodes with Baker or Pertwee as The Doctor I don’t really care for Doctor Who as a whole. A bit like tea, really. Or fish and chips. I am actually quite a failure as an English person.

What I do like is people with interesting faces and Davros sure has one of those. I would say it’s kind of creepy how he has no eyes but I find that pretty awesome. How often do you get to draw someone with no eyes?

Enjoy your Saturday afternoon all.

Moggie.

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Davros, Daleks, Time And Relative Dimension In Space, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Terry Nation and the BBC.