I find illustration very enjoyable, perhaps because there are no rules, in fact a complete disregard for proportion and perspective can often lead to a whole new narrative… I like birds but enjoy creating bird-like images more than drawing the real thing because I can take all the time in the world within my imagination but a real bird only stays still for an instant. I had some of the collage paper left over after using it on a life drawing last week (in the previous post) and used it to create this odd collection of birds in an A5 sketchbook. I painted the page with a dilute acrylic wash of the colours used in the collage paper (green and copper metallics, and ultramarine). The birds were cut out mainly without drawing and being guided as far as possible by marks in the paint that suggested feathers perhaps, or a beak.
I have so many sketch books now including two fairly recent A3 sketch books that I have been taking to life drawing classes. I am in the process of reviewing these with a view to retaining only the drawings that I like or wish to develop further. I can then recycle pages for further drawing. I cannot keep everything and, as my skills develop, I do not really see the point of keeping older drawings that I do not like and don’t look at. It also provides the opportunity to play around with paint and collage. In the first image below, I painted around the two figures using different textures but essentially a monochrome palette.
The basis of the second image was a pencil drawing in which the proportions were essentially OK but the lines in the drawing were very light and needed reinforcement to work as a drawing. I decided to use some metallic paints that I have had a while and not used. I masked areas of the background and loosely applied green and copper metallic acrylic paint around the drawing. This abstract approach only emphasized the inadequacy of the drawing. Reinforcing lines didn’t work because original lines have their own life and drawing over them with more controlled lines can deaden them.
I decided to create a collage paper using the green and copper metallics again, adding ultramarine and prussian blue acrylics. I used waxed paper which is very thin and can be used to create a layer which is mainly paint and does not protrude from the surface like, say, card or even most papers would. I used various tools, including a piece of a comb, to create marks in the surface of the wet paint. I then traced the outlines of different parts of the body and cut these out of the painted paper. I like the technique and the colours worked well as a palette. I stored the tracing paper template for possible future use. This is one way to breathe life into a drawing that is not working.