Monday, April 28, 2008

Technique Development

I was purging a bunch of magazines this weekend and found an article on a very wonderful illustrator: Sergio Martinez. The article described his technique which fascinated me so much I had to rush home from work at the end of the day after reading the article at lunch time so and just itching to try it out for myself..
This was an excellent exercise for me because I'm using a totally different technique and tools. I didn't have his materials, but improvised with what I had on hand. I couldn't scan the various stages of the process since I used charcoal and had no workable fixative. So I photographed the best I could at various stages in the process. I did forget to take a picture of the original line drawing.

I actually really enjoyed working with a hard charcoal pencil. Of course I'm the queen of smudge and used my kneaded eraser - a lot. But I found the beautiful black line that I could manipulate so much more satisfying than using a fine lined art pen. The sketch was quickly done on velum. Mr. Martinez used charcoal on both sides (after application of fixative, but smudging one side of my drawing was challenging enough.

On the reverse side of the velum I used watercolor crayons instead of wax crayons to apply color. This is what you see in the first small photo. The second shows the back.

I then wetted the colors to blend them - first with a small pad which removed too much color and I switched to a paint brush. This part was tricky and I removed too much color in places as you can see in the third photo. Mr. Martinez used 5 drops of Turpenoid on a paper towel to blend his colors. BTW he is WAY better at doing this than I am!

I then flipped back to the front of the drawing and started layering color pencil over the top adding shadows and details. I didn't have a lot of time to build up the colors but I could start to see where this technique was "going" and I liked it. It looks very flat and dull in this posting, but it is softly dimensional in real life.

Since I so smudged my drawing, I added back in my whites with a bit of acrylic paint.
All in all I was quite pleased with this little experiment and definitely want to do more. I have a pencil drawing of Anni that would come out very soft and beautiful if I could refine this technique. It is nothing like Sergio Martinez's incredible work, but it has taken me in a new direction so I will enjoy the ride where ever it leads me!

A bit of info on the composition which is certainly a departure from my normal fare. I was playing around with doing a submission for "Drawing Resistance" for a local women artists show. I was going to add labels on the snakes: war, world famine, foreclosures, etc. and also have her holding an apple - perhaps naming that one capitalism. I decided it was just far too serious art for little old me, but did play with my Medusa style lady anyway.

I'll be "out" for a while. We are taking Anni for a CAT scan and surgery...again. Keep your fingers, paws and hooves crossed!


kerrip said...

ooooooooh. Debbie, I love this technique, and your application of it. I don't know that I like it better than your pen work, but it's very different and I can't wait to see where you take it!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you have been busy. Of course, the most important thing I caught was the last line of the last entry (4/28). Has Anni had the surgery yet? I will definitely keep my fingers (and paws) crossed for her. BTW, I love the technique; it reminds me of reverse glass painting. I love the subject too. Medusa is so cool. -QK