NZ Natural History Artist #1: Bruce Harvey

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On my recent trip up north to Russell, we made a stop along the way at Waipu, where they were having an antiques show. They had all sorts of fascinating things- old books, fountain pens, sewing machines, vintage postcards… but what caught my eye were these vintage Air New Zealand menus, because of the beautiful bird illustrations on the covers. I bought a couple for a few dollars each, and have framed them (in some repurposed frames from the op shop). It turns out the illustrations were done by NZ artist Bruce Harvey (one of the best known NZ artists of birds), between the years 1976-79.

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weka watercolour

here is a watercolour painting I just finished yesterday- it is of a North Island Weka (Gallirallus australis greyi), like the ones that I managed to sketch and photograph on a recent trip to Russell.

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and some progress pics from my instagram:

#progress #bird

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Slowly making progress #art #bird #illustration #scientific illustration #weka #vscocam

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I have heard that the North Island Weka is more endangered than the Kiwi- so a pretty special thing to see in real life!

I used a limited palette (the majority of the bird is just painted with ultramarine blue+ burnt sienna- my favourite combo!) and tried out some new-to-me watercolour paper- plain hotpress Fabriano paper (the paper itself didn’t have a name) which was pretty good but hard to remove mistakes without ruining the paper, which I guess is to be expected from a cheaper paper!

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I also just wanted to mention an interesting interview I listened to on the weekend by Nick Patton (from the Picturebooking podcast), who interviewed Katherine Roy– an illustrator of kids natural history picture books. Its a really interesting listen for anyone who is interested in the intersection of science, art and childrens books. Check it out here.

Till next time!

emma

digitizing calligraphy skillshare class review + free card to download

hi everyone! blogging has been pretty slow over the last few weeks as I have been busy with a few projects- I’ll share what I can here soon! In the meantime, I recently did Molly Suber Thorpe’s online skillshare class- “Digitizing Calligraphy- from sketch to vector” and thought I’d post a quick review for anyone who might be interested in doing the class or learning more about taking traditional lettering into digital format.

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sketches from russell

I recently came back from a 5 day trip to Russell (in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand) which was a lot of fun.

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the view from the main street in russell

 Here are some of the sketches I made on the trip! I was aiming to fill the whole sketchbook I made, but ended up with a sketch-a-day…

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sketches of abby, and the weka that live on the campground where we stayed

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the campground set in bush that is kiwi and weka habitat- the weka are very curious and like to investigate the tents and pinch food. They were also really fast and difficult to sketch!

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unfinished sketch- view of the campground from the nearby mangroves

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The sketchbook I used was a repurposed hard back book that had been withdrawn from the library I work at. I refilled it with my new favourite paper- Lana Dessin drawing paper (which is only $3 for a large sheet- enough to fill this book!). Its great because its 220gsm and you can also use watercolour on it easily.

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I brought a small watercolour travel set, my waterbrush and other drawing supplies (pencils+pens)- all kept in a click-clack container to stop them getting water damage etc.

Next time I’ll have many more pages left to fill!

till next time,

emma

rock pigeon- ink to digital process

here is the work in progress of a small illustration I did as a secret-santa gift for someone who loves pigeons. It was rendered in ink and then coloured digitally (same process as described here):

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/ initial sketch – I wanted to originally make the pigeon a (punk) rock pigeon but as you see that didn’t quite end up that way! /

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52 weeks of hand lettering

Sometimes I feel like there are so many different things I want to try and work on and have trouble focussing on just one thing to get better at it. While I have goals for all the different areas of illustration that interest me (children’s book, scientific, lettering, animation) it seems there just isn’t enough time to devote to all the areas consistently to get better at any of them. I think my major focus for this year will be to keep working on improving my basic drawing skills and developing more of a natural history + scientific illustration portfolio, but with a focus on communicating scientific concepts + research to children. Of course, I really want to keep all the other areas going as well! With that in mind, I thought it would also be fun to have a lettering goal for the year. It had to be relatively easy to achieve ( why I chose 1 per week instead of every day!) and low-pressure (ie it doesn’t matter if its not perfect- just to have fun!).

Here are my first two of the year- both took about 30mins, using tombow brush pens.

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2014- a year in review

well, its the end of another year! 2014 was the first year where I decided to really try to focus on illustration- I did the scientific illustration course, created a stop-motion animation that was science based, and developed a portfolio-which I submitted to a publisher. In the last month I also did my first market (selling cards and prints that I printed myself- a learning curve as well). Its been busy but I feel like the busier it got, the easier it was to create work and I feel like I started to definitely get into a stride of creating art consistently and regularly in the last few months of this year- something I have previously struggled with.

I also discovered a technique that I really like for doing picture book-style illustrations, and am excited to play around with that some more in 2015.

2014SummaryofArt

 

I saw this around tumblr in the past week and thought it would be a fun thing to do- you can find the original template here, and make one for yourself!

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merry christmas!

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pohutukawa- the new zealand christmas tree

 

wishing you (and your families) best wishes for the festive season! 

Its been a crazy few weeks in the lead up to christmas- as a result sadly no blog giveaway- as I alluded to in my last post– will be happening for christmas this year…

BUT, if you’re still in a gift-wrapping mood- here are my gift tags that you can download for free (here are the instructions from last year-including make your own stamped gift wrap!).

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I have spotted a number of my favourite artist/illustrators offering free gift tag downloads, so check these out for some beautiful decorations for your gifts:

Oana Befort

Phoebe Wahl

Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn (beautiful small sheets of wrapping paper to print!)

and

Meg Hunt (one of the 18 designs found at this link)

I’ll be taking a break over the next couple of weeks from posting, but will have a 2014 round up post later in the week.

Best wishes + have a merry christmas!

emma

natures ghosts animation

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember the short film I “drew” for my sisters university assignment, just over a year ago. This small project made me realise the huge number of possibilities and ideas that could be brought to life through combining illustration, film and animation. Stop motion animation is something I’m really interested in, and I had the idea to perhaps do some biology and conservation based short animations, but hadn’t gotten around to doing anything yet.

Then earlier this year, I saw an advertisement for the Outlook for Someday film competition, which is to encourage film making specifically regarding sustainability, for young people. I thought it would the perfect competition to enter (and my last opportunity- next year I will be too old!) as it combined film (stop-motion animation in my case) with conservation. So I made a short stop-motion animated film on the subject of ecology and sustainability, using coloured paper cut-outs and live action drawing, and entered it. I found out a few weeks ago that my film was selected for the Department of Conservation Big Picture Award- and we got to attend the amazing awards ceremony last week.

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Here is the film- I called it Nature’s Ghosts because it is about the huge loss of species the earth is currently experiencing as a result of mans’ influence. It was created using a borrowed ipad and a basic stop motion app, then edited using Photoshop CS5 and Corel Video Studio, and my  sister kindly did the voice-over (recorded on the ipad using garageband).

Natures Ghosts from The Outlook for Someday on Vimeo.

The other films in the competition were amazing, a combination of animated films and real-life documentaries, and it was great to meet the other film makers on the night. You can check out the other films here. The overall winning film was this documentary ‘To the Rescue’ by Mason Cade Packer– an amazing film about food wastage and the charities that work to ‘rescue’ food and bring it to the people that need it.

I can’t wait to make some more biology/conservation animations. There are definitely things I would like to improve on next time and I am hoping to write up some more short films to animate in the new year. Thank you very much to the Outlook for Someday team that created such an awesome event and competition. If you or someone you know is into film and is under 24 years old, encourage them to enter next year– its an awesome thing to get involved in!

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I’ll be back later this week with some more posts and am hoping to do a blog giveaway before Christmas gets here!

emma