Five ways to prepare for #INKTOBER success

Are you taking part in Inktober this year? Theres just ONE WEEK left till the start of October, so I thought now would be a good time to post a few ideas to prep for Inktober success.

NOTE: Its worth noting that I have never actually COMPLETED an Inktober- however this year I am determined to complete the challenge, and I’m hoping doing these things will help achieve that. Hopefully they help you too!

1. Collect some inspiration/references
Start to collect some visual reference and look at ink artists that you admire for inspiration. Collecting in a pinterest board helps to pull together a variety of references.

Study your favourite artists ink technique and style, and see if there’s anything you’d like to try out technique-wise this year.

2. Create a theme and plan it out

  • Work out and plan what you are going to draw for the month. This could be a general theme, a specific prompt for each day of the month or using the month to work on a series of images that contribute toward a larger project.
    Having an idea of what you are going to draw each day will save time and make it easier to get started. This was a major hurdle for me in the past, so this year I am spending time planning it out well in advance. If you’d like prompts, Jake Parker has created an official list for this year!

  • I’m going an extra step and doing rough thumbnails in advance so I will have something to draw when it gets busy!! And I don’t have an excuse not to do it.
    I’m not sure if this is strictly within the ‘rules’ of Inktober, but I have decided to do this in order to stick to the challenge.

3. Gather your supplies.

This must be the easiest step! Inktober might be a good time to try out some new supplies and techniques. Prep some paper and ink supplies in advance so you are all ready to go on the 1st of October.

Current favourite pens are ZIG Mangaka flexible pen in black, a cheap Luxor fountain pen and my old secondhand technical pens (shown here is a Staedtler Marsmatic 700- a great pen!).
For paper I really like Zeta paper from Gordon Harris.

SUPPLIES_IMG_0306

4. Practice your technique:

Practice with your brush or pen, and different papers to find a combination you like and start to feel comfortable with. Inktober is a good time to perfect your technique, but having a bit of experience under your belt will help you to jump straight in to your first drawing with some confidence.

Some useful technique resources:

Rendering in Pen and Ink by Arthur Guptill
How to Ink, class on SVS Learn
The Technical Pen by Gary Simmons (great if you use traditional technical pens, such as Rotring or Rapidograph)
Any books by Claudia Nice, especially this one.

inktober-example
trying out ink techniques in a previous inktober challenge

5. Plan a regular daily routine where you have time to draw.

This was one of the main tips Jake Parker mentioned in this video.
I’m planning to wake up early in the morning in order to squeeze in some extra time to complete the daily drawings


+AN EXTRA TIP!

Don’t expect too much from your drawings. I think its important to not put too much into the end result of each illustration- they don’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to post them online if you don’t feel comfortable doing so (though if you do- don’t forget to tag #Inktober and #Inktober2017)

I hope these tips help you- I’d love to know if you are taking part in Inktober, and if so, have you made any plans of what you are going to be drawing?

For more info check out the official website: http://inktober.com/

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the last year

Its been a very long time since I last updated this blog (I’ve been more active on instagram over the last year) but I’ve been wanting to revive the blog for a while- now that postgrad study is complete, I thought I’d give it another go!

So… the last year has been a pretty busy one (hence no posting). Here’s an update on some of the projects I had the opportunity to work on:

Last year was spent studying hard to get postgrad qualifications in illustration, specifically medical illustration. What an amazing year- it was a huge learning curve, but at the same time, it went super fast. I was lucky enough to work in the Design for Health and Wellbeing Lab (a design for health studio based in Auckland City Hospital) to carry out my illustration honours project. Here is a post about my research project (and in more detail here).

Resin model of the heart, airbrushed- 2016 (created as part of my research project ‘Modality in Medical Illustration’)

I might do a more in depth post about my research and some of the interesting things that came out of it at some point.

Alongside studying, I was lucky enough to work on a really fun illustration project with entomologist Leilani Walker, illustrating 52 native New Zealand insects (and designing packaging) for the Insects of New Zealand Playing Cards. You can read more about the process for making these illustrations here. It was such an awesome project to be involved in, (probably the biggest and longest lasting illustration collaborations I have worked on) and the support for the cards now they have been released into the wild has been great- in fact, we have just released the second edition last month!

Illustration done as part of research project ‘Modality in Medical Illustration’. Shows normal flexion of a young child’s foot

Since I completed my studies I have been transitioning into freelance illustration work. While I had been doing freelance projects for the last couple of years, treating it as a serious full-time business and actually calling myself an ‘illustrator’ has been a big step. Lots more learning and developing processes of working (and administration!), plus a newly designed website, which you can see here, and a sparkly new Etsy store too!
Both still a work in progress. I’ll start posting more about some of the projects I HAVE worked on soon. Next time, back into regular posting with something (hopefully) a bit more interesting 🙂

If there’s anyone out there reading this, thanks if you are still following this blog- I appreciate it!

Emma

Kahukura (red admiral) illustrations #tereo

Just quickly popping in to say hi and share these beautiful illustrations by Cliff Whiting from the maori childrens book Pūrerehua (Kahukura) by Hirini Melbourne, which is about the life cycle of the NZ Red Admiral. I thought it was quite fitting to share these today as we come to the end of Te wiki o te Reo Maori (Maori Language Week) here in NZ!! Kahukura-Hirini-Melbourne+Cliff-Whiting-05

Kahukura-Hirini-Melbourne+Cliff-Whiting-02
‘Lands, lands, on a stinging nettle’ | ‘It lays eggs; one, two, three, four’
Kahukura-Hirini-Melbourne+Cliff-Whiting-03
‘Wriggles and squirms and out pops four caterpillars’ | ‘Eat. eat, eat the leaves are gone, they are hanging dangling by one end’ 
Kahukura-Hirini-Melbourne+Cliff-Whiting-01
‘Butterfly flying on the wind. Fluttering wings, flying in the wind’ | ‘Go higher, reach the highest point, fluttering wings, flying on’ 

Images from: Melbourne, H., Whiting, Cliff, & New Zealand. School Publications Branch. (1979). Pūrerehua (Kahukura)(Purapura. Pīngao. A). Wellington, N.Z.]: Te Rōpu Whakamahipukapukakura.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

emma

Learning by copying

I have been using pen and ink a lot more lately (and am growing to really like it), but there are still things I find difficult, especially when it comes to executing certain very precise ink ‘styles’ required for scientific illustration (loose pen and ink work is a whole ‘nother board game!!). I think that’s where copying comes in handy. Taking an image in the style you are wanting to learn, enlarging it (so the lines are approximate to the original inked size) and then taping acetate film over the photocopy and copying the original drawing is a great learning exercise. I have found that trying to get all the nuances of the line and details the same as the original illustrator did in their illustration is a huge help in learning the muscle-memory required to execute the technique (or something similar) on your own work.

Here is an illustration of a Marginella pygmaea shell from Henry Suters ‘Manual of the New Zealand Mollusca‘. The original illustration is much reduced in the published work, so that the stippling is hardly visible (and the dots tend to merge).

suter-atlas-stipple009

Continue reading “Learning by copying”

Seals of New Zealand- free colouring sheet

I posted earlier this week on instagram that I would be releasing this ‘Seals of New Zealand’ colouring-in sheet as a free download on the blog- and finally its ready!

Equipment used: inked with a Hunt dip pen and detailed with Rapidograph isograph pens + Pigma micron. 

I thought it might be quite a fun and useful educational resource , as I don’t think the species of seals we have in New Zealand is very well known to the majority of people (myself included before doing this little project). SEALSofNZ-COLSHEET-final

Continue reading “Seals of New Zealand- free colouring sheet”

chromacon 2015 in review

As I mentioned in my last post, a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend Chromacon indie arts festival, and the associated Chromaconnect creative industry summit (as a result of winning tickets through Design Assembly blog), that was held at Aotea Centre, Auckland. I had been looking forward to the event for weeks, and it turned out being even better than I had imagined.

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The talks from illustration and animation industry pros (such as J.A.W Cooper and Paul Tobin from WETA Workshop) were so inspiring and I took loads of notes and came away feeling more motivated about the industry. I thought I would use this post to distill down the major ideas and take-aways I got from the day. Throughout the day I was able to attend talks by the amazing J.A.W Cooper, Wenna, Laura Dubuk (Weta Workshop), Paul Tobin (also Weta) and Jacky Ke Jiang– which all approached different topics and were fascinating to listen to.

After the event, I jotted down some major themes or takeaways I got from the day, and thought they might be useful to other people who are aspiring illustrators!

Continue reading “chromacon 2015 in review”

illustration friday: WARRIOR

this weeks challenge prompt for Illustration Friday was WARRIOR.

Here is what I came up with:

warrior-coloured-ver
inked and then digitally coloured

and a close up:

warrior-coloured-CU

It is loosely based on a few stories I read in a book about the cultural history of NZ birds- the New Zealand eagle (which was the largest known bird of prey, with a wingspan of up to 2.4m) was written throughout Maori myth and legend as a dangerous bird that preyed upon humans, and was also seen as a bad omen. In this drawing I tried to imagine children re-enacting the myths of warriors who fought against these giant birds of prey.

Here is the colour palette I used:

warrior-colour-palette
you can get the PSD file for this gamut mapper from deviantart!

hope you are all having a great weekend! Check back mid-week for another installment of NZ natural history artist- this weeks artist is Piers Hayman, an ornithological artist who did some really amazing work. Till next time! emma

the process of a scientific illustration

Here are some in progress and final illustrations from a recent project I worked on for Leilani Walker, who is studying Cambridgea foliata (NZ’s largest species of sheetweb spider) for her PhD at the University of Auckland.

Starting with sketches, here is my initial concept sketch for one of the illustrations:

first sketch concept of two spiders fighting
first sketch concept of two spiders fighting

then the revised sketch after some valuable feedback, changing the leg joint angles and body positioning relative to the web:

cambridgea-grappling-sketchv2

Once approved, here is the basic inked version (inked by hand):

cambridgea_grappling_basic-1

I then added in the back legs, which were inked on a seperate piece of mylar, and adjusted to a lower opacity in photoshop. The stippling was added last, also digitally:

Cambridgea_Grappling_final

A similar process was applied for the other behavioural interaction illustration, showing initial ‘no contact’ between the two spiders. Here is the final:

Cambridgea_NoContact_final

In real life, these images show the spiders upside-down- that is, they hang from the web as they carry out these interactions!

It was a pretty fun project to work on, and it was interesting to be able to combine digital and traditional inking to get the final product.

If you want to find out more about Leilani’s research, please check out her blog.

Till next time!

emma

All images copyright E. Scheltema 2015. Please respect my client (these illustrations are part of their research) and do not copy or use any of these images without permission. If you are interested in commissioning work or collaborating on a project like this please contact me 

the 100 days project – sketch-booking!

On April 6th an interesting challenge starts- #The100DaysProject, run by ElleLuna and The Great Discontent.

Quoted from the website:

It’s a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making.

– The Great Discontent

You choose one creative thing to do everyday for 100 days- from April 6th to July 14th, and post your results on social media.

I have never done a challenge that lasted so long, the longest was probably last years Inktober– and to be honest I did not create something every day.

Continue reading “the 100 days project – sketch-booking!”

illustration friday: OUTSIDE

here is my first illustration friday (that’s met the deadline) since sometime last year!

OUTSIDE

The theme is OUTSIDE.

graphite and digital colour

I had fun playing with the colour palette on this one. I am trying to map out colour gamut’s (as outlined in James Gurney’s wonderful book ‘Color and Light‘), using a YRMBY colour wheel and then setting up a limited colour palette before I start work on a digitally coloured piece. It certainly will take some more practice but is turning out to be pretty fun to learn about- even if I’m not quite there yet!

I recommend the following tutorials if you are interested in finding out more (short of reading the book!):

This video is the best explanation from James Gurney himself.

* Instructable on digital colour gamut mapping

* Zoe Piel’s informative video on selecting a limited colour palette in PS

and of course information from Gurney Journey:

Gamut Masking Method Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

I can’t wait to keep developing this colour idea.

Happy Easter everyone!

emma