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.

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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.

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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

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

NZ Natural History Artist #1: Bruce Harvey

Natural-history-series-button

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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Continue reading “NZ Natural History Artist #1: Bruce Harvey”

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

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.

week1--thoreau030

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week2--freedom029

Continue reading “52 weeks of hand lettering”

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!

Continue reading “2014- a year in review”

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!).

tagfront merryxmas

 

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

illustrations at ponsonby craft market (tomorrow)

Hi!

Just a quick note to say I’ll be at the Ponsonby Craft Market, at Studio One  (the old ArtStation), selling some cards and prints, as well as some hand bound mini sketchbooks tomorrow!

wildlifeprints+cards-web

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I have designed two Christmas cards for this year and will be selling them tomorrow as well….

handbound-mini-sketchbooks-web

the sketchbooks are a new design- with magpie moths printed onto the covers with pigment inks!

Making all the stock for the market has taken a lot of time over the last couple of weeks- hence the relative quiet here on the blog- should be back to regular scheduling next week!

Hope to see you tomorrow if you are in the Auckland area! please note- cash sales only on the day 🙂

If you can’t make it, I am planning on launching my Etsy shop before the end of this year.

Have a great weekend!

emma

how-to: make a chalkboard (for hand-lettering!)

to make all your hand lettering dreams come true! (<–or something like that).

A couple of weeks ago I made up my own chalkboard to practice with as I was lucky enough to be asked to do some chalkboard hand-lettering for an event (you may have seen some of the photos of my practice I posted on instagram). I used to do the chalkboards every week at the bakery I used to work at, but have never done anything like this before so I was super-excited but also super-nervous! Hence the practice board.

SO, without further ado, here is what I did…

Quick Guide to making a Chalkboard (for hand-lettering practice)

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Continue reading “how-to: make a chalkboard (for hand-lettering!)”