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

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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

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NZ Natural History Artist #2: Piers Hayman

Natural-history-series-button

This months Natural History Artist is Piers Hayman. I first heard about him through New Zealand Bird Rescue, a charitable trust of which he was a founding member (then the NZ Wildlife Rehabilitation Trust). Originally from England, and trained as a graphic designer, he emigrated to New Zealand in the early 80’s.

discovering-the-birds-of-nz-takahe

He has done numerous beautiful illustrations of New Zealand Birds, and has written and illustrated numerous books on NZ wildlife- two of the most well-known books being ‘Discovering the Birds of New Zealand and ‘The Bird Next Door’. He was a regular contributor to the New Zealand Herald where he wrote and illustrated a weekly column about birds, a clipping from one of his columns from 1985 is below:

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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.

kaka-air-nz

 

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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:

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#progress #bird

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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

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!

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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

from india ink to (digital) colour

since the last post about what I’d learnt about digital illustration techniques, I have been trialing the “new” method of colouring ink-wash paintings in photoshop (described at the end of that post).

Here are a couple of inktober illustrations that I coloured in photoshop, using the watercolour brush from Kyle T Webster.

toucan_coloured

 

toucamn-two-coloured

toucan_coloured-digitally

 

I had so much trouble using the watercolour brush because it was lagging so far behind my mouse pointer, but then I figured out that I hadn’t down-sampled the resolution of the B+W image after I tidied it up (I always scan at 1200dpi for B+W)- so if you are a total newbie like me and that happens to you, just place your high res tiff image into a lower resolution PSD file and you shouldn’t have any problems with the brush!! 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a few chalkboard lettering pics I have posted. Next time I’ll be sharing a quick how-to on how I made my chalkboard- so check back at the end of the week if that interests you!

emma

illustration book finds- october edition

Its been a little while since I’ve done a second-hand book finds post (the last one was in March)- and I’ve found quite a few lovely illustrated books over the last couple of months so I thought it was time for another round-up post.

I found all of these books at my local $1 book sale, which is run to raise money for the Lion Foundation. It is a treasure trove for people who love books- especially old ones 😉 Most of the books mentioned below are full of wildlife illustration, but I also find lots of art instructional books (too many to post about now!).

Here are my favourite finds of late….

Town Birds in New Zealand by Raymond Wilson, 1980

townbirds-in-nz_raymond-wilson-cover

townbirds-in-nz_raymond-wilson-rosella

 

Rosella

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Puriri Moth Project Pt.3 – the poster

or perhaps I should have called it ‘the mock-up poster’ because this was sort of a quickly put together version of my puriri moth lifecycle for a portfolio submission. I’d like to add to it by doing a fully painted background at some point and adding in text of course.

puririmoth-poster-mock-up

the tree+backgrounds to the various larval stages are watercolour+coloured pencil, the insects themselves are coloured pencil only.

Its Puriri Moth season again in NZ- I’ve only seen one this year though- much less than last year!

You can see part one and part two of this project by following the links 🙂

emma

baby crocodiles in watercolour

I hope your weekend has got off to a great start!

Today I’m posting a painting I finished last week of baby saltwater crocodiles hatching from their nest. It was inspired by a story on the saltwater crocodiles life cycle that I read- and I left the upper corner empty to suggest a space for text in a book spread.

crocodile-creche

Mediums used: W&N cotman watercolours and Pebeo Gouache (covering white) for highlights.

I tried out splattering the background with watercolour to get a dirt-like effect and after I was done realised that I’d splattered tiny paint drops all over my walls…oops. Lucky it was an easy clean up!

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Don’t forget- you have until Monday 5pm (NZ time- Midnight Sunday EST) to enter the skillshare giveaway for 1 months premium membership! There are only 2 entries so far so you’re chances of winning are high if you enter 🙂 The classes are really awesome- lots of new ones have recently been added including Vintage Hand lettering by Mary Kate McDevitt and Drawing Daily Monsters by Stefan G. Bucher- which I am really keen to do. Get your entries in!!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,

emma