Sunday, 24 June 2012

Natural History I

I've been on a brown paper frenzy lately. As stated in earlier posts I collect whatever bit of brown paper I can find to draw on later, and I've been putting some of the nicer pieces to 'good' use.
As you may or may not have guessed by now, I rather like animals. And drawing them is one of my favourite things to do.

Here are some of the more recent results of this hobby:

The Thylacine - one of my favourite animals, and unfortunately driven to extinction by Man just 80 odd years ago. Known also as the Tasmanian Tiger or Tasmanian Wolf because of it's dog-like appearance and the stripes on its back, it is actually related to neither. A marsupial, it's closest relative is the Tasmanian Devil.
(It's difficult to draw thylacines, as the only references anyone has to go by are a few very old, black and white, grainy photographs, or taxidermy specimens - most of which look like roadkill.)

Some smaller sketches of thylacine anatomy. They could open their jaws wider than almost any other known mammal, and could jump on their hind legs, similar to kangaroos. 

The Bongo. A rare tropical antelope native to various countries in Africa.

Cross Fox - an unusual partially melanistic colour variation of the Red Fox, once thought to be a separate species.

Common Genet - cat-like mammal, related to civets and similar species.

And that is all my 'brown paper animals' used up for now! More will follow eventually, though.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Needs More Beige.

I've suspected this for a long time.
I've thought it through late at night, questioned it, wondered if there was something wrong with me.
I've spent many hours struggling to change my ways by trying different things, different ways of doing things, but I always return to my old habits.

I can't deny it any longer. I must be true to myself.

I'm ready to admit it.


What the hell does that mean, you ask?
It means I have an obsession with making everything I draw beige. Like, seriously.
I can't help but add beige (I like to call it 'foxed' - the natural ageing process that causes paper to turn a faded coffee colour - but really, it's just beige, isn't it?) to everything. Even if I don't end up actually having a picture with a beige tint, I always at least TRY it.

It comes from my love of old papery things. Books, parchments, paintings. An old book can be about Pythagoras' Theorem for all I care - if it's an old hardback book with foxed pages I want it. Desperately. (And maybe part of the obsession comes from the word 'foxed'... maybe on some subconscious level I like coffee-coloured art because the word for it is based on my favourite animal?? Who knows.)

This isn't really a revelation of any great significance if you're familiar with my work, is it? It's probably been abundantly clear for many months that I have a tendency to nostalgia the hell out of my work. I was aware of it, of course, but I thought it high time I acknowledged it in human words.

Well now. Let's celebrate my officially coming out as a beigeaholic.


An illustration based on Aesop's Fable 'The Lion and the Mouse'.

Silly Greek Chimera character. These things always boggled my mind. A lion with a goat head just... stuck on its back. Plus a snake for a tail. No wonder it rampaged and destroyed things.

A trapeze artist sketch I decided to expand into a little vaguely 1920's poster-like picture.
No reference was used, so her anatomy is maybe a little off. I blame artistic license.

And finally, to finish off the decidedly beige and nostalgic theme of this post, have an internet meme I added a moustache to.
I call it 'Bitch Please Internet Meme with Moustache'.

Well, I think that's probably quite enough beige for today.
Hah! What am I talking about? One can never have enough beige!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Valle dei Templi

I went on holiday last week to Sicily, a proper relaxation holiday at a villa right on the south coast. It was the first real holiday I have had in about 6 years, as ill health has limited travel, but it was lovely to finally have a holiday like I used to as a kid, with a pool, sea and sun!

While it was mostly just an excuse to enjoy some sun, I was able to visit the Valle dei Templi at Agrigento, a beautiful collection of Ancient Greek architectural ruins scattered over a valley area. As of course may be evidenced by past blog posts, I adore Ancient Greek mythology, and I also adore the temples, and being able to walk around and get so close to such spectacularly intact examples of them was wonderful!

Temple of Juno

Temple of Concordia

Remnants of the Temple of Hercules

Remnants of the Temple of Castor and Pollux

I also did a few studies of the ruins - nothing of great detail:

Also did some teeny acrylic colour studies. No larger than 2 inches wide, so only rough and crudely-done. The blue sky is marker pen.

Also drew an olive tree. Just 'cause.

So, yes! I'm so glad I got to see those beautiful, yet sadly crumbling, structures. It was wonderful to walk through what would have been ancient streets.

And, yes, it's rekindled that obsession with Greek myths, as I'd anticipated. I knew the reprieve would only last a couple of weeks...