In my quest to explore some possible new directions in my art I’ve been taking an online class called ‘Stretching’ with the Sketchbook Skool group (and yes they do know how to spell school). Each week a different artist shows you their work, what materials they use and encourages you to try different approaches to making art. As I am still convalescing this is a great opportunity to put aside ‘work’ for the time being and try something new.
So far I’ve really taken to a technique proposed by the ‘mobile illustrator’ Lapin, a French artist who lives in Barcelona. In his exercise he suggests that you draw a portrait where the head of the person (or in this case my cat) dominates the page and the rest of the body is squeezed into the remaining space by whatever means possible. Distortion is encouraged! One other thing, he prefers to make these drawings using a limited palette of pen and ink and three watercolours, Yellow Ochre, Prussian Blue and Alizarin Crimson. You can blend the colours or use them as they come. In this first drawing I used French Ultramarine instead of Prussian blue and I did add lemon yellow for her eyes.
I really liked the result I got so the next evening I had another go. This time I did use Prussian Blue, but I find it a bit of a thug in the watercolour palette so my preference is to stick to French Ultramarine.
This is my favourite portrait so far. It has captured the serious side of our cat. I would also emphasise that these portraits are not intended to be cariacatures, but are meant to draw the viewers attention to the face.
My final sketch did end up looking rather more comical thanI intended. I didn’t get the proportion of the head quite right so this does have a cartoonish feel about it. Of course my cat does have a lighter side anyway.