Sunday, 10 May 2015

Putting the boot in... ?

Today it was time to turn the various sketches into a picture.  My first task was to make a composite, I used Craft Artist Pro, as it has a super easy cut out element to its photo lab.  A couple of clicks and I had all my elements cut out and ready to position.  The beauty of this was that I could also resize things. I had used the Kindle to HD the photo of the boots.  So after about half an hour I was happy with my layout, time to add the grid using the grid tool (click on it to link to it).   It is so easy to use,  simply upload your photo, apply the grid, choose how many squares you want, what colour the lines should be and that's it.   Simples?    Next...  a sausage butty,  take a couple of sausages, grill them,  cut two slices of bread, lightly toast,  a good dollop of ketchup, eat!

Right, next... I got a piece of smooth paper,  drew my grid and completed the sketch.  I'm not worried about it being exact at this stage,  just need the various components in the right place, they can be tidied up later.  This stage took about 45 minutes,  not too much erasing, you can damage the paper and cause the coloured pencils to jar on the paper.   With that complete it was time for a cuppa...   and feeding time for Harvey.   I was happy with my sketch, and ready to start the colouring. I got out my coloured pencils,  Faber Castell Polychromos,  an oil based pencil.  They have a good depth of colour,  any pencil needs to be super sharp.  So alongside my pencils is my manual pencil sharpener,  it doesn't have blades but to rotating grinding tools, but the pencils come out sharp.  A good piece of kit to invest in, as is a good eraser.  I use a few, a pencil type eraser for fine erasing,and a normal type eraser. 

Now the colouring begins.  First I have to note where the light hits the boot,  I use a cool, dark grey as a base colour, then add some black and indigo blue.   I leave the highlights in grey,  it is a nervous time, because at the start of the picture it look very amateurish.  You have to trust that as you add more colour the definition will show through.    This is needs super sharp pencils, some of the highlights are thin,  a sharp pencil is essential to get that effect.    I use an ivory,  white or cool light grey to help blend the colours.    You also need to watch the direction of the pencil strokes, these will define the shape of the boot.  All this takes time, and you can become down-hearted as it looks like nothing to begin with.  But as you keep adding more layers, suddenly it starts to come to life.  You have to watch also for stray bits breaking off the pencils, they will ruin the look if left.   

I stopped at this point,  part way through colouring the second boot, and adding some of the 'blood'.   One boot is semi complete, still needs some work.   Using pencils takes far longer than paint,   you need to build up the layers, and then blend them.  I'm also considering what should be in the background, possibly a flag, I'm not sure yet. 

I was tired by this point,  a sure sign that I need to stop. This will take me the rest of the week to complete.   I've learned not to rush these pictures, if you do then you ruin them.   There does come a moment when suddenly they 'pop' which is quite magical.   I feel that I am connecting with my work, far more so than I ever did with my paper craft, or mixed media work.  I've not yet decided on a title for this piece.  That will happen when it is complete. 

Well I had quite a rant yesterday about the election.  I have no regrets about my rant.   It felt good to lay it all bare.   I used to worry about what others would think, but I've come to realise that I am entitled to my opinion,  even if others don't agree with it.   That is called democracy,  I once heard a woman at Speakers Corner, describe democracy as dangerous.  She was right,  she was from the Baltic states,  so unused to such free speech.   There are some supporters of a certain party in the UK who need to learn what democracy is all about,  and that them shouting others down because they don't like their opinion is what the likes of Russia and China indulge in, ruling by fear.   This is the UK,  a country where we celebrate freedom of speech, lets keep it that way.

Have a good week all.

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