Mittwoch, 6. August 2014


Marf Productions - Monthly Challenge August

Another month, another challenge. Just as in July Maren an me will draw our inspiration from the quite brilliant Marco Mazzoni (July challenge blogpost here).

This time we'll try working with ink and coloured pencil as in this example illustration.
During the last few weeks Maren and me tried to figure out how Mazzoni is actually working on these illustrations and decided that he's probably doing a rough monochromatic ink drawing to block in the tonal levels and uses coloured pencils for details and colour.
That's at least how I will approach this month's challenge.

Pictures and working progress will follow when I finally have a sound concept …


This month I had quite some difficulties to come up with a concept I liked and felt 'right' for the challenge. I started to flesh out at least 3 concepts and started two illustrations just to decide that they didn't fit the medium or were wasted on this challenge.
So, slowly panicking because every idea I had come up with so far didn't go anywhere, I decided to flip through my sketchbooks, trying to find an older concept that would work.
I stumbled over this:

Based on Florence and the Machine's song Rabbit Heart I had already done some sketches in the beginning of this year, trying to find a way to fuse a girl with a rabbit, combining fear and the fleeing motion.
For this challenge I decided to keep things a bit simpler and more portrait-like. So, sketch book time.

Granted, I did not cover too much ground work with this one (Although you can see how I already thought about combining the picture, that I wanted to be compact and icon-like, with some typo.) and settled relatively quickly on the last one (bottom right corner), which is basically still the initial sketch with added hands to follow the heart shape. (Yes. Heart shape. This illustration is definitely not subtle …) 

Usually I would go looking for/create references at this step, but in this case I simply didn't feel in the mood. I had a mirror for the hands and face, the rest is from memory (I drew a lot of hares lately. So it's not really surprising that the rabbit doesn't look that much like a rabbit. Anyways …).
(This is just me being lazy. In most cases a good reference is invaluable. So don't be me and do the extra step :))

Okay, pencil drawing on the backside of some hot pressed water colour paper (Yes, I buy hot pressed paper and end up drawing on the backside because it still has the smoother surface (I think it's just this brand (lanaquarelle. Fabriano hot pressed paper is pretty smooth) though. Great.).

At this point the illustration reminds me of stuff I might have come up with when I was 13 or 14.  I did severy pictures just titled 'fear'. This one is definitely reminiscent of that. (As mentioned before, this illustration is not especially subtle.)

Things are speeding up now. I shade the drawing with sepia ink and lay down the basic tonal values. 
Her hair and the rabbit are supposed to stand in contrast to her skin, so they get a lot more ink layers applied than her face and hands, which will be mostly rendered with coloured pencils.

Speaking of coloured pencils … I want her skin to be really light, near translucent, so I only shade and add values with a dark brown pencil and then add red to the areas that are supplied heavier with blood (nose and knuckles) and her eyes because they are supposed to look sore and raw (Imagine her crying for hours). Too much red around the eyes usually make them look unhealthy and swollen, so keep that in mind. 
As a second colour I add a bluegreen that a) responds well to the red and b) reminds me of the bluish blood vessels. 
While working I become aware that the bluegreen and the red cancel each other optically (They just seem grayish when viewed from a bit farther away), so I react to that and occasionally deepen either the red or the blue green (This comes rather natural. You look at the picture, realize there's something missing and add colour.).

Finished so far. For the hair I used the same dark brown pencil for shading and sometimes added green and red as shadow colours. Afterwards I 'glossed' everything over with a light brown pencil to bring everything together. 

And the digital version. I duplicate the layer of the drawing and set it to multiply. Playing around with the opacity that usually adds some impact to coloured pencil drawings. (You can also try blurring the duplicated layer to soften everything a bit.)

I'm still thinking about adding some handwritten typo to the drawing. So we'll see. I still have some time until next month :)