Guthrie’s Art Journal

Rabbit in a barrel
January 29, 2009, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Art, Drawing, Sketch | Tags:
rabbit in a barrel

What made me draw a rabbit in a burning barrel and then some hippie dude warming himself?

I kind of like the effect of the barrel rims they kind of make it recognisable, I remember a party we had with a fire in a barrel.

They get incredibly hot! In this case it was glowing red round the bottom rim. One of the guests we invited was concerned about the fact that we’d used refuse wood some of which had paint on it and that we might be poisoning our guests with the fumes.

I still don’t know why the rabbit is in the barrel…


The Embalmer
January 28, 2009, 8:37 pm
Filed under: Art, Drawing, Sketch | Tags:
the embalmer
The Embalmer

The short portly offsider to the funeral director, maybe?

I didn’t quite have as much time as I thought in the morning but it’s a start in the right direction.

I’m thinking the next stage is larger sketches and some research into 1900 century undertakers. Such a grim and mythologised profession.

The Funeral Director
January 27, 2009, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Art, Drawing, Illustration, Sketch | Tags:
the funeral director

More, more, more!

Sarah McIntyre was a real inspiration today. So I’m having another go at daily sketching action.

My funeral director was one of the random breakfast sketches from the last week or so but the sketching so far’s not been very regular an event.

Miss Kitten in fur
January 22, 2009, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Art, Costume life drawing, Drawing, Illustration | Tags:

Miss Kitten in fur
Originally uploaded by guthriejwatson

Colouring in action

So for the past couple of days I’ve been working on colouring in this piece.

This is just a section as it’s really too big for my little scanner phone camera’s aren’t really an art tool, at least not as far as I’m concerned, although I’ve ordered a cheap A3 scanner which maybe more accommodating!

I really like the furry gloves which I worked up with lots of pencil action. At last count I used 30 or so different coloured pencils for this drawing.

Amusingly enough Janet, at our tutorial pointed out that a lot of the work I like uses very little colour and is a lot darker than the last pieces I’ve been working on!

G is for Gruesome
January 20, 2009, 10:05 pm
Filed under: digital art, Illustration, Painter, painting, Photoshop, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

G is for gruesome
Originally uploaded by guthrie

So I’ve finally decided this piece is finished! I kind of need to move on and possibly I’ve learnt what I can. As a piece of illustration I think it succeeds in some ways and fails in others.

As an image I like the bold colours, maybe a little too much detail, although I did rub a lot of it back, simple composition, cute and horrific at the same time. As an alphabet letter I suspect it could be a little more overt but I decided I didn’t really want lettering on the piece so it’d need to be in the title of the piece. It could also be a bit more scary and darker.

So what was the process?

Well it took about three sketches to get the basic elements down and then the last of the pencil sketches was scanned into Photoshop.

I then manipulated it into a form that I could start to lay colour onto which meant cranking the contrast a bit and whiting out some of the paper texture from the background.

I’ve been reading a lot of concept art approaches in ImagineFX and combined that with my knowledge of digital print and my limited experience in traditional painting. Painter was the next stop.

This is my first bash at making something finished in Painter and really the first time I saw it’s real potential. I’ve had a Wacom tablet for years but just never really had the need or opportunity to do much with it.

First steps…

So I blocked the colour in using a lowerer res version of the image until all the basics were in place, then scaled it back up dropped a higher res version of the image back so I had a good sharp outline to work against for the details.

I might choose to do the colour blocking in Photoshop next time as it took ages to find a simple way to just dump lots of colour on an area without funny brush marks. It didn’t help that this is my first go at it.


Then I just started painting using different colour modes and layering, testing out as much as I could. I’m used to the principals from Photoshop although Painter has some of it’s own unique ways of dealing.


Brushes seem to work a lot more like traditional media which means it’s really good to have a clear idea how they work in the that mode before you try the digital version. Water colours, inks, impasto, pencils and pastels all have different digital surface properties and it’s a bit of a learning curve working out how to make the most effective use of them!

So what did I learn?

Well I can definitely see that there’s potential to go into the kind of work I really keen on but also it’s going to take a bit more time out from design work to spend on painting!

If I was happy just doing the kind of more stripped back illustration style like the Crimbo cards I could get away with a lot less time but the kind of imagery that I love Ray Caesar, Syd Mead, Glenn Brown (who I only just discovered after seeing him on the cover of the Tate mag – brilliant can’t wait for the exhibition!), Scott Robertson and Nick Pugh well it’s all really worked over and even a quick small image takes 20-30 hours so you can see where that’s all going!!

Janet had one very inspiring thing to say early on in the MA and that was she believed many illustrators set there goals a lot higher than what their tutors expected of them and she was always impressed by how many achieved those goals!

So here’s to reaching for the stars!

Crimbo cards
January 6, 2009, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Card, Drawing, Illustration | Tags: , ,

I decided to make all my Christmas cards by hand this year.

You can see more of them on Flickr what I started doing as a bit of a joke, namely the sock puppet illustrations became a set of stripped back Christmas icons.

I’ve used a the Christmas palette plus a few extra’s in small doses. The cat here is a clear example, the hat’s always red, a little bit of line shading, and in this one unlike the others a cynical comment. No cat wants to be dressed in a Santa hat, that’s just demeaning to their proud sophisticated nature so I’ve tried to play on that a bit.

I tried to experiment a little, even thought these were essentially done as one shots. There’s no sketching on the cards just straight into it with the pens and texta – although I did some in my diary and sketch books to test out ideas. It’s all really fast turn around stuff.

Eventually I figured out that if I was going to finish enough for immediate friends and family I had to do sets of repeated designs. So there are about 8 different ones including two one offs that I did early on. I figured I could speed up the production if I drew 3-4 of each type at a time drawing just the lines, then each colour separately. The ink/texta pens could then dry between colours and avoid damaging the light colours with the darker tones.

All in all a successful trial. Funny too because I really just thought it was a quick, and for me, cheapish way of making some interesting cards. I had moments of thinking they were just too childish and kind of silly so the response on Christmas morning with 15 or so family all commenting on them was a surprise.

On a more critical not I felt that some of them are not as good as they could be in terms of line work and colour choices, the darker shading really was too much especially on some of the mooses. I probably lost about 5-6 cards out of 50 or so that I attempted as they just weren’t on the mark in being part of the family of cards.

I kind of enjoy this card making although it doesn’t really feel like I’m making art but then again it’s definitely not the sort of twee cards by numbers that you see sold as DIY packs in WHSmith or Paperchase.

Sock it too me – iProposal!
January 6, 2009, 7:29 pm
Filed under: Art, Drawing, Illustration, Sketch | Tags: , ,

Sock Rights Now!After arriving late and not really liking a lot of Ann’s work I had thought that the informal tutorial afterwards was going to be short lived and not terribly productive, but I was oh so wrong.

While the drawings for Ann’s film were what I feel is some of her more interesting images, the powerpoint slide show with music and sound effects wasn’t doing it for me. I don’t know why visual artists insist on making such awful, conceptual and ultimately dull film work. I’m not a fan of Warhols films or art school experimental film having rarely seen anything that actually delivers on it’s promise. Film is vastly different in some respects to still imagery even narrative illustration and I’m not convinced that because one can paint well, one can be a film maker.

In Ann’s own words ‘why not stick to what your really good at’. Sorry no offence but why make film when you seem to have a perfectly good career in still images.

Yes I have a bit of a thing against sticking some sequential still images to music and calling it a film!

Moving on… Ann is however very good at picking out what is going on for students with there projects! Both challenging and insightful with a real talent for seeing what’s working and what’s not. So much thanks to her for that.

From Gadsocks collection of sock puppet portraits.

I did take on her idea about turning my series of bestiary images into an actual book. The only concern for me is that it’s a lot to achieve given that I don’t yet have an illustrative style worked out, but I do on the other hand have two years in which to do such a thing.

So I’ve added it to the list!

C is for chopsticks