In sort of a limbo

  • Two more pages from my sketchbook. I'm trying to explore more, but still staying within a theme. Somehow I'm hoping this will loosen me up some, when there is no constraints. And like the last page, I decided to use a charcoal pencil rather than my technical pencil - this keeps me from getting too detailed so that i can explore the shapes more.

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    This is really unstructured, and I do cringe a little looking at these pages. But somehow I got a bit closer to getting to know my mermaid character. I'd like her to be at bit "faceless" or have limited facial features. I don't want her face to read any emotions, so I need her to have very little to no expression. I want to hint to eye sockets, perhaps some nostrils and a mouth, but I still haven't figured out the face shape in profile yet. I would like the impact of my final piece to be in the elements interacting, and I feel that a neutral expression in the character(s) will aid that.

    So far my mermaid faces look very mask-like, or alien. I am very far from any compositional decisions, but I am still enjoying this, so my year is off to a good start 🙂

    Oh, and there is also a lot of random stuff. Which I have no idea why I put there :p

  • So I did another tonight, pencil this time. Still fairly loose, I think, trying not to obsess over the fact that the hand looks terrible :p This is an exploratory sketch, trying to figure out the shapes (and perhaps a little composition). I'm thinking I'd like to do something like this. Yes 🙂

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  • Great to see you exploring shape language for forms. I think the step you are missing is that you have no clear direction in which you are headed. And, whilst this can be liberating, it can also hold you back as you find your way. If I may offer some advice? It would be to take a step back and define what it is you are trying to do, what are your trying to depict, what is the story you are telling? Why is this character interesting, what is she doing, where is this happening, and at what time? Has she just defended the oceans from an evil tryant or is she just discovering her identity? Once you give yourself some 'story' to work with, your ideas will flow more easily and your sketches will come much faster. I hope this helps? Regards, Rob.

  • @RobinSlee Advice is always welcome, I am so glad you took the time to look at my sketches and giving me your input!

    The subject matter I am exploring with these sketches doesn't really have a narrative, at least not yet. But I do have some thoughts around why they appeal to me at a more emotional level. Mermaids are somewhat of a kliche, but I am not aiming to draw yet another pretty girl with a fishtail. The lack of facial features and neutral expression frees the being from falling into categories like "good" or "evil". Some things just is, and there is no agenda behind it; much like nature. The skull is significantly smaller than her, telling me that she is somehow larger than life (or perhaps death) and has substance and presens. The jellyfish has a more obvious duality to it; both beautiful and toxic, yet the mermaid is unaffected by this. She somehow relates to the skull, but we don't know how.

    I really want to paint this now! I'll see if I do some more sketching first, though 🙂

  • I did thumbnails! Hah! I don't really like any of them, they are sloppy and crude. I told myself they would be value and composition studies, but I clearly have a lot to learn about both concepts :p

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  • @Camomilla really interested in seeing where you take this idea? I still have the same observation though. Without story, the image will suffer. Why is she holding the skull? Has she just discovered it and is curious? Or has she just killed this guy and is now remorseful? Or is she totally not bothered and wondering why am I even holding this? I hope it's not the latter 😉

  • @RobinSlee I love that my sketches evokes so much curiosity for you - the subject matter is intriguing for me too. At this point I don't have a story, and I don't really think the narrative is that important to me (yet, anyway). Right now I think I'm exploring being in a limbo - being detached somehow, and it seems to seep into my scribblings. I made this spread in my sketchbook the last few days, and even though the scenes are not in the water, the feeling I get from them are much the same. I specially like the thumbnail on the bottom left on the left page, even though the composition is rather boring. The one on the right page (bottom left) has a much more interesting perspective, but being so close to the subject takes away some of the alienation, and makes it more personal in some way.

    I can't help but feel that my thumbnail attempts are helpless and underdeveloped. It is not something I would post anywhere but here, I think. But I want to do more, and do them more spontaneously. In stead of thinking an image through in my head, I would like to get a general feel for the shapes before forming an opinion.

    And croquis is starting the 30th of January - so looking forward to this! Very scary, but will surely loosen me up and hopefully bring more energy to my characters.

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  • And I keep exploring 🙂

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  • So I started my mermaid piece. And even though I said I would try to enjoy the mark making, I am struggeling with rendering. I lack experience. I really shouldn't expect this to be very enjoyable until I am somewhat more familiar with my rendering tools. My need to constantly check out new tools is NOT helping the situation, so I think I need to accept the fact that there will be struggle. Technically and artistically.

    And speaking of new tools. I have purchased my first Cintiq 😃 To replace my very, very old Intous 2 A3 tablet, which Wacom no longer makes updated drivers for. It must be somewhere around 15 years old. So now - with a just slightly used Cintiq 22 hd on my desk - I have one serious upgrade to my setup.

    So this is where I'm at. Made with Kyles watercolour, impressionist and guache brushes. I know.

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  • So this is where I'm at at the moment. The colours are a bit more saturated, and I have made helpless attempts to clean it up a bit. I really don't know what to do or where to go next with this. Somehow it doesn't look finished to me, but I don't know what it needs to get there. Perhaps practicing some photo realism would get my rendering skills improved, but I also do like the painterly look a lot. I think I will also crop it a bit on the left and right sides - right now everything is sort of floating (haha).


    And I have been doing croquis once a week for three weeks. Here is a sketch from imagination where I try to draw from what I have learned. I kind of like it. Although this isn't finished either :p

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    @smceccarelli I was doing daily doodles wvery week on my facebook page. What I like about doodles is that they are off the top of my head and I have no requirements fo rperfection-just fun. I just stopped for awhile so I can get serious but I might start again. People seem to like them 🙂 That's the free, expresseive exercise we all need!

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    @Camomilla beautiful sketches, Camomilla!

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