Wordy map

June 30, 2014

I’ve always been a map fan, and done plenty of them in my working life, in fact doing 20  for a sailing book at the moment. I’d seen a similar treatment to this on a map of London and thought it would work well on a UK map. I had a couple of days off so managed to fit this one in for my iStock portfolio.Image

Vector geranium

June 17, 2014

I’ve had to suspend the oil painting for the time being as I’ve got a couple of freelance jobs, strictly digital so I have to switch back to Adobe Illustrator mode. I’ve finished one batch, some maps, and whilst summoning up the energy to tackle some of the more complicated drawings in the other job ( a book of brain teasers and illusions and the psychology and physiology behind them) I managed a nifty bit of replacement strategy and found a half-finished ( or more accurately quarter finished) vector image of a geranium ( or probably more accurately Pelargonium), photographed in our garden and drawn because I came across the photo and felt I could get a decent illustration out of it.

Here’s the final image, rushed a little at the end as I suddenly felt I’d had enough of drawing those fiddly leaves.

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New work.

March 24, 2014

I’ve decided to just post some new images without taking too much time to comment, these are basically a series of images that have progressed on from the last post, either coloured versions of previous drawings, scanned and live traced in Illustrator to produce a vector version, or , in the case of the birds in the tree, where I have taken a tree from a park drawing and added the birds from another, plus some leaves from a third image. I drew the birds to fit a small decorative frame I have but, because the frame was designed in such a way that I needed to trim the artwork down to the very edge, I thought I would scan it and use the print in the frame instead, but for some reason the colours would not scan accurately and every imperfection in the drawing seemed visible, so I abandoned that idea. I now have a tiny drawing which took ages and which I don’t have much use for now, but I may have another go at scanning it and play around with the settings more to try and get a more accurate reproduction.Image

Below is the drawing with the birds, originally pen and ink on watercolour paper, then coloured with Doctor Martin liquid watercolours, looking more garish here than the original.

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Next is a coloured up version of the dividing path image, featured again in the last post, same process here, scanned original drawing and coloured in Illustrator.

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I wanted to expend on the park drawings, perhaps add in some more map influences, something I’m always interested in, so I took a pice of the Suffolk coast I know well and drew a pretty abstract map featuring the area, without making any reference to a real map but just fitting in the features as I knew them to be, but without worrying too much about accuracy. The checkerboard area is Southwold, the sea the North Sea, the river the Blyth, with the wide area of the river where the A12 road crosses the river. It was just a device to give a backbone to hang an image on, with the added though I would be doing my next art fair in Suffolk, and I will be hoping to sell some framed versions of the map.

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Just to finish , a poster for the next fair, drop by and say hello if you’re in Ipswich on the 6th!

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I’ve been feeling the urge to draw something recently, to get back to basics, with a pen and paper. I’ve been churning out digital imagery to sell online …. http://www.istockphoto.com/search/portfolio/911920/?facets=%7B%2225%22%3A%226%22%7D#1ec98cad

but sometimes it’s hard to keep up the momentum, and declining sales and views has made me feel restless and needing to explore possible new avenues. I’ve a pile of lino printing tools and lino, and I have thought I’d like to try some printmaking, but in the search for quicker results I decided to get drawing, using a nice long landscape format Tate watercolour pad I was given at Christmas, and a set of varying weight Staedtler pens I decided to use my local park as inspiration. I walk my 2 dogs there twice a day and it has a great collection of trees, some many hundreds of years old, and as I draw a lot of trees to sell online it seemed an obvious place to start. I also like the formal layout of paths and flower beds, a bit map like but in 3D, so I quickly sketched an idea in my sketch book and then worked this up more in the long pad.ImageThe first sketch is here, and this is the finished version, drawn with little or no planning, just straight onto the paper with a pen and hope for the best.

ImageThis was based on the arboretum area (the grey on the corner of the picture is just the shadow of my arm), and I then moved on to a couple of others based around the same theme, the 2nd one starting to get away from the looseness of the first one, as usual getting caught up in too much detail.ImageImageI then decided to return to a theme of a dividing road, something I’d illustrated before and which sells reasonably well as a stock image, useful for showing ideas of direction and choice.ImageI felt this one was loosening up a bit stylistically too, I tried to get away from the tightness of the 2nd one. I’ve done a couple of individual trees too, and I’m planning a bigger one, worked out now but not started. I’ve done digitally coloured versions too, but I’ll come back to those in a future post. I’m hoping to do an art fair here in Ipswich next month, something I’ve had a bit of a break from, and I’m planning to do one or two more to take to that framed.

We moved house 10 weeks ago, and the process of finding a house, buying a house, and then actually moving house have taken a bigger than expected chunk out of my blogging life. We have moved from a rural Suffolk village to the centre of Ipswich, and although we love the convenience and the activity of a busy town, it’s been exhausting too. Freelance work has all ended so it’s back to producing digital images to sell online.

http://www.istockphoto.com/search/portfolio/911920/?facets=%7B%2225%22%3A%226%22%7D#155d4954

iStock have recently announced they’ve reached the 1 million vector files mark, so getting things found is getting harder. Maps are quite a safe bet for sales, so I decided to add a couple more maps, UK because it’s where I live, and USA because it’s where most buyers live. I recently saw an image of an old  badly printed map from a magazine, and I wanted to replicate that sort of look, so using a map I had already drawn previously as the outline, and adding some dotted lines and a nice grungy texture, plus some  halftone dots, again textured and worn, and two background files, one solid colour, the top one having a texture cut out of it so the flat background behind shows through, I got the sort of look I wanted. I also offset the colour slightly, to achieve that sort of out of register look. I think one has sold already so I may do some more maps in the same style, again using maps already drawn, but applying the same look.Image

It’s a bit boring doing them so to break the tedium I did a couple of illustrated maps. I re-drew my UK and USA maps, using a much simpler style for the outline, just simplifying right down, whilst retaining the feel of the shape. I then applied a thick edge to the land and added detail, the UK map being the first. I put a bit more into the USA map and I think it shows, just a bit more detail, more clouds to give visual interest etc.

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I also added another grunge version, using some old painted wood texture I digitised and which makes a good background, seen in quite a few of my images, don’t let a good background go to waste!

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