Leanne Barrett: Artist @ work - SFX Writer's Festival

Saturday 30 June 2018

Artist @ work - SFX Writer's Festival

SFX Facebook Photo
I had a delightful time at SFX at their Writer's Festival.

As the Artist @ Work I spent my time finishing one of my Adventurous Chicken series illustrations, the Aerial Skiing Chicken.

The students I spoke to liked to draw or were interested in drawing but felt they weren't very good at drawing. So we talked about what they used to draw with, how I made my illustrations and that with regular practice you can improve your skills.

A few of our conversations:

Do you like to draw?
S: Yes or I'm not very good at it.
LB: If you like to draw keep practising because you will get better.
Have you thought about trying to draw every day even for 5 minutes. You can draw what's around you, your bedside table or what's on the coffee table and you can use printer paper.
With these drawing is doesn't matter if they are messy or the perspective is wrong or they look flat because you are practising.
If you can't draw everyday try to draw every week...(showing them my 52 week illustration challenge pictures) see the difference in my first picture to my black & white chicken illustrations?
S: Wow.

What do you use to draw?
S: I use lead pencil and shading.
LB: Have you thought about trying to use different hardness of pencils to see how that changes your pictures?
9H, 2H, H, HB, B, 2B, 6B they produce very different lines. See here about pencil hardness or grade.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
LB: I get my ideas from all over the place. Photos, things I see on tv, lists of words that create images in my mind and from discussions with my friends.
Some times I brainstorm ideas, like what are things that adventurous people like to do and I can draw chickens doing the same things, especially anything that gives the feeling of flying in the air because chickens aren't great flyers.

My Illustration from the Sketchbook Revival
Day 7 Session 1 - Tamara Laporte -
Whimsical Mixed Media Sketchbook Project
Which water colour paper do you like to use?
LB: I used to use cold press (medium) paper but now I use hot press (smooth) paper because when I take photos and scans of illustrations made on cold press paper the bumps create shadows and then it is hard to use the images for printing on: paper, bags, mobile phone covers and other items.

The paper I am currently using for both watercolour painting and my Posca paintings is the Fabriano Studio Watercolour Hot Press paper, 300gsm. For my sketching I use copy paper (80 gsm)or bank layout paper (45 gsm).

Did you use watercolour pencil for that picture?
LB: No. I used water soluble pens (Tombow) and a aqua brush (Jasart) to blend the colour to make it look like water colours.

What's That?
LB: It's a light pad.
I use it to trace my drawings. It also helps me keep my characters consistent between one page to another.
If you don't have a light pad you can use a window or a glass table with a lamp shining underneath it.
My light pad is an Artograph Lightpad, 305mm x 432mm, perfect for A3 paper.

What do you suggest I do to draw hands and feet better?
LB: Practice. Draw your own feet every morning before you get out of bed or before you go to sleep.
Draw your family's hands and feet while watching tv.
You can use photos as a reference picture.
Look at how other artists draw feet and hands, including those you see in picture books. Try and copy them and then try drawing your own in that style. Remember it's okay to copy other people's work for practising your skills, as long as  you don't claim that the work is your own.

How can I develop my own style?
LB: Keep drawing, lots. You will discover a style begins to appear over time.
Look at lots of art and picture books looking for styles that you like. Why do you like them?
Practice drawing your own ideas using what you like about other styles, using the way they make lines or how they paint colour.

For more information read Nina Rycroft's tips on developing your style.

Aerial Chickens

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