Tuesday, September 11, 2007

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So yesterday the Universe was conspiring against me in every way, shape and form. I had wanted to post my WIP of Bill's newest ACEO but Blogger wouldn't let me (their down-time aside), I tried to access my art e-mails but couldn't and then my computer kept konking out on me every time I tried to load certain programs. Our eldest dog was gimpy yesterday because of the rain, Sushi threw-up on the carpet and I discovered that there's a raccoon in the barn that's been eating the cat food... oh, did I mention I discovered said raccoon because it had pooped all over the storage bin for the horse's grain? It was a happy day. Sometime around 4:00 I gave up and ate several cookies, why fight it?

Anyway, so things seem to be going off without a hitch today and as such I will finally do my ACEO WIP.

The subject for this ACEO is Bill whom regular readers will know is my dog trapped in a cat’s body. I’ve done numerous ACEO’s of him and the irony of that is that I had never really taken an interest in drawing cats before. I started with him because I had decided that I wanted to participate in a Big Cat Challenge over in the coloured pencil forum at WetCanvas. What better way to practice for big cats than by tackling a little one first?

Here’s the start of it. I’ve done a very basic line drawing (which will be erased/ covered up as I go) and I’ve already put in a bit of the colouring, namely some of his markings (the darkest areas, done with Black) as well as his eyes.

Below you can see a close up of his eyes and what I've done with them so far. They're pretty close to being done and, generally, I try and get the eyes of the subject almost complete right from the get-go. I find that this usually helps me set the tone for the piece and the eyes, when dealing with any portrait type of picture, are really what folks focus on.
The eyes were done with Limepeel and Pale Sage, with White for the catchlights. If you're interested I blocked in his nose with Peach.

In the second part I've gone and put in more of this markings, using Bronze, Chestnut and Cool Grey 90%. I've also started ,arking in the lightest parts using French Grey 10% as well as some White. On his muzzle I've used White at the parts closest to his nose and extending outward towards his whiskers I've used Cream.
On his nose I've blocked in some colour using Yellow Ochre and Goldenrod.

At this point I decided that I needed to figure out what I was going to do for the background because that was going to determine more of the colouring (ie- lighter or darker) for Bill himself. I decided on a dark background and that I would place him on some type of flat surface since in the ref he was in fact lying down.
To do this, and so I could continue working on Bill himself, I simply did a very thin line around Bill's ears using Black.

Onto part three...I should note that anytime I get wishy-washy over a background things can go from bad to worse in no time. I was feeling that way about this one. I lightly blocked in the remainder of the upper background with Black then I decided to leave it lest I go crazy with some bizzare colour application.
For Bill himself I started blocking in more of his body colouring using Bronze as well as a light application of Sandbar Brown. I also put in more of his markings using Cool Grey 90% and then accenting them with Artichoke. On his chest area I've used Yellow Ochre again as well as a bit of Chestnut and gone over his lighter markings with French Grey 10%.

Like I said, when it comes to me and backgrounds things can easily go from bad to worse.
I wish, dear reader, that I could provide you with a logical explanation or the thought process involved in what follows...but I can't. I started with Black Cherry then switched to Indigo and then just covered it all with Black.
As for the flat surface that Bill was supposed to be on, well, that changed colours more times than Britney Spears changes her wigs. Ultimately it came out looking good but what exactly it was that I did, aside from simply applying a bunch of random cool colours, is beyond me. That said, my little background breakdown worked out okay for me and I'm pleased with how it turned out 'cause it could've been a lot worse!

And the final product...

"Possibly Pensive" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

If I were to do it again, I would've opted for a warmer base for Bill but this works too. Bill himself was worked over more with some Chestnut and Henna as well as some Mineral Orange for the warmer bits on his chest. Around his muzzle I applied some Jasmine and I re-darkened his markings with Warm Grey 90% and touched up some of the lighter areas with White.

There's Bill's ACEO. Hopefully some artist out there in Blogger-land got something from this...like how to have a background meltdown and then recover. :p


Meg said...

Cool WIP, thanks for sharing! It's still hard to imagine hwo you get all the detail into such a small space - you must have to sharpen a lot. :D

Rita said...

Thanks Meg, I'm glad someone liked it! :)
Actually, I don't sharpen a whole lot, except for the really fine detail (like the whiskers and some hairs). Being the miserly person I am I usually just rotate my pencil as I'm working so I'm wearing it down on every side. I know, I'm so cheap! :p