Marchmeetthemaker day 17 and the prompt is process.
So where do you start to create a piece. The clip above shows the stages in drawing my current commission but it doesn’t show the pre drawing aspect.
Create a keepsake box for a teacher who is leaving to have a baby.
The client has previously bought a range of my greeting cards for personal use and also for holiday guests in their property in Dorset. This Christmas they bought their children the fairy house box and a treasure chest that I had previously drawn. They like my art style. I reply to their proposal with a price and whether I can achieve the timescale they need the piece in.
The commission is agreed and I order some new box stocks as I only have a small ring box left.
The teacher has Kingfisher class, so I plan to incorporate the bird into this design. I have a large wooden box with 4 sides and the box top to draw. The base is left blank for artist signature and any message from the gifters.
I have never seen a kingfisher myself, I have guided customers in hired boats to locations where they have been seen, I have only seen them in other peoples photos. So I am going to have to use the internet to find a range of suitable images.
This box is for a baby and associated memories to be kept in. So I thought let’s go through the process of a baby growing. So we will have stages for a kingfisher. Eggs in a nest, parent looking out to bring food to the nest, feeding and finally flying free.
I have also done a lot of research about keepsake box designs including some that my client sent to me. The top will not be about kingfishers but will focus on the memories box aspect.
Keepsake boxes are often given after the birth so the child’s name and dob are known, I can not include these. Also I don’t want to guess the receipients feelings about gender colours or gender neutral colours. A lot of thought is happening during this process.
Planning done I start the drawing process. This involves selecting one photo to base each image from. The scaffold for the piece is my initial line drawing in pigment fineliner. Even for commissions I do not draw in pencil first. For some projects with longer timescales I may submit a hand drawn design proposal on paper first for client approval, this has been the case with several of the hat commissions.
Adding colour is the next stage. On a wooden box like this I will use two media – winsor and Newton ProMarkers, which I have over 165 colours/tones to select from and Posca paint markers of which I have 16 colours available.
The ProMarker colour gives me a wider colour range but the ink will bleed out more on the wooden surface. The paint based Posca pens are paint based so do not bleed. The design works well as a combination of the two to provide a neater outcome.
For this I add a section at a time and (when I remember) take process photos as the work develops, sometimes this doesn’t happen as I just get into my drawing and forget to stop to take a record.
Usually I will have both pen sorts close by to where I am drawing and will pre test colour choices on watercolour paper to see which will suit this image best.
The stages for picture:
This blends slightly at the margins.
These provide a margin for any ProMarker bleed.
A mixture of cyan based ProMarkers and light blue Posca pen. Some feather detail will be added to later but the image is not made too complex.
The use of Posca gives a clean margin to the beak.
The nest burrow in black, brown and beige provides a clear background in contrast to the brighter kingfisher. I will add some feather detail with pigment fineliner as a top layer.
Side one done, three sides to go and the top of the box.
I don’t usually share work in progress as it is happening but this has been a good example to show the work developing.
The photos allow progress feedback to the client whose response is below.
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