Gemini – Mixed Media Painting

Another piece of my long standing zodiac project. This one means a lot to me. One of my best friends fell thirty feet in a climbing accident and hit his head on a rock. It took the doctors three days to determine he was brain dead. They took him off support last Saturday. He was a Gemini and my friend Kendra and I created a unique version of the image for his birthday, which was a week before the accident. He never got to see it finished, but I think he would’ve liked it. He was always supportive of my art. He was probably my only fan when I first started. He was just a good friend, always there for me, even when I wasn’t there for me, and even when I wasn’t there for him.

Gemini 93×104 inches

T-shirtcutcolorfull

copr blu-art, Kochre, and arctic-ink 2018

Some minor issues, but we’ll fix them.

Sketches from my first sketchbook: Six years of progress #1

I took my first art/design course when I was a sophomore in high school (six years ago). I was interested in making art for video games and I was already learning C# and experimenting with tools like Autodesk maya and engines like UDK to make my own stuff.

That whole dream never really panned out (ended up in hard sciences) but I really went at the art. I was doing fifty hours a week, staying up all night to practice contour and learn to draw new things. It was one of my first real obsessive periods. I periodically get really into things which later eb and flow but most have stuck around (writing and drawing more than anything).

For the class we had to do daily sketches from life or our head based on a prompt. These are some of them. Bare in mind that while I was working hard, I was very much a beginner. It’s awesome to look back and compare this stuff to my current works and compositions. The style is actually pretty similar, still, in a lot of ways. It’s just more refined and cohesive now.

I’ll go in order of the pages and this was taped to the front page.

IMG_8995

I started out with bic pens and markers which s what this was in. Pretty sketchy shading but I was really proud of the contour. It took my a while and few tries at the time to nail down the general shape of a face let alone the gesture of a body.

This was probably the first time I tried to depict tattoos on skin, which is something I do on a regular basis now. I’ve gone so far as to design elaborate tattoos just so I could put them in a drawing later on:

copyr

In this semi-photo-realistic digital portrait I spent the most time on the tattoos and hair. I’ve found that abstract designs (time here) work much better for accenting skin in the context of a drawing.

This style evolved further into turning the skin into it’s own canvas within a canvas:

8

Here the skin is less skin and more of a symbolic mosaic kind of story. I don’t like to explain intent explicitly and won’t, but there is a specific reason things are where they are here.

To me it’s really cool to be able to trace stylistic elements I employ in my hyper-realism and composite art back to one of the first decent anime sketches I did a few months after I started drawing.

Texture Drawing with Steps

For a texture based drawing like this, you kind of have to know what you’re going for, then accept that the result probably won’t look the way you think it will. I wanted to do a portrait of a character I’d already drawn, which is actually harder than drawing a new character, because you can’t just wing the features.

Step 1 (about five hours): Yes, texture drawings without blending are terrifying. I molded the textures I wanted to use into the correct shape then did some rudimentary blending and erasing out places for the drawn and more detailed parts of her face. There are some brush strokes here, but they are suggestive and serve mostly as a framework or placeholder for what is to come.

step 2

Step 2 (about six hours): Drew the majority of the important bits in. Most notably the first few layers of the nose, lips,  teeth, hair and sweatshirt.

Sopbhie withoutshading

 

Step 3 (around eight hours): I should have taken more pictures in between for this step, but it was a lot of drawing and redrawing to get the eyes to blend into the texture and create that cracked illusion. I did a lot of work on the skin and actually retextured a few areas to get it to work better. I did most of the skins texture in a fence brush (splatter blending style).

Most of the time spent was noticing little issues in light room and going back in to fix them a good seven-nine times.

Sopbhie 6-3

It ended up looking entirely different then what I’d pictured, but I like it a lot. Came in at only forty layers which is good, because it means I’ve gotten more efficient at reducing extraneous layers that make it needlessly complex to manage and edit.

Moving forward I want to look into re-balancing the darker marks on the right cheek, as they are too dark right now and are flattening the implied positioning of the cheek.

Cheers,

Lilith 🙂

Bird inside my Rib-cage.

There’s a bird inside my ribcage. He screams so I’ll never forget.

I wanna smash away my sternum.

I wanna rip him from his nest.

 

You’d sew me back up like a garden,

and there’d be flowers in my chest.

It’d hide away his power,

and give us a place to rest.

There’s a bird inside my rib-cage.

And I wish I could just forget.

 

All I wanted was our garden,

So;

I drew a line in our fault, with these worthless fucking hands.

I drew a line through this salt, so you’d connect the strands.

I drew this line in defense, of my God-damn worthless hands.

I drew a line through the salt, so you’d know my plans.

 

Before and after highlighting

Highlighting is cool because it broadens the tonal width of your drawings. By just going in and putting a bright white in the right areas, the drawing ends up looking entirely different because all of the old whites look like mid-tones. I’m glad I was able to salvage the nose and add more clarity to the face.

 

Before Highlighting

IMG_7730

After highlights (and some mid-tone surgery and texture work if we’re being completely honest):

Winter Cover

Still need to clean up the hair. and window. I’m really excited to become better at doing this extra phase in the drawings I do because its already giving me great results. There’s still some major issues with certain areas in the drawing, but it’s great when you find yourself improving.

 

Cheers!

Blu

Time is Tricky

Would you change something, anything, in your past given a chance? Could you deal with the consequences of that one decision? Could anyone?

_________

Black ink and B2 pencil base with black, white, and grey charcoal (textured over a copper board). Highlights done in white ink (bleached not synthetic).

Winter6

Heavy Paper Review 1: Watercolor Blick Studio

I’m a paper snob. A necessary trait for someone who has a heavy hand and utilizes wet mediums (Watercolors/Heavy Metal mixes/Gouaches/India Inks). As such, I like to test out various paper stocks to see which can best handle heavy mediums while still being smooth enough to support extensive line-work without forcing a texture.

Over the past two weeks I’ve worked with Blick’s in-store studio watercolor 9×12 paper.

Cost: I got it on sale for six dollars, which is very low for a whole 15 sheets of 9×12.

Specs: 9×12 inch (confirmed with ruler, +- .05 inches depending on the serration), 140ib. weight, with a smooth finish. Acid-free and Cold-press! Both good things. Made in the USA, if you care about that. The 140 pounds is standard for watercolor, but nothing special. I usually like it a higher around 160-180, but that’s just so I don’t have to worry about killing the tooth.

Texture: The texture is extremely smooth, which is what drew me in at first. Smoothness is often a double edged sword, though, as it can often correlate with a weaker tooth, which means I have to be subtle with the watercolors (God-forbid I take my time, right?)

Ink performance: This is a beautiful stock for archival and fountain inks. It can take a good amount of pen punishment without showing indents or pressure lines. I had no issues getting a good range of value either, which means the absorbance isn’t too high (some papers spread ink when you put it down too thick).

Pencil performance: It falters in the higher b pencil range, probably because its pretty thick. Texture lines will show up if you aren’t careful, but the texture is very ordered, so used correctly, this could be a bonus. hb to 6h works perfectly well as long as you sharpen enough. My 4h really liked this paper, it started to scratch above 6, though.

Watercolor performance: This is the part most of you will want to pay attention to, considering its marketed as a watercolor studio level paper. I was a little let down by how quickly the tooth came up in the mid to shadow range of my drawing. I’ve almost never wrecked the tooth with a moderately saturated tone (the middle color of a particular watercolor). Putting down deeper colors was a big struggle and I had to do it dry as the paper didn’t hold well against the paints. It was noticeably worse against my higher quality watercolors, especially ones with metals, despite being acid-free. The glaze from my series 4 amethyst barely shined despite using a bunch of it almost entirely dry.

Metal Performance: As with most smooth Cold-pressed paper, Metals and glue bind well and sink into the tooth if you’re delicate. Very good paper for leafing and adhesives. Here is a link to a piece in which I used extensive adhesives and leafing with this paper: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/11/30/sagittarius-art-in-progress/

Oil performance: I only used a white oil in the drawing, but it reacted very well with the paper and watercolor and I was able to achieve the low opacity effect I was attempting without any issues.

Conclusion: This is a great stock for light-range watercolors, pen drawings, light use of oils. It suffers quite a bit with wet gouaches and mid-deep tone watercolors as well as heavy metal paints and mixed media projects. Overall, it’s still an excellent stock for the price. In store it was going for eight normally, but online it is listed for a mere 5.72, and I got it for 6 with a membership card.

Rating for price: 7.4/10

Rating overall: 5.6/10

 

Here is the mixed media painting that I did on the paper. I did quite a bit to repair the damage to the right of her head, but it still showed up in the final project despite two layers of dry oil over it. For these reasons I would not use it for an intensive mixed-media painting, but it performs extremely well for subtler projects, just go easy on the water and saturation and you’ll be fine : )Food2

Artwork: Leo

The first piece of a conceptual project I was commissioned for. This represents the zodiac sign Leo. I wanted to get across the whole sense of individuality and feelings of not quite belonging where-ever you go.

Overall it went pretty well, a lot of pen and line errors, especially in the skeletal portion. Had a lot of fun and learned some new techniques with watercolor.

11×8 inches on blick watercolor paper. Done in watercolor and ballpoint pens. The word are an overlay comprised of typed text and a page from my dictionary.

Orphan2

Blood-Hound (Poem + Drawing)

Blood Hound   —–>PDF with proper formatting, manuscript below. 

 

Blood-hound

________
I’ll be your sick-bird,
you be my blood-hound,
My hearts in your mouth,
Breaking neck spins round.
But,
You’re not the one to blame,
You see; I can’t complain,
This is all you’ve known.
Blackened bloody mold,
Just doing what you’re told.

Your love was a warhead,
A straight time-bomb,
You taught me this lesson,
That I ain’t so strong.
Take your pound of flesh,
Don’t matter if it’s right,
Hit me while I’m fresh,
You know I’ll never fight,
As long as you let me,
Love you more than this life.

So here’s to that jaw,
Tightening ‘round me,
I’m just your dead-bird,
So be my blood-hound,
‘Cause baby,
You’re the one with teeth.
And all I am is meat.

_______________

7×11 cut watercolor, Pen and marker. Edited fox

Reworked Poems (9/27/17) + Art

Had a few hours to tinker around with the balance of some of these. I also finished a drawing I started a few years back. As always just click the blue links for a PDF version of each poem with the superior formatting. Drawing is at the bottom.

Fractured Memories (Click for PDF version):

Fractured Memories
_______
The pain that’s easiest to hide,
Numb,
The one hurt I can’t abide.
I find,
The times I want to die,
Are when I stop feeling alive,
But you threw the die,
Told me to try,
You didn’t laugh when I’d start to cry,
Or when I told you to help me fly,
Away from here.
I wanted was to be free,
Can you be my key,
The one and only who’ll let me be,
Me.
I don’t know where I’m going,
Or how long-away I’ll be,
But you’ll live on forever,
In these fractured memories.

____________

Born of Frost

Born of Frost

________

Born of frost,
Splicing winter’s cross,
with summer’s burning moss.

They laughed and jeered,

Twelve foot tall,
A thousand thrall,
Skin; an ice-plate wall.

Now they cry in fear.

Deathly glacier,
A cruel-dawn’s slaver,
Draconian martyr,
Rapturous erasure.

Beware my dear,

The towering eolith,
No man or myth,
Fear our moiré; the WinterSmith.

_______________

Call me Faceless

_______________

Call me Faceless

________
Who am I to speak to what’s wrong or right?
One who’s closer to oppressor than victim,
I try on a long and stormy night,
To decipher this dictum,
Oblong and gritty plight.
How can I complain,
When I rest on the laurels of another’s fortune,
Screaming a phantom pain.
Who am I to say what you should do?
When I’m a short step away from weak,
Despite being one of the lucky few,
Who has money enough to speak?
Inherent disdain,
A fallacy tainting the fabric of my minds misfortune,
Learned condition renders me lame.
Do I really care,
About blood-soaked policies of an empire built on the backs,
Of those with actual despair?
Why can’t I just relax,
Cut out the fancy fucking syntax,
Abuse our militaristic axe,
Deny the horrendous acts,
Against children who couldn’t afford a simple tax.
But it’s not easy for me to lie,
When I walk outside and watch the homeless die,
Sure,
Call me weak,
Because I cry,
Because I try,
To care.
You tell me money isn’t happiness,
Then tell me not to worry; because I have enough to eat?
As if the relative suffering of others is supposed to placate my crimson-soul.
My truth;
The only thing worse than trying but failing,
Is giving up entirely

______________________

Media: 6b pencil + a bic pen.

Paper: 6×9 inch cut watercolor paper.

FullSizeRender (25)