Wednesday, 29 February 2012

An ink drawing to test new paper

Ink Drawing - Paper Test - Steph Chalmers - 2012
This started as a test piece to see how this paper took indian ink... it's taken about four hours so far. 

The paper is Hahnemuhle, Drawing and Sketching Paper, Acid Free, A2, 140gsm. 
The texture is smooth enough. There's only a small amount of ink bleed, which is okay by me. Thick drops of ink sit on the paper and dry without seeping in over time. 
I do think a heavier gsm paper would feel better.

I feel compelled to keep going right to the edge of the paper. 

Ink Drawing Detail - Paper Test - Steph Chalmers - 2012

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Photos of Paint Stripping

I just like these photos.
Especially the black one.
Stripping paint is so gratifying.

Table Restoration: Before and During photos


I bought this table on TradeMe. Score! 
It's mostly stripped now (using Citrustrip paint stripper and a great little tungsten scraper).
I'm hoping to sand it this weekend (with Emily's Festool sander - so much easier). 
After a good sanding, I think it will rub up nicely with a few layers of Tung Oil. 

We haven't decided where this will go yet, but probably in the hallway, for flowers.

Working drawings for a story I have in mind

A Man - working drawings - Steph Chalmers - January 2012

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Hare and The Tortoise, and The Fox and The Crow

The Hare and The Tortoise - The Fox and The Crow - Steph Chalmers - 2010

So, I did some more indian ink drawings with my liner pen. Added some ink washes with a brush too.
The tortoise looks disturbingly shifty. That was unintentional. I somehow managed a foxy fox though. He's the one who's supposed to be shifty! 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Indian Ink Owl and Cat

The Owl and The Pussycat - Indian Ink Drawing - Steph Chalmers - 2010
A different media for me. I think I like it. I started with a quick pencil outline to make sure I got the negative space between them right. Then I used a liner pen with indian ink to fill them in, without much thought! It was very meditative.
The owl looks a bit serious.

Book Rave: I WANT MY HAT BACK by Jon Klassen

Front Cover - I WANT MY HAT BACK by Jon Klassen
I have to rave about this book, it's perfect in every way. (I will try to do this without spoiling it for anyone)

I read I WANT MY HAT BACK in a book shop, and laughed so hard I cried. Obviously, I had to have it. I have since watched my friends and family read it and laughed again with them. There are a few moments of pure magic when you can see readers registering what's happening in the story.

The illustrations seem simple, but are more complex the more you study them. Each character has eyes of a very similar, simple shape, but with slight changes, Klassen captures expressions of cunning, questioning, revelation, determination, fear and friction.

I could not imagine a better choice of typeface than Century Schoolbook, it just works.
The text is colored to suit each character, and color acts as an important visual signal throughout the book.

End Pages - I WANT MY HAT BACK by Jon Klassen 
The end pages alone are charming. I want it as wallpaper!

For a short book it's a total page-turner. Masterfully done.

Jon Klassen's blog Burst of Beaden is well worth a visit.
Took me a while to get that... Beast of Burden... funny guy.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Drypoint Dogs

Detail of Baxter - Drypoint Print - Artist Proof - Steph Chalmers - 2010
Maddy and Baxter - Drypoint Print - Artist Proof - Steph Chalmers -2010

A gentle retired man commissioned me to do this portrait of his old dogs, Maddy and Baxter. I don't usually enjoy commissions but this was a good one, and I was happy with the outcome. These are artist proofs of the printed plate. The final works were hand colored and looked much better, but I neglected to take photos!

I love the line that drypoint gives. Emily says it's like a tattoo on paper. No pencil, ink, pen drawing or etching could get quite the same soft furry line. It's just yummy.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Another Owl and Pussycat - Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

Page spread from The Owl and The Pussycat, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

I was slightly sad for myself when I discovered this beautifully whimsical treatment of The Owl and The Pussycat, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch, for the Visions in Poetry series (Kids Can Press).

The Visions in Poetry series helps to give classic poetry new life, as each poem is reinterpreted by a contemporary artist.

Jorisch has also illustrated the weird and wonderful, Jabberwocky (Lewis Carroll, 1872) for the same series. And Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven (1845) gets a scrumptiously, dark and twisted treatment from Ryan Price. Price shows he is a master of drypoint with this work. Drypoint is very close to my heart (must explain more in future posts).

See more of Stephane Jorisch's work at Wanda Nowak Artist's Representative
See more of Ryan Price's artwork at Ingram Gallery (Toronto)

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Owl and The Pussycat - Book Project 2008

Working drawing - a discarded composition - Steph Chalmers - 2008

Final book - the first page "The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea..." - Steph Chalmers - 2008

Back in 2008, I made a series of prints illustrating Edward Lear's 'The Owl and The Pussycat'.
Looking back on early sketches is quite funny. I think I made some good decisions, though overall it is too literally illustrated. I'm glad I kept the color palette simple.
Here's a slideshow that starts with my first sketches, and then shows each page of the final book...

Thursday, 9 February 2012

On Making Picture Books

One shelf of our bookcase

I have wondered for a while, if I have a picture book inside me just waiting to come out.
If I was to write and illustrate one myself, what do I need to know?

Making Picture Books by Libby Gleeson has been a very helpful read this week.

Gleeson writes about many aspects of creating picture books; starting, characters, setting, language, structure, all the way through to production. She is open about her own experiences as a writer and brings together views from other writers, and illustrators. There are wonderful quotes from illustrators including Armin Greder, Shaun Tan, and Donna Rawlins. 

For me, this book reinforced that a picture book is not the same as an illustrated story.
In great picture books images contribute to the content, rather than being mere decoration.

I appreciated the example of Armin Greder's illustration for The Princess and the Perfect Dish.
Greder manages to portray the disappointment the character feels. In denying the reader an image of the "exotic dishes from faraway lands" the princesses' dissatisfaction is amplified... to have illustrated the dishes more impressively would have missed the point entirely.

"Why draw a picture when the words already say everything" Armin Greder

Read more about Libby Gleeson here