Kelpie Sketch Dailies

Kelpie copy

Kelpies feature in many Scottish myths, though similar creatures can be found in other cultures under different names. Unpleasant in nature, they trick their victims and then drown and eat them.

I’ve been writing a story about a kelpie and when the challenge of drawing one came up I had to take part!

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Gouache II

Princess copy Birds copy Cat copy Bird copyI had fun painting with gouache last night! I bought three more tubes of paint as last time I only had yellow, red, and blue. Also I planned ahead a bit more, taking some designs from my sketchbook to paint instead of attempting to make them up on the spot.

Bouncing Ball

It’s the end of my first week on the Aardman / NFTS Certificate in Character Animation. I’ve been learning Maya (help!) and animating different weights of bouncing balls. As Lloyd Price says, “It all comes back to the bouncing ball!”

Dog Animation Rough

I’ve been working on this since late August, and I’ve finally got it to the I’m-almost-happy-with-this stage! I drew the rough in Flash (hence the general messiness; I don’t like the brush tool very much) and I’m planning to clean it up in Photoshop.

Comments and criticisms would be appreciated, though please don’t mention volumes (I know).

Reflections

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Another page from my book. The perspective on the dogs’ reflections is tricky to get right. I think I’ll need to adjust it further before painting them and finishing the water.

Gouache1 copySince I began playing around with digital gouache brushes I wanted to try out the real thing. I bought some paints today and smudged them about in one of my sketchbooks. I like how they’re a combination of acrylics and watercolours! And yet, unlike either, gouache keeps its richness even when a little watered down. When painted without any water at all, it dries completely differently from acrylic. I like it!

One of my frustrations with painting has been with my dislike of paint. I’ve always found watercolours too pale, acrylics too thick when dry and too pale when wet, and though I like oils they’re a real hassle. Here’s gouache, a real thick paint that I can easily clean from my palette!

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Small and Scared

 

I’ve been working on one page for a while and it was only yesterday that I finally understood what I was actually trying to say. The words for this spread read “Liffey was a big dog who thought she was a small dog.”07_rough_01

My first few sketches were all using the same idea. On the left, Liffey looking down on a smaller dog; on the right, her surrounded by the “scary shadows” of her imagination.
07_rough_02 07_rough_03Using the sketch I started to play with colours. But it never felt right. I wanted the scary page to be full of clashing colours and conflict, but it never sat right with the other page.

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I am not proud of this page, and it was never really meant for general consumption, but it’s needed here – so I apologise for its crumminess!

Next I changed my colour scheme for the dogs a bit, bringing them into a more natural realm. However I tried to keep the bright green and blue.

After completing it I wasn’t happy and left it for a while, wondering how to fix it. I knew it didn’t work as I wanted it to – painting technique aside, Liffey looked sad rather than scared, and the monsters seemed like an afterthought. So I started sketching out ideas in my notebook giving the monsters more precedence.

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So this is what I painted yesterday. I’m pleased with it as a piece (though of course there’s always things to nitpick) but I still wasn’t happy with the page. Liffey sure looked scared, but it felt TOO scary. After all, it’s supposed to be a light-hearted children’s story …

It was when I was taking a bath yesterday evening (baths and walks are fantastic for coming up with ideas) that I finally realised where I’d been going wrong. Somehow I’d forgotten all about the words on the page: “Liffey … thought she was a small dog.” I’d moved away from “small dog” to “scared dog”, even though her fear of other dogs is addressed on the next page in a much clearer way.

07_inprogress_03_copyThis is my latest idea: much simpler and, I think, much clearer. It fits so much more with the words and will sit better with the other page in the spread.

Now just twenty-one more pages to go …

 

 

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