Monday, November 9, 2009

Continued - Graphite on Dura-lar Matte Film WIP

Grafix Dura-Lar Matte film is the surface that I love to use with graphite and colored pencil. If you are interested in trying it, you can find it online, at your local art supply or drafting supply store. The add states, "it is the acetate alternative. It combines the best features of Mylar® and acetate". You can see a tablet here at Dick Blick. It's smooth surface is great for getting the details I need in my miniature work. It's easy to erase, although, you do have to be careful when erasing. If you over work a spot, it may become too smooth and no longer accept the graphite or colored pencil. You can also work on both sides of the surface or use different colored papers as backing for different effects. One thing I have found is you have to be careful not to scratch the surface. I have had my fingernails leave small scratches all over the surface but I couldn't see them until I penciled over the area and the white lines and squiggles showed up. You could use that at as advantage by scoring the area for effect. There are so many possibilities and if you love to draw, it's worth trying.

Because of it's translucence it's easy to transfer your drawing. Under the film, you can see the photograph that I am using for a reference for the light source and one of my miniature works which I enlarged to use as a guide for a new image. (I've not posted that miniature work yet). I have done two different drawings of trees with a crow and wanted to explore that subject again. Sometimes I will use a subject or the same work as I have done here, as a starting point to take an idea further. I may do it in a different medium, or perhaps a different size. I don't think I could redo a work exactly the same way! This time the image I had in mind was for a local competition with a theme of "The Spirit of Giving".

Above are two reference photos of the tree and door that I am using.

The work is fairly advanced here, but you can see how I've used a variety of lines and then building up light strokes to create a good range of values. I use different pencils, mechanical 0.5mm and 0.3mm, as well as regular drawing pencils in different ranges of hard and soft, depending on what I'm trying to do.

A close -up of the doors showing where I've lifted up some of the graphite. To do this, I use a sticky putty which used to be called Hold It, but now I think it's under other names. I think it's called Blue Tack in the UK. It a very useful product around the house.

Some work done on the background.

Work on the area under the door.

A close-up of the area under the door.

Grasses in the front.

Darkening of the tree.

The crow has been added and the front tree finished. Here is where I decided that something just didn't look right to me. It was time to take a good look to see what was wrong. I took it downstairs to look at it in a different light and decided it was too dark. I got a second opinion and sure enough, the doors were difficult to distinguish from the surrounding area. It lost the impact that I was looking for! There were also a lot of the white scratches in places that bothered me as well, could it be my nails? So I decided that I wanted to start over! I figured it would be easier the next go since I already had things worked out. It was just the timing that was going to be difficult! I cut my nails, got a fresh sheet of film and got busy!

This is the reworked piece. Unfortunately, this is not a very good photo. It's been raining so there is less light in my studio. I'll be showing the scanned image later, but I think you get the idea. I used colored pencils on the other side of the film at the door and key. I liked the first crow I did better, this one looks too nice or not as mysterious. Maybe because he's happy this is finished? I think it turned out well and I hope the concept is clear. The title is The Offering, matted, it will be 7" x 7" small work. I had my webmaster scan and size it for the email submission last evening, Sunday the deadline, at 9:20pm. So I did make it, I got a conformation! YAY! The acceptance letters go out on the 20th of Nov, so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed! I'll be posting links and show information after that date. Now, on to the next project! Ah, what's next? Could be the silverpoint I've been wanting to do, or I could start playing with some egg tempera? So many choices! Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this.


AutumnLeaves said...

Wow, Barbara! Great tutorial, truly. Your drawing skills are amazing to me as I can see you are a stickler for details (as I am with way less ability and effect); these so enhance your drawings. I love the idea and whimsy of this piece and I actually like the reworked crow better as his head is not quite as flat. I find myself wanting to see inside that fabulous little home in the trees! What an awesome idea you had here!

storybookstudio said...

Yeah ---you finished and it is great! Like the key :)--Now the waiting game but my vote is YES!

Barbara A. Freeman said...

Oh, thank you so much Autumn, I'm glad you like it and it was useful to read about the process. Ha, that's right about the crow's head and I would like to go in the door too. Looks warm in there!: ) I will be posting a better image of it soon.

Yes Janie, I'm so happy it's finished. Talk about doing something twice!! Not too long to wait though. It should be an interesting show. I'm looking forward to see what everyone else comes up with.

Mona said...

I love the concept overall, Barbara, and the feeling you put into both of these---two great drawings in my humble opinion.

Could the first version be saved if you still have it by simply adding color to it's door? I can see the door just fine in this version, and I love the way the trunk, leaves and grass feel in this one. It has so much mystery!

Your drawings really evoke the imagination, and if it's worth doing, it's worth publishing. Have you considered children's books?

Barbara A. Freeman said...

Thanks for your comments, Mona. I think I overworked the first one a bit. What I was thinking of doing though, is to crop around the crow and make it into a miniature. I think that part hasn't lost it's freshness. I checked my bird book and a crow is 16", so my crow is within the 1/6th scale. I want the crow to be focusing on something else or holding something else instead of a key. I just haven't decided what yet. No, I've never thought of publishing.

artbyakiko said...

Beautiful drawings and very creative! The grow carrying the key is great! I love it.

Barbara A. Freeman said...

Thanks Akiko, that means a lot coming from you! I love YOUR crows!