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Maxwell's birthday

I first heard about Ms Shimizu's inking class on Facebook, as I'm following her feed there (highly recommended, she posts a lot of fun things). As I really like her work, I decided to take it in order to learn something new. 

What I found out was, that I really enjoyed the nitty-gritty detail work, that normally isn't my thing at all. But somehow in this black-white-gray world it makes sense. I did not have a particular topic in mind, when I started to think about the assignment, but tried to think about something that has different textures, as Ms Shimizu advised (6 different ones!). That was a bit tricky. So, I pretty much just started doodling in the sketchbook and this was the result: 

I liked the sketch, so I drew the old ladies (who are little bit like my two grandmothers) freehand on watercolour paper and moved the cat a bit to the right. Then I inked all the figures - before any of the background was in place. 

Composition-wise it would probably be better to draw the picture as a whole and then ink everything, but on the other hand it was helpful seeing the figures there, as they in a way suggested the background they needed to be in. So I started imagining,the occasion, the place where those ladies would be living in and so on and just filling in the blank space. 

I used Fabriano Torchon (extra rough) watercolour paper (very absorbent and tough at the same time - one of my very favourites) and two brushes - a size 0 squirrel watercolour brush for lines and a cheap Asian brush for washes. 

The watercolour brush was surprisingly good for doing lines and could hold quite a lot of ink. However, as the hairs were rather long, it was quite difficult to control. Now I bought a new one with same size, but hairs about half the length - will try and see how that one is to work with. The ink I used was called Nanking black ink and came in an eye dropper bottle. I used a watercolour mixing palette, to squeeze some ink there, instead of dipping the brush straight into the ink bottle. 

A great thank you for Ms Shimizu for providing the course! 

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