Lars WANNOP

Bedside Drawer, Melbourne, Australia

153

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Ocean Delight

I tried two combinations. I quite liked the tension and ridiculousness of Sushi Madness and I had some fun exploring some different themes. Particularly the chef in a straight jacket hacking up his own arm.

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Secondly, I tried the somewhat more subtle Ocean Delight. I've always liked the other-worldlyness of the ocean. After watching The Abyss as a child I was always terrified of the deep sea. for some reason it seemed more frightening than the more abstract deep space movies. I once watched a documentary around pearl divers that could hold their breath for over three minutes to find treasures on the sea bed.

THE DIVER
After some sketches I was drawn to breaking apart de•light. to find I had a protagonist object. A light.
But not just any light, a viper's lantern, tempting the woman toward it, kind of like the pied piper. No diver could ever go this deep but who cares! This is my imaginary world where divers can!
My sketches initially had the lantern acting as a pearl inside a clam but this all got too busy and confusing to draw. I liked the simplicity of a pearl diver stumbling upon this delightful, mesmerising orb that will lead her to certain peril.
What I found useful was not just the two words I had chosen but also the other words, like 'surprise' this actually helped me give some depth, or a narrative to the emotion 'delight' and the scene 'ocean'.

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Normally I would outline my sketch scan and fill in photoshop, the result would normally be very flat and tight. Building the image in parts gave me a chance to explore some different techniques.
I bought, some black watercolour in a tube, a fine Kolinsky sable hair brush ($60AUD) and also a large cheap synthetic wash brush ($30) and some other random instruments. The guy at the shop said I'd never go back after trying the sable, and he was right, it was wonderful to use. I'd never used a brush before, so I really loved the control and detail I could get from this.

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I was no good at drawing the gestural tail so this is why I did it so many times. The tiny fishes were fun to draw and also using a toothbrush to create some sand textures. The toothbrush also gave me those incredibly fine lines of kelp on the top right! THere are also just some useless practice drawing in the bottom left as I was trying to see how to make marks.

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The first task was just to get everything roughly in tonal layers. To get the rough mood in black and white, then bring in some colour. I didn't really care about getting it exactly as the sketch was and didn't reference it much.
Things that needed fixing were the teeth. They were badly done, so I needed to shape the top of them. to make them a bit more orderly and less british. The orb I built up from 3 unique layers of toothbrush splodges. I liked this effect!
The divers arms were partly done with pen and toothbrush and a dry wash brush with the watercolour straight from the tube. I like the looseness and wanted just to tidy it a little bit, keeping the fuzzy feel that paired well with the fuzzy electric orb. It felt a bit magical and ghostly. Halfway between a glow and her arm disintegrating!

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I started with a lighter composition and slowly worked it darker as I finished areas. I really wanted the main focus to be the diver and the orb, and keep the viper in the shadows. The fish I just kind of played around with. And ended up putting the big wash through the background.
The 'sand' also worked great as bubbles.

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FINAL THOUGHTS
What I enjoyed most was the workflow. I didn't get bored like I usually do.
Building the image up in stages gave me the chance to make mistakes quickly and also be surprised.
I still need to get better with my brushes but overall this was a joy to create from beginning to end.
Keeping the layout loose, and open to development meant I could forget about what was right or wrong and just go with my gut, make mistakes, fix parts that didn't work and also also just leave some mistakes in there for an interesting effect.

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