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Holly S

Illustrator and eater of bread

180

2

Pumpkin-Carving Witch (plus a self portrait)

Edit - January 2015:

Here's another image I made using the techniques learned from this class. This is a self-portrait for my blog. The circular holly framing device was inked over a pencil sketch, then coloured using watercolour paint. The portrait was inked using a really scratchy, tiny cheap little brush - it created a lot of nice texture. I inked it in black and then scanned and adjusted the colour in Photoshop, combining it with the frame illustration.

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My project is an homage to one of my favourite childhood books, 'The Witch's Handbook' by Malcolm Bird. It's October, so Halloween has been on my mind recently and I decided to do my own take on one of the illustrations in the book, in which some witches are carving pumpkins.

For simplicity's sake I've gone with just the one witch, plus furry feline associate, and some furniture that in retrospect I didn't think through very well.

Here are my tools - I have a proper sable watercolour brush which I currently use for painting my illustrations, but since I didn't want to have to worry about ruining it in some mysterious way, I went and bought a couple more student-quality brushes - they're the blue-handled ones in the centre. I like them, they work well. I didn't end up making any large areas of ink in my current project, but if I do in future, I've got a flat brush for that; and the scrubby-looking little brush on the far right is a very cheap, messed-up one which is fun for adding texture. I've got an HB graphite pencil, and a couple of nibs (one attached to an entirely unnecessary feather; the other one is taped to a disposable chopstick - for some reason I prefer it to my proper nib holder). I'm using a bottle of india ink which I found in the attic, bought by my sister and then forgotten. Free art supplies, great!

Here's the work in progress: you can see my pencil sketches above. The witch originally had a somewhat more pensive, slightly sad expression, which I prefer, but when I was inking I spontaneously gave her a little smile. I followed my pencil sketches a lot closer than I had originally intended to, and more so that Yuko recommends in the class videos; I think in future I would try and make my inking more spontaneous so that the finished work has more energy.

This is my finished project. I've made some Photoshoppy adjustments to the table as it was originally not making sense as a solid object - the stool the witch is seated on was too high up to physically fit under the table, yet the pumpkin is clearly on the table and she's leaning over it. I suppose her pose should be more twisted around to show that she's seated next to the table but leaning over it.

Anyway, despite that I think this didn't turn out too disastrously. I've learned a lot of lessons for next time, and discovered that I really like working with ink and brushes - the fineline pens I used to use always had a sort of dead look to them, too uniform in their line quality. The inking techniques I've learned from this class are more fun to use and produce a more interesting result; I've come away inspired to experiment more in the future!

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