Sunday, 27 May 2012

The John Ruskin Prize Competition


I did a couple of frottage images for the John Ruskin Prize. The first image "Snails" was inspired by the many snails who climb trees. I thought this was quite an unusual aspect of nature and wanted my artwork to be quite different for this project. Fossilised shells, leaves and wallpaper were used to created the rubbings. The second image "Undergrowth" was created in much the same way and then in Photoshop a watercolour painting was applied over the top. The characters in each image appeared naturally and I just added a bit more detail to bring them out. The judges will probably be looking at hundreds of beautiful traditional style paintings and then there will be my strange creations - well it does say "A new look at nature".  For more information on the competition visit the link below.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Sketchbook Project 2012/2013

The second page in my sketchbook project is very different from my first image, but I wanted to explore the method of frottage further, as I really enjoy this technique. Rather than just use the image for backgrounds and texture, I wanted to produce an automatic response to my charcoal rubbing. Using a charcoal stick and also charcoal pencil, I started to pull out some of the details by making the dark areas even darker. This worked really well and small images started to appear. The most obvious one is a butterfly shape, but there is also a little man in the centre of the wings. I also found a dragon, bird and some sort of female red indian. The hard part of this was knowing when to stop. Please click on the image to see a larger view.

If you're interested in this surrealist technique follow the link below to watch Max Ernst.

Illustration Friday: "Vision"

Even though this week has been hectic with preparations for the end of year degree show, I managed to do a quick brainstorm to come up with my entry image. Ideas explored:  third eye, eye of Horus, short-sight, long-sight, skylines, and the transmission of information to the brain. I decided to take this further and thought of the image of lines, shapes and transmitting images through a lens. This, somehow, led me to satellite dishes and so I decided to produce a surreal image using the method of frottage for the background. The whole piece was done in charcoal. If you are interested in the frottage technique of the surrealists, look up Max Ernst.  If you just type frottage in your search engine you might get a few unexpected results.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Moon Gazey
This is the first image in a personal project that I've just started.  The piece was created using watercolour paint, crayon, black pencil, pen and finally Photoshop to layer the ink work on top.  I find watercolours a bit quicker than using acrylic paint and really like the textures that can be achieved, especially when layered over crayon.  I would love to see hares staring at the moon, unfortunately, only wild rabbits creep into my garden.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Illustration Friday

I found this website some time ago but because of university commitments I couldn't explore it further. Now that I have a bit more time, I'm hoping to tackle some of these projects. The deadline that I have given myself is to produce the illustration in a day. This week's project was for illustrations inspired by the word "kernel" and so I came up with the idea of a corn dolly. This was developed a little further and I combined the idea with harvesting and warning hares in a field.  This is what I came up with. The piece was painted in acrylic paint.

If you're interested in joining these weekly projects the link is:

The Sketchbook Project 2012

I've received my sketchbook and couldn't wait to get started, so I did a rather strange cover and stuck some tape at the side to make it a bit stronger.  I also did a small painting on the first page, (please see my next blog).  I was surprised at how small the sketchbook is (A5ish) and the paper is a bit thin inside for paintings, however, it is ideal for sketching and sticking things in.  I chose a narrative theme from the headings available and have decided to fill my book with paintings, characters and doodles.  I think it will be quite experimental in approach. Some of my inspiration will come from the topics published on Illustration Friday.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Sketchbook Project 2013

Sketch of Peach Stone
although it looks more like
tangled bodies.
For anyone who just loves doodling, sketching and sticking things in your sketchbook, this project might interest you.  Your sketchbook gets to go on tour and ends its retirement in the Brooklyn Art Library.  The project for this year is now open so you can order your sketchbook.  This isn't a competition but an opportunity to be part of something global.  If you're interested here's a link:

I've ordered my sketchbook and I'm really looking forward to doodling and drawing in it this Summer.  I'll be posting my progress on this blog from the start of my project right to the end which should be around Christmas.