Friday, May 29, 2009

Process pictures

More process images!

I am trying to simultaneously experiment and build a new body of work with my charcoal portraits.  This is the most recent and I have to say my easy favourite.  He's gotten straight onto my website and I also entered him into Blanket Magazine's Portrait challenge.  (They are amazing go take a look) I heard of the challenge before making him and I wanted to do more charcoal works so I decided to do some double duty.  Hopefully he'll get accepted.  

He is also working for me in my attempt in gaining a student grant, and will probably be pushed into the Mosman or the Waverly Art Prize in the near-distant future. 

A very busy picture.   

Quite a few people ask me: how do you get it to look like water is dripping down it?
Answer: I drip water on it.

I hope that didn't spoil the image for anyone, some people like to not know how something is made, ruins the magic.

I feel the same about most technological and scientific events, inventions or general know-how.  If you ask me how the internet works I can safely tell you: by magic.  And that is all I have to know.  Frankly I feel like knowing too much background info sometimes kills of the mystique of life.  Apart from quantum physics, evolution and the big bang. That shit is awesome.

But I love knowing how people make images, hence the process pictures.  And I get all miffed when artists try to hide how they made something so someone can't copy them.  I swear I just want to know how they make it!  I'm not going to copy! (maybe a little bit...stingy artists...)  

But Folks get ready to try this at home,
if you draw on canvas you can use the special charcoal eraser,
but you can also you water!  
I use water and a sponge.
If I need to clean up a lot of charcoal I use a scouring sponge.

That's just cleaning up though, 
you can also use water as a mark making device.
Throwing water, swirling it around, etc.
The water picks up the charcoal, 
and dry pigment + water = "paint"
so there are marks of the water's path, kind of like weak gritty ink. 
I've used water in some my other charcoal drawings,
so try take a look and spot them.

hope that was useful to some of you, 
or will encourage someone to be more adventurous with their charcoal or drawing.

jess b

Friday, May 22, 2009


First of all, I am sorry for such a long post, but I think it is so much easier to see a progression in an art work when you can just scroll up and down. Rather than having to add all these different images together in your head.  Second of all I am sorry for some of the quality, focusing (or lack of), and the position of the image.  I took them with my camera phone.  

Nevertheless I wanted to share.  I get a bit annoyed when I see beautiful polished work on blogs, its nice.  But I also want to see the crap and hard work and how it looked before it turned out great.  I think its important to see stages of a work, and also learn how different people solve different visual issues.   

This is a personal piece that I started and finished recently.  I was really inspired by Melanie's work, you can't see the crazy things she thinks up and creates so much on her blog, which is a shame.  But in real life she is crazy about hair.  Human hair.  She makes giant skipping ropes out of it and braids balloons together with it.  She has a scary work place at COFA filled with hair sculptures and hair objects which happen to be horrible and beautiful at the same time. 

Very strange.

From her I got a strong image of a guy with this giant beard simply extending down off his face and consuming his neck and chest, as you can see that never manifested itself.  I tried: and it looked shit.  Also a while after I started I went to the MCA drawing show and saw Laith McGregor.  My internal image wasn't exactly the same as his bearded men, but they were very similar so I was a bit disheartened to follow through with my hairy man.

In the end however he turned out being devoid of hair, which I found quite amusing. 

This was done in charcoal on canvas.  And if the last one looks a bit funny it's because I didn't grayscale it and I was trying to be quite delicate with the levels tool, it is amazingly hard to get the tonal values right.

Hope you enjoy, I will be putting up more phone camera process images later.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Murdoch Books: Monster Maintenance Manual Illustration Competition

There was an illustration competition for Murdoch Books new children's title: Monster Maintenance Manual.

Here are my final images for: Nose Ghoul, Quarking Ducks and long-legged Underbed pigs.
I'll post sketches soon.
(just so you know, the nose ghoul is pulling ginger hair out of his cloak. Nose ghouls apparently are the cause for nasal hair amoung adults.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Illustration Friday: theatre

"I reckon this here's the best theatre in town," said Earl as the curtain rose.  

(Just a quick image for this friday after a nightmare of work was due and partially finished for this week...
wanted to play with the very 'high art' image people have of theatre, hope you like.)