Tag Archives: drawing

Bodelwyddan Castle-Whats on at the gallery..

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Watercolours and Drawings: 18th to 21st Century

“This exhibition is the third to be brought to Bodelwyddan Castle from Hastings by Caroline Gee, a Sussex art dealer who has been specializing in Watercolours and Drawings for over thirty years. It will follow a similar format as her previous exhibitions, beginning with the early years of the watercolour school in Britain, moving through the early nineteenth century, the ‘Golden Age’ of British watercolour, and finishing with delightful twentieth Century examples.” Watercolour is an interesting subject for me as it is an area I would like to develop and explore. As an expert in that area Caroline Gee would be an ideal candidate for information! Caroline Gee Caroline Gee, a dealer in early English and 20th century watercolours and drawings, is particularly excited by the potential of watercolours from the first half of the 19th century by John Varley and David Cox. Both were among the earliest members of the Old Watercolour Society, the founding of which in 1804 saw watercolours starting to be considered an art form in their own right. She says: “In the late 19th century, Cox was considered to be on a par with Constable and was only marginally less expensive than Turner. So what’s on display? ” Featured works on display include some of the most prominent artists who exhibited with the Old Watercolour Society (formed 1804), among them David Cox, Peter de Wint and John Varley. The Victorian Age is mainly represented by those artists who followed in the tradition of the early landscape painters, and will include two large and splendid views of North Wales by William Evans of Bristol. In the twentieth century section there will be another group of the wildlife drawings by Eileen Soper which so delighted visitors last time.” I have to be honest, I am not very familiar with these Artists! So I am going to do a little research 🙂

A Short History of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours

“The beginnings of the RI can be traced back to 1807 with the formation of the New Society of Painters in Water Colours. The New Society was inaugurated as an alternative to an existing society (now the RWS) which had been founded in 1804 and which exhibited only the work of its own members. From the start the New Society showed the work of non-members’ alongside that of members, a policy still followed today. Both societies were started at a time when the Royal Academy was refusing to accept watercolours as a suitable medium for serious artistic expression despite its use by many highly regarded painters including Cotman, Turner, Cox, de Wint, Bonington and many others. The New Society changed its name in 1808 to the Associated Artists in Water Colours. The exhibitions attracted some of the foremost watercolourists of the time including: David Cox, Peter De Wint, William Blake, Samuel Prout, Paul Sandby and Joseph Powell. Even so financial problems caused them to fold in 1812.” (www.royalinstituteofpaintersinwatercolours.org/)

16 Old Bond Street Gallery of New Society of Painters in Watercolours, 1834 George Scharf (1788-1860)

How amazing is it to look back to how, just one aspect of Art, was used? And  how it has developed over the many years until now! I love how all the paintings in the picture are all bunched together across the walls.

David Cox 1783–1859

Cox was born at Deritend, near Birmingham, the son of blacksmith. In around 1798, aged fifteen, he was apprenticed to aminiature painter named Fieldler. Following Fieldler’s suicide, Cox was apprenticed around 1800 as assistant to a theatre scene-painter named De Maria. In 1804 he took work as a scene-painter with Astley’s Theatre and moved to London. By 1808 he had abandoned scene-painting, taking water-colour lessons with John Varley. In 1805 he made the first of his many trips to Wales, with Charles Barber; his earliest dated watercolours are from this year. Throughout his lifetime he made numerous sketching tours to the home counties, North Wales, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Devon. Cox exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1805. His pictures never sold for high prices, and his earned his living chiefly as a drawing-master. Through his first pupil, Col. the Hon. H. Windsor (the future Earl of Plymouth), who engaged him in 1808, Cox acquired several other aristocratic pupils. He wrote several books, including Ackermann’s New Drawing Book (1809); A Series of Progressive Lessons (1811); Treatise on Landscape Painting (1813); and Progressive Lessons on Landscape (1816). The ninth and last edition of his Series of Progressive Lessons was published in 1845.”

Rhyl Sands c.1854

I live in a small village right next to Rhyl, So to see a painting from the 1800’s, of Rhyl Beach, is amazing. I think the sky looks quite realistic but I get a grass feel instead of sand. I can see it is sand and the longer I look I wonder if it is windy right there by the sea and so the sand is moving?

PETER DE WINT, OWS
(British, 1784-1849)
Hastings from the East Cliff

Peter de Wint, OWS (British, 1784-1849) Hastings from the East Cliff watercolour heightened with bodycolour 38.5 x 56cm (15 3/16 x 22 1/16in).

“The son of a Dutch-American father and Scottish mother, Peter De Wint drew on the British landscape for his subject matter. Whilst working as an apprentice to John Raphael-Smith, De Wint met William Hilton, who was to become a life-long friend. Stylistically, De Wint was influenced by John Varley and Thomas Girtin whose sweeping brushstrokes and subdued blocks of colour were introduced to him by his patron Dr. Monroe. During the summer months, De Wint visited his patrons at their country estates in order to sketch the landscape and work as a tutor to the children of the family. He was to teach throughout his career in order to supplement his income and this resulted in numerous pupils working in his style. “(www.bonhams.com) Although this is a very beautiful piece of work, painted by a very talented Artist, to me, it feels old and the colours feel dark and dull. Maybe Peter de Wint actually used colours the colours of what it actually looked like on that day? I do like the visual lines running and swirling through the grass and I think the tiny detail of the people and buildings is very clever.

JOHN VARLEY OWS (1778-1842)

John Varley was a central figure for the watercolourists of the early nineteenth century. A founder member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours, and its most prolific exhibitor, he was also a highly significant teacher of both professionals and amateurs, and a writer of instruction manuals. He encouraged his students to paint in the open air, but also promoted the Picturesque theory of adapting nature to the requirements of composition. Of Lincolnshire descent, John Varley was born in Hackney, Middlesex, on 17 August 1778. He and his brothers ‘were said to have been born at the Blue Posts (formerly the Templars’ house), after their father had converted it to private use, although the building was still an inn in 1785’ (T F T Baker (ed), A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney, London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1995, pages 10-14).”

KILCHURN CASTLE ON LOCH AWE

Whilst scanning through the Chris Beetles website, this is the painting, from Varley, that first caught my eyes. Varley has used dark and dull colours as I said about Peter de Wint’s piece, but he has added contrasting colours to the dark greens with brighter yellow tones. And the, as a further compliment, he has added a soft toned sky which I think makes the trees and land stand out very well. WILLIAM EVANS

William Evans of Eton (1798-1877) was a late-Georgian and early-Victorian landscape artist of real distinction, who painted exclusively in watercolour. Further qualification is needed, however, to explain why he was remarkable. Numerous watercolour artists augmented their income by teaching privately, including his own teachers William Collins and Peter de Wint, as well as his rival at the Old Watercolour Society, JD Harding. But as a Drawing Master teaching at Eton, then the premier public school, he stood above most of his peers, occupying an office which had been held by that innovative teacher Alexander Cozens in the previous century. He came second in a painting dynasty which through four generations lasted over 120 years.

He was the ardent supporter of institutions, both of his own school and of the Old Watercolour Society, where he never quite achieved official recognition. His signature, William Evans of Eton, was developed after 1845 when another member with the same name joined the Society. Throughout his life he remained loyal to watercolour painting, finding that the medium was capable of everything he wished to express, and considering those who experimented in oil renegades. His quarrels became bitter and absolute, and few of his artistic friendships remained intact. It was a period when the inventive quality of the British School of watercolour painting gradually ossified, and critics such as Ruskin damned the annual formula exhibition pictures which were sure of their market. By the 1850s William was himself producing ambitious, large pictures which lack the freshness of those painted in the 1830s and 1840s; but he reacted with a rush of inspiration to the south of France in a group of pictures painted in 1867-8, which have since been lost. As ill health inhibited his output, he became more and more involved with the administration 0f the Old Watercolour Society and was one of those who insured it retained its elite exclusive character, keeping out the more progressive ideas emerging in the mid-century.”

Evans. Cricket on the College Field. 1830s

It feels like there is a lot of white area in this painting, in everything there is white space. It feels a little hollow to me. I do love the circles that make up the trees on the left.

Eileen Soper

                                                      “the enchanting world of the Famous Five illustrator – Eileen Soper “Eileen Soper sought success at an early age, and was considered a child prodigy when she was the youngest artist ever to exhibit her work at The Royal Academy in London – at the ripe age of just 15. She was fantastically well received. But Eileen was not new to art at that age – she had experienced a lifetime of top tutoring from her father, George Soper, also a well-accomplished artist.

He drew out the creative side in both his daughters.

Eva, Eileen’s elder sister by less than two years, was a skilled potter, producing many designs for Royal Worcester – whilst Eileen and their father were more focused on etching and painting. Eileen produced around 180 different etchings, two of which were bought by Queen Mary. Her set of etchings of a specific group of children are particularly popular. The same set of children appear numerous times, enjoying different games and activities, and all these drawings were produced during the 1920’s, but they are still hugely well-liked today.”

Brush strokes – Eileen Soper painting.

The Famous Five & Eileen Soper

The Famous Five are among Enid Blyton’s best-loved creations and countless children have gone adventuring with them since the publication of Five on a Treasure Islandin 1942, the first of twenty-one full-length adventures and numerous short stories. Enid Blyton’s original books were charmingly illustrated by Eileen Soper but there have been numerous interpretations and adaptations of the Famous Five over the years including continuation novels written by French author Claude Voilier, cinema films, stage plays, two television series and, more recently, a Disney cartoon series featuring the children of the Famous Five.

First edition: 1944 Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper Category: Famous Five Genre: Mystery/Adventure Type: Novels/Novelettes

THE BOAT SWING

EILEEN SOPER   I absolutely adore this illustration, the movement that is illustrated is beautiful. I like how the drawing shows a small section of what is actually happening but it leads the viewer to imagine the rest. I think the overlapped lines work well for the movement and the lack of colour makes  no difference at all.

ETCHING ON LAID PAPER 6 X 4 INCHES FINAL STATE

This illustration also moves me, the child really is sad about her broken doll and Eileen Soper has illustrated that very well. I really like her use of sketchy line work and again although this is not a moving picture it still gives the viewer a feel that the image is alive. Round Up That’s all I have time for today but I hope I have given a good insight to the exhibition now showing at Bodelwyddan castle! There are always exciting pieces being shown so be sure to keep an eye out for new exhibitions! keep a look out either by facebook, twitter or via their website!

During feeds and nappy changes…

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Time is flying quickly and baby is growing fast!! Its the summer holidays and I have been entertaining my eldest with Alton Towers and Loom Bands, whilst thinking about new uniform and baby grows! It was a nice surprise to receive mail from Gareth Whitley (Bodelwyddan Castle), again offering the chance for my family and I to view the latest exhibitions in return for a few mentions right here at my blog 🙂

Just to give you a preview, here is my introduction..

Some exciting work will be shown at this exhibition during 23 July – 28 September!

Watercolours and Drawings: 18th to 21st Century

“This exhibition is the third to be brought to Bodelwyddan Castle from Hastings by Caroline Gee, a Sussex art dealer who has been specializing in Watercolours and Drawings for over thirty years. It will follow a similar format as her previous exhibitions, beginning with the early years of the watercolour school in Britain, moving through the early nineteenth century, the ‘Golden Age’ of British watercolour, and finishing with delightful twentieth Century examples.”

Thomas Miles Richardson, Landscape with Distant Hills

“Featured works on display include some of the most prominent artists who exhibited with the Old Watercolour Society (formed 1804), among them David Cox, Peter de Wint and John Varley. The Victorian Age is mainly represented by those artists who followed in the tradition of the early landscape painters, and will include two large and splendid views of North Wales by William Evans of Bristol. In the twentieth century section there will be another group of the wildlife drawings by Eileen Soper which so delighted visitors last time.

An additional feature to this exhibition will be a section of works by contemporary artists from East Sussex, which will include a few oil paintings and acrylics, with one by Royal Academician Gus Cummins who lives just down the hill from Caroline.

You have the opportunity to purchase pieces from the exhibition, as all of the works are for sale. Prices will range from £100 to £10,000, with many for under £500.  We hope that there will be something for everyone, and we will be offering various instalment plans that will help you with the purchase.”

Paul Sandby Munn 1773-1845 Bala Lake with Cader Idris in the Distance Signed and dated 1833 Watercolour

I am looking forward to diving straight into the exhibition this coming Saturday and hope to take lots of pictures whilst learning all about the history of the Artists 🙂 It will be interesting to take a close look at works that have been painted of locations that are local to me, and places that I have been to such as Bala Lake, North Wales.

I have been experimenting with watercolour to bring my latest drawings to life so I am looking forward to exploring how other Artists have used it to colour their work.

 

More exciting work showing now at Bodelwyddan castle…

 

Bob Collins: Shooting Stars

Eric Sykes, 1959 © estate of Bob Collins / National Portrait Gallery, London

“As part of our Summer special exhibitions programme, we will be showing Bob Collins: Shooting Stars inGaleri 3. This is a really enjoyable display that consists of 23 informal photographs of famous faces from the 1950′s/60′s.  As well as offering a welcome dose of nostalgia, we feel that the exhibition will highlight Bob’s skill at capturing spontaneous moments on film.”

 

After my visit on Saturday I will be blogging within a few days to tell you all about the above works..dont miss it!!

 

see you soon 🙂

Final Module..

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The last few weeks of my time at Glyndwr University are flying fast!! It wont be much longer before that chapter of my life ends ready for a new one to begin! My final assessment will roughly be around 8th May and then I am due to have my baby on 15th!!! So right now, every minute of everyday is very valuable to ensure I am ready for that final assessment but also ready for the new edition of my family to enter the world!

Just briefly, I have been very lucky with this pregnancy as everything has run smoothly and therefore I have still been able to carry on working on my degree.

The final module is mostly based on portraying a professional practice with my work so that when I leave my studies, I will be ready fr the big, wide world of illustration. Some of the things that are required to show my professional side are designing a website, creating and printing business cards and postcards and creating a portfolio to a professional standard. If I am honest, a few weeks ago I didn’t feel ready to build a website, It wasn’t really that long ago that I discovered my natural drawing style and therefore I didn’t feel that I would have enough of that style to display within a website. I went ahead with the website anyway as it was part of the module and I’m glad I did! It has given me a new goal and more to aim for, I feel quite excited that I actually have my own website and find some inspiration and drive to draw more illustrations to fill it.

You can see my cards on my Twitter page and I have also created a Facebook page! The Facebook page is brand new but I am working at filing it up very soon.

I have been looking at Children’s Education for the final module, to complete the negotiated study number 2 and I am really excited about the characters that I have created so be sure to follow the next few post where I will upload the process of creating them!!

 

 

Kiminspire-Kim Project

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Many moons ago, I wasn’t the strongest woman in the world, I was very shy, had very little confidence and practically zero self-esteem. You could say that I was a frightened little creature that hid away from the big wide world!! It was a difficult life, living with my insecurities but behind them I had some good qualities that I didn’t feel I could embrace and therefore I threw myself into my local women’s center, Rhyl north wales, for help and guidance. At the center, I was offered many courses such as a confidence course, assertive class and an endless list of classes including things as basic as cooking, walking, social groups to more functional classes like access to university and much, much more. I took a confidence class, the assertive one and also at the time a digital media class. In the mean time i read books to help with confidence, and understanding depression and anxiety and pretty much anything within that kind of spectrum. I didn’t know what exactly I was aiming for, just that there was  tiny amount of drive and ambition hidden away behind my insecurities. I picked up a few quotes on my journey, one being..“If you don’t know where you are going..then any road will take you there…”. Now, looking back, I can see the truth in this quote. At that time of my life, I really didn’t know where I was going, but rather than sitting still I kept moving and as a result, the choices I made then have contributed to where I am today. The courses I had taken and books that I read have changed my outlook on life, changed the way I think and also, I didn’t know that the digital media course was an access to university course!! So when I had completed the course, and was offered a place and interview at Glyndwr University, I was in absolute shock! Still, that was another barrier to cross and I still had a way to go with my self belief that I was good enough to go to university but that’s another story!

Going to university has not only taught me about the illustration that I am studying, but a lot about life and people and learning, always learning! And opportunities, new doors and possibilities. trailing off, some months ago, my next door neighbor, Annie Donovan, operations Manager at KIM Kindness in Mind, asked me if I would like to facilitate an art class for KIM, the women’s project group. I was again in shock to have been offered such a opportunity, and as somebody who has come quite far in life from needing the help and support of a women’s center just like KIM, I jumped at the chance! I felt comfort in the fact that I myself have been given the opportunity to help other women like myself.

kiminspire

When conducting the art classes, I have a lot to think about, I try to ensure the class will be suitable for every woman in turn but also relaxing and enjoyable. My aim isn’t even to teach them at this point in time but to help them relax, enjoy themselves and feel good about what they have created.

Next week I will be facilitating a class at the project in mold, north Wales and I have been thinking about a basic charcoal drawing class. The goal is not to see who can draw the best, but just to enjoy the connection that charcoal makes with the paper, some of the women may express themselves through the drawing but the aim is mainly to enjoy just making a mark and having fun. I am really excited about taking the class and look forward to many more to come!!

The centers

I would like to take a minute to say that if you feel that would you benefit from any of the centers, do not hesitate to contact them. They are there for your benefit, they are there to help!! Also, these centers cover a whole lot more than I have described here, I have only mentioned what areas have been beneficial to me.

NWWC

KIM

Bodelwyddan Castle family day out…

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Last year Bodelwyddan Castle held an exciting Quentin Blake exhibition to display some of his most important illustrations within their own gallery. As a huge fan of his work I took my family to visit the Castle and also made use of the other facilities available there, it really was a fantastic day for myself, my partner and the children( see the day further down my blog).

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Photo: My own photo from the exhibition

Gareth Whitley

Since the visit I decided to follow the Castle on Facebook and twitter so that I could find out about any more up and coming events. Gareth Whitley, volunteer at kids museums, editor and publicist of the sites had taken notice of our interest and has kept in contact through out the year and more recently had made me an offer I really couldn’t refuse. As he is part of a team who have been making some changes to the castles visiting facilities he has been looking for different ways to spread the word and to let the public know about the exciting new changes he has made, he also needed volunteers to test the said changes!! That’s where I come into it..Gareth kindly offered my family and I a FREE day out to tour the castle, view the latest exhibitions and basically give feed back on the new editions to the castle guides and touring system.

I was over the moon with his offer, obviously as I got to have a free day out with my family at an educational venue but I also felt very grateful for his offer, I could see that Gareth was keen to update the castles visiting facilities, had a general interest in the public’s views and he was willing to do what ever it took to meet both needs of the castle and the customers I thought it was very refreshing to be part of that and hopefully help him on his mission.

So what are the changes??!!

The first thing I noticed when I entered the reception was the ‘Children’s Explorer Tools’. The brightly colored tools have been specifically introduced to enable children up to age 5 to explore each historical room easily whilst having fun interacting with them, and whats more is that whilst the children are having fun exploring, Parents and guardians get their time to join in with them or take in the sights themselves. The explorers tools include magnifiers, torches, toy cameras and tape measures. (To be returned after use)

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(Photos were taken by me unless stated otherwise)

*Getting the children involved*

There was lots of other ways that Gareth and other members have thought about to encourage children’s to become involved in the gallery and history of the castle and so he has introduced drawing and coloring sheets designated for each historical room. (might I add that it is not just that children that enjoy drawing and coloring 🙂 .)

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Whoops!! I don’t have the best camera skills!!

Whilst at the main entrance, children can take some pencils and a clip board so that they can take their activity sheets along their journey with them or even fill their sheets in before they set off.

Activity and Educational Booklets

Cute little activity booklets have been created to specific parts of designated rooms for children to enjoy and to easily learn about the works and history of the castle.

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Mini Signs

Something else I noticed on our tour was the really cute illustrated signs which have been placed around the building, illustrated to tell a cat and mouse story for the very young children (just the right height for them too!!) to enable toddlers who cannot yet read or write and take part in the activity booklets, to feel part of the experience.

At this point I was wondering if there was anything that hadn’t been thought of! I felt that lots of different areas had been explored within the castle personnel to ensure people and children of all ages were considered to maximize an enjoyable and educational visit.

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Extra fun

So there is already a few new changes to aid children on their visit but there is more! More educational features have been placed in the historical rooms themselves just waiting to be discovered!! They have been carefully selected to tie in with the room itself for example, the library has been adjusted to enable visitors to access some drawers and also toys have been placed in there, like prisms and looking glasses to show what kids of historical people are associated with that room. People such as scientists and astronomers. I think the Library was just one of my son’s favorite rooms, as you will see in the following pictures.

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The following photos will show what is new in some of the other rooms for children  to get hands on with 🙂IMG_5870 IMG_5871 IMG_5895 IMG_5896 IMG_6041

Guided tours

Bodelwyddan castle have recently updated their touring system so not only is there some lovely people spotted about during the tour, who are fully educated within the history of the castle itself, and the younger generation are covered with everything I have talked about so far, they now have some really cool handheld media guides!! iPod styled media guides that are packed with everything you will need to learn about the castle and aid a relaxed tour environment!! My son was very excited about having the use of one of the new gadgets and even more so that he could wear one around his neck leaving his hands free to interact with all of the activities.

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The red media guides are available at the main entrance for a deposit, which is understandable considering the cost them, and they give access to the new app which is also downloadable from your own phone or device!!! I was curious about the app so I downloaded it to my own iPhone and I have to admit, as somebody who grew up in Bodelwyddan I was surprised and very interested in the past history of the village and castle!! Do check it out!! And don’t forget to leave a review!!

All of this wasn’t just down to Gareth, The deputy director, Morrigan Mason was responsible for the trails and toys and the coloring in sheets, Whilst the visitor services manager, Laura Verga-Birtles was responsible for the media guides. Gareth Whitley, whose job role within the castle is also directed at Learning and audience development, has been busy researching visitors comments, how they use everything and finding out views and people’s opinions for future services. Further aid came from CyMAL, Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, providing funding/money from the Welsh government.

I have pretty much covered what’s new at the castle where guides and children’s learning is concerned but our day didn’t end there!! My next post covers the rest of our visit, the latest exhibition and what’s coming up. I will always be talking about the illustrator behind the new children’s activity books so keep a watch out very soon!!!!!

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London Serco Competition

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I was working on a competition distributed by London Transport Serco and although I did complete the brief and enter the competition, I felt that that my final illustration didn’t quite meet the criteria of the brief. I don’t feel dis-heartened by that though, as I felt that I discovered quite a lot about my drawing style and also that my style is still developing at a very slow pace!! The brief took lots of turns and twists and I came to love the little characters that I had developed towards the end.

I began looking at time machines to try and portray the time over the years within London but also changed midway to the history of London transport shown together.

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Mrs Pepperpot to the Rescue..Re-illustrated

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Narrowing down my illustrations to the children’s sector, I have been looking at Mrs Pepperpot to the Rescue by Alf Proysen.

I thought that this would be an interesting book to illustrate as not only was it one of my childhood favorites, but there has not been a lot of illustrations based on this book and therefore I felt that there was less influence to my ideas.

After reading through the book one more time, I had decided which parts of the stories I would like to try and illustrate.

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The above illustrations show the progress of planning my drawing, looking at water color and tone and using Photoshop to place the illustration example into the book itself to see how it would look.

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Character development, this was my favorite illustration to work with from this subject. I really enjoyed finding and applying the reference to create the character (George) and trying to figure out how to add a dragon into the picture without drawing the obvious and using the dragons shadow for shape and negative space.

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The roughly, not so finished cover I have been working on, still trying to establish, plan and prioritize what really needs to be in the illustration, how to make it inviting to draw the eye in.