In the style of… Brian Wildsmith

Diptych of daisies, Akaroa, 2009
Diptych of daisies, Akaroa, 2009
Diptych of daisies – acrylic on canvas, 175 x 230 mm (each), 2014
Diptych of daisies – acrylic on canvas, 175 x 230 mm (each), 2014

A little nature study…

Diptych of daisies (one)
Diptych of daisies (one)
Diptych of daisies (two)
Diptych of daisies (two)

Brian Wildsmith

Brian Wildsmith – illustrations from Birds (1967) and Squirrels (1974) Images from http://eye-likey.blogspot.com
Brian Wildsmith – illustrations from Birds (1967) and Squirrels (1974)
Images from http://eye-likey.blogspot.com

Brian Wildsmith (born 1930) has written and illustrated more than eighty books. I love his use of colour and the way he combines abstract textures with carefully considered details. And his animals… his animals have such life and personality. You can check out his website here.

In the style of… appears occasionally instead of my regular Shoot it, Sketch it posts. Using my own photographs as a starting point, I’m drawing inspiration from some of the world’s greatest illustrators. It’s not about slavishly copying someone else’s art; it’s an experiment in seeing things differently.

In the style of… Evaline Ness

The convention – ink and watercolour, 205 x 255 mm, 2013
The convention – ink and watercolour, 205 x 255 mm, 2013
Seagulls at Lake Rotorua, 2013
Seagulls at Lake Rotorua, 2013

I’ve only recently discovered Evaline Ness (although the illustrations in Sam, Bangs and Moonshine do seem curiously familiar). Her work is delightful and quirky across a wide range of styles and mediums. I particularly like the bold lines and restricted use of colour in the illustrations below. The reference photo is yet another one taken using my nothing-special cellphone ― which explains the appalling quality ― but it’s still good enough for sketching purposes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and I’m quoting photographer Chase Jarvis here), the best camera is the one you have with you. I’m starting to think it may be time to invest in a better phone… or a smaller camera.

Evaline Ness

Evaline Ness — illustrations from Joey and the Birthday Present, written by Maxine Kumin and Anne Sexton (1971) Images from http://myvintagebookcollectioninblogform.blogspot.co.nz
Evaline Ness — illustrations from Joey and the Birthday Present, written by Maxine Kumin and Anne Sexton (1971)
Images from http://myvintagebookcollectioninblogform.blogspot.co.nz

American artist Evaline Ness (1911–1986) has several claims to fame. As well as being an extremely versatile illustrator and author of children’s books, she was also a fashion model, a fashion illustrator and was, at one time, married to FBI investigator Elliot Ness. It sounds like a movie just waiting to happen.

In the style of… appears occasionally instead of my regular Shoot it, Sketch it posts. Using my own photographs as a starting point, I’m drawing inspiration from some of the world’s greatest illustrators. It’s not about slavishly copying someone else’s art; it’s an experiment in seeing things differently.

In the style of… Maurice Sendak

St Germain and the tree – ink and watercolour, 297 x 210 mm, 2013
St Germain and the Tree – ink and watercolour, 297 x 210 mm, 2013
St Germain – Christchurch, 2010
St Germain – Christchurch, 2010

If this looks a little familiar, that’s probably because the reference photograph was taken right next to the one I used for last week’s sketch. This time I used watercolour pencils and my trusty Staedtler pigment liners and took inspiration from one of my favourite illustrators, Maurice Sendak. You can see the early stages of my sketch below. (St Germain is the name of the restaurant in the photo.)

Work in progress #1 – watercolour pencil sketch Work in progress #2 – after adding water
Work in progress #1 – watercolour pencil sketch
Work in progress #2 – after adding water

Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak – illustrations from Where the Wild Things Are (1963) Images from http://mrbiggs.com
Maurice Sendak – illustrations from Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
Images from http://mrbiggs.com

Everyone has heard of American illustrator and author Maurice Sendak (1928–2012), haven’t they? And even if you don’t know his name, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with his wonderful book Where the Wild Things Are.

In the style of… appears occasionally instead of my regular Shoot it, Sketch it posts. Using my own photographs as a starting point, I’m drawing inspiration from some of the world’s greatest illustrators. It’s not about slavishly copying someone else’s art; it’s an experiment in seeing things differently.

In the style of… Nancy Ekholm Burkert

Lake Taupo – graphite and charcoal, 205 x 255 mm, 2013
Lake Taupo – graphite and charcoal, 205 x 255 mm, 2013

Lake Taupo, 2013
Lake Taupo, 2013

Today’s In the style of… drawing was an excuse to test my Derwent tinted charcoal pencils. Some of the colours are VERY similar (especially the darker tints) but they do have lovely names: Driftwood, Glowing Embers, Ocean Deep, Sunset Pink). I wonder how they’d respond to water…

Nancy Ekholm Burkert

Nancy Ekholm Burkert – illustrations from James and the Giant Peach Images from http://myvintagebookcollectioninblogform.blogspot.co.nz
Nancy Ekholm Burkert – illustrations from James and the Giant Peach
Images from http://myvintagebookcollectioninblogform.blogspot.co.nz

Roald Dahl’s classic story James and the Giant Peach has been illustrated a number of times. The original illustrations (and possibly my favourites) were by Nancy Ekholm Burkert in 1961.

In the style of… appears occasionally instead of my regular Shoot it, Sketch it posts. Using my own photographs as a starting point, I’m drawing inspiration from some of the world’s greatest illustrators. It’s not about slavishly copying someone else’s art; it’s an experiment in seeing things differently.

In the style of… Celestino Piatti

Sparrow – acrylic on canvas, 200 x 255 mm, 2013
Sparrow – acrylic on canvas, 200 x 255 mm, 2013

Sparrow – Akaroa, 2012
Sparrow – Akaroa, 2012

It may seem a strange thing for an arachnophobe to say… but my favourite thing about this painting is the thread of spider silk.

I’ll post my work-in-progress photos later in the week.

Celestino Piatti

The Happy Owls, 1964 and Animal ABC, 1966 Images from http://onceuponabookshelf.com
The Happy Owls, 1964 and Animal ABC, 1966
Images from http://onceuponabookshelf.com

Prolific Swiss artist and designer Celestino Piatti (1922–2007) has an instantly recognisable style. I may be wrong but I’m pretty sure I’m one of his biggest fans. My favourite Piatti quote: “You can draw an owl a thousand times, and never find out its secret”.

In the style of… appears occasionally instead of my regular Shoot it, Sketch it posts. Using my own photographs as a starting point, I’m drawing inspiration from some of the world’s greatest illustrators. It’s not about slavishly copying someone else’s art; it’s an experiment in seeing things differently.

A model mouse

Pirate Mouse model — plasticine and wire, 75 mm tall, 2012.

I made this quirky little fellow when I was designing the Pirate Mouse character. He helped me to figure a few things out, such as how to draw a mouse in pants and a waistcoat without losing his essential mousiness.