In the style of… Fougasse

Tram – ink and digital, 297 x 210 mm, 2013
Tram – ink and digital, 297 x 210 mm, 2013
Tram (edited and unedited photos) – Christchurch, 2010
Tram (edited and original photos) – Christchurch, 2010

Simple lines and a few splashes of colour. I really enjoyed this one — does it show?

Fougasse

Posters from 1944 Images from www.pickmix.co.uk
Posters from 1944
Images from www.pickmix.co.uk

Fougasse was the nom de plume of London-born cartoonist Cyril Kenneth Bird (1887–1965). I’m a big fan of the posters he designed for the London Underground. I love the simplicity of these illustrations — and the humour.

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.

A sparrow’s tale

Work in progress #1 – the underpainting
Work in progress #1 – the underpainting

These photos show the progress of Sparrow (Monday’s In the style of…) painting. I started with an underpainting of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber ― I’ve fallen in love with these two colours because they blend together to make the most beautiful black (see the note below about chromatic blacks).

Work in progress #2 – painting the background and the body
Work in progress #2 – painting the background and the body
Work in progress #3 – filling in details
Work in progress #3 – filling in details
Work in progress #4 – adding black and white
Work in progress #4 – adding black and white

I’m a big fan of chromatic blacks (made using colour rather than a specific black pigment). It’s so satisfying to mix your own ‘black’ and achieve subtle variations of colour — it’s much more fun than simply reaching for a tube of Ivory Black (although I do that too). I’ve used both kinds of black in my little sparrow painting.

Work in progress #5 – no no no no no
Work in progress #5 – no no no no no

I got a bit carried away adding white to his feathers and ended up with a colour I didn’t like ― a sort of pale grey-brown ― so I waited for the unfortunate, dreary colour to dry and painted a more cheerful pinky-brown over it (see below).

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

I also made him a little bit fatter and a whole lot fluffier. And I still really like that strand of spider silk in the corner.

Thanks for reading.

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.

In the style of… Edward McKnight Kauffer

Sky Tower – watercolour and acrylic, 295 x 210 mm, 2013.
Sky Tower – watercolour and acrylic, 295 x 210 mm, 2013
Sky Tower – Auckland, 2007.
Sky Tower – Auckland, 2007

Here is Auckland’s Sky Tower ― the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand ― surrounded by little fluffy clouds. The sketch was an exercise in simplicity and contrast. Left to my own devices, I would have added more details and shading, but that’s not really the point of this exercise. I used watercolour pencils and my new Molotow acrylic paint markers (oh what a wonderful world we live in!).

Edward McKnight Kauffer

Posters from 1923,1932 and 1934  Images from www.pickmix.co.uk
Posters from 1923, 1932 and 1934
Images from www.pickmix.co.uk

I’m a little jealous of American-born artist and designer Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890–1954). He studied in Paris, illustrated several of T. S. Eliot’s books (apparently he was Eliot’s preferred illustrator) and designed posters for the London Underground. Not a bad career.

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… Jim Flora

CBD 2010 – ink and digital, 280 x 355 mm, 2013.
CBD 2010 – ink and digital, 280 x 355 mm, 2013
Bikes – Christchurch, 2010.
Bikes – Christchurch, 2010

Although I’ve always liked the composition of this photograph, I really wanted to have a bit of fun with the sketch. What better way than by utilising Jim Flora’s dynamic and colourful style?! The linework is ink on illustration board, coloured in Photoshop.

Jim Flora

Images (1954, 1955, 1957) from www.jimflora.com
Images (1954, 1955, 1957) from http://www.jimflora.com

American artist James (Jim) Flora (1914–1998) is probably best known for his jazz and classical album covers from the 1940s and 1950s. His work includes children’s books, paintings, woodcuts and commercial illustrations. If you’re not familiar with his art, I recommend checking out www.jimfloraart.com and www.jimflora.com. But be warned, his art is not only colourful and humorous, it has also been described as diabolic, sinister and mischievous!

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… Louis Rhead

Rendezvous – acrylic and white gel pen, 280 x400 mm, 2013.
Rendezvous – acrylic and pigment gel ink, 280 x 400 mm, 2013.
Rendezvous – detail
Rendezvous – detail
Akaroa Harbour beachfront, 2012.
Akaroa Harbour beachfront, 2012.

I had something specific in mind when I started painting the Akaroa Harbour beachfront photo… and this painting isn’t it. Initially I was going to create a highly stylised image using simple shapes and patterns and fairly flat colours ― but sometimes I just can’t help myself… the temptation to layer colours and add texture is just too great. With Louis Rhead’s turn-of-the-century posters in mind (see below), I exaggerated the shape of the trees and the curve of the shoreline. He has also influenced the overall composition, my choice of colours and the romantic styling of the women in the foreground (although mine look more medieval than Art Nouveau).

I may have another go at painting this scene for next week’s Shoot it, Sketch it

Louis Rhead

Images from http://commons.wikimedia.org
Images from http://commons.wikimedia.org

English-born artist Louis Rhead (1857-1926) made a career out of poster design and book illustration in the USA. I love the Art Nouveau influence in these posters dated 1896-1900. The sweeping curves and stylised trees are beautiful. The colours are fantastic too.

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… André François

Gold – acrylic on paper, 255 x 305 mm, 2013.
Gold – acrylic on paper, 255 x 305 mm, 2013
Goldfish pond, original photo, 2012.
Goldfish pond, original photo, 2012

The influence of André François’ art (see below) on the way I painted this goldfish pond is subtle but it’s definitely there. I can see it in the brush strokes, the way the colours are applied and the black lines around the leaves and fish. I don’t think the online image has quite the same impact as the painting… because from a distance — despite the texture, bright colours and obvious outlines — the painted fish pond looks real. Really really real! Most peculiar.

André François

André François – illustrations for  Citroën and Kodak Citroën ad image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurapopdesign Kodak ad image from http://shelleysdavies.com
André François – illustrations for Citroën and Kodak
Citroën ad image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurapopdesign
Kodak ad image from http://shelleysdavies.com

Hungarian-born French artist André François (1915–2005) is perhaps best remembered for his cartoons in Punch, Vogue and The New Yorker but I’m more interested in his graphic design work, such as these vintage advertising posters for Citroën and Kodak ― the brushwork, colours and humour are delightful.

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… A. B. Frost

Welcome to my first ever In the style of… which will be appearing occasionally instead of the regular Shoot it, Sketch it posts on Mondays. I plan to draw inspiration from some of the world’s greatest illustrators. It’s really Shoot it, Sketch it with a twist ― I’ll still be using my photographs as a starting point but I’ll be drawing/painting them with a particular style in mind. It’s not about slavishly copying someone else’s art; it’s an experiment in seeing things differently. My hope is that it will take my own art in different directions.

At the beach – ink on paper, 140 x 240 mm, 2013.
At the beach – ink on paper, 140 x 240 mm, 2013.

At the beach – Nelson, 2011.
At the beach – Nelson, 2011.

Drawing this week’s photograph was a bit of a challenge. The rocks and stones were straightforward enough (believe it or not) but it took several attempts before I was happy with the driftwood. And if you’re wondering who A. B. Frost is…

A. B. Frost

A. B. Frost – illustrations from Lewis Carroll’s A Tangled Tale, 1886 Images from http://www.gutenberg.org
A. B. Frost – illustrations from Lewis Carroll’s A Tangled Tale, 1886
Images from http://www.gutenberg.org

American artist Arthur Burdett Frost (1851–1928) is famous for illustrating  Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn characters as well as Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit stories but it’s these two illustrations from A Tangled Tale that inspired this week’s sketch. Frost’s compositions and linework are simply brilliant.