Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A face a day (12): farmers

Some more quick portrait sketches, (from the Drawing Lab book, a face a day exercise) some better than others. I´m practicing doing pen sketches with no pencil pre-sketch - so every mark is final! I´m also practicing doing it fairly quickly like an on-the-spot sketch, rather than the larger portraits that I spend hours on. The sketch above and the larger ones below are about 1.5 to almost 2 inches tall and are done with a very fine 0.05 technical pen. The smaller ones are about an inch tall.

The sketches are of photos of famers in the Station Country book, about farming throughout New Zealand. The farmers tend to be outside in the photos, squinting into the sun!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Altering a women´s sunhat pattern

When you draw up a pattern for a women´s sun hat, or use an existing pattern, there is often lots of altering required to make it fit yourself. Here are some thoughts on that. Probably a good idea to red the previous post on making a women´s sunhat pattern too.

Obviously these are just hand written notes. If anyone in internet-land can´t read my writing, drop me a line in a comment. Why would anyone put these on the net you could ask? :o) Well, with two young kids this is the only place I can put these notes and find them again. The real notes have probably been made into paper airplanes, scribbled on, spilt on etc by now ;o)

Altering the top of a hat

Altering the crown and brim. This is the method to use if you want to change the style of a hat. It is hard (although not impossible) to alter a pattern in this way and keep the same ratio between the top / crown / and brim. When you alter that ratio between those pieces, you change the style of the hat.

A simple method for doing small size alterations for the crown and brim, while keeping the same style of hat (ie - keeping the correct rations between brim / crown).

Making a women´s sunhat pattern

Some thoughts on making a women´s sunhat pattern. Obviously these are just hand written notes. Why would anyone put these on the net you could ask? :o) Well, with two young kids this is the only place I can put these notes and find them again. The real notes have probably been made into paper airplanes, scribbled on, spilt on etc by now ;o) If anyone in internet-land can´t read my writing, drop me a line in a comment.

Some thoughts on making patterns for different sunhat styles:

At the end, after you have checked that the length of the seams are the same length on the pieces that will join up, you need to check that the curve of the pieces is even all the way along:

How to sew a women´s sun hat

Here are some instructions on how to sew an adult women´s sun hat. I think there are many different ways to do it, but this is just the way that I have figured out for myself. It is very windy in Wellington, so I´m aiming to not just make any old hat, but specifically one that will stay on a strong breeze (which is the purpose of the string casing etc). I´ve made a couple like this so far here and here. Even though the pattern was different, the basic sewing instructions were the same.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A face a day (11): drawing pensiveness

Another portrait from the face a day exercise in Carla Sonheim´s book Drawing Lab. This one is of Dr Weir from the tv show Stargate Atlantis. She is supposed to be pensive, staring into the distance. It makes me think, what makes a person look pensive, as opposed to sad, concentrating etc? I think drawing pensiveness entails having the eyes squinting slightly, but the cheekbone muscles not raised (as they would be in a smile). The rest of the face is also totally slack - especially the jaw, which should be loose, and a little forward, I think.

I haven´t concentrated as much on shadow, or value, as my plan is to go over this sketch in pen and ink. I almost can´t bear to though, in case I mess it up... I used H, HB, 2B, 6B, 8B pencils, and a blending stick slightly.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I´ve finally found a use for this fabric. My collection of drawing pencils & pens etc has grown too big for my other one. The pattern is from Soulemama´s Creative Family book. Once you have made one of these, they are so quick to make. I even got it done while my two kids were sitting beside me watching (and helping) the sewing machine wheel to turn.

Some sketchbook entries

A few entries form my sketchbook. I´m still just doing pen, as getting watercolours out is too hard with small kids around. I might try watercolour pencils at some point though.

I´ve entered the last photo in this month´s Sketchbook Challenege, the theme for which is trashed, ruined, and decayed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another sun hat

I´ve had another go at making a sun hat pattern, and I think I´m happy with this one. The top is an altered version of Lotta Jamsdotter´s sun hat - keeping the general shape mostly, but resized for my measurements. The base is not unlike the previous sun hat I made, but slightly less wide.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Woman in the Moon print

This is a linocut I´ve been working on for several months! Finally finished. It is an illustration of the first myth/tale in James Riordan´s great (but sadly out of print) book The Woman in the Moon. I am really happy with this, as it has turned out the way I envisaged in my head.

One of the activities in Carla Sonheim´s book Drawing Lab is to illustrate a book or tale you like. I started to do this, and decided to make it a linocut instead. However, I have also been researching using different materials, block printing inks, and did this on blue vinyl instead of lino.

The blue vinyl is like butter to cut. I did find that it printed a lot better than lino, whether using oil based or water based block printing ink, and regardless of the quality of the paper. SO I might move over to the blue vinyl now perhaps. Also, I have had alot of trouble with crumbly lino (even after heating) which is apparently what happens when the lino is past its use-by-date.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A face a day (10) in pen

I´m doing some more tiny pen and ink sketch portraits, about 1 inch high. I think these turned out OK - mainly because I am using a 0.05 pen now. Its quite tricky as once a pen mark is made there is no going back!

I´m finding it easier to draw the hair, jaw, cheeks etc first, and then move onto the facial features. Although I am still having trouble with eyes and mouths! Practice practice practice!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A face a day (9) in pencil

Another face, drawn as part of one of the exercises in Carla Sonheim´s Drawing Lab book. I´ve also been reading Giovanni Cirvadi´s Complete Guide to Drawing, which is a great book. Although I didn´t quite draw this fully in the technical way, I did first do the facial structure sketch & I tried to crosshatch and pay more attention to shadows and reflected light etc. On reflection, given that the subject was in a dark room, with lots of shadows, I should have made the background darker too.

I think it turned out OK and does look like the character Ladon Radim from the tv show Stargate Atlantis, or at least I think so. Although my husband didn´t recognise him at all. Other people think I´ve tried to draw a picture of my husband, who kind of looks vaguely similar perhaps...

I did the drawing from a still picture of the tv show, in which the person in the drawing is in the process of protesting his innocence, but you are not supposed to quite know whether to believe him or not. So there is supposed to be some element of concern, but also of insincerity there, I think. Maybe even some exasperation.

Below is my first go. I thought he just looked worried.

Below is the same pic, with my first go at using a blending stick. I probably over-blended, and I unthinkingly blended over some of the sections of reflected light. I took them out again with an eraser in very top pic. I think the blending also made him look too young, so I added some detail in again in the very top pic too.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lotta Jansdotter Sun Hat

This is the Sun Hat from Lotta Jansdotter´s book Simple Sewing. I thought I´d see whetehr I like this pattern better than the one I made a few days ago. I like the crown of the hat, but the brim, not so much. I shortened the brim, as the word in blogland was that it was huge. Even the massive amounts I cut off it weren´t enough. Althought I like the ones other people have made, and I think they look great on them, for some reason this hat has a Pride and Prejudice bonnet look to it. I´m sure a supermodel could pull that look off, and people would be looking for their own lampshades, but on me, I´m thinking urgh. It looks a bit better with the brim turned up, but really, not alot can save this hat, as from the back it just looks like a bonnet with the front turned up. I won´t make it again!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge

The theme for this month on the Sketchbook Challenge website is Imaginary Animals...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sun hat from my own pattern

With summer coming, and no nice sunhats in the shops, I decided to make my own pattern. I really like the hats that turn up at the brim, but they don´t seem to sell them anymore. Also, I really hate tight hats - they give me a headache, so making a hat with my own pattern to fit my head seems the only option.

It isn´t really a project from the book Design if Yourself: Patternmaking Simplified, but I did use some of the techniques in it to make the pattern.

Above: the inside lining.

Instructions for making the pattern below (fits my head - 56.5 cm circumference, measured above eyebrows...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Imaginary Animals (1)

My first entry in this month´s Sketchbook Challenge theme: Imaginary Animals. India ink, watercolour, and my 6 year old´s sparkly pens...

My husband gets automated text messages from the railway service about late trains etc, and sometimes we lie in bed before the alarm goes off, hearing a series of beep-beep-beeps, and knowing: Ah, the trains are very late, probably for reasons which are so-very-much-not-fixable in the standard 15 minutes of the ¨This train will be 15 minutes late for operational reasons¨ excuse. Anyway, above is one of the many scenarios which I have thought in my mind, as to why the morning trains may in fact be running late: An Imaginary Animal!

I´ve been working through Nita Leland´s book Exploring Color, and I tried to make the animal´s gray by mixing opposite colours. It didn´t quite work out the way I thought! A bit greener than the light gray I had in my head, but still, I think it turned out a more interesting colour than if I had just chosen ¨gray¨ from the paintbox. It does take quite a lot of courage to put green on the paper, and then red, when you really want gray!

Here is the preliminary pencil drawing sketch. It is actually rather liberating to draw something that has no constraints of looking like a real animal.

A gratuitous picture of a beach near Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pen and ink drawings - views

Gratuitous photo of the view of Wellington Harbour from our old house in Miramar, Wellington (sunrise)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A face a day (8) in india ink

Another sketch as part of the ¨draw a face a day¨ exercise in Carla Sonheim´s book Drawing Lab. This one is of British astronaut, Helen Sharman.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A face a day (pen)

I like how people can just draw a small sketch of someone in their journal, and I´m working towards drawing small sketches in india ink pen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A face a week (6)

A girl looking at the view in the harbour. This month´s theme for the Sketchbook Challenge is ¨View¨.

I´ve been doing a lot of sketches of faces lately as part of the faces exercise in Carla Sonheim´s Drawing Lab book. Its going OK drawing a face where the face takes up most of the A5 page, but it is a whole ´nother thing making a small sketch of a face true to a likeness. So I´m practicing this for a while too. At the moment I´m doing some of my journal entries on separate pages and I´ll bind them together i na book when I have enough.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A face a week (5)

Flowergirl at a wedding. Another drawing as part of the ¨Face a Day¨ (or week) exercise in Carla Sonheim´s Drawing Lab book. H and 6B pencil. I´m still working on doing the full range of value, and blending shades. It has been quite a good exercise. I haven´t drawn faces since I was a teenager probably, and even after only 2 or 3 goes I think I´ve improved a bit. My husband thinks this girl looks psychotic. But she is only 8 years old, happens to have very dark eyes, and just very, very excited to be all dressed up at a wedding, I think!