Revolver Rum – Colombia V Cornwall

RevolverRum-Header-ImageAs I’ve probably mentioned before, I do enjoy a good spiced rum.  So I was pretty chuffed when one of the creators of Revolver Rum contacted me to ask if I could bring their new rum to life, via the gift of illustration.  The idea was to bring out the inspiration and ingredients that went into crafting the rum, having had influences from Colombia and Cornwall (where the creators come from).

I took elements from both locations; you’ll see parts of the landscape and landmarks of Bogota, Colombia, along the left side of the picture, balanced with Cornish locations on the right – you may spot Restormel Castle and St Michael’s Mount.  IMG_0092

Despite the left and right sides of the picture having a Colombia V Cornwall divide, I wanted to make the image flow as well.  The ingredients were an important aspect of the image, which I spaced out according to how the flavours hit the palate when you drink it.  I also included the copper still used to concoct the rum in the first place.  I’ve got to say – there’s something really appealing to me about the shape of the copper still they used.  It’s all round and wiggly – I love it!

I used a limited colour palette, taken from the colours Revolver Rum was already using.  At first I tried to have the colours balance out more evenly but as the painting took a life of its own, there was a real sense of day and night, giving both a sense of separation as well as a natural flow of one running into the other.

It was a challenge fitting in so many elements but it I’m really pleased with how it came together – I hope you enjoy it too.  If you’re a fan of rum yourself, you can try or buy, just check their stockists on the Revolver Rum website.

Watercolour painting of Revolver Rum, with inspiration from Columbia, Cornwall and ingredients; including the Bogota landscape, vanilla, cocktail umbrella, spider, chocolate, rum barrel, crow wing, copper still, st michael's mount, Restormel castle

Commission for Revolver Rum, to create a painting inspired by the elements that went into creating the rum.

 

Life Drawing Hen Parties

ally katte back big hairI’ve always enjoyed life drawing, there’s something about the human body that I find compelling; all of the lines, curves, tones that flow and shape themselves into a figure, have an elemental beauty.

That being said, perhaps my favourite thing about life drawing is how it can be used for fun and exploration, experimentation and play, and all those other exciting drawing-related words.  It’s for this reason I was chuffed to become the life drawing teacher for Betty’s Birds hen parties last year.  Quite often as an adult we don’t get much chance to ‘play’, which is a real shame; so I created a life drawing workshop that is all about drawing exercises and games!  Would you believe it – the fun all adds up to help in improving drawing skills too…

Want to have a go yourself?  Fancy a party with a difference? It’s definitely worth checking out Betty’s Birds!

illustration of Death's Head Hawk Moth by Drawesome

Death: the human experience

I enleaflet for death the human experience at Bristol Museum and an illustration of a plague doctor's hood by Drawesomejoyed the ‘Death’ exhibition at Wellcome Museum in London so much, I was really pleased to discover that in my home city of Bristol, the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery were now also hosting a temporary ‘Death, the human experience’ exhibition.

I’m not sure I can put my finger on why I find the symbols of death so interesting.  Perhaps it’s because it seems in equal parts mysterious and scientific.  Perhaps because it’s shared globally, and has generated a wealth of interpretations, art and narrative.

As we busy ourselves with Life, it becomes richer for recognising Death.

I made my way to the exhibit and spent so long drawing and studying each artifact that it closed before I could see it all.  I’ll be back to take in more.  In the meantime, I’d like to share with you some of the sketches I did manage to get down on paper.  The exhibition runs until 13th March 2016, if you’re in the area.

Death's Head Hawk Moth illustration and Barn Owl illustration by DrawesomeIllustrations by Drawesome, including La Catrina, King Vulture, Angel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my travels I’ve picked up and visited some interesting death artifacts of my own:

Misfortune Tellers

One of the things I find interesting about existing as a creative being – and hearing about other people’s interpretation of being creative – is the concept of having an idea.  Sometimes I feel it’s not that ‘I have an idea’ but ‘an idea has me’.  It’s my duty then, to bring that idea into being.  If this sounds a bit trippy – writer Elizabeth Gilbert has a nice way of explaining it in her Ted talk.my artist desk at hamilton house art studio

So, with inspiration in my heart, I created some Fortune Tellers last year – The Ultimate In Fortune Telling Technology.  The idea wasn’t quite done with me and this year I’ve been sketching and painting and writing so that I can craft fortune tellers that are even more super awesome.  As my new creations are being printed as we speak, it felt right to show you a sneak peek behind the scenes and show you my work in progress.

My fortune tellers have a macabre slant to them, so they became known as Misfortune Tellers.  Within that, I’d written several themes, so you can discover your future in a variety of worlds.  Whether mythical stories or horror flicks are your thing, I’ve got a grisly future for you.

Work In Progress

As I enjoy both writing aclose up photo of day of the dead inspired fairytale skullsnd drawing, the path of a project will either start with written content or drawn sketches and doodles. It is my intention for both to come from a place of play and instinct.  Expanding on the written themes. I wanted to create colour sections that suited each written theme.  I’ve always liked the Day of the Dead aesthetic and as well as feeling the overall theme was relevant to my written misfortunes, the skulls I designed took inspiration from both the sugar skull decoration, and various aspects of the given theme.

Once I was happy with the designs, I traced them onto watercolour paper and inked them up.  I prefer to use dip pen and ink to get the variations in the line.  I love effect you can get with sticks (which I’ve used for past artworks) but they’re definitely less accurate.  The skulls were quite small and detailed, so dip pen it was.

Once the ink was dry, I mixed up my colours and painted all the skulls of one colour in one go to keep the continuity between the themes.  Then when that was done, I used a black(ish) ink to fill in the outside, screen shot of work in progress for the misfortune tellersmaking the skulls stand out against the background.

Scanning them and formatting them was the next step – where my paintings and written work were finally combined.  Once saved, I sent them onto the printer and am currently waiting excitedly…

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  Watch this space for photos.

If you live in the Bristol UK area, I’ll be telling misfortunes at an exhibition opening for The Art Troupe, themed on Circus Splendour.  It’s on Thursday 19th November at The Edwardian Cloakroom, come say hello, and get your misfortune told if you dare…

If you’re not about, then you can still join in the fun – visit my Drawesome page on Facebook and/or Twitter to get your misfortune told and be in with a chance to win yourself a pack of misfortune tellers!

Watercolour painting of a grey rainbow breathing unicorn by Laura Elliott of Drawesome Illustration

Unicorn Make Over

Unicorns have had a long history in mythology; with what started out as attempting to catalogue creatures from far off distant lands, later turning to something with a more magical quality.  Notoriously difficult to catch, they could once only be lured in by virgins; now they’re everywhere and everyone’s friend.  It’s a great thing to know that unicorns have finally decided to share their magical qualities with the rest of us, even becoming vengeful when called upon.

So yes, unicorns have been around a long ol’ while.  And as with any story, like Chinese Whispers, the details get warped from time to time.  I like to question and play with what is understood about this creature: why is it still white if its qualities are not so pure anymore?  What would happen if rainbows came out of its mouth instead of its butt?

sketchbook drawings of horses by Laura Elliott of Drawesome IlllustrationAs I form ideas about what I want my unicorn to look like, I start practising drawing horses.  Horses are notoriously difficult and after the first few wonky horses, I’d wonder why this was a good idea…  Despite this, my way of tackling challenging shapes is to draw them over and over and over again, so that each time, my hand to eye co-ordination comes to understand the shape and weight of a horse; the power, the gesture, the lines I need to communicate ‘horse’ to any viewer.

Once I eventually find the shape I like, I’ll trace it onto my watercolour paper, ink it up and head on in with paint.  Before I even touch the main image with paint, I’ll always have a test sheet nearby or use the corner to make sure I’m mixing my colours correctly.  You can see some of my tests with the rainbow effect for a rainbow breathing unicorn.watercolour painting tests on paper by Laura Elliott of Drawesome Illustration

Once I’m ready to go, I usually try to paint it in one sitting.  Watercolours can be quite unforgiving and personally, I find it works best if I work quickly, to make sure I’m happy with laying my paint down with different tones and blends before everything gets a chance to dry out.  I know other painters have a slower approach but this is the one that I find suits me.

There’s a lot of grey in the final unicorn, as you’ll see below.  One of the things I love about paint is that it allows me to only work with three paint colours: red, yellow and blue (in warm or cool palettes).  The grey, believe it or not, is made by just the right blend of red, yellow and blue.  No black, no grey, no white.  Amazing huh?

Maybe in a future blog post, I’ll talk about the magic of grey…

But for now, here is a bad-ass rainbow breathing unicorn:

Watercolour painting of a grey rainbow breathing unicorn by Laura Elliott of Drawesome Illustration

 

Gorgeous Buildings and Bristol Concert Orchestra Poster

I just love to draw gorgeous buildings.  Yes I know, it does sound strange coming from someone who regularly talks about Budapest - St Stephen basillicahow much I enjoy drawing an animal roaring, leaping and generally being beastly.

The thing is, buildings have a lovely contrast to the speed and kind of energy used in my drawings of living creatures.  My style doesn’t change but I like the results I get when applied to a structure – giving a solid building a life and character of its own.

Watercolour painting of a house by Drawesome Illustration, Laura Elliott,

Painting of a person’s home. Private commission.

I like searching out the details with my pen or pencil, working with the weight of the line to add depth, finding which colours to bring out, and quite often when I’m taking time over these longer drawings, I find myself ‘in the zone’ happily spending hours drawing a building to life.  This is true for when I’ve worked on private commissions for people’s homes, as well as various landmarks.

One of the buildings I’ve painted is St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol.  This 4th July, Bristol Concert Orchestra – the oldest orchestra in Bristol – will be performing at St Mary Redcliffe as a venue for the first time.  I’m very pleased to have my artwork displayed on their poster adverting the event at this exciting time for the orchestra.  Poster for Bristol Concert Orchestra's performance illustrated with a painting of St Mary Redcliffe by Drawesome Illustrations, Laura Elliott

featured image embrace your whimsy

Embrace Your Whimsy

I like to think I know about ‘whimsy’ with my quirky sense of humour and drawing style; however ‘whimsy’ is not always specified in a brief when I’m commissioned so it’s nice when someone comes along and asks you to use your expertise specifically for whimsical subject matters.

I have recently had the pleasure to work with Jessica, who has set up a website dedicated entirely to her sense of whimsy.  I was asked to illustrate a header for her website entitled ‘Embrace Your Whimsy, A Tribute to The Beauty of Chaos’.  Perfect!  After discussing her particular interests, the draft came together:

Pencil draft of galeforcewhims.rocks website header by Drawesome illustration

I felt that the way a person grows and follows their interests can be very organic, following a weaving path like a plant.  Although the winding stems of a sweet pea look a little chaotic, the end result is still beautiful.  The feel of the piece was intended to be feminine too, so I decided greens, pinks and purples would set the tone just right.

Illustrated Website header for galeforcewhims.rocks Embrace Your Whimsy by Drawesome

On her website, you’ll find Jessica discussing thoughts on parenting, teaching. books, life, love and more, definitely worth a read: have a look at www.galeforcewhims.rocks  You can also have a look at the lovely things she said about me and the artwork too – thanks Jessica!

Screenshot of galeforcewhims.rocks website with header illustrated by Drawesome Illustration