Me and Brain – The Making of: My Kit

I started drawing Me and Brain on any old bit of paper, any sketchbook, with whatever was to hand.  Although it suited my need to get things on paper as inspiration struck, keeping a record and a sense of continuity throughout the comics became more difficult.  Having scribbled on different papers with different pens, it helped me decide which tools would be the best when I decided to draw Me and Brain comics with more consistency.

sketchbookSketchbook: It’s an A4 book decorated with stickers – sometimes I wonder if it’s the most important ingredient of the Me and Brain process…  The paper is pretty middle-weight, about the 120gsm mark, smooth, and not too absorbent as I found that some papers would make the ink bleed, ruining any crisp lines I had intended.

Pen: I discovered I’m relatively uninitiated when it comes to pens.  I usually prefer to work with dip pen and ink – however that would not work for the flow of ideas.  Me and Brain focus on stream of consciousness content rather than technical ability.  The fineliner pen allowed me to put down lines immediately without having to sketch first.  It also has the immediate, slightly more finished look which I felt that pencil didn’t.  drawing-tools

Pencil:  I do however use pencil for Brain.  Using different tools means that I can give Brain some texture without obscuring the face.  The pencil is a mechanical pencil with soft 0.7 lead which has lived in my pencil case since the beginning of time.

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Me and Brain – Unicorn Stickers

A little late to share this one, but this has been the impetus behind the flurry of Me and Brain comics…me-and-brain_sketchbooks-and-unicorn-stickersme-and-brain_sketchbooks-and-unicorn-stickers-2

Me and Brain – Our First Conversation

It pains me to think that I used to love blogging, and it’s been 6 months since my last isolated post.  I neglected to feed my ‘inner artist’ for a while, choosing study and workaholism instead.  I felt like I forgot how to be an artist, bereft of the joy it brought to my life.

You may or may not have heard of Julia Cameron, or the book she wrote called The Artist’s Way, but in it she talks of your creativity as an energy like a child.  It is your duty to nurture this ‘artist child’ so that creativity can flow.  I found it interesting to think of creativity as a separate entity that existed within me.  It gave my now neglected ‘inner artist’ a different sense of self.

In the thick of my study-and-workaholism time, I set some time aside to ‘go be arty’.  Having previously chosen to spend all my art time as study time, this ‘go be arty’ scheduling was an oasis of fun in a desert of seriousness.  I readied my pencil.  Draw something.  Anything.

The blank page stared back at me.  The oasis was dry.

Frustrated, I angrily berated myself for not being inspired. I had put aside precious time and my inner artist was not performing as I was instructing it to.

And that was when my inner artist spoke back.

As I grew to understand that my creativity could be a separate entity, it gained its own voice.  This is how my inner artist manifested itself – as Brain.

Brain showed me that my inner artist is not a performing monkey.  Brain argued back when I was busy telling it off for not being inspired.  Brain would make me realise when I was being totally unreasonable.  Brain is often the uncensored me.

As I had this conversation with Brain, I drew and wrote it down.  At first I tried to make it neat, so that drawn Laura looked more like real Laura but the speed in which I needed to get the drawing on paper wouldn’t allow for neatness.  So I drew myself as a stick person; Brain was a sort of speech bubble with squiggles.

I have since had several conversations with Brain, always helping me stay true on my path of creativity.

Below is my first conversation with Brain:

me-and-brain_1sm

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.

 

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!