I came across some narwhals on the internet today and this idea fell out of my brain and onto paper. I thought, ‘if I were a narwhal and had access to marshmallows, I’d totally do this’
Searing temperatures notwithstanding…
As a drawing exercise and for inspiration whilst the piece was being created, I have several images on the theme of the burlesque act ‘Machete Bears All’. Have a look at some sketchbook scribbles:
The bears are dressed for entertainment – wearing human items is deemed cute but is at odds when worn by a wild animal. Perhaps lulling you into a false sense of security, the human aspects make it more familiar and therefore less of a threat.
For entertaining bear references, I thought of Baloo from the Jungle Book, Yogi Bear and Winnie the Pooh. All loveable characters defined by their either slightly clumsy, preoccupied by food and/or friendly demanors. Certainly a far cry from the wild animals they really are. I couldn’t have loveable bears without a pic-a-nic basket, a tin of salmon and a jar of honey.
Or indeed without an affable walk. Baloo is perfect for this so studied his gait in the disney Jungle Book clips on you tube. I can’t tell if you can see from my sketchbook notes, but I could tell he carried a lot of weight in his hips, twisting as he walked, arms swinging wide, his whole frame quite loose – very relaxed with no tension held in the body. At complete odds with my good posture dance background!
Below you can see the translation of costumes from bare to bear. Turning what you expect into something you don’t. The character performing for your entertainment, becoming the entertaining bear. In the act, the bear cannot get into the food in its picnic basket and is forced to revert to its feral state when it gets angry. For this I watched lots of Eric Bana clips turning into the hulk!
After turning feral, the bear eats a member of the audience and is much happier for having eaten something.
I’ll confess, I’m not the most technically minded person. So making a website from scratch on a certain software that is much more expansive than my limited knowledge is a bit daunting. However, to combat this I find the challenge appeals to a stubborn streak of mine when faced with problems. With some help from the mind behind Gui Creative to point me in the right direction, I crafted my new website: www.lauraelliottillustration.co.uk
You’ll be able to clearly see my portfolio of work which ranges from children’s narrative to editorial to promotional, adapting my style to both watercolour and digital methods. You can view a choice selection of my sketchbook imagery that supports my way of working and hones my skills.
Not only do you get to see my work but you get to play with robins too! I like how the nature of the robin images changing reflect bird like movements. It seemed to come together well.
My blog will continue to be updated with news, new work and my various creative thoughts and my website will be a platform for viewing my best work. I hope you enjoy them both!
You’re faced with one of those first world dramas – you’ve got to get a gift that means you care; that is in equal parts practical and individual. That is special but doesn’t cost the earth…
So I came up with an illustrated tissue box. Obviously.
As I think about it now, perhaps tissues do cost the earth in a natural resources kind of way – but I’ll not lose sleep about it. Behold my genuis in action below:
Step one: Buy tissue box, measure up it’s vital stats and draw that box a net. Cut appropriately.
Step two: Practise sketching out your images.
Step three: Draw out and ink up tigers on that plain ol’ box net.
Step four: The fun bit! Colour that bad-ass in!
Step five: Stick illustrated tissue box net to actual tissue box. Beware that they’re tricksters and sometimes have the oval on both sides, only one of which is perforated.
Step six: Bask in your awesome gift-giving idea…
A few months ago, I was at Colston Hall in Bristol watching 4 men set fire to the air with fierce gypsy tunes hailing from Django Rheinhardt era; the more familiar modern tunes that have been ‘gypsified’ (my favourite perhaps being a piece I recognised from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack); and even classical pieces played with more speed than thought humanly possible. These musicians form Gypsy Fire and I thorougly recommend you check them out.
I had a quick chat with them over the merch stall at the end of the gig and they recommended if I liked gypsy jazz, then I should come to Gossington Festival (which is run by one of the guys in Gypsy Fire). I adore gypsy jazz, so fast forward a few months and I find myself in Gossington.
The Friday and Saturday comprised of music that was a bit more mainstream folk/gypsy, headlined by Bristol’s own Phantom Limb on Friday and Seth Lakeman the following day. Sunday was for the hardcore gypsy jazz fans. The audience were treated to gypsy jazz royalty including Tchavolo Schmitt who I particularly enjoyed watching – he didn’t bother with a sound check and went straight into the set (with no set list), leaving the bass player and rhythm guitarist to just catch up. It was fab watching random jamming sessions strike up throughout the day as well (the guitar player on the left in the above picture is from a jam).
During the weekend I had a new appreciation for double bass. I mean, look how sexy that double bass neck is:
It’s sexy right!? Those curves are gorgeous!
I had such a great time and really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere which helped the creative sketching juices. I particularly enjoyed drawing people performing and the instruments they clearly loved.
There are different breeds of nerd, I myself am a bit of a book nerd. A haven for book nerds can be the local library. I don’t tend to buy books* as I regard my library somewhat as a vast personal bookcase that I don’t have to keep at home, clogging up space.
So imagine my joy at the prospect of making my own book that will go on a road trip across America, finishing up in The Brooklyn Arts Library. My contribution will be similar to the theme that I followed last time – I love making illustrated journals. The Sketchbook Project allows me to indulge this. The great news is that you can take part too! Check out the link – you’ll even find other inspirational projects to join too: Art House Co-op
You can see the start I made on my book below:
This was a stall at the Bristol Harbourside Festival, selling candle powered boats. The stall was fantastic to look at in itself (although the boats were cool), with bunting strung and vintage signage. The vendors got in the spirit and were dressed as pirates. Brilliant.
I was also once told by an art teacher that I should never draw with biro. This picture reminds me that it’s ok to break some rules.
Pencil sketch of people laying on the grass at college green in Bristol, taking a rest from the crowds at the harbourside. The right page shows the Relay Rips and at the bottom, the start of my Gossington Festival drawings.
*Using the term ‘books’ was a bit generic, therefore saying I don’t buy books is not entirely accurate. I have a real vice for buying children’s books. So many in fact, that the combined weight of them all broke my shelf, spewing books all over me and my room. The homicidal shelf (yes it damn near cracked my head open) chose it’s moment in the dead of night, at my most vulnerable. It was the most terrifying wake up call I’d ever had. But that’s another story.
I hope you appreciate my mashing of ‘zoo’ and ‘hooray’ together for the title of this here entry – I felt it summed up the entry well as I was able to spend the afternoon at the wonderful Bristol Zoo Gardens last week; like a kid in a candy store, stuffing my sketchbook with visual goodies. Unleashed into the zoo I didn’t know where to start first! A couple twists and turns found me some birds, the only one that sat still enough for me to vaguely capture it was a special magpie thing that I forget the name of…
I think it was an Azure-winged Magpie, at least that’s what oh-mighty-google informs me it might be. There was also a delightful collection of black cheeked lovebirds too.
Daffodils are always good fun to draw with their wiggly trumpets –
I found feeding-time at the meerkat enclosure. There were little babies scuffling around, they were so cute! I bet they’d look cuter in my pocket… As it was feeding time and they were twitching scampering meerkats, my sketches of them didn’t turn out so hot.
Apes and monkeys seemed better at holding still for a wee bit longer –
I had a go at some mark-making with the different types of trees I could see, as well as playing with blending, getting the right colour, for the tulip tree flower I drew. Some other plants featured too:
As the zoo was emptying out and the zoo was within minutes of closing, I couldn’t not get some lion action! Although considering the image I got, I don’t think action was much on his mind…
At the risk of having made my last post ‘Ich Bin Ein Hamburger’ too long for my liking, I have a section two for my Hamburg adventure.
I had found myself with some spare time on my own so settled down at one of the outside tables of M&V Bar. Here I drank tea and drew people that walked past and inspired me. Please peruse the fruits of my labour:
I liked how angular this guy’s face was.
This lady made me think of some fly with her sunglasses so huge they almost eclipsed her face.
I’m not so pleased with old man face but I think I caught his life-bothers-me-but-not-as-much-as-your-face-does-right-now expression
I really liked this scruffy trampy dude. He was most interesting to draw and I think came out best!
I was quite impressed how vertical this lady’s hair managed to stay!
Ok, so I’m feeling a wince at the incorrect German but for comedy effect, it’s staying. Having felt quite chuffed 10 years previously at the end of my German language G.C.S.E exam I thought a holiday would be a great way of seeing what I remembered. After a series of awkward hand gestures and fading at the 3rd syllable of incredibly long words I quickly realised my Deustch was the wurst. Fortunately for me, the friend I had gone to visit spoke German fluently and was able to help clear up my car crash of sounds. Thank you kindly Amazing Miss Alice. I had the pleasure of meeting her lovely little hamsters – Hannah and Sophie – in a previous post, you can meet them too if you follow the Amazing Miss Alice link.
If you thought my holiday in Hamburg was just a jolly, think again! We spent lots of effort on moseying, kicking back, hanging out, mooching and swinging. And drawing. Don’t forget the drawing.
My first picture of St. Marien Cathedral was a bit of a warm up, which is why it looks representative of the leaning tower of Pisa opposed to a cathedral…
Hand cramp and numb fingers told me it might be a good idea to head inside. Pew numbers and a stained glass window took my fancy –
Whilst drawing the window, I was lucky enough to be treated to the organist’s practise time. The dramatic music penetrating every bit of my head made me feel like I should have been in Mordor or something but I always manage to leave my Ring at home, dammit. I couldn’t decide whether an elf leap or a hobbit waddle was more appropriate but I made my way to a good view of the dwarfed musician.
It was truly incredible; the sound of the organ filling every corner of the cathedral, filling my head, every space as I walked to the door and into silence.
Well, the relative silence of outside. I later drew the train station Hauptbahnhof (a few stops down from Hasslehof):
And the spire of St Georgs as viewed from Hauptbahnhof:
I was chatting to a friend via skype who introduced me to her oh-so-cute hamsters, Hannah and Sophie. Despite their frantic scrabbling around as hamsters are known to do, especially when needed to sit still, I managed to get some drawings. You can read more about their adventures here: The Amazing Adventures of Hannah and Sophie. Please may I introduce to you –
… and Miss Sophie
Sophie ran around a hell of a lot more so I got several views….