Machete Bears All

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:

pencil drawing of dancing bears in fez and waistcoat


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

salmon and tin of salmon drawings to have items for my picnic basket

 

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.

 

 

pencil sketches of baloo from the jungle book studying his walk

 

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!

pencil drawing of belly dance costume, and high heel shoes

pen ink and pencil drawing of girl in bear costume

After turning feral, the bear eats a member of the audience and is much happier for having eaten something.

pencil sketch of angry bear having just mauled a victim

 

Alice Cooper Coffin

I had to create and decorate a coffin prop for an Alice Cooper dance performance I was in.  This is my Alice Cooper inspired skull.  I must admit, I’m pretty damn proud of it!

 

skull drawn in pen on coffin for alice cooper performance

Dia de los Muertos Character Design

Here is a sketch I did to help with some costume and character design.  It was really fun putting it all together in the flesh and I made the can can skirt from scratch which I’m super chuffed with.  I started with a square bit of fabric and made a circle skirt thus discovering that ‘three’ can sod off: it seems pi is the magic number.  I was a little upset that despite following a love of art and creative activites, math still has to wangle its way in somewhere.  But despite treacherous navigation of school math, I produced a fully functioning can can skirt, yay!

costume and character design for dia de los muertos dance routine

Cardinal Bird Fancy Dress

I went to a burlesque/cabaret show the other night and the dress code was along the lines of ‘the birds and the bees’; a theme representative of the imminent arrival of Valentine’s Day.  Having already once dressed as this American garden bird I thought it may be useful to reuse some of the things I had for that.  For those of you not familiar with Cardinals, they look like this:

cardinal bird a garden bird in america

It turned out that the only item I reused was the mask – shown here:

face mask of a cardinal bird

 

I cut out a mask shape from thin stiff card (whilst also cutting out the eye-holes), papier mache’d a beak and painted it red.  I bought some red and black feathers from a local craft store, cut them to size and glued them on.  The stick, randomly enough, came from a firework.

I had red trousers and a red top that I planned to wear but if I wasn’t holding the mask I thought ‘the look’ wouldn’t be complete.  So I set about making some wings, the finished product you can see below…

red wings for fancy dress costume caardinal bird

I cut out a large cardboard shape and spray painted the whole thing red.  I cut out a stencil to indicate feathers and spray painted those bits black.  Some of the writing on the cardboard still showed through the spray paint so I made some feathers out of paper.  A close up can be seen here…

paper feathers on red bird wings

I stuck on the feathers with a small piece of double sided tape at the tip so that the feather would be free to lift a little from the cardboard.  I then pierced holes in the central back piece to thread through some red shoelaces.  I got a friend to tie them round each arm so they would be the right length for slipping on and off.  When the wings are folded over, you can see how the laces are tied.

red wings for fancy dress costume cardinal bird

 

Thus, with the wings finished,  I added a black feather boa around my neck, gave myself the biggest quiff imaginable to match that of a cardinal’s crest and my cardinal look was complete!

photo of me in cardinal bird fancy dress costume

Nighttime Stories – Sketchbook Project

Wow, I signed up to The Sketchbook Project run by Brooklyn Arts Library last summer; 80 pages and 5 months later my sketchbook was a completed piece! The idea was to pick a theme from a list – I chose ‘Nighttime Stories’ – and they supplied you with a sketchbook. The theme was just a starting place, and the book was mostly a suggestion of the dimensions you needed to keep to. To begin, I rebound The Sketchbook with paper I like to work with and got stuck in.

As you will see, inspiration came from many different realms, some pages include zombies, others evil clowns, whilst for light relief you can play with the Random Dream Generator or enjoy The Sheep of Sleep. To aid the creative process, I took advantage of the many goings on offered by the city I live in to foster inspiration. Thus, as page 1 of the sketchbook asks you; which pages are based in reality and which are dream?

Now finished, The Sketchbook needs to return from whence it came so that it may go on a tour of the USA. Once the tour is finished, my sketchbook will reside in Brooklyn Arts Library with all the other entries for this project. After spending so much time forging a close relationship with my sketchbook, I’ll admit I’m a little sad to see it go. Like a parent watching a child leave home, I know not only that it’s time, but that it’s going to a good home too.

Front Cover for Nighttime Stories

The cover – This is where it all began, my first inspiration being the night sky.  Here you are first introduced to the moon, who turns up later in the book.  To show up against the black cover, I used oil pastels, not something I usually use but I felt this book was a good chance to experiment with technique and materials.

Title Page for Nighttime Stories

Title Page – I felt as I didn’t put the title on the cover, it should at least live here.  A short poem gives you an idea of the general thrust of the book as, explained earlier, inspiration came from many different areas.  As well as using the sketchbook to play with visual imagery, I enjoyed using it to work with creative writing too.

sunset and landscape

Page 2 and 3 – sunset over a rolling landscape, where chalk pastels blend into pencil.

The Sheep of Sleep

Page 4 and 5 – Pencil drawing of The Sheep of Sleep, who help a boy drift off.

Carneyville circus characters

Page 6 and 7 – A few characters from Carneyville.  The lady on the right was a ventriloquist called Eglantine, with her doll ‘Eglantiny’.  Here I used crayons and pencils.

Circus performers

Page 8 and 9 – More characters from Carneyville.  Quick pencil sketches of a man doing a performance with a suspended rope and a group of sailors watching another performance.

Fun House CLown Mouth

Page 10 and 11 – Ink and crayon image of a clown, die cut pages lead you through to another story in the book.

Maurice the Evil Clown

Page 12 and 13 – Maurice the Evil Clown.  An older children’s book about an evil clown who has a secret that may ruin his career as an evil clown if he were to be found out.  The whole narrative uses pen and ink and watercolour.

Maurice the evil clown

Page 14 and 15 – Maurice the Evil Clown.

Maurice the evil clown

Page 16 and 17 – Maurice the Evil Clown.

Maurice the evil clown

Page 18 and 19 – Maurice the Evil Clown.

Maurice the evil clown

Page 20 and 21 – Maurice the Evil Clown.

Maurice the evil clown

Page 22 and 23 – Maurice the Evil Clown.

Maurice the evil clown

Page 24 and 25 – Maurice the Evil Clown.

Maurice the evil clown

Page 26 and 27 – Maurice the Evil Clown.

Maurice the Evil Clown

Page 28 and 29 – Maurice the Evil Clown.  Conclusion.

halloween costume

Page 30 and 31 – A ‘How To’ to make a Halloween costume for ‘The Vamp’.

halloween costume

Page 32 and 33 – A ‘How To’ to make a Halloween costume for ‘The Bat’.

halloween fancy dress costume

Page 34 and 35 – A ‘How To’ to make a Halloween costume for ‘The Voodoo Doll’

Gabby Young

Page 36 and 37 – Pencil sketch using crayons and gold leaf for a portrait of the singer Gabby Young.

moon and rocket

Page 38 and 39 – Moon and Rocket narrative.  Using ink and watercolour, the moon and rocket from the front cover appear in their own story!

moon and rocket

Page 40 and 41 – Moon and Rocket.

moon and rocket

Page 42 and 43 – Moon and Rocket.

moon and rocket

Page 44 and 45 – Moon and Rocket

moon and rocket narrative

Page 46 and 47 – Moon and Rocket.

the agitator

Page 48 and 49 – Pencil sketch portrait of The Agitator.

zombies

Page 50 and 51 – I used pen and ink and pencil for a landscape setting the scene for a zombie narrative.

zombie narrative

Page 52 and 53 – Zombie narrative told using a graphic novel style.

pencil sketches of people

Page 54 and 55 – Pencil sketches of people drawn whilst waiting in a cafe bar.  There is one guy I drew who looked like he was doing the same and when I left we gave each other a sort of knowing nod which was a lovely moment to share.

flaming skull and poppy von tarte

Page 56 and 57 – Left page: watercolour painting of a flaming skull inspired by the song ‘Vasilis Carries A Flaming Skull Through The Forest’ by A Hawk And A Hacksaw.  Worked with hand rendered font here too.  Right page: pencil and crayon portrait of the burlesque dancer Poppy von Tarte.

pencil sketch of Vicky Butterfly

Page 58 and 59 – Pencil, watercolour and embossed powder.  Portrait of the burlesque dancer Vicky Butterfly.

dream origami fortune teller

Page 60 and 61 – The Random Dream Generator.  Origami fortune teller to suggest what you may dream about tonight.  Print out and make one yourself!  Hand rendered font.

origami construction instructions for fortune teller

Page 62 and 63 – Instructions for the construction of your Random Dream Generator.  Hand rendered font.

flying jellyfish

Page 64 and 65 – Pen and ink illustrations as suggested by the Random Dream Generator.

medusa fez

Page 66 and 67 – Pen and ink illustrations as suggested by the Random Dream Generator.

french horn bees

Page 68 and 69 – Pen and ink illustration as suggested by the Random Dream Generator.

musical bees music note

Page 70 and 71 – Pen and ink illustration as suggested by the Random Dream Generator.

musical bees music notes

Page  72 and 73 –  Pen and ink illustration as suggested by the Random Dream Generator.

painted moon behind clouds

Page 74 and 75 – Pencil drawing returning us to the painted moon from an earlier story.

moon playing with clouds

Page 76 and 77 – Pencil drawing of the moon playing with clouds as if they were different hairstyles.  The Sheep of Sleep are reintroduced.

the sheep of sleep

Page 78 and 79 – The Sheep of Sleep return to wake the sleeping boy we met at the beginning of the sketchbook.  All drawn with pencil.

sunrise

Page 80 – A pencil and chalk pastel sunrise bring morning and the conclusion of Nighttime Stories.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking through!  Feel free to comment, I’d love to know what you think.

Dancing Bear Costume

I am going to a cabaret night where the audience is encouraged to dress up according to a theme.  The theme we have been given is the circus.  Now, I have a somewhat extensive fancy dress wardrobe and I like to be able to wear costumes more than once – so I am updating a bear costume that I already have into a Wonderous Dancing Bear of Rave.  For some inspiration I drew some dancing bears to give me an idea of what I’d like my costume to include.  I plan to blog some how-to ‘s if ever you find yourself with a need to dress as a dancing bear…

Warm Up Bear Sketches

A few practice drawings to get the feel of drawing bears

Some ideas for costume accessories etc

Costume Items:

Bear – ears/fur/claws/muzzle

Accessories – tutu/fez

How To ‘s for each of these to follow!  I’m looking forward to putting it all together, I can bear-ly wait!