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Old Sunday 21st February 2010, 14:59   #1
RussB
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Recent sketches

Here's the first of hopefully regular postings of my most recent sketches. I find inspiration on this forum every time I visit it; should have joined years ago! Please feel free to comment and don't be afraid of offering consructive criticism as I'm very keen to develop. Hopefully these will improve over time.
Went out playing with a 2B pencil for the first time yesterday and I liked the results. I'm also trying to develop a looser, quicker style - getting 2 or 3 lines down each time.
Red-breasted Merg at Pugney's - I like the cormorantish shape of the alert bird: I think it'll make a nice illustration, and Great White Egret twitched at nearby Bretton Lakes. Stood still, so not too difficult.

More soon

Cheers

Russ
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Old Sunday 21st February 2010, 15:12   #2
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Very nice, especially the lively movement in that second merganser. Keep them coming!
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Old Sunday 21st February 2010, 21:41   #3
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bump!
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 01:37   #4
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did you try new paper too....mergansers are spot on
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 13:53   #5
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Great start Russ - look forward to regular contributions.
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Old Monday 22nd February 2010, 15:52   #6
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Hi Russ, nice drawings, the egret is very nicely drawn indeed...
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 23:46   #7
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excellent start, looking forward to plenty more!
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Old Saturday 27th February 2010, 17:50   #8
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Ring-billed Gull

Hi all,
Twitched this adult bird at Sands Lane GP's today and manged to get these sketches in despite the snowy conditions. A real education, this one. I love gulls, and this is a proper birder's gull. Some differences with Common gull were quite noticeable in certain views and postures, but not in others. My gulls are improving; I always used to draw the bill way too long. The bird with notes reminds me of work from the 'god from Gotland' ah, ah!

More soon

Cheers

Russ
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 02:12   #9
phil baber
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Russ,

I love the RBG with your annotations. That is something else. Really brings the experience to life to me.

Have you tried adding water-colour or gouache to pieces? Thin washes over this piece would make it more juicy. But DON'T use the original to practise!

Photocopy some of your pieces, then experiment with colour on them. Anything you mess up you can bin.

Please keep on sketching. I see the seeds of something good going on here.

More power to your pencillings!
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 10:56   #10
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Gulls are always difficult, there are so many angles on them that all have to be just right for it to look right, you're doing great with them. Nice bold clean and sweeping lines describe the form very well.

I agree with Phil that a splash of colour would be the cherry on top of the cake, but if for whatever reason you don't want to go down that path, this is excellent sketching.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 11:57   #11
ARTHUR BISHOP
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Lovely sketches Russ .
Are you scanning these in. Have you tried photographing them because the scanner is a harsh light on the old pencil lead. just a suggestion Russ
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 20:43   #12
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Hi you guys,
I've been thinking about 'wet media' for sometime, and how much life is added to sketches, even if the bird is 'ornithologically' lacking something. After a couple of disastrous attempts some months ago I'll have to admit I'm scared of water!! Where's Duncan Goodhew when you need him!
I do possess some decent paints but there's something telling me I need another five years' worth of practice simply drawing, especially after admiring work on here. I read drawing is the 'cornerstone' of good art; perhaps I've taken it too literally.
Phil, Nick - Your suggestions about practicing on copies are excellent; I never thought of that. Do you think using simply paynes grey woud be a good starting point? I love monotone anyway - the old BB line drawings were utterly brilliant. I have couple of aquatone black pencils which might help me toe the water!
Another artist did mention using a camera, Arthur. My scanner is admittedly not very good and rather cheap. Do you use this method? Would a cheap point and shoot fuji do the trick?

Thnaks for your continued support and may the inspiration never end!

Russ
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 20:55   #13
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best thing to do is to dive in and play with the colours, no need to worry about ruining anything, just grab some paper, scribble and splash, and enjoy making marks and experimenting. Payne's Grey is a delightful colour, intense witha rich blueish tinge - it makes some very deep greens and purples and is gorgeous as a black.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 21:10   #14
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Originally Posted by RussB View Post
Hi you guys,
Another artist did mention using a camera, Arthur. My scanner is admittedly not very good and rather cheap. Do you use this method? Would a cheap point and shoot fuji do the trick?

Thnaks for your continued support and may the inspiration never end!

Russ
Just on that scanner thing- one way of going at it is to scan in very dark (-30 or so on the cheapo scanner I use) so you know for sure that you have all the detail and then bring the image back up in photoshop (curves). That way you can keep any eye on whether detail is disappearing as the background gets too close to pure white.

Oh and if you are feeling a bit tentative on colours, then using coloured pencils is a gentle way in: just to add a touch here and there and not much risk of wrecking what is underneath it. But more fun by miles (especially for us watching, but eventually also for you doing) is to leap in Derry fashion and sploosh it about a bit or indeed a lot.
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Old Wednesday 3rd March 2010, 03:53   #15
phil baber
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Russ,
As I said yester. Take a bunch of cheap copies of your work.
They will be the template for experiments!
About 30 should do. That'll cost you £3 or so.
Use any piece you really like. Then blitz each one.
See what occurs with each medium, b4 ever trying it on an original piece!

You can photocopy onto water-colour paper for that regime!
A wash over it with water, followed by additions of paint on the brush, watered down, will surprise you. Don't let it dry before you add wet colour!

But, remember, feel comfortable with what you use! Have a few drinks as you paint to free up the Muse!
Forget the "Snobs". There are NO rules!
Do what feels comfortable, and gives you your best results!

But, NEVER stop doing what you are doing SO well!

I wait for results. No pressure tho'!
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Old Wednesday 3rd March 2010, 19:53   #16
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I'll take these tips on board, guys. Cheers. And I'll play about with the scanner, Ed. Talking of scanning, is there a reason why pencil only reproduces well in the better quaility bird reports and books? Great drawing reproduced properly is fantastic - check out Ren Hathway's Desert Wheatears in the 2006 (I think) Scilly Bird Report, plus the pencil work of Chris Rose's ' In A Natural Light'.

Off to watch the footie now

Cheers, again
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Old Thursday 4th March 2010, 02:34   #17
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Russ,

Just to show you a splash of colour to a pencil sketch.

A mess, but colour can help things.

This is gouache. Opaque water colour. Which is a bit more solid than water-colour.

"The Works" have cheap sets of this stuff, and other mediums, to try out.

Experiment! No pressure! Enjoy exploring!
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Old Thursday 4th March 2010, 21:02   #18
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Phil,
This is ace! But this looks like writing paper! You're right about experimenting. I regularly lose myself for an hour or two just sketching for the pleasure of it, which seems the time to practice. I think I've been put off by reading and hearing such things as 'watercolour is the hardest medium to master' and that even Lars Jonsson 'struggles' with it! Thanks for the demo - great stuff ( I'll check out your blog ) and I shall soon be 'having a dabble' which is a 'Barnsley-ism' for 'having ago'!

Cheers

Russ
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Old Thursday 4th March 2010, 23:11   #19
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Get dabbling, Russ - ya'll love it!
Oh - take a search down the threads -I posted link : http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=156047#
- see? - easy peasy
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Old Friday 5th March 2010, 01:56   #20
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Phil,
This is ace! But this looks like writing paper! You're right about experimenting. I regularly lose myself for an hour or two just sketching for the pleasure of it, which seems the time to practice. I think I've been put off by reading and hearing such things as 'watercolour is the hardest medium to master' and that even Lars Jonsson 'struggles' with it! Thanks for the demo - great stuff ( I'll check out your blog ) and I shall soon be 'having a dabble' which is a 'Barnsley-ism' for 'having ago'!

Cheers

Russ
That's what I mean. It's just a page from a notebook!

Note also I've used a bit of crayon in there. I believe they call it "mixed-media?"

I call it "no-rules paintball!"

If you were being bombarded by art-critics in a field, you might throw at them whatever came to hand? Clods, stones, branches, or an old c*ke can. Just to get them away from you while you were sketching!

That's what I mean. Do NOT fear the "proper way of doing things."

Use what you feel comfortable with, paper and mediums. Experiment, and have fun.

If you feel joy in what you do, the result will show it!

Forget my stuff. I'm a cartoonist.

Just be now aware that you can open gates, once you realise that you can enjoy being free with it. And there is no imaginary "tut tut tutting" going on behind you as you draw!

You've got the seeds. Plant the darn field. One seed at a time.

Oh! And I believe Mallards have the copyright on "Dabbling?"

It's not just a Barnsley thing right?
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Old Friday 5th March 2010, 10:55   #21
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I concur with Mr Baber.
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Old Monday 8th March 2010, 19:44   #22
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Ok gents, thanks for the advice - I need to dabble, but not like Gadwall!

Here's stuff from recent forays. Barnacle Geese and BHG's. The Barnies were likely feral but what shapes and contrasts! I find feeding geese very difficult -it's that darn neck! (and I thought egrets were hard enough!) The shorter the neck, it seems the harder they are. The curve of the neck and how it joins the body nearly always evades me. Very rough, these, but when I get one near enough -whoa, get in there! A noticeable improvement, anyway.
Bhg's throwing all kinds of shapes whilst displaying - and several sheets needed to get something like. Hope there's never a paper shortage or I'll be sketching on the back of a fag packet like Richard Richardson!

Ps - thanks for the links, Tim
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 02:21   #23
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bump!
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 10:02   #24
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Terrific shapes on the geese sheet, Russ. Also some really nice b-hs - curious to see them fully hooded already - ours are mainly winter still with just one or two starting to turn.
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Old Tuesday 9th March 2010, 13:22   #25
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Nice to see you trying to get both complicated shapes and complicated gestures down on paper. I don't think the goose necks look bad at all and that middle gull is very dynamic! I think it is particularly strong.
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