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Old Monday 19th April 2010, 01:29   #51
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Hooray Russ! you got your toe in the water now....the lap is super
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2010, 01:47   #52
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Well, here goes: my first foray into wet media. Bhg 'tarted up' with Derwent Graphitone 4B and a small round brush. Aye, some of the darker shadowed light are in the wrong place/ over-done (where's the guy with the cattle prod!) and the cutting edge of the bill's too obvious but I found the 4B and regular dips into clean water fairly easy to control with light strokes, which I think is what you're supposed to do. I do like bold contrasty patterns, though so brushing the tip of the pencil seems to give a nice solid dark tone - like in the primaries. I was surprised how good it seems for subtle tones like the webbed feet, too. All in all I think I could enjoy using these and make them work for me before trying colour. They seem good for gulls, anyway!

Preening lapwing and Reed bunt done on the patch today. I've highlighted the lapp's eye and eye stripes as I wanted to put them in the proper position for an illustration. I think it's more or less in the right position, it this is out then everything seems out. Once again, thanks for the encouargement to try different things.

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I can see what is to come!

They are starting to live!

Looking at these "wet images" have you noticed that you have given them a more tangible shape? They have form, and begin to exhibit almost a 3Dness?

I feel from this point, that the addition of colour, may, work a revelation upon your good self.

At this point, perhaps, the photocopy advice?

In your own time of course! But form is beginning to appear. In your own way, you are "lifting" them from the page. Giving them "body and form."

Enough said! TAKE YOUR TIME!

Loving watch you explore Russ!
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2010, 08:00   #53
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I think Phil has encapsulated it perfectly here - indeed there is a more tangible sense of roundness to these latest pieces and it's fine work; I'm still with you though Russ - there's a wonderful crispness and character of its own with the pure linework and this aspect of your drawing must be retained.
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2010, 19:45   #54
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Thanks for these inspiring comments, guys. As expected the 140 gsm paper in the sketchbooks I use does cockle easily, though. So I'm in a bit of a dillema with what to use If I want to paint in the field. I go through sketchbooks very quickly - one a month sometimes - so only use ones at a fiver a time. I don't really fancy spending loads on expensive paper. I've got a 200gsm pad to try this weekend. One thought is to carry two: my standard WHSmith's polypro A4 and something suited to watercolour. I tend to go cheap because of the amount I use, but I find it's the only way I can get 'into' the bird.

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Old Tuesday 20th April 2010, 21:28   #55
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as long as you don't try and put in too much detail with the paint, even thin paper is fine for watercolour, I've got away with sketching on some pretty nasty stuff over the years. Detail in pencil, colour on just as a guide, nothing more.
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2010, 22:21   #56
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Great to see your coming along in leaps and bounds, for me the preening Lappy is the cream of the recent work, a really terrific sketch Russ. The Black Head show a very good eye for shape and dimension, summer birds are not easy to draw so well and you have nailed this one...
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2010, 22:43   #57
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as long as you don't try and put in too much detail with the paint, even thin paper is fine for watercolour, I've got away with sketching on some pretty nasty stuff over the years. Detail in pencil, colour on just as a guide, nothing more.
Very good advice I think. I always think that I need to add all sorts of color to my sketches, then I see how simply Nick does it, often just adding enough light color wash to bring the whole drawing beautifully to life.
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Old Saturday 24th April 2010, 19:10   #58
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Thanks for the comments, guys. Every time I sketch now I try to hold back the desire to fiddle and over-work things. I've known that it's so easy to over-egg things for a while, but still do it! Tufted ducks are a fave subject of mine, mainly because there's not much else to look at on my local res! Spent an hour with them today while looking for migrants and concentrated on sketching birds front or near-front on - postures that have caused me real problems in the past; I could never, ever get the bill right in proportion to the head due to the foreshortenig illusion. Only now am I begining to sort it out. The two done here are still a bit Donald, Huey, Louis and Duey around the face but they are a big step forward for me. The side-on bird is wetted to try and get three tones of 'black', which worked better than I thought it would.

Is it just me or are face-on and three-quarter view ducks a real pain to get right?

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Old Saturday 24th April 2010, 19:41   #59
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Is it just me or are face-on and three-quarter view ducks a real pain to get right?

Russ
Not just you- them and waders. Beak on that Tuftie #1 looks very convincing.
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Old Saturday 24th April 2010, 19:45   #60
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Not just you- them and waders. Beak on that Tuftie #1 looks very convincing.
It does to me too
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Old Saturday 24th April 2010, 20:23   #61
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duck bills are hard anywy - you see them through bins and scopes and you think you know what you're looking at, then you visit Slimbridge with a bag of grain and realise just how small and delicate some of the bills are - but if you ever drew them that small they would look wrong. Very nice work here, and concentrating on one species does pay off so much.
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Old Saturday 24th April 2010, 21:16   #62
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With a duck's bill you've picked one of the hardest subjects to focus on and then to approach the 3/4 view on a moving subject is ridiculously difficult. But it wouldn't appear to be looking at these sketches - proportions, angles and shapes are all beautifully seen and exquisitely drawn - the character of the bird is described perfectly. Cracking work, Russ.
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Old Saturday 24th April 2010, 21:47   #63
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I'll third or fourth the beak thing. I reckon you've done a cracking, bang-up job with these.

Mike
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Old Saturday 24th April 2010, 22:46   #64
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not that I know anything about beaks and bills, but sometimes it helps me looking here http://www.skullsite.com/index.htm to see the skeletal forms underneath. You may know this site already....I always end up spending time there when I look up something, it's fascinating.

I'm working up avos right now and seeing the skull was a revelation.
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Old Sunday 25th April 2010, 01:17   #65
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Loving the Tufties Russ!

Admiration also for the concerted effort you put in. And the "blending" is really bringing your birds to life in wonderful ways! They are starting to live on the page!

Remarkable!
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Old Sunday 25th April 2010, 18:35   #66
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Thanks for the comments, you've fortunately not seen some of my earlier efforts! It got to the point where I was thinking they were impossible to do, for me any way. I do know that al the fun will begin again with Great Crested Grebes this summer, watch this space.
I spent three hours sketching Curlews 'oop on't tops' at Whitley Common (Tim W will know where I mean, but when he wor a lad there were loads of birds there!) this morning. Alas these birds are not really approachable due to all the disturbance so it's a case of high mag. Disciplined myself to concentrate on structure and not fart about with plumage, which seems to work better. At a distance I can only make a suggestion of it out anyway. I've tried to capture the twisted head feeding posture on one bird. I'm growing increasingly fond of these birds as subjects as I wasn't the curlew's biggest fan - don't know why.

Looks like my scanner's on the way out - this isn't purposeful smudging!

Russ
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Old Sunday 25th April 2010, 18:43   #67
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Thanks for the link re skulls, Colleen. I'll follow this up. Regarding the other comments here it seems I'm not on my own with quacker's bills. I could go on and on about these but I've had to even borrow 'how to books' to try to get my head around things like foreshortening and how the right side of the brain comes in to play when drawing a certain way. As in everything I think it's just a case of soldiering on

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Old Sunday 25th April 2010, 20:10   #68
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some fine stuff here Russ - I know we keep bugging you, but I hope you realise that you are a very capable observer and artist, and now we really want to see you take these further and produce some 'homework' as it were (unless you don't want to, in which case we'll just enjoy this fieldwork), but really you could, and as I'm a pest, you really should!
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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 01:57   #69
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Perhaps if you allow us to "colour in" some designated pieces that you did, and feed them back to you?

From different perspectives?

So you could see what you could achieve, from different angles?

It's a bit cheeky. But, am sure it would give you more confidence in trying colour.

If anyone else is up for it, I'd be willing. Then, perhaps, each artist could describe the media, techniques used to achieve the effect? That would certainly give you a broader aspect as to what's possible?

Nick, is like me. He wont let it lie!

Lovely sketches of the Curlews. The unattention to precise feather detail?

Unlock the zoo. Free the animals!!!!
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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 13:31   #70
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Nick, is like me. He wont let it lie!

This is true - CORMORANT!

But yes Russ, you know you really want to go for it really!
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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 13:56   #71
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I have to agree with the others. These are just asking for further development, at least in the eyes of the rest of us. I wonder what would happen if you got a small watercolor set and just tried drawing the birds in a thin watercolor wash. You could stay linear like you are now but use a small brush rather than a pencil point to make the marks. That might lead you into painting a bit more easily.

But you always have to do what seems natural to you. I see a very sensitive handling of shape and think that you're very close to making that much richer by the addition of color and texture. Anyway they're a pleasure to see regardless of which direction you take.
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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 20:39   #72
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Thanks for the comments guys. I'm totally up for sending sketches for proper 'treatment'! I've pages of 'em stashed away doing zero. Seriously I select only one out of perhaps 15 finished sketches for what I hope to use for illustrations in the local bird report. Never in my wildest dreams would I expect to get to standard where people would want to pay money for my stuff!
Honestly, if anyones got the time or inclination for art lessons then here I am!
I'm hoping to spend many hours in the field this summer once the hellish domestics are out of the way, and when the sun's blazing I will try colour - I owe it to you!

Russ
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Old Tuesday 27th April 2010, 00:11   #73
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Russ, the washes will dry faster in the sunshine!

(I will ignore that Nick mentioned the "C" word...Cormorant! Grrr!

Sorry Russ! Artists like to have vendettas and duels. Never let it get to that stage!)
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Old Sunday 2nd May 2010, 17:59   #74
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A few waders sketched this weekend.
Common Sand attempted in a variety of poses, including the 'walking away feeding' variety - one which gave me real problems the first time I attempted them. Obliging, resting Wood Sand at Old Moor RSPB today, and Ringed Plovers, which reminded me how difficult they are, especially when trying to draw the face pattern. In order for me to do this I had to keep waiting until the bird settled in the same position - not fun in a blisteringly cold N wind with half-frozen hands. Sketching a facing-away bird did away with the problem somehow! I could have used my knowledge but something never looks right when I do 'em this way - perhaps I'm trying to be too precise, which raises the ugly head of the 'how to' dillema again! Do I stick to my own style, which inevitably means I have to put bits in what I know are there, but are missed as I'm trying to se the 'whole bird', or do I go methodical, which would mean me using one sketchbook per species!? I can hear the cries now: just do it, man!

Russ
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Old Sunday 2nd May 2010, 18:34   #75
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On Wednesday, I'm bringing paints with me, one of the brushes has your name on it
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