another Bigmouth work-in-progress (WIP)

This is a WIP for one of the six illustrations for my uni project on the story 'The Blazing World' written by Margaret Cavendish in 1666.

From page 41:
"The Fish-men were to carry the Fire-stones in cases of Diamonds (for the Diamonds in the Blazing World are in splendor so far beyond the Diamonds of this World, as Peble-stones are to the best of this Worlds Diamonds) and to uncase or uncover those Fire-stones no sooner but when they were just under the Enemies Ships, or close at their sides, and then to wet them, and set their Ships on fire..."

Bigmouth Strikes Again

I decided to just go ahead and make something different to the I last one I showed, rather than finish that one and start on the next illustration.

I copied some of the symbols on his body straight from the book I got from the library "The Decorative Arts of Africa". Their Adinkira symbols and this is what they mean (going down the arm then lastly the belly):
> Dwanimen  The ram's horns, a symbol of strength
> I made up this one
> Msusyidie  A symbol of sanctity and good fortune
> I made up this one
> Sepow A knife used in executions to prevent a curse on the king


For my main uni project this term, I am to create 6 illustrations including a cover for the book 'The Description Of The New World Called The Blazing World' by Margaret Cavendish in 1666. It's a story about a young lady who miraculously discovers herself on another world which is inhabited by animal-men including bear-men, fox-men, fish-men etc. whom make her their Empress and worship her. 

I knew I needed to make a final piece this weekend - we've about 5 or 6 weeks to finish our current main project. So far I've just been researching, sketching and thumbnailing.



I started painting - I can't be over fussing about the composition for too long.

 I got frustrated with the oils paints. I don't really know how to paint traditionally and I've never finished an oil painting. I decided I should go home and paint what I saw in my head in Photoshop that night then come back the next day and then I'd have a painting I could copy from which might make things easier.

 I decided to change the position of the body, although I still think the fish-men in the thumbnails have a more interesting look to them, something monster-ish. I also cropped further into the picture because I thought it looked better.

 Then I messed around with colours using an overlay layer, and tightened things up with a normal layer above that. It still needs more touching up obviously but it looks kind of nice. The over exposed highlight on the bottom corner of the face reminds me of underwater photography. If I take this to a finished state I may end up using this as a final. Now I think about it, it may be better for me to just do all my finals in Photoshop, then see if I've time to mess around with acrylics and oils without any pressure since I can use Photoshop paintings as back up.

It just looks like a fish with arms stuck on the sides at the moment. Am I worrying too much? The fish-men are from another world (in the book) so I want them to have a strangeness to them, something otherworldly and ethereal.

Enough for now.


I made this on a whim as a title image for this blog a few nights ago. It doesn't fit with the style I've made for here so I won't use it.

iPads in the life drawing studio (2nd Feb)

Youtube video of me painting this:

For our life drawing module this term we've been taking it in turns to draw using iPads provided for us by the Uni, using an app called Brushes.
Besides drawing and painting, the app automatically makes a video from your drawing as you work. Here's a link to our life drawing sessions which have been posted on youtube:

Colour with Oil Pastels

I forgot I'd done this.
This shows to me why I should stop using boring grey charcoal in life drawing classes.

pencil drawing of scrunched-up magazine page

Woodcut Printing

 It started with a pencil drawing, with intentionally blocky tones added with grey marker pens, and black details added with a brush pen.


I decided to make two tone prints instead of the three tones I used in the drawing, due to time constraints. That would mean two prints, one over the top of the last one, to create the final image.
For the second, darker print (or whatever different ink you're using), you have to cut away at the same wood block you used for the last prints, so you can't go back once you start cutting away for the next stage. 

practise sheet

It's the jolly Christmas Eagle! yay!

the finished print