Raven Work in Progress 3

Progress 1

Progress 2

Still not quite finished with the inking, but a whole lot closer than before. I’ve filled in a lot of the decorative details in the interior and added some thick dark lines for contrast. On the close up below you can see more of the itty bitty design details, as well as some of the sketch lines. I still haven’t decided what to do with the beak…

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Oh! I haven’t mentioned the background at all. You may have noticed the extremely boring looking circle around his head? While I was moving last month and unpacking all of my supplies I found a package of gold leaf. I’ve been dying to try it out, so it’s going to be a little bit of an experiment (I’ll be sweating bullets hoping I don’t mess the whole thing up…). The circle around his head and his eye will both be getting the gilding treatment…. we’ll see how it turns out…. fingers crossed….

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Raven Work in Progress 2

Woops, I meant to take more progress photos but I got a little too into the inking and forgot… So here is the basic outline just about completed. There is still a lot of the interior detail to be filled in and the sketch hasn’t been erased at all so it looks pretty messy at this stage. If you look at the picture of the sketch that I posted earlier you’ll see that I changed a few of the details. I started inking the parts that I knew I was happy with first, to see how they looked, then went back into my sketch to adjust the parts I wasn’t happy with. I think I redid the designs in the neck five or six times before I was happy with it.

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I’ve ignored the design on the wings and tail for now. I don’t know how much empty space I want to leave yet, and I won’t be able to get a good idea of that until I’m farther along in the inking. I also have only a vague idea for the background, but that doesn’t have to come until  later.

Raven Work in Progress

I finally have my work table set up after moving, and it’s not 100% yet but usable space again! I decided to take a little time out and do a project for myself (rather than commissioned work) which I haven’t done in a long time. Having done lots of those decorative drawings in my sketchbook lately, I decided I’d like to try a really nice version for myself. I settled on doing a raven, ’cause they’re the coolest ever.

So unlike the ones in my sketchbook, I took the extra step of sketching in pencil first. When I sketch in pen it can get a little messy…

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Oh! And I also started out by drawing a realistic raven from a photo, just to get the form right. I did him on a scrap of tracing paper that I had, then drew an enlarged version onto the bristol. I tweaked the drawing of the full-size version to make it more symmetrical, then started in on the interior details, still in pencil.

Decorative Sketching

There’s just something about the mindlessness of decorative work that I love.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t quite a lot of thought going into the work. There needs to be concept, creativity, construction and… composition (that’s a lot of ‘C’s). The piece needs to be not just detailed, but attractive and balanced. However, there is a certain “zen” that goes with the type of concentration involved in the repetitiveness of decorative design. I can lose myself in it for hours, so I use it as a time-sucking tool! When I’m getting ready to go on long flights, part of my packing process is to start the outline idea of one or two decorative sketches. If I’m bored on the plane, there is nothing better than to loose myself in one. Here is one from my latest round trip flight.

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