Alright, finally! I’ve been working on this on and off in my free time as something to test out a couple new techniques, and it’s finally all done. I’ve done a bunch of decorative illustrations before, but they were are really stylized. For this one, instead of starting of with a very styled creature, I started with a realistic drawing of a raven then worked with it a little to help it fit the decorative style. I was playing around a lot with the use of light and dark, as well as filler design and line quality.
And then there’s the gold. That’s actual 12K gold. Cool right? I used a special adhesive and gold leaf to create the effect and I was really happy with how it turned out. Next time I do something that isn’t so much practice I’ll swing for the 24K (technically 23.75K) gold leaf. It doesn’t quite come across in the photos, but it definitely makes you want to move around the piece. What also doesn’t really come across in the photos is the texture in the gold. The first layer of gold turned out nice and looked very smooth and clean… but the look I was going for was more “moon” than “sun”, so I played around with purposefully crumpling the gold as I applied it to create high and low lights that resemble the shadows in the moon.
So that’s that! I’ll have it up in an art show at a convention in Seattle this weekend, hopefully someone will love it enough to give it a new home =)
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…
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….
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.
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.
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…
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.
I like to watch lots of weird blogs and lists that post images of random… oddness, and one of the ones I watch is the Carnies and Geeks Tumblr. They post some majorly weird stuff sometimes, but it’s always interesting. A while back they posted an image of a woman with a bird’s head costume and it was such a cool concept I had to sketch this out.
It’s super rough and the wings look wonky, but the finished version will have her hair and skin turning into the feathers of a raven. Eventually I want to do a whole series of people turning into their Spirit Animals… I’m thinking wolf, bear and dear. Maybe a seal? Selkies are very cool creatures and I don’t see nearly enough of them around.