Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Turban Squash

Turban Squash
Prismacolor colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol, vellum finish

"I wonder how they do that?!" exclaimed an older woman in the grocery line as she pointed to my turban squash.

Isn't nature amazing? Of all of the winter squash and pumpkins that I adore, this one has got to be the most exotic. There were lots of them at the farmer's market this weekend, and when you view them right-side-up, they do look like little heads sporting turbans.

This squash was the perfect little model: no wilting like a flower does, no drying out like blueberries and tomatoes do. It just sat there in all of its I-can-last-all-winter smugness. I guess that's why I like drawing botanicals like nuts, pine cones and winter squash—there's no hurry. So, I took my time (and used almost every pencil that I own in the green and orange families) and even made work-in-progress scans. As is often the case, I wasn't really happy with this final scan...the reds look a little splotchy and bright. So I took a quick shot with my iPhone4:
Not bad, huh? I stopped short when it came to adding a shadow, as I kind of like how it looks without it. What do you think? Does it look unfinished without one?

Here are the WIP views (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Illustration Friday: Scattered

I panicked when I saw Charlotte's feathers scattered around the yard. Had the raccoon, that had savagely attacked my neighbor's cat, attacked one of my "girls"?  Fortunately, Charlotte soon scurried out from under the tangerine tree where she likes to dust bathe, and it all started to make sense—it's molting time.  

A molting chicken is not a pretty sight. My hens were too young to molt when fall arrived last year, so this is their maiden voyage. While May seems to be replacing her feathers a few at a time, poor bedraggled Charlotte has been looking like something the cat dragged in. But I noticed yesterday that her pin feathers are coming in, so she's looking more normal. Actually, she looks a bit like a hedgehog—something I've always wanted! (If you'd like to see the girls in all of their pre-molt splendor, click here to go their page.)

Feathers are amazing structures; I could use some practice drawing them. Also, the sheen of graphite complicates the scanning process, so I had to play around with the scanner settings. (I've really got to take a day and get the hang of using a camera and my copy stand...especially for graphite drawings.)

The scan above is in color, and the one below is in greyscale...which do you prefer?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Illustration Friday: Contraption

Prismacolor colored pencil and graphite on Strathmore charcoal paper

I haven't posted on Illustration Friday for a few weeks; and this week's word, "contraption", had me stumped. I just kept visualizing the "Mousetrap" game from my childhood. Then, seeing all of the beautiful fall apples reminded me of this one which peels, cores and slices. It always entertained my kids, and I still feel like I'm playing whenever I use it!

Work-in-Progress: I always enjoy seeing WIP shots on other people's websites, but I rarely think to stop mid-drawing to record those images. I'm having fun working slowly on this drawing of a turban squash, and I'm actually remembering to scan it along the way. Check back soon to see the finished product!