Sunday, 22 April 2012

Birology: The Librarian and his Shadow

'The Librarian and his Shadow'

Plain ol' black Bic Biro on yellow paper. I had an idea for a picture with a man who was so old, that his shadow was a skeleton, as a sort of macabre reminder that his death was not far away. As for setting it in a library? I don't know why. But I do think that libraries are pretty creepy places: all shadows and silence and long canyons of dead trees.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Birology: Biros, Candles, and Lovecraftian Beasts

Last night I had an idea for something vaguely Lovecraftian that I wanted to call 'And I looked, and I beheld the Beast'. I wanted it to look like a guy had gone down into his basement or been walking down a dark alley or pitch black cave with his lantern and just run into a tentacular squid monstrosity. And, eager to experiment with outside light sources, I also knew that I wanted to light it using a candle. So, in the dead of darkness, I quickly sketched this, using just a normal Bic Biro and two felt tips...
The brightness from the man's lamp is created partly from the shading, and partly from a pocket torch I used (placed behind the picture) to enhance the glare that's meant to be coming off the lamp. It adds greater vibrancy to the picture, and really draws the viewer's eye to the centre of the page and the action.
Then today I drew a proper version in Biro...
That's just a Biro-drawn picture, scanned in and without any torches or trickery. I then decided to take a copy of the scan and apply some felt tip. Felt tips are awesome, and used right they can look truly beautiful, but so few people use them. Go on, steal some off your niece or nephew and get practising with them!
That was just a fun aside really; more an experiment than anything else. And a way to pass the time while I waited for it to get dark so I could do the final picture...
In a nice dark room I took the original Biro drawing and placed it in front of a candle (being careful not to set fire to the original drawing! Seriously, if you're going to try creating nightmares in the candlelight, do be careful that you don't burn your art, yourself, or your house down), so that there'd be a light source to enhance the light/dark contrast of the picture. Then I took a picture of it. I used a candle rather than the torch because I wanted the man's lantern to look like an old fashioned lamp rather than anything modern. The candle gives a softer light too - one that works better with the shade contrasts and fits the Lovecraftian image I had in my head. The result is this...
Not too shabby, if you'll allow me to say it myself. The candle gives a lovely natural glow and, further away from the light source, the light's interaction with the Biro gives a lovely bruised colour, creating a rich darkness. I hadn't expected that to happen, but blimey I'm glad it did.

So there you have it: a nightmarish squid in 4 sketches. And all it took was a Biro and a candle.