The other day I was looking for any excuse, as usual, to not do any work. I needed to try out some techniques on some new illustrations I’m working on, original pen & ink art that will be for sale, in fact (stay tuned for news on those!). As I was arranging my art supplies my gaze fell upon a lightly-sketched eye on piece of paper peeking from under a pile.
It was a half-finished sketch I’d done as warm up, months ago. I’d forgotten about it. But if even in such a crude form it caught my eye, I thought I should finish it, and to use some of the techniques I’d been considering for the upcoming original art.
I managed to work it up into a finished sketch easily enough — the foundation was solid — and while not exactly revolutionary it was enough to get my hand moving. However, this was a portrait, and I didn’t have any idea what to do with the lower half. Then I remembered one of my favourite paintings!
Lady with an Ermine was painted by Leonardo da Vinci around 1489. It has always remained in my memory for both its simplicity & masterful technique. At 3 am when you have nothing else to fill the bottom of a page, you can do far worse than copying from the old master.
With a few tweaks, of course.
I considered just leaving it at linework, but decided to be bold and ink it all in by hand. This took a lot of time and finally extinguished a number of nearly-done-with black markers. I don’t mind. Any excuse to buy new black markers. I even tried to ink sections with brush, but didn’t have a proper inkwell (fountain pen ink is not for this task). Must track some of that down. Brush is a lot faster than markers at getting large sections down.
Furthermore, I wanted to experiment with adding highlights & textures using some gold markers & metallic paints I had around. Here is the finished piece, with most of the blue pencil work erased on the computer. I’m happier with it than I expected to be, so let this be the lesson: always finish sketches that show some potential, even if it’s months or even years later.
Will announce the original art stuff as soon as I can get it done — all the supplies have been procured including the shipping tubes (harder to find than I thought!), so now all that remains is to draw the things. We all know how expedient I am at that.
For now, I leave you with a nice long image with details, for pinterest posterity:
Love & Space Pets,