The Helpful Heron

Oops, I accidentally pressed the button to “upgrade” the text editing here and not sure if it was a good idea.  Oh well, I’ll have to get used to it, but hey it does come in handy with a few features added like subheadings and being able to add photos more easily.  I was a ill the past few days and couldn’t even get on my computer, laptop, tablet or phone, let alone get out of bed!  But now that I’m better, I’m getting the swing of blogging again.  So where were we?  Yes, I’m back to a painting I made last weekend before falling ill.  

Pencil Sketch!

Ever has one of those days when you are determined to draw something but somehow can’t manage no matter how many times you try?  We were over at a Nature Reserve near Almere, Holland called Oostvaardersplassen last Friday.  It’s a cool place to check out some wild birds along the water.  Although it is off season at the moment, we were there for a bite to eat and enjoy the beautiful landscape.  And yes, we did came across a lone Heron!  And when I got home that evening, I really had to paint one.  I tried in vain to draw a decent Heron lurking in a pond amidst the beautiful landscape as we had seen it earlier.  It was a frustrating experience. After a few tearful attempts I said f*** this, switched on some music and sure enough all inspiration returned! Turns out that the previous attempts were just not my style. I was too focused on drawing the perfect bird and the entire picture was looking so meh. So I switched on my kawaii mode and the ideas just kept rolling on. And now…

Kawaii Pencil Sketch!

Get the Inks Out!

So what do you think?  First I wanted to add the Teddy for fun.  Happy Teddy riding on a Heron. It was Black Friday of course, and I thought a little shopping bag hanging from the beak would be something fun to add as well.  I tend to get a bit hung up about the rule of one-thirds nowadays to improve my composition.  But anyway, once the ideas rolled in, I took my permanent ink pens out and traced over the outlines.  I used the markers by Jane Davenport.  This time, I wanted to keep my painting nice and simple especially after that nerve-wracking moment of trying to sketch!  For the clouds, I threw in some scribbles in oil pastels as their water-resistant properties give an interesting effect when water-based inks are painted over.  

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Colour Away!

For something different, I also drew circles on the green area in the same permanent ink markers.  They are alcohol-based and do not smudge when water-based inks are painted on top.  This time, I thought it would be an idea to try Ecoline inks instead of watercolour or even acrylic paint.  I normally use these inks for creating backgrounds but I really like their transparent effect so thought I’d experiment with them on an actual painting.  I firstly washed the area with wet brush and applied the inks with the droppers, spreading them gently.  Surprisingly, streaking is quite minimal.  The ink also spreads quite evenly.  Colours indeed remain transparent and compared to watercolours, they are so vivid and strong.  For the smaller stuff like Teddy and the shoppping bag, I simply used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist’s Pens.  And for the details like the eyes and the dots on the Heron, I used Uni Posca pens and added some circles on the green area with acrylic markers.

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Discover Your Style!

Now what a happy painting!  And I’m happy too.  It’s always good to experiment and trust my own instincts, as was with the inks.  And when you’re frustrated with sketching something, take a step back.  Not all styles are for everyone.   Discover your own style from experience, trial and error.  I myself opted for the cute, round kawaii.  It speaks my mind and is so me.

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