Drawing a Dragon Horse

Báls Head

If you’ve read Defiance, or the first chapter, you’ll already be introduced to this character. I started drawing Bál a year ago but stopped while I was writing to the rest of Defiance. He’d been sitting in the corner of my room for a bout a year and once the second book was published a week ago I figured I should probably finish him.

As usual I did all my initial sketches on wax paper

Apart from the obvious shape of a horse (a friesian horse) there were a few changes I made to Bál. He needed to have a more reptilian look than a normal horse, so I give him hooves with claws, a long lizard-like tail, scales and a face that was more angular.

Sketch The Head At First Laying Down The Colour

I had originally planned on painting him with a pale wash of watercolours, but now I’m very glad that I only painted a light wash of colour under him and decided to stick to pencil for the rest. I can only imagine how long it would have taken for me to finish him if I’de decided to paint him too

What I used (**):

 Makeup Brushes for blending • Mechanical Pencil • White Gel Pen • Tortillions • Rubber Blending Subs

I started out by getting the shape of the muscles and feet right. I had considered drawing him with his teeth bared so that you could see his sharp (carnivorous) teeth, but I felt that I wanted to capture the beauty of this animal in this drawing. Besides, if I saw an animal like this running at me with those feet and that kind of skin I think I’d already be scared enough without seeing his teeth. Especially if it had Ulf on it’s back.

Legs Half Drawn

That drawing above is where I left him a year ago to finish writing the book. At that point I had a clear enough image in my head of how he looked so that I could write about him. And also, if I’m honest, I couldn’t quite face drawing the rest of the scales.

What I used Scales so many scales

A year later I started drawing him again (and those bloody scales). I just put a ten hour playlist of Imagine Dragons and got started. About three days later I was finally finished! (and I promptly swore never to draw him again).

Almost Done Bál

And that’s the final drawing! I have to draw Ulf too soon (for a super secret Outsider related project which involves art;) but I’m pretty sure I want to draw him without Bál. I think if I have to look at one more scale I might just throw my pencil across the room.

You can read the book here

The First of my T-Shirt Series

unnamed

I’ve been planning to do these for for the last three years, and today I’ve finally made the first design live. The idea I had (at least for this series) is to draw a series of animals that perfectly represent a mood. The first one I wanted to start with, a koala, is essentially my spirit animal. I am not a morning person, and the koala seemed like the perfect animal to represent that.

I started off with the first four designs by drawing them on some tracing paper. All the rough doodling and experiments with the shading I do on the tracing paper and then transfer the final design onto a drawing card after. If you haven’t seen it already I’ve done a video on my second channel here all about how to transfer drawings.

Working on the Design

Detailing

After the outline of the koala had been transferred onto the paper  I did some underlying shading before I started to draw the fur. I didn’t want to add the shading after drawing the fur or it would have blurred all the tiny marks that took ages to do.

In total from start to finish it took me around six hours from start to finish to draw

The first layer of fur I drew with a mechanical pencil, the second with a thin tip black pen pen and lastly I used a white gel pen close to the ears and a few white hairs on the fur.

Finished

I’m not sure what design I’ll be doing next for this t-shirt series. Each batch will be limited edition, so I’m a little stuck between making the bulldog or the kitten next. Any preferences?

If you liked the t-shirt you can get it here

Outsider Art: Tyr

Face

Tyr was one of the Character’s in the Outsider series where I really didn’t have a clear image of how he looked in my head at all at first.  There were a few physical features and traits I was absolutely certain about when I started sketching him. I knew he had to have green eyes (just like all the elves in Kentutrebā). I gave him similar eyebrows and upper lip to Sylbil, but he’s a very different character to her with very different experiences, and I needed that to show on his face.

Sketch Basic Shading

I started out the same way I normally start any of my portraits, with a rough sketch on wax paper. After that I transfered the final outline on brown paper and started shading it with grey tones on the left side of the face and red/yellow tones on the right.

You can see my video about how to make sketch transfers here

I originally wanted to draw Tyr on a dark brown paper, but don’t have many sheets left and I wanted to save it for a drawing of Ragi, Ulf or Bugul (Bugual is a new character in Defiance). With darker paper you really have the opportunity to make unusual skin tones like green and blue(ish) stand out, so I wanted to keep that paper for them.

Pan Pastel Shading Eyes Done

After the basic shadows and highlights had been done I added a colour to the eyes. Even though his eyes should technically be the same vibrant shade of green as Astrid’s and Sylbil’s I just couldn’t quite bring myself to give him the same colour.

What I used (**):

Polychromos Pencils • Makeup Brushes • Mechanical Pencil • White Gel Pen • Tortillions • Pan Pastels

The colours I went for instead I felt gave him a wilder and more unpredictable look. I didn’t like the idea that he should have exactly the same eyes as Astrid and Sylbil. Especially considering his history with them. I like to think that his eyes have faded a little over time, each year becoming a little more gaunt and with paler eyes and a little less like his sister.

On the Art Wall Tyr Outsider

Once I finished his face I didn’t spend much time on his hair. Nothing longer than ten minutes just so I had a rough idea of how his hairline would look and hang around his face. At some point I might go back and fill it in properly, make it darker and glossier, but for the moment he’s going to stay pinned on my wall next to Ragana and Jarl.

You can read book 2 (Defiance) of my Outsider series here

DIY: Marbled Jar

Jar

This video is very simple to do, but very messy. If you can do try and wear some kind of gloves for this because trust me, getting spray paint off your skin is an absolutely nightmare to get off.

One spray paint combination which would look stunning is terracotta red, gold and navy blue

There are so many different variations you can use. You could even improvise and use whatever colours you have to hand. The beauty of marbling is that you really don’t have to do much other than spray the colours in the order you want and dip the jar in.

Marbled

If you do get spray paint on your hand one thing that would get it off is nail varnish remover. Obviously it’s not great for your skin, but it’s the only thing the average person has in their house which would do the job. So, if you can, wear gloves and avoid the whole messy job of getting the paint off your skin.

I hope you like the tutorial :)

DIY: Tea Light Holder

DIY

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve done an awful lot of DIY’s for candle jars, but nothing for a simple tea light yet, or an incense stick. I have quite a few ideas for these, especially incense sticks which I burn a lot of, so you should be seeing quite a few of these in your inboxes.

I hope you like the tutorial :)

Outsider Art: Sylbil

Eye Close Up

It’s already been a year since I wrote Outsider, and in two months (July 14th) I’ll be releasing Defiance, the second book in the series. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by but I’m so excited for you all to read the second book in the series! I’ve already started getting my teeth into writing the third book, but just for a little forward planning I’d been filling a notebook for the past few months detailing what happened before Outsider with Sylbil and Arnbjörg.

I hadn’t done a charcoal drawing in a while, so I thought I would go ahead and take an hour or two to draw Sylbil

I already had a brief layout of their story on a reference file on my computer, but it’s been quite nice to sit down and write it all down from their perspective rather than just have a brief overview in my notes. I decided I just had to draw Sylbil, and while I was at it finally dust off my charcoal pastels (**) which have just been sitting my my draws for months now.

Sketch Plastic

I started off with a sketch of her face. If you haven’t seen it already I’ve already done videos how how I transfer my rough sketches onto paper here, and another on my favourite blending methods.

What I used (**):

Grey Tones Pastels • Makeup Brushes • Mechanical Pencil •

Rubber Pencil • Tortillions •

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but makeup brushes are some of my favourite tools for blending, I have a set of about 5 makeup brushes which I keep just for my art work. Mostly they’re old makeup brushes which I’ve found quite useless (or shed too much) for makeup, but are absolutely perfect for blending, especially when it comes to drawing skin.

Finished Eye Sylbil Jīkkā

Finished With Tools

And that’s the final drawing. In total it took me about two hour to draw her, she’s meant to appear quite gentle and sweet, with a few similar features to Astrid but, like Astrid, she also has an incredibly strong will. The idea I had is that if you cover half her face and hide her eyes she looks like someone who would be a little too sweet and kind and very easy to manipulate, but if you look just at her eyes you realise that’s she’s far smarter than she let’s people believe, and considerably tougher.

Speed Drawing: Jarl

Jarl

I haven’t done these in a while, but now that the second Outsider book (called Defiance) will be coming out on July the 14th I’ll probably be doing a lot more of these. There have been a lot of requests for me to draw Ragi, Halvard and Dag, so I’m planning to set aside a few days to draw them in the next few weeks before the second book comes out.

Outsider Drawings

If you haven’t seen it already last week I did a post and a video all about my favourite blending techniques. I mentioned that I loved to use my paintbrush trick for pan pastels and in this video (along with the old Knud video I did) you can see exactly how I apply the colours.

I’d sketched Jarl out a few weeks ago but I wanted to do a proper drawing of him like I did with Knud and Astrid. I might re-do the drawing at some point, I’m not sure what it is but somehow I’ve managed to loose the kind look he had in the sketch, and in this drawing he looks a little harsher than he’s meant to.

I hope you like the video and feel free to suggest which character/location from Outsider I should draw next

Glue Guns Review

Glue Guns Review

I have used a lot of glue guns, I’ve also broken a fair few of them because I used them to death. So I thought today I’d do a run down of the pros and cons of all the glue guns I have used/have.

High vs. Low setting?

This part is important because it depends on how you want the glue to cool. A high setting will be faster to work with (and a little less stressful on your fingers) but the glue will flatten out more because of how hot it is. The cooler setting allows you to keep the texture but is much slower obviously. If you can get one with a dual setting so you have option.

Mini Glue Gun (**)(£6.99)

The one I have has a low and a high setting, not all glue mini glue guns have this setting . The first one of these that I had broke because I used it a lot. If you’re not planning on using your glue gun a lot or just for small project then this one is perfect, only problem is the glue gun sticks size are not standard. You won’t just be able to pop into most craft shops to pick up refills, so if you can bulk buy a few packs so you don’t run out at the worst possible time.

Stanley Hot Glue Gun (**)(£9.89)

This one is in the middle price-wise between the glue guns I have. It has a dual setting and a standard glue stick size, the only draw back is the trigger which, at lest for me, really starts to hurt my knuckles after a while because it’s so stiff and over all this glue gun feels a lot less sturdy.

Tec 305 Glue Gun (**) (*) (£26)

I have two of these, one is on a high setting and the other on a low. Out of all the glue guns I’ve used these are my favourite for two reasons, the trigger is a lot easier to pull and they have interchangeable tips, an ordinary point and a thin point (the thin point is my favourite) so they’re perfects for making masquerade masks or anything else which requires detail.

I hope you find the video useful :)

DIY: Aquarius Jug

Jug Finished

I’ve had this jug uselessly sitting in my kitchen for the past few months. Why is it useless? Well for starters it’s one of those annoying jugs that just doesn’t pour anything properly, and each time you try the water runs down the side and you end up soaking yourself. So I figured since I can’t use it for making coconut milk I’d use it for my zodiacs series and then use it as a flower vase afterwards.

Jug Painted Black Lining

Making it was pretty simple. Firstly, I spray painted it black and then I put Sellotape around the top of the jug so that I could get the lines perfectly accurate. As for the pattern, I did it freehand with some gold ink. Ink is not the best when used over spray paint, but I liked how it partly separated on the surface, a little like the aged gold you see on artifacts.

Painting Lining the Edge

The pattern I painted didn’t work if it carried along to the tip of the jug, so instead I changed the pattern so that it followed and dipped down from it. After that all I did was paint a line over the top of the jug handle and underneath it. Not the most adventurous thing to do, but I didn’t want anything to distract from the pattern along the top of the jug.

Finished

Later (after I took the photos) I gave gave the whole jug two coats of clear varnish so that the gold wouldn’t flake or chip off, and that’s all I did. I’m not sure when I’ll be doing the aquarius look but, like I have mentioned before, I tend to do my looks sporadically depending on which one I feel I can to the best on filming day. At least now the props for Aquarius are done and ready to film with and hopefully soon I should have a new look for you.

Art Tutorial: 4 Different Tools for Blending

Blending

As any makeup artist knows if you can’t blend then you have a serious problem, the exact same can be said of traditional art, and the thing is, I think a lot of people don’t quite realise just how many different tools and tricks there are. You don’t just have to use your fingers, so today I thought I’d go through my favourite tools for blending.

Paint Brushes:

Yes, you read that correctly, paint brushes. The great thing about this is that it means that you can use makeup brushes which might have fallen out of favour or are long since used up. In my art roll I carry around several different brushes. Some small nail art brushes (perfect for small details), a stiff concealer brush (perfect for blending or blending out colours) and a large powder brush. Destroyed old paint brushes are also good if you want a bit of variety in the texture, for example, if you’re drawing clothes and need to get the texture of wool.

Rubber Sculpting Tools/Silicone Colour Shapers:

These are as close to miniature versions of your fingers as you are going to get, and they’re perfect for tiny, tiny details and hair. They come in different strengths, soft, medium and hard. I have one of each and in different shapes though my favourite is this one (**). I use it in everything from small details in the eyes and lips to hair.

Paper Blending Sticks/Tortillion:

The first thing I’m going to mention about these is how to sharpen them because a lot of people don’t seem to know. First thing to point out is don’t use a sharpener, you will absolutely wreck it if you do that. What you need is to run it down some fine sandpaper to scrap the upper layer off, you could also techincally use a craft knife to sharpen it but it’s far too easy to take off too much of the end and waste a lot of it if you do that. You can find some here (**) or in The Works where I buy mine from.

Cotton Buds:

I think mostly everyone will have this in their house, though it’s not a trick I use often since I have paintbrushes and tortillions. With some cotton buds you will have to pull at the cotton a little to fluff it up a bit if you want the blending to be smooth, or leave them as they are and they’ll have a similar effects as if you were using a Tortillion.

I hope you like the tutorial :)