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A Sense of Place - Media Experimentation

27 Jan 2017

Inspired by the icy, cracked textures I had documented during my visits to Brookwood Cemetery, I created these quick ink sketches. The dip ink pen allowed me to create scratchy textures and use thick/thin lines to draw the viewer's attention to important elements - the grave stones.

I photocopied the ink drawings and used green ink and brown/grey watercolour paint to bring the drawings to life, although I think that the mood of the coloured drawings are too cheerful, and keeping to duller blacks and greens would work better.

 

 

I made another sketch of a grave which had a tree sprouting out from it in long thin branches which looked very creepy. But I felt that the pen and ink, even through it's a scratchy type of medium, wasn't giving the enveloping sense that the tree is taking over. So I tried dotting ink on the page, and blowing it in different directions. This worked really well, and gave the more 'out of control' sense to my drawings as it looks less refined.

 

It reminded me of the film 'A Monster Calls' (2016) where there are various scenes in which ink is seen spreading across the page. The book this film is based on has illustrations by Jim Kay. The dark themes of the book/film (which are about coping with death) really come across through his illustrations because they are harsh and dark toned, interestingly with many white silhouette figures on a black background. (shown below)

 

 

I made some more drawings by blowing the ink droplets across the page, but also flicking a paintbrush of ink on the page. And on the second page of experimentation, I also added water to some of the spreading ink drawings so they had different tones, sand has a sense of depth to them. Also with rough brush strokes, like Kay uses in some of his illustrations.

 

The second piece in particular, looks like clawing hands coming out of the branching ink marks, which is what I was trying to show from my research photos. 

I photocopied the fist experimentation, so I could add a different tonal background and play around with grave shapes in my drawing, with the smooth curved arch outline of the man-made graves contrasting to the spidery ink branches.

 

I also worked away the charcoal (like with the ice texture drawing earlier) to make subtle cross and grave stone shapes within the shadowy lines. I think this image within and image idea works really well in subtly showing the subject matter, but relying more on the textual effects of the media to distinguish the pieces. I thought it might be interesting to add some physical textures, so I sewed some jagged cross hatch type lines on my drawing. I was trying to represent how the writing on the grave stones becomes worn down by nature over time, until it's just the shadow of the lines and curves which made up the lettering.

 

I also stitched thread onto the drawing page. The harshness of the angular stitching gives the desired atmosphere of destruction, unforgivingness of nature and eeriness in that you can see it might once have been text, but now the lines are all jumbled and un recognisable because of weathering, just like the memories of the deceased have been erased from existence by time.

 

I want to experiment more with using thread, like Debbie Smyth's work and see how making a relief drawing affects the atmosphere of the outcome.

 

Out of curiosity, I inverted the photo I'd taken of my mixed media drawing, and I think this seems a lot more imposing, and surreal, because you're used to seeing dark markings on white paper. But to have a bright white natural form style ink drawing, it's more of a juxtaposition of ideas which is more interesting to see, as, in nature, you never see a true white colour. It's more of a ghostly white form, which keeps to the eery atmosphere and mood I was working with.

 

 

 

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Illustrations © Claire Marchant 2019