Making Charcoal

You could also call this process ‘method illustration’. After the phrase ‘method acting’ of course. I coined that term for the approach to illustration that is strongly advocated and encouraged on the MA. It’s the first semester’s topic and requires students to venture out & about with a sketchbook and draw on location. The idea being that a place can be found which really grabs the attention and excites the imagination – the kind of places and spaces that can bear stories on the air.

Unfortunately, I was restricted to school hours (as my children were very young at the time) and to a town that I found interminably dull. I won’t mention which – (but I am sure a very little sleuthing could discover it). So I can’t say that I found a space that really excited me… well, until I went and asked to draw old people in an old people’s home in the second semester – more about that here.

But here I am – being a ‘method’ illustrator, albeit in a slightly different way.

Making my own art materials – much as my character – Matti – would have done.

I’ve made charcoal – you can see from the photos – and I’ve made charcoal holders, experimented with making some (unsuccessful) brushes from plants but will try fur soon (excuse me whilst I go and brush the cat). I’ve experimented with making inks from berries [actually should write more about that in another post – berry inks do some strange and unpredictable things].

The blue here in Matti’s hair is not natural – it would be hard for me to create that and I’m not sure I’d want to try – clearly stone age children did not have blue hair – so if she does end up keeping her hair blue in the final published version (one day, one day…) it doesn’t need to be naturally created.

But I would really like to make some acorn ink for her dress and maybe some wax crayons too. I do love making things – so I hope this isn’t simply distraction from THE WORK (of making a picture book)! I’ll blog about it when I do. And in the meantime if anyone reading this would like to donate me some goat, sheep or horse hair for brushes – let me know!

Matti

I’m using a book, The Organic Artist, by a chap called NICK NEDDO – it’s very good and I’d totally recommend it.

 

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