Sketchtember 2016

For this year’s Sketchtember Challenge I decided to focus on working from screencaps of some of my favorite movies and TV shows. I’m such an ancient history geek.

Vorenus Praying from HBO Rome
Vorenus Praying from HBO Rome
2016-09-02-sketchtember-2-web
Olympia and a young Alexander from Alexander
2016-09-03-sketchtember-3-web
Vorenus and Niobe from HBO Rome
2016-09-04-sketchtember-4-web
Caesar and Tiberius from Spartacus
2016-09-05-sketchtember-5-web
Atia with her slaves from HBO Rome

Junebugs 2016

A collection of the bugs and other creepy crawlies I did for the #junebug art challenge.

Junebug 01 2016 by Bronwen MacDonald

Junebug 03 2016 by Bronwen MacDonald

2016-06-10-junebug-4-web 2016-06-18-junebug-6-web

21 Day Sketching Challenge 2015

Earlier in the year I jumped on the chance to get a special rate for a lifetime membership to Pencilkings.com. It is a video based art tutorial community that offers a number of video tutorials, challenges and has a private community forum for sharing work. While the videos tend towards digital, game and animation work there are a couple of solid foundation course for beginners and a few more interesting ones one gesture drawing and environmental design that I’d like to take when I have the time.

During the past month the community had a 21-Day Sketch Challenge on the go. The requirements were simple: draw for 21 days to have your name thrown into a hat for a chance to win a NOMAD art satchel. Hell yes. Please and thank you. I’ve eyed this satchel since their Kickstarter got off the ground so the opportunity to win one really helped me commit to the full 21 days. We’re waiting for the contest to finish at the end of the month but I’ll keep you updated.

Until then, here is all 21 days of sketches collected for you.
2015-09-01 PK Sketch Day 12015-09-05 PK Sketch 02 web 2015-09-06 PK Sketch Day 3web 2015-09-07 PK Sketch Day 4web 2015-09-08 PK Sketch Day 5web 2015-09-09 PK Sketch Day 6web 2015-09-10 PK Sketch Day 7web 2015-09-11 PK Sketch Day 8web 2015-09-12 PK Sketch Day 9web 2015-09-13 PK Sketch Day 10web 2015-09-14 PK Sketch Day 11web 2015-09-15 PK Sketch Day 12web 2015-09-16 PK Sketch Day 13web 2015-09-17 PK Sketch Day 14web 2015-09-18 PK Sketch Day 15web 2015-09-19 PK Sketch Day 16web 2015-09-20 PK Sketch Day 17web 2015-09-21 PK Sketch Day 18web 2015-09-22 PK Sketch Day 19web 2015-09-23 PK Sketch Day 20web 2015-09-24 PK Sketch Day 21web
Next up? INKtober and Month of Fear. Going to be a busy busy kitten during October.

Roman Isis – WIP

aka Adventures with New Techniques. 

Tam Lin by Wylie Beckert
Tam Lin by Wylie Beckert

It all began a few months ago when I stumbled across this painting of Tam Lin. I’ve always had something of a soft spot for that particular tale, and the painting was so striking that I just had to track down the artist who turned out to be Wylie Beckert. I have to admit that I became a little obsessed with her work and spent hours pouring over her YouTube videos, studying her updates on Facebook etc. On her website she has a number of pages that detail the way she works – generally a solid underdrawing, watercolour & acrylic ink underpainting and then oil glazes over the top.

I decided to give this a try on a smaller scale with a postcard. I sketched out a drawing of a Romanized Isis, based off a statue found in the Villa Adriana and now housed in the Capitoline Museum.

Roman Isis WIP Sketching by Bronwen MacDonald
Roman Isis WIP Sketching

Once I had the rendered sketch done, I sealed it with three thin layers of half matte medium and half water mixture. I used a simple spritz bottle for this. I was worried that it wouldn’t get completely coverage of the image but after three rounds everything was well sealed. After that I went ahead and used watercolour paints to work out my basic colours. Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of that stage. Sorry! I’ll do my best to remember for next time. When the watercolours were dry, I worked in the highlights with a white pencil then sealed everything with another three layers of medium.

Then came the fun part! Oils are a medium that I have never really gotten along with. I have never liked impasto look and the last time I tried to thin my paints I used too much turpentine. This ended up with Van Dyke Brown drips across my entire painting one day when I pushed too hard. I very much wanted to put a knife through the canvas at that point and toss all my oils straight into the trash. Thankfully I didn’t. This time I remembered to use the oil to thin the paints and gosh, what a difference. Everything was so smooth and went onto the paper in beautifully transparent layers.

Roman Isis WIP First Oils by Bronwen MacDonald
Roman Isis WIP First Oils

I left it to dry and came back to it after a week to put in the last glazes. It’s not a great photo because I took it with my iPad, but as soon as the original dries properly I’ll put up a better scan of it.

Roman Isis by Bronwen MacDonald
Roman Isis

All in all, I am incredibly pleased with how this little piece turned out. This technique is definitely something that I am going to keep working with in the future so hopefully we can look forward to bigger and better oil paintings. If you have any questions feel free to ask away.

Eternal Regret – Sketch and Process

Eternal Regret by Bronwen MacDonald
Eternal Regret

I grew up with role-playing games. Many of my high school and university years were whiled away at a friend’s house rolling dice, eating Cheetos and, most importantly, telling stories. I don’t regret it one bit. When I move to Japan I spent some time playing computer RPGs but it never quite fills in the gap that interacting with others leaves behind. After a bit of searching I discovered MUs. These are text-based games that you write, in real-time, with other players. Thing of it like the proto-types of Second Life and World of Warcraft without the graphics. It was on one of these games that I met my best friend, and this painting is for her birthday.

It’s of a pair of our characters, Octavia (mine) and Corina (hers). Octavia the  young wife of an exiled Roman senator and Corina is her personal slave. They are both the same age and Corina was bought for Octavia on her thirteenth birthday. Breaking down under the stress and shame of her husband being caught with the Emperor Augustus’ daughter and then exiled, Octavia eventually attempts to slit her wrists. Corina attempts to save her and runs to the Temple of Vesta for help. A Vestal Virgin arrives just as Octavia’s beginning to slip away. She can’t save her, but instead she turns Octavia into a vampire.

This image is what happens after Octavia awakens after her transformation. She realizes what she has become and in a wave of hunger and longing she decides to do the same to her slave. After all, that way they can be together for all eternity. Corina, however, is less impressed with having to serve her Mistress forever. The story then revolves around the next two thousand years as the pair try to come to terms with what they are and who they are to each other.

Brainstorming

I knew that I wanted the image to be framed, much like my inked Diana drawing that I did earlier last year. I wanted to evoke the feeling of containment in the Second Style Roman wall paintings.

Fresco from the Villa of the Farnesina, Rome.
Fresco from the Villa of the Farnesina, Rome.

I found a stock image from DeviantArt that was just perfect and then also scanned some design elements like the column tops and the rose pattern from an old book that I picked up in a used book store in Tokyo this past April. Working in Photoshop I patched all the bits together into a composition that I liked, checking out the overall balance with a golden mean template.

composition with golden mean
Working out the composition

Once I had that all worked out, I started on the sketch itself. This isn’t the final piece, just the basic drawing to work out the line-art, shadows and composition etc for the watercolour painting that this will become. Once I had the sketch done I sent to over to fantasy artist, Angela Sasser, for a red-line critique. She did a private video of her critique for me, drawing over my digital image and showing me how to improve on the composition, anatomy and over-all finesse of the piece. The stuff that she came up with completely blew me away. So, now it’s back to the drawing (well, Photoshop) board again to rework the composition. Hopefully you’ll like how it turns out the second time around.

Apollo Belvedere

Apollo Belvedere by Bronwen MacDonald (2015)
Apollo Belvedere by Bronwen MacDonald (2015)

 

Title: Apollo Belvedere

Medium: Graphite pencil on paper

Size: 31 × 21.8 cm (unframed)

For Sale: Yes

Prints: No

Waking Up

I was inspired by a photograph that a friend of mine put up on Instagram for this drawing. My friend is the awesome crazy author Ksenia Anske who writes really weird and cool fantasy / horror books and gives them away for free (Or you can buy them, your choice)!

Recently I’ve tried to loosen up and work a little more fluidly, otherwise the perfectionist in me fights me all the way to redo tiny bits and things take forever. So for this one I drew on watercolor paper (that doesn’t take well to erasing) and worked only in 8B so that I really had to commit to where I was going to put lines down.

It was an interesting experiment and I have another coming up soon with the same technique so enjoy!

2015-01-16-Waking-Up-Clean-Web