The Nguni cow’s portrait

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Nguni Portrait – Ink on paper, A3 200gsm.

I had the opportunity recently to paint cows again for a commissioned ink work, which is now in its home in Hermanus enjoying the ocean air.

Some notes on the process:

  1. A fairly rough sketch in 5B pencil on some paper to warm up and have a better look at the image – hey bingo, a separate artwork (below).
  2. Plot the basic lines in 2H pencil on the A3 paper using a light box (read: my window) and the reference image for proportion accuracies.
  3. Ink time! Start with large areas of washes in very watered down ink where the darkest areas/shadows lie in the image.
  4. Work on layers, painting smaller areas but darker shades, building up the details.
  5. Work
  6. Work
  7. Work
  8. Use your finest paintbrush, add the detailed finishing lines, like lashes and stray hairs.
  9. Sign.
  10. Hey pesto. Nguni portrait done 🙂
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Practice sketch

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All images are © Amy Slatem.

1st date with my Wacom

Blue Portraai - Amy SlatemI’ve had my Wacom (Intuos Pro Medium) for about 2 months now but it’d taken till last night only for me to finally sit down and start working on a digital painting. I’ve been using the Wacom at work when I can, mostly just for logos and deep-etching, and very occasionally some illustrative work. It’s like a Ferrari having to drive at 60…
So last night’s practice was much needed for me to start figuring out just some of the powers of the tablet-Photoshop partnership.Blue-Portrait-animation_Amy Slatem

I started with the portrait by finding an image I liked, added some layers, base colours, cool brushes, more layers, help from a knowledgeable friend, colour accents, details, more layers, and this is as far as I got for now… Consider this a work in progress/ abandoned art.

Blue Portrait detail Amy Slatem-4

Blue Portrait detail Amy Slatem-3

Blue Portrait detail Amy Slatem-1

Follow me on Instagram @shmaymee  for more illustration bits & bobs

Ink painting teaser video

I wanted to have a go at a “live painting” recording by doing a short one of a quick figurative ink painting. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the whole painting process recorded because I don’t have my tripod with me in Joburg and had to make an alternative plan with the camera set-up… which worked for the duration of this vid before the camera fell off its make-shift perch (the camera made it out unscathed, don’t worry).

But I’ll need to work on that and getting better video editing programs, so don’t take this video too seriously, but rather as a work in progress/first attempt.

Below is the finished piece, with another portrait work from earlier this morning:

Figure ink painting

Wrong angle, right caricature.

comboSo this happened totally by accident!
I was doing a bit of portrait painting from a glossy mag and once finished and ready to take a photo of the end work (because Instagram… because @shmaymee *hint *hint) I tried taking the photo from a weird angle to see how it would distort. A few shots later from different angles and I liked what had happened: A super quick way to “draw” multiple caricatures. A cheat perhaps, but yay 😀
So ja, do what you wish with this random bit of art info… It’d probably work on stick figures too. 3Original portrait. Ink on paper, A4.61 2tableSome work space lovin, just cause.

Sunday Figures.

Amy Slatem Ⓒ 2014 Various black and white figures done in charcoal, ink and pen, some mixed. Fashion catalogs provide a myriad of interesting and well composed collections of figures to practice some body drawing and playing with different media on A3 paper.

Charcoal-figure-1Amy Slatem Ⓒ 2014Figure 1 and detail: WiIllow charcoal tonal drawing on paper. 297 x 420mm


Charcoal-and-chalk-figureCharcoal-and-chalk-figure_detailFigure 2 and detail: Charcoal and soft pastel on paper. 297 x 420mm


Ink figure1Ink-figure1_detailFigure 3 and detail: Ink and brush on paper. 297 x 420m


Ink-and-pen-figure-1Ink-and-pen-figure-1_detailFigure 4 and detail: Pen, water and ink on paper. 297 x 420mm
(Wow, her leg looks a bit broken. My bad)

Oh my… What big teeth you have.

Both eyes detail_SlatemStudio above_Slatem_WMMy painting space in my lounge.FInal portrait_SlatemFinal painting. “Oh My…”. Oil on canvas. 29.5 x 42.5 cmRight eye detail_SlatemLeft eye detail

Oh my… What big teeth you have.

Perhaps not the most impressive painting ever, but I had the urge play with my large collection of paint brushes and fill the room with the smells of oil paint and turps again. This was more a practice than anything as I had a canvas to use which I’d painted over in burnt umber to hide the previous failed painting from earlier this year. I wanted to see what it’s like painting over such a heavy base coat. Not very easy it turns out, far too dark, especially for such a light skin over coat.

I chose an advert out a glossy mag to practice portraiture some more, biggest mistake was choosing one with visible teeth… don’t do it, especially if she has a huge gap. Fail, but at least the photos make this painting look more presentable haha.