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:
- 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).
- 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.
- Ink time! Start with large areas of washes in very watered down ink where the darkest areas/shadows lie in the image.
- Work on layers, painting smaller areas but darker shades, building up the details.
- Use your finest paintbrush, add the detailed finishing lines, like lashes and stray hairs.
- Hey pesto. Nguni portrait done 🙂
All images are © Amy Slatem.
So while everyone else spent their weekends getting married, engaged, making babies etc (thank you for that, Facebook), I made this thing. And I want to share my love thing with everyone. So go ahead and give it a download (link a bit below) and protea-fy your computer and phone because our national flower is just that beautiful.
Click on the size below to download, then save as…
DESKTOP: 4:3 Fullscreen // 16:9 Widescreen (recommended)
PHONE: 450 x 800 slim (iPhone 6 etc) // 500 x 750 wider
ARTWORK PROCESS // DETAILS
The artwork was all done in Photoshop using a Wacom Intuos Pro and a variety of PS brushes, finished off with a bit of background paper texture.
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Photo/mock up credit: Carlos Martínez
Adele has just recently released her single ‘Hello’, taken from her new album, 25, (release date: 20 November).
The song is great. Like really. Which is why I decided to pull out my (rather dusty) inks and brushes and while listening to this goosebumping song far too many times, I did an Adele-portrait-meets-lyrics piece.
I ended up simplifying the original artwork in Photoshop because there was just too much text… this should explain why not all the lyrics made it on in the end. But that’s just the fine print. Who reads fine print anyway? (I’m joking)
I started the painting as an A3 landscape (I’m not sure why that made sense at the time) which was just a bit too big to fit in my scanner at the end. So the only way to really digitise it (other than photographing, but that’s not accurate enough) was to scan in the image half a side at a time, left then right with enough overlap each time. And yay Photoshop (and Google for showing me the answer) and its highly impressive automatic stitching command: Photomerge (File > Automate > Photomerge).
1. I was originally going to manually try match up and layer the two scans myself – this would’ve taken a lot more time, effort and inaccuracy.
2. This shows the stitching that PS did by itself. Pretty incredible. I pulled the two pieces apart just to show how it merged the two separate images so perfectly together. I initially thought it was already flattened because it looked so natural.
3. How it looked immediately after it finished rendering the Photomerge. SEAMLESS!!
Final artwork ^^
Reminiscent of Billy Joel’s Piano Man actually…
The original artwork scanned in (more text – but it looked too much like a beard so I erased it)
Adele se oogbolletjies. (detail)
In case you STILL haven’t heard it…
Having heard a number of good reviews about it, I went to go check out the Joburg Art Fair held at the Sandton Convention Centre for myself this weekend. Mmmm… there really was such a great collection of diverse contemporary art featuring some big names in the South African art scene and beyond.
It’s was definitely well worth it being able to see the work of artists I know of and have learnt about in school and varsity, or just generally admire. Let’s name drop a bit off the top of my head… William Kentridge, Lionel Smit, Athi-Patra Ruga, Ed Young, Brett Murray, Nigel Mullins, Nicholas Hlobo, Anton Kannemeyer, Roger Ballen and so many more.
Overall, it was well worth the R130 entrance for an afternoon spent walking around the lovely venue looking at works up close, then afar and getting to bond with my camera for a change and being able to admire the textures and painterly/material details of the actual artworks made by hands I admire.
So I’m sorry if you missed it, cause you missed out. Maybe next year, doll…
One of my favourites (the artist’s name wasn’t there, sadly). Loved the realism left to clash with the loose brushstrokes and white canvas.
Ed Young, Buttercup
Skullboy (If only I had R12 000 lying around… Love this guy!)
The final artwork for a T-shirt design competition
This little guy started as a late night of doodling in my journal with a black Copic marker…
I’ll call him Geoff the Gerbil!
Let’s hope he does end up printed on shirts…
PROCESS PICS^^ it’s a gif! Stick around for a second before scrolling…
Straight out my Moleskine
Last weekend (20 June) I had the opportunity to show some work at the launch of the Market on main Pretoria. Very cool space up at 012 Central in Pretoria CBD, interesting recycled furniture in the converted warehouse, and of course amazing stalls (both food and fashion).
On arrival (and slightly late after getting lost a few times and being totally freaked out by the don’t-give-no-f*cks taxis everywhere) I was given an entire space for my own, and right at the entrance. Art-in-a-converted-shipping-container :D! Thanks to Alex (seen below) for organising all of this on behalf of the Market!
If you’re interested in buying a framed original, I’ll be updating my Shop page soon soon!
Part of the preparation for the event was editing through all my works, picking the best, cropping and mounting them in the frames.
I blame my phone for the not so great photo quality…
Found this little floppy-tongued greyhound on my Facebook TL (below) and thought he needed an ode-to-puppy watercolour portrait done. It really was just going to be a little painting… but it turned into an Instagram post, then a scan and digital painting/edit which needed to be mocked up on some swag-a-lag chap from Tumblr (above) and then put into this here blog post. I guess this was a productive procrastination session when I have other work that needs to be done. Oh well.
At the end of this post is a bit of listening pleasure from the Beatles by whom the pup’s tagline is inspired. So please, love me do. Whoa, love me do.
Original painting. A4 watercolour on cartridge paper.
Final artwork. Mixed media illustration.
I started this piece off doing a pencil portrait one evening sitting in front of the TV before deciding to take it a step further and use my Wacom and some good ol’ Photoshop to try bring it to life. I played around with a bunch of PS brushes which I’ve been collecting (some great, some a waste of space) but I particularly like the watercolour and the tree brush sets. I found an image with an attractive colour palette to base my colour picking off. A good few hours later, a spontaneous dash of typography and ta-dah… Sunday illustration done.
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I’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.
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.
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Hello lovely people, so I’ve re-purposed a recent illustration from my 23dom series into a wallpaper for a wide computer screen and a smartphone and made it available for download. So please go ahead and give it a save- and set as…
Download computer wallpaper (1920 x 1080 px) here.
Download phone wallpaper (640 x 960 px) here.