The Creature From The Black Lagoon;
Ink on 140 lb. Cold Press, 4 1/2″ x 6″; Based on the classic horror film character of the same name;
For some time, I’ve been wanting to create another “loose” piece, using scratchboard, ink, acrylic, and seemingly everything else I can find in my office. Quite a few people like the previous piece like this, last year’s The Lost Nightmare, and I thought today would be a good time to try another.
I had picked up some new scratchboard stock, so I went to work. I had an idea of where I was going, towards a “zombie” style creature, but I just wanted to keep that as a general framework. What had worked so well with the other piece was just letting go, just doing art to do art, and I hoped to recapture that some.
I sat down and scratched in a pretty decent zombie profile. Which, of course, I didn’t think to take a picture of until it was too late. So we’ll just say I did.
[imagine a great photo of just the scratched version here]
Once that was done, I did the rudest thing I could think of (for a family show, anyway). I took sandpaper, and scratched all over the entire surface of the scratchboard. Not enough to obliterate the creature I had scratched in, but more as an overriding texture. Click on the image (and all of the following ones) for a larger version.
He came out a bit more feral than expected, once the sandpaper was done with him. I considered changing course and making him a different sort of monster, but I just let it all go and did art.
After I was fine with the sandpaper work, I started painting in watered down (mostly) ink colors, then watered down acrylic colors. Being watered down, they just hit certain spots and combined in others, creating unique patterns.
I also added some black ink wash as well, though a bit darker than the other colors had been. The left edge had seemed a bit light, and the overall piece a bit too midtoned, so I added the black in to compensate for it.
I noticed at this point that the creature had returned back to being more zombie-like than anything, so I went with it. I touched up a few more colors here, and added some light and dark accents as needed. Then I started in with the ink pen.
The ink pens (Micron pens 02 and 05) really started popping the creature out of his background, and that’s when I really started thinking this was an actual piece of art.
I followed the patterns that the acrylics, inks, and scratchboard had already created, rather than creating new lines with the ink pen. This gave the piece a very interesting look, somewhat a cross between order and chaos. In certain areas, around the eye for example, the lines merely expanded on the idea that was already there. But in adding ink lines in the texture areas, a random, stronger texture appeared, and made the whole thing more unique.
Here’s the final product, and again click on it for a larger version. It’s 10″ x 13″, all sorts of stuff on scratchboard. I call it, A Lost Night:
I took a few closeup shots of the piece too, in case you are looking for more detail:
I’m gradually starting to get caught back up, after a disastrous few months. I decided that I didn’t want to end 2011 with nothing completed, so I manged to kick out two pieces of art in the last couple of days. The first was the skatedeck art, The All-Mighty Dollar (see it here), and below is the second one.
This one doesn’t quite catch me up to the current Alphabeasts letter (it’s about to be “L”), but hopefully I can start the week with an “L” image. This one is for “J”, and it’s based on the Japanese mythological character of the jikininki.
A jikininki is a creature that is doomed to eat corpses, often called a “hungry ghost”. Check out this page here for a good reference about the creature. I thought it would make a pretty good Alphabeast, so I started inking it.
The challenge with this one, as it often is with pen and ink art, is to give the impression of textures and shadows. Shadows are a given, of course, being black and white. But texture can be trickier. Everything you see in the art is created with only a series of black lines, some crossing and some not. As an artist, I have to develop certain looks to the different areas to get the texture of it across.
The best example in this image is the difference in texture between the headstone on the right of the image and the wood of the coffin. I only have lines to play with, so I have to put those lines down in a manner that suggests that these are two different textures. On top of that, other lines have to give the impression of shadows, which can easily throw off the textured look.
As with the other Alphabeasts, this is ink on 140 lb. Cold Press, 5″ x 7″. Let me know what you think, here is J is for Jikininki. As usual, click on the image for a larger version:
This is my latest ink for the Alphabeasts project, and hopefully the last one I need to catch up on. I started with “C” (here), coming in a little late, so this one catches me up to the current letter.
An algul is a mythical/legendary vampire woman, in Arabian mythology, and I thought it would make an interesting ink work. I’m having fun playing with harsh light on these inks, and this one is no exception.
The only problem I ran into was that this one was created over an entire week, a few parts at a time, due to life issues. Which is fine, it still worked out. If anything, it’s a reminder that it’s not that I only have 20 minutes to work on something, but that I do have those minutes at all, no matter how few they are.
Here is the ink piece, 5″ x 7″ on 140 lb. Cold Press: A is for Algul. As always, click on the image for a larger view:
Usually, I have quite a lot of crosshatch marks on my inks. I decided this time to try something with far less lines, but with just as much planning and reliance on the contrast in the image. It wasn’t easy, but I think it worked out fine.
One of my favorite films is the sci fi adventure Forbidden Planet. Especially the scene(s) with an invisible monster known as the “id”. Yes, that is a big spoiler, but come on, the movie is from the 50′s, so I think I’m safe.
The monster is only seen visually once it runs into the electromagnetic protection fences that surround the spaceship, and I’ve always thought those scenes were pretty cool. Now, getting an electrical effect in ink isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I thought it would be a fun challenge.
As part of the experiment, I brought the finished ink into Photoshop, and gave it a few quick “glowing” effects. Whether the art works or not is up to you, fine viewer, but it was a good experiment to try.
Here’s the digital version:
Here’s the ink only version, with color ink wash:
Here’s my new entry for Alphabeasts, G is for Gremlin. It’s one of those films I grew up with, and now my own children have seen it and are growing up with it. In fact, it’s on my daughter’s suggestion that I’ve created this ink art, of the vicious Stripe.
She, of course, didn’t want just a cute mogwai.
Here it is, it’s ink on 140 lb. Cold Press (5″ x 7″). As always, let me know what you think.