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Bee in the City preview shots!

Less than two weeks to go now! I’ve been drip feeding a couple of photos of my bee over on my social media accounts but thought I’d better post them here too. If you didn’t read my last blog post, I’m participating in Bee in the City, a public art trail where over 100 giant painted bees will be scattered around Greater Manchester. The art trail runs from 23rd July to 23rd September.
Bee in the City preview shots!


My sculpture will be on display outside North Manchester General Hospital in Crumpsall for the duration of the trail, after which it will be moving to its permanent home in Manchester Royal Eye Hospital on Oxford Road.

My bee is sponsored by the NHS for Henshaws, a charity dedicated to helping blind and partially sighted people. To create an accessible piece of artwork, I incorporated many different sensory elements including different textures and 3D features, shimmering pigments, and an audio box on the base describing the sculpture. I poured my heart and soul into this project and enjoyed every second.

I can’t reveal the full sculpture until the trail begins (not long to go now!) but here’s a little preview of the elements included in my sculpture as well as a couple of photos from when I was working on all the textures. I can’t wait to unveil the full thing!

(WIP) Some of the textured elements of the bee. In order to create a furry feel and still have the sculpture be durable and water proof, I used acrylic texture mediums to create grooves on the body.
The eyes on my bee sculpture have a honeycomb texture reminiscent of a real insect’s eye to really give it that larger than life feel!
I used colour shifting chameleon spray paint to give the sections on the abdomen an iridescent shine. You can’t see it super well in the photo but this colour shifts from green to a caribbean blue. These pigments were trickier to source than I thought!

I was also on ITV Granada news the other week to show off my sculpture along with Rob Cooper, the director of Henshaws, which was super exciting and nerve-wracking! Check out my instagram if you’d like to watch a recording of that segment and a special preview of my bee which was about halfway through completion at the time that footage was filmed 😉

That’s it on my bee for now! Keep your eyes peeled in a few weeks for the full unveiling! Also if you’re in Manchester in the near future then be sure to check out the Bee in the City art trail, there are so many incredible sculptures on the trail and it’s definitely worth spending a day out exploring the city and looking at them all!

Until next time!

 

 

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My review of Holbein Coloured Pencils is finally here!

This blog is sponsored by Amazon. All opinions stated in this blog are my own.

 

 


It’s the review quite a few of you have been waiting for! For this review I take an in-depth look at Holbein Coloured Pencils.

 

Are you drooling over these pencils as much as I am? You can find them for sale at the following links:

USA: https://amzn.to/2Nbfnag

UK: https://amzn.to/2MpfABC

The tutorial of “The Cliff Sentry” is also up on my Youtube channel. I use exclusively Holbein Coloured Pencils for this drawing- so if you want a better idea of how these pencils perform then it’s definitely worth checking out!

That’s about it for now – I have some VERY exciting news on the way, but for now I’ll leave you here! Until next time!

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Greater Kudu Portrait in acrylics

"Greater Kudu Portrait" - 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.
"Greater Kudu Portrait" - 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord.
“Greater Kudu Portrait” – 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord. Reference Photo by Edwin Butter from Wildlife Reference Photos.
Finally found a spare moment when it wasn’t raining to get a good photo of the finished painting!
 
I’m hooked on acrylic painting now. Working on this piece was very relaxing and at some points while painting it I was so in “the zone” that I kept forgetting to hit record on my camera for the YouTube tutorial I’ll be making… oops!
 
After my bluetit test painting in acrylics back in February I really wanted to try out painting a more detailed piece in the medium. It was a big learning experience for me. The background wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked and I managed to leave some brush strokes behind, but now at least I know to get my background in entirely before adding my rough sketch of the subject in instead of trying to paint around it! 😛
 
It took me a little over 9 hours to complete. Something about the lighting in the reference photo made me really want to paint it. I really loved the cool purplish and bluish shadows, contrasted by the rich, warm highlights created by the backlighting from the sun.
 

And now a little bit about the subject of this painting, if you’re interested! Greater Kudu are a species of woodland antelope native to eastern and southern africa. They are one of the largest species of antelope. This painting is of a juvenile male, whose horns are not yet full length. The adult male’s horns are much longer and curvier.

Anyway, I hope you like the finished painting! I can’t wait to get started on the next one, though my next artwork is in coloured pencils:

water lily, coloured pencils on pastelmat work in progress

This time around I’m trying coloured pencils out on pastelmat for the first time. I’m blending with paint thinner for this one. Can you guess what it is yet? 😉

 

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Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils review and playing with Acrylic Paint

It’s that time of year again where all sorts of colds and bugs are going round, and unfortunately I finally succumbed to it this week! Being ill sucks but I was still determined to get some art done in between my sneezing and coughing!

My review of Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils is now available for you to watch on my Youtube channel, and I also show you how I drew my leopard portrait in pastels in this video too!


I’ve also been playing with my Rembrandt soft pastels for my upcoming review of them on YouTube! This landscape was a quick A4 study and took me around 50 minutes. Hopefully I should have a video about them up as soon as my voice recovers!

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Recently, on a whim, I bought some Winsor and Newton Galeria acrylic paints to try out. I’ve not painted with acrylics since my art GCSE. It’s amazing how much you remember about a medium even after a decade! This is a little 2-hour test painting  on a cheap canvas board that I did with them using my own reference photo. Not the most exciting of paintings and the canvas texture was a little too rough to get detail in easily, but I just wanted to see what I was capable of!

This little guy is a blue tit on 18 x 12.5cm canvas board. Own reference photo used. It only took around two hours to complete!
This little guy is a blue tit on 18 x 12.5cm canvas board. Own reference photo used. It only took around two hours to complete!

I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed painting with them so I decided to start on a more serious project.

Yesterday I started a painting of a male greater kudu in acrylic. I’m doing this on an ampersand smooth board which was left over from a failed coloured pencil attempt (yay for recycling!) This is a very different way of working to what I’m used to in coloured pencils, so I’m finding it a little tricky! It’s so much fun though!

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I need to stop working on so many pieces at once! Last but not least, I’m still working on my okapi drawing in coloured pencil. The okapi’s face is starting to come together now that most of the underpainting in that area is done! Started off with just blues and greens and black, but I added some reddish browns and bright purples into the shadows of the fur afterwards as an experiment, and WOW did it bring the animal to life!

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There’s still a lot of work left to go on this guy but I’m having so much fun with those green and blue pencils that the time is flying by. It’s kind of hard to even tell what you’re looking at at this stage as none of the fur or fine details have been blocked in yet (!) but hopefully it’s going to start taking shape and start looking a lot more tangible soon.

Until next time!

 

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Patreon!

for twitter

Hi guys! Did you know that I have a Patreon? I’m offering extended 1-2 hour voiced tutorials, monthly prints or posters, as well as 10 high resolution, royalty-free reference photos a month, taken by me for you to use in your artwork! Check it out here: https://www.patreon.com/WildPortraitArtist

Becoming my supporter on Patreon would also help me improve the production quality and frequency of my Youtube videos! I would really appreciate the support in making steps towards becoming a self-sustaining artist. I’ve been a busy bee setting things up and getting my first Patreon rewards sent out for this month.

At the $4 pledge, this month’s extended tutorial is going to be of my “Hyacinth Macaw” drawing in coloured pencil, using the colored pencil powder blender. I am currently in the process of adding commentary to it and it should hopefully be available by next week.

This month’s 12$ pledge reference photos were uploaded yesterday and are ready to download right now! These photos will be available for download until 1st February, when they will be removed and replaced with next month’s photos so be sure to download them before next month!

Happy New Year and I’m so excited to show you what I have in store for the future!

https://www.patreon.com/WildPortraitArtist

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Christmas Update

"First Snow" Watercolour sketch

This is just a quick update to wish you all a happy holiday season regardless of what you celebrate, and to let you know what I have in store for you guys in the new year. Now that the busiest season of the year is over, I can relax and put my feet up! ;D

 

Last month I uploaded the commentated timelapse tutorial for my hyacinth macaw drawing on youtube – check it out if you haven’t already! Just one thing I would like to mention in addition to what I have said about UArt 800 paper in this video – it turns out that the weird rippling effect I couldn’t get rid of was due to a manufacturing fault from a faulty batch that went out in 2015. I have since got in touch with UArt and they have very kindly offered to send me a replacement. If you have been experiencing similar issues with this particular brand of sanded paper then it is most likely due to that.

Now that my top-secret Christmas commissions are complete I have time again to work on other things. I’ve sketched out a fox from a gorgeous reference photo from wildlifereferencephotos.com. I’ll be trying out the Derwent Inktense sticks and pencils on this piece for a review on my YouTube channel. I love the reference photo I’m using, the fox has such a cheeky sly grin, I just hope I can portray it successfully in my rendition of it. Can’t wait to get painting!

cheeky fox sketch

 

Another project I’ve just started on is an amur leopard in pastels! For this piece I am using Rembrandt soft pastels and Carbothello pastel pencils on Clairefontaine Pastelmat. I’ve never properly used pastels before (the last time I used them was the doodle of a red cardinal I did two years ago). It’s an interesting experience. I have no idea what I’m doing but it’s fun! Right now I’m laying down dark colours to act as the underpainting, and then I’ll draw in the fur in lighter colours on top. This could go terribly wrong but it’s all a learning experience! 😉 I’ve always wanted to work in pastel but have never taken the plunge properly before now. We all have to start somewhere!

amur leopard work in progress in soft pastels

That’s about it for now. I’ll have tutorials/product reviews for both of the above coming in January/February, as well as a fully voiced tutorial for one of my christmas commissions in coloured pencil, so stay tuned! See you all in the New Year!

 

 

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Hyacinth Macaw in Coloured Pencil

"Hyacinth Macaw" - A4 drawing in coloured pencils with powder blender on UArt 800 sanded paper. Reference photo by Jan Willemsen from wildlifereferencephotos.com Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.

Last weekend I finished my hyacinth macaw drawing in coloured pencil!

"Hyacinth Macaw" - A4 drawing in coloured pencils with powder blender on UArt 800 sanded paper. Reference photo by Jan Willemsen from wildlifereferencephotos.com
“Hyacinth Macaw” – A4 drawing in coloured pencils with powder blender on UArt 800 sanded paper. Reference photo by Jan Willemsen from wildlifereferencephotos.com

 

I’m relieved this one is over! I had a bit of a battle with the paper all the way through this one. I used Uart 800 grade paper. Even with textured fixative and very light layers with the powder blender, it just won’t take any more layers of pencil. Not ideal! I hadn’t really experienced these issues in my previous drawings with the same paper (jumping spider and praying mantis). In this piece I kept getting ugly vertical ridges showing through that just wouldn’t blend out and the pencils just weren’t sticking to the paper no matter how many sprays of textured fixative I gave it. The paper is so fine and delicate that it just couldn’t stand up to the abuse I was putting it through!

It’s a little frustrating that I couldn’t make it as detailed as I wanted to, but I’m glad I finished it nonetheless! I got to play with my blue coloured pencils, something I don’t get to do often 🙂

I don’t think I will be using Uart 800 for coloured pencil again after this experience. The 600 grade paper definitely seemed to fare better in my cheetah drawing. I have also purchased some Fisher 400 sanded paper, which I hope to be trying out in the near future.

As with most of my pieces nowadays I have recorded my full process for this artwork and I’m currently in the process of editing. Expect the tutorial to go up on my YouTube channel this weekend!

I am also so thrilled to announce that my coloured pencil piece “Companionship” received an Honourable Mention in this year’s Colored Pencil Magazine competition! The other winning entries are absolutely phenomenal. Definitely check them out in this month’s Colored Pencil Magazine if you get the chance!

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Christmas is a very busy time of year for me and I have several top-secret projects in the works. Updates will probably be a little slow during this period but please bear with me! I have a couple of treats for you lined up, including product reviews of Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks, and Rembrandt soft pastels, which I am really looking forward to testing out!

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Yum yum! My preciouses *strokes box*

There’s nothing quite as addictive as new art supplies!
Until next time!

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Finished cheetah drawing and tutorial

"Relaxed Afternoon" 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.

Whew! It’s finished! Up till now the only things I had drawn using the powder blender were invertebrates, which are generally very shiny and easy to shade. I wanted to see how easy or difficult it would be to draw fur using the colored pencil painting kit, so I decided to draw this!

I discovered that it was so easy to draw in light hairs over a darker base colour, which made drawing fur miles easier! I used Uart 600 paper for this piece, instead of the Uart 800 paper I used in previous pieces, so it had a little more tooth. I found I could layer a lot more before running out of tooth, however the tradeoff for this was that I had difficulty in getting fine details and thin pencil lines. It was a fun drawing! It took me around 20 hours in total.

"Relaxed Afternoon" 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used.
“Relaxed Afternoon” 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used.

 

You can watch my commentated tutorial on how I created this drawing here:


Last but not least I just started working on my next graphite drawing! This time I’ll be drawing my grumpy old ragdoll, Suki this is the second in a pair of portraits, matching the one I did last year of Toto. I’ll be using Mars Lumograph pencils for this portrait for a product review video, and will let you know what I think of them next week! 🙂

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Meerkats in spaaaaace! (speed drawing, art tips video, and update on my Cheetah drawing)

Work in progress, coloured pencil and powder blender on sanded Uart 600 paper.
meerkat-in-space-small-watermarked
“Asteroid Runner” – 9 x 12 pen and ink sketchbook doodle

 

I’m still working on my cheetah drawing in coloured pencil so this week’s update is about a sketchbook doodle I did recently! What made me put a meerkat in space? I have no idea. Kind of works though! Reference used was my own from one of my trips to Chester Zoo 😉  I used Rotring fine liners, waterproof calligraphy ink and a sword liner brush for this drawing. My sketchbook is a Strathmore Bristol Smooth 9×12 inch Visual Journal.

You can see the sped up video of me drawing this here:

 

In this week’s Art Tips video I show you some very easy and quick drawing exercises that will help you to become more confident and accurate with your drawing skills!

Last but not least I’ve progressed a little further with my cheetah drawing. I’m using powder blender and drawing on UART 600 sanded paper for this piece. I’m really enjoying how easy it is to draw fur with the colored pencil painting kit! You can go light to dark or dark to light, it doesn’t matter! So fun 😀

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Work in progress, coloured pencil and powder blender on sanded Uart 600 paper.

 

Busy bee! Hoping to have the cheetah finished by next thursday so that I can get the video tutorial for this drawing out on time. See you next time!

 

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How to use fixative sprays + new cheetah drawing!

cheetah colored pencil drawing work in progress using uart 600 grain paper and colored pencil powder blender

In this week’s Art Tips video I show you how to spray your artwork with fixative spray the right way!

 

Last week I started a new coloured pencil drawing using powder blender! I’m using my own reference photo of a cheetah from Chester Zoo for this one. This time I’m using UArt 600-grain paper and seeing how it compares to the 800-grain that I’ve been using in previous drawings. Really excited to be back to drawing fur again!

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On Friday I’ll be uploading a commentated tutorial to Youtube on how I drew my jumping spider, so stay tuned!