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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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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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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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Staedtler Mars Lumograph Pencils Review

"Suki" - 11 x 14 inches, Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils on Strathmore Bristol Vellum. Art by Wild Portrait Artist.

My review on Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils is up on Youtube now! In the video I discuss my opinions and experiences using these pencils and show you how I used them for creating a drawing of my cat, Suki. Check it out if you’re interested in trying out this brand for your graphite drawings!

And here’s the finished drawing! I was having a bit of trouble photographing this piece without losing details because of the graphite shine. This is the best image I could get of it for now. Graphite can be a bit of a pain to photograph! I drew this as the companion piece of my drawing Toto, my other cat. I hope to eventually get them framed and have them side-by-side on my bedroom wall ❤

"Suki" - 11 x 14 inches, Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils on Strathmore Bristol Vellum
“Suki” – 11 x 14 inches, Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils on Strathmore Bristol Vellum

In the meantime my hard drive is in need of a serious clearout. I’ve currently been trawling through 480gb of wildlife photos and deleting the bad ones. And I only got into photography in January! I wish I hadn’t been so lazy and had deleted them as I went xD
There are so many. Help me.

Speaking of which, I’ve been spending some time uploading my photos to WildlifeReferencePhotos.com recently. This site provides artists with high quality reference photos that are royalty-free and high in detail for you to use in your artwork. You can find the jackdaw photo below and more on there, so check it out! 🙂

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Caw caw mother cluckers.

After a bit of an uphill struggle the background for my hyacinth macaw coloured pencil drawing is complete! I was almost going to scrap this drawing but I managed to rescue it last night. Sorry for the bad photo quality.

The pencils just weren’t sticking to the paper in the top right corner so I couldn’t get the area dark enough or a smooth gradient into the browns no matter how much I sprayed it with textured fixative, and I kept getting these ugly vertical lines from the texture of the paper showing through. I managed to rescue it by burnishing with my Luminance pencils, thankfully.

I think this is more an issue with Uart 800 paper than anything else. The sandy texture is so fine that it just can’t hold much pencil. The vertical lines are not something I’ve really noticed before in my previous drawing with this paper but I can see it being a bit of an issue. I’ll be trying out Fisher 400 paper soon and seeing how that compares.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to start colouring that macaw! I’ve been itching to draw something blue for ages!

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Sorry for the bad photo quality, it was kind of late at night! Or early in the morning, depending on how you look at it! Hehe 😛

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!

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Powder Blender tutorial!

"At the Edge" - 29 x 22cm, coloured pencil on UArt 800-grain paper. Made using the Colored Pencil Painting Kit. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.

Phew! A lot of updates this week. 3 completed full-blown drawings and two videos within one week is probably my best ever rate of production, though I should probably sleep at some point! 😂

Earlier on in the week I recorded an in-depth video review of the full coloured pencil painting kit  in which I discuss my opinions and my experiences with the powder blender and the rest of the Painting Kit range! If you have any interest in the powder blender and the rest of the kit, please do check it out! Also, if you live in the UK, Jacksonsart will be getting it in stock by the end of September! 😀

"The Alien" - 29 x 22cm, colored pencil on UArt 800-grain paper. Created using brushandpencil Powder Blender and Textured Fixative by Alyona Nickelsen
“The Alien” – 29 x 22cm, colored pencil on UArt 800-grain paper. Created using brushandpencil Powder Blender and Textured Fixative.

This is the drawing I made using the powder blender for my review. This piece only took me 6 hours!!! That is SUPER fast considering most pieces of this size, without the background, can take me upwards of 12+ hours usually! I still can’t believe how quickly I flew through this piece! I also made a commentated video tutorial for this drawing too which you can see below, which shows you just how easy the powder blender is to use with coloured pencil!

 

 

And last but not least, this drawing was fresh off the easel last night. Again, created with the Colored Pencil Painting Kit by Brush and Pencil. I love jumping spiders, they are such inquisitive little guys!  The video tutorial of me drawing this little guy will be out on Friday next week! Reference photo used from Roverhate on Pixabay.

 

"At the Edge" - 29 x 22cm, coloured pencil on UArt 800-grain paper. Made using the Colored Pencil Painting Kit.
“At the Edge” – 29 x 22cm, coloured pencil on UArt 800-grain paper. Made using the Colored Pencil Painting Kit.

That’s about it for this week! Phew! I think I need to lie down and sleep now! Stay tuned next week as Monday’s Art Tips video will be a mini-tutorial on how to spray fixative onto your drawings properly, and on Friday I’ll be posting the fully-commentated tutorial of my jumping spider drawing!

Adios, amigos!

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Review: Colored Pencil Painting Kit

Today’s video is an in-depth review of the full Colored Pencil Painting Kit by Brush and Pencil, including my thoughts and experiences with the Powder Blender!

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I will be bringing you the second part of this video series – a tutorial on how to use the powder blender in your coloured pencil work.

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“The Woolly Wonder” completed portrait commission

"The Woolly Wonder" 29.7 x 42cm coloured pencil commission on Fabriano Artistico Hot Pressed 140lb Watercolor Paper. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. SOLD.
"The Woolly Wonder" 29.7 x 42cm coloured pencil commission on Fabriano Artistico Hot Pressed 140lb Watercolor Paper
“The Woolly Wonder” 29.7 x 42cm coloured pencil commission on Fabriano Artistico Hot Pressed 140lb Watercolor Paper

I’ve been looking forward to drawing this gorgeous girl for ages! Pearl is a sphinx but she has a genetic mutation causing her to grow curly, silky fur and curly whiskers!

I had so much fun rendering her fur and got to try out a couple of new techniques while drawing. I used Coloured Pencil Titanium White and Coloured Pencil Textured Fixative by brushandpencil to help create this piece. The titanium white especially was very useful for this drawing especially as it allowed me to go darker than I normally would with the fur on Pearl’s body and then lighten it back up again to create a silky look.

This coming week I will have a full product review and tutorial of the Coloured Pencil Painting Kit, including the powder blender and textured fixative by BrushAndPencil, as well as a smaller tutorial on how to spray fixative correctly, so stay tuned!