Tag Archives: hexapod

“Hexapod” color version

 Like most of the things I am working on these days, this started out as a sketchbook drawing in a sketchbook with pages measuring about 8.5 by 11 inches. To do these color experiments, I have been copying the drawings onto heavy paper — at least paper which I can get to run through the copy machine without getting stuck and/or refusing to allow the toner to be fused to the surface of the paper.

I was hoping that I could get some actual watercolor paper to work in this manner, but so far, no success. This particular experiment was done on a sheet of pretty smooth Bristol board which I managed to run through the copier with only minimal lifting of the toner in some spots. For those spots, I went back in later and used black waterproof ink to touch up the lines which were damaged.

But the Bristol board, while not the greatest surface for watercolor, actually worked quite well (at least in my opinion). I used my little five-tiered watercolor set to color this one — I know I should be bolder and use the tubes of watercolor and start mixing colors and so forth, but for now, I like this approach. I did the whole thing sitting in the sun room with Jeannine, dabbing the watercolors while she sat on the couch opposite and worked on her next book.

When I was finished with the watercolors, I scanned the piece on my big flatbed scanner which is still hooked up to my desktop Mac, a computer which doesn’t get much use these days. Oh, I should probably point out that the reason I used that instead of my handy new little 8.5 by 11 inch scanner is that when I copied the image from my sketchbook to the Bristol board, I actually enlarged it by about 125%.

After the scanning at 600dpi, I copied the image on a memory card and transferred it to my laptop (which, I am finding out, is MUCH faster than my desktop computer!), where I selected all the empty background areas in Photoshop in preparation for dropping a background into the image. I’d decided that I would try to use one of my old digital photographs of a sunset, and I found what I thought was a very appropriate one which I’d shot from our back deck — it incorporated some branches of the trees behind our house, which I thought might work well with the thorny vines in the drawing.

And I think it did. I am not sure if this is the last version I will do of this drawing, but I am fairly happy with it. — PL



This is one of those drawings that came out of left field. I don’t really know what inspired it — just that as I sat staring at the next blank page in my sketchbook, I had this vision of some kind of multi-legged creature climbing through tangled branches… and looking up, as if seeing some sight unusual to its eyes.

I still don’t know what the scale is — the creature could be the size of a large beetle, or the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. I don’t think it’s necessary to know how large or small it is (or is supposed to be).

As I was penciling this, I kind of got stuck about halfway through. I’d drawn the basic shape of the creature, and roughed in the branches that it was climbing on… but then it just started to seem really silly and awkward, and I put my pencil down, disheartened.

It was probably a week or so later that I returned to it, determined not to let it be stalled at that point. There was something about it that made me want to finish it, even if it came out looking as goofy as I feared it might. So I kept at it, and got it to a point where I was pretty happy with it. And it was near the end of the pencilling that I added a small detail which turned out to be one of the things that made the whole piece work for me — the thorns in the branches. Suddenly, the creature took on a life it hadn’t possessed before, as I imagined that it would take some special climbing skills and toughness to be able to walk around on a plant or tree or whatever it is which was liberally studded with nasty, sharp spikes.

(Here’s the penciled drawing as it looked just before I started to ink it.)

When I began to ink the drawing (with the #6 Sakura Pigma Sensei pen I carry in my left shirt pocket (along with several other pens, pencils and a screwdriver/pen/knife tool), it started to gel, to come together. Curiously, I think it was figuring out what I was going to do with its mouth that made it work for me. I was stuck on that — should it have sharp, pointy teeth? Flat herbivore teeth? No teeth at all?

What I finally decided on was an odd sort of "baleen" type thing, similar to what some whales have — more of a rough, bristly strainer than teeth per se. And when I drew that in, the creature suddenly became real for me (well, as REAL as something like this can get!). And the inking progressed from there.

(Here’s the inked version as it stands now. I was going to say "the final inked version", but I may play around with it a little more.)

I think I will be trying to do a color version of this piece, and possibly use it — along with a few other recent pieces — in a portfolio I would make in a limited edition, for sale at the "Paint and Pixel" event happening in April in Northampton that I was just invited to (haven’t decided if I am going yet… but I should tell them soon). It could be fun. But of course it means I have to get off my ass and actually break out the watercolors and do it! — PL