All of the art I draw starts off as a vague, odd little idea in the back of the mind. An itch, a murmur, sitting there demanding attention, until it starts shrieking and the strange site of me doodling inn thin air whilst watching a film finally ends and I sit down to the DREADED BLANK PIECE OF PAPER.
More often than not the blank bit of paper is a Post-it Note (my entire existence is mapped out in post it notes - I should make a jacket). This then gets transformed into a Very Vague Scribble.
This one has been in my head for ages - it wanders out as different ideas, sketches and a variety of different drawings and paintings. I cycle to work every morning down there Thames River path, and pass a cornucopia of wondrous images for my over active imagination (describing my imagination as 'over active' is a little like describing the Sun as 'a tad warm'). There are tons of old gnarled trees and logs, moss covered and utterly beautiful. We all see faces in old trees, I just draw them .....
So these things, the Elders of our woodlands, the keepers of our wild secrets and ancient truths, I call 'Oakenbarks'. Why? - absolutely no idea, but I have a tendency to name things, curious, odd names that seem right and true. So, these Oakenbarks are everywhere in the landscape, watching, daydreaming and trying to figure out what on Earth these Humanoid weirdoes are going to fuck up next.
I thought the latest Oakenbark Scribble might be a good way of introducing how I draw these little nonsenses that do fall from my head.....
So..... The scribbles start, as I've mentioned, way before the pencil hits the paper. I doodle in thin air (the Humanoid Husband Shaped Thing has become used to this over the years, along with my propensity to make spaceship noises when holding the TV remote, and the fact that I will absentmindedly put anything in the fridge). Scribbling, yes, that's what we are wittering about. So, once the Air Scribbles have coalesced into an actual idea, I then sit and stare at the aforementioned Blank Piece Of Paper for some time (days, eons, who knows?) before I try to put what is in my head down, and out into the real world.
This NEVER works - the dross that falls out of the pencil never ever ever looks like the shining, wonderful, majestic image in my head. Oh well, we plow on regardless.
Once I've got some shambling approximation of the idea down, I need, in the case of this pic, to get the general sweep and shape of the thing, so I just doodle over the top with a sharpie:
Weirdly, this is when the character actually starts to appear. In this Oakenbark, the tilt of the head gives me all I need to know about what he's like - it happens like that sometimes.
The Oakenbark drawings are really just very complicated doodles, which the detail made up as I go along, so in the case of this pic, I don't need to be worrying over any further detail before I dive straight in with Pen and Ink. (If this was a post about a Steampunk Artificer, or a rogue alchemist, on the run with his Ion-Golem, then there would need to be far more scribbling and notes before we hit the grown up paper).
This scribble then gets put under a piece of Multi Techniques Naturel Bristol board paper (I told you it was grown up stuff) and sits on my light board (a fancy bit of tech that had LED lights and shows up the image below, so I can see the shape I want to follow). I then get to work scratching away with the pens - I tend to use Copic multiliners (generally because they are the best, and are what the grown up Artists on my computer thingy say to use). I then doodle away, reminding myself that what I'm trying to draw is actually an old, gnarled tree that just happens to also be a thousand year old God.
I'll keep you updated as we doodle on. No rest for the Weird!