Monday, April 14, 2014

The Sweet Succubus

Who knew a succubus could be so sweet?

For the Femme Thou Art 'Monochrome Madness' auction, I was a bit stumped about what to create. Monochrome Madness meant that you had to do a painting in black and white (and grey), plus one colour. I don't mind limited colour pallets, in fact I quite like doing them - I've created some of my strongest pieces using this technique - but for some reason I was lost and didn't know what to make.

Eventually a concept drifted down from the heavens, and hit me on the head. I thought about crimson red scarab beetles and a beautiful girl with white hair. Thus 'Sweet Succubus' was created.

1. When the imagery popped into my head I sketched it all down madly, making sure to get the feeling for what I wanted to create and the colour pallet.

2. Then I started to sketch out my concept onto Arches Hot Press Watercolour Paper (best paper ever), and worked out all of the details... For anyone wondering, I use a generic mechanical pencil for sketching purposes. I like the perfectly sharp end.  I ended up changing the figure's composition quite a bit by the end of my sketching, and also came to the decision that the piece should be in a circular shape, and that I wouldn't be extending her body outside of the circle.

3. Inking! Gone are the pencil marks, and now onto the ink. I made a decision long ago to pretty much always outline my figures. There's a rich, elegant beauty about line art that I just can't resist. When you ink something, it's saying that you've made your decision on the direction that that piece is going to take - there's no going back now!

I was kind of going for a Japanese aesthetic with this piece, and wanted her hair to resemble the wavy smoke designs in old Japanese artwork. I like making things ambiguous - is it hair, or is it part of a tree, or ribbons, or smoke? Things morphing into other things.

4. Another moment of inspiration hit - and I realized that she needed a scale print on her dress.

5. Deciding her tones and colours went by fairly quickly as I had already done a scribbly sketch to get an idea of how I saw her and the placement of colours and tones. I wanted the piece to be gothic, but kind of light at the same time. There are few places of concentrated blacks, aside from her gloves and the line art itself. I used pencil crayon for horns, dress, gloves, and ribbon, and watercolour for the background effect.

The spiral bit in the background was a happy experiment. I used a wet on wet technique to apply a grey that I mixed myself (which has a slight greenish tint to it). For some reason I was envisioning the Faun from Pan's Labyrinth and the spiral patterns on his face, while I was doing the background.

I'm also a big fan of using instagram filters on my works in progress to really emphasize a piece. To be honest, I kind of love this instagram pic below more than the scanned version of the same picture. :/

5. Tah dah! The Sweet Succubus is all finished! She's not in my shop yet, so please contact me if you're interested in purchasing this piece.

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