dreaming of flowers

I haven’t been slacking… there’s been lots of sketching, but really not anything to share.  Just practice, practice, practice.  Necessary for me, but pretty dull to talk about.

Ink-wise, this is what I’ve been working on lately:

I have flowers on the brain; it’s been such a cold wet spring here: only the spring bulbs have been brave enough to show themselves so far!  I was drawn to this image because I adore hollyhocks, but also because of its high contrast: dark background, sunlit flowers and lots of interesting shapes/textures. The organic subject suggested another stab at the same technique used for Forest Watcher instead of my usual favorite: cross-hatching.

Working in this different technique is proving challenging:

Primarily, I am bothered by my lack of control of line thickness.  With this technique,  lines are drawn in a much more deliberate manner, and the technique is enhanced by controlled variations in line thickness.  (While they are great for cross-hatching because they make nice uniform lines, the technical pens I routinely use don’t allow much variation in line thickness.)

I’m having trouble capturing the delicacy of the flower petals especially.  The lines made by the technical pens seem an appropriate/acceptable weight for the buds and stems, but a bit heavy for the texture of the petals.

I’ve tried using a dip pen with a very fine nib (crow quill), but I am frustratingly out of practice. Not to mention that using a dip pen is just a whole lot more inconvenient: the ink dries fairly quickly on the nib and must be cleaned every few “dips”, the nib can catch on the paper fibers causing blots, and it’s notoriously easy to drop a loosely held pen… usually with a fully loaded nib… onto one’s work with unerringly spectacular (and horrifying) effect.

So, when this piece is finished, I will be breaking out the big clunky nibs (which in reality *aren’t* that big…they just *seem* huge next to the crow quills) and gradually retrain my less-than-nimble hand.  And my patience. 😉

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