Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Whiteboard - Nessie

In this post I'd like to share with you my second full whiteboard. The Rosie board went so well that I think I'm addicted now! But they are a time-consuming art form - so in the process of doing Nessie I also worked on a couple of black and white scratchboards.

Nessie is one of our cats - a little tiny lilac point siamese with a very big mouth. She is all demure and dainty until she gets her panties in a knot at 2am and decides to announce her opinions to the household. Sleeping is her favorite pastime (though that could be said of most cats, I guess), and I am convinced that this feline would be very happy if her little paws never tread upon anything that wasn't a human body (seriously, you can't sit more than 5 minutes in one place without this cat clambering onto your person).

I chose this reference photo because of the peaceful expression (she really is rather lovely when she's not talking) and the dramatic light. I have a thing for the effect of a backlit cat ear - you get to see just how thin that skin is, and the delicate outline of light reflecting off the tiny, fine hairs of the ear margin.

This image is a bit washed out -I purposely decreased the contrast and increased the light so I could see the direction of hairs and small details in the darker areas (my reference shots always undergo some photoshopping before they are appropriate to use for scratchboard).

This piece will be done on a 6x6" Whiteboard with Ampersand inks. The preliminary sketch is transferred onto the whiteboard with graphite (basically I use a graphite stick to cover the entire backside of the sketch in my sketchbook, then retrace the lines with the page laying over the whiteboard). The first inking I do is the background - you can see my graphite guidelines from the preliminary sketch. It takes several layers of ink to get a nice, deep background color - this one is using alternating layers of black and sepia ink:

And continuing with the base painting (The scanner made this image warmer than it truly appears, but it gives you an idea). I've exaggerated the light in her left ear, it will get toned down as this continues and I want to preserve that look of translucency and backlighting:

And now the scratching! The repeated layers of scratching and re-inking is what gives us more depth. In the next series of images you can see how I start by scratching in the darkest areas, re-inking them (though hard to see on a small scan this leaves beautiful, subtle texture in the shadowed parts), and then scratching the medium-value areas, and so on.

Some detail shots (larger than life):

And here is the final portrait:

"Nessie" 6x6" Ampersand whiteboard, scratchart and ink (c) Pam Boutilier, 2009

Thanks for checking in!


kaslkaos said...

Nessie sounds like a combination of my two siamese. One is glued to my body any time possible, and purrs ecstatically, and the other engages in the 2am top volume reportage.
Your scratchboard art never ceases to amaze me. As always, you've captured the moment, emotion and soul of another species.

Cat-in-a-Box said...

Thank you for the lovely compliment! Two siamese?! Are you crazy?!

kaslkaos said...

Compliment was well deserved. As for having 2 siamese---I love my feline fan club. Their enthusiasm for my company surpasses any canine greeting. I'm such a sucker.