Natural Selection

Through Illustrators Australia, I had the opportunity to create a piece to be exhibited at Supergraph.

The theme was 'NATURAL SELECTION'. For some reason I immediately thought of doing something in the style of these of Mexican Suzani textiles, which I have coveted for a long time! I came up with the idea of doing a mash-up of the unusual animals that have prospered through natural selection, like elephants or llamas, and did a fairly full on sketch (LEFT, below). But because the final piece was only supposed to be A4, I decided this was a bit too detailed, so I simplified it a bit (RIGHT, below) (... and look forward to taking the first sketch to completion some other day!)

Original sketch

Original sketch

Simplified sketch

Simplified sketch

Colour study

Colour study

I did a quick colour study in Photoshop, then started painting... with quite a tiny brush for the details. Here's a little slideshow of the stages of painting, colour by colour, with the final image below. It is painted with watercolours on Hot Pressed Arches watercolour paper, and the white details were done with a Posca fine tip pen.

Final piece for Supergraph

Final piece for Supergraph

I have to say I am super (pun intended) happy with the final result, but I don't think it's a process I would follow again, unless it was for a physically bigger piece. I enjoyed doing the pen details, but the watercolour details with a tiny tiny "4" size brush were quite laborious, and I didn't really enjoy that part of the process. I prefer large washy watercolour, keeping fine details for other media. 

Anyway, always good to try new things and I look forward to Supergraph in February!