While in Hong Kong last year I bought an enormous calligraphy brush which I put to good use on this over sized ink painting. This is my first big ink sketch, it was fun and physical. More to come.
My kids and I recently made a hippo head out of watermelon. We’ve found tutorials online for turtles, sharks and flowers but never for hippos so we thought we’d share our methods in this video.
I get asked often what kind of pens or brushes I use. Some of my favorite pens are: faber castell brush pens, copic brushes , Pentel has a good bristle brush pen, sumi brushes that I dip in a bottle of ink and most recently squid( as in the ten tentacled cephalopod.) Octopi and squid are the makers of nature’s ink. It evolved as a defense mechanism and cloaking agent for Octopus and squid. When threatened, special organs jet tenebrous ink into the water confusing predators and giving the cephalopod a chance to escape. Although it is rarely used in drawing or writing now a days, cephalopod ink was anciently used by various cultures. The word sepia is the taxonomic name of the cuttlefish. And unsurprisingly cuttlefish ink is brown or sepia colored. Squid ink is dark blue, Octopi ink is black. Going back to the roots of ink I decided to paint with and acutal squid. While in China Town we bought some market squid. Using water soluble India ink we dipped the squid and began painting with them. With a little experimentation we discovered that painting with a squid is remarkably similar to painting with a sumi brush. You don’t want the brush too saturated with ink or you won’t be able to control the line work- if it’s too dry the ink becomes sticky and hard to control. Afterwards I painted the pupils on the squid to give them a bit of life. It was slimey, it was gross but we also thought it was pretty cool.
Here’s a little animation I did for a documentary I’m working on with my kids about elephant seals. They are the largest pinniped weighing as much as 5000 pounds! I made this animation to illustrate in a fun way the growth of a pup into an adult seal.
Here is another finished painting for my next book The Scariest thing in the Jungle. All the paintings for this book are done on cold press paper with water color and india ink. Water color and ink are unforgiving mediums. Now a days most painterly effects can be achieved in Photoshop or other similar programs. I find it however more challenging and exciting when there is something at stake. On the computer you can hit the undo button every time you make a mistake. With water color or ink there is no undo only redo. If you mess up you start all over again. So I was relieved that this painting with stampeding animals only took one try.
Later this year my third picture book will be coming out entitled “I’m the Scariest Thing in the Jungle!” Even though it’s not finished my publisher requires a cover which may or may not be the final cover. The typeface will definitely be different. This cover, and the entire book is painted with water color and inked with sumi brushes.