The Versatile Artist

Not just a wildlife artist…

…this girl is a published wildlife¬†artist, a teacher, a writer, a proof reader, a marketeer…

OK so I’m in danger of sounding like a well-known knicker retailer ūüėȬ†, but I guess what I’m saying is that as an artist or anyone working for yourself you have to be versatile.

The Versatile Artist.

I am no longer simply a Wildlife Artist, I write teaching notes and workshop outlines¬†to make my job as a teacher of airbrush and pastel techniques a little easier. I design the workshop structures and create adverts to market them as well as coding the website that handles the bookings…not to mention doing the catering for the workshops.

…and if I’m luck I get to paint too

Versatile Artist - advert
Latest advert for the Artist magazine

This recent advert for The Artist magazine will feature regularly from the May issue, so I spent last weekend choosing which image to use and then deciding on the colour scheme as well as the content¬†and layout that best describes what I’m offering.

Don’t¬†get me wrong, I’m not moaning,¬†¬†just an observing the skills that you have to develop on your journey to success;¬†you have to be so multi-faceted. ¬†Good job I love doing it.

Anyway, at the end of last year I think I mentioned that I was writing an article for Airbrush magazine.  They are based in Germany, but publish an English speaking version too.  Just as well because sadly my cat probably speaks German better than me.

I got the messing with paint gene, not the language one lol

Lynx and Hawker- The Versatile Artist
Lynx and Hawker The Versatile Artist

So¬†I’m very excited right now because I just got the proof of the article sent to me and it will be published in the German version of the mag in March!

This cover gives you a little teaser, in German, but the English version should be available shortly afterwards.

This is quite a large step by step article that charts the progress of my Lynx and Hawker piece in airbrushed acrylics.  The article is choc full of tips and techniques for getting the colours and the textures just right, so if you want to see how I tackle wildlife with an airbrush you might like to pick up a copy.

I’ll post a link to where you can find a copy in a future¬†blog, so watch this space.

Creating a Step by Step article

Describing what you do step by step sometimes comes hard to an artist.  How many times have you sat down to start a piece and 7 hours later realised that just maybe the rest of the family may want dinner at some point?

So stopping and starting to write down just what you are doing to achieve a particular texture or effect can disturb the flow somewhat.

Get out the camera

I learned a long time ago to photograph my pieces as I go. ¬†It’s easier than¬†stopping to write and the images can be used for lots of things:

  • Marketing on social media
  • Creating teaching notes
  • Magazine articles
  • Adverts
  • Great memoir to accompany a commission

You don’t need anything too fancy¬†either if you plan to upload shots to the web – your phone will do nicely if you are going to publish images online.

For printed materials, then a bit more finesse is required.  The images need to be detailed enough for print quality.  Lucky for me I have a professional photographer in the shape of my lovely husband John. So the promise of a bakewell tart is all I need to secure some professional images lol.

There are times too when you need both hands on the drawing, so a second person is needed to take the shot.

Since I can’t show the Lynx and Hawer piece yet, I added a piece I did earlier of a beautiful kingfisher. Click the images to see a larger view.

A great set of images like this can then prompt you to explain some of the techniques as you review them later with a cup of coffee.

Anyway hope you enjoyed the ramblings of the versatile artist ūüėČ

See you soon

Jilly x



Competition Artwork

Every year I set out to be ready with artwork for the plethora of competitions that seem to all kick off at the beginning of the year. In reality only the advertising kicks off, but its enough to send me scurrying to my easel with a head full of ideas.
….and you guessed it every year I am painting like a maniac to make sure I have new work to show.
So here’s one I’ve just finished…

Tiger in pastel
A beautiful imposing beast of a tiger

I love Tigers, well I love all cats really, but Tigers are so colourful and look so regal.  This is from one of my own reference shots and not only is it a competition piece, but its the subject matter for my latest pastel workshop.

If you like the look of this chap and fancy learning how to re-create his likeness in pastel on velour, there are still workshop spaces available – but only 3 for 4th April.

For other dates click here to check the workshops page on the main website.

Pastels not your thing?….try airbrushing

There are not many courses available in the UK where Wildlife art is taught, so I decided to create my own. It’s not as complex as you might think – like anything, just takes a little practise to get to grips with a new tool.

If you fancy a taster session watch this space, the course outline will be available in the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime email me if you are interested.

Next competition piece is under way

So to give you a flavour of what you can do with an airbrush, here’s the start of the next competition piece. ¬†This is sadly not my reference, but was downloaded from the Wildlife Reference ¬†Photos for Artists site – a fab ref library for any artist.

It’s a beautiful shot from the very talented photographer Emanuel Keller.

Anyway progress so far looks like this:

The piece is approx17.5″ x 11″, acrylic on canvas.

I tape the canvas to the drawing board and transfer my sketch using  red graphite paper which is less prone to smudging.

Next I mask the Snow leopard using frisket mask so that I can concentrate on the background without worrying about keeping the main subject clean.

I gradually build up layers of texture and colour to create the rock face. ¬†At this point I’m about ready to leave the rock face and start on the Snow Leopard.

Join me next time for more progress.

Take care