Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Your Techno-painting Illustrator

So, what do I use? Well I recently got a paper stretcher from my dad and so far (first time I have used it) it seems to be doing the trick. I have had quite a number of problems learning the knack of stretching paper - from vanish coming off on the back of my painting to the gum tape not sticking etc...

Alongside this I use:

Fabriano hot press paper
A squirrel hair Chinese brush (for washes)
A very fine sable brush (which was used to do this entire painting really due to the nature of the grapes not allowing large washes - the teeny brush nearest the feather),
A harder tiny brush which I used with water only to blend in the layers of paint.
A photograph - because plants inevitably wilt/decay. Within an hour under the spotlight these grapes had already moved!
Daler Rowney watercolour paints - I prefer the cubes rather than the tubes.
A feather - very useful tool for wiping away rubber shavings - reduces smudging.

And, some techno music. I assume that I probably am the only botanical illustrator to listen to serious trance music when working. It is the only thing that makes me concentrate and loose a sense of time. It also makes me drift off in some sort of euphoric way so that I feel as if I am becoming one with everything - even the grapes. It helps me to feel as if I was a grape and experience it's juiciness, it's deep colours, it's plumpness and it's sensuality. Bring on the trance. It does sound like a club in my house today, but as I am the only one in, with no hot water (boiler is broken) I think it is allowed :)

2011 Grapes after 21 hours


  1. They are definitely getting there Jess, love the explanation of the tools and the picture. I am listening to Marc Almond here in my creative suite.

  2. Haha, I listen to Bonobo when I'm painting, or Quantic... things that dont really have words to distract, or if they do they just blend in. It keeps a rhythm going, while keeping me calm and controlled. I can't seem to listen to other types of music for marathon paint sessions... they're either just too slow, or too many words to distract my subconscious.
    On another note, have you tried winsor and newton series 7 kolinsky sable brushes? I use size 2 and 3... they hold a lot more paint, but you can still get hair thin lines with them. Well worth investing in as you don't have to keep on refilling the brush, you can go on for ages once you get the hang of it! Grapes are looking amazing!

  3. REally like Quantic,listening to Flowering Inferno

  4. Also a big fan of trance and techno! Trouble is I sometimes can't listen to it unless I know I'm going out soon or I just get sad and nostalgic for the club!