Sketch Diary: Angel of January Part 1

Faerie Escape Atlanta has definitely monopolized my time of late and drawn me deep into a frenzy of leather carving, rather than my usual 2D fair. Normally, I’d lament not drawing or painting anything for months, but this is a much needed break after being hard at work for nearly a year and a half making all new work for Angelic Visions.

That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten my other projects, however! I know many of you like to see the creative process, so here’s a little peek into my next big series, the Angels of the Months.

I started this series a couple of years ago with the Angel of December, but was never quite satisfied with the amount of empty space left behind the figure and the window so never got past December.  This was a design problem that needed solving.

So with a glint in my eye and a pen in my hand, redesign began!

I like to draw thumbnails almost exclusively in BIC ballpoint pen because it is a very ‘loose’ medium. Ballpoint pen responds very well to pressure, meaning you can get very light pencil-like marks by pressing lightly or pressing harder for darker lines. It’s the controllability of the pencil without the fuss of erasing.  Not being able to erase is also a good thing for me. Since these are just thumbnails, I didn’t want to spend ages on them, which I very well might if given the option to erase!  I banged these thumbnails out in an hour or so.

The first thumbnail took the idea of the original Angel of December and translated her into a wholly new composition. The full figure was cropped to allow more detail to be poured into the face, costume, and wings.  The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th thumbnails deal with the Angel of January, whose themes include stepping into sunlight and the inclusion of a pomegranate as an allusion to Persephone.  I played with the pose trying to figure out the design problem of the wings.  Did I want them attached to the figure? As decorative carvings in the stone to the sides? Folded? Spread?  Nothing seemed to fit the composition the way I wanted.  Everything was too static with no flow!
Finally, the 5th thumbnail represents my ‘Eureka’ moment.  Turning the composition to a landscape format allowed me to fit more of the gorgeous wing flow while also allowing more space for a full-fledged stained glass window, an element I thoroughly enjoyed drawing in the original Angel of December.  This landscape format also works better for inclusion in a calendar format, which is a future plan I have for this series.
Next came the sketch phase where I doodled a more detailed concept of the figures.  Again, playing with both the December and January angels.  I continued the theme of January having a very Greek vibe.  Still pondering how to include the pomegranate and if it will clash with the Carnations and Snowdrops which are going to be included in her portrait.  I also photographed my own artistic references to help get my creative juices flowing.
And that’s where I’ve left off for now!  The concept continues to percolate in the noggin while I prep for my next rush of shows.  I’ve never had so many in one year so it’s been a learning experience for me to find the time to work AND to prep products for sale.
Once I get further along, I’ll be sure to keep you all updated!

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