Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Inspired by Dulac

For anyone who might have read EllenB's comment about my last post, I wanted to show the images she was referring to.
I first hurriedly checked to see that I hadn't ripped-off Dulac too closely. As you can see, I was indeed inspired by the very Dulac picture that had also inspired Ellen.
My picture, which comes from "Oscar Wilde: Stories for Children" is on the left.
My normal working practice in creating a picture like this involves surrounding my desk with all sorts of reference photos and illustrations that might be helpful.
Sometimes I use the reference in a very particular way, as with the saucepan and broom, but more often I'm hoping that looking at really great work will obliquely inspire me to achieve better things.
I love the large, delicately washed areas in Dulac and Rackham's work, and this is one of a very few pictures I have done where I have achieved a similar effect. When I have an expanse of wall behind a figure I usually can't resist the urge to put in a shadow or a picture.
The design of the window in my picture jars with me a little. It looks like it came from the 1970s, even though it was borrowed from a cottage in a Breugel painting.
I was particularly pleased with this picture because the figure and the still life on the table were entirely invented without any photo reference.
Dulac's image of Cinderella is exquisite of course, but, because of the way he has drawn that log coming out from under her skirt, it always looks to me as if Cinderella is a sort of devil girl with a cloven hoof. I hope I haven't ruined it for you now.


yaamas said...

Now, I have always loved the Oscar Wilde book that you had illustrated. Every story in it was very special. Wilde was an amazing writer and had such keen way to touch the emotions of the human heart. Your illustrations truly did the same and this portrait of the old man with a kind smile was no exception. I can see the Dulac influence in this one, as well as Rackham, but it still is certainly a Lynch. The other thing that I have always loved about your books is the way that you compose each book. I have always felt, being the reader, that I step inside of the actual story and being very visual your illustrations really pull the reader in. I love the books that open with the setting or the landscape of the story and then you are able to get very intimate with the actual characters of the story. I'm sorry for going a little off topic with this post, but I have so many great things to say about your work.

I just finished a painting earlier this week called "The Bee Keeper" and I have to give you credit for inspiring the subject matter for it. I ever so often take your "Beeman of Orn" book out along with it's complimentary DVD and I absolutely enjoy seeing you paint. The buzzing noise in the background of your DVD certainly helped me paint, too. Well anyway, I just posted it on my blog. I didn't want to take away from your blog in anyway. Your work just inspires me greatly and I want to thank you for that.

In the meantime, enjoy your day in the studio my friend.


Ps. I love Dulac but I love Rackham even more. He truly looked like a faery goblin.

Anonymous said...

I had always been sure that was indeed Cinderella's foot rather than a log, but I did have to go and check! Yes, I believe it is her shabbily stockinged foot, which perhaps accounts for its very inelegant appearance. But I did laugh at the thought of a cloven hoof!


Anonymous said...

Sorry for having given you a moment of panic lol!! Thank you posting this response.

Well, hmmm, you as the illustrator can be critical of the Little Hans piece but the rest of us can just LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Really it is perfect. I agree with yaamas that you have taken the work far beyond the initial influences. I know what you mean about covering the desktop with images for reference but I still think alot of the retention is subliminal.
Ellen B
p.s. p a p e r? I am just curious... thanks

PJ Lynch said...

Thanks for those kind remarks guys.
I'll have to hunt out my copy of the Dulac book to see if it's a hoof (unlikely) or a shabbily stockinged foot or a log.
It's very unusual for there to be any doubt about his draughtsmanship at all.
I' m glad you like the Little Hans picture, Ellen.
It's one of my favourites from the Oscar Wilde book.
All the best

Aladine said...

I am a first time commenter here but I just had to say that it is SUCH a relief and an inspiration to have read that one of my favourite illustrative artists of all time (you) also uses photographs and images both as inspiration and technical references/help for their work. I love reading this blog, it gives such a sense of the personal process of creating legendary art!

Marc McCabe said...

Hi PJ, im an animation student over in ballyfermot. I was recently introduced to your work when we started an illustration project and we were given books to get an idea of what it involves. I instantly took to your style. Ive always loved painting and theres something about the depth of tone and color you get with your watercolors I just love!
Ive been trying my hand at getting similar results and I feel my theory of painting is strong but its putting the paints down on the canvas that I have the problem with. The brush im using keeps ripping up the paper creating these little balls, also ive found alot of the time after ive put down color if I try to go over that spot it will pick up the color i put down and not let me put more down again, creating a white patch. I think it has something to do with my brush, a Richard Oliver albino. Can you recommend any good brushes to start off with? Or maybe you know the problem im having and have a fix, that would be great! Well thats what I wanted to ask, thanks for posting all your work its very inspirational.


PJ Lynch said...

Thanks for all the great comments guys,
Before I forget Ellen, the paper I use is usually 140lb Bockingford rough or the equivalent from Arches. But I'll use whatever is to hand and in Art shops I just pick up a selection of what takes my fancy.

Re Brushes Marc. I don't use anything terribly expensive. At the moment I am using some Cotman brushes from Winsor and Newton, and some Aqualine from the Daler. When I'm buying a larger watercolour brush I usually go for a good brand.

Here's a link to a video of mine showing my watercolour/gouache technique.
Maybe that will help. But you need to keep experimenting with watercolours to see what effects you can get. If the paper is ripping you are going at it a bit too enthusiastically.
"Lifting the colour out again" is one of the classic watercolour techniques. You should always be able to add more colour later, but I remember an old painter who said that you should use a maximum of nine washes.
I have always struggled against the technique, rather than using it for what it's strengths are.You mention depth of tone and colour....in pure watercolour you don't really get a huge range intones and colour is never very zingy. I've always been a bit frustrated with this and that's why I'm doing a lot of work in oils and digital. I suspect you might be a bit like me in that respect Marc.

Hi Aladine. thanks so much for your comment. I think your blog is great, and I loved the bit about me. I'll do a link to it soon.
All the best

elise said...

I always thought she looked like she had a cloven hoof. Poor little mite.

Don't you love first impressions and how they stick despite reality trying to set you straight later on? For me she will always have a hoof. And I will never be able to look at Dulac's pictures without smelling the revolting glue they used in my book. Pleasure and pain...