Thursday, 31 May 2018

Mr Toad In Court

'Mr Toad In Court'
watercolour and gouache
51 x 39cm
Last week I completed this complicated scene from 'The Wind In The Willows'. Mr Toad has been brought in front of a judge to hear his sentence for stealing a car and driving recklessly.

My rough drawing. Compared with the finished painting you can see I made some changes, especially on the faces.
I followed all the usual procedures on the creation of this illustration. Thumbnails, rough preparatory drawing, transferred pencil onto watercolour paper, sepia underpainting, watercolour work and finally gouache finishing touches. Nothing out of the ordinary. Therefore, in this post, I have chosen to highlight some of the details in the painting that are not immediately obvious, but I feel make a difference in how you read the image.

A spiky friendship
I've 'raised the bar'

Both my wife and myself make cameo appearances in this scene. I appear to have changed profession, and Suzanne now hangs out with hedgehogs.
I detest littering.
The discarded 'Times' newspaper headline reads MR TOAD ON TRIAL. Note the burnt out matches on the table used to light the table candles when the sun drops.

Vicky is not amused.
Queen Victoria is quite shocked at Toad's sentence (or is she showing disapproval?). Also the human and owl judge have their own painted portrait in the corner, just above peeling wallpaper.


Monday, 14 May 2018

Website Update

https://www.chris-dunn.co.uk/books
Just a little message to say, have you checked out my website recently (www.chris-dunn.co.uk)? I've been updating the gallery pages and added a little 'shop' section on the three books I have illustrated so far.

Also, due to the new GDPR law, I am deleting all my newsletter subscribers. If you would like to be kept informed about my exhibitions, sales, discounts etc, please subscribe to my mailing list. Just click the link below and add your email address. https://www.chris-dunn.co.uk/so/fMDEmYx6#/main

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A Video Of My 'Paisley Rabbit' Exhibition

For your viewing pleasure, a two minute walk around my exhibition at the Pound Arts Centre, complete with inane wittering.


Here are some photos too.
The show closes Saturday 9th June. Entry to the Pound is free, and you can also check out their packed program of events, theatre shows and gigs too.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

'Paisley Rabbit' Exhibition and Book Signing

I'm really excited to announce an exhibition of all my original paintings and sketches for 'Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest'. It will be held at the Pound Arts Centre, Corsham, from Saturday 5th May - Saturday 9th June.

Plus I will be signing books from 12-2pm on the opening Saturday.

Not only will the originals be available to purchase. I am stocking the venue with cards, prints and of course books! I really hope some of you can make it.

I'll do my best to post decent photos of the show. I'm also mulling over making a video for the first time.

Monday, 9 April 2018

She Guarded The Castle


'She Guarded The Castle' watercolour and gouache, 31 x 24cm
Here's something I finished just before the Easter break. This is my first Grimm's fairytale illustration. The scene is taken from 'Jorinda and Joringel' which features a witch who can take the form of an owl and cat. Her abode is a castle in the woods where she captures maidens, turns them into small songbirds and locks them away in cages (can you spot the key?).

For reference, I was fortunate enough to have a collection of woodland photos I had taken in the rain this winter. The castle is based on Helen's Tower in Northern Ireland, apparently you can stay there! As for the owl, I found a collection of shots on google and took bits from each to fashion my own bird perched on a branch.


Depicting mist can be a tricky business, keeping an eye on distance from the viewer juxtaposed with visible levels of detail can sometimes lead to overworking areas and underworking others. This in turn can ruin the atmospheric perspective I'm hoping to achieve. In the end I washed out lots of detail in the castle and trees, and chose to only fully define the windows and middle-ground tree branches

As I look back on the painting now, I'm very happy with the final result. I tried to imbue the painting with a dark foreboding presence without being a cliché. I think this image would work well in some of the later (and darker) Harry Potter books and also have a similar atmosphere.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

My thoughts On 'Supper Arrives'

'Supper Arrives' watercolour and gouache, 31 x 40cm
This is my latest painting for Galerie Daniel Maghen. I finished it last Tuesday, and I'm not sure exactly how long it took to complete other than I felt I spent longer on this piece than anticipated. 
 
The scene is taken from 'The Wind In The Willows', when the carol singing mice are invited into Mole's house for supper. Soon they realise Mole is low on food, so two young mice are sent out with a basket to fetch more vittles for their evening feast. Here you can see the mice have returned and their fellow creatures are excitedly dishing out the basket's contents.
 
Normally I'm very confident when it comes to these cosy interior scenes, however this time I really struggled to keep everything warm and slightly gloomy (if that's the right word), especially when I was painting the blue welsh dresser. If you're not careful, a blue dresser can swiftly turn green when painting in watercolour.
 
The gouache highlights certainly helped to sharpen well lit edges, such as an ear, whisker or ceramic mug. The candlelight was deliberately kept to watercolour and using the white of the paper to create a bright glow. If you try to introduce gouache into something so bright it can look a bit flat and even grey as the opague paint doesn't always reflect natural light as effectively as watercolour paper.
 
Out of interest, most of the items in the kitchen are taken from Avebury Manor in Wiltshire. The kitchen table, dresser and stove are very similar to the ones in this painting. It's always much easier to draw something straight from reality than invent your own objects, and quite often you spot something that you would never have imagined too.




 
 

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Another Free To Enter Competition

I just can't help myself. Not only am I giving away a free signed limited edition print through my instagram account (@chrisdunnillos), I am also offering a whole host of Paisley Rabbit prizes, to celebrate the book launch, to three lucky winners on Facebook. Here's how and what you can win:
If you are not on Facebook, do not despair! You can ask a friend to like and share the post (they must do both), and then collect your winnings if your name is drawn from the virtual social media hat.

Good luck!

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

A Talk On My Career So Far, 18th Jan

There are still some tickets left to attend. With the aid of a projector and lots of prints and originals, I will be taking the audience through the various illustrations I have produced since graduating in 2008. I will also be giving away lots of freebies!!