Saturday, December 15, 2012

SKETCHBOOKS: moleskine 001 (Nazgul)

For a time, while working my way through those first five Nazgul studies I was struggling to find my way. Those studies were my primary means of visual inquiry, but I did briefly turn to my sketchbook to push the idea into new directions. Ultimately, the two sketches I completed were interesting but not where I wanted the images to be. Which is exactly what a sketchbook is for. In the interest of completeness, I'd like to share those images, and my thoughts on them, here.

First, something much more direct and overt. Here the emphasis was on simplicity, composition and elegance. I was thinking about Aubrey Beardsley's wonderful illustrations for Le Morte d'Arthur...

Since this was to be a sketch, I eschewed the decorative border but planned to include something like that in a finished piece if these investigations bore fruit. My sketch...

I actually liked the contrast of the sweeping linework in ink and the rough, textured brushstrokes of the acrylic paint. In the end, this direction simply did not seem daring or interesting enough so I abandoned it.

Several days later, I tried something completely different. Inspired by my great love of self-published and hand-made comics and zines, I made this.

I've got all these bottles of metallic ink, and I wanted to see if that brought anything to the image. While it looks quite beautiful, it's not quite the effect I had hoped for, at least with this particular drawing. You can see it better here. And LOOK at that cross hatching of mine!

Really though, neither of these two suggested Nazgul to me, so they were abandoned. I quite like some of what I've been discovering with my large, 11" by 14" studies, so when things settle down a bit in mid-January I plan on returning to those. I can already tell that I'm gonna end up with a pretty big stack of these studies so if you're interested in one, let me know and I'll see what I can do.


  1. I actually really like this first sketch, but the metallic ring is such a unifying element in your full ringwraith pieces that its absence is very notable here.

  2. the top one with the simple but complicated lines on the skull and the crown I like a lot

  3. Thanks Mordicai. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking by omitting the ring from either of these sketches, really. I would agree with you though that there would need to be some kind of consistent visual signifier were I to go in this direction.

  4. Hey Scrap, thanks for the kind words. I go back and forth on that a lot. Sometimes I really like it, sometimes it just seems to obvious to me. I've still got some marination to do.


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