View Full Version : Gorillas

Diana Lee
01-18-2007, 04:33 PM
It has been a while since I worked in black, but this image was begging to be done. It is a composite of a couple of pictures from the reference library. It is on a 19 x 25 piece of Essdee Scraperboard. I am trying to show restraint because I am eager to get to the young gorilla. This is my second start, the first got tossed.


01-18-2007, 07:13 PM
What an excellent start Diana. I like that expression on his face/mouth!!
The way it's going, don't think you'll toss this one!!!!!!!!

01-18-2007, 07:39 PM
Diana, I really like this. It is really stunning so far. I think the face alone tells a story and would make a great piece.

01-18-2007, 10:09 PM
ooh, this is going to be great, will be watching your technique here. I love the expression.

01-18-2007, 11:45 PM
Beautiful start, I'll look forward to watching your work in progress! Val

Mary Woodul
01-19-2007, 10:48 AM
Diana, there is something about gorillas that makes me want to hug them and you have given this one the perfect expression. I won't miss your updates.

Diana Lee
01-19-2007, 03:42 PM
Hiya folks,

Thanks for you support. I am having a bit of nervousness over the young gorilla. In the original picture the mothers head was on the other side of the young one, you couldn't see her face. As a result the light source coming from the right made the young one quite highlighted. Since I moved the mothers head and gave her a face, it would be blocking the light, but I don't want to lose the head of the young one. I moved the mother's arm so the highlight would show the baby's profile (in part). I also need the light on the baby to give shape to the mothers chin. It feels like I am dancing on a fine line here. Anyway I have mapped out the mothers arm and it seems to be going well.

The image I am including seemed kinda blurry so I sharpened it, but then it looked pixely. If after I post this it is too pixely I will post the blurry one.


01-19-2007, 04:50 PM
Diana....Oh WOW, are you brave !!! And to have to scrap the first one. The cost alone would scare the bejeebers out of me. Is it possable to repaint it ?
Anyhow I am going to be following this with excitement. Victor :clap: :clap:

01-19-2007, 08:11 PM
Diana, once again another masterpiece in the works. Can't wait to see it done.

01-19-2007, 11:12 PM
Dianna, are you telling us that you "imagined" up a face for mama or did yu have another ref to use?

Diana Lee
01-20-2007, 11:15 AM
Victor...I guess I should have said I figuratively tossed it. I never literally toss anything. I could give packrat lessons to the masses, just ask my poor husband.

Carol...Thank you. Your encouragement is appreciated, especially with this piece. The technique for working on white board with colored ink and working in black are just different enough that it is difficult to move back and forth.

TJ...I wish! No, I am not good enough to invent something as detailed as the mom's face. I got her from the reference library too. I put them together using the computer and then I blackened the background. The result is the first image I posted in this thread. It is what I will be using as my reference image.


Diana Lee
01-20-2007, 11:44 AM
Here are the two images. The original mom with no face and the face of another gorilla that I used to add on to the mom. Using the computer I had to do a bit of rotating and color changing to make them match and then I darkened the whole image.


01-20-2007, 03:01 PM
Ah how I envy you folks who know what you're doing with those photo manipulations---one of these days I'll tackle that learning curve.

Dianna, It's a wonderful image and you are doing it justice. Yes, I just started learning to work on the white board, there's a bit more to think about and my brain gets scrambled moving back and forth between the processess.

Dave Slaughter
01-20-2007, 04:34 PM
Thanks for posting this and for telling something about your design process.
This kind of material is incredibly valuable to some of us.

01-20-2007, 04:40 PM
beautiful work - and lovely animals

I did some sketching, at a nearby zoo, of the orang utans and gorillas - one cold cold February - they were behind glass in the warm and I was out in the cold! They are very different as they were fast sketches from life and my 'style' is different too.

The orang utans captivated me - there was a mother and baby and she was fascinated by me drawing and leaned on one side of the glass, just inches away, while I leaned on my side sketching her :) I grabbed quick scribbles of the baby each time it stopped rampaging around playing and came back to her. She was so intelligent - I showed her the drawing when it was done! (you can see it on my website if you are interested)

01-20-2007, 07:17 PM
What a dynamite image!! And the way it came about is inspirational!:clap:

01-21-2007, 12:08 AM
Diana this is really nice and it's even better after reading about the different adjustments you've had to work out in order to get it there.

01-21-2007, 01:19 PM

Diana Lee
01-21-2007, 03:43 PM
Here is the latest entry. I am working on the highlights of the mom's arm. I worked a bit on the mom's and baby's faces, mostly the ears.

TJ...Actuall I find working on the white board much easier. It is so much more forgiving than the black.

Dave...This is pretty much the process I use for all my work, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Vivien...I like your work. I hope you take pity on some of us photography challenged and submit some of your photos in the reference gallery.

Burt...Inspiring another artist is high praise indeed.

Harold...I think I put in as much work before I start scratching as the scratching itself, (only it is not as fun).

Thank you Karen


01-21-2007, 03:57 PM
Thanks Diana :)

This is looking wonderful - I only used scratchboard at school a long time ago - maybe I should be looking at it again.

01-21-2007, 04:48 PM
Diana this just keeps getting better and better.

01-22-2007, 11:51 AM
Incredible! :clap:

Diana Lee
01-25-2007, 05:45 PM
This will have to be the last post on this subject for a while because I got a last minute commission for a portrait of four kids. Since it needed to be done by the end of Feb. I talked the lady into letting me do it as a color pencil on scratchboard instead of an oil painting.

I am going to miss these guys. I was having fun, especially with the mom.
I think the shoulder needs a bit more filling out, but it is coming along smoother than I anticipated.


01-25-2007, 10:02 PM
If you've got to stop work on something, what better reason.

01-25-2007, 11:10 PM
Mom has come along so beautifully.
Smart lady asking to do that commission in Cp and scratchwork. Not that it wouldn't be just as beautiful in pigments, but you'll have more fun.
I'll just have to be patient for the updates on the gorillas. I've had a couple of references in my file for a while that I want to do. Maybe I'll start one of them while I'm waiting.

02-10-2007, 11:20 AM
Oh this is just gorgeous! Amazing detail and such a nice feeling here. Beautiful!

Leena :clap:

Diana Lee
02-13-2007, 04:12 PM
Well, now that the commission is behind me I can get back to the Gorillas. And now that I have a new replacement for my keyboard and mouse I can scan them in and show you.

I thought the mother's face was too light considering the position so I went in with a black color pencil and made it a bit darker. I think color pencil is the gentlest way to back off something that is too light and only needs a little adjustment.


Diana Lee
02-13-2007, 04:24 PM
Here's the mom's face before and after the black color pencil.


02-14-2007, 08:06 AM
definitely better :) - a really lovely work

02-14-2007, 07:10 PM
I really like the evocative composition and tenderness you're capturing here.
I never would have thought you could darken an area with coloured pencil - although it does make sense seeing as one can draw over claybord white - what an excellent tip! I love WC! and this forum :-)

- Tania

02-14-2007, 08:50 PM
I've used colored pencil and even pastel pencils to color my images on clayboard black but never thought to use the black pencils to darken a section; I've always just resorted to several washes of diluted India Ink. Thanks for sharing this information! Your piece is pushing and pulling right into greatness.

02-17-2007, 07:41 AM
Diana, this is really great. Thanks for the close-ups. They are really helpful in understanding how you get your value and texture changes. I never get tired of looking at your artwork.

Diana Lee
02-18-2007, 12:30 PM
First let me say how much it means to me to get compliments from artists who understand the nature of the medium I am working in. It really means so much more.

TJ and Tania...Color pencil doesn't stick very well to the slick surface of the board,(which is what happens after it is scraped with a tool) If you want deep, dense color you have to sand the area after you scratch it. However, this slickness works to your advantage if all you want is a very subtle change, like I did on the mom's face. I just colored over it like I was a kid with a crayon and the texture came out from the previous scratches.

I am amazed how much I learn from throwing my hands in the air and giving up. When I feel I have nothing to lose because a piece is just not working I can jump in there and get bold, try something new.


Diana Lee
04-11-2007, 01:03 PM
I'm afraid the Gorillas will be having a time-out in the closet for awhile. Here is the latest image. Somewhat overworked.


04-11-2007, 03:28 PM
I only think that someone (aka Diana Lee) could find fault with this beautiful piece. I'm afraid I don't see anything that is not perfect and exquisite on it.

04-11-2007, 09:14 PM
Really great work, I'd have to agree with Karen about the fault-finding!

There's something very appealing about the great apes - every time I look at them I find myself thinking about how small our differences are - "there, but for 5% of my genome go I"

- Tania

04-12-2007, 09:37 AM
What on earth is overdone or not right about this - close your eyes and look again as if someone else had done it. It is perfect!