Two Mixed Media Sketches on Toned Paper
Not so long ago I started a sketch where I wanted to experiment with a new style of mixed media, and that is combining charcoal drawing with ink and acrylic techniques.
The fruits of this idea have materialized in two sketches on toned tan paper titled “Ghost in the Machine” and “Juno to Jupiter”. Initially I wanted to name Ghost in the Machine “Unknown Muse VI” (VII?? I’m afraid I lost count at this point haha 😅) but after a little pondering I thought that maybe it’s time to move on from the “muses” concept. I’m not completely retiring it, but I feel ready to explore other concepts as well. On top of it, it was also inspired by the same name song, so… it remained “Ghost in the Machine”.
With “Juno to Jupiter” it’s another synchronistic story, but you’ll have to keep reading for that…
Ghost in the Machine
You can see the progress of the painting in the video. I started with a quick sketch and advanced to paint the background with ink and then work on the charcoal drawing. In case you’re wondering: yes, I drew it upside down, with the figure’s head pointed down.
Ghost in the Machine
I know it’s far from perfect and I can see a ton of mistakes, but I wanted to try this mixed media style as a fun creative exercise.
Juno to Jupiter
The song in this video is by Midnight Odyssey
Juno to Jupiter behind the scenes
The story behind “Juno to Jupiter” is full on synchronicity, as a day or two after I started the sketch, without knowing anything about the existence of this album, my brother shows me the vinyl of the last Vangelis (with Angela Gheorghiu) release and – to my surprise – the inner album artwork is so visually similar (black & white statues on a colorful background)!
So I took it as a sign to not only finish this piece while listening to the album, but also to name my painting “Juno to Jupiter”, especially since I found the musical journey very moving and mesmerizing. My favorite song of the album being “Juno’s Power”.
What I’ve learned through this practice was a better sense of light, shadows, values, and proportions, and also how undertone plays an important role in the vibrancy and warmth of the shades. Also giving myself these challenges keeps my creativity sharp.
What I liked about tan paper was that it instantly gives the art a subtle feel of aged or vintage, almost like it has been painted a long time ago. Also, when working with a more limited color palette, toned paper can make the drawing feel less simplistic. I’ll definitely experiment with it more and see what other types of sketches or ideas I could do with it. Oil pastels would probably look quite vibrant and velvety on it!
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