2.0 Sophie Peanut

Key words from the brief:

  • Look at her work and compare her working methods to your own
  • Discuss any merits and pitfalls you can identify in her work
  • Identify other artists whose work has a rapid style?

Comparison between working methods

A comparison between an established illustrator who has and established ‘voice’ and ways-of-working with a student exploring and experimenting and still finding his feet is a bit of comparing apples and pears.

With this in mind, I read carefully through sophiepeanut.com and noted down working methods in order to compare them with my own:

Criteria Sophie Peanut working method My own working method
Genres
  • Portraits
  • Illustrated recipes
  • Urban sketching
  • Landscape sketching
  • Narrative strips
  • Urban sketching
  • Still experimenting and learning
Approach
  • Reportage
  • Life drawing
  • Working from reference
  • Working from imagination
  • Rapid sketching
  • Reportage
  • Life drawing
  • Working from reference
  • Working from imagination
  • Rapid sketching
  • Digital composition
  • Still experimenting and learning
Media
  • Watercolour
  • Watercolour pencil
  • Inktense pencil
  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Gouache
  • Gel pen
  • Pen and Indian ink
  • Ink pen
  • Sharpies
  • Acrylic pens
  • Liquid watercolour
  • Pencil
  • Charcoal
  • Conte
  • Printmaking techniques: Woodcut, drypoint, etching
  • Digital – predominantly Photoshop and Illustrator

What I think worked well

She is very and generous about sharing her experiences and approach

Her repotgage drawing for ‘Drawing People at Work’ is my favourite. The images capture the feel of the workplace and the people and the text information adds to their documentary quality.

I like her use of watercolour on the urban sketches and people sketches. I picked up some handy tips around technique and also information about specific tools. I must try out Inktense ink pencils. She also uses gel pens for highlights. I also use these but in a different context.

I think the use of white gel pen on the cafe blackboard is a great effect. One to keep for later.

Her illustrated recipes are her most inventive work. They combine images sourced from rapid sketching, careful layout and composition, image sequences to explain the cooking process and lots of text information and handwritten typography. Her drawing style changes in some of these images, with characters taking on more of a cartoon quality. She manages to pack a huge amount of information into these lively and colourful pictures.

I don’t think her portraits are so successful. I like the use of colour, but somehow they don’t capture the person or have the level of insight/reality that her other work manages to communicate. It may me that at least some of the images are drawn from reference rather than direct from life.

Other artists whose work has a rapid style

The following artists use work that has a rapid style:

  • Fumie Kamijo
  • Dominic del torto
  • Serge Bloch
  • Brian Grimwood
  • Chris Gilvan

Example of their work is here:

Lessons learned

  • Inktense pencils – I will buy a set of these to experiment with in 2.2 Investigating a process.
  • Lay down watercolour first and then work with pen on top of that.
  • Fearless sketching – the approach she suggested for sketching people/portraits from life.
  • Drawing with a rapid style – I want to explore this as an approach. I like the aesthetic and it resonates with my ways of working.