10x Smaugust 2019

Smaugust 1 - Hatchiling

Smaugust 1 - Hatchiling

So August has officially come to an end and it is time to wrap up Smaugust! I just want to give a quick overview of my 10 Smaugust pieces this year and some of the reasoning behind them. I wanted to create 10 pieces that were moderately elaborate instead of 30 smaller less detailed pieces. This way I would be satisfied with what I made and actually have time to do so! 

Smaugust 2 - Forest Dragon

Smaugust 2 - Forest Dragon

One of my biggest ‘mistakes’ in this challenge was misjudging the technique I was going to use, or better, the technique that I’m naturally inclined to use. I planned on sketching the dragons out and then ink them, but just lines and hatching. But ones I got to that point it seemed boring, I missed something. I started to apply washes of ink to the pieces. However, the paper that I used wasn’t made for this. It was a light 120grams drawing paper and not meant for lots of water, so the paper started to wrinkle. So next year, better planning for techniques and materials!

Some of the dragons that I drew were inspired by prompts posted by some lovely people over on Instagram, others were my own creations. For example, the third dragon that I drew. End of July, beginning August the Netherlands was plagued by a heatwave, breaking some of our temperature records and all I wanted was to lie under a tree and feel a cool mountain breeze!

Smaugust 3 - Sleeping Dragon

Smaugust 3 - Sleeping Dragon

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For the fourth dragon, I wanted to try something different. The dragons before I had been full compositions, but I wanted to try something more abstract. So I played around with some silver paint (ugly stuff that, gets on everything and ruins every brush!) and made a silver moon behind the dragon. I liked the idea, but the borders that really helped the other pieces made this one look a bit weird. All learning experiences :)

Smaugust 5 - Flying Dragon

Smaugust 5 - Flying Dragon

Smaugust 7 - Flower Dragon

Smaugust 7 - Flower Dragon

Smaugust 6- Mountain Dragon

Smaugust 6- Mountain Dragon

As a general note, for most nature-themed prompts I tended more to place the dragon in a certain environment and make them fit for that environment that really create a dragon out of flowers, stone, or something along those lines. I guess it fits with the theme of my Tales of Dragons series, for which Smaugust 6 - The Mountain Dragon is an upcoming new piece!

By this time I also noticed that inspiration was starting to fade and it was becoming harder to come up with new dragons. And the feeling of.. Is this worth my time? I also have plenty of other projects I could work on. But I’m glad I continued (with some pressure of my significant other ;)).

Smaugust 8 - Shroom Dragon

Smaugust 8 - Shroom Dragon

Smaugust 9 - Bookwyrm

Smaugust 9 - Bookwyrm

But slowly the end was drawing near. And I had lot’s of fun with the silver mushrooms and the Bookwyrm dragon. I liked exploring his playful character the and the mess he made. And I couldn’t end the challenge with one of my favorite scenes from the hobbit, Bilbo in the eye of Smaug. I spend quite a while on rendering the eye and used so much washes that it leaked through to the other page. Whoops!

Smaugust this year was fun! Till next year :)

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Exploring watercolor paper

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Last months I have been working on these dragon pieces that are enveloped by nature.I worked on cold press before this and wanted to try out hot press paper so I started out with two or three pieces on some cheaper paper that I already owned. I really enjoyed the amount of detail I was able to obtain on the hot press paper, so I bought some higher quality.

I really noticed the difference in saturation of the colors and the flow of the paint on the paper and therefore, I decided to redo this piece and two others. I couldn’t find a picture for comparison from this piece (and since it’s already framed, not easy to make one) so here is a comparison of a different piece. See the difference in edges and colors?

Seeing those differences really encouraged me to start on this one. I traced the previous painting to the new paper and got started. I posted a little progress video below!

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I think this is one of the younger dragons that just wanted a nice place to rest. As you can see, compared to the others, this one is not as enveloped by the landscape yet. Grass started growing on its back, but it’s more like a blanket. To me it feels like he didn’t want his head covered just yet, maybe he just wanted to take a nap. I will check back in a decade or so, to see how he has developed over time.