As an illustrator, I have attention to detail in the work that I do. Realism is something that I find fascinating. Yes, I do work from photos, matching a photo is something that I do well, however there is also a need to know when not to match the photo to make a better illustration. An example of this is, if there isn't any detail in the shadows, then I put detail in, this gives interest to that area.
The focal point is important, for birds and animals this is generally the eye, the part the viewer connects to. Knowing the direction the light is coming from and where the shadows fall is important to a good drawing or painting.
As a graphic designer, I design my illustrations. I consider the flow and movement through the illustration. The direction of the content is moving or facing, and so on.
Texture plays a part to drawings and paintings. For birds feathers, draw them in the direction the feathers go, and they look like actual feathers. This is really cool.
My favourite drawing tools are a Staedtler Tradition 2B graphite pencil and a kneadble eraser. The fact that you can get lovely dark tones with the pencil and that is doesn't have the excess of graphite, as some more expensive pencils do, and the kneadable eraser can lift small or larger areas of the drawing without leaving a mess, is appreciated.
Colour adds a spectrum of things to consider in drawing and painting. How colours influence the colours next to them? The use of warm and cool colours, to create a rich illustration. And how distant colours appear different to colours in the foreground. One of the most significant things that I have learnt about colour is the use of the complimentary colours and neutral greys. How wonderful they are and what they can do bring an illustration to life. Play with a limited colour pallet, this can have its challenges and its rewards.
Have a look at some of my illustration in my portfolio.