The skull swung to and fro

Right from the start of reading Woold’s novel ‘Orlando’ I have been conscious to use my sketchbook as a visual diary and draw ideas when I’m inspired by text. On the first page of the story, I was interested by the line,

‘Sometimes he cut the cord so that the skull bumped on the floor and he had to string it up again, fastening it with some chivalry almost out of reach so that his enemy grinned at him through shrunk, black lips triumphantly. The skull swung to and fro…’, (Woolf, 2014, p.11)

To get into good habits I translated the clear visual image I had in my head onto paper, using a image search only for correct proportions, and was proud of myself for creating something from my imagination instead of a prepared photograph. I intended to leave it as a rough sketch, but felt inspired to keep going further and use a quick watercolour wash over a combination of fine liner and an italic typography marker pen. As I haven’t used pen tools for a long time since the fineliner ban, I was surprised at how much I liked the look of this method; I will make sure this doesn’t put me into bad habits, as in the rare occasions I do use fine liner I do so with expressive, painterly lines and marks.

Woolf, V. (2014) Orlando. Edited by Michael H. Whitworth. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

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