Monday, 13 December 2010

Two tigers and a lion!

Sorry for the inactivity, as usual university is taking its toll. I have had some more time to work on my scratchboard and acrylic tiger and have some updates!:)

I am just scratching away with my tiger and have put in the base scratches on the other side of the face. A lot of toning and defining of facial structures is still required. I have also started adding in some foliage too. I am still looking for some title suggestions too so all help is appreciated.

With my acrylic tiger  I just decided to block everything in. I have started some of the final detailing on the left side of the face, the orange fur beneath the eye. I also need to learn how to stop overworking a piece which I think is one of my main weaknesses with acrylics.

Yip I have also started another piece which is also another big cat. This time it is the lion with the reference from Mike Seamons from flickr. I have realised that I am one of those artists that like to have a few pieces on the go because then I don't get bored and the inspiration sticks with me then.:) This piece is showing at its original size. I decided to really challenge myself with acrylics and decided to do a close up piece of a lion which is only 10 cm X 10 cm. As you can see the underpainting is complete and I have completed one eye too. This is the most difficult eye I have ever done due to the size. Closer to its completion I will show a size comparison with a penny. :)

I won't have any more updates for a little while because I have a lot of uni work and exams but I will update when I have made some progress.:)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Another Tiger!!:D

Alongside my scratchboard tiger I have decided to start an acrylic tiger piece. I do a lot of big cats because these felines hold a special place in my heart!

This will be a second serious attempt at acrylics and this crop is quite unconventional. It will be based off one of my own shots I took and many people either love or hate the crop due to numerous reasons. I personally love it.:)

It is titled ' A close encounter ' as it is quite an intimate piece as if the tiger has came extremely close to the viewer.

At the minute I do not feel as if I have a method to how I paint, but one thing is for sure I prefer to do a bit at a time instead of blocking the whole piece in.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Peacock finished and a new tiger!

So I finally got the peacock finished. I am happy with it and has been my biggest project yet!

In addition to this I have started a new piece including a tiger. I have decided that it is time for me to become more serious with my artwork and even though I am 19 I want to get my name known.

Therefore this piece will include a moderate amount of background with a tree and foliage and is based off my own reference shot. (This is the sumatran tiger piece I have been dying to do)

I am trying to tackle different textures and I am finding it difficult. As you can see I have just jumped from different areas so that I can get a feel for the composition.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Remember the peacock?

Remember the peacock I was working on?

Well I have finally got back round to it and I thought I should post an update. It is getting insanely close to the finish and I cannot wait for it. I have even got a nice ivory framed picked out for it.

The update.

Some areas that may look finished still need some tweaking left. I have signed in advance as I feel that if do this I will definitely get the piece finished.:)

Saturday, 30 October 2010

It is been a while...

For those who follow my blog I am really sorry that I have been so inactive. I have just not really had time to do art and in addition to this being in an art slump really has an effect on your creativity and productivity. 

However I did get one piece finished my amur leopard scratchboard. The peacock is close to the finish but I left my acrylic snow leopard as a study piece and also a learner piece.

This is the leopard which I titled 'Windows to the Soul'

Friday, 9 July 2010

One down 3 to go!:)

I finally finished my Asiatic lion piece!! I am happy with it and I like the mane!

This is a gift for my friend so I hope they like it!:)

'The Future of the Gir'

I have done some work on the amur leopard. I also better get a move on with the peacock!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Snow Leopard.

Another update on the acrylic snow leopard. It is getting real close to the finish everything above the nose is almost finished! I have just put on layer upon layer and a few glazes.

I am already thinking of my next acrylic! It is quite addictive and I like the fact that I can switch mediums when I get bored of one.:)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Lion and Leopard.

Finally I have an update on the lion! I am pleased with how it is coming along. This picture is quite rubbish I will try to get a better one once the piece is completed.

I am really looking forward to getting this completed. Just some mane and whiskers to go.:)

I have another update on the snow leopard too! The underpainting is completed and I have started detailing the eye. I believe that the eyes of a piece have to be captured correctly in order for the artwork to be a success. Therefore 9 times out of 10 I start with the eyes as I would rather know if the painting is a flop before I have put too much time into it.:)

So far I can see a vast difference between my tiger and the snow leopard. It is quite surprising the changes made from using professional materials.

I have created the eye using a lot of glazes and I still have a little left to do before I start detailing the fur. I use the acrylics at a milky consistency.

Monday, 28 June 2010


I have finally gotten round to doing some under painting on the snow leopard. I am making it more saturated on purpose so that I can build the fur up in layers from the dark below to highlights above. I have still to tackle the eye. I am finding it quite difficult to mix colours correctly. I takes me a few attempts.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Beginning of 2 and hopefully the completion of 2!

I have abandoned the tiger as I really just saw it as a practice (learning) piece. I finally got my delivery of the professional acrylics and from now on I will be using the golden fluid brand of acrylic and ampersand gessoboard. I have spoke to an amazing artist who does outstanding work with acrylics and she has given me loads of help and advice! :) I am extremely lucky to be in contact with her.

I can't remember if I mentioned but all of my scratchboards works are done on the Ampersand brand. (The best!!)

The title of this post says it all really. I am hoping to finish two scratchboard pieces the Asiatic Lion and the Peacock. I have an update on the peacock and have just started doing the iconic feathers and I am trying to finish the stripy white and black feathers am not sure what they are called. I have found a new place to take pictures of my works, so I don't need to use photoshop to get rid of glare!

One of the new pieces I have started is a close up of an Amur Leopard. The reference photo is my own and was taken at Edinburgh zoo. The piece is only 5x7. This is the piece which I will be using to see just how far I can push scratchboard! It will not be coloured and will be left black and white. So far I believe that it is my best work!

The whole board:

An extreme close up of the eye much greater in size than in real life:

In addition to the Amur leopard I have started a leopard in acrylic. This time a snow leopard and the reference photo is from the fantastic photographer and friend Tambako the Jaguar from Flickr. This too is a 5x7. I started small since this is my first serious attempt at acrylics. It will be painted with golden acrylics and on ampersand gessoboard. So far I have just strengthened the transfer with a mixture of carbon black and burnt sienna. I will be starting the underpainting soon. Hopefully this will turn out better than the tiger. :)

Monday, 21 June 2010


I have another small update on the tiger. I am just experimenting with glazes since this is my first and practice acrylic piece. Therefore I have only started detailing the left eye (our left). I have long ways to go yet!

Friday, 18 June 2010

First Acrylic!

I decided to post my first acrylic. I have not used very good material as I just wanted to get a feel for them first. I have now ordered the proper materials.

This is the first time I have ever used a brush and acrylics and it is on canvas. I have established that I dislike canvas due to the texture as it does not allow for fine details. The inexpensive paints I have are not even permanent they dissolve with water. So I am really looking forward to my new acrylic supplies arriving.

The reference photo is from the great photographer and artist Cathy Sheeter. I have made it a close up of my favourite animal the tiger.

I have just begun detailing the left eye and the rest is in the ugly underpainting stage. I may or may not finish this because I don't want to put so much effort on cheap materials to get a rubbish result. It is 9x5 inches.

Monday, 14 June 2010

And some green!

I have added some more colour to the peacock and I like how it is turning out. The greens have some blues and yellows in them and I have started scratching the iconic peacock feathers.

I have also started my first acrylic and will post here if it turns out.

I know I said there was not going to be any scratchboard in a while but I had an urge to do a 5x7 so I will post that too when finished. I like the idea of working on different pieces to retain a sense of freshness.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Feeling a little blue!

Another update on the peacock.

I am looking forward to getting this finished soon!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Still going...

Another small update with the peacock this time showing the whole board.

Am still trying to think whether or not I should include a background. I don't want it to look pasted on and if I did include a background I don't really have a clue on what I should do.:(

At the minute I am in a bit of an artistic slump! I am determined to finish this piece and then dabble in other mediums and arts such as photography and music. I will take a break from scratchboard even though I have so many ideas in my head. I still have to do a horse in scratch and I got an awesome reference picture from Edinburgh zoo of the Sumatran tiger which is begging to be done. I also want to go small and try a 5x7 with an intense amount of work with colour and a lot of rescratching to see just how far I can push myself. This is all daunting but with help from some good friends on wetcanvas I have decided to take a little break. I can say that no matter what medium I decide to dabble in, I will lean towards realism, I just can't do abstract art because I am terrible at it. The best compliment that anyone could give me is saying that my piece looks like a picture.

I also thought that I should include that art has always been one of my passions in life and in particular wildlife art. Throughout school I have always drew animals and aim to display their beauty through my pieces. However, at school I was forced to do still life. I liked it but the finished piece did not make me feel proud or as proud as a finished animal piece would. Therefore I returned to wildlife art within a short space of time and have been pursuing it since. I hope to continue doing wildlife art in the future and maybe even try becoming a member of wildlife art societies.

Thursday, 27 May 2010


Another update on my peacock piece. I have added colour and still need to complete the head. This is just a close up of the what I have done so far.

Friday, 21 May 2010


I have started a new piece and it will be my largest to date at 18x24 and will be fully coloured. It is a peacock and the reference is thanks to the very amazing photographer Niranj Vaidyanathan.

This is where I am at the now.

Once I have completed this I won't be doing a scratchboard in a while, well maybe a few boards alongside other projects. :)

I want to try other mediums such as acrylics and graphite work. I have seen stunning work with these two mediums but I have never really tried them. I know that my first attempts will not be great but I suppose after a lot of practice I will get somewhere.:)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

"The Future of the Gir" and "Midnight Hunter"

Another update on the lion. I feel that it is getting better as I go along and I am really looking forward to finishing it. I have decided to title it "The Future of the Gir" which is based on the Gir forest which is home to and a sanctuary for the pure asiatic lion.

I have also recently completed and 8x10 piece of a melanistic jaguar. It was based off one of my own references of the the black jaguar called Mowgli at Edinburgh zoo. It was also a trade piece for another scratchboard artist called Patrick Hedges and in turn for this piece I received one of his stunning pieces.:)

This is the first time I have done a black animal on scratchboard and it is also the first time I have included a subtle green background. It is coloured with Ampersand India inks. It is titled " Midnight Hunter".

Monday, 10 May 2010

Am not lion. :)

I have finally gotten into the swing of things with the lion and this is where I am the now.

I think I may add in a big scar to show that this lion has been in fights for survival! I thought it would make the piece more interesting. For the mane I am trying to portray raggedy, untamed hair to try and evoke a true feeling of wildness. So far I have used a scalpel for the whole piece which is a new tool that I am beginning to like. I also think I may add some grass as well.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Some of my older work.

I thought I would post some of my earlier work in scratchboard. Beware it is not pretty...

My first ever scratchboard, completed on the Essdee brand with a scratchboard nib. I know that it is not that good but it started of my scratchboard journey and therefore I adore it. It is a bengal tiger.

For my 2nd scratchboard I got myself a craft knife and saw the improvement drastically. This was still on Essdee and is a golden eagle.

My third scratcboard still on Essdee with a craft knife. It is a golden retriever.

On my fourth scratchboard I finally started to realise that to do better work I needed to get the ampersand make and this was my last Essdee board of an Egyptian Mau Cat. I think that this is one of my best pieces to date.

Then came my first ampersand board. For some reason I have left it unfinished, I don't want to go back and rework it. It is a snow leopard.

I realised that Ampersand was the brand for me and have never looked back since. All my work from there on has been on ampersand.

I think I can safely say that I have came a long way with my scratch art. I hope to keep improving.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Determination - Finished

I have finally finished my wolf board. I am happy with it considering the fact that it is the first time I have tried to tackle water and wet fur in scratchboard.

I could not have done this without the great photographer Steve from flickr.

Next I will be planning a big piece at 18 inches x 24 inches which will be a side project. Therefore I am not expecting to get it finished in a hurry and to be honest I don't want to because it will take a lot of planning and patience as I will be colouring it too. I have restarted the lion and will post the update soon.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Wolf and Macaws?

I am slowly edging towards the finish, I can't believe I am working so fast. For the water around the wolf I am using a reckless technique which allows me to produce many dots in one stroke. Therefore, I do not have to dot in each individual speck of water with a blade,which is the benefit, I just drag my blade along the board in a fashion that causes the blade to skip leaving dots in its path. However, if I do this at the wrong angle and pressure I don't get many dots I just get a line, this is the downside. Then I have to use my good friend ( black repair ink ) lol.

The update:

I have finally fixed the bright yellow on the branch of the macaws. It was really annoying me. I have decided to title this piece "Living life on a limb".

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Still going...

I am now finding this wolf piece very difficult. The water is really hard to portray just using a scalpel to create dots and lines.  The foremost paw is looking a little off the now but hopefully I will be able to fix that later, that is if  I don't give up on this. I did start this piece knowing that it was going to be an experiment.

This is where the Gray Timber Wolf is at the now...

Sunday, 18 April 2010

'Determination' Updated.

Back with an update on the wolf. This time it is the whole board. The other eye is a bit too big so I will have to fix that before I scratch it all.

I feel that this piece is flowing smoothly and will hopefully have a smooth finish too.

As you can see I have added in a few water droplets. I will be darkening the blobs of water some more to try achieve some depth.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


I have started another work in progress of a wolf on a 16x20 ampersand scratchboard. In this piece I will be tackling wet fur and water. This is also my first attempt at a wolf. Photo reference from Steve on Flickr.

This is just a close up of what I have done so far. The eye just needs some more touching up.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Finished! Finished! Finished! (Parrot)

I am happy to say that I am finally finished with the macaws! After two and a half months of work and this being my first attempt at colouring a scratchboard I am quite happy with this piece. However if there is one thing I have learned there is always room for improvement. There are quite a few things I am not happy about but it is impossible to produce something perfect. lol

Oh and the yellow blob at the bottom right hand corner is my signature lol

Anyway the picture, still to think of a title, the branch for some reason is showing up really yellow for some reason.

I also thought I would post one of my other works that I completed back in January.

It is 8x10, black and white and titled  'The Dwindling Majestic' one again thanks Susan for the title!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Macaw update!

Another update on the Macaws. I am hoping to get them finished tomorrow:). I am debating on whether or not I should put in a background too. The thought of adding one in is kind of daunting considering I have never attempted a background on scratchboard but I also feel that this piece may not need a background.

I have added in the branch as well. This is getting so close to the finish that it is scary.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Green winged macaws

I also started another 12x16 scratchboard a while back which I have finally had time to work on again. It is my first venture into colouring scratchboard with ampersand coloured inks and knew that the macaws would not be done justice in black and white.

The reference photo I am working from is taken by the talented photographer Corinne Alexandra from Flickr.

I have found that to get really vibrant colours you have to do a lot of layering by re-inking and re-scratching.

This is my progress so far.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

First Post

I have decided to start a blog and I welcome you to the The Animal and Wildlife Art of Irfan Ahmed. I am an artist who does art for a hobby and have started to make some money through it from commissions. I primarily work on scratchboard which I purchase from the US and work on the Ampersand make. I have recently started using scratchboard and I think it is the medium for me so I will start my blog off with a Work In Progress of a male Lion, based of a reference from Tambako the Jaguar, which I am doing for a great friend of mine.

This is the progress so far