Without much of an idea about how I wanted to start this post I sat staring at the screen for a while before staring out of the window. “It might still be January but, what a beautiful days it is” I thought as the sun streamed into the room.
In fact I’d just charged up the battery for the Triumph yesterday so what better thing to do than to take the ol’ fella out for a quick spin. and have a think about my post over a cup of hot tea at The Ace Cafe.
Having removed the bike cover and installed the newly charged battery I couldn’t help noticing how brightly the sky was reflecting in the polished alloy of the exhaust silencer. It looked just like how we were taught to render chrome, all blue sky up top and a brownish ground line with a bit of black in there for effect. A bit cartoonish really. I realised I didn’t need to contemplate my post over a cuppa at the Ace, but I went for a ride anyway, it was the right thing to do.
And that’s the thing about colouring metal, particularly tubes, pipes and so forth. You can really ham it up in a cartoonish way and it still ends up looking kind of real. Obviously to the purist there’s a lot more to it than that but it’s surprising what you can achieve with very little effort. A dark line or area denotes a reflection of the ground and another in blue gives you that reflection of the sky and the whole lot looks kind of shiny. No matter how many reference pictures you look at, you will always see that shiny metal is the same colour(s) as everything around it. This is my very simplistic view but it works for me and prevents me from becoming utterly confused when I start to wonder about what is reflected in what.
There’s a similarly simple approach to the flat alloy surfaces which make up engine cases etc. Parts are generally a tone of grey and the junctions between the surfaces pick up the highlights. From this simple premise you can then go into as much detail as you want but for me it’s always a safe place to start. Build it up slowly and stop when you’re happy to.
I’m not exactly sure why I decided to apply colour to the metal bits first on this drawing, it was some kind of subconscious decision to do with methodical working or something like that. It kind of worked but left two areas of indecision in my mind. First, I couldn’t decide what the main exhaust should be, chrome or a kind of brownish stainless steel. Second, I didn’t know at this point what colour the bodywork would be so I couldn’t reflect that in anything. I thought I’d make my mind up about those two things at the next stage.