As mentioned in the previous post things are moving relatively swiftly towards the time when the complete collection of nine of these small “stunt” pictures are done. Not for want of trying has it taken rather a while to get to this stage. As things progress one is challenged by a double edged sword of execution. On the one hand, making more of these images should become quicker as one gets used to the routines and techniques being employed. Conversely, as you become increasingly involved in the process behind each one, you get more and more focused on achieving the levels of finish and detail that you know you’re looking for. Thus one edge gives you time while the other happily takes it away again. Enthusiasm however is not diminished and the end goal of nine is now firmly in sight.
This one above is the latest to be finished. I think it’s based on some kind of BSA though looking at it now it appears more of a “bitsa”, an agglomeration of various parts assembled into something that satisfies the required function. A bit like cafe racers of old perhaps and so true to the spirit of the genre I think.
Finally, at last, eventually here is the finished picture, brought to you after some rather unexpectedly focused procrastination and first order dithering. Admittedly there was a good deal of fiddling about trying to get the right colour for the background block, but that’s no excuse. I knew I wanted a blue of some kind to provide a contrasting coolness to the yellow of the bike and getting the mix and density right was a bit tricky but finally something came together to give me the feel I was searching for. The liquid water colours I use behave in an unpredictable way when you start mixing them and then diluting the resultant blend. In this case you will notice that some of the pigments take to the paper almost instantly, creating areas of dark, or patches of mauve depending on the speed of your brush movements. The results are always a surprise therefore, but this is an aspect of the making process which rewards as much as detracts from one’s satisfaction upon completion.
So that’s six of these done with another three to do. I want nine in total for a little project I’m thinking about. I’ll be posting about that soon. Thanks for watching.
The next stage in the application of colours to the picture is probably the most nerve wracking and delicate, though it is hugely rewarding when completed to ones satisfaction. Although in your minds eye you feel you can “see” exactly how you want things to to turn out, the reality is that one is merely aiming at achieving that vision, as actually it’s not at all clear until you’ve put paint to paper, and sometimes by then it is too late to make a change. You have to kind of feel your way towards your goal. I’d decided the bike should be a golden yellow colour. The first stage is to put some shadow tones onto the areas that require them like lower edges and vertical faces. With these you have to think what colour the yellow would be in shadow as these things are invariably never a case of simply adding black or grey to your base colour. In this case doing that would make everything a dirty green colour, not good. So using small quantities of darker ochres and browns these areas are touched in and left to dry. Having decided on highlight size and position it’s time for the yellow, applied in a thinned wash to start with and then built with some less diluted colour as the from appears. Knowing when to stop is as much judgement as experience, so slowly, slowly, catchy monkey as they say. The yellow on the helmet follows and then finally the base layer for the leather jacket making sure I leave clear all the small details I want to stand out in the finished picture.
When all the above is fully dry it’s time for the last of the inking stages. Using a fatter pen than usual, a 0.5 point, the tyres are done first, leaving hard edged areas for the highlights rather than a more messy looking feathered edge. Back to a fine pen and the jacket comes next where it’s very much a case of working slowly down or across the shape, again leaving small slivers of grey to denote highlight areas where the leather wrinkles. You could argue that areas like the jacket should be more gradated and “realistic”, but if you do that then the rest of the picture doesn’t “fit” and you end up having to apply the same approach to everything. All that’s left to do now is add any small colour touches into any helmet and jacket badges, the spark plug cap and small reflections of the yellow that appear on metal parts facing the coloured area. A final tickling process takes some time, constantly scanning the image for little white gaps and spots where a bit more colour or black is needed, but it serves to lift small parts of the picture that you perhaps didn’t see before.
The picture is now nearly done, all that remains is to choose the right colour for the background block, one that gives enough contrast with the bike colour but doesn’t drown the image in the process. That’s all in the next post, see you then.