With the metal parts done I still had no idea what I was going to do about the bodywork colour. I knew that I wanted it to be bright, but I also wanted it to be right. By deciding to apply colour to the wheels and other smaller details I thought I’d be able to postpone making up my mind a bit longer and that the presence of these other pieces of the drawing would give me some indication of which direction I wanted to go in.
The wheels are a big part of any bike drawing. As much as any other part they lead the eye in emphasising any perspective used,can give an image direction and motion, and anchor the drawing to any ground plane. They are also, or can be at least, big blobs of colour. In this case there’s no perspective to worry about so their main function is to complete the drawing and ground it.
We perceive tyres as being bklack but in reality they are anything but, ranging from almost white highlights to virtually black in the shadows. I like to keep these things simple and so chose to start with black, for shadows etc and then applied white to give gradated greys and lend the tyre some basic form, nothing more.
And now the time for the bodywork.
Orange, definitely orange I’d decided. A bright, fast colour that makes me think of sport, racing and speed. It’s a great colour for bikes, think KTM and Kawasaki. Wanting to build it up slowly I applied it with colour pencil, and quickly realised that Bristol Board requires quite a bit of pressure to build up a good layer. Finally doing the exhaust and inserting a fat ground line finished it off.
I’m quite pleased with the result given that it’s a fairly simple image. I could fuss over it for another hour or so but I’ll leave it as it is for now. The colours worked ok in the end and lend the drawing a bit of that “punch” that lifts it off the page. But it’s what is not there that slightly bothers me. It’s a contextual thing, the lack of a background or other device holding it back. In all my subsequent drawings this is something I’m still figuring out.
I could have, of course, avoided a great deal of this mucking about by simply scanning the black line drawing into Photoshop and just playing around for a while. But I decided not to. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly I find it’s too easy to create something on screen and then be utterly unable to repeat it on paper, colour matching being a perfect example of this. Also, the texture of the paper can have a quite strong influence on the colour medium that is applied to it, and I find it utterly laborious trying to replicate this on screen, especially when all I’m doing is having a quick look at how something might look.
Secondly, and this is a process issue more than anything, I find it burns up my time and plonks me squarely in left brain mode when all I want is to be in right brain, creative mode for a bit longer. Left brain is the logical half of the partnership and I find it starts to restrict my thoughts and actions, particularly when I’m working on a drawing. Perhaps I have yet to learn how to be truly creative with a computer program, but I find even the simplest of menu sequences takes me into left brain territory and keeps me there like some kind of hostage. I’m sure this is a subject that I will return to a lot more later on.
In an earlier post I mentioned that I felt like I’d gone too far with full colour and wanted to draw more before getting into all that. So from this point onward I went back to monochrome, pencil or pen, in an effort to get myself drawing more and thinking about colour less.