Finishing the big drag bike drawing was a kind of watershed moment. I had a strong feeling that I didn’t want to do full colour images just yet, which I’ve covered in previous posts. There was also something else bothering me about it. It had elements to it that ticked the right boxes as far as content was concerned; the exaggerated engine, slightly extraordinary profile, big wheel(s) etc. But it lacked other things too. Straight off it was an image that said “bike as object”, not what I was after. It also lacked any context or connection to anything and a human element. Without a rider, or a place to go and do what it does, a bike is just a collection of parts that remain inert. What I wanted to get into the drawings was some of that action, some dynamism and direction.
I put away all my previous sketches and took out a fresh pad, a pencil and started again. the drawing above is what came out.
Now this is more like what I was after. Apart from the fact that drawing in soft pencil was an absolute pleasure, the drawing is starting to encapsulate the elements that had up until now eluded me. Putting a rider on the bike brings a fresh perspective and gives the image some new found purpose. It acts to lend a much needed sense of scale to the image and presents me with a whole host of small details to play with to influence my reaction to it. Facial expressions, arm and leg position, outfit and pose all come into play. It’s still elevational but I’ve started to bend the viewing plane to give some perspective to the extremities of the wheels. This bending, as if looking at the whole thing through a wide angled lens, also starts to give the feeling of motion.
It’s still a cartoon, which is a good thing, just a much better one than I’d been doing before. It gave me a huge spur to push things more into this new direction.