A change of scale.

It is most likely true that if you asked any creative person who produces stuff, if they just worked on one thing at a time, in a beautifully seamless procession of sequential order, they would likely say they did not. It seems to be in our nature to have as many things in the pipeline as we can manage, and then more. Our work spaces are doubtless littered with bits and pieces which remain unfinished, partially forgotten and “in development”. Our ability to accumulate projects is often quite astounding, and that’s before you even start talking about what’s in the brain bank, the unseen material hidden in the grey matter.

This is very much the case at Soulcraftcandy Mansions. Both the brain bank and endless pages of notebooks are filled with things that might be, one day. Sketches, doodles and diagrams all waiting patiently to be given life through some creative expression.

One such idea has been receiving such attention this week, small drawings in series. With the bigger drawings churning away nicely it was time to look at another idea for a while, to give my creativity a rest by way of a change of scale, pace and medium. Small drawings have always held my attention and this goes way back to when to being in a design studio and a winning idea would first appear in the corner of a page as a little thumbnail sketch. Of course the same thing happens these days but I’m now just as interested in the drawing as the idea it expresses.

The former situation would require enlarging the sketch and then investigating its potential as a design. Now the process is kind of reversed, rather than adding detail to the original sketch the process is reductive, what can be left out. The drop in scale really makes you think about what is the minimum required to get what you’re after. How do you compress all the complexity, mechanisms and complicated forms into a small space. Comic artists are consummate masters of this discipline. The hope is that it will refresh an appreciation for the details when returning to a larger format, but that might be hoping for too much.

Some might be tempted to sidestep this issue of detail by simply scaling down an already scanned drawing in Photoshop and printing it out, but that only gives you little dense balls of ink and not much else. So the idea was to draw as close to the required scale as possible to start with. Then, in the same way that we used to play with the photocopier all those years ago, it’s a question of cleaning up the image and changing the size until you’ve got something workable. Scanning, cleaning out unwanted lines, knocking back saturation levels and printing until I’m happy. Four of these images get gathered together and printed out in a 2×2 matrix on A4.

The old Epson A3 printer that’s sat here stopped doing beautiful ages ago but has a great ability for handling all manner of different kinds and weights of paper which my newer Canon is not that interested in doing.

This facility means that it’s also easy now to play with differing media on these different papers and, to play around with different colour combinations for the images. Colour crayons, inks and paints will all get a look in. So far it’s the crayons that have held my attention and the results are promising though there is certainly room for improvement. I’m using Derwent Studio crayons by Rexel Cumberland and they have a lovely soft waxiness to them, but they don’t stay sharp for long and laying on deep colour often requires you to labour them a bit. The paper too, is a bit coarse but picks up colour well so it will be a case of finding the right balance between these two attributes in order to get the desired level of intensity.

There are some liquid water colours ( Dr Ph Martin’s)sitting in a box on the shelf here. It will be interesting to see how they work on some fine surfaced water colour paper in the next experiment.


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