What lies behind.

Catch me if you can.

Back in early January, post No. 50 featured the finished version of the first of what have become known as the “Scribble” drawings. It depicted two guys vying for the lead in an impromptu street race somewhere out in the middle of nowhere on an empty road.

Shortly after completing that one, work commenced on a second drawing along the same lines. Working over a very loosely constructed pencil layout, the drawing is built up using light wobbly pen strokes. Features and details develop slowly and grow by passing over them many times. It’s a slow process but it allows me to balance the tones across the drawing as it progresses, continuously working around the drawing rather than concentrating one one specific area at a time.

Relative to other techniques it’s quite labour intensive but, this is offset by the “feel” the drawing adopts as it grows. You’ll notice from these detail shots taken with the camera, the whole thing’s on A2 so won’t fit in the scanner, even in sections, that there is no background yet. I’ll admit it’s an area I’m still having difficulty with but, it is becoming clearer to me why this is and how to deal with it.

This drawing has actually had more than a couple of backgrounds pencilled in, mainly in the form of loose townscapes, but all have been ended up being erased. Why? Well, mainly because they all detracted from the central focus of the drawing too much. They created a marked change in perception, from being a picture of two guys racing to a picture containing two guys racing. It’s a subtle difference but an important one as it’s all about where your eye wants to dwell.

There is a second challenge for me here too, and that is managing to render the background in the same style as the main part of the drawing. Easier said than done, the more that lies behind the core of the image, the harder it is to make it recessive so the two bikers don’t get lost in a sea of loosely filled in street details. It’s also hard to compliment the comedy of the two racers without detracting from them too much.

Currently I’m erring towards a simple approach tried out on a couple of previous drawings, a simple horizon which holds a small collection of references, small buildings etc, that help “place” the main subject but don’t crowd it out. This might sound like a bit of a cop out, but it’s not a thinly veiled excuse for avoiding extra work, more a considered effort to provide context and preserve the impact of the core of the drawing.

All things being equal, the finished version should be up here soon.


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