Lovely imperfect paper.

The picture above is the latest of my attempts at finding some different and interesting compositions around the sidecar outfit theme. This is very much a sketch rather than a thinly veiled shot at a finished piece. The density of the line work has ended up covering a tangled nest of construction and guide lines and the wonder of modern technology has enabled me to virtually obliterate the swathes of Tippex correction fluid useed in the early stages. This more loose approach to a drawing is really working its way into my system to the point where they hold as much enjoyment as the more tight and precise drawings I have previously shown you. This one is again done on heavy weight lining paper, a habit that is proving hard to break for want of finding a good substitute.


Some time ago a friend pointed out, quite rightly, that this paper is not acid free. This has its upsides as well as its downsides. Not being acid free means, as far as I know, that the paper will age badly, yellowing and discolouring over time, and finally disintegrating into a pile of dust after a decade or three. Not good if you want your work to survive many years of ownership and admiration. If you’re worried about preserving the image rather than an original work, then I suppose it could be scanned and printed out using the Giclee process or similar, to provide with something that will last in perpetuity.


The upsides to using this paper, at least as far as I’m concerned right now, are twofold. Firstly, as I’ve said before, it possesses a surface unlike anything else. It has a course almost gritty nature to it which takes ink from the pen in a subtle way. One can employ a lightness of touch so that the pen is almost skating over the surface to leave very light, whispy lines, and then one can really build up the image by working the surface quite hard. It seems to be able to take no end of punishment from the tip of a ball point. A bonus feature is that you can apply light washes to loose sheets without suffering too much warp and distortion.


The second reason I like this paper is perhaps a bit more idiosyncratic and concerns the idea of patina. For as long as I can remember I have found the idea of objects gaining patina through their use a very appealing one. During years spent designing products the notion of how ones ownership effects the physical nature of a product over time always interested me. I found it fascinating, particularly from the point of view of someone living in what is essentially a disposable age. The way that a paint finish would rub off the corners, how once bright metals would dull through repeated handling, and how the accumulation of myriad tiny scratches and dents imbued a product with a kind of documented history. All lovely stuff. Yes, there is a mild sentimentality running through all this but, it does not purely account for my appreciation of a well used tool or favourite pair of old motorcycling gloves. So the idea that this paper will age disgracefully, take on unforeseen hues because of sunlight or pollutants in the air, and get visibly old is very appealing. Why can’t a picture show its age?

The image above shows the drawing at an early stage. Over time it kind of faded into view. I quite like the idea that it could fade out of view too.



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