A couple of days in and the V-twin learning exercise is progressing well. It has not been easy balancing ones need to learn a configuration whilst at the same time not getting sucked into rendering hefty amounts of accurate detail which only serves to slow down the whole process and make it less fluid. In a way this is a process which repeats each time a new project is started, though it does vary greatly in its effect and is something one has to be constantly mindful of. There is a time for detail and a time for covering as much ground as possible. The secret is to learn and train oneself so that the jump between the two becomes instinctual, it’s not the easiest skill to learn and I struggle with it all the time.
Todays images are selected from the Dragster project inspired by my recent visit to a drag race meet. The one at the top of the post is a snap shot of a work in progress depicting a machine being pushed through the paddock on its way to the staging area. It’s kind of working as a drawing but needs a lot more work to reach completion, though it’s great to get to grips with all of the bits and pieces, the plumbing and components, that all fit together to make the whole.
This one and the sketch below are from one of the larger sketch pads where the small scamps from the sketchbook get a work out. What’s different about these two is that there is hardly any bike on show. There is enough to give you the impression whilst your attention is drawn mainly to the riders and their attire, and I like that. There is a wonderful element to this racing scene which is both graphically bold and very colourful, strangely evocative of a bygone era almost. Wonderful serif fonts used in names and numbers and a healthy usage of glitter paint, retro and modern styles all coming together in a riot of colour. It would be great to capture some of that in the final drawings, which means reaching for the colour paints and inks, can’t wait. The overhead view in particular should allow a picture of a very different aspect ratio which will be interesting to create.
For completely illogical reasons that now escape me, I’ve been using this particular light blue pen for all the sketches done this week. It’s not a very sophisticated device being from a set of three I bought for a pound some time ago, pink and purple were the other colours, but there is something in the ink and the way the pen releases it that works really well with the sketch paper. I have no idea if I’ll be able to find any more when it finally runs dry. For now it does its thing well and constantly reminds me how often great results can come from using the most basic tools.
Here are a couple of different sketches today which are inspired by some shots I took at the drag meet of some great custom street bikes that were on display there. I have been meaning to try and have a crack at some V-twin powered creations for absolutely ages.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this engine configuration is utterly ubiquitous given that it seems to lie at the heart of so many custom motorcycles the world over. You only have to open the pages of any custom bike magazine and they are everywhere, such is their popularity. But for some reason I have persistently shied away from them. At first it was very much a case of their apparent simplicity being incredibly difficult to capture in perspective views and, secondly it was just a case of never being able to get the proportions right, no matter how hard I tried. In fact the harder I tried, the worse it became. Anyway, as you can see, some progress is being made. Like lots of these things you have to force yourself to start but, once that initial hurdle of confidence is overcome the path to familiarity is more open and you can get on with the task of learning what you need to create the image you desire. It’s that old embedded knowledge process again and that apparent ubiquity plays into my hands here as there is never any shortage of reference material to help me out when I can’t quite get it right.
Starting with some Bobber type street bikes, I have a soft spot for these, the sketch at the top is mostly about getting to know some proportional stuff in elevation, which is really the starting point for being able to distort and exaggerate details in future drawings. The lower drawing is a first stab at pumping up the engine proportions in a simple perspective view. Again, it’s early days but satisfying none the less to be finally adding this format to the engine room.
With the print store now active, some space in the old brain is now free again to concentrate on filtering through influences and inspirations, sketching out ideas and hopefully generating some new images. Getting back into the swing of things as it were. It has also provided a moment to reflect on where things are going and how to try and incorporate various ongoing media experiments into the work flow.
The recent visit to the Dragstalgia meet at Santa Pod raceway has gone some way to rekindle interest in the whole dragster thing and this has started to filter through into the pages of the sketch book in preparation for launch into some more finished pieces. Like so many aspects of this motorcycling interest it serves up so much visual inspiration it seems often difficult to decide which bits to tackle first. There is a kind of blindness that descends upon you when venturing into an enormous retail store sometimes, there is so much stuff in front of you that you have no idea where to look first. It’s the same with some of these biking subjects, particularly if one finds oneself staring at the panorama of images downloaded from the camera into your photo library. The feeling can be that you are looking at everything and nothing at the same time. I find I can only get round this by switching it off and doing something else for a while. The subconscious is then somehow released to do what it does best and filter through the information before popping a mail into your mental in-box to let you know some form of direction has been chosen.