Firstly, a big thanks to everyone who sent me a “like” following the last post about the Dragster drawing and its blank rider. As ever, it’s always so encouraging to receive positive responses from viewers. If I haven’t yet, I will be visiting your sites too, to check out all of the creativity happening on WordPress and elsewhere and hopefully reciprocating in the spread of good karma.
You will see from the drawing above that not everything is going down the “leave bits blank” route, and so currently this one is much more like many that have come before. But it isn’t finished yet. What you see today is more of a progress update than a finished drawing. I whizzed off a quick scan for the blog without cleaning any of it up so it’s riddled with pencil lines and various other bits and pieces. Although the differences are sometimes subtle, this one is done on Fabriano drawing paper (200 gsm) rather than my preferred Bristol Board. The surface of the paper is much softer than the board and so the fine biro pen interacts with it differently. It is much harder to achieve the very fine line work for delicate tones on the one hand but, creates a kind of broken texture in the cross-hatching on the other hand. You do get a bit more ink build up on the nib of the pen so it’s a good idea to always have a tissue handy for keeping the pen as clean as you can. Overall the result is good though, so the paper has passed this part of the test. The next bit will be to see how it deals with direct sketching in pen. If there is a downside, it is the fact that this paper is only available in A4 and A3 sizes, so getting into some larger drawings will require me to find a different paper. I’m on to that already.
What’s going to happen in order to finish it? Well, there are a couple of new ideas that I’m trying out now which I hope will provide the answer to that question. It will be a new direction that’s for sure and I’ll post about it very soon.
Lastly today, here for your amusement, is the second cartoon I bashed out the other day over a cappuccino whilst contemplating our inability to read things properly, take things seriously and exercise our sense of humour.
Following on from the last post, the point was quickly reached where the decision as to what to do with the rider figure needed making. Leaving him as a kind of abstract blank space didn’t seem to look at all right. A few basic outlines looked better but didn’t add that much to the overall image, so the third of my choices remained. Why we spend so much time agonising over these things sometimes mystifies me, especially when it’s such a small jump to achieving the finish and one realises that it wasn’t such a big deal after all. That’s life I suppose.
It would be good at this point to be able to offer some kind of critique of the finished drawing but I’m currently in that place where I have been looking at it for so long that it is hard to get observations in some kind of order. So for the time being you will have to decide for yourselves whether it works or doesn’t. Others eyes will see things that mine currently miss, so revisiting it in a few days will give me a fresh perspective, and the capacity to work out how to move things on from here. There is certainly something in this leaving areas blank idea, but it needs properly evaluating, experimenting with and developing further.
Finally today, and on a much lighter note, a small cartoon for consideration. Some of us have an unfortunate habit of being able to read a word or phrase and always manage to insert extra letters. An example, if I see a real estate sign that says “To Let” I cannot fail to see the word “toilet”. I’m sure I am not the only person to suffer from this affliction. Well, a well known helmet manufacturer released a new product recently, The Castel. Reading the press release blurb I couldn’t help but think that it was called The Castle. Suffice to say this stuck in my mind, and that morning over a coffee at a local cafe the sketchbook came in very handy. The biking world can be very dry sometimes, it’s good to poke fun at it every now and again. Enjoy.
The title for todays post is phrased as a question and is one that is occupying a sizable chunk of my creative brain power at the moment. Although a single question, it concerns two very distinct aspects of the drawing you see above, which is shown in nearly finished form.
The first aspect of the question arises from my decision to crop the image and leave some of the image blank. Why? Well it stems from some feedback that has come this way in recent weeks, and some older thinking from a while ago which centred around the issue of how to introduce another dimension into the monochrome ink drawings. Combining the “less is more” approach and the often mentioned ability of the eye and brain to work together to complete an image, the time seemed right for some experimentation. When soliciting comment from others about the drawings it is interesting to hear that in some cases there is almost too much information provided, that the eye, brain and imagination are left with no work to do. Everything is there in front of them and there are no gaps for them to fill in. This got me thinking about where the edges of the drawing lies and how much information is then left within the space. Hence the cropping, which I could have done simply on a completed drawing in Photoshop, but that wouldn’t be the same.
The other part of the titles question touches the same subject but lies behind my decision to leave the rider figure blank. The line that this part of the enquiry is concerned with is that which does or doesn’t depict the missing rider. Are the blank spaces amongst the bikes details exactly that, is the figure simply delineated by a simple outline or is his form expressed in line only ie legs, head, arms etc?
It is far easier to add to a drawing than it is to subtract, particularly when working in ink. I wanted the drawing to be grounded so have only cropped on three sides and have slowly built up the image until it meets my ruled edges. Once the bike is complete I can then work toward figuring out where the line work for the rider will go, moving through my three options until I’m happy. Of course it may all end up looking a bit odd, but unless one tries these things one will never know.