Experiment and learn.


These small images are really coming along thick and fast, well, relative to the time it takes to do the larger ones anyway. The working title for this one is “Big Green” for obvious reasons and every time I look at it I’m gladdened by the brightness of the colours. Being a head on view there wasn’t the complexity of an engine to carry the detail so it needed to be found somewhere else. With such big tank bulges showing I thought it would be fun to see if detail could be included in the reflections shown. It’s only a small image so there’s not that much room but I managed to get some in.


These smaller pictures are a lovely canvas to experiment on, the technique is quick and you can try things out without worrying about wrecking a picture you’ve spent weeks working up. The process also teaches you what does and doesn’t work, and you can then apply that learning to bigger pictures when they come along. I’ve always found reflections tricky, so this is a really unthreatening way to get a bit more familiar with them.



Keeping it punchy.


Ok, so here’s the next one in the now growing collection of small pictures coming together here in the studio. This one is lifted from one of the worksheets done a couple of weeks ago. There were a couple of characters sat behind the bike in that version but I decided to take one of them out and slightly change the context of the picture.


These are proving really fun to do. It’s not just the drop in scale and the subsequent shortening of making time that provides the pleasure, as much as the change in approach to the punchiness of the colours and handling a different level of detail. It is logical to think that going smaller should also mean going simpler, and I would agree to some extent, though I would also argue that if you take too much away you risk losing something, be it the attention of the viewer or the impact of your picture. With less area of paper to accommodate the image one must work that little bit harder on maintaining a level of detail that still makes the image interesting to look at, hence all the little stickers and badges, and possessing an impact in some way, hence the use of bright colours. These are after all fun images of fun subjects, and so to me it pays to put the work in to help them jump off the page.


Keeping it cartoony.


Here’s the picture from the previous post all inked up and finished. This is as far as I want to take it. In contrast to the previous version of this picture, the one with the yellow fuel tank, this one was done with a black biro pen, I was interested to see the difference, and it works quite well though I have to admit to preferring the much blacker lines of the previous version. A good experiment to try though, and for me validates the decision to push the slightly more cartoony style on these smaller pictures. Because biro pen has the ability to give such a variety of line weight and density it’s always tempting, and indeed a struggle sometimes not, to get all carried away with layer upon layer of shadowing and tone which confuses the drawing. The stark simple lines created using the technical pens work well with the colouration to keep the drawing in cartoon territory which is what I’m after with these. It is also helping me get over my biro addiction.


Of course it would be a simple case of going over everything a bit more with the pen to blacken things up but the essence of the picture is already there in my mind, and that would simply look like trying to emulate one kind of rendering style with another. You’ll notice that the boundary box is grey rather than black in an effort to bring a bit of softness to the holding device as well. There are some grey pens here which I’ll experiment with to try and find my ideal solution. So, I hope you enjoyed seeing this one finally. On to the next one. More again soon.