Challenge yourself, try something new.

70_Dirt_rider_1

An intrinsic part of the creative life is to challenge things. To challenge existing norms, preconceived notions, behaviours and expectations, as well as a whole host of other aspects of our existence. One of the most rewarding is when we challenge ourselves. Sometimes it is not important wether we succeed in this endeavour, but more so that we engage in the process as a learning experience. Developing new skills and learning new approaches is a key goal behind moving forward.

 

Last year was the year of the biro pen and I pushed myself as far as I could in finding and developing a technique that allowed me to express myself fully with that particular medium. I pretty much reached my limit and some of the resultant drawings, particularly the Cafe Racer series, were very rewarding to complete. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to turn my back on all that work and take off in a new direction. Investing so much time and effort would be wasted if that were the case, and anyway doing these things is like playing a musical instrument, you have to keep your hand in shape through practice, so more will undoubtedly follow.

 

What is driving a fresh desire to push some other personal artistic boundaries this year showed its hand a bit towards the end of last year with the advent of more colour images. Again it was kind of pleasing to do them that way, essentially refining the biro pen technique and applying watercolour, but I couldn’t escape the fact that they were taking an enormous amount of time to complete. This year I want colour to play a larger part, but I also want to be more productive in the time available, to see more of the many ideas generated become finished pictures rather than footnotes in a pile of loose paper.

 

So the first approach is to work smaller and work faster, still incorporating many of the things like boxing and cropping explored last year, and to develop a punchy technique which works well with these new format images.

 

The Dirt Rider above is my first attempt. It is smaller, about 19cm across. I’ll be posting some more very soon and will tell you how I’m making them then. I sincerely hope you enjoy this one and those that are to come.

 

Where to draw the line?

Dragster 1

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.