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.

 

Work in progress.

First Dragster drawing

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.

 

 

Sketching, lots of sketching.

Dragster ideas.

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.

 

This is the time to sketch.

Dragster ideas 2.