This week I dove into some large drawing. I’ve had such a busy end of the summer that I didn’t get much of a chance to make some of my own art so when I had a little bit of time I decided to make some large black and white marker drawings. As a matter of fact I made three of them but this is the one I drew yesterday and it’s titled “Give Me a Chance”.
I only started making these large drawings a couple of years ago and for a second time, as in my “On the Rough” drawings, the process was dictated by the paper. The very first of these large drawing was done on some very nice 140lb watercolor paper. The paper was nice and creamy and I remember using some marker on it but it was mostly brush and ink. The drawing came out okay but I wasn’t overly enthused by it.
Then I bought some of this much cheaper 22×30 inch 140lb watercolor paper and things changed. Not only was it a dollar or two a sheet rather than six to eight dollars a sheet but it was much harder to draw on let alone get a nice smooth brush line on. It has a fairly rough surface which is often hard to deal with. So I went the way of markers rather than a brush. A whole bunch of different Copic markers.
That very first large drawing I made mostly with a brush also had some straight lines that I made with a Sharpie marker. Since I had made that I got into markers a lot more and knew that just a Sharpie wasn’t going to cut it. I started using my two Copic markers, the sketch marker and the regular one, but even with each marker having two different tips on them it wasn’t quite enough. I ended up buying an extra wide Copic marker plus some Copic calligraphy tips which I used to replace the regular Copic marker tips.
I basically ended up with seven different markers to work with. The regular marker has a chisel tip on one end and a fine tip on the other. The sketch marker has a rubber brush on one end and a small chisel tip on the other end. The calligraphy marker has a small flat end and a large flat end. The extra wide marker is an inch and a half wide. That’s good for filling in large areas of black. I also have some tiny .5 and .7 Copic markers that I almost never use on large drawings but I have used on occasion.
“Give Me a Chance” is a good example of what these large marker drawings have become. They’ve become very much about black and white graphics. When I made that first large drawing it was a lot like my smaller drawings. It was a lot about the line. With this rougher paper I couldn’t make my usual pretty brush line so I had to find something else. What I found was large black shapes and a mechanical line. I couldn’t make a thick to thin brush line but I could use a ruler or a French curve to make a nice mechanical line. So that’s what I did.
In this picture she have a woman who looks like she’s dancing. Or maybe just posing but there seems to be a little more movement than that. When I make these large drawings I start by making a small drawing of the image. Not all of the elements are in the small drawing such as the black shapes and patterns but all the basic line work is there. This particular small drawing was even sitting around for two years before I made a big drawing out of it. First I scan in the small drawing, blow it up in Photoshop, print it out in pieces, tape those pieces together, tape the printout onto my 22×30 inch paper, and then use graphite transfer paper to transfer the drawing onto the larger paper.
This graphite paper transfer method always makes for a lousy drawing once it’s on the big paper. It looks like a mediocre tracing because that’s what it is. If I was going to make a drawing that depended on my usual line work I’d have to redraw the tracing at this point. But since these drawings depend on a more mechanical line I really don’t have to. Since I’m using straight edges and French curves I just have to know where the line is going to go in general and then the straight edge will make it exact. That’s how I did the lines and circles on the upper left and lower right of this one.
None of the black shapes in the woman’s shirt, skirt, or arms were in the original drawings. This is the stuff I like to figure out at full size. Sometimes when I scale up a drawing the details that work at the small size don’t work well at the large one. Plus with the crude tracing method I use to transfer the drawing most of those details will be messed up anyway. It’s best to leave them out until I need them.
The parallel line patterns in the background also weren’t in the original drawing. The shapes that the patterns fill were there but I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do with those shapes. At first I wanted some of the shapes to be solid black but then I knew I couldn’t pull that off with the woman having so much black in her clothes. So I got out my Haff hatching machine and the Copic Calligraphy tipped marker. Those two tools work very well together.
The hair on the woman in unusual for these drawings. It’s not graphic as much as it’s textured. I haven’t done a lot of that with these but it was appropriate here. Those large and smooth swirling lines are hard to do on this rough paper so I decided to go with a rougher textured line. Since it was her hair a texture that stands out and sets it apart seems to work fine. It ended up being one of my favorite parts of this drawing.
So that’s my art work for this week. It’s what I got done. Sometimes it’s important to just get something done.
I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got thirteen new comics.
Check them all out here:
It’s been mostly a quiet summer biking season for me this year. That’s a good thing. It means nothing has gone wrong. Sure I had to replace my rear wheel gear cassette but that went fairly smoothly. The gears and chain don’t seem to quite mesh as flawlessly as they could but my bike is hardly without flaws. It has plenty of them but as long as one doesn’t stand out too much it’s all okay. That’s my philosophy. I haven’t had any flats since I replaced my back tire tread either. Well, maybe there was one but it was a while ago and an aberration. The new tread is holding up well.
It’s been a mild summer around these parts too. I can tell by my water bottles. I carry two water battles on my bike: a big one and a small one. I usually drink from the small one except for really hot days when I drink so much water that I need the second bottle too. Why don’t I just carry, and drink from, the big bottle you ask? Because I find the smaller one easier to handle. Simple as that. Being distracted by trying to handle a large water bottle while biking is a bad thing. This summer it’s been almost all the small bottle. I’d guess that I’ve only had to drink out of the larger bottle on about three days this whole summer. That’s pretty crazy. I’d guess in other summer’s I’ve had to drink out of the larger bottle at least ten days in August alone. Like I said: mild.
Now comes the time of year where I have to make a decision about my bike route too. I have three bike routes: Summer route, Fall route, and snow on the ground Winter route. The summer route has my biggest hill in it. The route is probably an extra two miles and has a pretty big climb in it. At least big by my standards. When it starts to get cold out the climb starts to get too hard. Or at least too hard for me to want to bother with. I can still make it but it’s no fun. It takes a lot of energy in the cold.
In general biking is different in the cold. My legs don’t work the same way they do in the warmth. They’re slower and don’t respond as quickly. Plus when I reach for that little bit of extra kick to make it up the big hill that kick is just not there. It’s there in the warmth but not in the cold. So this time of year my question to myself is always, “When should I stop going up the big hill for the year?”. It’s a bit of a tough question because I always feel a little sting of defeat when I change to my shorter route. I get over it for sure but it’s there at first.
Since I cycle in the morning it can be fairly could out there in late summer. It was 60ºF the other morning and so I had to put on a long sleeve shirt for my ride. We’ve had a bit of a heat wave this week and it’s back up to the 70s in the morning but it’ll drop into the 50s before I know it. And 50s and cloudy can be pretty cold for taking that big hill. Especially if the autumn winds are blowing.
Last year I remember it got cold a little early. I ended up changing over to my Fall route in the first week of September. I was tired of thinking about when to change routes so I just did. Then it warmed up a little and I was disappointed I had already cut the hill out. Once I change the route it’s changed. There is no going back. Or maybe I did go back for a day or two. I really can’t remember but I don’t think I did.
This year I’m aiming to keep going until the 15th of September. I’ll reevaluate then. It doesn’t seem like I’ll have much problem until then since it’s warm out as I write this.
With this being the fourth winter in a row that I’m going to cycle through at least I’m not asking myself when to put my bike away for the year anymore. That used to always be the question to myself in the fall. When was it too cold to ride? That always brought a greater feeling of defeat because it meant that I was inside on the stationary bike until Spring. It used to be miserable cycling in the cold of the late Fall though. Before I figured out how to dress properly for winter riding “Too cold to ride” was a real thing that could sneak up on my on any October or November day. So this “Too cold for the big hill” is much better.
One thing that has been annoying with my bike ride lately has been the “Loose stone paving method”. The town next to mine uses this paving method sometimes on the roads that I bike over. They basically put sticky oil down on the road and then cover the oil with small gravel. The cars driving over the gravel push it down a little bit into the oil but mostly the gravel gets built up in ruts before it eventually gets pushed over to the sides of the road. Meanwhile I have to cycle through gravel. That is not fun. I ended up changing my route which wouldn’t be so bad if my favorite part of the route wasn’t the part that I had to cut out. I couldn’t ride my best down hill right into an up hill combo. It’s been three weeks so far and not all of the gravel is out of the way. I tested it out today and it’s generally okay but there are still a few areas with deep gravel on them. Still that’s better than the terror ride I had over the gravel the first day when I didn’t know how bad it was.
Well, that’s the bike riding report. Keep pedaling and stay out of the deep gravel.
I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got eight new comics.
Check them all out here:
It’s been a quiet week for me art-wise. I did manage to get four “On the Rough” drawings done though. Numbers eighty five through eighty eight. These are the spontaneous brush and ink drawing that I make on really rough watercolor paper that doesn’t seem to be good for anything else. At least I can’t manage to draw anything else on it. But it takes a brush and ink real well if you’re looking for some rough around the edges line work.
Number Eighty Five – This one looks a little Mary-mother-of-Jesus-ish to me. I guess it could be a man too but the face looks feminine to me. It’s the head piece that make it look biblical but I think Mary usually was painted with a blue head piece and not orange. I could be wrong about that since it’s just a memory. I like the orange head piece. It makes a bold color statement. It dominates most of the picture but is knocked back a little bit in spots with a blue wash to give it some depth. The yellow sky just kinda limply sits there but the violet ground (or is it water?) holds its own and demands a bit of attention. I find the green tree sneaks up on me. At first I don’t notice it but then in draws my eye in. I think the fact that the woman is looking away from us makes this painting a little pensive. She seems to be thinking. I’m not sure if I like her yellow bangs or pink shirt. These are spontaneous paintings so everything is not going to work out every time so I’m okay with the things I don’t like. The orange is nice though.
Number Eighty Six – Here we have a woman looking into the distance as she raises her hand. That hand is problematic. It’s barely a hand. Like I said, this paper is rough and the brush I use on it is in rough shape so it’s often tough to make something as delicate as a inch tall hand. But that’s how it ended up so I made the best of it. It was even more awkward before I turned it into a silhouette. I like the woman’s face. It has a happy quality to it. And who doesn’t like crazy orange hair? I like the rough lines of the hair because they echo the hand a bit and make the hand seem a little more normal. The purple sky makes a nice backdrop for the orange hair as it fades into the darkness that is the ground. The rectangular collar on the dress makes her neck even longer than it is. Long necks almost always work in art. The light green color of her dress almost acts as a neutral. It’s where your eye can rest. The orange, pink, and purple are very active but the green with a wash of red on one side is a calm presence. Overall I’m happy with the way this one came out.
Number Eighty Seven – Here we go with a person who is looking right at us. This is more usual for me. And he is an unusual looking man. First off his skin tone has so many colors in it that it’s threatening to turn into mud. “Muddy” is usually how painters describe the brownish colors that result from too many pigments mixing together. I think I avoided that but just barely. In his face we have blue, violet, yellow, and orange. Not to mention his green eyes. That’s an unusual color combination and I’m not saying that it works but I do think I stopped short of making it not work. There is some damning with faint praise. I like the orange of his shirt best in this one. It glows. The yellow and orange of his hair is tamed by all the black brush strokes but the same colors in his shirt are free to be themselves. The whole background on this one is just there. It doesn’t do much for me. The black lines and shapes don’t say much and neither does the color. It’s not terrible just perfunctory. I’d say this painting is the weakest of the four.
Number Eighty Eight – The final one for today is the most out there image. We get a diagonal composition and what may be a woman flying through the air. Or she could be on the ground. Those pink and purple clouds behind her might be land. I’m not sure. Her hair is also blowing in the wind as if the wind was in her face. That would seem to put her on the ground. I like not knowing. This woman also has a very long neck. So long, in fact, that it seems detached from her body. Her head is off center of her shoulders but that’s okay with me. It may not work anatomically but it works compositionally. I really like the blue/green of the sky next to the yellow of her face. Some of that blue/green is brought into her face as a wash both giving her face a little bit of dimension and harmonizing it with the background. That doesn’t always work but here it does. The brush strokes in her hair are about my favorite brush stokes in all of these four paintings. I think it was the only time I managed to get a smooth and pretty line. The hair looks flowing. It’s tough to do flowing on this paper. The oranges and reds of her top also harmonize well with the light purples and pinks of the fluffy clouds. I don’t think I use that color combination very often. The piece of blue in her collar is a good change of pace bit of cool color amongst all those warm oranges and reds. Overall this might be my favorite of the four.
So there you go. I didn’t get a whole lot of my own artwork done this week but there is a look at a few of the things I did manage to do. I hope you like them.