Committed to further study the themes present in the story Meanwhile (of which I talked to you in my last post), I focused during the past two weeks on beaches and ruins.
I worked with graphite pencils on paper again to simplify the information in front of me to simple values and shapes. I worked from photographs that I took myself or that found on the internet.
My issues with drawing beaches where twofold: the form of waves and wavelets reaching shore, and the shape of human footsteps on sand.
I am sure I missed out some information and deeper study would be required to get a grasp of the various behaviours at play in this kind of scenery: the motions caused by wind, the angle and quality of light at various times of day, different frames and points of view on the scene, the wearing off of marks by wind and water...
I could do colour studies as well, but preferred to focus on value and shape, so not to be distracted with too much to deal with at once.
To study ruins was a real blast. I have to say I was always scared of drawing this complex subject. But living in Ireland and thus being surrounded by remains of the past has forced me to look at ruins no matter where I go. Ireland can be a very ghostly place. It is filled with old castles and abandoned houses. I love everything derelict so I can say I am blessed to live in such a haunted country.
But castles are not what I needed to look at here. In the story Meanwhile a ruined city lies at the edge of a beach threaded by mysterious silhouettes. A long wall separate the sandy coast from the buildings.
My goals was to find the typical elements of a ruined building and how I could, with a minimum of information, convey the state of such building; what visual clues can I use to make a building feel beaten and broken. Also I needed to take a closer look at how a wall recedes in the distance.
I did not apply the results of those studies to my project yet. I know the information I gathered has coasted somewhere in my visual library. This knowledge is inside me somewhere waiting for the right opening to go through.
Next week I will study sky and cloud structures. For they tell so many stories in themselves, and are a big part of Meanwhile.
Also before I go back to my storyboard, I wanted to study the French artist Enki Bilal for another two weeks. He uses a mixed-media technique that inspires me very much regarding the treatment I want to approach my story with. But more on that on due time.
I hope you have enjoyed this little article about my continuous process. Next week in Trail of Colour I want to talk to you about application forms and procrastination. I know there are more sexy topics out there, but I feel I have to get this one out of my chest.
Until then I wish you all a happy new year 2019! Peace and Regeneration.
I was almost finished with painting the first story of my book. I needed ideas for what was to come next. I have never been a very linear person, and valid ideas often came to me at unexpected times. So... I was watching this bad TV show while doodling away. And this sketch came up out of the blue. And that was it. I knew this image already was telling me more than there was to see and that something was hidden behind it: a story, my next story!
I realised that if more stories were to come I needed to organise myself and make a mini book of thumbnails to describe in short what everything could look like at a glance. I knew already that each story was going to be made of seven plates, so I looked for what could the other six plates of this new story look like. Seven is a good number, it is musically sound, visually dynamic, it is neither square nor round, and it seems easy to develop a scene in seven shots. With time my little grid book filled itself with more ideas and half-lit visions.
My thumbnails were up, and it was now time to dig deeper into the story.
I knew more or less what each plate should be about, I needed now to get a clear vision of them in order. Somehow I knew this story was to be about the synchronicity of events that are happening on a beach. Each plate would show a different angle at what was going on there at a single moment.
As I was discovering more about this story that I called "Meanwhile", I came through technical questions and limitations. I needed to begin to study some details of which I wasn't quite sure how they should look like.
But because I am impatient by nature, I wanted to see and draw a version of each plate at its final scale. Getting bogged down in details can be a desperation and slow you down if not kill your momentum. I needed to give myself something that would renew my aspiration to see this project through. With the knowledge I had gathered so far I refined each image while focusing on its structural components, enough to see at that stage how images play against each other. It was very refreshing to then see the complete story. It gave me further ideas about which painting technique to use to complete the final version, but more on this topic in an other post.
Hands were a recurrent motif in the story. I needed to better understand how to draw them. It was time to get back to studying the form and get methodical about it. I decided to dedicate my morning studies to hands only and so for a week. I downloaded free samples of the 360 anatomy collection and began drawing from well photographed and 3D rendered hands.
Captivated but still unsatisfied, I knew that simply drawing from a photograph would not give me the tools to be able to create my own hands when needed. I needed to go under the skin. I needed to understand the structure, the relationship of parts, the principles behind the form. It was time to bring about my theory books and dig into Michael Hampton and Gottfried Bammes methods.
Things were getting serious. I realised there was so much to learn I had no idea about. I guess every single subject can be a bottomless well of discoveries and lessons about nature.
This is my last sketch to date on the topic. The one I call the terminator hand. There is much to say about why it actually looks like that. But I am not going to bother any longer anyone who took the time to read this post that far.
I want now to better study every major motif present in this story. Not only to reach a better end result, but also to learn from it and understand better why things are looking the way they are, so I can build up my visual library, in order to grow further my visual storytelling skills and freedom.
Next weeks study subjects will be beaches, ruins, skys and silhouettes. After I am done with that, I will go back to the beginning and reassess my initial storyboard. Once a second version of the storyboard is complete I will finally be able to paint this thing!
Thank you and see you next Sunday for another episode of Trail of colour.
When your heart takes over, words can mean everything. When your heart takes over shapes can represent anything. When sometime the need to get it out is stronger than the duty of acknowledgement. When your experience of perception is run, not by reason, but by a wealth of resonances coming from a deep well of undecipherable filters. When poetry takes over your existence for a breath of time and makes you brush, makes you pen. When you are freed from using yourself and become a tool of nature. This is probably what inspired the making of this image while I sat nose to nose with urgency.