Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Another recent commision for a couple in Galway. Often I get asked to put in elements of what kinds of stuff the individuals like. In this case there was a long list so I had to make a judgment call on what to include. She like Audi TTs, her pooch and halves of Guinness, so rather than cramming her into a sports car, I had the dog reading a motoring mag. He likes his pints and playing guitar which was easier. In the actual drawing you can see the whole process unfold. I initially work in blue animation pencil (force of habit!) and in this case I cleaned up the image in B and 2B pencil as opposed to ink as per the client's preference.
I sent the rough to see if they liked the composition, then a partially coloured version (often it's hard to get hair and eye colour just right from a photo, so I prefer to send at this stage) and finally the fully coloured image.
I don't bother with background info if the image is rendered to this degree, as they caricatures tend to get lost in the background. Its much easier to do this when working digitally as you can blur or fade out a background accordingly. The client wanted a black t-shirt for the girl (who is never out of one, apparently) but the dog is also black and I felt he would lose contrast. I chose green as it was a good contrast and not too garish. The client insisted on black, however, so I worked over the green with a black CD marker which worked surprisingly well and provided better contrast than if I'd used pencil. I didn't think this would work, but I hadn't counted on the marker blending so well, especially over polychromo. A little white striping gave the required definition for the body. I stood corrected!
Lastly (this often happens) the girl had changed her hairstyle so it needed to be shortened at the back. Also, I thought her tipple was a half Guinness, but it was a baby Guinness, so I needed to take a scalpel and excise parts of the drawing to make this work. I often need to do this, as when you draw from a photo, subtleties are often masked, jawlines and noses are the hardest to judge normally, so I am always prepared for a bit of costemic surgery where required. 'Butting' the drawing with a page taped behind it creates the perfect jigsaw piece to replace the offending feature. If there is any evidence of a cut, I will work the seam with a neutral colour over the skin or hair tone, so the graphite actually blends the gap and it becomes invisible.
Here's the latest commission I did for a client. You can see the stages I take in making the drawing, Intially working in pencil, then clean up in ink with a pentel calligraphy brush pen and then rendering colour with polychromos. This is a very laborious way of doing the drawing but the finished result looks more artisan than working digitally. I've been edging back to a more traditional approach of late, partially because I am frustrated with Artrage software which does not allow for any great flexibility in detail work. This was an unusual commission in that there are three figures, normally I work with individual images or couples. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, even if my knowledge of motorcycles is not the best! I'm sure that sidecar would never have an exhaust pipe wrapped around it, but I never was that strong on drawing vehicles.