This post has been amended in the light of my tutor’s comments about too little on my working process.
In order to do this exercise I took my usual drawing kit. I am starting to use my drawing implements in two different ways. I have used Faber and Castell Pitt artist pens for years but I am finding that I prefer these for “thinking on the page” and that the graphite sticks and 4 -6B pencil stubs work better for sketching a person or scene. I find the basic shape of the person on the page with the graphite stick and then I add in detail with a strong pencil line. I never use an eraser in this situation. When I use a pen, the drawing tends to be composed of numerous lines which can be over complex and very messy.
This exercise was about pushing yourself out of one’s comfort zone, to try something new. I decided to use a local food festival as the event to draw at. The difficulties I anticipated were that it would be crowded and I might not be “in the right mood”, I find it difficult to draw if I am not “comfortable”. In view of this, I went early to the festival, thankfully it was free with open access, so I was able to go several times (it was over 4 days).
The lessons I learned was that
1) I should take more reference photos, I always think I have taken an excessive amount but I usually haven’t.
2) drawing in a concentrated fashion is tiring. I often feel as though I have done plenty of drawing, but again, more would be better.
3) I am starting to be less self conscious, someone did actually ask to see what I was drawing and I felt relaxed about showing them my sketchbook.
4) deckchairs have a complex structure and are difficult to draw.
I experimented with redrawing some of the sketches. I had mixed feelings about doing this. I have never reworked sketches in this way, away from the original subject (and without reference photos) and was afraid of losing the looseness of the line. In fact it worked far better than I feared. The way I sketch is very intuitive and unplanned and so I am cautiously allowing some conscious decision making into the process whilst trying not to get in the way of the mark making. For me this is about trusting my unconscious mind to get on with the job.
In addition to reworking sketches away from the subject, I found combining sketches a revelation. Now that I have done this once it seems really obvious. I found I could combine the sketches such as the food vans with people, in a way that made complete sense, but wasn’t actually the reality of how it happened. It reminded me of the previous exercise with McMahon and I understood better about the idea of reportage being truth in a different form.
Once I had the images resketched, I scanned them into Adobe Photoshop. I started to put individual sketches into groups to create some scenes. I experimented with placing the groups against various backgrounds, building on what I had done in the previous exercise by adding colour.
I spent a long time working on Photoshop, working with layers and layer masks to achieve the effect that I wanted. I had been reading one of the reference books “Fashion Illustration” by B. Morris and I had found the detailed descriptions of various illustrators’ working processes had given me some useful pointers in working in Photoshop. I made a few notes which will hopefully remind me of what is turning out to be a new working process.