No updates for a while, I know.
In part, this is because I’ve given up on NaNo (mental health stuff, long story) and haven’t particularly felt like admitting this publicly. You understand, I’m sure – the undying shame is a bit much. I made it to 18.7k, and am undecided on whether to finish it at some point or not. For now, I’m leaning towards yes, and am tentatively brainstorming plot fixes.
In part, it’s because my cat Shady, who’d been with me for nineteen years, recently died, which has been hard on me. I didn’t feel like I could do a blog post without mentioning that, and wasn’t quite sure how to go about it, so, er, I guess this is it. I’d go into it more, but I’m not exactly sure what to say, so, y’know. I won’t.
In part, it’s because I’m terribly, terribly lazy.
In short – I managed to complete enough work to submit to the exposition, and over the course of the next month or so will be doing a bunch of posts where I show off my process. It’s not a particularly exciting process, involving a lot of pastel dust and tea, but I have to have something to fill up this blog with, right?
So let’s get to it. Drawing number one, also known as “Nekkid #1″ and “Boobies!” and a variety of other names, none of which are suitable for the actual exposition.
My set-up. Lots and lots of soft pastels and pastel pencils, a fancy easel, and a computer to have the reference photo on. (I hear it’s a good multi-tasker, too. It might even be able to use Twitter and check your e-mail while you’re drawing. Just sayin’.)
As far as the drawing goes – this is 50x65cm drawing paper, 200 grams per square meter. Initially I sketched the drawing – including the shading outlines – with a brown pencil, which you should be able to see if you full-view, then went over it with a darker pencil. When I was happy with the basic shape and proportions, I started sketching in the darkest parts.
(This photo was taken on Wednesday, November 4th, 8.56 PM.)
Introduced two new colours. (Photo taken: 9.09 PM.)
… and a couple more, eventually layering them. (Photos taken: 9.17 PM, 9.34 PM, 9.59 PM.)
More colours and more layering. It’s starting to take shape, especially when looked at from a distance. (10.37 PM.)
Adding in a background. In this case, because the focus is on the body, there doesn’t need to be much detail. The darkness is essential, though – both because the intense shadows on the body indicate dark surroundings, and to make the light pop more. With the shape basically there, the trick now is to get the colours to look right, and for them to blend well. This includes an awful lot of layering and blending – which I do with my fingers, which is something nearly every professional will tell you not to do. I’m a rebel, I guess.
Because of the way the light changes between photos – day, night, lamps, flash or no flash, etc. – the colours look very different between shots. In this case, the photo on the right is closest to reality. (Photos taken: Tuesday, November 4th, 11.05 PM; Wednesday, November 5th, 1.40 PM. I’m a late sleeper.)
It seems a bit ridiculous to update photos with so little changes between them, but I decided to go ahead anyway, because… that’s kind of the point. As the times I keep mentioning indicate, I draw fast. The basic set-up is usually done in a matter of hours. Actually finishing it is a matter of days of continuous work. You might not be able to see it, but it’s there, and it’s an equally important part of the process. (2.00 PM.)
And on the topic of silly details… Here’s some other parts of the process. Smudging by hand has its side effects, and working with pastels this intensively causes huge amount of pastel dust build-up. You should be able to see a bunch inbetween the pastel sticks, as well as gravity-defying lines on the paper.
It is generally a good idea to draw/colour all parts of the body at the same time – that way you don’t have to look around to see what colours you used, you don’t suddenly realise you forgot about [x], et cetera.
As a rule, I don’t have good ideas, and will save the face for last. (Thursday, November 5th, 11.57PM; Friday, November 6th, 12.10 AM & 12.22 AM.)
More ridiculous detail work. Spot the differences! (Friday, November 6th, 2.29 PM & 3.11 PM.)
… and then we come to something resembling an end. I’m sure I made more changes after this – among other things, I extended the background on the right – but you get the point. (Photo taken: Saturday, November 7, 11.22 PM. As you can imagine, I skipped a ton of shots inbetween.)
A note on all the times listed: I am an awful procrastinator, and there’s a good chance I did things like check my e-mail, chat online, Twitter, watch TV, eat lunch, pet my cat, and stare off into nothingness in-between shots. This makes those times totally unreliable, but hey, it’s better than nothing.
Also, none of these photos were edited in any way. They’re straight from the camera.
I hope this was somewhat interesting/informative to those of you interested in art – or at least my art, because lord knows this is hardly a how-to guide. If you’ve got any questions, holler, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
And check back in on some day that’s not Wednesday for progress shot on another drawing. Next up: charcoal. My favourite