Saturday, 4 April 2009

Referencing Stuff

JUST REMEMBERED CERTAIN drawings I did -- well, some time ago... Before I became aware that Dave Sim will make a splash with Glamourpussy series as the love letter to the 'photo-realistic comic strips' of yesteryear, I got an urge to try to do it the way I've assumed it could be done.
Not by making my own strip in the vein of greats like Alex Raymond, Warren Tufts, Stan Drake, Neal Adams, Al Williamson, Ken Bald, John Prentice, Alden McWilliams ... or even Dave Sim himself... only by giving it a try with several illustrations of beautiful women I've made contacts with on myspace.
Don't get me wrong -- I've always been well informed, knew that certain artists use photo reference to make their drawn results more credible etc. Some relied on photos faintly, some totally; some needed photographs for documentation -- and some to create it all from scratch, transforming one medium into a totally different context and artistic result.

What I wasn't sure of at all was -- how the Hell did they do it..? Did they cut the newspaper or magazine photos out for their 'morgue' [documentation in folders] or they took snapshots staged according to their 'directorial' vision [almost like creators of 'fumetti' - photostrips]..? Or was it a combination of ALL of it, and then some more..?

Then -- did they just look at those photographs/snapshots, eye-balling them like some kind of 'model' to draw directly onto the cardstock where finished artwork will appear, or on separate sheets of paper to be celaned-up by tracing onto the mentioned cardstock..?
Or did they do it like Mr. Sim does it on the shown youtube video?

Nevertheless, being adventurous and curious I first wrote emails to couple of the prominent ladies of my choice on myspace and, after getting their permissions, I decided which pictures were to wind up transformed into the drawings.

Bear in mind that naturalism - much better definition for what is usually called 'realism' - was never my forte. My earlier attempts with 'eyeballing' photos whilst attempting to draw upon them bore rather sour-ish fruits... So I guessed that MAYBE using the tracing paper is a good start! Therefore I've printed out the chosen photographs taken from the ladies' myspace[s], laid a sheet of tracing paper over the photo[s] and - traced away the best way possible. I used a very thin marker, omitting intuitivelly what I assumed is to be omitted, stressing what I thought needs to be stressed and so on.

The finished result was far away from what I wanted to achieve, but no worries... The next stage was my embellishing treatment of those tracings, forgetting that they were based on photos and treating them as rough sketches in need of a light-table refinement and tightening. In this case, I've used a pad of layout paper - quite thin and transparent, but white, sort-of-opaque and durable enough for a hard 3H pencil interventions. So I lightly transferred SHAPES of the drawn subjects, not contoured the drawings beneath, the same way as I'd have done it on thicker cardstock over a shiny surface of a light box.

After finishing as preciselly as It was humanly possible [for me at least] the transfer, I've tightened the drawings with a quite soft 2B lead in a mechanical Caran D'Ache pencil.

Then they became ready for inking which was done with FABER CASTELL PITT markers and PENTEL fountain brush.

Suffice to say, I was quite impressed with my achievements -- for a time being. Then I realised that lots and lots of hard work at improving my drawing skills is needed even for the process some might call 'ordinary tracing'.

Instead of my conclusion, PLEASE listen carefully what Dave Sim says whilst demonstrating what and how he draws and pay attention to the segment towards the end when he re-tells the Al Williamson anecdote.

There's NOTHING else to add to it.


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