Archive for February 11th, 2012

Developing ideas – continued

In the last post I struggled (at length!) with selecting interesting areas of drawings for development. Next step of the method is of course the development, and for this I used the small shell section. Below I’ll show and discuss some of the variants, but the full set are on the sketchbook page starting here.

First identifying lines and shapes using charcoal and working large (A3) and quickly.

Still thinking about lines and shapes, but moving further from the original and introducing some colour using conté crayons.

Next I moved to wet media, and started with pen and purple ink, thinking I usually enjoy that sort of work and find the results interesting. The results were not interesting. They were so not interesting that I got out the acrylic paints and totally covered them – producing a result which I liked even less. The black and white image shown here was an accident. I was processing a photo of the acrylic horror to put on the sketchbook page and accidentally hit the Colour/Threshold function. I think it looks like a woodblock print and I really like it. The lower right hand corner is pretty boring, but the rest could have possibilities.
This is hindsight and a chance variation. At the time I was annoyed with the work, annoyed with myself, and wishing my inner critic would take a hike and give me a break! The next attempt was again acrylic on A3 paper and added nothing new. I’d lost focus and control.

After a pause to regroup I tried again, this time working smaller (A4, and not the full page), starting with inktense pencils (which are becoming familiar and comfortable). It was really a return to the original image, larger and somewhat simplified, trying to identify what had caught my interest in the first place. After another false start I got to the black and red version (brushtip pen and crayon). Finally I felt I was getting somewhere.

During this whole period I’d also been spending time playing with photos of my sketchbook work. Gimp makes it easy to select areas, crop, flip and scale, plus lots of filters such as kaleidoscope, tiling, pinch & whirl etc. It doesn’t replace working with originals on paper but it seems to me a very valuable addition to the toolset.
I scanned in the A4 page, and this is a cleaned-up version of the black and red drawing.

By this time it was last Sunday evening and the work week was looming. I only had time to try a few variations, such as this tiled version which I think would look good printed on cotton and used in a summer dress or skirt.

Finally it happened. On Monday evening on the bus home I’d stopped reading and was vaguely looking out the window, when I suddenly realised I was running through variations and experiments in my mind. What if I inverted the colours and combined the positive and negative versions of the the motif? What if…?

Straight on the computer when I got home, and the ideas kept flowing. I inverted, rotated, tiled, kaleidoscoped… Then I decided to try putting some elements together, using one of the frameworks developed earlier in the course and recorded here.

The Map/Seamless function created the background. The medallions used Kaleidoscope, then resized and one of them rotated a bit. I tried using a few different sets of parameters in kaleidoscope, so that each medallion could be different, but it became too busy. I created the shape of the curved “pathway” using the Paths tool. I’ll need to practice to get a smoother result next time, but this was good enough to get the idea. I worked through lots of options to create the fill – solid in various levels of grey, graduated shading, outlines etc. The solids all took over a bit. This version is a graduation with reduced opacity so the background shows through. I wouldn’t call this fully resolved, but I can see it interpreted in nuno felt, maybe free-machine lace medallions. An alternative could be hand or machine stitching on a felt base in dark thread. It could be used for a cushion or maybe a cover for a laptop.

Feeling on a roll, I then worked on a different shell drawing, using some similar ideas. I like the result of the Seamless filter, which Tiles producing opposing light and dark diagonals. It needs some smoothing and fine-tuneing, but I can see this digitally printed on a silk and used in a light jacket. I finished the evening with a brief sketch of how that could work, feeling refreshed, invigorated, and relieved to get to one of the flowing periods after a time of grind.



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February 2012

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