As soon as I saw the concept word for Illustration Friday, I knew what I wanted to draw; my muddy mountain bike. But, I didn't realize just how difficult an endeavor it would be. It has taken me a whole week just to lay out the drawing. You can see all my erasure marks on the paper. I was doing well until I came to that back tire. The bike is positioned at such a slight angle that I couldn't get the ellipse right for the tire. It looked so bad in just the line drawing that I was thinking of scrapping the tire altogether and just showing the muddy frame of the bike. But, I'm stubborn and bullheaded and kept trying everything I knew how to do without just printing out the photo and tracing over it (that would've been too easy!)
I actually went so far as to make a grid and lay it over my monitor. That got it close, but then I realized the front of the bike was off. Argh! I didn't touch it for a day. I was actually thinking about giving up. Then I went back and turned it upside down. I could see where it was wrong, just couldn't correct it. Sigh. Then I got an idea. It was still cheating, but I figured, it was my photograph! When I was a little girl, I had received for Christmas one year a drawing set, and for the life of me I can't remember what it was called. It consisted of a piece of tinted plastic that you slid into a stand that held it upright. Whatever you wanted to draw went on one side of the plastic, what you were drawing on went on the other side. Then you copied your subject and the result was perfection! I had some plexi in the garage and took a small piece and fixed it with red tape, propped it up on my light table and went to work. By this time, I found that the outside diameter of the tire was really close to what I had drawn, but the inside of the tire and the negative space was what was giving me a headache. It is now right, and I think it's safe to go ahead and add shading and details.
All this frustration took away from the happiness of using my new graphite and charcoal pencils. I'm really enjoying putting in my dark areas with these pencils and having no shine from the lead. I'm also having fun drawing the mud splatters on the frame. The abstractness of these patterns on the traditional drawing is interesting.
I'm only writing out this whole sordid tale, because I especially want those newer members to EDM to know that even experienced, seasoned artists have troubles with subject matter. I have some very wonderful friends that help me out in situations like these. I sent my sketch and the photo reference to one such friend, thinking a fresh set of eyes would help. She was able to guide me and offered a few suggestions on how to resolve this issue. In the end, I got what I wanted, but with some misgivings as to what I did to achieve it. I will never tackle another drawing like this. Anymore wheels for me will be straight on circles or viewed as a straight line from the front.
This is the fifth WIP I have on my table. I have so many ideas and I feel like there is not enough time to do them all! I'm going to spend some time on my other WIPs and leave this sit for a little while. I feel the need to distance myself from it since we've had such a rocky beginning to our relationship. This is about 7 x 10 inches and done on Strathmore paper. Please share your own frustration stories that you've encountered in your art with me. It'll help me feel not so alone.