Sunday, February 14, 2010

WIP IF Muddy

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. 

20 comments:

nanke's stuff said...

Well, you certainly picked a difficult subject for Muddy! It came out beautifully, and I'm very impressed. As for artistic struggles, my blog is full of them! lol nancy

kazumiwannabe said...

That's a tough one! It looks great, especially the finished, muddy part!
I'm usually lazy when I draw, don't care much about ressemblance... except when I try to portrait someone! I find it very difficult, and particularly, to identify where are the mistakes. Then, I'm a beginner (learning, slowly :)!)
Your blog is great - loved your drawing below, with the trinkets, it's neat!

Lesley said...

Lovely drawings on your blog - really love all the detail you put in!

Theresa Rhodus said...

If you look at my latest "Excalibur" post you will see my current headache. It's for a friend and this is my third try and there still feels like a fourth coming. My problem is needing to use a medium I'm not used to.

I love this muddy mess you've created yourself! It's looking awesome. I can't wait to see it when you finish. Like you, I'm also working on other drawings, so I don't get to frustrated.

Janene said...

I can relate to your story--your hard work paid off though and it will only get better because the next pahse of the drawing sounds a lot more fun!

travelingsuep said...

Thank you for sharing your story and the WIP. Looks good now.

Cathy Holtom said...

I agree, bike wheeels are one of the hardest things to get right. It's looking great so far, don't give up on it.

Johanna said...

I get frustrated all the time! I'm impressed that you pushed through and kept going, and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished work!

JRonson said...

I really like these drawings they r very originaaal, drawing sometimes r so frustrating but the solution is not givin up

Ann said...

I really like the composition that you chose for this. It looks like it will be an awesome drawing when finished. Honestly, I don't think you should consider your methods cheating. As artists I believe it is perfectly acceptable to use whatever tools necessary to achieve the results we are after. You photographed the image and made the compositional decisions. It is what you do with that image that matters.

Sandra said...

Be careful about saying never! Look at how much you have learned. The mud is terrific.

Peachtreeart said...

I'm blown away at how much your art has improved! And you so bravely try the hardest things to draw...you are an inspiration!

raena said...

Yes, that is certainly a difficult one! I would be interested in seeing photos of your setup with the plexi. I couldn't quite picture in my head what you were doing. I'm really liking the results so far! Can't wait to see the finish.

Krista Meister said...

Holy cow, Sherie!!!! I think I went through this entire process with the Model A pick-up, except the plexiglass part which I never heard of before (good tip, though!).

Pick it up, put it down. Can't get the ellipses right. Too hard, can't do it. Pick it up, put it down. It took me six months to do that Model A, with months of lapses in between, and the killer was the elliptical tire and the hub cab spokes.

I love your very detailed outline drawing. You've laid it out well, great composition. Great job on the reflective surface. I can't wait to see this one done - are you going to keep posting WIP's (something I never think to do myself, but love it when other people do). Without knowing your reference, I'd say your ellipses look believable. Keep at it, girl, you're doing great, and I've SEEN some of you work so I know you can do it!!!

Krista Meister said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan Kent said...

Well, I was defeated by a bunch of flowers recently. How embarrassing is that?! Sure, sure I'd done flowers before, quite successfully. But I was trying for something different, and it didn't work this time - I will try again. I discuss it somewhat in my post today. You are not alone.

I can see how the angle would be so difficult to observe. Your resolution was great, and I think it is great that you stuck with it. I think it will make it easier next time you encounter a similar situation.

Krista Meister said...

oops, sorry, Sherie, apparently I hit the send button twice! You can delete my duplicate comment if you want.

bendelachanal said...

This is an impressive drawing! Very precise and intricate. I like the mix of realistic drawing and nearly abstract in the mud patterns.
I, also, did not quite understand the Plexiglas montage.
It is very encouraging for me to read about the struggle and process of others artist.

debra said...

I think it is looking great, glad that you carried on and didn't give up, not an easy thing to attempt,very brave.I love the whole composition.
Thanks for your comments on my blog

ffyrebird said...

Thank you so much for posting the story of your struggle to draw your bike! As a beginner, it is so easy to see the finished artwork done by others that is so perfect and completely intimidating and become very frustrated with my current skill level. Thank you for the reminder that everyone has troubles getting the image in their minds eye onto the paper from time to time.
Your blog and artwork are AMAZING!!