Hi everyone! Just a few quick words about the way I usually work. I start with a few tryouts in pencil, all on the same sheet of paper (lots of erasing), adapting and changing things until I'm satisfied, and then I work the whole thing out into a fullfledged pencil drawing. After that, I trace the page with a couple of micron pens (usually 0.5, 0.3 and 0.1), and if that's completed I scan them in and continue to render them in Photoshop. That's about the long and the short of it.
Now, I'm totally confident in this routine. I have been working like this for decades and it almost goes wrong. Long ago, when I was working with an actual airbrush, things might go horribly wrong from time to time. A sudden blast from the brush could ruin an entire page, painstakingly built up before. Or a whole pile of pages could be made useless by a glass of wine falling over.
So I'm very satisfied with this way of working. It has however one big disadvantage. This has plagued me even from before the time I started wielding the airbrush, and I was working everything out in pen and ink. The problem is: with the tracing process, my pencil drawing disappears forever. Of course, I do scan it in beforehand, and that's why we have the Sketchpage on the site, but still, the physical page is no more, and that has always bothered me. You see: the penciled page is the one with the most direct energy in it, with the most artistic input, you might say. And sometimes, people may actually prefer the pencils over the finished piece.
The solution to the problem is, of course, not to trace the drawing on the same paper. For that, you need a lightbox, and to be honest: I did have one for a while. It was a gift from a good friend, a photographer. This thing was old and huge, I think a 100 by 80 by 30cm. It was very heavy, the light was coming from eight TL tubes (and thus unevenly spread) and you had to plug it in with a thick electrical cord. If I wanted to use it I almost had to rearrange my entire studio. So I didn't use it very much, and my problems remained the same for a long time.
But now I have finally bought a new lightbox, and man, what a difference! It is flatter than a newspaper, the light is bright and consistent over the whole surface. Now, when I used it the first time I was taken aback a bit. The traced page looked so much different from what I was used to. Gone were all the little pencil nips and tucks that always shone through, helping me with the rendering. But I pushed through, and in the end, I became very enthusiastic. In this update, you can find one example from a piece that was made in this new way: the hooded lady in the straightjacket in New. And this time, I got to keep my original pencil page.
Though I am not going to use this process for all my drawings, I am going to build up a collection of original penciled pages over the next few months, and I do have plans for them. But that's for a later time. Thank you for visiting again, and until later!
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