Wip for “Beneath outside”

GeirThe evolution of a piece

Stage 1 This is a little work-in-progress, or WIP for short. It’s a charcoal drawing, and it’s a challenge I gave my self. First off I just let the charcoal run a bit wild on the paper to create a messy surface with blurry shapes. I used a brush and eraser to help lifting the shapes.  In between the each charcoal applying, I fix the paper with ordinary fixative. brush and eraser to spread the coal even more, and make it a bit smoother. Then it was time for the first layer of fixative to lock this coal layer. This way I am free to apply more coal to the paper. Still letting the piece of charcoal run free over the paper, only having the contrast as the only fixed ide in mind. I started making some lines to see if I got some more detailed texture. But no lines nor details were safe. They might just aswell get smudged out, or even erased.
About the eraser. I use a kneaded eraser that can be kneaded into different shapes (Faber-Castell Art Eraser). This eraser picks up the charcoal very well, so by stretching and lightly rolling it together. And by letting it roll over the paper with a very light pressure, I can get a lot of texture and more shapes to work with later. These stages were repeated about three or four times.
Stage 2
Stage 3 Then came the time to actually draw something. Trying to look at the shapes the applied coal could tell me, and letting the messy paper decide what the drawing should be of. The first lines are drawn. From the start, I manage to “ruin” my idea be thinking nature. So these lines became the start of a torso. “Oh well, maybe I will manage to think more outside the box further into the drawing”, I though. It was time to sit back, empty my mind and simply look. Sometimes when working on a piece, this is something one just has to do. This drawing was kind of like a rehearsal in this as much as an improvisational drawing experiment.
I start to look for more abstract shapes that I later can mold into something three dimensional. Its all about just letting the pencil run free and not planning the next step, or the next shape. Not thinking of a backstory, but let the story enfold at the and. The fun thing then is that you yourself will become one of the audience instead of the artist with the whole story laid out on a platter.
So I found these weird four, five and six sided geometrical shapes. Not really sure where they where going, I went with them. As you can see, I have started using a white chalk pencil to introduce som highlights and pull more shapes out giving the drawing more room. The good thing drawing with charcoal pencil is the I can use the chalk pencil to draw in light, not just leave the white paper as one have to do with graphite. This makes it easier to do these unplanned drawings. This is of course even easier with ordinary charcoal and kneaded eraser, but this drawing is much to small for that medium. Stage 4
Stage 6Here its pretty obvious to me that I have to draw rocks of some kind. But I am still not certain if it will become a stone wall or more natural rocks. Oh, and I have decided that there will be a character in the drawing. That is, I have decided it will become a character. I messed up the arm a couple of times, and not being able to get the anatomy of it to sit right, I simply made it a more comic-style arm. I didn’t want to attract to much attention to this character and draw attention away from the rest of the drawing. So instead of a face I gave him a slit and a weird hat. Hm, ok, in hindsight I see this might give him even more attention. Oh well.
The small flowery shapes (yes, I see them now as some kind of stone flowers), are starting to overflow the drawing. At least that’s what I felt. Also at this stage I felt that the rocks in the top left of the drawing is looking more and more like a stone wall, so I try to draw some more wavy lines underneath it. Kind of making the rock morph into something else.
At this point its getting harder and harder to try to keep an empty mind and not planning the rest of the drawing.
Thinking in terms of shapes again, I drew some lines I thought might become some bigger objects, that would feel harder and much heavier, and thus stand as a contrast to the rest. A concrete surface? That sounded about right. But if this was to become a concrete surface, it needed some cracks to give the illusion of something hard, and at the same time uphold the illusion something that at one time had been destroyed.
See? Here I go again. Yet again overthinking and starting to plan. Not that it matters that much to actually plan this late in the process, but my whole idea this time was not to plan anything at all.
The round shapes in front of the character I almost saw as some weird alien instruments of some kind. Stage 7
After fiddling about with those «instruments», Stage 8 I got the idea of making a double dimensional drawing by drawing in the sphere in the lower left part, and letting a cast shadow fall onto the paper, not following the shapes in the initial drawing. I tried to make the lighting of this very different to that of the first drawing, really pushing it out of the drawing, and thus giving the illusion of a drawing on top of a drawing. A bit like if you have a photograph of a photograph of a vase with the same vase standing on top of the photographed photograph of the same vase…… that also was standing….. eeh, you get the drift….. I hope.
I think the more organic shapes in the left of the drawing underneath the wallish rocks turned out nice. It gives a nice subtle contrast to the hard and heavy rocks, at the same time being heavy yet soft themselves.
Detailing time. At this stage I start to clean up the drawing more. Now I make the black blacker, and the white whiter where it’s needed. I see to it that all the objects in the drawing is where they need to be in the three dimensional space. It’s important to have some objects pushed back in the space, as it is to draw some towards us to give it a feeling of actual space. Otherwise, it will become flat. Now, in this drawing I have already decided that the main drawing should be the drawing within the drawing, and the sphere have a sub role as the actual drawing. Therefore I wanted the drawing within the drawing to have a flatter look to it, and the sphere to feel more roomy.
All the time since I introduced the larger heavier, straighter shapes, I had been pondering what to do with them. And suddenly it dawned on me. Lines. I needed more lines. So I tried out a few pattern ideas, before landing on this polygon pattern. I felt that gave the whole thing an architectural look. As if this was some long sunken architecture, taken over by a wierd being pursuing to create its own world wherein it could be king.
And finally I put on the last parts. Highlighting and darkening the darkest shadows even more. Stage 9 Now, before doing this, I had looked long and well on the drawing, looking to see if something was lacking, or if I had forgotten anything important. Was there any lines or smudges that needed to be erased? After deciding it was ready and nothing needed repair, I gave it a layer of fixative. This way I bind the charcoal and the chalk, so I can layer even more charcoal and chalk where needed. Than I could fill every gap in the papers texture with dark charcoal, and the highlights would look clean and unsmudged.
I also used some blue tinted charcoal pencils to color the spheres. After having done that, I felt that the single sphere looked lonely. So I drew in a spherical friend for him. Putting its cast shadow even further away from it, enhancing the drawing in drawing effect a lot.
All in all, I feel happy with this drawing. Now, since I never planned anything, the drawing felt suprisingly freash to me, rendering me more a part of the audience looking at the art, more then the artist haven drawn it. That I have to say, was a very envigerating. I actually allowed me to think to my self: «This wasnt his best drawing. He have a lot more interesting pieces then this this. But at the same time, and I dont know what, but something is drawing me towards it.» The more I looked at it the days to come, the more I liked it, and the more I «got to know» it. Its like I had put myself on the outside of my own drawing.
A fun expirience, and well worth a try.The final drawing