d361 121223 Background Painting I


Well, I meant to write this earlier, but I found that I’d rather actually be drawing during the time that I had to do stuff. I meant to write two updates too since it’s going to be the end of the year, and that might still happen. This year has actually felt pretty long in general and with respect to drawing as a lot of things changed for me in both fields. Kind of in that spirit, today’s painting is actually something new.

I talked about doing all-paint background elements in d358, though I’d been making inroads into it for a while now. There were attempts as far back as 2009, but these were largely just abstract splashes of color. In that regard, the Pieces painting was really ahead of it’s time; no painted background of similar detail would show up again until the Dream painting.

So here is today’s painting; this is London Waterloo station shortly before the Eurostar terminus moved to London. Obviously I painted this straight off of a reference, and it took a really, really, really long time. I was actually here just a few months before this picture was taken, so that’s kind of interesting in retrospect.

The reason I decided to try this goes way back to when I first started doing figures. it was the opinion of a fair lot of people that the way to approach learning to draw anime figures was to copy stuff, i.e. real people, and modify as you see fit. Obviously this did not interest my one-track mind at all at the time, and that may or may not have ultimately impeded or slowed the development of my figure drawing. Nowadays breadth of drawing is a lot more interesting to me, so I decided to copy these two (this is the first) photos for practice.

For the most part, I think it turned out all right, especially considering that this is the first time I’ve tried something like this. The two main issues I’m fixated on are the skewed perspective of the Eurostar concourse on the left, and poor balance between implicit and explicit painting throughout the picture. The former is easy to ameliorate: I realized I should have leveraged the “digitality” of my process and backdraw some key guidelines by tracing, which I am doing for the next painting.

The latter is a bit more difficult to get around: I have this same issue in “normal” drawing. When I say “explicit” it means trying to draw all details explicitly, and when I say implicitly, it means trying to draw something that suggests what is actually there. Here I tried to be explicit whenever I could, and roll back to implicit when I could not be explicit (ie just too much stuff to draw), which resulted in the mid-ground building being implicit, and most of everything else being explicit, which is a little bit weird. Ideally I think you should get more implicit as you go into the background, but I’m not sure how practical that is.

The hardest part of this painting was subsequently the internal structure of the concourse, which had way too much stuff in it for me to be explicit, but was way too far in the foreground for me to get away with being implicit. And you can kind of see why this implcit/explicit thing is difficult.

And what is a painting post without a process capture? It’s difficult for me to change to the paradigm of drawing in fills rather than outlines, and I think that might be one of the most difficult obstacles for me to climb between traditional (for me) and all-paint backgrounds.

And I think that’s all I have to say for this. Until next time (which will hopefully be soon if I’m going to get another post in this year)