Recently I did some sketches, and I had some thoughts! It’s been about a year and change since Ink, and the best thing it’s done for me is make me draw more with pencil.
I’m not really talking about quantity, as that just doesn’t happen. Two years ago I wrote about drawing and sketching and about how I usually drew instead of sketched. I’d been feeling that the added effort required to hit this drawing tier was limiting my drawing in the same way that the added effort required to make a painting was limiting my painting. The overhead has also made it harder for me to just “go and draw” than it had been for me when I was a kid.
While not necessarily a cause or effect, I’m confident that backdrawing with a harder pencil contributed to that overhead. At one point H6 backdraw with HB lines had been the only way for me to get clean drawings, and then both H6 backdraw and clean drawings became the norm. When I switched to HB backdraw with ink lines to get those clean drawings, I discovered that I could get decent quality sketches using HB backdraw with HB lines. It’s now come to my attention that the latter may have been just as enabling as the former.
For a long time, I’ve had difficulty putting figures and non figures together in a way that doesn’t suck. I’ve physically written and mentally noted some theories, but having this low-quality, low-effort sketching ability has helped me execute: most of these doodles are about scaling figures and backgrounds and having them interact with each other.
This is a ground level view of my neoclassical station from the start of Ink. I think the more aggressive angle gives it a better sense of depth; this is actually much closer to the view that I originally wanted but apparently couldn’t implement. The light battleships up top are mockups of a model I might build in Lego.
This is my favorite one of the lot. It’s hard to draw figures and trains at the same scale because figures are small and trains are not, so you have to draw tiny figures or giant train parts… and that’s hard. That being said, I think the giant train parts turned out pretty good.
This is the cab of the 7-9 Series steam-electric locomotive I keep drawing. It’s probably a little small relative to the figures, but likewise scaling is hard. I semi thought through what all of the levers and dials did, which is what makes this sort of greebling hard for me these days; I don’t think I did that nearly as much when I was a kid. For much the same reason, I mostly reuse designs now and only occasionally introduce new ones.
This is my second favorite of the lot. The conductor is actually from here. The condenser isn’t actually part of the original design, but I felt like having it.
I originally thought the 7-9 Series was a legacy design that survived the BKS era, but I couldn’t find an original drawing, so I assume it originated as part of my 2006 BKS/CL locomotive reference set, which codified some legacy designs like that AT01 Series Atlantis class shay, and introduced some new ones like the 7-9. These drawings are based off an updated 2012 revision.