Show your working.

First posted May 05 2010

It’s occurred to me that so far the only sketches I’ve included in this blog have been drawings for drawing’s sake. There is though, of course, a whole other category of rough drawing that will be familiar to all illustrators (in fact most artists) and I’m not talking here about the preparatory pencil sketches that are submitted to the client for approval and which go on to form the basis of the finished image.

Prior even to this stage, there are usually any number of hurriedly-scribbled thumbnail drawings done from the imagination, a photograph, a trawl through Google image search (we all do it!) or whatever, that serve as visual notes or aide-memoires for when we come to compose our final image. These drawings are often scarcely better than doodles and might well prove indecipherable to anyone other than (and sometimes including!) their originator. Over the years I’ve consigned hundreds of such drawings to the bin as soon as they’ve served their purpose. Their ephemeral nature is implicit in the way they are often made on the backs of envelopes, scraps of paper, post-it notes etc; trash-to-be en route to the recycling box.

In recent years however, I’ve kept a separate sketch book close at hand for this type of reference drawing and note-taking and they can be oddly interesting to look back on. They are, by their nature, filled with sometimes grotesquely-unpolished stuff that was never intended to be seen in polite society but I’m also aware that these things do have a sort of primitive value and most illustrators do love to de-construct other artists’ working methods, of which these are an intrinsic part. These are the drawings that perhaps most vividly show the mental cogs grinding into gear.

Anyway, I’ve culled a few random pages from the last year-or-so, and present them here for your collective derision. As ever, they are completely un-retouched and represent those most unguarded and least-precious moments of the working process.

Enough already!!

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