After my triumphant return last week, I didn’t want to break the streak. I really have done very little craft-related in the past, oh, I don’t know, four months, so the pickins are slim. Today we will look at some crayon, uh, well “art” is probably too strong a word in this case. “Exercises”? We’ll go with exercises.
You may or may not remember my entry for the GNR fan site avatar contest — it was part of a guitar that I then embellished with a rose and the words “Paradise City.” I did it in colored pencil and it didn’t have the richness of color that I really wanted. I did discover in that process, however, that guitars are fun to draw. I can’t play a guitar and I’m not a big guitar geek who can identify all kinds of makes and models and their significance in musical history. I know just enough to lead people to believe that I know more than I really do, but not enough to maintain that illusion for any length of time, especially if someone wants to get into the technicalities of amps and pedals. But that doesn’t stop me from appreciating the art of a guitar. And there are some guitars out there that are really quite beautiful. So I drew a couple more.
The first one is the same guitar that I drew for the avatar contest, only this time, I was seeking to attain a truer color. And there was a learning curve! Starting at the top of the colored section, if you go around counter-clockwise there are four distinct test patches. In these test patches I was attempting to figure out which colors should be laid down first, how much overlap to give them, how much pressure on the paper, what kind of strokes to use and which direction. Important things to know and many of them were counter-intuitive to other mediums, such as watercolor or colored pencil.
One of the distinctive features of this guitar are the “tiger stripes” in the wood and you can see that I was struggling to achieve those, too. In the end, I found that in order to give it the proper depth, I had to draw the stripes on first and then color over the top of them with the main colors. That way they looked more integral to the wood and not merely laid on top.
The second guitar is George Harrison’s Gretsch Country Gentleman. I really had a hard time trying to get a decent color on the pickup plates and ended up with this muddy mess. I still haven’t figured out the right crayon combination in order to get that dull brassy color.
You may also notice the logo on the lower right side. I wasn’t paying attention and colored it white at first. Dumb. I tried scratching it off, but pretty much once you’ve put crayon to paper, you’re stuck with it. I colored black over the top of it (like it was supposed to be) and couldn’t even get close to a clean edge. Then the next problem was that I then had to carefully color around the logo on the pick guard which was this light almond color. Another muddy mess. Lesson learned: apply light colors first! Which I should have known, but in my attempt to correct the original mistake, I wasn’t thinking very far ahead.
Another sketch I made is of Axl. I know, I know. I have a book with pictures and he makes a good model because he sits still. For this one, I decided that rather than trying to achieve realistic coloring, I would focus more on getting the values and shading right. So I chose some flamboyant colors. Any person’s skin who is this pink needs to be admitted to a burn unit. Think of it more like pop art a la Andy Warhol with Marilyn Monroe.
Having learned my lesson from the Gretsch guitar, I colored the white reflections on his hat first, then added the blue and then the black. That actually turned out pretty well. Now the hair… well, I was experimenting with different colors and ended up with too many and so lost some of the depth and definition. And you might be able to tell that, by the time I got to the coat, I was getting bored and didn’t feel well, so it kind of got the scribble treatment. As far as technical prowess goes, I believe the face is recognizable despite it being just a little bit too wide. That happened because I drew the initial sketch flat instead of raised (like on an easel) and it distorted the proportions. It bugs me a little bit that I did that, but eh, I know I can do it right, so I try not to dwell on it too much.
So there you go. Some stuff I’ve done. We’ll see if I can maintain this frenetic pace.
Oh, and in case anyone was curious, my submission did not win the avatar contest.