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Drawing the Decrepit

 

 

Early morning, Chiang Mai and the air is still cool.

Zipping around on a classic Vespa, we look for a place to draw. My sketching buddy, Jim King, has a potential site picked out and I laugh when it comes into view.   After many hours of sketching together, he has come to know and share my appreciation for the decrepit and worn.

In this case, it is a group of abandoned buildings, leaning askew with corrugated roofs made up of a patchwork quilt of rusted metal plates resembling crinkle cut potato chips. A brick chimney towers on the right and has a power pole counterpart on the left. Both dissect the flat blue sky.

Perfect.

mapped out the composition using light lines in pencil. Notice the “cushion” of space between the objects and the border.

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Within a few minutes, a Thai security guard working nearby offers me a chair. Apparently the tiny stool I am sitting on looks inadequate.

Inking the lines, I keep it loose and exploratory. Notice the use of thick and thin. I keep adjusting and modifying the composition with each step.

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Next, establish major shadows using gray marker. The light (and shadows) change with every passing minute. At some point you have to stop chasing it.

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Adding color with marker. The white lines on top are done with “white-out” adding texture and hits of light to the image.

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Time is running out but the composition is finished enough with the exception of the sky. Executing a large, flat area of color is a challenge for location drawing. Markers leave marks (not surprising) and colored pencil takes too much time if you want a saturated area of color. That leaves water-soluble media in the form of pencils, crayons, or paint. In this case, I used water-soluble pencils putting in touches of blue here and there. It looked pretty good until I wet the paper.

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This is what happens when you use water on unworthy paper (too lightweight). The paper will wrinkle.  You’ve been advised! I tried to flatten the drawing by pressing it into some sketchpads underneath a heavy toolbox, but to no avail. Below is the result of a Photoshop fix.This is what happens when you use water on unworthy paper (too lightweight). The paper will wrinkle.  You’ve been advised! I tried to flatten the drawing by pressing it into some sketchpads underneath a heavy toolbox, but to no avail. Below is the result of a Photoshop fix.

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Another great day drawing on location despite the paper snafu!

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