Week nine started where week eight finished, and I also finished the drawing itself in this week, on time for the crit on the 10th of May.
My primary focus in this week was to finish the image on time without losing any quality in detail or rushing my work.
I finished the whole drawing after 94 hours and 28 minutes.
Week seven started where week six ended: by drawing the second image section by section. To draw the image accurately was very challenging because the paint structure (the layers of 100 paint brushes) showed little to no logic at all. The Brush structure looks very randomly which needed much attention and focused from my side to get it right. However, because this image was only ballpoint pen did it require less time and materials than the first drawing.
Week six started with me rethinking my ideas and the concepts I initially thought about. I felt less drawn towards the idea of the illustration of the German proverbs and sayings that did not exist in English. This dislike against the topic already existed during the second week after I have taken the pictures of the painted chess figure (turning something negative into something positive). The whole theme seemed too forced, too wanted and considered, in comparison with the “Schwarzmalen” which came so naturally to me. After many tries to illustrate other sayings, which all stayed rather unsuccessful, I was thinking to use the chess figures as a second image. I thought about an altar-like the composition with one white king to the left and a black one to the right of the first image, but then I decided to drop the topic completely and to focus only on the “Schwarzmalen”. I wanted to explore the topic of this negativity, emptiness further, without drawing more cards and repeat what I did in the first image. I decided to illustrate the paintremains from the 100 painted cards. I liked the idea of drawing nothing, only the remains, the by-product of something else.
I started the drawing as the previous one: stretching the paper, taking the pictures, editing them and creating a file on photoshop file 1:1 to the paper. This would be my reference image. The image spans the same space as the four cards do. The inside of the paint remains so big that one card fits exactly in it. However, different to the cards did this piece not have a logical way of drawing it, so to say focused and to stay on time I divided the drawing into 22 sections (the numbers of days I had until the crit). I decided to finish a section a day to be done by the 10th of May (the crit date which was later moved to the 15th of May).
The last part of the drawing was to add the colours of the cards. I added first the shadows around each of the cards and then moved on then on to the white part of each card adding shadows, creases and other small details. Every white stripe is actually drawn white and not just left in the paper colour, because the Polycromus adds a wax-like layer onto the paper and the white pen actually makes the slightly creamy paper a bit brighter.
The last step then was to add the individual colours of each card. This took for each card differently long because some tones were easier or harder to recreate because it needed less or more different layers. The green one was made of two different colours: Juniper Green and Cold Grey II, plus white for the highlights of the crease. The grey one needed a combination of three colours: Warm Grey I, Juniper Green and a layer of White on top. The purple one needed four layers and colours: Cold Grey I, Light Red Violette, Violette and a layer of white on top and for the highlights. The Pink one needed three colours as well: Cold Grey I, Medium Flesh and White. I finished the whole drawing after 133 hours and 12 minutes and decided that I would not add the name Pantone nor the numbers or names of the colours because the project is neither about the company or a specific colour. I also wanted to stay quite abstract with what was depicted and not give away that they were colour cards. If the audience would recognise them as such was not important for the message.
(v) to naysay, to catastrophise
In November 2017 I’ve started to prepare my final project for my degree, collected the pieces, formed them the way I wanted them, photographed and edited. My general progress. I experimented with paper and did everything in order to start in March 2018.
However, in February a well-known artist announced to do precisely the same project. I knew I couldn’t go through with it even after all this time and work because I wasn’t able to compete with someone who has 300k+ followers. I was crushed, I slipped into a hole of negativity and darkness questioning not only my project but my work and myself as an artist. For me, the glass was more than half empty I was caught up in my head in this negativity. I found no words for how I felt, didn’t know how to describe to my friends what I was going through. My words got lost in translation.
Some might know that I’m from Germany, and there is a word to describe my feelings, but the expression wasn’t existing in English: ‘SCHWARZMALEN’. When I tried to explain it, I went for the most literal translation ‘drawing black’, but no one really understood.
I asked myself: why not draw it?
So I started to paint the objects from my original project black, embracing the negativity, the pessimistic and depressing thoughts that SCHWARZMALEN described. I drew black for over a month now, and it was the most creative, emotional and personal project I’ve made to this point.
After three weeks of work, I started the fourth and last card, next to ‘Orchid Blossom’ and under the Green one. This card called ‘Lightest Sky’ took much longer to prepare than the others, because it had so many details. The measuring and transferring of the outlines of the rough edges onto the paper took me most of the time.
The second half, the black sections when a lot easier at this point, since they were quite the same in all cards and I got used to the structure and needed less double checking with those elements. As for the previous one did I start at the bottom part and worked clockwise to the top. I decided the card roughly in four quarters and drew in each the most difficult elements first and then the easier ones. This was the best method for me since I needed much more focus for the splatter and brush marks and once I felt tired or less focused, I moved on to the darker areas that were less complicated.
Once I was finished with each of the biro cards, I removed the protection sheets that I have put on each card ones they were finished (to protect the image but also to stay focused). After that, I moved on to the coloured parts.
The third card was the green one next to the ‘Peony’ one. It began the same way as the two previous ones with the preparation, measuring and pre-drawing. However due to the size of the paper and the limited space I had in my flat, was the
only way to draw the other two cards to flip the table top, because I did not want to turn the paper because it was taped onto the table and I did not want to move it.
So instead of working from top to bottom, I
worked from the bottom to the top of the card. However, I have not change the rest of the process, preparation and pre-drawings and then working f
rom section to section.
With the sections with the third one, I had to work again from brush mark to brushmark instead of creases because the card was not divided by any. The tricky point was to stay track of the lines and to spare highlights in the black paint.
A major problem I faced was the time each of the individual card drawings took, and since all the ballpoint parts were mainly black and took me very long. I quite struggled with this aspect sitting on the whole image already longer than 78 hours.
This is when I realised that I could not produce a larger series of drawings (more than two) and focused on the main motive ‘Schwarzmalen’.
Each of the cards started the same way:
I used the photoshop file in the dimensions 1:1 of the paper and measured and transferred the outlines and primary elements with a pencil onto the paper.
The second image was the ‘Orchid Blossom’ coloured one which was under the ‘Peony’ one. I started it the same as the first I worked from top to bottom. I also drew the brush pattern on the edges first in each section to ensure that I would not confuse parts and draw over the edges. The sections of this one where much bigger than the first one, because one crease was in the middle and the bottom part was not creased at all. I would look for significant brushmarks that were darker or lighter to stay focused and draw the right part. But I still used the actual card because even though that I worked from a high-resolution image some parts were to flat and on the real card it was easier to figure out if something went down or up, needed to be darker or lighter.Something I did to all cards was to add a Layer of light circled over the top. This technique made the parts look more like they belong together. It also was a technique to bland the individual brush together and add shadows or highlights. For shadows, I had to build up several layers over each other of highlights I had to leave parts out.
I stated the Schwarzmalen picture with the top left drawing the ‘Peony’ coloured one. I began with the drawing the outlines and details with pencils onto the paper. I based everything one the photoshop file that I have previously created in the dimensions 1:1 to get dimensions right. Once that was done I started to measure each crease, splatter and brush movement of the black paint. After I had finished the preparation and pre-drawing, I started with the actual drawing. I moved from the top to the bottom of the card and from the most out parts to the inside. I worked in sections, I one section began for example at the top of the card and went all the way to the next crease in the paper. I moved like that over the paper all the way to the bottom.
It was, in general, easier to first draw the spatter pattern on the edges of the paint and then to fill in the rest of the drawing. I also decided to finish first all of the ballpoint parts of all cards and then move on to the coloured pencil parts.
Because one of the problems with using a biro for drawing is that it can smudge when the pen did not dry completely, So once I finished a part I covered it with paper to make sure it is protected from smudging but also other things.