Friday, 6 June 2014

Tactical Tracings

Now, I may have discussed this at some point before, but I like to use tracings in my work. Using drawing paper first, to work through accurate drawings of subjects, allows me to make as many messy scribbles and rubbings out as I like. Then I can trace the drawings separately, and move the composition around until I have something I am happy with.

Two of the tracings I have made for compositions.  

Tried and trusted
My lovely, bright Rotring inks.

The calligraphy Art Pens by Rotring.
These ones are quite old now
and the newer sets are different.

Lastly, my ancient Rotring technical pens.
In my view, never bettered.

But what do you do, if you've done all that, finished the painting and suddenly notice a gaping hole or need to add another element that you needed to wait for? well, tracings come in very handy here too. In my most recent pieces, I used loads of tracings of my drawings to get the most pleasing composition, so was confident that adding something afterwards would still work out okay.

First up was to add a sprig of brambles to my 'Blackberry D' for ISBAs Alphabet. The painting was finished but I was asked to add the fruits. Obvious really, but at the time I was feeling pretty grim (another op) and decided to take the easiest route. Draw, trace, transfer, paint. I didn't want to get it wrong at this stage.

All finished.
or so I thought. 

Tracing the blackberries for the 'Blackberry D'

I used the tracing rather than the painting to find the best position.
Maybe here...
...or here?
The finished brambles.

Fine details are painted on,
but a tracing certainly helps with locating things on the page.

And how it looks in the catalogue.

Alas I didn't have time to take a photo of the original before
it went to Ireland.

All in all, I'm quite happy with it. 

Another painting that needed 'a little something extra' was 'The Green Belt', see also New Painting from Old, Celebrate your Curves and Tracing v Lightbox for more traceability. The feather was to fill a gaping hole that I hadn't spotted, but once the painting was complete, looked very obvious. Again, a quick tracing of my drawing was used to locate where on the piece to place it. Snagged and hanging off a thorn right in the middle, looked most pleasing for this one. An outline tracing was all that was needed to locate the feather, the details filled in later.

A quick outline tracing of a small feather was placed in
a gaping hole, to see how it would fit. 

Very lightly drawn on.
The tracing was only used for placement,
the feather was drawn free-hand.

Lightly painted, the finished feather.

Another really good reason to work using a tracing is that if anything should go horribly wrong during a painting, you don't have to redraw the whole thing from scratch. Believe me, this aspect of it can really save an awful lot of time and heartache.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Jarnie for this blog. I am not very good at composition and usually end up photocopying a partially completed painting to try out ideas. This is not ideal as the photocopy will not stand much rubbing out. Now I can use tracing paper - simple but effective!

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Chris, glad to be of service. :)

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Excellent post Jarnie!

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Katherine, that means a lot. :)