The Pangalactic Bazaar Gets Inked
At the end of Imprint Issue 16, I said that the next issue, i.e. the one
you are now reading, would be titled, "A Painting is Like An Onion..." Unfortunately, I did not have time to
start painting the Pangalactic Bazaar. So that title and content will have to wait until the next issue.
So the mystery continues.
At the end of the previous issue, the bazaar had been drawn in pencil. The next step was to ink the whole
piece. This has several benefits.
The first benefit is that the inked drawing can serve as a much more practical cartoon. This is not
referring to something you read in the Sunday Funnies, but to the classical definition of the word. As the
American Heritage Dictionary defines it, a cartoon is, "a preliminary sketch similar in size to the work, such as
a fresco, that is to be copied from it." Very often, if you remove a fresco, you can find the cartoon (or a copy
of it) on the wall beneath. In my case, the preliminary drawing won't be transferred to the surface- I'll paint
directly over it. By inking the drawing, the outlines will remain visible longer than would pencil lines as I
paint over the drawing.
Reference and Safety Net
The inked lines also scan much better than do pencil lines. In a reversal of tradition, instead of making a
reference drawing than then transferring it onto the final surface, I drew directly onto the final surface and
then scanned the inked drawing to print out and use as a reference. As I paint, I will have a full-sized (or
nearly so) printout beside me to remind me what goes where and how things should look.
Should anything happen to the painting (catastrophic fire in the studio, or the realization that the painting
is going really badly, for example), that printout can also serve as the basis for a new painting after
it has been fixed to a new surface.
Every step of the process allows for further refinement, and the inking is no different. Some areas of the
pencil drawing remained ambiguous; inking forces me to decide exactly what goes where. It is also another pass
in the refinement of details and a way to decide which lines are the most important. It also clarifies the
flow and composition of the piece, which in turn helps me think about overall issues of light and dark, color
and emphasis. In a painting this complicated and busy, there need to be areas of light and dark, cool colors
and warm colors, etc., to divide the piece and make it both more interesting overall and easier to understand
at a glance. When the piece is a lightly defined pencil drawing, the eye has a difficult time making enough
sense of the whole to think about these issues.
The Piece, Inked
Which brings us to the real point of this issue, display of the inked drawing:Inked Version of the Pangalactic Bazaar
Click on the picture above for a larger version
The immediate next step is to coat the surface with acrylic medium. This will seal the surface and prepare it
for the acrylic paint to come. This isn't strictly a necessary step, but I much prefer painting on the smooth
surface of the acrylic medium compared to the absorbent, higher-friction surface of the raw illustration board.
It also covers up any areas of the illustration board which have become oily from finger oils or rough from
excessive erasing, reducing the full area to a uniform, smooth surface.
That brings the piece to just short of applying paint, which is where we will pick up next time.