Friday, June 2, 2017


5/31/17 inks, water-soluble colored pencils

Driving home from an errand, I passed some heavy equipment being set up nearby, so after sharpening my “construction zone yellow” colored pencil, I came back out on foot to check it out. The machinery seemed to have two business ends – the front with a large shovel and the back with a digger/excavator – something I’d never sketched before, so I was looking forward to the challenge. But as soon as I got there, I had deep regrets: The workers on the sidewalk had just gotten started, and the air immediately filled with a horrible stench! I always carry ear plugs just in case I’m sketching at a noisy construction site, but I wished I’d had nose plugs. Needless to say, I sketched quickly.

Technical note: This scene was fully backlit, which made it difficult to see, and I also had problems putting in the shading. Since the side facing me was almost all in shade, I knew it should all be dark, but then I’d lose most of the bright yellow, and I also didn’t have anything much darker than the gray ink I was using for shading. I decided to choose inconsistent shadows and visual confusion rather than lose all that yellow. It’s a good reason to stay away from backlit compositions (not to mention smelly sites).

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