I have been given a great opportunity to exhibit some drawing at a student-led exhibition here in Leeds at the start of December. The theme being ‘Impersonators’, I couldn’t see a better subject matter than a full party of the world’s favourite breed of impersonator: The Elvis Impersonator.
Research sketchin’ – Google image referencing due to the distinct lack of Elvis in my real life:
As I have never really exhibited any drawing before, I have been feeling nervous about the quality of my pictures, and unsure that the standard is ever good enough to actually call them finished. Reading Taiyo Matsumoto‘s Blue Spring, and having some Moebius art round my bedroom walls has been stirring up jealousy in me for their crisp but crunchy linework. The detailing on the Elvis suits is something I really want to include too – this pointillist-y technique with the 0.1 pen pleases me to some extent, but I think I’d need to make my other lines much more delicate for them to sit well together.
I’ve been fairly engrossed in the much freer, curvier inking of Wesley Allsbrook too, and would like to keep practicing with the ink-and-brush techniques until my hand/wrist muscles feel strong enough to control a smoother line.
So I fell to sketching out the Elvis party, figuring I could decide the best course of action to take as I went along:
Luckily, while I was drawing, Tutor Graham came into the studio, informing me that I had a tutorial with him just then. With all the festival-going of the past two-three weeks, I suppose I lost sight of the course and my responsibilities as a Visual Communication student. Time to get back on track.
This surprise tutorial was immensely helpful. Graham was able to point out the fact that the ink tests I had done (above) lacked the animation of my pencil sketches, which I could not argue with, and asked why I didn’t just submit a pencil drawing for the exhibition, but I don’t think I could do this. I feel as though I need to finish this with ink to feel satisfied with it – and now I’ve had a second go at the overall sketch, I feel more confident with the image as a whole. The composition seems better, the characters are more varied, and I have found a place for the kissing Elvises. It still needs some work around the edges and between the heads and on many badly-proportioned body parts, but I think this could turn out to be a good piece of work.
I’ve been dwelling more on the Ralph Steadman exhibition I visited during the summer too, and the punches his work delivers on my brain. I’d like to get that punchy, so I must work on my ink drawing. I should really get a new nib for my dip pen too, but the finest ones are so difficult to find!