5 August 2006

A Sneaky Preview...

It'll be a few days, possibly a week, before this is finished but I couldn't resist posting this hot off the scanner title page to tide you over and whet your appetite until the job's done. Well, mainly because I'm really quite chuffed with it and wanted to share.

tyger_front_web


I've been feeling a bit... well, best way I can describe it is 'not good'... about my drawing lately. It's not that I've felt it was rubbish or worthless or anything just that it was missing something. On the one hand I've been painfully aware of my shortcomings in drawing terms and yet, on the other hand, I've felt that my creations have been missing something that was just there without me having to think about it or try back when I started all this over two years ago and my comings were even shorter then (ooer missus!). I guess that's why there have been so many experiments lately.

I don't know why but for this, and the quickie I posted yesterday, I reverted to something I used a lot back at the start but haven't touched for well over two years. My drip pen.

I know exactly why I stopped using the drip pen. Because it drips and smudges and doesn't dry quickly. Because it's messy and sometimes the ink flows and sometimes the nib just scratches and sometimes it deposits a great greasy splodge right in the middle of the drawing I just spent n hours bent over til my back spasms and eyes feel like sandpits. Completely unlike the cheap, reliable, disposable, consistent 'pigment liner' (ink pens) that I started using roughly two years ago when I stopped using drip pens. Those ink pens that dry instantly, never smudge and always produce something like the line I have in mind when I touch the tip to the paper. And yet, for all the mess and frustration the drip pens conjur, there's a magical beauty to the lines they make, the drawings I construct with those lines, that is too often lacking in consistent, reliable, mess-free pigment liner lines. And while those pigment liner lines are always something like the line I had in mind, the difference between something and exactly like what I had in mind can be and often is vast. Whereas those dastardly drip pens hardly ever make the line I had in mind and yet, somehow, nearly always make the line the drawing needs.

So this was done with drip pens. I've done a lot of work with drip pens and a lot of work with gouache and yet this is the first time I've used both together. I had avoided gouache lately, fearing that I have a tendency to overpaint, carrying on because I don't know when to stop until I suddenly notice that I should have stopped a hundred or so brush strokes ago. Somehow I feel that the by painting a drip pen drawing I've cured myself of this tendency. I suppose it's early days yet - I haven't even finished drawing the story, let alone painting it. Shall I just say that I'm very happy with the way this marriage (drip pen and gouache) is going so far and leave it at that for now? Well, no because actually I want to say a little bit more. I suspect that few of you will read this far anyway. I suppose the most important thing is that this marriage has lifted a cloud and made me feel good and excited about what I'm doing again. That's priceless. Of course I'll still use those reliably staid pigment liners. There are some things in art and life that require staid reliability. They're a lot bloody quicker and less messy as well. But when I click post and turn away from the pc, it'll be a drip pen that I turn to with a smile on my face, a grumbling stomach (okay, yeah, maybe I should turn to the cooker first) and a greasy great ink smear across my forehead where I brushed away my fringe with an ink-drippy paw before.

Watch this space (or a space above this space if you're reading this after the fact) for the rest of THE TYGER'S TALE soon...

15 comments:

Molly Bloom said...

I like the 'thinking aloud' nature of this post Dem. I think we all have moments of doubt. I'm not sure why you do, though. It's all about what we feel comfortable with, I suppose. Sometimes the harder things, that take longer, frustrate us, but they are much more satisfying...the dripping pen, the smudge on the forehead. I'm always fascinated by the fact that people write things like, 'You've probably stopped reading by this point'. It amazes me that you have troughs of insecurity about it...you shouldn't. I love reading your writing about your work. I think it adds to the actual drawings. You understand the process more. And you understand that it is not easy. I find it weird/funny/dunno when I slave over something I quite like it...and nobody else seems to. And then I whip something out (ooer) in about five minutes...and it's like 'Wahey!'

I like the pen drawing and I would never have guessed that it was gouache that you had used. It seems quite soft and light for gouache..so I'm impressed at how you've used it...

Glad you're getting a good feeling from it. I can't wait for the next part. I feel a Blake moment coming on.

And you must not give up. I'll come round your house and do a Chinese burn if you do. Ok?

Molly Bloom said...

I like the eccentricity of it all and the way that sometimes darkness and light are mixed here. I love the idea of playfulness and poignancy sitting together so easily sometimes. And like you said on your last post, sometimes you have to get things off your chest and use art as a medium to say things that are important.

Dem said...

Heyup Molly. I'm not thinking of giving up so you can keep away with your chinese burns you violent mare! The reason I said the bit about stopping reading was because of the way I read blogs - there are blogs where I go to read comics and look at pictures and other blogs where I go to read text and if I find a big chunk of text on one of the eyecandy blogs then I'll probably give it the most cursory skim and in most cases nothing more than that. So I have to expect a lot of people to do the same. But thanks for reading and commenting - I was, in a way, merely giving stuff in my head an external life so that I can look at them in a different light and it wasn't hugely important that anybody other than me read them but I'm glad you did. Pretty much everything painted here, except a few early things, is done with gouache but a lot of the time I don't use it well, more like poster paint.

I suggest you readjust your expectations - it's not particularly Blakean, just something light, slight and found (or nicked more like...)

Molly Bloom said...

Ok, I promise I won't do any Chinese burns. I shall look forward to the rest of this.

doppelganger said...

heh... that Y in Tyger had us all salivating for something primal / theological!

Anyhow - keep it up mate... doubt is just the antithesis part of the creative dialectic (or something....)

Dem said...

Thanks dopp. I realised as soon as I'd finished the picture that it would set Blakean expectations but there was nowt I could do about it by that time apart from start all over again. I suppose there is something about innocence and experience in it to a certain extent but I shouldn't write about it too much and then have everybody groan because I've tweaked expectations towards something deep and grand.

I'm coming to appreciate doubt. Even if it hurts and hinders there's something about challenging complacency in it, something about pushing on, something about coming to terms with what is and forcing us to make the most of that. Creative growing pains.

On another note, haven't ti/ygers got skinny arses?

Dem said...

Oops - didn't see you there Molly. Thanks - I wouldn't be able to draw with burning wrists anyway so you'd only be slowing things down.

Molly Bloom said...

I was only kidding. I don't have a violent bone in my body. As soft as a marshmallow, me!

I suppose we all associate the 'y' with Blake...but that doesn't mean it shouldn't go in a completely different direction.

Yes, the doubt is also a motivating force isn't it? Should I go on with this? Shouldn't I? Will anyone like it? Won't they? Oh buggery, I'll do it anyway.
I'm not frightened of my doubts either. I think that some people up here are so confident...I find that more frightening. Sometimes they say things...and I wonder if they are like that in their everyday life? I think I'm almost exactly the same in my non-blog life. I hope I am. I don't like some of the aggression up here - I think it's good to admit to doubt. Some of my friends have said things like, 'OOoh, you have been far too open...oooh.' But, I wouldn't try to present something fake or 'not' me. I'm much more of a babble-head up here though...as you've probably noticed. :) I never stop chatting away. Much more shy in non-blog world...

Dick said...

I reckon that self-doubt is endemic to the whole process, Dem. The fact that we carry on to the next project in spite of the fact that we know we're complete crap & that sooner or later we'll be found out demonstrates that we simply have to do it.

Reading about creative processes that entirely beyond my competence interests me greatly. Because I just write, there's nothing interposed between producer & product apart from the pen or keyboard. You guys, however, have to select, manipulate, negotiate, experiment before anything palpable actually appears. Thus, from me, all due respect.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to A Tyger's Tale, so get pen dripping, man...

doppelganger said...

"haven't ti/ygers got skinny arses?"

Hmmm..... practically obligatory for tygers I think....you can hardly do fearful symmetry with a fat arse....

Dem said...

Gawd - commented elsewhere yesterday but spent most of the day glued to paintbrush, drip-pen and cricket and forgot to answer the comments on my own...

I know what you mean about online confidence Molly. I used to use a forum that was ostensibly about the local music scene but there was lots of general chit chat and personal journals (from which my original blog was born. There was a lot of verbal conflict on there, a lot of light hearted banter but some of it outright nasty hostility. The vast majority of the hostiles would apologise to a mouse after clicking it in real life and were just taking advantage of the disembodied anonimity of online to puff up their virtual chests.

Thanks Dick - I've been hard at it but lifestuff takes me away from page, paints, etc today and possibly tomorrow so it'll be a few days yet still. All pages drawn, a few still to paint.

doppleganger - I know you're right for most things to do with ty/igers but what if a ty/iger was like a bullying big brother and decided to sit or fart on you? I think a the symmetry of a fat arse would be more fearful in those circumstances but I admit they're probably quite rare and unlikely.

Anyhow, back to erm something...

Molly Bloom said...

Oooh, you are so right about the anonymous nature of verbal violence. That is so right. I really, really hate that. I've seen some really horrible comments made about myself and others - sometimes been really shocked by it actually. And all, seemed to be totally unjustified and un-necessary. And like you say, really nasty. I also think that with words on a page, people can easily take a comment the wrong way because you can't see their face. Often a playful comment can be taken as a criticism. If there is a wrong way to take something...I'll probably take it that way. I reckon you should stick to what you believe in and not abuse people just because there is an element of anonymity here.

Molly Bloom said...

And as for tigers...they do have very small posteriors don't they? I wonder why that is?

Natalie said...

You're right, Dem, a favourite tool makes a big difference. The scratchy, temperamental drip/dip pens are lovely and most of the smoother lot can't match them. Stick with what you love most and see if you can make it behave. I love the Tyger drawing. Your use of gouache is unusual as you make it seem more like watercolour (I mean less opaque than gouache usually is).

Dem said...

I don't know how or why but I mostly seem to be resisting my tendency to overpaint with this project and I'd like to think it's something to do with the magic of the drip pen. Actually, the drip pen I'm using is one that you sent me. I think the nibs are ones I got but the holder, a favourite I'm finding it difficult to find again (one of them snapped), is definitely from you.