The Illustration Friday theme week is “Stretch”. Almost immediately, an image came to mind of someone stretching in a gym. However, a second figure was added for a few reasons:
1) To add a little more visual interest
2) I like the challenges and possibilities afforded by multiple characters.
Ever since I started paying serious attention to the work of David Hockney, I’ve come to realize the richness of character that can be revealed about a person through his or her interactions with others. Many of Hockney’s most affecting paintings are of couples. His couples tend to interact with each other in more subtle ways than mine: often there’s a quiet tension between two people sitting in the same room, or swimming and sunbathing.
I may get there some day. For now….
Initially, the composition was going to include only the red-head. Something about the drastically foreshortened leg seemed very appropriate. It really emphasized the reaching… the ‘stretching’. But adding the standing young man turned it into more playful scene.
As is often the case, the drawing came rather quickly: it was the color that gave me an artistic charlie-horse.
Well, that’s not entire accurate. The drawing wasn’t the easiest, and it still isn’t as competent as it should be. The outstretched leg still shows evidence of the biggest problem: it isn’t quite ‘heavy’ enough. It almost looks like it’s floating a little bit. I think the issue is less with the leg itself, as with the slight incongruity with the perspective of the other objects.
Other little bits of sloppiness occur in the faces, both of which have been short-changed in the chin area! The latte-colored guy actually had a stronger chin, but it got lost in the coloring. Sloppy.
And that brings us back to the color. My personal challenge for the next drawing will be to be more deliberate and thoughtful about a concerted color scheme. This one ended up just a collection of individual colored areas, which don’t relate to each other in any significant way.
I went back and forth on the background colors about a hundred times. They were either too boring or too colorful – competing with the figures.
Desperate, I just started throwing in some random shadows and highlights using the “dodge” and “burn” tools in Photoshop. This at least broke up the expanses of flat color. It had a nice side effect of making the scene feel more “spacial”. Some of the same effects were then applied to the figures to integrate them into the surroundings, and also giving them some added volume.
At some point, the workout mat went from light blue to a much darker shade, which also resulted in a more ‘grounded’ feel to the whole work.
The picture was finished last night, but I was not satisfied with it and although signed, chose not to post it. I needed to ‘take a step back’. Seeing it again this afternoon with fresher eyes, it looks much better than it seemed to last night.
So here you go world: a couple of dudes who, like me, have finished the hard part, and now are getting ready to hit the showers.