A month back, I did a cover image for the Gatehouse Gazette, my second cover for them. The Gatehouse Gazette being a black and white publication, with a standard of using line-art for the covers, I decided to do the piece in pen and ink.
Though not exactly an expressive and creative masterpiece by any stretch, the piece made me happy looking at it, as it reminded me very much of the sorts of things I used to draw at my desk behind a makeshift wall crafted of several propped up books and a huge overfilled backpack. It also threw me back to the days of hoarding strange fiction pulp comic books, cyberpunk or dungeons and dragons manuals, and sci fi books – which I collected primarily for the artwork and imaginative worlds within.
I tend not to see works which simply look ‘neat’ or communicate a scene as art, more I see them as concept art or illustration, as such is typically the purpose of these works. No underlying meaning, no personal expression, no sociopolitical undercurrents or overtones, no mysteries contained within… just a scene from a story, a character or item from a book.
In this, as much as I looked at my line art piece, and desired to see it at its very-most complete, I thought it would be best to push on to other actual artworks – but this what rather hard to do, as the piece was continually, incessantly calling to me – so, in order to remove this distraction, I took to it with several tubes of acrylics and have been working at it a little each night.
I can’t say how oddly happy this makes me, as I work on it, and as I look at it at the end of the night – running my fingers over its surface as I know I shouldn’t – fascinated by the results because in all my time looking for that perfect surface for me – I never really gave bristol or illustration board a serious try, especially when it comes to paints. I like to at least have the illusion that my work will last forever and am forever trying to find more time tested and durable media to work on, to print on or to paint in. Though bristol has a high archival rating, I always think of all the things that could possibly happen to a piece over a few hundred years – and shudder to think of it.
The trade-off however – very nice. No tens of layers of gesso and sanding. No fighting/working with the grain of the wood or the texture of the canvas – a nice smooth surface which is easy to draw on before painting, and handles the paint rather nicely once a base coat has been applied.
It may not be an historic or ground-breaking work of art in the art world – it is however ground-breaking in mine. Not only have I found a new surface to love, but I have reminded myself once more that all art is self portraiture – as even though not intended, it unavoidably communicates the loves, interests, desires, fears, fancies, and soul of the maker… in this case maybe only my love for strange pulp fiction horror/sci fi, or perhaps a little more. I may never know, but I certainly won’t know until it is finished.
Well, enough of my musing… I now return you to your regular programming.
Oh… some progress piccies: