I know a lot of things about a lot of subjects and over my art career I’ve drawn many diverse things for people which is always interesting for me, being asked to tackle a subject I wouldn’t usually choose for myself. But if you’re an artist, you can paint anything I always say. And then I’ll get a strange request to prove that exact point! Like this week for instance…….
The question was whether I could draw a Lancaster Bomber. Not thinking for one minute that the reply to that wouldn’t be for anything other than a large World War II plane and not some lunatic with a penchant for bombing our fair city of Lancaster, I answered that of course I could. And found that the request related to some artwork required in the form of line drawings needed for a business requiring letterheads and a logo. Ok, yes, no problem. Except that the subject was specifically the Lancaster Dambuster bomber and not any old Lancaster. Ok, now this is going to make it a bit more difficult, since I can draw, no problem, but its finding the subject matter that’s going to be the problem since I don’t know much about planes. Well, I know what Concorde looks like, but not the finer details between a Tiger Moth, Cessna, Spitfire, let alone what makes a Dambuster Lancaster any different to a non-Dambuster one. Fortunately, the client was most helpful in that department explaining the difference in it being based on a 617 Squadron Dambuster Lancaster modified by not having the upper gun turret and the bomb could be seen underneath. And letting me loose on the internet to find out more. Oh, and he wanted a bomb including in the logo. Ok, so what does that look like I wondered? and found it looks mostly like a large tin can with strange rivets and raised rims on the ends (that’s my interpretation of it, I’m sure the more technical among you will tell me what they are really called!).
So now I know a lot more about the Dambuster planes. Well….. I don’t know how many rivets are in the tail fins, and I don’t know how the bombs were attached in the planes, and I don’t know the type of engine used in them (actually, I think it was a Merlin… Oh, no, I’ve turned into an anorak!) but I DO know what it should look like. And I do know how they worked, and I do know where they practiced using them, as do most people who have lived in Derbyshire since the planes practiced dropping the bombs at the Ladybower reservoirs. And I also found out today, something that I didn’t know, that my sister has actually stood on the actual reservoir they bombed in Germany. (No, not at the same time, it was many years afterwards when it was full of water again.). I didn’t know that she had been, but then it was half a life time ago, involved the RAF (don’t ask!) and it didn’t mean so much then. But now it does.
At the moment I am just putting working drawings together before doing the proper drawings in full detail. Because the Dambuster plane has to be instantly recognisable, as well as more of an action shot than just a plane flying. And I may not know much of planes but I do know what a picture needs to make it look interesting and how the negative shapes around it make a positive shape more powerful. I know how to do that. Its called artistic licence.