Skip to content

Getting caught up in the small details

The blog post I was planning on writing today was going to be about the painting I have virtually finished of the bride and groom kissing under the white wrought iron gazebo with cherry blossom all around them. That was the plan. All poised ready to go with it and then I got an email this morning that put a stop to it.

The email put a frown on my face and a sigh to my lips.

I looked again at the reason for the comment and to a miniscopic degree could see the reason for the comment but felt the point was being missed totally. But I have seen this comment happen before so will now explain how I view the world compared to how it seems a few other people do….

The subject in question in this instance is for two white on black drawings that I have been commissioned to do recently for a couple. I won’t show the drawings here, although they were done three weeks or so ago, as I haven’t yet asked for permission to put them on my blog or website. So, I will describe them and illustrate this without the particular illustrations! The drawings are done in conte pencil on black card in the style that I have done many times over the years. I am very used to drawing in this style and it is a particular style that I have adjusted to fit the conte pencil that differs from a graphite pencil in that it has a far softer point to it, although it can be sharpened with a craft knife to get a good point, but it isn’t as hard as a graphite pencil lead. But the reason I like it so much is because of the soft effect it makes. When I draw in this style, as its white on black, its obviously a tonal drawing, not one with colour to make the form of the bodies. And as it has strong light and shadows on it, there will be parts of the body that are in darkness (ie the black of the card) and some in light (ie the strongest tone of white of the pencil) and maybe two tones in-between using the pencil with a lighter pressure to the card. Even though there might be fine details within the composition I am drawing, the drawing itself won’t really show them as the pencil won’t allow it and as far as I am concerned I like the hint of details within the drawings.  Its not supposed to be a full representational drawing.

And here we come to my problem with todays email.drawing size indicator 1

The clients, who it is my utmost intention to please, have asked for the woman’s nose in it to be adjusted as they say it doesn’t look like “her nose”. This is their second request for a change in this particular drawing regarding the woman’s face. When I looked at the drawing I had done  – to a microscopic degree – I could see the reason why they were thinking it, but I also knew the reason why they were saying it. It was because they were looking at the image on their computer screen, and although I don’t know the size of their monitor, I would imagine the pictures are quite large on the screen, and that they are viewing them in large definition. They are also probably sitting a few inches from the screen too so can see all the tiny details in the picture. Most drawings and paintings when they are framed and behind glass on someone’s wall are viewed from about six feet away. You don’t view them from 2 inches away. I do appreciate that their living space is limited but even so they will generally view these drawings from a few feet away. The whole point of these types of white on black conte pencil drawings is that they are not full detailed drawings done in graphite pencil, they are supposed to be an artists rendition of the models, not a total photographic copy. As an artist I put my artistic interpretation of the models which picks up the essence of the models and in these drawings I have made slight adjustments to improve on the photos I worked from. In this instance the couple are standing up in full body pose, and the womans head is slightly thrown back so that it meant I was looking up her nose and under her chin for the drawing. If I had put them in exactly as the photo then her chin would have looked enormous and her nostrils massive and it would have detracted from the point of the drawings which is of the couple cuddling each other in an erotic way with their hands and bodies interacting and the way the light and shadows make interesting patterns around them. I have slightly adjusted the drawing to make it more appealing from the photo.

And here we get to the whole crux of the point of this. The drawings are done on paper that is ONLY 8 x 6 inches. So the actual changes they are asking for are in bare millimetres (to totally mix my measurements from imperial to metric!).  I have taken a photo of a ruler and the pencil I am using with the finest point I can get on it, and the fine rubber I use for fine adjustments and they look large compared to the size of the tiny adjustments they are asking me to make.

I  really hope they understand the point (excuse the pun!) I am making. I really can’t do anything more with it. I’m trying to get them to realise they have to look at the big picture and not the miniscule details.

1 thought on “Getting caught up in the small details”

Comments are closed.