Today I am sharing some unedited drawings! This is a part of my process that comes after a sketch is approved, and before layers of colour are added to create the final, and as such I don’t often have the opportunity to share this intermediate step. While these drawings are not complete pieces in and of themselves, I figured they might still be of interest.
These drawings are done on an iPad (though sometimes I work traditionally in pencil), and then taken into Photoshop for editing, colouring, and adding in graphic elements. I always start with a drawing as the foundation on which to build up layers of colour and texture. I suppose this is a similar process to a lot of painters who create tight drawings to paint over, the difference being that my line work shows through in the final.
When creating a drawing I’m not too concerned about capturing form or value; I consider it to be more of a texture pass, with the lines providing visual interest and noise. Of course things like composition and value structure are planned out, and I decide which parts will be drawn and which will be flat shapes beforehand, but when I’m actively drawing I am focused on mark-making only, and everything else comes later.
Once the drawing is finished, a significant amount of adjustment happens during the Photoshop editing process. The value structure is defined with shading and colour, any graphic shapes are painted in (or out), and a bunch of textures are overlaid on top to give everything a cohesive look. While I try not to deviate from the original drawing too dramatically, things often do get shifted around, resized, and reshaped as I work towards the final. This emphasis on mark-making first and editing later allows me to work more intuitively.
I’ve always considered my work to be drawing-based, though thinking on it now, I tend to do much more than simply add colour to my drawings. There are so many layers of texture and overpainting that I don’t know if the finals are really still drawings, or some sort of hybrid between painting and drawing.
There are some situations where a drawing is not edited and fussed with so much. For example, I find that keeping a loose sketchy feel is more appropriate for things like interior book illustrations, or when a piece is B&W. So in these scenarios I tend to let more of the line work show through.
Regardless of medium or the appearance of final results, I love exploring mark-making and the tactile feel of sketching, so drawing remains one of the most important aspects of my process. And I hope this has been an interesting glimpse behind the curtains – or layers 😏 – of my work!