TASK: There and back again
With sketchbook in hand, go on a journey and document the experience.
Depending on your circumstances this might be a regular commute from one end of town to the other on the bus, a short holiday, or a day trip. Wherever you decide to go, produce at least three drawings or illustrations that say something about your experience of setting out on your journey, your destination, and your travel home. You may want to use more drawings to illustrate some of the stages in between.
The final images sequenced as a narrative
As with all my work for this part of the course I need to practise my sketching a lot more. In this project I did not use any photos – things were going past too quickly and I wanted to focus on capturing things on paper. I actually enjoyed this way of working – trying to get down the essential lines, then annotating. On a journey you are relying more on memory and cannot get bogged down in detail, so things flow more. Till you arrive of course!
I need to explore a range of styles for finishing. I like using ProCreate on my iPad and it has a lot of potential. But this was my first real attempt at using it to work up pencil sketches – and did not have time to revisit the project in preparation for assessment. I want to get the sense of movement and excitement through using some blur, but also more dynamic ink lines. These ones are much too ‘fuzzy all over’, and I need to nthink more about the colours. I have done quite a bit more in ProCreate since, and need to go back to all these images and redo them. I also need to think about them as a series – what do I keep looking very similar, and what do I vary for punctuation/expression of particular stages. A process….
For this project I used a trip to London in March. This trip was a weekend break with a boat cruise along the Thames. On this trip I focused on sketching and did not take supporting photos to see just how much I could fill in from memory. Then what the lessons would be for future.
in the order they were drawn.
I then worked into the images in Procreate four months later, using the sketches directly or combining several into one image. Some were omitted because I did not have enough information or clear enough memory to make them interesting, or they repeated information from other sketches. Some were reordered to make a more interesting narrative. In preparation for assessment I revisited some of these to do slightly more polished images, but they need more work and thinking through.
iPad images and notes as sent to my tutor
The morning started fine. With the sun streaming through the front door – seeming to smile on the journey. I like the light and warmth in this image. But it is too overdone and I don’t like the colour.
As we got in the taxi the sky began to cloud over. I want to get rid of some of the pencil lines here, and make the morning light a bit more contrasty. The light was really nice – looking forward to the journey.
By the time we got on the train the weather had clouded over. It seemed like we had to wait for ages. This needs some better control of ProCreate. I want more dynamic lines of the station, contrast with the vertical of the pillar. And better figures on the platform.
I need to practise my figure drawing! And stop the man from levitating. But I like the frame of the cases at the front.
I liked the moody grey sky and dull green of the landscape – quite bleak. I have not yet managed to quite capture that here. I need to contrast the frame of the window with the rail track, and get a sense of movement through blur. Also think more about the colours.
I like the general feel of this, but need to think more about the colour.
I like this one, but need to sharpen up the figures a bit, and sort out the pencil on the seagulls,
This one I want to sharpen up the figures. With some narrative between the man and woman at the front. But maintain the sketchiness of the outside.
This was Kings Cross Station. With a group of parents meeting their children from a school trip – all obsessed with their mobile phones. I could play around a lot more to vary the figures here.
I was struck by this disabled soldier.
I need to work on this image a lot more – I want to retain the pastel painting of the face. But need to think how to do the reflection in front of the passing countryside – or should I make it a platform?
I like the red bus. But need to sort out the pencil lines – what sort of style am I aiming for. Also to contrast with the image of the outward journey. The weather and feeling coming back was duller. I could exaggerate that more.
Create an architectural illustration that shows the contrast between a building or structure of your choice and its surroundings.
This contrast may be the relationship between an old building and its more modern neighbour, its location, or perhaps the contrast is more embedded in its alterations and renovations. Alternatively you can choose a structure such as a bridge or pylon to work from and explore the contrast with its surroundings.
Think about how you deal with this contrast creatively, through your choice of materials, approach to image- and mark-making and use of colour and composition.
Pick somewhere that’s easy to access and draw. Use your sketchbooks to capture as much information as you can. When you get home either pick your best ‘live’ drawing or use your notes, photographs and sketches to create something more finished. You may find that you didn’t capture as much detail as you needed on your first visit, so you may want to return to get more information. Find out when your building or structure was built and do some research into the architectural style of the building you have chosen.
This project was done on the same weekend trip to London as the Travel project There and Back Again.
Sketches on Location
I started by sketching a range of buildings – I really like the tall Skyscrapers in London.
In terms of choosing a contrast between buildings I decided on the final sketch – the Walkie Talkie and Port of London Authority Building. Unfortunately this vantage point was quite difficult to stay to sketch for long – there was a lot of traffic pollution. It was also very cold. So I took a lot of reference photos.
Researching the Buildings
I did not know much about the buildings themselves. When I got home I started to do some research on the web about the buildings to think through how I might meaningfully illustrate the contrasts.
Port of London Authority Building
Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10_Trinity_Square
10 Trinity Square is a Grade II listed building in London overlooking the River Thames at Tower Hill, in the southeastern corner of the City of London. The structure was designed by Sir Edwin Cooper and built by John Mowlem & Co in 1922 as the new headquarters of the Port of London Authority. (The PLA is now based elsewhere in theCity of London and at Gravesend.)
The building was badly damaged by enemy bombing during the Blitz in World War II and when renovated in the 1970s a functional rectangular office block was built to occupy the central part of the building which was destroyed in the War. It was occupied as the European headquarters of insurance broker Willis Faber Limited following the relocation of the PLA to Smithfield. Willis is now based in the Willis Building in nearby Lime Street.
In 2006, 10 Trinity Square was acquired by Thomas Enterprises Inc. It was sold to a partnership of KOP Group and Reignwood in 2010. KOP lost their stake to Reignwood in 2012. It will be developed into a 98 bedroom hotel with over 40 private residences under the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts brand known as Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square.
The building featured in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall.
Walkie Talkie building
Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20_Fenchurch_Street
20 Fenchurch Street is a commercial skyscraper in London that takes its name from its address on Fenchurch Street, in the historic City of London financial district. Designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and costing over £200 million, 20 Fenchurch Street features a highly distinctive top-heavy form which appears to burst upward and outward. A large viewing deck, bar and restaurants are included on the top three floors; these are, with restrictions, open to the public.
It has been nicknamed ‘The Walkie-Talkie’ because of its distinctive shape. Construction was completed in spring 2014, and the top-floor ‘sky garden’ was opened in January 2015. The 34-storey building is 160 m (525 ft) tall, making it the sixth-tallest building in the City of London and the 12th tallest in London.
The tower was originally proposed at nearly 200 m (656 ft) tall but its design was scaled down after concerns about its visual impact on the nearby St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower of London. It was subsequently approved in 2006 with the revised height. Even after the height reduction there were continued concerns from heritage groups about its impact on the surrounding area. The project was consequently the subject of a public inquiry; in 2007 this ruled in the developers’ favour and the building was granted full planning permission. In 2015 it was awarded the Carbuncle Cup for the worst new building in the UK in the previous 12 months.
Developing the Image
I put the sketches and photos together in my sketchbook, and used these to think about different types of contrast and draw up some thumbnails. In fact I really like the Walkie Talkie Building – particularly reflecting the dawn light in the photo right below. I also liked my quick sketch of the building from the lift.
The PLA Building which I find too cold, bland and curly – with its rather lifeless statue of Poseidon and uninspired neo-classical horses. Though I do like the gleaming white stone in the sun.
The PLA Building using rubbed out graphite or charcoal, also as a glue drawing. Also possible uses of white pastel. I needed something with a clear contrast, and within my current drawing capacity – and time available.
I decided to experiment further with drawing on photographs for the PLA Building – my sketch did not convey the stiff neo-classical feel I was looking for. I converted the photo above to black and white, increased the contrast and printed it out onto thick inkjet paper. Then I covered the image in white gouache, and drew over the lines of the building with a merchanical 2B and 3B pencil, using a torchon to blend. This was not actually an easy option because many details in the image were not clearly lit in the photo. Ideally I would have had more sketches. But overall I like the image – particularly the veiny marble-like tree branches that show through the gouache.
For the Walkie Talkie Buidling I thought of a number of interpretations eg using aluminium foil and collage to show the reflections, or layered masking tape to exaggerate the folds. I photographed scratched aluminium foil with different lighting as part of this, or possible backdrop. But I did not think a straight-edged, technological treatment would contrast sufficiently with the PLA Building. In the end I used the quick sketch I liked – it looks like a dirty water tower ‘carbuncle’.
I then took the 3 images: PLA Building, cropped WT Building and aluminium foil into Photoshop and experimented with duplicating layers, masking and blend modes. I tried many different permutations and combinations to make the white/black contrast on PLA as great as possible, while maintaining the marbling from the branches. The final version has an outer glow and drop shadow which makes it stand forward. I inverted the Walkie Talkie to give it a ghostly feel, to give a dreamy space age feel and black background to contrast the white of the PLA Building. The aluminium foil I used as a textured backdrop.