Tuesday, 18 May 2010


My next commission can't be shown here for a while as it is a surprise gift.   I'm awaiting approval of the 'mock-up' so in the meantime thought I'd dust off the drafting film and tackle one of the 'big cats' I photographed a couple of years ago at the Wildlife Heritage Trust in Kent .   

Drafting film is a sort of plasticized, semi opaque film more familiar to architects and draftsmen than artists until recently.    It doesn't have any 'tooth' so doesn't take many layers of pencil and that adds to the artistic challenge - and speeds up the drawing process.   Because it is semi opaque (with a grey tinge) the film needs to be laid over a coloured background sheet.  One major advantage is that you can draw on both sides of the film to give a 3D effect and emphasize highlights etc.

With this tiger, I decided to use a black backing sheet.   Part way through, whilst showing hubby a progress report, I just slipped a white sheet of paper behind the drawing and he thought that made the colours 'ping' more.   I'm reserving judgement.   

I will be away for a few days now so no blog posts for a week, but I'm looking forward to getting back to this one and seeing how it develops.

OK .... first WIP.   This is a photo and there is quite a lot of reflection off of the film but, as you can see, I started with the eyes as usual.  I'm drawing on the film with a sheet of black paper behind it.  So white pencil strokes show up quite bright and the orange/red/yellow shades mute down a lot

A bit more progress - lots of tiny pencil strokes for the hair.  Still drawing on film with black backing paper.

My idea for this picture was that the tiger would be emerging from quite a dark background - hence the choice of black backing sheet which will facilitate this.   My original ref photo shows the tiger in bright green grass (and I didn't fancy tackling that as a background).  With a black backing sheet the white pencil shows up clearly and the black recedes

Then I slipped the white paper behind the film and doubts are creeping in.   These photos probably don't show the colours at their best but certainly the orange/red/yellow look much more striking.   With the white backing sheet the white pencil disappears and the other colours dominate ... jury's out for now!!


Dors said...

Beautidul work Sue. Love the Tiger.
Love those eyes. wow.

Lene said...

wonderful glowing eyes on your tiger! I vote for the dark backcover as it is now - looks more "solid" to me :)

sue said...

Thank you Dors and Lene. This has the feel of one that I'm going to enjoy (so long as I don't mess up the background).

Lene - I'm stilling working towards it having a black backing but who knows - it may have a twist in the tail (sorry)!

Priti said...

This is coming out very well. This is my first visit to your blog and i enjoyed going thru it.

Angela Finney said...

Beautiful! Sue. I love the eyes and pose as well. I really can't say which background I like better, it is nice to have the orange's and red pop, but I think it looks more 3D thus far on the black. I have not yet tried the drafting film. What kind do you use. I always get confused about it when in the art supply store. Thanks for your detailed explanation of using it. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this tigger!

Janet Pantry said...

Hi Sue, this is interesting to watch, it's looking great so far. Looking at it on screen, I like it on black best but what do I know! I see your dilemma, pros and cons on both black and white it seems. Looking forward to seeing the next stage and the decisions you make :)

sue said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting Priti
Also thanks to Angela and Janet.

Apologies for the delay in responding but I have limited internet access until next Thursday so have to cut back on my blogging and forum visits.

Angela I´m using drafting film I bought in a huge roll on eBay - it was redundant material from a draftsman and I believe it was pretty old but it is equivalent to the artist quality films sold by art suppliers in the UK and USA

pett paintings said...

Wow Sue this is looking amazing I love work on drafting film so sharp and focussed! those eyes look really glassy, I have some film but have never yet been brave enough to try it out (one day) xx