Friday, 21 April 2017

Mortal Engines -The Gut

The next big artwork is The Gut, from Mortal Engines (the previous entry covered London the traction city chasing Salthook).

As usual it starts with very simple composition sketches. I find this part the hardest, it's something that has to be really worked on. There were two angles I was interested in, looking down from a walkway onto the industrial scene, and looking from the floor across and upwards. The latter has more impact, I really wanted to show how hellish, dirty and crazy it is in The Gut. This part of London is at the base of the city, and so has 6 storeys of suburbs weighing down on it, so it needs the heaviness of the ceiling bearing down on the viewer.

The drawings look very rough, but the way I think and draw at this stage is rough so I don't get attached to any particular version. It's more likely I'm wrestling the ideas from abstract fluff to a solid concept. Drawings 1 and 2 are looking down from a walkway, using a strong zigzag and criss-crossing. 3 and 4 are showing the scene from floor level, trying to find the strongest angles to use. 5 was too weak, and 6 is looking down at a skewed angle to make it look unsettling. 7 and 8 are back to the floor level, finding the strongest shapes to lead the eye in. 8 was the one I settled on, it had the weight bearing down as the girders and the giant heap of wrecked town in the centre. Halfway through the sketching I realised that you can't have The Gut without it doing it's job, which is disassembling towns and stripping their assets. So you have a central focus, and the girders acting like a frame around it. Some of the references I took are Piranesi's prison prints, Hugh Ferriss' city scenes, and a lot of abandoned factories and refineries. Also, we had an exhibition in the city gallery of WW1 art, views of munitions factories which were really dramatic and huge, like set design backdrops.

Drawing stage 1- using a grid to stop me from going off angle, starting to rough out girders and a town. The town is actually a part which has been sawn off by the rotary saws at the front outside of London. That's why it looks a little like a cross-section.

Stage 2- The town was too small, it didn't look like a big deal to cut it up, so increased it to scrape the top girders. The image looked like it needed a foreground element to make it more 3d, so I added a girder being ripped and lifted from the town.

Stage 3- the final drawing, everything is clear, and I know where to paint. The drawing is actually going above the painting layers, either as overlay, or multiply. It's hard to tell from the picture but I used a Wet Pencil brush to get the rough organic line.

That's the lot for now, I'm hoping this weekend lots of colour will be added. It's set up on layers so the background can be faded/blurred, and likewise with the foreground. There may even be some bits added in After Effects, like dust and smoke movement, or even a camera move as you get closer to the central view.

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