How To Walk On Shingle: Some work in progress and sketches

In my previous post I showed you a finished drawing “How To Walk On Shingle”. That was the endpoint – or one endpoint – of a series of sketches I made of my friend Mary.

Mary has featured in my drawings before and is really a rather wonderful subject because she loves an audience and we all love to be her audience. I have drawn her from memory (see: ‘It’s all about Mary’), but on this particular day I had a camera. All she did was walk down the beach, but in true Mary-fashion it was worth a series of pictures.

And then I made sketches from some of the photos. They fall into three groups: first the swanky walk in flip-flops, then the hobble on naked feet across the last few metres of shingle, and at the waterside Lucy and Laura come to her rescue and help her into the water – she said ‘like her two carers’ – they had shoes on, it makes all the difference.

When I first made the sketches I had no clear idea of how I was going to use them in a final piece. I just drew them. And then I scanned them, and opened them up one-by-one into a drawing programme. There were clearly too man pictures for one composition so my next idea was two groups converging in the middle: Swanky Mary on the left, Wobbly Mary on the right. Then I thought of inserting a third piece in-between where she actually gets into the sea.

The same pencil sketches, scanned and opened up in a drawing programme (SketchBook).
The white stripped away outside the figures and a coloured background placed behind

Then I tried drawing the left hand composition. It worked, and had some nice details, but I thought it was a little too delicate as a whole. The second piece, based on the right-hand composition but flipped, is much stronger, and I have abandoned the idea that they work together, because I wanted this second piece to stand alone, so I wanted it to read from left to right like the first piece.

The arranged sketches, printed onto paper, and worked on top of, in pencil and coloured pencil.

And this is where we are now. The finished, final picture is here, all this above is just all the work that led up to it….

Note on media:
All of the drawing is in pencil and colored pencil, but for the final pictures I scanned the sketches in and re-arranged them and added a coloured background, then printed and continued working on them on the printed paper. So they are not ‘pure’ drawings, but in this way I was able to retain the original sketches rather than re-draw them which I think would have lost some essential part of them.

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