Test Fire, April 2019

Yeah I know, it's taken me a while to post the explanation! Even though the hi-res version made it into April's goodies. So what's this about then?

Well, you may remember my January doodle, Silence. That lead me to think about creating a series of works in a similar style, so... as you may have guessed from the title, this is a bit of a test! But because I'm me (DestroyerMariko), of course I had to add fire, and I got a teeny bit carried away.

The idea of this was originally to test out some materials. I came up with a sorta plan over on Deviant Art in an attempt to grab some money lol, but I didn't get it, and it's been hard to justify spending too much (although there's a sale on this month so hmmmm!) so I rummaged through the things I already have.

Here's what I found:

(left to right)

  • Brushmarker - red, alcohol based
  • Japanese brush-style marker - black ink
  • 2B pencil
  • Fineliner - black 0.4
  • Paint marker - yellow, acrylic
  • Connector texta - light blue

My original idea was to develop my art style using acrylic paint markers, so that I could have the acrylic vibe while still maintaining the sharp lines that a pen style can provide. However, when I dug out my sample marker and realised it was yellow, well, that kinda ruined my plans for testing it. I mean sure, I could draw a bunch of lines in yellow, but they just wouldn't stand out the way I was gonna need them to. It was really bad luck, coz just about any other colour might have been acceptable for a test. But no, I got a yellow. And that's why I went digging for more different kinds of pen/pencil to try.

So it should mostly be pretty obvious what I used where, based on colour. The one exception would be the black - the outside of the rockets is done with the Japanese marker, the inside detail is done with the fineliner.

Compositionally, since incorporating text was a goal, I decided that the word "test" would be great for a test piece, and as I mentioned, that's when my brain jumped to "fire" and the rocket idea popped into my head. Cute? So I won't describe the obvious, but there were a few conscious decisions I made:

  • Find as many excuses to try out the yellow as possible... ooh I know! use it to show fragments of heat like abstract sparks or something;
  • Try to make the cloud section have a more billowy feel, without being overly obvious about it... so not too many cloud-shaped curves;
  • Draw the sky in such a way as to suggest it being shattered by the punch of the rockets, a bit like broken glass.

And there you go. Done.

I even remembered one of the lessons from my previous Silence work, that pencil smudges, so I took care to do that last, as much as possible. 

As for the work's usefulness as a test, here's what I learned - brush markers kinda suck for this. I wanted mostly rigid, easy-to-control lines, but the flexible nature of the brushes just made that harder, like trying to draw with a paintbrush... which of course is the point of them, but not really all that useful for my specific purpose here. To be fair, the red one was not too bad, given its firmer point, and the fact that it has a more standard nib on the reverse side. But the Japanese brush, woah, that one really did mimic the brush vibes, and that made it hard to control. This is why the rockets have a bit of an odd outer housing, I just wasn't ready for quite how the marker was gonna behave!

The acrylic paint marker on the other hand, was really quite easy to use, though getting the paint to flow into the nib did make me a little nervous when I was starting out. I guess it's just a shame I didn't really get to try the more intricate geometric details that I really need to work on so I can decide if paint markers are the way to go.

Because I'm still not sure about my materials. The acrylic marker is cool, but the texture of the pencil is still pretty neat - I just hate how easily it smudges. And the fineliner... oh my gosh, trying to do a large scale work with fineliner would be downright torture and take forever, buuuut the result is so appealing to me! The inside area of the rocket turned out so cool and so I've been wondering now about what I really want to do going forward. Do I really have the patience to do so much rigidly detailed work? It can be tempting to go for the "easy" road of wild abstract expressionism instead, but I generally hate what I come up with on that side of things. So is robotic repetition more me, as an artist?

Lol. You'd think that a masters degree in art would have helped me figure out my thing, but no, a year after graduating, I still kinda have no idea. But does it seem like I might at least be getting closer??

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