So my idea for this project was to draw the Colosseum on A2 sized paper, using the cross hatching technique with fineliner pens while also Time-Lapse filming the design to create an expressive and atmospheric rendition of this magnificent building. But as this article explains this project did not go as planned and here I will explain the trials and tribulations that I faced when doing this drawing and why I nearly gave up!
Regular visitors to this site will have most likely seen previous posts on this project and may well have seen for themselves the problems I faced while doing this. I start these drawings by doing a lot of research and finding good images to draw from. As an artist, when doing research for projects like this you learn a lot about the what you are drawing, this is part and parcel of doing research and actually helps you to create a better feel for your subject.
So I decided to draw this on A2 sized paper, the biggest cross hatched drawing I have done yet, this was so I could capture all the detail of the Colosseum. This presented my first problem, how would I keep my £2.99 webcam directly above my drawing? The A2 paper was too large for the webcam to be blue-tacked to the wall as with previous drawings without creating a significantly angled perspective. Solution? I eventually found a clothes horse that would be able to balance my webcam over my work… As I am sure you have guessed already that was a big mistake, apart from having a clothes horse over my desk which I could not move there was no way I could work without nudging it constantly.
My next issue involved my digital camera, every artist likes to keep a record of how their work is progressing, so when I turned my camera on and it immediately turned off with the lens still fully extended I knew there was a problem. As I could not move my drawing without changing the time lapse video I could not scan my work and so had to take pictures using my mobile phone. By this point these issues had really become too much, constantly hitting the clothes horse with my head, reviewing video on a £2.99 webcam, you can see how bad the quality is above, and not even being able to take decent quality images with my camera. This is when I gave up…
So I had given up recording my drawing it was only when a good friend of mine had seen my problems and lent me a science lab clamp stand that I stopped moping around and went out and bought a decent quality HD camera to continue recording my progress. Although I feel sad that I never had the foresight to do this from the beginning it has taught me a lot about perseverance and believe it or not I like the two videos that came of this project. Inspired by music from Philip Glass and liking the drawing myself I continued to film in HD glory and finished my drawing as best I could.
The trials and tribulations that this project created has only inspired me to do another drawing, to be able to film in HD from the beginning, showing exactly how I work. In a strange way all these problems had no effect on the actual drawing but were a constant bother and any artist will tell you being comfortable when doing your drawing is a must, leaning around a clothes horse is not! Below is an image of the final completed drawing of the Colosseum, a magnificent building which I learnt so much about through my research and trying to copy every detail of this structure. I actually do not want to sell this drawing as it means a lot to me so I got some fine art prints created of can be purchased here.
So what is my next project, I am looking for a challenge that will rival doing the Colosseum with the same method of drawing, my research took me around the world from the Great Wall of China to the Great Pyramid of Cholula, Mexico. These were all great possibilities but it was only when I went with my family to Durham and saw the Cathedral only about 15 miles from where I live, being a fine artist based in Newcastle Upon Tyne I realised I have been ignoring the inspiration and history of where I live. My research of Durham Cathedral has once again taught me a rich and dark history which is much closer to home. The drawing below is of the Durham Cathedral Door Knocker, it is a sort of Pre-Project drawing and the feature itself has as much history as the whole of the Cathedral.
This drawing was created with the aid of David Greathead’s excellent photography, he generously allowed me to use his photograph which was 10 times better than mine. To see more of his work click here.
To follow my progress with this next project keep up to date by subscribing via the links to the right of your screen and if this project inspired you as much as it did me share that inspiration via the links below. To see some fully completed time lapse videos created by Alasdair and Dark Design Graphics visit our Youtube channel. To see Alasdair’s shading technique have a look at our tutorial on cross hatching click here.