The Rainy Day | Days 24 to 33

Wet Race Meeting by Sybil Andrews was the choice for my next piece in #the100dayproject. The Rainy Day, as I called my version, took me 10 days to complete.

Trying to find the best method, I started The Rainy Day two ways:

In Photoshop, with a grid

The grid technique I learned from Brooke Glaser’s class, Learn How To Draw. My grid is purposefully small because I can’t control my hand movements for larger, freehand sketching. The final size of this sketch is a tiny thumbnail of 1 1/4in high x 0.8in wide.

Rotate View is a most useful tool in Photoshop, which does exactly what it says, and makes it my number one choice for freehand sketching. Rotating the view so that I can draw lines in a position that my hand finds comfortable makes it easier to control the Wacom Pen.

In Illustrator, with the reference image but no grid

Starting with a canvas where I can fit both image side by side, I roughly draw the largest shapes in their approximate places. I don’t worry about colour too much here; all I need is enough difference to identify the different shapes.

Within Illustrator I can have two methods:

  1. Use the Pen Tool to click and drag, making my lines curve where they need too. A benefit of this method is I can draw right-handed, my natural choice. One downside is that I can have multiple points on a line, which can make editing shapes later a bit tedious.
  2. A second method uses the Curvature Pen Tool, and I need to access my keyboard for the Alt key regularly. Clicking the Alt key allows me to change the points from curved to a corner, or a straight line. I draw with my left hand using the mouse, so I can tap the Alt key with my right hand at the same time as clicking a point.

Of course, I since discovered the Simplify command, which does a marvellous job of removing unnecessary points. The Simplify tip makes starting an art piece in Illustrator more attractive.

Although I am naturally right-handed, I can manage greater control of point editing with my left hand, especially when zoomed close into my image. However, for the first rough draft (shown above) it’s an overall view I need to see so that I can create the right proportions and placement. And whilst I can make a fair attempt, I am not brilliant at freehand sketching with my left hand.

Necessary Experimentation

Working out the best way to sketch, for me, is something I enjoy but it also serves a purpose. I can choose which method best suits my ability on the day, or even that hour.

Why is that necessary?

Because I’ve had a couple accidents at my desk. No, I have, honest! My keyboard sits on a pull-out shelf underneath my main desk top. Sometimes, I don’t push the keyboard all the way back and so, when I miss the desk top with my hand, it crashes onto the keyboard shelf.

It bloody hurts! And I’ve done it twice; first in April and damaged the middle knuckle on my left hand. By the time I was starting The Rainy Day I was in a lot of pain, and using my mouse was uncomfortable.

Then I did it again, the same hand, the same knuckle!

And this is why, ultimately, The Rainy Day became my last #100dayproject piece. I soldiered on, but some days couldn’t manage more than 10 minutes work. I struggled doing much on the computer, which is why the updates also stopped.

  • filling in the general shapes with colour in Adobe Illustrator- The Rainy Day
  • adding a few more detials to The Rainy Day in Illustrator
  • The Rainy Day is complete!

I preferred the sketch from Photoshop rather than the Illustrator draft and used that as my guide. The sketch quality doesn’t matter, so I can happily enlarge my tiny thumbnail to the required size.

The Rainy Day

Finished on Saturday, 9th May.

The Rainy Day, finished with a texture overlay
The Rainy Day

My total time for The Rainy Day: 540 minutes/9hrs over 10 days

My total time for the five pieces completed: 2135 minutes/1 day 11hrs 35m over 33 days.

What Have I Learned?

  1. Be careful where I put my hand and check it’s on the desk!
  2. A shorter project time might suit me. I completed 33 days, with only 1 day where I did no drawing at all. It’s easy to see that 30-day project experiments would fit well with my stamina, and allow for those idiotic accidents that seem to happen.
  3. Be careful where I put my hand and check it’s on the desk because to be able to start drawing and writing again has taken a further two weeks.
  4. The style of Sybil and her contemporaries, e.g. Cyril Power, still enthrals me.
  5. A concentrated focus of 30 days on any project would be an enormous boost to my creativity. It could take any form; produce another Skillshare class, produce a series of prints for sale, design a series of cards, write a series of Silhouette Studio tips etc.

Phew, I feel like I have finally finished this stage of my #100dayproject now that we’re up to date.