Drawing Over Photographs


So I’ve already shown you a couple of drawings which I placed over a photograph – the homage to Titanic, and the skydiving one. For a while, as I was honing my skills, I used photos as a backdrop on quite a few images. As I’ve explained before, this was quite deliberate. I knew I was learning, and I knew the best way to improve was to give myself the gift of perspective. The perspective which the photo backdrops allow is what kept the KerDoodles grounded in reality. They are just like us, minus all the negative stuff.

So in this chapter I’m going to share a few of the ‘drawing on photos’ things I produced early on. Some of these I could have included in the last chapter – Early Works – but as I look at them I think the largest part of what they are revolves around the photograph they’re on, and how I’ve used that to portray the business of the KerDoodle.

Let’s begin!

This was an early work, to be sure. No clothing, rough drawings. But the background of the ice hockey arena is telling. It was drawn in response to the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash of April 2018. Being a Canadian, and a hockey-loving Canadian to boot, this was one world event that hit close to home. I didn’t know anyone involved, of course, but I still felt it, and I felt moved to respond to it in the best way I knew how.

The adventurousness in this one is shown in the actions of the KerDoodles skating on the ice. Yes, I know, they’re naked – that’s the first clue that this was an early work. The motions are also quite rudimentary, and the copy and paste I used to create the crowd is by today’s standard quite lazy. But, that’s where I was at the time. In April 2018 I had been drawing for only five months, so if you think about it, this effort really was quite ambitious. In fact, I remember when I started working on it how overwhelmed I felt at the prospect. I had a sense of all the work that would be involved, and that was quite daunting to me, but I was determined to do something to show my unity for the victims of the crash, and this is what I came up with. I know, it’s not up to much, but it’s from the heart.

This one was fun. Also somewhat early, it stemmed from my long-time love of reading crimmies (crime novels) and watching whodunnits on TV. This one shows the murder victim and a Sherlock-esque detective checking the area for clues. Believe it or not, this one grew out of the magnifying glass. I wanted to draw something through a magnifying glass. Let me rephrase that: I wanted to see if I could draw something through a magnifying glass.

I don’t know if anyone looking at it even notices that his left eye is bigger than his right – and the line between his eyes is bigger within the magnifying glass than without. Even the part of the nose inside is distorted as it would be at the edge of the glass. So this entire drawing flowed from wanting to see if I could draw the distortion within the glass. Did it work? Ask yourself, when you first looked at it, what did you notice? It was an exercise. An inspired exercise.

In this next one, what do you see?I posted it to my blog at the time under the heading, “How Many Ghosts Do You See?” It was an exercise meant for kids, but it also demonstrated a new tool I had been learning about: opacity. I learned that by adjusting the opacity of an object in a separate layer I could draw something solid which you could actually see through.

In the fall of 2017 I was in Toronto visiting family, when I went with a cousin for a very long walk. It was raining as we toured a few of the older buildings of the University of Toronto, rambling around downtown. My feet got wet, my camera got wet, but that was okay. At the time of this walk I had only just started drawing the KerDoodles. This was the time of the first experiments with the wall and the flower. But a year later I pulled those photos out and had a look at them, and the things I had learned about hauntings at the U of T resonated again and I decided to draw some ghosts.

So how many ghosts do you see?

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