Saturday, March 12, 2011

Digital Work - Bullrider

While I've not been in the printmaking studio (other than to plant up our seedlings for the summer...), I've done a little bit more preparation for some printmaking in the future.

We used to attend the Williams Lake Stampede, but haven't been for a few years. I took lots of photos at the last two with the intention of turning them into something artistic at some point. I had done a few mixed media images from some of the photos: semi-blind contour sketches followed by watercolour monotype and coloured pencil crayons (if I manage to dig up one of those pieces, I'll take a photo and post at some point), but nothing much since. I hadn't decided how else to use the images, then the other day I thought maybe I'd try playing around with GIMP and my Wacom graphics tablet like I did with Murri, and see what came out of it.

So I started with a photo that I'd scanned a while ago, and cropped a little:

Bullrider - original image

I tweaked the image so that it was then just greyscale:

Bullrider B&W

Using a new layer and the Ink tool in GIMP, this is the first sketch:

Bullrider - sketch 1

While I was pretty happy with it, Dave & my cousin, Len, commented that they couldn't figure out where the bull ended and the rider started. I've highlighted the problem area here:

Bullrider - problem area

It seemed to them that the chaps of the rider were actually the back of the bull, and thus the leg disappeared and didn't "read" properly: it seemed like the rider was positioned side-saddle. We chatted about what I could do to improve the image, and we decided that as long as there was some kind of distinction between the back of the bull and the chaps of the rider, that it should probably work. Here is the second attempt:

Bullrider - sketch 2

While the leg still disappears to a certain extent, I'm thinking this will probably be it. I do like the composition better, and with a black & white simplification, you definitely can lose detail, but that's something that appeals to me, personally. Any comments or suggestions?

There will likely be more of these as I can take the time to do them; there's already another under way.


Diane P. said...

I am intrigued by this process as it is new to me. Is there any way to change the markings on the bull so that the rider's leg pops out more?

Unknown said...

Certainly likely...I will have a look at it some more. I do kind of like the fact that it disappears, but if it makes it look weird, then I will have to revisit.

Jan said...

The bull's face is a bit 'fuzzy', I can see a kind of mask on the left hand side, or maybe it's just my eyesight!
A great action image, nonetheless.