Final ink drawings & background ideas

A final set of ink drawing has been created over two days. Detail, quality and consistency were very much in my mind during this process. I took time to select the milk effects that added the most interest, for example, the three flying bombers look like they are flying through a cloudy, ‘milky’ sky.

I’m aware that there are more here than I decided on, and there are four rows instead of my intended three, but I still feel I need the confidence of a reduced set by starting with more than intended. I have to admit that seeing this arrangement of 28 has made me reconsider my earlier decision on having less.

The arrangement below is just for illustration but I’ve paid attention to splitting up the different styles, depths of tone and human figures around the arrangement to achieve a good overall balance. I feel this element is as important as linking the different drawings together thematically, so a balance in all these considerations needs to be struck.

I’ve added a single ‘spoilt’ square to this set. The scribbled out drawing is the memory that has been erased from the album, either by the older or younger generation – a memory that cannot be passed down the generations or one that is not believed. I now feel that a single erasure from the album is more potent than having multiples as it speaks more of a single traumatic event or individual that sits in the past. It’s the trigger that never goes away, just sits there as an awkward blank reminder.

Note that I couldn’t resist adding another pair on the right – the jumping dog and man throwing a stick or grenade, we don’t know what. I felt that a very obvious connection between two drawings was useful – to get the process going for the viewer. Also I like the comedy that this adds.

The background to the set has also been considered. An initial idea was to zoom out from the focused view of the village and include some form of map or grid of the wider area but in an abstract form to contrast with the regular drawings. I researched some options and came across the Air Raid Map of Britain which catalogues every single bombing site in the UK during WW2. A fascinating interactive map is available but unfortunately it’s offline at the moment. However I did obtain a graphic of the area around Hutton Cranswick showing each bomb site so I vectorised this in Illustrator and created a set of sheets in grey scale. We see all the bomb sites around East Yorkshire and Hull at the bottom of the map in quite a pleasing amorphous layout.

Placing the drawings on the sheet create mixed feelings. As it stands I think the background colour is too dominant and detracts from the drawings themselves. I could try a simpler black and white version but it does need to present a frame for the drawings rather than spoil them.

I do like how some of the ‘blobs’ join the drawings together, creating natural pathways, like antibodies destroying the enemy, and this could be exploited quite well. I also like how this zoomed out record of bomb sites paints a wider picture of the blitz in WW2 and that single bomb in Hutton Cranswick was really a needle in a hay stack. What would happen if we multiplied all those events, how many disrupted family albums would we end up with and what would they look like? There is a sense of a background noise with this added background – a rumble of chaos that is further disrupting human order. I quite like that as well.

Summary & next steps

I’m very pleased with how the drawings have turned out and so will now consider whether to consolidate them. Also the final arrangement needs to be determined once and for all.

Further consideration of the background will be carried out. If my hanging devices (1cm rings) arrive in time this may facilitate hanging the drawings in space, hence a simpler background may suffice as the hanging mechanism itself may provide enough of a connection and framing for the images.

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