Exercise: Black and white building.
My first instinct was to choose buildings as my subject. I spent 7 years in hong kong and I have a upcoming trip there to visit my family over christmas. I was inspired by hong kong buildings. But not at first. The top two buildings were the first. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about perspective, it was mostly just to start drawing and let the inspiration come to me after a few sketches. And it did, I had the grand idea of drawing an old Hong Kong building. In HK, the oldest buildings have so much character. One very recognisable style of building is the ones on a street corner with the rounded corner. My first attempts did not go well. I had to use google images as a reference. I found some photos of just the style of building I wanted to draw. They have small factory like windows. ( i used to live in a building with those windows). They are usually external metal bars outside the window, and the glass is a much larger piece that opens up. Except on the curved area of the building.
This is the building I was looking for. I just happened to find a photo of a building I recognise from my old neighbourhood. The drawing isn’t perfect, but actually, that is the effect I wanted. A little warn down, imperfect and vintage.
I scanned this onto my computer, opened it up on photoshop and inverted the colours. Even just doing that really changed the emotion and mood of the illustration. I printed it A3 and began the cutting process. I started with the negative space. I looked at the building and saw light opportunities. So I picked the black image to start working on first. The door, this could be a great way to show light while also separating that negative space and allowing the lines to help with directional eye movement. The next step was the windows. I know that we were supposed to have no lines in the end of this activity, however, the thought of cutting every individual window and line made me sigh and weep. So I just cut out the windows as a whole. I also thought about these signs that were handing off the building. If it was night time they would light up. So on the right hand side, I added light there also. I cut a few areas of the building and switched it around. I thought, why not add a moon? So I did.
When all the bits of white I wanted there were glued onto the black sheet, I was pleased with my image. It really transformed the illustration. Now showing an atmosphere and emotion. I think it helped the building to become grounded and actually lived in. I like how it looks like that lights are on and some of them are streaming out into the darkness. When I picked up the white sheet of paper with all its cuts up bits. I didn’t use scissors,, I used a cutting knife and board. So there were perfect holes and areas that were opposite to the black paper. I pasted the entire white paper on to the black copy. Now I had an inverted copy of the final image. I think the black one is my favourite.
An artist I see using this simplified style is Shepard Fairey.