This is the tight sketch I created for The Return of the Jackelope. I scanned into my computer the thumbnail sketch I thought worked best (as seen in the previous post) and enlarged it in Photoshop. I then reduced the output levels using the Levels adjustment, so that when I printed it out, the sketch would appear very light. I then drew this much tighter/detailed version on top of it. Nothing fancy, just a #2 pencil and regular printer paper. You may be wondering, are those tiny volcanoes in the sketch? They are in fact, a burning prairie dog town. I discussed the inspiration for this image in my last post, as being my time spent in the Colorado foothills and my reaction to the suburban sprawl. Well, my in-laws have lived in a very large neighborhood development in Castle Rock for many years. Only sections of the development were completed and in the empty spaces, which were very large areas of high plains desert, there lived prairie dogs. It was always such a thrill to see the little critters scurrying between burrows and peeping from their holes. Then one day they all disappeared. And a week later, construction began on those sites. I don’t know for sure what happened to the prairie dogs, perhaps the developer trapped them all and relocated them to some other part of the prairie, but I doubt they went through the trouble and expense of doing that. So, that is the reasoning behind the scorched earth imagery left in the wake of this kid and his tractor.
Once I had my tight sketch completed, I created a few value studies. These are just prints of that sketch that I shaded in with a #2 pencil. I’m exploring different light sources and how the shadows lay. I chose the middle one for my painting. I like the 10 o’clock directional lighting because it casts the jackelope into shadow, adding to his mystery, but also the rim lighting on the boy, buttes, and cumulonimbus clouds should have a nice dramatic effect. I don’t believe I’ve ever painted an image before with this type of lighting. I look forward to the challenge.
The next step will be the prepping of the canvas and transfer of the drawing which will be in another post. I will leave you with a photo I just came upon while visiting my brother this past weekend. As, I mentioned in my previous post, I was a tractor loving kid.
Tim and Jeff with Tonka tractors and Tippy dog.