Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Drawing Circus : Paper Sculpture

Last night was the our last meeting of the Drawing Circus, a class facilitated by Edward Stanton at the Richmond Art Center ( Our performer wore a simple, loose-fitting dress with long sleeves and an elastic fabric. She performed with an armful of golf clubs, next to a large, gold-trimmed frame. I started with a single sheet of Blueline comic book paper, my two watercolor travel trays, and a pencil.The first marks were mostly lines and small shapes, and faint gradations of primary colors. Careful application of the watercolor started to define long, angular planes on the page that reminded me of my first Gundam model. It was a 1/144 scale Gundam Z, and one of the few kits that I actually tried to paint according to the instructions. Iron Horse on Solano Avenue in Berkeley carried an impressive selection of kits from the Gundam series, and for a while, I was really into them. The Gundam Z has long, elegant lines defining various parts of its armor, as well as a number of sections deliniated with changes in color and plane. The combination of whites, blacks, reds, blues and yellow accents fit well with the tim-honored convention of using bright, primary colors in a triadic color scheme for hero mechs.

I became dissatisfied with the tediousness of the initial drawing process, so I took to folding the paper along some of the lines and zones of color I'd alread drawn or painted. Then, after finding a old pair of blunt-nosed scissors in the studio cabinet, I started cutting into the paper and connecting various sections with slots and tabs. It wasn't long before the forms began to remind me of the details that always made Japanese robot models so compelling as forms, and the many problems that arose as part of the process of assembling something with only line drawings and numerals to guide me.

The final piece was surprisingly stable, and rested on three points on the table. At the end of the drawing session, I used my cell phone to photograph the sculpture from several angles. The cast shadows and form shadows were very interesting. I'd like to turn some of these images into drawings or paintings.

Z-Gundam and Xabungle illustrations by Ken-Ichi Ishibashi ©Bandai

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