Tuesday, February 28, 2006

sketches finished!

I finished the playground sketches a bit ahead of schedule.

Click the sketches to biggify them, if you're interested. (I tried Kim's cool picture-shrink-and-grow trick, but Blogger doesn't allow Javascript inside the blog entries. So sad. On the other hand, Blogger is still totally free.)

For those who know the area, this swingset is at Cove, on the edge of the beach in front of the Hunny Pot, where the path to the Bear Dock begins. The nose of the boat is pointing at the lake.

The sketches are full of smudges and are far from lovely. You can see, above, how many times I erased and moved the swing-set before I got it right. This particular piece of paper was the third attempt. I finally got disgusted and cut the nice boat out of my first drawing and glued it onto the third, rather than re-draw it again.

The project supervisor was initially disappointed with my sketches as well -- not because of the smudges and ghosts, but because I got a lot of important details wrong.

Sketching, as I said previously, is not my strong point. Whether due to lack of practice or lack of some essential skill, I lack that whatever-it-is that tells me whether to make THIS particular detail stand out, or THAT particular detail. I work in tiny pieces and don't have a clear grasp of the overall picture. I can't maintain a sense of scale or perspective very easily. That's even true when I have a still life in front of me to sketch. My weaknesses are magnified when I am drawing largely from imagination and memory.

...so what is all this self-flagellation doing in a blog about things that bring me joy?

Because despite their failings I enjoyed drawing these sketches. Despite the hair-pulling attempts to get perspective right, despite the smudgy ghosts of seventeen different possible locations for the swingset, I had fun. If I lived in a bigger community that had more and better artists around, I wouldn't even have had the opportunity to do this.

Not only that, doing the sketches helped me to understand how the playground will look, even if the swing-set is an A-frame instead of a square frame. Even if there isn't a huge pile of boulders next to the nose of the boat, or the wheelhouse is too far back and too skinny. Even if the path by the back of the boat won't have stairs like I drew.

I'm pleased that the project leader (as he even said after he got over his initial disappointment) can show this to his team and say "like this, only different." Because it's a start. It's something the team can point to and discuss: "what if we moved the cargo net over here?" or "what are we going to do there if we don't do stairs?" or "it doesn't look like there's room for monkey bars there."

However large our disappointment that I'm not a better artist (or a better listener!) we all still know on some level that these drawings really are better than the back-of-the-napkin doodles they were discussing before. It's humbling to give imperfect gifts, but after I get over my pride I realize that it's still good to give gifts, however imperfect.

It was also nice to have a mini-vacation from blogging and from a few other obligations that I cancelled in order to finish these drawings. Nice to have the vacation, and just as nice to be back 'home' as it were in my normal routine. Hello again, everyone!


Anonymous kim said...

wow, *I* think they look really nice.

regarding some of your "deficiencies" it seems like those aren't all your fault -- why not take digital pictures of where things will go, and overlay the sketches? And/or make copies of the sketches where the team can make notes of changes, or even digitally redraw portions, if necessary, to address some of the differences?

I think anything like that would make multiple passes of work, even if you did it "just what they said, and perfect" at the beginning, because once one does what they say, don't they always discover they didn't really think something through, or decided they liked it better X, or whatever?

Anyway, **I** think they look great, and I really like the effect of the faint background through the trees, I really really like that. A lot. Even if it's not the point of the sketches.

I don't know if I could've put the code I used in the entry, for the shrink-and-grow pix -- I put it in the index file for the page building IYKWIM ... I know you're able to customize your template, so maybe you could add it there?

2/28/2006 10:45 AM  
Blogger kelly said...

yes, you're right... except for the fact that major excavation work and some tree/shrub removal took place in the area we needed pictures of, and filling has and will need to happen... so the layout of the ground is completely different from what it was.

And as this excavation and filling was taking place, it was already snowing, which covered over the reference points.

And both my sketches show the view from about 50-100 feet in the air, and one of them from over the lake... so Daniel would have to take the photos with his kite. Which he was quite willing to do, but we never got there before the place was covered with three feet of snow... and the playground is a "must have by Summer" which means we need the sketches now.

so maybe it isn't my fault ;o) but at this point it really did need a drawing rather than a photo. Daniel went and measured everything and created a 'floor plan' before I started, which helped tremendously.

they're going to do the low-tech version of your suggestion for changes: make Xerox copies of my drawing and use White-out and ballpoint to make their changes. Then I think I get to do another set of "final" concept drawings, whatever that means. ;o)

2/28/2006 11:37 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

Very nice drawings!!!

3/02/2006 8:48 AM  

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