Over Under Around Through
The inspiration for this piece stared in May while I coached my (former, sad:( ) middle school track team at a meet we were competing in. Heavy rains in the days leading up to the meet created a humongous puddle blocking the whole turn of lanes 1-3. Trying to sweep out the puddle proved futile because obviously the water was already in the lowest point(Science always wins). Cut to later on in the meet with the decision made that the lanes would be kept open. During a relay race, I witnessed a group of racers charging toward this massive puddle.
I have to give it to my middle school racers; they were determined to keep that baton moving.
Some went over and tried to jump (hilariously), some went around into the grass and other lanes (No DQs on account of said puddle), some went through, (the most fun choice anyway) splashing the whole time. Fortunately none went under because that would mean someone would need a band aid and that’s no fun at all.
My mind then flashed to Cyclocross (my favorite and the best cycling spot) and barriers, mud, hills, etc. Everything great about CX. I thought about how the CX racers, especially new CX racers, often find the most interesting way to negotiate these obstacles. Just like a bunch of 12 year olds at a track meet, the results are hilarious but usually successful.
From all of that, the concept was born.
We won the meet by the way.
Big Ideas, Planning, Overthinking
The initial sketches were completed in a rough manner but enough for me to understand what needed to happen.
Sadly I can’t find any of these initial sketches!
I knew that the best way to illustrate the action of the piece was to portray each racer in a profile view. It was important to see the mud and what the racer was doing with the mud to communicate the message. This layout also conveys the repetition of shapes which helps to set up an expected pacing to the complete piece and adds to the narrative. This choice also gives me the flexibility to layout the finished drawings either stacked as they are depicted or in a horizontal design. In the latter instance this would read almost as if this is a snapshot of an actual race.
I had a very specific way I wanted the bikes to look which I guess I could describe as classic, traditional, or vintage. I basically didn’t want the deep carbon wheels and rounded corners that you get a lot with the contemporary set ups. Just an aesthetic preference is all. I quickly found an image that worked in a Richard Sachs. I researched a variety of classic cycling jerseys and found several that would work best together as a composition. The “Under” Guy represents the colors of Team Pegasus. I chose those colors with that racer because when the team started it was a bunch of people with varying degrees of cycling experience who just wanted to race, get dirty, and have a ton of fun. More than once I ended up in this similar situation. Though I don’t race with them anymore I still feel like I’m a part of a team. Plus they told me the only way out was to get jumped out and that sounds painful.
Materials and Execution
I created the Art for this in 5 major parts. Each racer was drawn in .05MM HB pencil on a piece of 8.5X11 Smooth 100LB Bristol. I traced each Bike.
I painted each racer and bike with Pelikan watercolor with round #2 and#6 brushes. Final color choices were based on achieving a balanced overall composition as well as balance within each separate bike and racer pages. The only “for sure” colors were the Team Pegasus Pink and Black.
The text was the final piece of the puzzle and was completed separately from the bike and racer pages.
I went with my own hand writing as I thought it best represented the nature of the sport and image.
I scanned it all in to my MAC and put it together in GIMP layering the text on top of the racers, cleaning up stray marks, and laying it all out.
In the end it looked like this.