I think we can all agree that not much happens during February (publicly wise anyway, I’m not talking about your mates birthday or anything). Theres the Super Bowl, but I’m struggling to think of anything else. Other than THE greatest day of all -PANCAKE DAY!! It was always my favourite day as a kid -and even though the shine dimmed a bit when I grew up and was able to make my own pancakes on whichever day I wanted (:D) its still a reason to rejoice, as you can’t beat a f**king pancake, can you?
With the greatest day fast approaching, it sets me up nicely to explain how I came to do… a Valentine’s Day piece this year.
The original plan was to do a diptych. One about Pancake Day and one about Valentine’s Day. I’d roughed out the Pancake Day one but couldn’t get it right to match the idea in my head. I was wanting to kind of mirror each piece, so the poses were similar and the backgrounds matched up (to an extent) so you could compare the details hidden throughout. The Pancake Day one was stalling though as I wanted to get it spot on as Jadey had pointed out to me, “Not everyone loves Pancake Day as much as you, so why would they want a picture of it?” It’s a fair point, but to be clear, this wasn’t going to be a stack of pancakes or anything. It was going to be a Mucha influenced piece involving everything that goes in to making pancakes. Theres a load of scope when you think about not just the ingredients but the toppings that people put on pancakes these days.
Anyway, the Pancake Day piece wasn’t flowing that well so I changed over and started on the Valentine’s Day one to see if that made both of them work together better. I’d originally planned for both pieces to be pen & ink as I wanted that rough quality to the lines where the pen misses a beat every so often and clumps where lines meet slightly, but when I started inking I saw them working better in colour. Normally if I’m working in colour these days I work digitally but I wanted the whole piece to be done in the same style and I’d inked up the ‘Guerra per amore’ figure already and I wanted the background to be more subtle (even though it has a load of detail in it). I ended up inking it on another sheet and scanning the 2 images separately to give me a bit more scope with the background as I hadn’t fully decided on the colours. I also didn’t want to knacker the original pen and ink figure as the line weights on her would be lost with the detailed background being inked on the same page.
If you’re still reading this, then well done, you deserve a pancake. I went back to reference Mucha when it came to colouring the piece as even though I wanted it to be full colour, I didn’t want it to be overpowering. And in a lot of his work the colours are bold but also subtle so the linework still stands out. I tried a few different combinations but felt the warmer palette worked better with the imagery as it’s not meant to be a sad piece but colouring it in blues, greens and greys makes it a bit glum.
So, there you go -the story behind this years Valentine’s Day piece and the story behind (maybe) next years Pancake day piece. I’m gutted that I ran out of time on these but its always the way isn’t it -when you ‘plan’ something if you have spare day or two, then you start it and a load of work suddenly comes in! I’m not complaining though as they’re really fun jobs (so keep an eye out for me adding them here) and there’s alway next year for fellow Pancake Day lovers who want a Mucha inspired piece to celebrate the day! 😉
Thanks for reading and enjoy your Pancake & Valentine’s Day! X