Palace Make-over

Sunday, 15th January 2006


We're staging Cinderella this year, so I'm turning last year's Queen of Spades' throne room into a kitchen.

kitchenI sit down in the auditorium and draw the basics of the previous backdrop, but substitute cupboards for French windows and a large cast-iron oven and chimneypiece for the dais.

Having worked so hard to establish a convincing three-dimensional space on last year's backdrop, I might as well recycle it.

I use an old acrylic brush for the line which, on the scale of the backdrop, corresponds with the pen lines on my paper. My design, on scrap paper, is nothing more than a sketch but I find that the finished backdrop looks more lively if I can keep the improvised quality, with the slight mistakes in the drawing and irregularities in the cross hatching.

Using my old brush with the surplus emulsion paint we have available produces an inconsistent line; wobbling, blotting and a drying out unpredictably. For me, a regular line, drawn with a straight edge and a large marker pen, wouldn't have the right storybook quality.

When I work on the annual pantomime, I always find myself thinking how I'd like to paint on larger scale, but where on earth would I store all the resulting canvases? I also feel that I'd enjoy creating richly detailed fictional worlds. I doubt if I will do that, as an to drawn to the endless variety of the real world around us, but I hope that some of the imagined, improvised work I do on scenic backgrounds will enliven of my regular drawings.


Bamboo pen Medium Bamboo

Still trying out my new purchases: today, the medium bamboo pen. I like it for lettering but the flowing smoothness which suits the letterforms isn't as much to my taste for drawing as the varied line of the Japanese brush. Next Page

Richard Bell,