Here's a great example of the monumental behind-the-scenes preparatory work that is invested into
(more below the fold)
And no, this doesn't extend to actually learning how to draw sand dollars, but more as a lesson on how idle hands will doodle the devil's art: while doing some field-sketches out on the island my thoughts became temporarily unmoored as it were. Perhaps I was inspired by the spirit of Harold Warren, one of the "Three Islesford Painters" whose work I am currently researching (more to follow). In 1926 he built a studio from which he created many a watercolor featuring the iconic coastline and mountain profiles of Mount desert Island.
These are a couple of the reference sketches done while hiking out to Bunker Cove and Bunker Head on Little Cranberry Island, looking towards the south shore profile of Mount Desert Island (Seal Harbor area with Pemetic, Day, Cadillac/Dorr and Champlain Mtns). Also included is the conspicuous landmark of East Bunker Ledge which, according to the mail-boat ferry skipper, one of the oldest navigational fixtures on the East Coast.
Above is a pen & ink study: just quick linework based on the previous field-sketches. Eventually it will show up again in a cartoon, recycled as an actual reference point, lost in the background. For those who are playing along at home, this means every once in a while there's a very small, if tenuous, connection to reality.
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