It was when I was drawing the studies for the 360 view at Kinder Scout that I really started to warm up to using the charcoal, graphite and fine liner and found that with a little more time I could really utilise the technique. It lent itself perfectly to expansive tones, great expression of fore, middle and background, fine detail and a whole range of mark making and textures, so I decided to draw my favourite road island under the Mancunian way, which I did back in the sketch book walk exercise.
This would give me a multitude of textures, a perfect split between fore, middle and back, enough interest going on with the winding paths and road over head, and doing it in monochrome lent itself completely to the atmosphere I wanted to create.
I had the notion of a panorama in my head right from the start to give the piece a sense of flow and movement as well as an expanse to the sides, emphasising the restrictions from the flyover above and the ground below.
After deciding against depicting the whole 180 degree view I chose my best point of interest to the far left of the picture. I wanted to capture the flyover, the street art, the pathways and the stairs leading to a fence. With this view I also got a contrast of man made and nature, and interestingly enough when I measured the horizon line, I realised it cut the path perfectly in two. Almost like a reflection that, instead of reflecting directly, it twisted in the other direction and became the pathway. Pleased with the composition I began to build up the layers of light and dark.
I used the colour photo, but took references at the black and white version to check how the different colours reflected the light, such as reds appearing on the darker side of the scale, while yellows appeared almost white. It was a good exercise to understand how different colours absorb light in different ways.
This was also a good exercise to explore ways to use a graphite pencil to describe both different foliage, tree bark, grass, dirt and concrete.
The final piece turned out more successful than I expected. The black and white tones gave a gritty underground feel to the subway and it helped me utilise the tonal range to create a sense of movement and depth. Especially in the foliage on the left.