I need considerable improvement in my treatment of scenery. Urban or rural, the issue is the same: I am terrible at interpreting a scene in an impressionistic kind of way — I see a building way-off in the distance, and I think I have to draw a building; I see scree on the side of a hill, I think I have to draw a million little rocks; et cetera.
There’s nothing wrong, per se, with the treatment in this image, but I have some issues with it.
My ideal is an image in which all of the forms are interesting, and all of the forms are, to some extent, designed. When, as I’ve done here, I get tied-up in textural effects and extraneous detail at the horizon, it does a few things:
It distracts me from the forms in the image. Textures and unnecessary rendering muddles them, makes them indistinct — and it’s time consuming — time that would be better spent refining a few background elements and rendering them simply.
It distracts me from the composition, getting mired in an area that represents 5% of the total image, and which is not a focal point anyway.
Those unnecessary details are invariably the worst drawing in a piece. If you’re concerning yourself with completeness, then you’ve deprioritized concreteness. Better to get a few things in well than get a lot of things in badly.
By extension of that last point, unnecessary background details always break the flow of good draughtsmanship. I’ve noted before that artists who excel at working in line achieve a kind of linear harmony throughout an image. If you’re nosed into your page and are doing some pointless micro-rendering on a background detail, you are not taking the linear consonance of the whole image into consideration.
All of my favorite cartoonists and illustrators figured this stuff out at some point, and they’re all great at suggesting backgrounds rather than neurotically depicting them.
Still though, I like this image a lot!