Enlarge objects under a lens
1 Working in ArtRage, I sketch out a scene that features several lenses operated by a girl naturalist, who’s using a head rig to inspect the undergrowth. I put her centre stage in the foreground so that the lenses aren’t too small. I also overlap them for more potential fun. Think Johnny Depp conducting the autopsy in Sleepy Hollow, without the blood. 2 I rough in my garden scene, placing frames for the lenses, but avoid attempting distortions yet, apart from the large lens at the front of the composition. I know more or less what I want in that one already. For the rest I imagine that the frames have no glass in at all. I want to understand what distortionfree objects will be behind the bits of glass first. 3 My process tends to involve line-work over blocks of solid colour, with washes overlaid for tone and interest. I establish a light source and consolidate things a bit more, to understand how the light will be hitting the frames. They need to read properly, so that the lenses look realistic. My hand- drawn ellipses are far from perfect, but suit the style of the piece. 4 Once it’s progressed more to set the forms, I can play about with the level of distortion. I do this on layers above. I darken the edges of some lenses with watercolour washes, then contrast a sharply focused finger with a blurry arm behind in the big lens. I bend her glasses frame seen through another. It’s just a case of playing around until you produce an effect you like.