How do I do it
The process of an illustration follows a series of steps that are simple, logical and guarantees of the quality of the final work and of its effectiveness on the public.
To decide whether to proceed to the realization of an illustration I have to ensure that I can get all the technical information that would allow me to ensure a good technical quality of the final work. Then I finish the search of documentation, I start the drawing with pencil, followed by the ink -of-china, the color aplication and the finish step, with gouache and Ecoline.
In the case of a simpler illustration, of a side view of a car or driver's helmet, I draw it with the front to the right as the car or the driver are moving in the direction of reading.
When it comes to a cutaway drawing, I try to do I by positioning the car at an angle that would allow me to convey as much technical information as possible. Thus, in the case of a car with a central rear engine, such as the Ferrari 330P4, I do it, usually in a ¾ rear view and we see the rear, one lateral view and the upper side of the car. In the case of a front engine, such as the Maserati Birdcage, the view is, usually, a ¾ front one.
This rule has many exceptions, as was the case, for example, of the Porsche 935 Moby Dick, but, in each case, I always try to reconcile the technical information I have with the best exterior angle (in my opinion) of the model.
This is a time of intense search for all available technical information, in photos, drawings and written technical data of the mechanics of the car. In the era before the Internet, when I made most of the illustrations, the search was limited to books or magazines and photos that I could make or that I have been provided by photographers, as was the case with my good friend Carlos Alberto Matos, who photographed for me, the Williams FW11-Honda chassis of 1986, for the illustration of the car that I’ve made for Portuguese Mobil Oil.
This search can last from a few hours to several days and only ends when I have gathered all the information I can get.
Article by António Eiras - 19/03/2016
I usually make the drawing with Rotring mechanical pencils, with 0.35mm HB mines. In the case of a front or side view, the drawing is limited to the bodywork and the wheel, in the case of a car, or the outside, in the case of a helmet. When it comes to a cutaway drawing, I start by making the exterior view, with the bodywork and wheels that I will open, carefully, to show the different mechanical components. And so I, gradually and carefully, draw the chassis, the engine, the gearbox, the suspensions, the brakes and the inside of the wheels. Finally, I make the cockpit and remaining bodywork drawing.
This phase is important to be done carefully, because any neglect or error of perspective or proportion will compromise the final result either in the technical quality of the work, either in order to inform, which is the main purpose of any technical illustration. To make the pencil drawing can take a few hours in the simplest case of a side view of a car or helmet, up to several weeks. As an example, I remember the case of the Maserati Birdcage chassis pencil drawing, who took me one week to finish.
When the pencil drawing is finished, then follows the china-ink covering of all traces of the pencil, using the classic 0.25 or 0.35mm Rotring pens.
Before proceeding to the next step, I erase all traces of pencil, using white Rotring rubbers. These allow a high removal efficiency of the pencil without damaging the paper.
This phase lasts from a few hours in the case of a front or side view, up to 3 to 4 days in the case of a cutaway drawing.
This is another crucial stage in the process of an illustration. Until 1986 all of my work ended with the application of color using gouache or Ecoline (liquid watercolor). In this year I started to try the airbrush (have two classics, a bit heavy, but fabulous DeVilbiss Super 63) to apply the color. It is a valuable working tool which allows us to do impressive final works. After a desperate early stage in the inevitable learning, the progressive mastery of this technique, using technical books and enormous patience, allowed me to do final works that I had never dreamed to do.
Working this airbrush requires a great discipline, from the judicious choice of the paper (Schoellershammer 4G) and of the paint used (acrylics of Schmincke), as well as masking paper suitable to the drawing paper and inks, by the careful use of x-act in clipping the masking paper without damaging the drawing one. The sensibility in the use of x-act should allow us, for example, to cut a making paper on an inflated balloon.
Any application of color using the airbrush should be planned from the inside to the outside of the car, so as to create overlapping layers of ink which create a sense of three-dimensionality of the illustration and allow the view the mechanics through the transparency of the bodywork.
To pay attention for the drying time of the inks and to avoid damaging the previously applied with the masking paper that we need to apply on it, are other, fundamental, care to have in this technique.
The uses of appropriate and comfortable face mask, with mouth and nose cover, of protective glasses, as well as the use of a low noise compressor, complete the list of precautions to take, in this case with our health, as illustrators.
The application of color can last from a few hours, in a simple illustration of the side view type, and can reach two to three weeks, in case a more complex cutaway drawing, as was the case of the Bugatti EB110, for example.
After applying the main surfaces of color, I finish my work with the Winsor & Newton natural bristle brushes, covering small areas and in the final touches using the Ecolines and Caran d 'Ache gouaches.
The airbrush technique together with finalizing with the brush, allowed me to get, in each illustration, a hyper-realistic effect and the best aesthetic outcome.
This step is done with great patience and will take, like the other ones, all the time that is necessary to ensure the best possible resulting final work.
I usually have to impose me to stop the work, since I have this feeling that there is always some detail that I can improve.