Digital: City of Cinder

by Beauchamp Art

City of Cinder

City of Cinder

Overlooking the crossroads in the City of Cinder, Urbs Cinis; concrete and calamity.

The precariat plebians peer at the men of the Metro Legio; those wrapped in rags and those bearing dull steel, all entombed in alkaline ash and acidic air.

Digital painting over (x3 A3) charcoal drawings.


There are a few minor alterations that may need to be made here due to the transition between charcoal and digital drawing, alongside other deviations from earlier designs. For one, the figure perch near the centre of the frame was originally wearing a bird mask, akin to the Victorian Plague doctor, however this was changed for compositional purposes, though this resulted in two of the foremost figure having nearly identical heads. The other two figures were also meant to be holding spears/javelins/harpoons, but again were removed and never reintroduced, which makes the motive of the javlinist questionable. Also, the flag held by the standard bearer displays the wrong insignia, as the star motif is missing two points, so rather than resembling the London Met police symbol, it is akin to the Star of David; this is purely due to an oversight when tracing the design through to the digital painting, and adding the slight folds of the flag’s material.

Furthermore, the entire composition shifted greatly during the charcoal stage, as it began as just the centre third section on a single A3 sheet, before adding the rightmost panel, which contains buildings, a few more troops, and two other roof dwellers. The left section was added last, but was mostly blank besides the outline of a few buildings, a hint of a ledge and the left half of the leftmost figure in the fore. As the image expanded somewhat organically, and realistic sense of perspective was thrown out of the dilapidated window – but its a half destroyed township on the outskirts of a larger city that’s composed of crumbling concrete, rebar and rubble, so everything would be delineated to some degree. Having looked through recent images of cities in Syria and other current war torn regions, this is disorder is fairly typical, although the rather mundane architecture on display draws more on my time in Hull than anything else.

The colour scheme was mostly dictated by the mild deviations from monochrome offered by charcoal on white paper with a small amount of chalk, which was then filtered through various subtle colour modifiers to produce this beige/brown and red pallet. However, due to the various layers of cloud, smoke and snow textures that were saturated into the texture of the image, some of the darker tones became a peculiar medley of oranges and purple; thereby expanding the colour range through the post production (which was not done in the post script, but rather as a continuous part of the piece’s development).

The image was also not traced from the charcoal drawing onto transparent panels, but rather the image was cut up into key areas, then painted onto directly, meaning the roughness of the charcoal drawn surfaces clashes with the otherwise clean digital lines (all the brush strokes where done with 100% opacity, though some colours were sampled from overlaying colours at lower opacity).

Despite the various flaws and the overworking of some areas uncomfortably offsetting the underworking of others, this provided a useful experiment in combining charcoal and digital techniques, though the transition between could be done more smoothly, and the paper texture could be used more effectively in future works.