Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

A Walk with a Line

Wednesday, 4th April, 2007

Boathouse I RECENTLY featured the photographs I’d taken while checking out one of my Walks around Newmillerdam for my forthcoming booklet. For technical reasons – and aesthetic reasons for that matter – I’m not reproducing them as sepia-toned vignettes, as I did on my diary page, Beyond the Boathouse.

causewayI’ve drawn these two illustrations for the booklet, sitting at the computer with the original colour photograph on the monitor, drawing just as I would if I was sitting in front of the actual scene.

One bonus of doing it like this over drawing from a photographic print is that if there’s a dark area, for instance under an old railway bridge that I was drawing the other day, I can tweak the contrast in Photoshop and bring out detail, just as the eye can adjust to pick out detail in shadows.

Lowering the Tone

As you’ll know if you’ve been following this diary, the picture maps of the routes have taken a great deal of thought and experimentation, even though I’m after something that will look clear and simple.

This map of Newmillerdam Country Park is my latest effort, and I’m happy with it, but I think I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board yet again. It’s a purely technical problem.

I’ve based my retail price for the booklets on a detailed estimate that I worked out months ago. I can get a precise cost for paper and card and I’m also pretty confident about the costs of developer drums and other bits and pieces for the printer. Where I’ve grossly underestimated is on toner. I realise that now that I’ve got through my first three cartridges.

I took the manufacturer’s figure of 6,000 copies per black toner cartridge as a rule of thumb but in reality I get fewer than 1,500 copies per cartridge, so it’s costing me more than four times what I estimated. This is because the standard that manufacturers use for their estimates is for 5% coverage whereas with my drawings you can see that I’m going considerably over 25% coverage on some of the pages.

My solution, after much soul-searching: redraw every one of the maps using a finer pen.