It was two years ago this month that I had the opportunity to observe, as a member of the USAF Art Program through the Society of Illustrators, training sessions part of joint Army/Air Force Urban Ops exercises. I’ll be away this week in the Southwest, pads and pencils in hand, my Canon G-10 around my neck, and a good pair of Merrill hiking shoes trying to keep up with members of Special Ops in training. Already feeling the anxiety of expectations- my own- of how well I’ll be catching the energy and experience there. As I’ve written before, things move VERY fast, and the first couple days in particular are great at knocking down one’s ego regarding skills. I don’t expect this time to be much different. But the groove eventually gets found and then it’s gangbusters.
Here are the finished images created for the USAFAP two years ago that are now part of the permanent collection at the Pentagon. They were generally large in size, a combination of both sketches and photo reference used as backup. I found that I had a better chance of recreating the energy of the sketches in the finished pieces by working large and allowing the arm a lot of opportunity to move and capture the gestures. The large drawings were mounted on sticky foam boards and watercolor and gouache were applied to the pencil lines.
Looking forward to posting about my experiences when I return. Considering I haven't even started working on final art based on the sketches and photos from Pope AFB/Fort Bragg last Autumn, I'll have plenty on my plate in terms of finished work due by July this year.