“We’d like you to do a colour profile of Howard Hughes’ Racer, the H-1.” The chap I’ve been working with at Aerospace Publishing was on the other end of the phone. Nice fella, an expert on aircraft with an endless supply of interesting flying-related stories. “Yep, no problem,” I replied. “When do you need it?”
“Well… the deadline for Issue 3 is the end of the month.” He casually replied. A FORTNIGHT!!! I thought, panic mounting. I’ve never built an aircraft profile in less than six weeks! “Sure , no problem,” I answered, trying to keep my voice from betraying the fear that was about to put a strain on my underwear. “I’ll get onto it now.” Mr. Hughes’ famous Racer, executed in a fraction of the time I’m used to AND it has one of those impossibly shiny, highly polished aluminium surfaces! I’ve never had to render polished aluminium before and that frankly is as scary to any artist as the blank stare of an unmarked sheet of paper. What’s more, the profile was to be executed on a white background, so I had no reflections or ambient colour hues to help me describe the shiny surface. Bugger.
So how did I do it? I had to cut so many corners I was in danger of making a circle. And to be honest, I did end up completely over-cooking the lens flare filter at one stage and making my Racer look like it was festooned in pink Christmas tree lights, but I got there in the end: Not much detail, but enough where it counts. At the end of the day, I was not asked for one of my show pieces, just a piece of art that describes sufficiently what the H-1 looks like from the side. The bonus is I did it despite my demons, not in a fortnight but in 3 days. You see, I’ve always believed that the struggle is never between me and my art, but always between me and myself.