Sunday, March 3, 2013

Envelope Art: Women Pilots # 2

I've done another envelope based on women pilots. This time I am in the middle of reading A Dance with Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II by Anne Noggle. 

On the front is a sketch of Rufina Gasheva, a navigator, and Natalya Meklin, Pilot, of the 46th Guards Bomber Regiment. It makes you realise how young some of these pilots were.

On the back is a sketch of the Po-2 aircraft which they flew on their night missions.

The author seemed to interview all the soviet women who served in World War II who were still alive in 1992. Each one has a few pages where she talks about her life before the war, how she came to be in the war, what she remembers most, and what she did afterwards. So everything is written in the first person. She also has a current (1992) photo of each of them at the back of the book. It is an amazing book, and it is interesting to read how very different the culture was from the women who served in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in Britain. Unfortunately, it does not have an index or a table of contents showing people's names. However, you can search for people in the copy on google books.

From a technical point of view: I'm quite interested at the moment in how drawing techniques relate to the emotion/meaning of the subject matter.  So, in pen and ink, one way to give an impression of history or impermanence is to do the whole sketch in stippling or dots. For this one, I chose to do it mostly with hatching, but not too much cross hatching. I think it is possible to see the depth of the figures, but having it mostly composed of hatching, all done in the same direction,  also gives a sense of the figures not really being there at all. A bit like ghosts. Contour lines it would have fleshed the figures out a lot more, made them more ¨real¨ and detracted from that feeling. Obviously, in real life, these people were very much ¨there¨, but looking back in hindsight, and reading their stories, there is a sense of life being subject to so much luck and close calls.

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