“Life Finds A Way” – Part 1 (May, 2006)

After my previous posts on the Cybernetic hands (#1, #2, #3), I wondered if I would be able to draw a new one, since the last time I drew them was in the early 1990s. Today I attempted to draw a new one using my left hand and forearm as reference.
Life Finds a Way 600x954
“Life Finds A Way” (May 2006), Pencil/ Ink on sketch paper. Lower res scan 600 x 954 pixels

Initially I planned to do just a sketch of a cybernetic hand and forearm. However, for some reason, I felt it was a bit boring and lost interest. After leaving the preliminary sketch aside, about an hour later, it occurred to me that I could do a Sci-Fi piece. Sort of like a post-apocalypic scene — where a severed cybernetic hand protruding from the groun starts sprouting life, where the cybernetic morphs into something organic. “Life Finds A Way” indeed.

How it was done

Life Finds A Way (a) 300406 001From the rough sketch of my own left hand, I added some flowers (using real flowers that my wife grows) and they looked kinda OK. But not great.

At this stage, I am still formulating how the drawing should proceed. Frankly, I wasn’t confident that it would turn out nice but I didn’t abandon the sketch.

Life Finds A Way (a) 300406 002At this point, I required greater precision so I switched to a mechanical pencil to outline the main parts of the drawing — the flowers, the section joints, the stem of the plant that’s snaking around and embedded in the hand, the metal/ plastic parts of the cybernetic hand.

Life Finds A Way (a) 300406 003Next, I started to ink over the main pencil outlines. I used a Uniball pen (0.5, I think) with permanent ink. I’m rather careful at this stage to ensure that the correct overlaps (for the cables and parts) are drawn. I can amend it digitally later but I’d prefer to keep them correct as much as possible.

Life Finds A Way (a) 300406 004More inking of the main lines. I continue to establish the cables and parts of the biotech hand, which will help me establish the areas for fills and finer details. At this stage, I’m still a bit more careful not to overdo the details or else it might get too cluttered later.

Here’s a close-up of the cables. It’s not as hard as it looks. Takes a bit of patience and good eyesight though : )
Life Finds A Way (a) 300406 005

Life Finds A Way (a) 300406 006I’m almost done by this time. I switch to applying Indian Ink using a calligraphy nib/ pen. Indian Ink has a darker and more robust quality compared to the pens’ pigments, hence I used it to give the required areas more depth and as a contrast to the other dark lines.

Finally I shade the drawing with the mechanical pencil. I intend to try using the layering technique in photoshop to put a fill layer underneath (or maybe it should be above?) the shaded areas. Not too sure how I’m going to do it though. Will have to experiement. Here’s the close-up of the pencil shadings.
Life Finds A Way (a) 300406 007

Compared with the Cybernetic Hand which I did in 1990…
Life Finds a Way 600x954Cybernetic Hand (Sept 1990)
… mmm, there’s certainly more details in the earlier sketch, primarily due to the larger drawing area. But I have to admit that I was a lot more inspired then!

Well, next part — attempting to paint this digitally using Photoshop.

Photo references for “Life Finds A Way” – for the finger tips and thumb that’s being transformed from metal/ plastic to something organic.
Life Finds A Way (a) 300406 101
Life Finds A Way (a) 300406 100


5 thoughts on ““Life Finds A Way” – Part 1 (May, 2006)

  1. Thank you. It just looks nicer when resized down. The details aren’t that amazing when up close : ) BTW I have some small talent and interest but that’s it. I’m not being modest here. Just stating as it is.

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