Friday, February 6, 2009

Back at the Throttle

In search of a new subject to draw I recently came across some old slides my dad had taken in the late 40's and early 50's. One that caught my eye is shown below. My dad traveled to Chicago to attend the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1949. The exposition was a two year event starting in 1948. This was the last great hurrah for the railroads as new modes of transportation were quickly coming on line.

The steam locomotive shown in this picture was sent to the fair by the Baltimore and Ohio. This engine was part of a general class of locomotive called the Yellowstone manufactured by Baldwin. This particular locomotive was relatively new; the first one being delivered to the B&O in 1944. According to some history I found on the internet, the B&O actually wanted diesels at this point but due to the war they were forced to purchase more steam.

Anyway, I have decided to tackle this quite complicated mechanical drawing. Pen and Ink is quite effective at capturing the technical nature of the subject. The quality of this old scanned slide is not that great and some of the detail is washed out. I was able to find other photos of this same locomotive (#7603) to supplement this drawing. In addition, this engine was on static display at the fair. I want to add action to the illustration, representing the engine in its working environment. Part of this entails removing the people from the picture. In doing so, I need to add the complex detail of the drivers that were hidden by the men in the foreground. The other photos I have found will help in adding the necessary detail. Additionally, I want to add smoke from the stack and steam to further give the impression of motion.

I spent a lot of time working up a pencil sketch of the locomotive prior to inking. I need to get perspective and proportion right or it will stick out like a sore thumb in the final illustration. The supplemental photos were valuable in getting the detail right. Here is the pencil sketch. This is perhaps the most detailed mechanical object I have tackled so far.


Mark Alan Meader said...

You're really taking on a complicated one this time.. these locomotives are so complicated and detailed. It will be interesting to watch how it develops. Your heron came out awesome by the way.

D. Hawks said...

Thanks Mark. Yes, this is a complex one, and even more so since I needed to reconstruct the driver arrangement for the 4 wheels hidden by the people in the original photo.