This Shall be a Church!

My drawing of Beaufort Baptist Church in progress.

I’ve spent a while today drawing a church.

This particular church is Beaufort Baptist Church at 600 Charles Street in Beaufort S.C., built in 1844 and still standing today (though now with a steeple added in 1962).

It is the church that Lydia and Robert Smalls attended when he was a child as members of the over 2,000-strong congregation that was mostly made up of slaves.

I’m going to level with you here… I’m really not a big fan of drawing buildings and vehicles. I find it all very angular and it becomes an exercise in drawing straight lines, matching perspective, and getting planes to meet. It becomes quite a time-consuming technical task and I’m not a fan. I find it quite tedious. (That said, after a while, once I stop resisting it, I do kind of get into it. I’m hoping that having to draw such things a lot for this project will help me come to love it!)

I could try to alter my style so I’m not drawing it in quite such detail or accuracy but I don’t find altering my style easy. Plus, in an establishing shot, I want it to look good and show how the building looks. Then, if subsequent views of it show it in slightly less detail, it’s more ok because you’ve already seen it rendered in detail.

What I am going to do is draw and flat the church in this panel separately to the other elements such as people that I will later draw in and then save a copy to a separate document. I already know that I will want to show the church from this angle again so the time spent on this frame will not be used for just one panel. When it’s reused, I can add in different elements, lighting, shading, and colours.

Is this cheating?

 It feels a little like cheating. I’d probably feel this moreso except that the next time we revisit this view of the church, the very point will be to show a very similar scene but with a very different tone because certain things will have changed at this point. So I am entirely happy to reuse the exact same drawing, but tweaked to fit in with the tone of the new scene. It will hopefully highlight the tonal differences!

But also, the way I see it, there is no cheating with this stuff; there is only the finished product. If I am happy with the finished product and it does what I intend it to, the means through which I achieve it, as long as I’m not plagiarising or ripping someone off, are all valid and legitimate.

What do you reckon? Is reusing my own drawing cheating? Do you feel short-changed by me telling you I’ll be doing it? Let me know in the comments.

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