Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Guys hi

This is likely to be a major thread as this painting (hopefully) winds it way to completion.

Plenty of prep has gone into the concept already, which started as a small thumbnail sketch.


This I refined using APM software to start to formalise the position and perspective of the aircraft. Given the runways at Boxted are 150 feet wide I worked on the basis that each pair of aircraft would use the full wideth of the runway as they took off, and so spread the two planes out more than in the concept sketch


More to follow


Edited by Pete Wenman
Link to post
Share on other sites

With all my paintings I like to speak with somebody who has flown the aircraft being depicted to ensure that things are as accurate as possible. For the P-47 piece I am lucky enough to be in contact with Russ Kyler. Russ flew with the 56th Fighter Group, from August 1944 through to the end of the war, with 10 aircraft kills to his credit. (Russ's P-47M is featured in the decal options for the excellent Tamiya 1/48th model kit).

In response to my questions Russ come back with the following information.

For a mission, each squadron lined up on the runway, four across & either three deep or four deep, depending on whether we were launching a 12 ship or 16 ship squadron. Flight leader & his wingman took off on the left side of the runway & #3 & #4 used the right side of the runway. #1 & #2 would get airborne ASAP while #3 & #4 would stay on the runway until they were well past the point of "lift-off" of #1 & #2, thus avoiding any prop-wash. This type of take-off was continued until all squadron a/c were airborne. We would hold our position until the flight taking off were passing behind the nose of our a/c & then we would start our roll. We could get 12 or 16 a/c airborne in about two minutes. The second squadron lined up on a different runway & as soon as the last element cleared the intersection, they would begin their take-off. The third squadron was lining up on the first runway & as soon as #2 squadron

cleared the intersection, they would begin their take-offs. The total time for all three squadrons to get airborne was usually 6 to 8 minutes. I've seen as many as eight a/c rolling on the runway at the same time.

Pairs were rolling at (approx) 8 to 10 second intervals and I'd guess at about 200 feet apart on the runway.

With 108 gal tanks the lead a/c would use max power & get airborne ASAP using the same technique as above.

On take-off (04/22) 2800 RPM & 72 in Hg about 2/3 rds of the runway & 2nd elements used about 3/4 ths of the total runway.

(the Easterly runway was a different story as we needed every foot of runway we could get).

The normal position for the wingman on take-off, was to keep his wing tip even with the star on the fuselage of the lead a/c and just far enough out to clear the wingtips if an over-run occurred as per an aborted take-off. Normally, the flight leader took the left side of the runway with #2 on his right wing; #3 (Element leader) took the right side of the runway just about opposite of #2 & #4 positioned himself on the left wing of #3. Clearance was never over a couple of feet & I've had my wing man "overlap" as much as two feet of wing & hold it for the take-off & forming up with the rest of the squadron. (That's a tight formation)

This information was great news from my perspective as it allowed a return to the original concept, with the aircraft a lot closer together, which increases the drama, and to my mind improves the composition.

It did mean things needed to be reworked a little however.

I use a perspective software developed by Joe Demarco, a talented aviation artist in his own right, and a really nice guy. Joe's Artists' Perspective Modeler (APM) can be used to create a basic line drawing based on plotting X, Y, and Z co-ordinates for as many reference points as required to create the object.

Once the co-ordinates are all plotted the data can be manipulated so the object can be viewed from any distance, and at any attitude but with the perspective remaining correct regardless of the view distance and attitude. Once the desired view is decided upon, the program will provide the necessary X and Y co-ordinates so the object can be plotted and drawn (at any scale required).

Here is the line drawing from the review function within APM, which while it is identifiable as a P-47 is also a long way from the finished drawing required.


This is the partially completed pencil drawing based on the plot data. As you can see this is a much more refined outline, and will be the basis for the final highly detailed line drawing. The lines of the aircraft are already evident here, with the foreshortening of the fuselage very easily dealt with by the software.


APM allows an accurate outline of an aircraft to be created from a set of 3 view plans in perfect perspective, which is a much better alternative than just copying a photograph. It also means that truly unique compositions can be created.

The next stage is to complete this drawing and the use it as the basis for either a value study in pencil, or a colour study in oil. This aircraft is the more distant of the two and so the secondary point of interest, and as such must allow for the main aircraft to hold the strongest values and colours.


Edited by Pete Wenman
Link to post
Share on other sites

One issue (the only one) that I can see is the height from the ground. Generally speaking these aircraft didn't pull the gear up until they were sure they were up and away. It looks like it's awfully low for the left-side craft, and it looks like the right craft's gear were still touching ground (if you rotate them down again).

I'd give them a bit more vertical separation from their shadows.

I'm not an expert, but that's what my perception tells me.

Edited by Mark M.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Next update

Mark you are right about the aircraft height, but I'm ahead of you here. Remember what you've so far are the preliminary studies, and the point of them is to iron out these sort of issues.

The revised composition, with line drawings well underway.


A closer look at the nearly completed line drawing of the main aircraft subject.


and a reference photo which helped set the height of the aircraft.


In order to start getting to grips with the composition and to accurately portrait the Boxted airfield I drew up a 1/2400 scale plan of the airfield, and established my view point.


and a rough drawing showing a possible layout, aircraft height here is 20 ft above the runway.



Edited by Pete Wenman
Link to post
Share on other sites

cheers guys

This study is on tracing paper, which allowed me to overlay it over the already completed line drawing. This is the first time I have used this method, and it is obvious why it is recommended. However the quality of the tracing paper I had to hand is far lower than it needs to be. However as quick exercise it served it's purpose.


Rather than rush the main compostion and regret it later I decided that a colour study of the main subject aircraft was a sensible thing to do at this stage. The study would allow me to slap some paint around, but it will also serve me well when painting the same aircraft on the main canvas.

It took 10 minutes or so the transfer the drawing to a sheet of unmounted canvas (10"x12"), which I then covered with a thin wash of acrylic burnt sienna. This serves the dual purpose of sealing in the pencil drawing, and also taking away the brightness of the white canvas.


This pretty much brings things up to date. At the moment I'm refining the line drawing of the background, including the various airfield buildings and runways.

The final canvas for this one is going to be 40" across, so a bit of a monster.

Edited by Pete Wenman
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is just amazing!!!!

Pete, your skilss are well known among everybody (I refer especially to the "mustang" scene and such) but everytime is a great and fantastic discovery of your ever rising potential!!!

Can't really wait to see more!!!

Cheers mate


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some real time progress

A pencil sketch of the tech area and T2 hangar that sits in the background. These are the dominant objects on the skyline

and so it's important to get them right. The sketch is some 13 inches across at 1:1 scale, and is a third of the full canvas width.


The parked P-47 needs some more work (looks more like a Wildcat at present :crying2: ), but othwise this is

loose in detail given it is a background only and some 4000 feet from the viewpoint

Jack I think you are confusing me with Wade Myers, but I'll take that as a compliment.


Edited by Pete Wenman
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just love this thread. I have never been the artistic type being able to freehand draw more then just stick figures. I am really enjoying seeing the process broken down into all the stages it takes.

Looking forward to the next update.


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jack I think you are confusing me with Wade Myers, but I'll take that as a compliment.


ehm ehm maaan....you cannot imagine how sooooorry I am!

I totally confused and didnt remembered the name!

I thought and was sure that that was yours but anyway and trust me...anyway, you are awesome too!!!

I love this "47" drawing and it's comin out beautiful indeed...

compliments are still super valid!!!!!

Cheers and sorry again for the name confusion


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Jack - no worries


Just to play with some paint and to try and find a good grass colour I added this to the earlier colour study.

I was planning to do this piece on hardboard, to get a smooth firm surface on which to work, but I now think I'll go with fine grain canvas taped to board for the painting stage. Once finished the canvas can then be stretched and mounted in the normal way. I like the effect that canvas grain adds to any painting.

The canvas is on order and should hopefully turn up soon, as most of the component parts are done, they just all need to be brought together.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Jay

i dont know anything about canvas painting, but if you paint first then stretch it over a frame, doesn't the painting get distorted?

It's the first time I've used this method, so fingers crossed. Its a popular method for aviation, marine and wildlife artists (plus others) where a firm surface is needed to allow the transfer of a detailed drawing onto the canvas.

The canvas does not need to be stretched too much when being framed, and does not really have that much give in

it anyway. That's the hope ! :)


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Gents hi

Progress at last. Lots of behind the scenes work has finally paid off.

I've a 42"x 14" fine grain canvas mounted (temporarily) on a sheet of mdf.

I've given this a burnt sienna wash in acrylic, and started to transfer the full size drawing elements. Here's the T2 Hangar and tech area, which I've underpainted with a mixture of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue (again in acrylic).


This element measures approx 19" across, and is the left side of the canvas as viewed.

Sorry about the dodgy photo, but a hand held snap under artificial light.


Edited by Pete Wenman
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...