Hugh MacDonald – Desert

With Desert, I wanted to play with the position and focus of the viewer. I am familiar with drawing intricate things, but never on such a large scale (Ink / 18″ x 24″). I knew that on a bigger paper, the intricacy would be overlooked when viewed from afar. I decided to use that to my advantage, hiding the detailed foliage designs in different tones used throughout the main scene.

Combined with a vibrant red sun, my intention was to encourage the viewer to look closer than with the typical illustration. I made the sun large and red to catch the eye’s attention. I feel the color red is best for this because it’s bold and vibrant against this black and white scene. My next focus is on the houses, still simple but with slightly more detail. The dunes and sky progress from intricacy to simplicity as the viewer scans outward from the center.


I had never drawn anything on this scale before but the results surprised me, as did the process itself. It was a lot of fun to make and I have begun to imagine other large-scale pieces.