Friday, 21 November 2014

Still life in tone using colour

Maybe I'm running out of interesting subjects but I chose to draw  the mug we keep out toothbrushes in (mysteriously I have 6 toothbrushes, with me and one son living at home, and his brother and sister at university, who do the other 2 toothbrushes belong to....?)
The mug with a tube of toothpaste and my favourite round mirror for which my grandmother made the pewter frame.
Coloured pencil. Not sure that you, the viewer, who doesn't know how lovely the mirror is get this even when I crop it
Also the mirror dominates the picture, so maybe I leave the mirror out
which is a bit dull, or use pastel on paper with some sort of wood chip from the Paper Mill at Apsley
Not going anywhere here until Sue, one of my cats, decided to sit behind my arrangement

She moved before I could finish, but this I like (and I love working in coloured pencil)
As ever I'm worrying whether this fulfils the brief. Is there enough variety in tone? I found a box of chinese bowls which looked good for a subject
I didn't put the juggling ball there but I thought it added something so I drew it too
I used pastel on black paper, the view through the window lets it down.
Is this better? I should have chosen a plain background or left the juggling ball out completely.

  • What aspect of each drawing were successful and what did you have problems with? I had problems with layout and subject matter for both exercises. I like the objects I chose but they might not make sense to someone else.
  • Did you manage to create a sense of depth in your drawings? What elements of the drawings and still life groupings helped to create that sense? The oblique angle of the sewing machine and the roundness of the bowls which caught the light created depth but the kitchen impliments and toothbrush arrangements were very flat.
  • What difficulties were created by being restricted to line or tone? I found it hard to create a sense of solidity in the line drawings. Tone is easier because it makes objects seem more three dimensional.
  • How did using colour affect your working method? Colour is tricky, I want to be representative and have to restrict myself to a limited palate to make the whole arrangement work. I like working on a black background but it can be difficult in artificial light as it seems to distort my choice of colours and the resultant image can be a bit psychedelic

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Still life using line

I was struggling to think of an interesting composition and decided to use my old sewing machine
Some layout sketches. I decided that a view from an angle was more interesting as I could draw the mechanism at the end and chose an eye level view to optimize this. I used a dip pen and black ink
I create form using tone so I found it really difficult to just stick to line (I failed when I got to the scissors and had to employ some shading to make sense of things) I noticed that there is a lovely relief pattern on the other end of the machine which I did a rubbing of.

I'm not sure this completely fulfils the brief as there is only one primary object and it says How will you make (the objects) connections apparent? How will you capture their differences? The pans and impliments in my kitchen make an interesting pattern though there are limited options for a viewpoint as it's a tiny room. This is my drawing using a fineliner
It makes sense to me but I know the kitchen so I can see that the saucepan lids are transparent and the saucepans overlap
like this

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Using charcoal to create tone pattern and texture

I enjoy working with charcoal but I need a lot of space and I can't imagine using it anywhere than at home or in a life class as I always get smudges all over my face

 I found that there was not a lot of difference between the thick and thin sticks, it was all down to how I applied it to the paper. A light touch gave a thin line a heavy touch a thicker one. The small stick used on it's side gave a satisfyingly thick line.
 These were done on some old lining paper, the bottom "caterpillar" was from fingerprints with a few outlines
 The 2 squares on the left were done with the same piece of charcoal letting the edge become more angled with each stroke to get more thickness. The bottom middle one was a thick stick on it's side.
I tried a bit of embellishment.
For me the paper made all the difference. I wanted a big sheet so that I was more open to big movements but when I went back to my A4 sketchbook there was a better tooth and I felt more relaxed as the charcoal caught easily on the paper rather than sliding over it.
 Some work with blocks of different intensity and some highlighting at the bottom. I'm not a fan of lifting the charcoal as it doesn't give a clean mark, I'd rather smudge and accentuate with more charcoal or try not to cover everything with charcoal in the first place.
Finally some more sweeping marks.

Doodling tone pattern and texture

Doing my research I found this from the Victoria and Albert Museum

 I started out with dip pen, pen and then charcoal. The cats snuck in I know they're too figurative for this exercise so please just ignore them. I was thinking of mountains, streams and feathers
 I moved to (from left to right) coloured pencil felt tip and Tombow markers. No theme here.

 Aquatone sticks, mainly scribbling but I splodged some water on too
Starting to think of natural forms and slipped into being too figurative at the end so I switched to charcoal and tried again, My scanner doesn't do big sheets of paper and my camera phone doesn't take great photos (though it may be my fault...)
 Charcoal, compressed charcoal and graphite sticks. Just doodles again.
 With added pastel
Charcoal, compressed charcoal and graphite stick

Marks to create tone pattern and texture in colour

I selected coloured pencils  in the 3 primary colours 
Then Aquatone pencils and felt tips. I wondered whether the primary colours were blocking me so I used random colours for the felt tips.
I don't think these coloured versions are as good as my single colour ideas before but maybe I'm running out of ideas and need to do something different for a bit.

When I was using oil pastels I tried to clean one on an envelope and I think accidentally this might have been one of my best ideas!

Marks to create tone pattern and texture

I've found it hard not to repeat myself with this exercise. I did it over 2 nights and I noticed that it takes me a while to get into the right frame of mind. I have a tendency to want to create something figurative but it's been nice in some ways not to have to represent anything. I find the thicker media harder to fit into a small box and 2 colours are tricky as I'm trying to balance the colour and the imagined shapes. The oil pastels were much more fun than I've found in the past, maybe because I didn't have to be representative.
Working into the ink splodges that had bled through was my favourite technique maybe because they led me towards new ideas but I also enjoyed messing around with inks.All my ideas look better in small boxes on a computer screen than they did on the page. Distracting the viewer with lots of images means they don't each have to stand up to individual scrutiny.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Exercise 3 - Detail & tone

I chose a strange, holey rock which was in my garden when I moved to this house
it's difficult to do preliminary sketches with something so abstract
but to be interesting I had to show the holes so there were only a few angles that worked

The scan picks up the crosshatching more than you can see in real life if I zoom out a bit it is more representative

Although I worked on A3 paper I struggled as usual to make a picture larger than the object. In trying to make it bigger I got a bit lost in some of the details but I think it worked out in the end.
I wondered whether I should have chosen an object with a more definable structure to work on so I drew this fossil
layout sketches
and the final drawing
I think the rock is a better more interesting drawing and lends itself to a greater range of contrasts.

Which drawing media did you find most effective to use for which effects?
I do love the simplicity of working in pencil. It's also the medium I have had the most practice with and the one I find most versatile. The problem with it is that it's not always the most immediately attractive medium to the viewer. Biro is a good alternative in that I find it relatively easy to make a wide variety of marks and tones though it can be a bit unpredictable sometimes. I like the way it makes me more bold with my drawings it feels a bit daunting that it can't be rubbed out which is crazy as I rarely, if ever, use a rubber when I draw in pencil, I guess I like to feel that I could if I wanted to. Maybe what I really find difficult with biro and fineliners is that the marks they make are so dark and bold. Fineliners sometimes have a sharp edge which jars.
The markers were difficult to handle but give some nice effects especially when I want a block of colour which can take ages to build up with a pencil. I love working with dip pens which contradicts my feelings about fineliners, I can cope with the splodges and the unpredictability for the free flowing ink and the variability of the marks.

Look at the composition of the drawings you've done in this project. Make some sketches and notes about how you might make some more interesting compositions.
Composition is something I find really difficult, whether a layout works or not can be a bit random. I think my biggest fault is not leaving anything to the viewers imagination. Sketchy edges bits that fade or are only suggested all help to create interest.
Harking back to Cezanne's drawing of his wife she is incomplete and cropped by the top of the page. The Hortensia's are suggested too and there is a diagonal line that runs along her field of vision to the flowers which pulls the viewer from top right to the left of the page against their natural inclination (in the western world at least) to read from left to right

It's not good to plonk a picture dead centre on a page with an even amount of white paper around it. The two pictures in this exercise are definitely bad examples of composition but also maybe my boring veg could have been enlivened by not being all visible

and the biscuit cutters look more dramatic like this
In these pictures I think it helps that I drew the whole thing and then cropped it so that I've drawn right up to the edges but maybe fading out or the suggestion of other items at the edge could also be more interesting

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Exercise 2 - Detail and simple line

I am fascinated by the inside of a pomegranate so it was an obvious choice
This is A4 I find it really hard to draw bigger than an object really is hence the rather small seeds at the bottom. As per instructions this was near enough a single line for the drawing then a couple of lines for the shading. The felt tip started to run out a bit which is why some lines are darker than others.
Excited by this I had another go with dip pen. First with a nearly continuous line.
Then relaxing the rules a bit  for the shading. I would have had another go but I ate the pomegranate.......
In the process of trying to decide whether the next exercise was in graphite or colour pencil I found that everyone had done a pomegranate. I don't like to follow the crowd so I drew some garlic with a fineliner.