Exercise 3: Material Differences

Using my previous 4 drawings I picked the viewpoint that offered the most interest. I decided a focal point and looked at the tonal values.

The white walls and fireplace are surrounded by the dark table, the table had a lot of objects on it. This table serves as a Memorial to my late father and our beloved pets that have passed. on the table is a silver cherub, its size and light tonal values made me think this would be a good focal point.

Using Graphite pencil, I blocked in the darkest parts and basic shapes, I don’t normally smudge pencils but as the walls are light and smooth I took too smudging in some hb pencil and then using a rubber I “lightened it up”

One thing I did notice is that my eraser soon become very slick and heavy soiled with graphite, this actually become a useful tool to block in large areas of lighter tone, used flat I followed the shapes of the walls and the archway, the graphite transferring from the eraser to the paper.

Studying the values in front of me I established my darkest tones was to be some of the black box frames on the table, the lightest would be some objects on the table and the wooden dado rail on the wall, these light shapes cutting through the darkened tones of the table helped draw the eye to the cherub.

The research I did just before this drawing did help me make some choices, for one I didn’t want to be too picky about the accuracy of my perspective, imperfect lines might add to the character of the drawing, and mine certainly wasn’t perfect or true to life, in the end after several attempts to get a straight line by hand I did use the edge of a metal pencil tin to get a clean line, the hand drawn ones I was making didn’t really look rough enough ti be intentional but wasn’t smooth enough to represent the solid structures of the fore place.
The research also made me aware of how you can show something that at first seemingly mundane can have some secondary focal points that surround the main subject. I tried to do this with varying degrees of detail and contrast.

Overall I’m happy with the end result, and the lessons learnt. I chose graphite pencil as I thought it would allow me a good amount of detail, it is problematic to work with in a large format and I do not think my paper was up to the heavy layering of different grade pencils I used. It got to point where the graphite didn’t hold to the paper anymore, and it would almost “clump” in certain areas, it certainly added texture but it also shows every movement and mark I made with my pencil. I would benefit further from experimenting with different toothed paper and layering pencils to prevent this “effect” when trying to establish dark yet detailed tones.

Research Point : Interiors

I used google to quickly scan through many images and stopping at ones that caught my interest.

Ethel Sands
The Chintz Couch
Oil paint on board
465 x 385 mm

This one caught my eye, it is almost monochromatic, I liked it because the way it led me around the image, I started off on the square in the centre.
This offered some good tonal contrast and then led me down the wall and over the chair, I was then directed up in a diagonal motion at the flowers. I think they are Lily’s, that offer the same contrasting tone but are detached from the main bulk.
It’s actually a pretty flat depiction, the light flowing over the chair is giving depth as is the darkness under the table. When I chose my viewpoint for the previous exercise, I wanted to get a diagonal line or too in there to break up the rigid square shapes and forms, but the artist here has actually created an interesting diagonal by using the light.

Douglas Fox Pitt
Interior with Maid
Graphite, charcoal and watercolour on paper
412 × 483 mm

I enjoyed the use of colour and bold lines on this one, I suspect if this was left as a linear work it wouldn’t have been able to portray this amount of depth. The weight of line seems to be pretty consistent throughout the structural parts of the room, changing for little details such as the objects on the mantel piece.
The warm walls against the cool purple and violets really offer a good amount of separation and create two plains. At first glance I thought the room had a walkthrough arch but this is in fact a reflection of the “maid” at the fire, and not figure at washing machine like I first saw. The angle of the mirror feels a little impossible, and gives that “fish eye” effect I noticed in my own sketch. The warmth reds on the cushion and throw seem to be leading my eye into the mirror, I believe that the figure and its reflection is the main focal point for the artwork, a diagonal trajectory across the image. the reflection being part of the focal point explains why some licence has been taken on the angles used. Maybe it was just more interesting that way.

File:Charles Joseph Grips - A Domestic Interior, 1881.jpg

Charles Joseph Grips
A Domestic Interior
Oil on panel
380 x 300mm

This was another image that caught my eye, much for the same reasons as above. It was dark and at first quite flat, but it actually has loads to see and is very cleverly layered. the warm yellow silk sheet almost looks like a figure and is the first thing we see, as we look round we see many objects.
when we eventually arrive at the back wall we see a bird cage and a sculpted relief of a head, I really liked all the details, it created a lot of interest, especially the little cat exploring and conquering the mountain of objects, and maybe even having a sweep of that broom.

Roy Lichenstein
Interior with Waterlilies
Oil paint and acrylic paint on canvas
209 × 4553 × 65 mm

This was another image that I felt did a good job of displaying depth. The use of colour separate the fields of depth, as do the diagonal lines on the back wall they seem to pull the drawing into itself. The perspective lines aren’t perfect in places but do offer that 3d box feel, without losing any personality and character. The focus here does seem to be the pictures on the left wall as the title of the piece would suggest, although the other pictures hung on the wall also catch the eye quite effectively.

Exercise 2: Composition – an interior

I completed 4 quick sketch studies of an interior, these were to be viewed from 4 different viewpoints, I chose an elevated one standon gon a small foot stool, one seated on a stool and closer, another from the floor from around the same distance as the previous and finally one seated on a stool but a little closer.

I chose a corner as I thought this would be intersting, some angles and foreshortening would be at play and so would a faor amnount of distortion, I actually feel like my first sketch I probably exaggerated a little, giving an almost fish eye effect.

The main thing the sketches seemed to suffer from was an interesting focal point, this actually got better the closer I sat to the subject, it seemed to have more emphasis and i tended to notice greater details and characteristics of my surroundings.

I also naturally moved to a position that offered more contrast, the final drawing was light around the edges and the focal point being the objects on the table. If I was to carry on and create a fourth drawing I think thats where my focus would be, I would pick an object on the table, probably the cherub in front of one of the frames and use its surroundings, the pale walls, the dark table and swirls from the mirror and create something a little more focused and specific.

Another thing I would consider is altering the angle of my viewpoint, not only vertically and horizontally but tilting this could have generated some lines which could have been diagonal for example and might have made the compositions a little more interesting for the viewer to explore with their eyes.

composition notes

The question of is it easier to suggest three dimensions on man-made or natural objects is a hard one, man made objects typically have precise structures, perfect angles and if portrayed incorrectly will look very much off to the viewer, but with that in mind the structure of a cube for example when drawn correctly lends itself very easily to be seen as a form in 3d space. There are many variables to consider but I would say overall that the man made objects generally are easier to portray as 3d.

I tried to draw___ to make my objects seem solid

Changing an arrangement of a composition would mostly always seem to change the approach to a drawing. The focal point will change and the relationship to the other items will also be altered the eye will be guided and settle on different parts and a different arrangement may also change the detail and the texture of the items.

Exercise 1: Still life using line

I put together a still life trying to find objects that are round or curved, I found a plastic skull I use for reference some coiled line and some dried flowers from a bowl of pot pourri. I made for sketches to choose an interesting composition.

Using a dip pen and black Indian ink I started to sketch directly to the paper, it didn’t specify if I could or should do an under drawing. It certainly was a test of my mettle as I bravely made marks with no underlying suggestion of the composition. The dip pen is a tool that I’d love to invest more time in, it has an amazing variation of line weight but it also has a pretty steep learning curve, I did end up with an unwanted blob of ink and the odd smudge.

This was to be an exercise in texture pattern and shape using line only, I managed to resist blocking in black areas and tried to focus on line weight to describe depth and shadow. The drawing didn’t come out quite as I hoped, I want to try it again with a light under drawing to make sure my composition is a little more thought out, this time I will try a brush pen and really focus on the weight and direction of my line. I think the brush pen will be a little more intuitive for me even though it’s not my go to method to disperse ink, that would be a fine liner pen, so this exercise will be a valid introduction into brush markers.

I restarted the drawing this time using a soft pencil to gently outline the composition, I wanted to ensure I had some interesting tangents in my lines, and some of the items cutting through other shapes i’m hoping this should make a more interesting end result.

Once I was happy with the layout I gently rubbed the lines out so there is just a very faint guide to follow with my Pentel brush pen.

The brush pens main benefits is a continuous supply of ink with the wide range of line weight. The brush isn’t as firm or stiff as the metal nib of a dip pen so a lighter touch is definitely required to make the most of the potential range. Another consideration with the brush is direction, it does produce the best intentional line when pulled, a characteristic that doesn’t exist with a fine liner. I start by making very light strokes, and open the bristles of the brush with some pressure where i want to convey depth such as the plastic skulls eye sockets and nose, I also try to make the lines heavier around some of the pot pourri that is darker in colour with an attempt at ensuring the focal point is on the left side of the image. Overall I am much happier with this image, its seems less messy and a little more informed, although looking at the first attempt again there is some things I like about it, the texture for one seemed a bit more interesting.

Exercise 1: Detail & Tone

This exercise focused mainly on tonal values.  I chose half a red onion as it had a really dark exterior and also had a good amount of sheen to it, this partnered with a furrowed texture and a lighter interior would offer good opportunity to explore the visual differences of the onions surfaces. Using graded pencils I went to work sketching out my object.  Starting with a HB pencil I worked linearly to establish my shapes and composition, I very lightly started to pull out the contours of the onion, gently following the shape as if I was drawing a grid over the onion, being sure to follow the curves and grooves and trying to establish my darkest blocks of tone.

I switched to a 4H pencil to get some harder lines established, the 4H was nice and sharp and gave a good clear line, I started to mark my contoured lines with more pressure, it really exaggerated the peaks and troughs of the onions outer surface, I wanted to smooth this out a little, I went with the 4H’s opposite and selected the 4B.  Gently laying down some tones an interesting thing happened, the hardness of the 4H had given it a coating that seemed to prevent the 4B from covering over, as I tried to apply pressure another interesting effect occurred.

The Hardness of the pencil had left indentations on the paper, the soft 4B gave an almost brass rubbing effect, the 4H feathered lines started to show through retaining a texture but tonally the image was getting darker and more contrasty.   The interior of the onion while overall tonally lighter did offer some variation around the layers of onion, using the side of the 4H pencil I very softly added in a smooth gradient, around the ring of each layer, I then sharpened the 4H and added in some directional lines which all painted towards the centre, I wanted to show the roundness of the vegetable and this seemed a good way to do it.

The last steps was to make sure that the image was tonally balanced and sharp, using my three pencils I made a pass with the 4B to make the darkest tones darker, I then made another pass with the 4H and HB to sharpen up any soft areas that the 4B had created.  Overall I am happy with the results, I feel I managed to add a good amount of detail and texture to this image as well as varied  lines and  blocks of contrast to add some visual interest.

Compositionally, the drawing is quite an accurate record, it might have been a little more interesting to crop it closer and really zoom into the fibres of the onions flesh and focus on the wet almost sandy effect it makes when the light hits it. The abstract approach would have also meant it would likely be unidentifiable as an onion so maybe a wider shot could also be investigated as a halfway measure.

Exercise 1: Temporary Drawings

This exercise called for drawings to be made with improved mediums on a temporary canvas. I had a few ideas and I liked the idea of observing changes to the marks or shapes that I had made that would eventually become out of my control.

I would document these as photographs.

A cold hard stare

I poured some water about 3 cm’s deep into a glass pyrex dish, I then froze the water and using a wax carving tool, I scratched an image into the ice. I was hoping eventually the ice would melt and split off, I fear that that the ice was probably too thick for this, none the less the result was some interesting shapes on the pink paper that I laid the ice onto. The water soaked in and even the photography and rudimental lighting I had used to record this experiment made some interesting reflected shapes from the shiny ice. The eye was quite hard to make out in most of the images, but all In all It seemed to be a good enough experiment and one that if I decided to do again I could with a few changes realise my initial vision.

Patterns & puddles

Following on from my watery experiments and what I had liked most from the ice experiment, I decided to use a brush with water and see how this would change over time.

I swirled the brush trying to recreate ripples on some brown packaging cardboard, I saturated the brush trying to get the water to penetrate as much as possible. The effect created wasn’t ideal, as the water bled into the card very little remained of my intended lines and composition. I carried on photographing and observing the changes as the water dried. Ultimately this resulted in a damp mess.

Hair Weave

The next image I thought I would take a more literal approach to my image making. I looked to raid my Mothers sewing and knitting boxes for some wool, I found instead some wonder web which I believe is some kind of Iron on glue material for hems, I pinched it and scarpered off.

I carefully unrolled the length of this fibrous material and laid it on a black plastic folio case to work on. I fashioned a face shape and some hair, tore and shaped some pink paper into lips I photographed with my camera but it did feel a little too abstract, for a further iteration I tore some paper and used a Pentel marker to scribble in a very quick face, I chose the large chisel tipped pen to make sure my efforts were permanent sporadic and bold. This pulled together more tightly as an image although it did stray slightly from the temporary aspect of the exercise. I liked the effect it had when photographed.

Exercise 1: Experimenting with expressive lines and marks

For this exercise, I was asked to use marks to express an emotion or feelings. This was an interesting task and involved more thought than I had first imagined as some emotions seemed to cross over, for example, angry marks can quite easily seem like excitable ones. This would easily be cleared up with colour choices or even a descriptive title, but the challenge here was to use a choice of line and shape in a way that would carry a message and emotions.

I chose 4 mediums to work in, Graphite pencil, black paint with water applied by brush, willow charcoal stick and finally Indian ink. I then divided the a1 sheet into 4 equal sections by folding the paper in half and half again.

I set about trying to capture emotion with my marks, I decided to keep the same 4 mediums so I could compare each page at the end.

The emotions I used were Anger, Calm, Joy and loneliness.


I wanted to use jagged shapes and opted for uncontrolled fast stabs and slashes, really bullying my drawing materials onto the paper. As I mentioned before this could be viewed as lively or excitable marks out of context but I carried on attacking the paper angrily.
This was by far the most textured of all the pieces created for this exercise, splashes short marks long marks dark and light warring for space on the page.



For calm, I needed to convey the peace and tranquillity that runs deep within this emotion. The shapes had to be soft, pulsing and light. I tried to capture the effect of rippling circles and imagined a warm bassy pulse accompanying my strokes. I tried not to saturate the ink on to the page and kept my pressure light with the graphites and charcoal this meant I could get more of a softer subtle grey tone. The ink I used undiluted and swirled with a texture scouring pad to make a collection of finer lines. I used a candle and drew invisibly to keep the white of the paper shining through the watery black paint, this wash gave a grey tone and with the addition of the white arches helped make the black marks less harsh.



For joy I wanted to convey a sense of rhythm, a flow almost like the feeling of flight. A solid lively stroke with plenty of action seemed to capture this. I wanted to get some variance in my tonal values going from deep blacks to the brightest white of the paper. I even tried to construct “tubular” shapes for the eye to follow across the image.



For this collection of images Kept it really simple. To create a feeling of isolation in a secluded environment I used a small focal point, I wanted this to be of high contrast, I didn’t want it to blend in or belong with any other elements in the images. I tried to add grid-like patterns to give it an imprisoned feel. The charcoal section uses square shapes in a uniform grid and makes a distinction from the other shapes, to try to create something un-relatable.