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.

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.