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Category Archives: Stage 5
A couple of small self-portraits to start with. The first in pastel trying to use bold and bright colours:
My measurement is out on this drawing with my nose and right eye being the most “out”. However, I enjoyed using the bold bright colours and I am pleased with the resulting image. The use of a coloured sugar paper for the background also worked well with this medium.
For the next image, I started out with a watered down black acrylic ink to get the basic shapes in, then added fibre pen colours mostly in the shadow areas, then added some extra colour using pastels over the top of these areas:
I’m pleased with this image also and hope to continue to experiment further with different mixtures of coloured media.
Next I moved onto a larger image, working on A0 paper this time. I chose a green paper to try this out on which is too green as it gives the whole image a green cast, but you live and learn! In holding up a plastic frame, I thought it might be interesting to include this frame in my image:
The frame may have added interest, but in cutting up my face, it made it difficult to get the proportions and colour consistency across the parts. It also was not a good position to hold for comfort, and in holding up the frame with my drawing hand, I had to remember its position, then put down the frame to draw it in, this has resulted in a right hand which doesn’t look right. I think I was being a bit too adventurous too early on!
Going for A1 cream pastel paper next, I decided to do a head and shoulders only self-portrait. I sketched in the outlines with a white pastel/chalk(?) and then went into pastel:
I think the eyes are too large, my right ear is too large and my left one not the right shape at the bottom. Some of the colours aren’t what I wanted either, but I had a restricted palette of pastels to work with. I think I’m getting closer to a representation of myself with each attempt though which is good!
I decided to do this study at life drawing class and using Derwent XL Charcoal, a set of 6 coloured charcoals (white and black being 2 of the colours) which are in very big blocks.
I started out sketching in the rough outline to ensure the proportions were correct (which I got mostly right, but got the raised leg a bit in the wrong place). I then moved onto the XL charcoal.
I found this medium very difficult to control. It was very soft and I found that the majority of it ended up falling off the paper! This made it hard to get any deep tones and it also didn’t seem to blend in with the other colours very well. I persisted with it and the drawing looks OK, despite running out of time and not being able to add detail to the face and hands (something which wouldn’t have been easy anyway with the huge blocks of charcoal). I am not convinced by this medium and, whilst it may be worth further experimentation, I will leave it until after this course is finished as I am running out of time.
For my next attempt at the following life drawing class, I worked with Unison soft pastels and had much more success. I used a coloured sheet of about A0 size again, but only had enough time to work on the face.
I struggled getting the tonal range with only 2 light brown and 1 dark brown pastels to play with, but I am pleased with the results and it does look like the model.
My aim is to use colour throughout this entire stage, so all the work for this will fall under this exercise.
Included here is my first attempt at a pastel drawing:
This drawing was done over two life drawing evening classes and it shows as it is a drawing of 2 halves! The top left (head down to left arm) was done on one session, the rest of the body and background was done the next.
As my first pastel drawing I’m quite pleased with this, but it could be improved in many ways, the main one being completing the work in one session, or at least working on the whole body at the same time so a break is not so noticeable.
A couple of other pastel drawings, one where the proportions work, the other where they don’t!
A later pastel life drawing:
I tried this on a pose from a drawing DVD. I made faint pencil marks to give me reference points, then drew it in gel pen. I made a few marks I went over with a white gel pen, but they still show through (on the arm and chest).
Apart from the mistakes, I think this worked well. Because of that I chickened out of adding in the facial features! I probably should have played around with disappearing lines as well, as the gel pens didn’t allow for variations in thickness.
This section is a bit Sparse, but my aim is to concentrate on tone more than line in this stage of the course.
Look at the work of a range of artists such as Ingres, David, Degas, Giacometti and Hockney and make notes about their use of line in your learning log.
Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique (1780-1867)
I like Igres’s free and simple use of line, with his use of light shading but only in small areas, leaving many areas plain white.
Degas, Edgar (1834-1917)
Degas’s work is very expressive, with a limited palette when working with colour. He often seems to leave in working lines and keep working over them, which gives the figures a sense of movement
Trying a piece in the style of his dancers would be good to have a go at.
Hockney, David (b.1937)
Hockney often uses very simple lines, with detail in the faces, but the rest of the bodies left as mostly white with only their outlines, with the occasional crease and folds depicted as single lines.
Bridgeman Education: http://www.bridgemaneducation.com
For this exercise, I have included a mix of quick ink and brush sketches, conté sketches and quick studies from the start of my life drawing classes.
Ink and brush
In an aim to work freely and boldly, whilst also doing an ink drawing direct without doing the “safe” thing of drawing in pencil first. I worked with a brush rather than a pen to try to get the immediacy and boldness. Out of 10 sketches attempted, the four below are the most successful:
I tried a few portrait quick sketches using the edge of a piece of Conté pastel (yes, I know it’s not colour, but I was experimenting and only strayed briefly!):
These sketches are more like caricature images and with the last two images, I have captured the old woman from Monty Python!
I bought Bill Buchman’s DVD ‘Art is an Attitude’ and worked through his tutorials which were interesting.
Some of the better sketches from this are below (some not in colour again, but that was the only conté crayon I had!):
The course was designed to produce more abstract images of the figure and it certainly does that. I will try using some of these techniques when doing my quick sketches at the start of life drawing classes. Of the sketches, I think the ones which are particularly interesting are the ones with simple zigzag lines showing the angles of the parts of the body – this could be particularly interesting to try to translate into a sculpture.
Life drawing sketches
Quick poses from my life drawing classes:
I quite like the effect of three drawings on top of each other, but it gets a bit confused with five.
Check and log
Think about and write up the challenges you met in doing these studies. Has your drawing improved since Part four?
- I think the challenge is always in getting the proportions right without having enough time to measure and check what you are doing. I think my figure drawing is improving all the time as I get more confident and more used to believing my eyes!
Combining all these plans and ideas together gives:
- Work in colour throughout and achieve more depth to these images
- Try using stipples and dots to depict an image again
- Explore the use of bold bright colours
- Do more self portraits
- Use media that force you away from a dependence on line only, eg, brush and ink/water-colour wash, the side of a piece of charcoal or pastel
- Keep on exploring the use of charcoal and similar media, eg pastels (oil and soft), conte
- do an ink drawing direct in pen without doing the “safe” thing of drawing in pencil first
- Self portraits:
- In the style of Caio Locke’s pastel figure drawings
- use soft pastel on A2 paper and work lightly from within the pose using the side of the medium (this way you are forced to think in terms of tone rather than line). Continue to model and mould the forms as if you were using clay, at the same time darkening the tones in selected areas to render the forms. (See Seurat’s conte drawings)
- Using stipples and dots
- Using ink and brush + exploring more different media
I’ll also try to fit in the course exercises, although achieving all of this with only two months left on the course is maybe a touch optimistic.
Well, I’d better get cracking then!
My final assignment and preparatory exercises will be from one of the following choices:
• Mark making and tone
• Observation of nature
• Drawing outdoors
• Drawing figures.
I am to be guided by my own interests, tastes and inclination in finding a subject and feel free to develop my own interpretation. Experiment, be bold and let my intuitive and emotional involvement influence your approach to this final assignment.
Option 1 – mark making and tone
Looks like an interesting option. I could do with experimenting more with mark making techniques and this would be a good opportunity to do this. However, still life drawing doesn’t inspire me and led to me getting behind with my course so that I am now getting towards the 2 year cut off point, so I will pass on this one.
Option 2 – Observation of nature
Ditto to the comments made above re. still life drawing I think – again, I will pass on this one.
Option 3 – Drawing outdoors
This is the part of the course where I started enjoying the course more, but due to the weather / temperatures at this time of year, I would be restricted to drawing from photographs and would not be able to do justice to this stage through that, so again a pass.
Option 4 – Drawing figures
From the above, it may look like I am going for this option as a lack of any alternative, but drawing figures has been the most interesting and rewarding stage of the drawing course for me, so it was always going to be top of the list anyway.
If you look through my submission for assignment 4, you will also notice that I have some unfinished business in this area – the introduction of colour! It wasn’t a conscious decision to go monochrome in this stage, but that is what happened. I also don’t feel I have been very successful in my use of colour so far (perhaps why I avoided it in stage 4), so I would like to remedy that in this stage. I would particularly like to explore the use of bold bright colours.
From my research in stage 4, I would like to try drawings in the style of Rembrandt’s Self-portrait as a young man, c.1628 (pen, ink & wash on paper) , van Gogh’s, Self Portrait with Felt Hat, 1887-88 (oil on canvas) or Caio Locke’s pastel figure drawings.
Also, having now finished reading Betty Edwards book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”, I will practice some self-portraits in the way she suggests near the end of her book.
From my tutors’ comments on this assignment, I have also picked out the following to try:
- To achieve a developed sense of form – use charcoal or soft pastel on A2 paper and work lightly from within the pose using the side of the medium (this way you are forced to think in terms of tone rather than line). Continue to model and mould the forms as if you were using clay, at the same time darkening the tones in selected areas to render the forms. (See Seurat’s conte drawings)
- Use media that force you away from a dependence on line only, eg, brush and ink/water-colour wash, the side of a piece of charcoal or pastel.
- Drawing the basic skeleton over photographs of the figure can be helpful – use magazine or newspaper images.
- It is helpful to make a lot of studies of the individual features of the face – eyes, nose, mouth, etc.
- Keep on exploring the use of charcoal and similar media, eg pastels (oil and soft), conte.
- It would be interesting to do a similar study (line assignment drawing) direct in pen without doing the “safe” thing of drawing in pencil first.
Stage 5 is my chance to consolidate what I have learned, reflect on exercises that I have especially enjoyed and to evaluate my progress. The starting point for this is to make a brief entry for each exercise and assignment undertaken so far detailing successes and problems that I have encountered.
Overall my mark making and texture experiments were perhaps a little unadventurous. At the start of the course, my early still life drawings were clearly not drawn in perspective as the tops of the jars/etc. show. When working in tone and form, I quite like my attempt at drawing a single ball, although the lines used would work better as long complete lines:
However, overall my tone drawing lacked much tonal range and my skills in using charcoal have come on since this stage.
My second assignment drawing was my best image from this stage:
Again, looking back I can see that my experiments with colour were not very adventurous also. My line drawings also lack variation in the thickness / use of line. I quite like my drawing of a branch, although it needs better hatching and more tonal variation on the left hand side of the branch:
Using stipples and dots to depict an image might be interesting to try again.
Overall, my work in colour is a lot more flat than my monochrome work. This colour image was my most successful one working through this stage:
My assignment piece was OK, but definitely lacks much depth to it or enough tonal range:
Looking back my landscape sketches all seem to lack depth. I was quite pleased with the sketch below at the time, but it now lacks enough interest and variation for me:
Apart from my image of a single tree (below), my drawings of trees did not work very well.
My early perspective drawings were OK, but improved a lot up to my assignment piece which I am still pleased with, despite the lack of sufficient aerial perspective:
Drawing people really grabbed my interest and although a lot of my quick sketches were very crude and have a dependence on line, I produced some pleasing drawings when I had longer to spend on the subject. Attending life drawing classes also improved my work in this stage.
My self-portraits were average, this one being the best one:
And I also enjoyed this study of my hand:
I was pleased with both my assignment pieces for this stage, with the tone drawing being the much stronger image:
I think my drawing skills have improved a lot through this course, and looking back it is pleasing to see how I have progressed. In terms of unfinished business/work going forwards, I have identified the following:
- Try using stipples and dots to depict an image again.
- My colour work needs a lot more depth
- My self-portraits need work
- Try more detailed studies