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Category Archives: Stage 1
Exercise – Enlarging an existing drawing
A simple mug enlarged by double it’s original size. Not inspired by this exercise!
Exercise – Enlarging an simple flat image
A more complex image enlarged by double it’s original size.
Check and log
How successful were you in copying the lines from the smaller squares to the larger squares?
- Reasonably successful.
Are you satisfied with your larger replica of the image? What would you do differently another time?
- I can think of much easier ways to enlarge an image than this method, so am as satisfied as I need to be. Apart from making sure the enlarged image fits on the page, I think the main thing I would do differently is use another method (projection, photocopy/computer enlarge and trace/lightbox).
Exercise – Experimenting with texture
I tried a number of methods to describe the texture of object and in doing so discovered the dip pen as a great tool for making stippling marks, hatching and small curved lines. I have always avoided ink pens due to being left handed and always smudging them when writing, but using calligraphy ink, the marks dried very quickly and the pen was very easy to use. I will do more with this as I go on. I also had some success stippling with a 6B pencil to describe the textured side of a leather strap.
Experiments with frottage (it turned into a train after drawing the smoke!). This gave some interesting effects, but I wasn’t too excited by this method. Maybe it is because it feels like cheating?
Research point – Max Ernst
Born in Germany, he initially studied philosophy before moving on to study art, although his interest in philosophy was shown in the art work he produced. He served in world war one, but continued painting whilst doing so and was involved in the Dada movement which expressed the artists revulsion of the war and rejected the conventions of art. In 1925 he produced the first Frottages – a technique used to reproduce textures through rubbing over textured surfaces, wooden floorboards in Ernst’s case – which he used to introduce randomness as well as texture into his images.
Some Ernst examples:
Examples from other artists from a frottage exhibition.
Exercise – A drawing with textures
I chose pen and ink to do this drawing as I wanted to experiment some more with this medium. As this was experimentation, the style isn’t consistent across the image as I modified how I worked as I went on. Some areas of this drawing worked well, such as the reed head, some of the papery leaves and the feather (without the shadows). The shadows under the feather didn’t work as they were too dark and would have worked better as shading than as hatching. I changed to watered down ink for the other shadows which seemed to work better. It was hard to show graduations in tone and I only really managed to portray the very light and dark areas, with no mid-tones – greater spacing between the lines would probably be the best way to portray this. I also found it hard to keep interest in the heavily textured areas such as the reed head.
Check and log
Have you discovered any new ways of using your drawing tools to depict surface and texture?
- A few new techniques and I have discovered the joys of using a dip pen and ink which I have enjoyed.
How successful were you at implying form with little or no tonal hatching?
- I think I achieved this quite well in my drawing with textures and the bit that went wrong was when I tried to introduce hatching. Maybe hatching works better for man-made objects, and shading better for natural objects? I’ll see as I progress.
What are your impressions of frottage as a drawing technique?
- It can give some interesting effects, but it does feel like cheating and I think is obvious how it has been done and I’m not sure it “fits” very well with the drawing I have done to date. I’ll keep it in mind as an option though as I progress through the course.
Exercise – Still life sketches of made objects
I chose some difficult objects to draw, and as I initially chose pen to draw with, I couldn’t then correct my mistakes once I’d made them, so in the first sketch the saw handle is too large. The initial arrangement doesn’t fit well into a frame as the saw handle extends a lot lower than the other objects. However, the arrangement does lead the eye into the image.
I initially thought the second arrangement was a better one, with the objects fitting neatly together and arranged parallel to each other, but looking at it again, I’m not sure it has as much interest as the first image, although that could be because the pencil image isn’t as bold as the pen one.
I think these kinds of objects could be worth exploring further for the assignment as an image of a jewellery bench could be interesting to do.
Exercise – Composition of natural objects
I can’t say I find compositions of natural objects (e.g. bowls of fruit) particularly interesting, so these were rougher sketches than the previous exercise. I think the most interesting composition of vegetables I chose was with the plate positioned sideways on and at eye level, giving a more unusual angle on the objects.
Check and log
Do you think it is easier to suggest three dimensions on mad-made or natural objects?
- On natural objects I guess, as they have less regular shapes and require greater observation to ensure they are drawn correctly. Although it depends on the objects you are drawing in each category.
How did you create a sense of solidity in your composition?
- I think this was achieved much more when the objects being drawn overlapped with each other. My initial sketch of natural objects when they are all separated from each other has the least solidity.
Do you think changing the arrangement of your composition makes a difference to your approach and the way you create a sense of form?
- I haven’t noticed such a change in approach when I was completing these exercises, although the angle you draw a single object from obviously changes the way you represent the form of that object.
How did you decide how to position yourself in relation to the objects?
- In most of these, this has been determined by the height of the desk I was drawing the objects on. For the last composition of natural objects I crouched lower to draw them and this gave a more interesting perspective which I think I will investigate further for the assignment.
Exercise – Observing negative space and perspective
I found this really hard to do, mainly because without planning out the objects positions and sizes in relation to each other before drawing them, they ended up not being the correct sizes in relation to each other by the end of the line. It would be worth trying this again when it comes to the assignment.
Exercise – Study of light reflected from one object to another
The light source was to the left of the image, with an additional source from the window behind the objects (which can be seen reflected in the saucepan lid).
I think this worked quite well and I was pleased with the outcome.
Exercise – Shadows and reflected light and shade
The light source was to the left of the image, with additional sources from behind (window) and above.
This was quite a challenge working with charcoal, not only because I am not familiar with the medium, but also because the toaster was a complicated object to try to draw with it. Charcoal seems to be more suited to less detailed work than what I was attempting to produce.
I’m pleased with the basic shapes in this image, but think more work could be done to represent the full range of tones.
Research point – Patrick Caulfield
Patrick Caulfield was a printmaker and painter who produced very simplified images, using big flat areas of colour and a bold style. He is associated with pop art.
Images of his ‘White Ware’ screen prints
My drawings in his style. I’m not sure you can get the uniform flat colours of his work without producing them as prints. Here I tried two different methods with oil pastels and watercolour pencils. I got too carried away with the oil pastels in the first image and forgot to leave the vase white!
Check and log
What are the difficulties in separating cast shadow from reflected light and shade?
- I think the only difficulties come from your expectation of where the shadows will fall based on the direction of the light sources. I think drawing teaches you to look closer at what you are drawing and, as long as you do that, it doesn’t matter where the light and shade is, as long as you take the time to look properly at it all.
The reflected shadow and light follows the contours of the objects. How have you shown this in your drawing?
- I have drawn all my lines following the contours of the objects, or direction of light if flat.
Exercise – Observing shadow and light formations on a surface
I’m not sure I was very successful with this. Because the box was a large surface, I found it very hard to apply shading evenly across the areas where it was needed. Similarly with the shadows from the objects, the pencil lines just looked messy. I also found it very difficult to pick out all the graduations of light due to the confusion of the colours and patterns on the objects. I think the reflected light from the tin on the box worked better than the rest of the image.
Exercise – Tonal studies
Hatching examples using different mediums, varying the gaps between the lines and pressure applied. I also tried a single ball object, but again fell down in the representation of the larger shadow area.
Four objects with hatched shadows. I tried different methods with the different objects and I think the jar and vase worked best when I used a series of small lines rather than larger ones. The shadows didn’t work here though as they were not dark enough or hatched correctly and I think the lines need to be following the direction of the light source.
So I tried again with a single ball. I painted this white and placed it on a piece of card which I had also painted white, so avoiding any distractions from colours or different textures. I think I did much better with this and this might also be a good exercise to complete when it comes to the assignment.
Another drawing of an egg and a block of wood, trying to get the full tonal range by shading.
Research point – Odilon Redon
His early work was in charcoal and then used lithography to reproduce these works. He later turned to colour using pastels and oils.
In relation to tone and form I have examined some of his charcoal works. I found it hard to assess his work from images from the internet as their quality was not good enough to truly examine the techniques he used. Of the images looked at, the five images below had enough detail to make comment on.
The shading on the tree appears to only use lines travelling in the direction of growth, varying in intensity and moving to shading in the darkest areas.
These two images of trees include hatching on areas of the trunk following the direction of grown and the shape of the trunk. As discovered in my four objects study when drawing the mug and shadows, when the lines do not follow the shape of the object (or direction of the light for the shadows), then the hatching does not look right.
It is hard to see the techniques used in these two images, but as with all the others, Odilon uses a full tonal range from bright white to black in his drawings.
Check and log
How difficult did you find it to distinguish between light from the primary source and secondary reflected light?
- I didn’t find this too difficult; I found it harder to distinguish the graduations of light across the objects and to relate the graduations to each other and represent them in this way. I think having a set of objects the same colour and texture to draw would improve this awareness. I tried this with one object, but didn’t repeat the collection of objects. I also found it difficult to represent larger areas of shading without it looking messy.
How has awareness of light and shade affected your depiction of form?
- It has forced me to look more closely at the graduations of light across and around objects, which has improved my depiction of form, although I feel there is still a lot of work for me to do in this area.
Exercise – Boxes and books
Image not included here as the lines were too faint to show up. I didn’t find this particularly difficult, but wasn’t very engaged with the subject, so quickly moved onto the next exercise.
Exercise – Jars and jugs
I missed the reference to jugs, but made a serried of drawings of cylindrical objects. I found these to be a much more interesting and challenging subject.
I found it much harder to draw from a higher angle when the circles became larger, especially when working with the rounded top of the water bottle. I also came a cropper when I tried working more quickly with pen and didn’t draw in guide lines down the centre of the bottle, which resulted in the bottle top being off-centre.
Exercise – Supermarket shop
I enjoyed the drawing and adding ink to this image, but again struggled with the use of colour.
Check and log
Are the objects in your drawings the correct size and shape in relation to each other?
- More or less I think.
Do the shapes between the objects look correct?
- I don’t think they did in the earlier drawings, but improved as I did more.
Do the objects look solid?
- In the final supermarket shop exercise they look reasonably solid, but I think they need shadows including to improve this.
Have you managed to create the feeling of depth in your drawings?
- Again, as best as I think they can be without including shadows I think, but I think it needs this to give real depth to any image.
Exercises – Holding pens and pencils & Doodling
I am not a doodler usually, so this didn’t come naturally and ended up mostly as lines, but it did get me using the materials and experimenting a bit.
Exercises – Mark-making techniques & Using charcoal & Line and other marks
Again this got me using a variety of materials in different ways, although I was much more comfortable using pencils than other media. As I use keyboard and mouse rather than writing anything, it did amaze me how quickly my hands became tired when trying to fill small boxes with lines or hatching.
Much easier to draw flowing lines in the direction of the natural movement of the hand. Softer pencils gave darker lines and much easier to shade areas, with more difference from varying the pressure applied. They are also more suited to expressive mark making.
I found charcoal to be great for doing expressive and bold lines, but very messy and I struggled to fix it to the paper and so ended up with it smudging my other work.
The uncompressed charcoal broke easily and couldn’t be used for fine lines. I also found myself smudging the work as I did different squares, but didn’t want to keep spraying fixative every couple of minutes.
It was hard to get light shading, except by smudging or rubbing out areas.
I look forward to trying some large pieces with charcoal.
I experimented with some chalk, coloured pencils and soft pastels, none of which I got on with very well! The chalk and pastels were very messy like the charcoal, gave very thick bold areas of colour, but didn’t fix very well to the paper. Using the coloured pencils to shade areas ended up looking like a childs colouring in book.
Research point – Van Gogh
Notes on the types of marks used by Van Gogh – see sketchbook
Check and log
How did holding your pen or pencil in a different way affect your drawing?
- An inclined hold made it much easier to shade areas, and to give free flowing lines. An upright hold gave more defined lines and more stilted marks.
Which drawing tools suited the different mark making techniques you used?
- Pencils and pens were much better suited to stippling, softer pencils and charcoal for bold wavy lines, pens and medium soft pencils for lines and hatching, soft pencils for shading.
Did you find that any marks or tools you used matched particular emotions or feelings? Did one convey calm and another frenzy for example?
- I think the softer pencils and charcoal were better suited to match emotions or feelings, both of calm and frenzy depending on the mark-making method used. I found the harder pencils lacking in any emotion at all and similarly with my use of coloured media.
How did the introduction of colour affect your mark-making?
- I didn’t have much success using colour in my mark-making as I struggled to work with the different mediums I tried. I think this is an area I need to work on going forwards.
Which of these experiments have you found most interesting and rewarding?
- I have never used charcoal before and found this medium very exciting in its possibilities. I don’t find it easy to use, but it suits the expressive methods I would like to explore further.