Monthly Archives: March 2012

Project – Tone and form

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

Tone 2

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.

Tone 3

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.

Tone 4

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.

Tone and Form

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.

Tree and stars

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.

Two trees

The trees

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.

A Knight

Why should there not exist an invisible world?

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.
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Project – Basic shapes and fundamental form

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.

Cylinders4 Cylinders3 Cylinders2 Cylinders1

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.
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Project – Making Marks

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

Marks4 Marks3 Marks2 Marks1

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.

Coloured media

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.
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