Assignment Two

Preparatory Work

Sketch 1

This was a larger sketch than I would normally undertake and it showed up a couple of problems.

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Not being sure where a sketch ends and a drawing begins plus the fact that my speed is not too good this sketch took a little over 2¼  hours and I made some errors, i.e. the position/shape of the plate. Also the vase held considerably more flowers, not sketched.

How long should a compositional sketch similar to this take a reasonably competent draughtsman?

The sketch doesn’t particularly show it but the flowers and the wine bottle diminished the subject, the plate of fruit, and gave the composition too much height.

Sketch 2

Sketch 1’s wine bottle has been replaced with a shorter/wider bottle, the flower and the vase reduced in height and a smaller wine glass substituted.

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The light source was brought forward so the vase of flowers could be closed in and not put the fruit in shadow.

The knife (to lead the eye into the subject of the composition as the flowers are a bit dominating) has been repositioned.

Assignment 1 Preparatory Work

Natural Forms and Made Objects

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1.  Did you do enough preliminary work before starting on your final pieces?
I think so. The objects were chosen for their difference in shape, size and textures and within their limitations the final compositions appeared to be the best arrangements with regard to the objects’ characteristics.

2. Do your large drawings give an accurate interpretation of the still life groups? If not what went wrong?
For my standard at this stage I was quite pleased with the outcome of most of the pencil sketches and sketches and drawings. (Unfortunately I haven’t learned the skill of sketching yet, i.e. making a quick, restricted detail drawing.)

I have never drawn such size images in my life and so it has been a big jump in the last couple of months to get to this stage.

The Natural Forms could have had an alternative finished drawing as there were probably other groupings that would have  achieved the same result.

I am aware of the shortcomings in some details (ellipses!) in the Man Made drawing but in the main I consider my drawings are realistic and whilst there may be a lack of artistic flair, i.e. they are a bit plain, they do represent the objects as I saw them.

I quite liked the idea of the large leaf encompassing the garlic as the central object with a balance of other items around them albeit contrary to the good principle of thirds.

I was close to achieving the encompassing leaf but I think that the dark shadows have dominated the central area and taken away the enclosing effect. Maybe another way of representing the texture of the leaf would have avoided the situation.

3.  Did you make a good selection of objects or did you try to include too much? Would you change the arrangements of objects if you were to start again?
There were a good number of made objects that could have been incorporated into the final drawing with interesting and different shapes but the number was reduced for the final drawing though I am not sure this was absolutely necessary.

For the Natural Forms I think the right number of items was chosen. More would have cluttered the drawing and detracted from the central image. Perhaps the bracken leaf could have been included as a “pretty” but the balanced element would have been compromised.

4.  Do your drawings fit well on the paper or could they be improved by working on a larger sheet of paper? 
I have never drawn this large before and so was possibly timid about size. However I think the drawings fit the size of the paper used but obviously they could be drawn larger on a larger size of paper but a different medium might have been required.

Perhaps charcoal could be used on a larger sheet for the man made items where the shape is more dominant than the texture but not for the natural forms which required a greater attention to detail.

If you increased the size of sheet and drawing for the natural forms you would have to step up the size of leads.

5.  Did you have problems with drawing or find hatching too difficult?
Apart from some of the ellipses most of the shapes fell into place and I was pleased that I was generally achieving my shapes at the first attempt particularly in the final drawing.

It has been a huge advancement in the last couple of months that I am not making anxious “search” lines in order to define a shape. Mostly I am getting my initial lines right. Also I have learned not to furtively erase search or construction lines as they can often be merged into the drawing or overdrawn.

As commented above hatching was hardly used. Quite early on when I started drawing I was not convinced that representative textures were going to be suitable for me, i.e. I have never seen cross hatching in nature.

If I was to have a style it was probably to reproduce as near as to what was there and where there was a possible shortfall hopefully the eye/brain would fill in the gap. Hence my wide variety of clutch pencils, graphite leads and sticks.

In any event I would find the actual application of any cross hatching quite hard.

I did have a problem with the coloured pencil drawings. I think these drawings are the first proper coloured pencil composition that I have undertaken since leaving preparatory school.

They are as good as I can do and with more experience I will do better. For me coloured pencil is not able to represent detail or draw an accurate line in the manner of a fine lead pencil.

Project – Enlarging an Image

Exercise – Enlarging a Simple Flat Image
A little more complicated that the previous exercise and I made it a little more difficult by using long objects.
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How successful were you in copying the lines from the smaller squares to the larger squares?

It was a bit mechanical and there was a loss of continuity on the curves but overall the transfer of the drawing was readily done.

Are you satisfied with your larger replica of the image? What would you do differently another time?

The transfer was reasonably successful but the outcome was a rather simplistic looking line drawing.

On another occasion it probably would have been better to just draft the transfer line then freehand the final lines in to give a more natural line to the curves.

Project – Enlarging an Image

Exercise – Enlarging an Existing Drawing
A simple principle undertaken with little difficulty.
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I undertook the exercise by placing and then joining up the dots. Maybe not right but it appeared that it would be hard to produce a fluid long curve without knowing where the curve was going on the way.

Project – Using Texture

Exercise – A Drawing with Textures
The enclosed drawing is unfinished.

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In an effort to include a reasonable number of shapes and textures I practised a couple of other drawings (not included) but I found I had produced plenty of textures but the drawings became over complicated and flat caused by the multiplicity of different ways of portraying textures.

In an effort to bring back things to my ability, in the enclosed drawing to keep it simple I only drew one object, the teddy bear, which in fact has a number of textures and I produced a reasonable drawing of a teddy bear. However the ruffled and heavy weave cloth the teddy bear sat on proved beyond my capabilities despite researching and practicing the necessary technique.

On reflection I maybe should have ignored the tone of the cloth and started with just plain paper for most of the cloth plus a small amount of directional hatching of the cloth. I would not then have “drowned” the teddy bear with dark shadow. Something to practice.

Have you discovered any new ways of using your drawing tools to depict surface and texture?

Yes. The exercises in drawing textures have been very valuable and for me any media other than an HB pencil has been a first attempt.

How successful were you at implying form with little or no tonal hatching?

I wasn’t very successful with the tonal hatching nor the shading.

I think my attempts at hatching did not look right and I kept abandoning them. I recognise the theory but am not yet able to put the theory into practice. With the number of graphite leads I have I should be getting the shading right but not yet.

What are your impressions of frottage as a drawing technique?
I only tried a small amount of frottage in a restricted area and I am not really familiar with the application of the technique.

I have seen online whole abstract drawings done with frottage and it is an interesting media with some original effects but possibly with only limited application.

Project – Using Texture

Exercise – Experimenting with Texture
The exercise was slightly vague as to what was required and 5cm squares were a little small to get any bodily shape into the textures.
IMG_9952_edited-2Trying to find samples of different textures took a little time but gradually they fell into place.

The different surfaces required either a direct reproduction or an impression and I tried to draw the former which often required fine detail.  Furthermore depicting the texture in some instances was hard and was a tricky combination of line and shade.

The frottage element was interesting though the area of the square prevented a full image

Regarding the smudging and dropping of ink it was difficult to know what was to be achieved but interesting effects resulted which could be further experimented on a larger scale.

Project – Still Life

Exercise – Observing Negative Space and Perspective
The objects for the first drawing were a glass bottle, glass jam jar and glass jug.
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I drew the line of the outline in a soft pencil with a minimum of hesitations or corrections and tried to draw it without searching for the right line so mistakes were to be expected.

Whilst the outer objects were reasonably accurate the error came in the centrally positioned jam jar where the top and bottom outlines did not meet up.

The lighter lines were an attempt to bring form to the objects and correct the jam jar.
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The second drawing has a modified and better grouping with a wine glass in the middle.

Drawing the line continuously was quite hard as you have to consider many aspects whilst progressing the line. Furthermore when drawing the bottom line you are trying to align with the top line.

However the result wasn’t too bad if your expectations aren’t too high! The lines tied up reasonably well.

Overall a good negative shape exercise insofar you are thinking more of the line you are drawing than the object you perceive you are drawing. Also the line you are drawing is that of the negative shape when its enclosed and the negative space when it’s not.