Assignment Two

Preparatory Work

Sketch 1

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


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.


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.


Project – Drawing Animals
Exercise – Fish on a Plate.
Unfortunately two of Tesco’s best mackerel had lost some of their silvery opalescence to greys and browns.



The shapes and form of the fishes is reasonably accurate.

The sheen of the fish is difficult to capture though by layering white and light grey there is a satisfactory representation.

Check and Log
1.  What were the main challenges of drawing animals?
Animals are not only different shapes and sizes but they have different skin coverings, i.e. fur, feathers, scale etc. and therefore nearly every animal subject requires a different technique.

Furthermore animals do not generally pose for the duration of the drawing when asked. Accordingly one has to be rather quick or have a good memory. Probably immediately sketching out the simple lines of the limbs and head, i.e. a stick animal, is a good start.

Whilst some can be simplified by incorporating geometrical shapes many cannot but in general nature get’s it right insofar if the drawn shape of an animal looks good then it is correct.

2.  Which media did you enjoy most and which did you feel were best for the subject matter and why?
I favour graphite pencil which I am still mastering. However the question probably refers to coloured media.

I am enjoying coloured pencils. I am learning to blend etc. and I am quite pleased with the results. Different papers produce different effects and each has its appeal.

As | learn more I can see the possibilities ahead, probably more with coloured pencils as they are probably the most adaptable of the media.

Coloured pencils appeared to cope with all the exercises though sometimes it is difficult to get a rich depth of colour.

3. Where can you go to draw more animals? Think about the sorts of places that will give you opportunities for animal drawing. Have you tried drawing a moving animal yet?
If one wanted to draw a range of animal types then a zoo would probably be the best of venues. However if only one type of animal is in mind then an animal nursery, dog pond, cattery, stables or farm come to mind.

As you require the animal to be reasonably stationary and near to you a confined space would be a help or maybe a tether.

No, I have not tried drawing a moving animal yet.

Project – Drawing Animals
Exercise – Grabbing the Chance

Unfortunately I didn’t have access to a live dog to sit for me.

I downloaded photographs of different poses of a yellow Labrador taking care to match the size of the dogs.

The media used used for the sketches were –
1.    Graphite pencil
2.    Pen and ink
3.    Fine fibre tip pen
4.    Ballpoint pen
5.    Coloured pencils
6.    Oil pastels
IMG_0093_edited-2 IMG_0092_edited-2 IMG_0091_edited-2 IMG_0090_edited-2 IMG_0089_edited-2 IMG_0087_edited-2 The final drawing is in graphite pencil.


Project – Drawing Plants and Flowers
Exercise – Drawing with other Coloured Media
Reflect on how the task changes with the different media?
Ballpoint Pen
The ballpoint pen renders a fine line and therefore requires you to work small but it is a tool for detail. Ball point offers a uniform and reliable line which requires hatching in order to achieve tone. However because it is reliable and smooth in operation you can work fast.
IMG_0084_edited-2Pen and Ink
A dip pen is not the most reliable of implements, ie. ink runs out and a small nib generally only moves comfortable in one direction. Sits use is good for fine detail but not for long sweeps. The ink comes in a limited colour range and accurately mixing/lightening is not easy. Accordingly pen and ink is not a flexible medium and therefore for flowers it is not particularly realistic.

IMG_0082_edited-2Wax Crayon
Wax crayon is good for gestural strokes, and hence large drawings, and reasonable variation in tone, achieved by layering and texture. .

However in this exercise the size of the subject is small and therefore wax crayon is difficult for detail and subtle tone.
IMG_0081_edited-2Marker Pen
Fibre tip pen was used and offers uniform line and colour but variation in tone is difficult to achieve particularly with a limited colour range. In this exercise, ie. flowers on a small scale, a thick tip has limited use but a fine tip can be excellent for detail.


Do some work well together?
Wax crayon lacks subtlety of colour and cannot be used for detail work. However if wax crayon is used for the base colour then fine fibre tip pen can make detailed marks on top of it. Ball point pen is similar.

How does the change in medium affect your style and the outcome?
I am not yet too good at style and I tended to do the same thing whatever the medium. I will learn. I should be more gestural but even in practice it isn’t yet realistically happening.

Wax crayon and thick fibre tip have strong and uniform colour and therefore are excellent for expressive drawing.

Check and Log

How will your experiments with negative space help your observational drawing in the future?
Negative space drawing is useful for working out how to draw complex subjects, ie. if the line of the subject is hard to portray then drawing the shape of the space around the subject may produce the result. Difficult perspective or foreshortening can sometimes be resolved by drawing around the subject rather than the subject itself.

What techniques did your use to ensure you drew your plants in proportion?
I find the thumb and pencil method rather hit and miss for small and close up objects. I have proportional dividers which when sighted are more accurate and more versatile.

However once the drawing is set out it should be simple enough to judge the proportion of the remainder by eye.

How did you achieve an effect of three-dimensional space in your drawings?
Lines of perspective are not easy to use  with flowers so other techniques have to be employed such as –
•    Dark colours at the front and light to the rear.
•    Reduce size as the distance away increases.
•    Reduce detail as the object diminishes.
•    Overlap objects, ie. foreground objects hide part of the objects behind.
•    Shadows and shading – darker to the front

Project – Drawing Plants and Flowers
Exercise – Plants and Flowers in Coloured Pencil
Blending Experiments


Successful colour blending with pencils in a drawing can be a hit and miss and requires a practice sample first before committing pencil to paper. To arrive at the desired blended colour some variables have to be considered –

  • Which colour to lay first as this will most certainly define the blend colour as the second colour may not take as well as the first.
  • The pencil tones should be compatible insofar that a light colour may have little effect against a dark.
  • The tooth of the paper together with pencil pressure will affect the manner in which the colours merge.
  • Some colours will produce mud when blended.
  • The final effect required in the drawing

In addition to those on the following page further noted blending methods, though not tried, were hair dryer, nail varnish and other solvents.


Project – Drawing Plants and Flowers
Exercise – Negative Space in a Plant
A little bit harder than the previous negative space exercise. The problem was not just the drawing but keeping one’s brain in the negative mode particularly for the smaller areas.


The drawing is closely representational of the plant with only a few minor erasings.

Check and Log
Your composition should occupy most of the paper’s surface. How much negative space have you left?
I read this point after the event and whilst some drawings might fulfill the requirement the final drawing does not fill the paper though still has charm.

What have you learned from drawing the details of fruit and vegetables?
As a beginner I am on a steep learning curve and most of my drawings have been preceded by a considerable amount of trial and practice work. However I am pleased with my drawings in this section and perhaps for the first time a little confidence is creeping through which will enable me to open out a bit more, ie. a bit more expressive.

What did you find most challenging about this part of the course?
Mostly answered above but learning to use new materials to their individual best is quite hard as you have to learn their individual characteristics.

Project – Drawing Fruit and Vegetables in Colour


Exercise – Drawing Using Oil Pastel

A first drawing in oil pastels for me so a little practice was needed beforehand.IMG_0098_edited-2

 The exercise anticipated layering and, in places, hard pressure strokes which, say, in the red pepper turned out okay but it was difficult to depict shape with those strokes.

I found it difficult to use a light touch with the crayons. The upright avocado requires three colours and the cloying/clogging of the darker/later colours spoiled the lighter touch of the previous colours. In the end I reduced the worst elements with a knife blade which actually looks quite good.

Not a favourite medium as it was difficult to get the exact detail I require but I liked the “sparkle” effect a light stroke gave and maybe if the crayons are sharpened I can develop a style.